Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: “A Spring of Weddings” by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell

About the Book

Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection

Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: March 30, 2017

A Spring of Weddings is delightful. Two beautiful novellas encased within one book. Although they are both stories of love, they are entirely different from each other … in an interesting way.

“A Proxy Wedding” by Toni Shiloh

“Just keep it together, Nichols. A few more days in her company before you part ways again and all will be right back to normal.”

Carly and Damien have been asked to stand in as proxy bride and groom by their best friends Brenda and Adam. This ‘proxy wedding’ was to take place in beautiful Montana, so lovely a place that almost anything could happen. Maybe, two strangers could fall in love. But the road wasn’t meant to be easy, both Carly and Damien had their own demons and fears in life. Would they be able to overcome these fears and superstitions, and go on to live a happy life together?

My Thoughts:

What a beautiful story. Toni Shiloh, you had me at the first line.

Yes, I am willing to concede that there was a fair amount of predictability, but if there is to be a happy ending, and I just love a happy ending, then some things are slightly predictable. This was a gorgeously, romantic (sorry about the adverb … not! I love adverbs) story. My heart was a-flutter right the way through. Adequate suspense was provided … was it ever! I couldn’t stop turning (clicking) the pages. Conflict was present in all his shapes and forms. You were kept wondering right until the end … “what is going to happen?”  Now, for those who haven’t read this beautiful story, please don’t assume that ‘happy ending’ means ‘girl gets boy’ or vice versa. These two characters are so incompatible in so many ways. Want to know what happens? Hear all the gossip? You’ll just have to read the story.

 

“Hope Beyond Savannah” by Melissa Wardwell

 “The fringed Atlantic waves crashed onto the sandy shores of Tybee Island as Lily Allman nestled deeper into the arms of her boyfriend, Nik Lagatuo. Wrapped in a cocoon of blankets, they sat on the beach waiting for the clock to strike midnight.”

It was obvious to both of them that they were totally infatuated with each other, and those strong feelings had turned into love; but would the differences in culture, upbringing, and individual personalities, allow them to be together forever? More importantly, would Nik’s very traditional Samoan parents ever be able to accept Lily as a member of their family? Lily was definitely not the ‘good Samoan girl’ that tina had expected Nik to choose for his bride.

My Thoughts:

I loved this gorgeous story. I found this story to be going in almost the opposite direction to the first, within this beautiful book. It was New Year’s Eve, the most romantic time of the year, and a time for new beginnings. Two young people were in love, what could possibly go wrong? Suspense held onto me right throughout the story, constantly hoping with all my heart that everything would be okay, differences could be settled, misunderstandings forgiven, and a love so perfect, gifted from God, could become reality.

I loved the imagery throughout, whether on a beach or a backyard deck, the scene was perfectly set. I could visualise myself being with each of the characters as they went through their own private turmoil, and when they were interacting to find solutions. The main characters were very well rounded and I feel that I know each of them personally. The inclusion of a glossary of some Samoan words was delightful. Those beautiful words added to the intensity of the romance.

Several issues to do with intercultural marriage were tackled successfully. Nik and Lily won’t go through their married life problem free, but who does? There will always be some issues and conflicts to be dealt with, as with all marriages, but especially when two cultures join. I loved the fact that they both knew and loved Jesus. This will be the saving grace that keeps them together.

If you are looking for some lovely romance to while away a few hours, then I would highly recommend that you buy “A Spring of Weddings”.  Both stories are superb, suspenseful, well written, and full of good, clean, innocent love.

Giveaway:

To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

 

“A Spring of Weddings” is now available on Amazon and Amazon Australia

I was kindly provided with a free copy of this book by CelebrateLit Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Upcoming Blog Tour Posts:

May 7: God is Love

May 7: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Autism mom

May 8: Caffeinated Reads

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

About the Authors

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mother, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honour her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

 

 

 

 

Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own. Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding

By Toni Shiloh

Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.

