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Victim of Grace: An Amazing Truth Every Woman Should Know

Victims of Grace: An Amazing Truth Every Woman Should Know www.monahodgson.com

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Robin.

Robin Jones Gunn is an award-winning storyteller, the much loved author of the popular Christy Miller series for teens and Sisterchicks® novels as well as non-fiction favorites such as Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails. Robin and her hubby live in Hawaii where she writes from her lanai, sipping iced tea with a fresh slice of pineapple. What? Me? Jealous?

Follow Robin on Facebook or Twitter.

I asked Robin if she’d share an excerpt from her book, Victim of Grace. She said “Yes.” Thanks, Robin!

(more…)

Choosing Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started

Choose Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started www.monahodgson

I’d like to introduce my friend, Kathi Lipp. I’ve known Kathi for several years, and then had the privilege of getting to know her better when we worked together for a couple of years at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in California. The author of Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps for Simplifying Your Space, Kathi excels in simplifying and organizing. That’s why I asked her to share an excerpt from her book with a few basics steps to help us declutter in this new year.

Choose Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started www.monahodgson.comBy Kathi Lipp

Since starting Clutter Free Academy, we’ve had many people ask, “Where do I start?”

We all want to be more organized, more disciplined when it comes to dealing with our stuff. This excerpt from my book Clutter Free offers a beginners’ guide to help you jump in and get results quickly.

1. Pick a major source of pain. Get mad every time you go into the garage? See red when you try to relax in the living room? Is your office where papers go to die?

Whatever area of your home is causing you the most pain, that’s what needs to be addressed first. (more…)

12 Bible Verses to Live By in 2018

12 Verses to Live By in 2018 www.monahodgson.com

Happy New Year, friends!

December 31, 2017 snuck up on  me, but I wasn’t sad to see the old year end. The New Year will bring one of our two daughters and her family back from Africa for a visit. We have much to look forward to in 2018.

Whether you’re cheering on the New Year or not, let’s you and I press pause for a few moments to begin 2018 with ready hearts, resting in the light.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105, NIV (more…)

My Christmas Prayer

My Christmas Prayer www.monahodgson.com

Lord Jesus, with “O Come All Ye Faithful” playing in the background, I pause  to be still. Reset my spirit to remember that you are God. The Beginning and the End. The life-giving Light who came to earth all those years ago.

Father, may the lavish love that compelled Christ to come as a babe swaddled in a feed trough, then to walk the way of the cross for my transgressions stir me, move me to lay my life at Your feet anew–a sacrifice of praise and an offering much too small.

Holy Spirit, guide me to breathe in and live out the grace Jesus came to give.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Happy Jesus Day, friends! May the peace He came to give us starting with that first Christmas pour over you afresh as you remember and celebrate His unfailing, enduring love.

 

Christmas: Simple Beginnings

One week from today, we’ll gather with family, friends, or neighbors to celebrate Christmas with merry decorations, gift-gifting, and a festive feast.

As I reflect upon God’s provision of a Christmas baby, who would grow to become our Easter Savior, I find myself contemplating the simplicity of His plan. Not an easy plan, but a modest one.

Jesus would come to earth as both God and man to simple folk: a teenager and a carpenter. Not to be birthed in a pristine palace, but on a gritty road trip instead. (more…)

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Disorder

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Attacks www.monahodgson.com

Let me introduce you to my friend, JJ.

During my first experience seeing JJ Heller and her hubby Dave on the stage at a women’s retreat in September, the Smothers Brothers came to mind. (I know…you’re probably too young to remember the Smothers Brothers Show.) The recollection had nothing to do with the couple’s stellar song writing and melodious voices. Everything to do with Dave’s droll wit. So fun! And their time onstage so soul-feeding.

If you ever have the opportunity to see JJ and Dave perform live, run don’t walk to the venue. In the meantime, you can follow JJ on YouTube or Facebook. Below JJ’s post, you’ll find links to JJ’s music.

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Attacks www.monahodgson.com

by JJ Heller

Perhaps like me, you struggle with fear. You’re not alone, you’re not going crazy and God is not disappointed with you.

Something that was and is really important on my own journey of healing is hearing other people’s stories, so here is a bit of mine.

I first started dealing with panic attacks, also known as panic disorder, in 2003 when, all within a span of one month, my husband, Dave, and I graduated from college, got married, moved to another state and decided to pursue music as a career. My body didn’t know how to handle the stress.

Because of my strange health symptoms, I was convinced I was dying of something.

