Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Donna Schlacter’s latest release is featured in today’s blog. I know you will enjoy what she has to say about her first traditionally-published full-length historical. How this multi-talented lady has time to write is beyond me! Donna has also graciously offered you a chance to receive a free copy of this new release. Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for an ebook copy of Double Jeopardy. Enjoy!

Donna Schlachter, Author

Spotlight on Double Jeopardy, by Donna Schlachter

January 7th, 2020 is release day for my first traditionally-published full-length historical. Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable.

Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money.

Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over.

Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife.

Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?

Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for an ebook copy of Double Jeopardy.

Available at Amazon.com and fine booksellers in your area.

About Donna:
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

http://www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!
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What Can Be Online University: https://what-can-be-online-institute.teachable.com/

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My latest release.

A funny thing happened on my way to finishing my work in progress (a non-fiction tale about submission). My husband told me he wanted me to write a book about gratitude. He seemed sure it had to be done immediately, so I filed away the submission book and submitted my time to writing what has turn into a blessing. Gratitude is a five minute a day devotional focusing on thanking God for His many blessings.

This book contains amazing pictures of scenes from around the world. These beautiful scenes can help you focus on our Creator and remember all He has done for you. It is amazing what the very act of being grateful can do for our physical bodies. Only five minutes of listing as few as three things a day can change your personality and make you a happier person. This activity of being grateful can actually lower your blood pressure and help you relax.

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. What better time to begin a precious time of realizing how the Lord has blessed you? You can have that conversation with Him every day, thanking Him. Forty days will begin the habit, after that it will become a natural response whenever you recognize a blessing from Him!

Gratitude devotions don’t take more than five or ten minutes a day and has been used to begin and end Bible Studies, prayer time, and quiet times. I know this book will bless you.

Gratitude is available on kindle, audible, and paperback. It is also available in English and Spanish.

Here’s the link to order >https://www.amazon.com/s?k=gratitude+vicki+andree&ref=nb_sb_noss

Click here to check out my website!

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Western Wall

The last few days I’ve been at home waiting out the snowstorm here in Colorado. Quiet, but productive days at home seem difficult to come by these days. Too often I have days filled with running errands, making appointments, and social luncheons. A snow day turned out to be a blessing for me. Recently, I was reminded by a friend that I had not posted for quite some time. I checked and it’s been six months since my last entry.

In an attempt to resume more of a routine blogging schedule, I combed through memories of visits to Jerusalem. I hope you enjoy this repeat of a blog from several years ago:

This morning I logged onto one of my bookmarked favorite sites: Live Western Wall Camera at Aish.com. It reminded me of my visits to Jerusalem, which always included trips to the Temple Mount. Each time is memorable and unique. The first time is always the most memorable and I talk about it in my book, On Our Own in Jerusalem’s Old City.. That particular visit to the Temple Mount included some confusion about being in the Dome of the Rock when my friend, Jan Buntrock, and I discovered that we were actually in the Al Aksa Mosque, so much for informed American tourists (We were students at Jerusalem University College). The second time I visited Jerusalem I walked over to the Western Wall from the Cardo. It was a year later and my mother and my husband enjoyed a leisurely lunch while I itched to get over to the Wall. They finally agreed that I should go and could be excused. I was surprised how easily I remembered the way. This time I felt an urgency to pray at the Western Wall in particular. What I had to say to God I wanted to say at the Wall.

My greatest desire was to stand in front of the Western Wall on that day to pray and to place notes in the Wall for my friends. Just standing before the monumental Wall, feeling the presence of the Lord, and meditating on His grace gave me a glorious peace. I felt like I was home at last. I sighed in complete contentment as I prayed and stuffed written prayers in the Wall for friends and relatives. Even today, they have no idea that their names are wedged in cracks in the Holy Wall half way around the world.

Why make a special trip to the Wall of the Temple Mount? “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus loved Jerusalem. He wept over Jerusalem. He longed to gather its inhabitants together under His wings of love and protection. God chose Jerusalem as the holy city in which He would reside in the Temple on the Temple Mount. Believers were expected to come here at least three times a year to celebrate feasts of the Lord. God wanted His people to join Him here. When I’m in Jerusalem I feel like I’m in His hometown. Whether I’m at the Wall or on the Temple Mount I feel like I’m at His front door. My prayers constitute my sacrifice as I lay my soul before Him. Because of the holiness of those moments, I like to use my prayer book and pray prayers of praise in Hebrew. Over the years I have prayed in many different places throughout the world, and sometimes in desperate situations. However, my worship times at the Wall are precious and deeply moving, some of the best of times with my God.