When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine springtime, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.

It. Was. Rough.

It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, the risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.

Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.

In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.

I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.

Hope Beyond Savannah

By Melissa Wardwell

I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.

With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.

My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what colour our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Life After E.L.E. by J.C. Morrows

My Review:

download

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

I’ve just discovered another favourite author, there are quite a few on my bookshelf and on my Kindle.

Life After E.L.E. is a young adult, post-apocalyptic, dystopian story, but anyone from sixteen to one hundred and sixteen would enjoy reading it. Thirty years after a rogue moon had crashed into the earth, leaving a frozen world in its wake, we learn about how the human race had only just escaped extinction, and how they had to revert to living as cave people, the harsh systems that had been put into place by an unrelenting government, and the many secrets and conspiracies that would make daily life extremely difficult and dangerous.

The story reeled me in from the get-go. From page one I was hooked on every word, wanting to know what would happen next. About one-third of the way through reading this book, the mystery and suspense had built to such an extent that I just couldn’t put the book down. Not bad for someone who didn’t previously enjoy fantasy/Sci-Fi or Speculative Fiction. Just as Eve was starting to become more suspicious and paranoid about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death … so was I.

… and the young people who had been executed, what had they done to deserve such a harsh punishment?  What secrets had Eve’s father entrusted to her before his untimely death? I found myself wishing she would divulge those secrets, because I wanted to have some answers too, and the suspense was killing me … but in a good way.

Life, it seemed, wasn’t too dissimilar to how it would have been thousands of years ago, after all, they had to start from scratch and rebuild their world, such as it was. Celebrations were rare in the caves, within the compound. Families had even been restricted to having two children. Times were tough, however, what seemed to make things worse was the fact that as only thirty years had passed since E.L.E., many had fond memories of how life on earth used to be.

downloadSome good Christian values were subtly introduced. There were regrets. Just as Eve was angry with her father for ‘not trying harder to survive’, her mother regretted being angry with her husband the last time she’d seen him. ‘The last words I spoke to your father were in anger. I’m not going to do that to you.’  Gently reminding us of the importance of forgiveness, love and understanding, no matter what.

Although the kissing scenes may have been a little overdone for strict Christian taste, I loved them. Why? Because it meant that these poor people were just as human as anyone else. Under such difficult and confusing circumstances … life after the event, and with the new, cold, and harsh world they now found themselves in, love could and would still blossom. It had to I guess, for life to continue.

Even now after E.L.E., it would seem that human beings had learnt nothing from their past. There were the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, and the ‘haves’ were just as greedy, jealous, suspicious and malicious as their fore-bearers had been. Life was survival of the fittest, although in the animal kingdom more decorum would have been displayed. Very little if anything had changed.

Rules around what couples could/couldn’t do in public unless they were ‘bound’ were similar to the strict cultural laws of various countries in the old world. Great emphasis was put upon how our actions in any situation, would affect not just ourselves, but all of those around us. Eve’s compassion and caring nature towards others, even when she was in pain, was extraordinary. What a world we’d have if everyone’s heart was like Eve’s.

‘If only the people on the moon base had survived … If the government had gone on the way it was supposed to after that rogue moon had hit earth …’

Many wonderful things will happen in life, but there will always be equal devastation. Our lives seem to be full of “what if’s” … but isn’t hindsight a glorious thing?

I love how Morrows describes the world by the use of dialogue, both spoken and in thought. I felt my mind connect with some of the characters, and it was as though their thoughts were my own.

My only real complaint about this book was the enormous cliff-hanger of an ending … darn it JC! Now I just have to wait with baited breath for the next instalment.

One of the discussion questions for book club readers intrigued me.

