Consistent Prayer

Vanessa here,

I am guilty. I am guilty of loading my plate to high, of volunteering for too much, of getting so busy that I forget to pray. This year I am going to be more consistent. Face it. There are a lot of things that need prayer. I have friends waking up in fear and depression. Truthfully, I counted more sad days that happy ones.

But God is in control. I thank him that the bad wasn’t so horrid, that tomorrow never came. Yet, I am convicted of forgetting or being too tired to do the one thing I can to alleviate the anxiety that wants to take hold.

Prayer. I am going to keep it simple, but I am going to be consistent.

I’m ordering a new prayer journal to keep me on this path. Yes, I am not just an author but a believer in the product too.

For your free PDF version of the Prayer Journal sign up here.

Here is the link to Amazon to order a print copy.

Thankful for Life ~ by Susan Karsten

Hi, all!

My thoughts and prayers are with the pro-life movement more than ever these days because my daughter is involved with a Teens 4 Life group, and does fund-raising and essay-writing to advance and support the cause of life.

What does this have to do with Regency England? A controversial author in those days was the Rev. Thomas Malthus. His erroneous fears that population would outstrip resources gained credence and even today, his anti-life stance is still studied.

Not so, in his case.

A surprising defender of life (though not on Biblical grounds) of that day was the author Shelley, who wrote about “the hardened insolence of any proposal to rob the poor of the single alleviation of their sufferings and their scorns.” The famed political writer Cobbett also called Malthus a ‘monster.’

The battle against life has been going on since the Garden of Eden. But we have God’s word to guide our minds and we all know the eighth commandment “Thou shall not murder.”

My 8 year-old niece recently saw my daughter’s fund-raising display and said, “It wouldn’t be okay for a baby to kill an adult, so it’s not okay for an adult to kill a baby.” So well said, little one.

So true.

So, let’s always choose life. Jesus has defeated death and we are on His side.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” Deut. 30:19 (ESV)

Interview with Author Mary Moore Interview — Part 2

Mary Moore, Regency Reflections contributor and author of Beauty in Disguise is with us Author Mary Mooreagain today, and just like yesterday, she’s offering to give away two copies of her latest Regency novel to two lucky blog visitors. Be sure to leave a comment at the end of the post to be entered in the giveaway. The giveaway will end Wednesday, January 16, at midnight.

1. Hi Mary, and thanks for being with us two days in a row. Today I’d like to ask you a few questions about writing Regencies and making your stories stand out. With the Regency Era being such a relatively short time in number of years; is it hard to create new storylines and fresh ideas?  

Normally, I would give you a pretty definitive no. There are a number of different voices and creative writers out there, who all have different perspectives and specific areas of interest on the period, and this results in some wonderful new stories every month. The growth in the research process and areas of expertise also adds a wonderful level of creativeness.

You will notice, however, that I started my answer with “normally!” After I signed the contract for Beauty in Disguise and scheduled it for release, my editor contacted my agent to tell us that there was another LIH already further along in the process with a similar premise to mine. As a relatively new author, I had no idea whether my editor would want to move back the date of release or ask me to propose a whole new story. But she thought the story would work out fine if I would just be willing to “tweak” it. I said yes, but little did I realize what “tweaking” it would mean!

2. How did they want you to change it, and how hard was that for you?

In our initial brainstorming session most of the changes seemed pretty much cosmetic. They really did like the premise and wanted to keep it if we could. So, we changed where the story was staged, the heroine’s dynamic with some of the other characters and some details about her past. But as I began the rewrite I realized that some of those changes affected the story much more than any of us anticipated.

3.Gulp. I was in a similar situation with a story once. I thought I was agreeing to some surface changes that got way deeper than I anticipated. Not fun! How did the changes for Beauty in Disguise differ from what you expected?

Originally, the build up to the “reveal” was pivotal to my story. But with some of the changes I made, my editor thought it watered down some of the conflict and, thereby, the impact too much. To increase that problem, they wanted the hero and heroine to meet earlier. So one by one, changes that started out as cosmetic ended up changing the storyline pretty drastically. There were quite a few more rewrites than my editor and I expected or wanted!

4.  How do you think these changes have helped to make your book stronger?

I usually have an inspirational message (and the verses of Scripture that go with it) in my mind ahead of time, and I write the story around it. In the rewrites of Beauty in Disguise, I began to get frustrated because either the message wouldn’t fit with the changes or the changes wouldn’t go with the message. I finally got to the point where I just gave the story to God. I asked Him to make sure it was His message that went out there instead of mine. Duh, right? So, in the end, having the story revolve around what He wants to say made the book exactly what it is supposed to be.

The postscript to the story is that one day I was in a hospital waiting room and I pulled out my Kindle to kill the time. I pulled up the first Regency I came to and I knew, on that very first page, that it was the other story…the one that came out before mine and sent me on this writing journey. I wanted to find someone, anyone, to say, “This is it, this is it,” until I realized how crazy I would have sounded. It was by an author I “knew” pretty well online. She and I have had a good laugh over it and I pray that God will be able to use both our stories to His glory!