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“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16 NIV).

When I look at this verse I am struck by the fact that Jesus chose us. He chose you. He chose me. When He says that I did not choose Him, but that He chose me, at first it causes me to go into a fear mode. Fearful, because I know that I am not worthy of His attention. Then I remember that He considered me valuable enough to suffer and die on a cross for me. And if He believes I am that valuable, then let me do His will forever.

This verse reminds me that He appointed me to go and bear fruit that will last. Then the Father will give me whatever I ask in His name. I want to bear fruit that will last. But not for the reason that I will be able to obtain anything I ask the Father, in Jesus’ name. The reason I want to bear fruit that will last is that I want to do His will because that will glorify God.

It’s the attitude of obedience to bear fruit that honors Christ. Fruit that lasts. What does that mean? The first thing that comes to mind is that something that lasts forever is the salvation that we’ve been offered by Christ’s death on the cross. The promise is that we will have eternal life if we repent and believe. And now the question has come down to what exactly is my job in bearing fruit that lasts. I have accepted Christ and I have that promise for eternal life.

But if I am to bear fruit, it surely means that I have been chosen to spread the message of salvation throughout the world. And even more than spreading the message, I am to bring others to the foot of the cross so the Holy Spirit can convict them and save them. It’s too grand a mission. I don’t think believers realize the enormity of the appointment. As believers, we are called to transform lives for eternity. Our actions in this endeavor will never be forgotten.

And the truly great news revealed by this verse is that God has already equipped us with everything we need to bear fruit that will last. We do not need to ask the Father for anything before we bear fruit. Whatever tools we need to do the job, we already have. By this point in the devotional, you surely are not surprised at how God equips us for every mission. We know the truth of the gospel, God, salvation, Jesus and the debt He paid. We already have discernment, compassion, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, knowledge, truth, and many other marvelous gifts. We also have arms, legs, lips, time, energy, money, and possessions that can be used if needed to bear fruit that lasts.

God is allowing us to participate in a project with Him. He is willing to go hand in hand with little us to bring others into the Kingdom. We cannot do it without Him. We can’t save anyone. But we can bring them to the foot of the cross. God is generous and gracious, allowing us to get involved in the process. This is colossal. Working on a project with the God who breathed the universe into existence blows my mind. Not only that, He has already planned in advance what good works we will do. In other words, He is so faithful that He appointed us to bear good fruit that will last forever.

Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me and appointing me to go bear fruit that will last. Help me as I prepare to always be ready to share why my hope is in the gospel. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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Sun setting behind the stark Baobab tree on the road to Nsanje, Malawi.

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NIV).

Where can you find an attitude of alertness and self-control in this day and age? We see lack of both everywhere we look. Not only that, we are enticed to get caught up in our own desires. And as far as self-control goes, many people have no idea what it means. We are surrounded by media of all kinds that tell us what we should eat, what we should wear, what we should drive, where we should go to school, who we should associate with and everything else about improving our lives.

Media is smothering us. The noisy hum of information drowns out any productive thinking. Sounds of advertising jingles swirl through our brains as we try to remember a famous piece of music. Poetry gets reduced to rhymes that sell cereal or used cars. Our exhausted intelligence just wants to fall asleep. It’s too hard to think with everything going on around us.

Let’s separate ourselves from the world of mind-numbing electronics and turn to the Word of God. We must do this in order to stay alert. It takes self control to make the change. Our friends may think we’ve lost it, but we’re in the fight to gain it, that is, to gain back our sense of self and the ability to make decisions without the input of someone we’ve never met or know anything about.

Would you take the advice of a derelict on the streets? My guess is that you would not. Then why do we let the media lead us through our lives like a puppy on a chain? The thing that I find incredible is that people actually believe that the things they see and hear on media are being presented for their well being. The media is all about making money. It has absolutely nothing to do with our welfare. We have to look out for ourselves.

Thankfully, God has given us brains and the ability to use them, along with the Word to keep us alert concerning what is going on around us. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

When we accept Jesus into our hearts all of these things come with the Holy Spirit. We just need to tap into the Spirit. Notice self-control is included. This is imperative for success. God is not going to control you. He gave you free will so you would have choices to make every day. Self control can make the difference between success and failure.

Most people think that the key to self-control is discipline. Discipline plays a part, but discipline alone will ultimately fail. Most of us have proven this over and over in some area of our lives. The key is to tap into the Holy Spirit. The really good news is that you can take action. You decide which desires are not important.