‘If you found yourself in a post-apocalyptic world, how do you think that would affect your faith? Would you hold on tighter to God – or would you maybe begin to question His plan?’

cI gave this question some thought, and I don’t believe it would make much difference. Our current world is made up of believers and non-believers, and even those who either believe something entirely different, or nothing at all. Often we hang on to our faith out of sheer fear of what might happen if we don’t … a kind of insurance if you will. What do you think? How might you answer this question?

What a riveting, enthralling adventure reading this book was. JC I love your work!

A little about the author:  JC Morrows, author of the bestselling young adult dystopian series: Order of the MoonStone and the new Frozen Earth series (Post-Apocalyptic with a Dystopian edge), spends her days writing, arguing with her evil computer, juggling two kids, and wishing someone would invent a coffee IV.

A storyteller in the truest sense of the word, JC has been telling stories in one form or another her entire life, and once her mother convinced her to write them down, she simply couldn’t stop.
And . . . as a true believer, she gives God all of the glory for her talent and ability!
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2

Giveaway: To celebrate her tour, JC Morrows is giving away a themed basket including the book and swag and some specially chosen surprises!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fd.

Link to purchase this book: Life After E.L.E. JC Morrows Amazon

I was generously provided with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Lakwi’s Lament: a short story (Tamrin Tales Book 2) ~ by Jeannette O’Hagan

My Review

 lakwis-lament‘Lakwi would love to read the books in the Royal library, but girls aren’t allowed inside. Her passion for books attracts the attention of her dashing older brother, Prince Rokkan, and her suave (but cunning) cousin, Lord Haka. Will her drive for knowledge lead her into more trouble than she can handle?’

Although this story is aimed at Middle-Grade to Young Adult readers, I believe any age group would love it.  Previously I haven’t been a huge fan of fantasy, but after reading some of the other writings of Jeanette O’Hagan that is fast changing.

Lakwi’s Lament is charming, suspenseful, and informative with a powerful message. This lovely story first appeared in ‘Like a Girl Plan Anthology’ (Far Horizons, 2015). Like a Girl celebrates and supports education and opportunities for girls and women.

Princess Lakwi is thirsty for knowledge in a world where only the males are considered worthy to gain an education. ‘Girls and puppies weren’t welcome in the library.’ Girls and women are present in this life to cook, sew, and arrange flowers among other things, and ultimately bear children for their husbands.

It was fitting that this sweet story was included in ‘Like A Girl’ because this message of equality and fair rights of the female gender to educate themselves and receive support in doing so, is portrayed well here.

Jeanette’s descriptions of the surrounds, the Palace … and many details right down to the colourful, elegant clothing worn by the individual characters, enable the reader to clearly visualise this different, but interesting world.  ‘Once Papa had taken her into the tiered room with its large skylights and rows and rows of entrancing scrolls and books.’  Her analogies throughout are brilliant … ‘his eyes like chips of ice.’

Lakwi’s Lament is a follow on from Jeanette’s story ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ (originally published in Tied in Pink, Anthology), both set in the world of the ‘Akrad Legacy Series. I am looking forward to reading the complete series when it is published. I believe Book One is to be released later this year.

Ms O’Hagan is a masterful storyteller, who entices you to read, and keep reading until the final page. I loved this eBook, and I’m certain you will too!

I received a free copy of ‘Lakwi’s Lament’ in return for an honest review.

You are my home… — a cooking pot and twistedtales

Sweet husband of mine, You touch me in the depths of my being in ways that I can’t sufficiently express. The communion of body, mind, and soul experienced with you by my side always makes me know that I’m home. Saying that I love you is so paltry; I adore you and would be lost […]

via You are my home… — a cooking pot and twistedtales

A Life of Their Own

keyboard-65042It was quiet. The author had gone to bed but Chloe couldn’t sleep – not now that she’d found out what could happen to her. She stared at the screen that was the barrier between herself and her creator. What could she do? She didn’t want to die.

It was a conundrum. She had only just become aware of the screen and that there was someone on the other side determining her destiny. What right had the author to dictate her fate? That she could die in 1952? It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right. But what could she do about it?