5. Well, I’m glad everything worked out well between you and the other author. Are you excited to finally see the release of Beauty in Disguise?

That would be a giant understatement! It was by far tougher to write than my first one was, but it has also been a little over a year since my first one came out. I was ready to be out among readers again, and now I can move on to my next project. I am very blessed!

Thanks, Naomi, for your time and the interview. I am so happy to be associated with this site and all of the work everyone does here to support and spread the news about inspirational Regencies.

Here’s a little more about Beauty in Disguise. If you want to enter our giveaway, leave a comment below, and be sure to visit yesterday’s blog post for another chance to win Beauty in Disguise.

Hidden in plain sight.

After her scanBeauty Cover Fulldalous first Season, Lady Kathryn needs a new beginning. Concealing her stunning hair and sapphire eyes beneath a dowdy facade, she’s grateful to earn her keep as companion Kate Montgomery. Until she comes face-to-face with her past in Lord Dalton, the only man she has ever loved.

The debutante Dalton fell in love with years ago was beautiful beyond compare. The gentle, mysterious young woman he encounters at a country house has qualities he now values more highly—until he learns of her deception. Kate has broken his heart not once, but twice. Can faith help him see that love, like true beauty, always comes to light?

Tories, Whigs, Foxite-Whigs, Oh My. What shall become of us, Lord?

March 31, 1807,

Tories, Whigs, Foxite-Whigs, oh my. What shall become of us, Lord?

The government is not stable, barely lasting two years. My fears of invasion, a total loss of the country I know and love, fills my heart.

How can Providence allow such upheavals?

Why change from Pitt, to Grenville, to Portland? Is the title of Prime Minister difficult to hold?

I know I am just a woman. I should contend myself to my needlework. Surely, there are enough ribbons to be added to little Mary’s gown to make my mind numb to fear.

Yet, how can I even think of my girl coming of age in times like these. My heart aches at seeing her cast into this society where dissension reigns. She cannot be a war bride. No! Not her.

My thumb has turned painful. I yank the needle freeing it from the swelling flesh. I’ve pricked finger and  stained the satin hem.

Is this coursing of rouge a sign to come? Don’t our enemies in France lay in wait for our weakness? This turmoil is the proper time to strike.

I dispatch my maid for fresh muslin. I will not ruin anymore ribbons with my wringing of hands. Doubt will not save my country.

As I swaddle my hands in the soft cloth, my palms meet. A peace settles on my shoulders. The churning of my stomach quiets. I remember Your words.

Romans 13:1-4

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

So Pitt, Grenville and  now Portland… You ordained them to be Prime Minister, in such a time as these?

I slump in my chair. The very thought of this contention being God’s will disheartens me. Yet, the soft words of the passage sing in my soul.

Romans 13:5-7

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Now my heart is pricked. For I have not given tribute to the governing, just gossip and trepidation.  I repent of that Lord. I uncover my hands, slapping flesh to flesh, and pay tribute. I pray for Providence’s guidance and mercy to fall upon my leaders. It is the best offering I can render.

Waiting on God

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I discussed this verse last week in the women’s Bible study class I teach at our church. It’s a rather commonly quoted passages of Scripture. While not necessarily as popular as John 3:16, I’d wager many a Christian has heard sermons on it before and had others quote it to them a time or two.

In some regards, the verse is probably overly familiar. We hear it so often we forget what it really means.

It’s a natural, human reaction to try rushing God rather than waiting for Him. The story of Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar (found in Genesis 16) illustrates this point perfectly. Sarah and Abraham had an unconditional promise that God was going to make a great nation from their offspring. At the same time, they’d been waiting for God to fulfill this promise for over twenty-five years.

And as you can imagine, after twenty-five years of leaving home and wandering around the desert,  Sarah got a little impatient. Instead of waiting on God, she decided to help move God along. So she gave Abraham one of her maids to take as a wife.

**Note this practice was common and acceptable in Sarah and Abraham’s day.

Now I have to admit that after twenty-five years of wandering around a desert trusting God, I’d be getting rather impatient for God to give me a son. Would I have behaved as Sarah did? Perhaps yes and perhaps no. I’ve never been in that situation. But I do know Sarah’s story illustrates this:

Waiting on God might be hard, but getting ahead of God will be disastrous.

Indeed, Sarah reaped a slew of negative consequences from her actions. Hagar got pregnant with Abraham’s child and lorded it over Sarah. Sarah then felt contempt and bitterness for Hagar and demoted Hagar back to her position as a maid. Rather than suffer such degradation at Sarah’s hand, Hagar ran away, and God intervened to save Hagar and her unborn child’s lives.

So as we look at the story of Sarah and Abraham and Hagar, and at the principles taught in Isaiah 40:31, we can all be reminded to wait on God.