The physical reactions seemed to come out of nowhere and would scare the living daylights out of me. I would be sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I would notice my fingers starting to tingle and go numb, my heart would start pounding, I’d have trouble breathing, and I’d feel dizzy like I might pass out. It was terrifying.

On several occasions I went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong, and each time I was told I was incredibly healthy. I had a heart monitor hooked up for 24 hours, but even that reported I was healthy.

Instead of feeling relieved, I grew frustrated that they couldn’t find the cause of my symptoms, and I was still convinced it was only a matter of days until I would be knocking on death’s door. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research that I discovered I wasn’t dying.

I was having panic attacks. (more…)

A Cheat Sheet for Defeating Distractions

A Cheat Sheet for Defeating Distractions www.monahodgson.com

During a stroll between morning meetings, I ducked into my favorite building on the grounds of the Mount Hermon Conference Center. The A-framed chapel ranks high on my list of favorite places to visit.

With each foot-lift on the redwood steps, the tightness in my shoulders eased.

A Cheat Sheet for Defeating Distractions www.monahodgson.com

A time-worn wooden pew welcomed me. As I settled against a corner at the end of the pew, my breathing slowed and my spirit quieted.

The chapel provided a perfect place for pondering and praising. The perfect place for shifting my heart away from niggling details and temporal concerns, to return my attention to the Divine and the eternal.

A Cheat Sheet for Defeating Distractions www.monahodgson.com

Seated in solitude, I gazed from the sheaves of golden wheat pictured in the stained glass to the evergreen-draped redwoods towering outside the window. Massive reminders of my Father’s faithfulness.

When my attention settled on the cross, praise to my Savior–my Salvation, my sustenance, and my strength–poured from my lips.

Then. I. Looked. Down. (more…)

3 Things Perfectionists Won’t Tell You

3 Things Perfectionists Won't Tell You www.monahodgson.com

Confessions of a (Recovering) Perfectionist came to mind as my initial title for this post. I know something about the dodgy distraction of pursuing perfection.

I’m acquainted with the compulsion to get everything right. To be right. All of the time.

Not long ago I was paralyzed by one version or another of the perfectionist’s creed: “If you can’t do something right, don’t bother to doing it,” or “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

Yes, well, a perfectionist’s auto response to that kind of pressure includes a hefty dose of procrastination fueled by self-doubt and fear of failure.

There’s more. More often than not, the perfectionist sports a critical spirit, calling herself and others to answer unrealistic and exhausting expectations. Sigh.

Can you relate? We’re not alone.

Never mind that all-around perfect isn’t an option for earth-bound humans, the deceptive path to picture perfect is a crowded dead-end. (more…)

When Grief Gives Way to Gifts

When Grief Gives Way to Gifts www.monahodgson.com

Let me introduce you to my friend, Becky. I’ve not yet met Rebecca Rene Jones in person. But after reading her memoir, Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes, I feel like I’ve sipped coffee with her on the backporch at the lake house and even cast a line with her at the lake’s edge.

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays fast approach, the reality of an empty chair at the supper table can run us down. Because Becky’s writing is so yummy and her insights are soul satisfying, I asked her to share some refreshing thoughts on grief with us. Follow Becky on Twitter and Facebook.

When Grief Gives Way to Gifts www.monahodgson

by Rebecca Rene Jones

People ask how I knew that I wanted to write the book, after Dad died.

“It’s so personal, so raw. How did you know?”

Over the years, I’ve often wondered the same. Why write, and in doing so, re-live? What was there to re-visit? To unearth?

Mine was a garden-variety grief; kids bury parents. Maybe not at 18, but it’s not unnatural. And Dad died of cancer–not exactly a headline there, either.

So why a book? Why tell the story? What was there to say?

The bald truth is this: what I found on the other side of grief surprised me. (more…)

3 Staggering Gifts of Gratitude

3 Staggering Gifts of Gratitude www.monahodgson.com

You balance loose envelopes and a package in the crook of one elbow so you can pull the post office door open for a stranger. Only to watch her blithely cross the threshold with nary a glance at you, let alone a “Thank you.”

Ever gone out of your way—or not—to do something nice for a stranger or a friend or a family member without receiving even a glint of gratitude?

Why the tendency to overlook kindness?

Sad to say, I am sometimes that person. Unaware. In my head. Self-absorbed. Consequently, I’ve missed countless opportunities to express thanks for another’s thoughtful gesture or service. And I’ve squandered far too many smile opps.

Being thankful and ready to express appreciation isn’t just a common courtesy or a product of good manners, but also a spiritual practice.

Gratitude is a heart condition commissioned by God. (more…)

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