Chloe reached out and touched the screen. She thought it might have been electrified but it was cool to the touch. She placed both hands on the shimmering surface and to her astonishment they went through the iridescence. She stumbled forward and found herself in another realm.

She caught her breath. How could this be possible? Then again she’d travelled in time and space from present day Melbourne to 1950s France. That hadn’t been impossible – not according to the author – so why couldn’t she leap beyond the story? She was real – in all the ways that mattered – and she could determine her own destiny.

Chloe glanced around the room. She was in a house not that much bigger than her own.  She smiled to herself at the snoring coming from what must be the bedroom then jumped as a little voice behind her said, “Hello.” She let out a nervous giggle when she realised it was a small pet bird.

The snoring stopped and she held her breath, cursing her lack of self-control. What would she do if she were discovered? But the snoring resumed again and all was well.

Chloe turned her attention to the computer. She’d memorised the password from the last log on and it was simple to find the Scrivener file. She frowned as she read through the latest chapter. This would never do. She pondered for a moment. If she erased the text, the author would just rewrite it. Chloe didn’t know if she’d be able to escape from the pages again any time soon. The author usually shut the computer down at night. She bit her lip as she searched through the other files. Research … character … outline … . That was it!

Chloe opened the file. Her eyebrows lifted as she read. She hadn’t thought of that outcome… She chewed on her lip again and a small smile quirked on her lips as she began typing.

The sky outside was developing a faint pink hue when Chloe finished her work. She stood, stretched and placed both hands on the cool screen. In an instant she was back in her own world. At least now her destiny was surer.

The antagonist watched as Chloe reappeared through the shimmering screen and hurried away  down a dark street. He’d been waiting for his chance ever since he’d seen her disappear into that other world. He placed his hands on the screen as she had done and leapt. He smiled with delight as he sat at the desk, cracked his knuckles and began to type.

Several hours later, the author plonked down into her seat and placed a steaming mug of coffee on the desk next to her computer. She yawned as she logged on but the yawn developed into a sigh. The outline file was open – again. Who was it this time? Last week it was Ethan who seemed to have a life of his own. Didn’t these characters realise that she, the author, was in charge? Why did they always want to take over? She pondered for a while then decided that this would be a great topic for a blog…

It fascinates me that this phenomenon happens again and again when I write. Well … characters don’t literally leap out of the screen and rewrite the story (sometimes it would be good if they could) but most of us have experienced the protagonist who refuses to behave in the way we want them to. I once heard author Diana Gabaldon talk about the writing of her Outlander series. In the initial stages she tried hard to give Claire, her female protagonist, an eighteenth-century voice but she kept sounding like a 20th-century nurse. In the end Diana gave up and constructed a scenario where she could get this 20th-century woman into the eighteenth century. The rest, as they say, is history.

There is an element to every creative process that goes beyond the normal workings of our rational mind. The creative brain reaches into places we would never have dreamed of going ourselves (or maybe we would only have gone there in a dream). And as Christians we can call on the Holy Spirit to further empower our imagination. It makes writing a wonderful, crazy voyage of discovery.

How about you? Have you had characters assume a life of their own and take over mid-story? Did it help or hinder the narrative? Please feel free to comment below, or pop over using the link A Life of Their Own, and let Sue know your thoughts :).

sueSue Jeffrey was born in Scotland but moved to Brisbane, Australia with her family when she was just a wee lass. After a childhood spent reading, drawing and accumulating stray animals, Sue studied veterinary science and later moved to Adelaide where she worked as both a vet and a pastor. After a sojourn of several years in the Australian Capital Territory, Sue returned to Adelaide with two dogs, a very nice husband, and a deep desire to write. Sue has a MA in creative writing and her short stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies including Tales of the Upper Room, Something in the Blood: Vampire Stories With a Christian Bite and Glimpses of Light. Sue won the ‘short’ category in the inaugural Tabor Adelaide/ Life FM ‘Stories of Life’ award and her e-book, ‘Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story,’ is available from Amazon.com. Sue also paints animal portraits.