Waiting on God might look different for each one of us, and it certainly looks different throughout the course of history. For example, for an unmarried Regency woman, waiting on God usually meant waiting for a husband that she would meet at any number London social events. For an unmarried woman living today, waiting on God might mean not getting married at all, or meeting your husband somewhere other than a London social event.

But the principle is still the same. Take a deep breath and WAIT ON GOD. You’ll end up with a much happier, easier life if you follow God rather than get ahead of Him.

** Both photos taken from Wiki Commons

My Grateful Heart, Well Mostly Grateful

Vanessa here,

My phone rings every hour on the hour, in spite of the pile of work on my desk. Grumbling, I still find gratitude in my spirit.

At least, I have a good cellular connection. At least, someone seeks and values my opinion.

The deadlines, I thought sufficiently spaced, all collide. Worrying, I search for gratitude in my spirit.

I’ll sleep next week knowing I’ve accomplished much. It shall be sweet sleep.

In addition to my many jobs, now I shall be a chauffeur carrying my child to her summer camps.  Frustrated, I sing a worship song to stir up gratitude in my spirit. I’m off-key but free in Jesus.

Moreover, gas prices have come down by fifty cents. The look of joy on my daughter’s face as she learns something new is priceless.

My husband deployed Sunday, his 4th deployment in 18 months. Lonely, I hope to find gratitude and understanding in my spirit.

He loves his job, fighting for America. Pride for him swells in my heart.

I need a referral for a referral to see my doctor. Pacing, I’m chanting to saturate my spirit with gratitude.

At least, my family has health care.  At least, they don’t need a lot of blood for a cholesterol check. Well, I hope they don’t.

My shade of lipstick has been discontinued. My shade.  I’m done. All is lost.

Nothing but Miss D’s New Orleans Style Caramel Popcorn

After binging, I seek true nonfattening spiritual comfort food.

Colossians 3:10-11,15-17, King James Version

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

May you find your heart thankful today for your many blessings. Let your spirit sing that the valleys of despair are not too deep. Be emboldened to climb every mountain.

May a smidgeon of gratitude, for everything, find its home in you.

Abasing Oneself in Society

 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11 KJV

(Read Luke 14:7-11.)

This passage often comes to mind when writing about the Regency. The notion of sitting at the lowest place, of abasing oneself in society is an anathema to what we show amongst the peoples of the Regency. Getting the highest honors, marrying the highest ranked man or the richest heiress was what the world was all about, or at least what the world we portray was all about. And yet we write Christian Regencies, which means our characters must have a Christian world view while living in a society that insisted upon promoting one’s social standing and/or wealth—politely, of course. On the one hand, they are not supposed to raise themselves up if they are to be serious followers of Christ. On the other hand, they cannot move through the halls and balls of even the gentry without looking, acting, and simply being the best in an attempt to attract the best.

Rhubarb Restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland allows you to dine regency style today. Seated here, even the lowest place at the table is grand.

As I write my characters, I struggle with this dichotomy for them. And then I think how apropos to today’s society are the struggles of my characters.

Nowadays, everything is about networking. To network, we need to promote and promote and then, for a change, promote some more. Get our names out there for the world to see, recognize, respond to, we’re told. Editors won’t buy books from authors who don’t already have a web presence, etc., etc., etc.

Networking Around the World

Hubris is the word that comes to mind. Extreme pride or arrogance. It’s practically de rigueur for a Regency hero to be that way. Yet how can we have an arrogant hero who is a Christian? How can we as Christians be prideful of our work enough to tell people they should select ours above all others?

I’d like to know the thoughts of others on this subject, as it is something with which I struggle for my characters of my books and within my own character. My conclusion is to put others first, uphold others, place them at the head of the table, and let God take care of the rest.

Faith

I recently finished reading The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. In truth, I was given this book many, many years ago (but who’s counting?) by a dear sister in Christ, and it took me this long to read it. Maybe because it is an older work (published in 1961), so the language was just a little off-putting.

But perhaps, there is a time and a season for the devotionals we read. I’ve found that to be so in my life. I’ll have a book on a shelf for a long time, and suddenly will read it, and it will really minister to me at that point in time.

Such was this book. It’s all about the “attributes of God.” Tozer lived and worked at a time (mid-20th century) when he felt the church was in apostasy because it had lost the sense of awe in God. It had brought God down to its own petty, human level.

For today’s post, I just wanted to share a paragraph of Tozer’s in his chapter on the Wisdom of God, one of God’s attributes. Here he is discussing faith (I have emphasized certain parts with boldface):

It is vitally important that we hold the truth of God’s infinite widsom as a tenet of our creed; but this is not enough. We must by the exercise of faith and by prayer bring it into the practical world of our day-by-day experience.

To believe actively that our Heavenly Father constantly spreads around us providential circumstances that work for our present good and our everlasting well-being brings to the soul a veritable benediction. Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.

There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him. Here is His promise: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

I hope these words touch you as much as they did me on this beautiful Friday morning.

In Christ,

Ruth