Take a critical view of the world and simply make the decision that these desires are not worth fighting for. When tossing your desires into the trash can, it releases the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s desires and the power to achieve them. This is self control ― throwing your own desires out, so God’s desires can fill your life.

For today, let your attitude be one of self-control. Identify a specific desire that the media has put into your life. Now and make the decision that it is unimportant and throw it into the trash.

Gracious Father, thank You for your many gifts included in the Holy Spirit. Teach me to implement them daily as I walk through life. Keep me alert so I will not fall asleep and be complacent. Help me throw my selfish desires into the trash. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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Sunrise in Lubbock, Texas

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35,37 NIV).

According to this verse, we are more than conquerors. As believers in Jesus Christ we become more than conquerors over hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword. In what way do we conquer these trials and tribulations? We do not allow them to separate us from the love of Christ.

This declaration, along with the next verse reveals just how much God loves us. Verse 38 says, “for I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s love for us makes us more than conquerors. With Him we can accomplish anything because “nothing is impossible with God.” Without Him, we can do nothing.

Perhaps a concrete example will make this verse clearer. Paul is convinced that death, even the death of a spouse or a child, cannot separate us from the love of Christ as long as we depend on “Him who loved us.” Jesus will see us through that trial. If we abandon God in those times, Satan can and will use that trial to separate us from the love of Christ. For a season we will not feel that love but Christ will not give up on us because He is the true conqueror over sin, death, and the evil one.

Once we understand that nothing can separate us from the love of God, we realize the reason we can be more than conquerors. We can also use this power to achieve dreams. We must be careful here because conquerors too often become arrogant and self-serving. What we are conquering here are powers and principalities. The things that we conquer are primarily the things that inhabit us.

The attitude of a conqueror who has discovered Jesus as the way to overcome our weaknesses ought to be one of humility and gratefulness. Once again we are reminded that these attributes enable us to grow near to God. And that is the goal of our lives as we work to glorify him. Being a conqueror is a gift. It’s a gift not to be bandied about, but to be cherished. Knowing that we can overcome through Christ makes it right to attempt impossible projects instead of merely giving up or not trying at all.

Being a conqueror enables us to dream big. Once we get confidence in Christ, we can see that our dreams are often too small. Dream big! God is with you and you are more than a conqueror. You are His special child. He wants your dreams to come to fruition. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

And so once again we are reminded that being a child of God is a position of power. The more power one possesses, the more humility and gratitude Godly people exhibit.

Today let your attitude be “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Almighty God, thank You for Your indescribable love and gifts. You have made me more than a conqueror. It is my desire to serve You faithfully every day. Show me the mountains You want me to climb. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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African Sunset

[ Paul, the Minister to the Gentiles, writes ] “I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14 NIV).

Paul wrote the book of Romans while he suffered in a Roman prison. He writes to Roman Christians, telling them that they are filled with goodness. These Roman Christians probably worshipped in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. On that day some three thousand Jews, there to celebrate the feast of Shavuot (the receiving of the Ten Commandments), were baptized into the faith. Thus, a church existed in Rome when Paul arrived.

Believers had heard about Paul and knew he was a good man. Paul was in prison and couldn’t go into the streets of Rome to preach. Confined to a prison cell, he wrote letters consoling his friends and followers. These friends and followers shared the letters with the Roman people and many came to know the Lord.

Paul was granted visitors. When they came to bring him food and clothing, he shared the good news of the gospel. He would send them out of the prison with messages to the people. He knew that they were good people because of their goodness toward him. And because of their goodness Paul felt encouraged that the church would survive after his death.

Goodness feels good. When we do something we know is good, we feel good. But we do not want to get into the habit of doing good works just for that ‘feel good’ feeling. That would feed into our egos. That is not the kind of goodness Paul is talking about in this verse. He is talking about an attitude that strives to do ‘good,’ to live a ‘good’ life. We learn good from bad from the time we are very young. Right from wrong is instilled in us, and being ‘good’ is what our parents tell us to be. As Christians we strive to be like Jesus, who we know is good. An attitude of goodness clothes us in humility because we know that we cannot, in ourselves ever be truly good enough. Our motives are never completely pure. This should not be discouraging, but it should encourage us to keep working to be like Jesus.

Let this be your attitude today. You have the Holy Spirit just like the three thousand Jews who were baptized at Pentecost. Therefore, you are filled with His goodness. Today you can let it overflow and benefit someone else.

Lord, You are my Rock and my Salvation. Help me to be covered in an attitude of goodness that will glorify You. I ask forgiveness for the times I have failed You in word, thought or deed. Give me strength to be good, as You taught us. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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