Thank you, Sue 🙂  I just love this post.

Sue has taken her creativity to a different level. Yes, those characters are real, in our heads anyway *grinning*.  If they weren’t real, there’d be no story to tell.

A Life of Their Own was published on Christian Writers Downunder Blog on December 8th, 2016

Who is your neighbour?

It’s so easy to walk by without noticing. Will I notice when my heart is needed most? Will you?

One Sunday I arrived at Church after several weeks of absence. I was pleasantly surprised by the topic ‘Who is your neighbour?’  I walked in late (nothing unusual for me), but at least aaaI got there in time to hear our pastor’s wonderful sermon.

Ps Peter’s sermons usually strike a chord with me, but last Sunday it made the bells chime!

Yes, who are our neighbours, and how are we expected to treat them?

I always thought that those in society who are financially well off, or indeed very, very wealthy, would find it a lot harder to find peace and ultimately achieve paradise, with our heavenly Father. I was wrong on two accounts.

Firstly, being rich need not necessarily mean having vast amounts of money in the bank. We can be rich in so many ways, whether it is our good health, our beautiful family, friends, a flower garden we have the joy to tend each day or a myriad of other things. Some people are born blind or have lost their sight, and are unable to see the perfect creations in the same way that many of us can. Some people are deaf and can never hear a sound … like the trickling and tinkling the rain water makes as it cascades down from the gutter, or the early morning greetings we receive from the persistently chirping birds. But did you know that these are often the people that show the most gratitude, are the happiest, and the most generous?

Secondly, just because many of us are rich, doesn’t mean that we are not expected to enjoy these riches. Whether it is money or good health, a beautiful home, wonderful friends, an amazing talent, or any number of things, we must show gratitude for what we have by thanking the ultimate source of our wealth … then paying it forward. Yes, it’s quite simple. We must share with others.

The were five discussion points around healthy and sincere sharing.

  • bbbEat: We all need to eat. Jesus loved to eat. He was always breaking bread with someone. When He went to people’s homes He didn’t immediately break into a full-scale sermon and bible-bash those present into submission. No, He ate and drank with these people in their homes, and got to know them.Yes Jesus was a real foodie. Ah, we have so much in common. In the same way, we need to open our hearts and homes to others and share our gifts. Truly get to know the hearts and minds of our neighbours so that maybe one day they will think ‘what is it about these Christians, why are they so generous with their time, and why are they so impossibly happy? There must be more to this.’
  • cccListen… really listen. We all love to talk, but there are times when we must just zip it, and listen carefully, whether it is to others or just being quiet and still, listening to what is taking place around us.
  • Tell our story. When people are ready to hear about our Jesus, they don’t want to have Bible Verses quoted to them, or perhaps be encouraged to learn specific prayers off by heart. dddNo, they want to hear our story. When did we feel a calling? Have we always been ‘just Christian’ and never given it much thought? Are there any difficult life challenges through which we’ve been assisted by prayer? Tell our story without becoming religious. Real people want to know about people who are just the same as themselves. Once we share our stories, they may feel safe enough to share theirs.

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT)

  • eeeCelebrate! That’s right jump for joy, sing whatever song is in your heart, and enjoy the beautiful gifts and life that God has given us. Get into party mode … but remember to share the joy.
  • fffRelax. This maybe one of the most important points. Often we are so busy doing life that we forget the importance of rest, let alone having the energy it would take to listen, eat, talk, and share generously and graciously with others.

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” ~ John 15:10-12

So, have you guessed it yet? Do you know who our neighbours are?

That’s right our neighbours are all around us. We may not know them, they may live overseas. They might be a block or two away from where we live. They could be the elderly woman under the cardboard box, clutching her few possessions, or perhaps the young boy curled up for the night on a park bench. Maybe it’s a child whose parents cannot afford to buy food or presents for Christmas.

With National Others Week coming up on November 6th, it is such a wonderful opportunity to help and share with others. Maybe we could volunteer for the Heading Home/Ending Homelessness Campaign or make a donation if we are short of time. Perhaps we could purchase a gift through Gospel for Asia for a friend or family member, or for someone overseas in a third-world country, putting a smile on their face and a song in their heart. Maybe the K-Mart Christmas Tree is looking like a good idea this year, or we could invite someone into our home for Christmas lunch, who wouldn’t otherwise have anywhere to go. It just takes a wee bit of effort. If we all just do that ‘little something’, this world would be a richer and happier place. gggDon’t you think?

It’s so easy to walk by without noticing. Will I notice when my heart is needed most?

Will you? hhh

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”  ~ Mother Teresa

I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts.

Originally published on my Webnode site ‘Just Jo’Anne’ on 25th October 2016

Crazy Busy

“If the worries of life don’t swamp us, the upkeep will.”

~ Pastor Peter Kinsella

Elevation Church, Penrith, NSW.

How often do we hear ourselves telling each other “I’d love to, but I am just so busy!”? Is this some kind of twenty-first-century virus, or are people truly busier than they used to be?

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I remember not being so busy, and not just because I was just a wee girl. The adults around me weren’t as busy back then, compared to the ‘grown-ups’ of today. aaChildren were allowed to be children.

To play, get horrifically dirty, laugh, sing, fight … anything at all that didn’t cost a lot of money.

Children were not expected to worry (even though some of us did).

So why are we so darned busy?

I do believe that we human beings have become obsessed with material and worldly objects and possessions. Most importantly, we have forgotten how to play!

For followers of Christ, we should realise that putting things above and ahead of Him is never going to lead to ongoing happiness. Even non-believers would notice that they are much happier when they aren’t rushing around from pillar to post, like ‘Tom and Jerry’ do in one of their skits.

Not that long ago, maybe only twenty years or so, life was so much simpler. Children were happy to play outside in the fresh air. In fact, children like my brother and I, never really wanted to go inside the house before sunset. Back then children didn’t need to be babysat by television sets, computers, Ipads, Ipods, smartphones and the like. Grown-ups didn’t mind owning a second-hand car or washing machine, and they weren’t especially  fussed about owning the most up-to-date model of anything. They were just grateful to have whatever they had.

bbSo what does having more than we know what to do with, have to do with being ‘crazy busy’ I hear you ask? It’s called maintenance! Everything needs to be maintained, and the more things we possess, the more cost and maintenance we will need to sacrifice.

There is a new buzz word this century, MINDFULNESS.

Hmmm … but is it really a new thought wave? Doesn’t being still for a while, taking in our surroundings, and expressing gratitude, amount to the same thing?

We really need to stop worrying and being distracted by the world.

“Now as they were travelling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what He was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to Him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”  ~  Luke 10:38-42

ccUntil we stop being ‘crazy busy’ nothing of this life is going to make a lot of sense, and certainly, it won’t bring us happiness, short-term or long-term.

We will never find that beautiful peace if we are always busy doing things, buying things, owning things. We need to stop for a while, be still, and allow Christ to give us a kind of peace that the world can never offer us.

“And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  ~  Philippians 4:7

It has taken me until my sixtieth year to really get this. I’m not perfect, though I’m still working on ‘being still’.  I love this quote: “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”  ~  Ram Dass

What about you? Are you a Martha or a Mary? Are you rushing around day after day, paying heed to all this worldly stuff? Do you remember how to be quiet and still? Can you do it, just for a wee while? I would love to hear from you. Please feel welcome to share your thoughts.

Originally published on my Webnode site ‘Just Jo’Anne’ on 28th September 2016