Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here! - Robert

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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Beauty of Contentment



(This week's Carnival of Beauty is hosted by Bethany. To read the other posts highlighting the topic of contentment, go to
A Picturesque Life)


Being content is a foreign concept in our market driven culture. I know. I struggle myself. A few years ago, I ordered my first item from one of the home shopping networks. When I saw how easily I could spend my money, I soon ordered more. Before long, I had brown packages piled up on my porch and spilling out of my mailbox nearly every day. I bought jewelry, clothing, and items for the house, my husband and children. My husband made the comment, “It’s like Christmas every day around here!”

After each jewelry order, I’d promise myself I wouldn’t order any more. I had enough – more than enough. Then the next sparkly bauble would dance across my television screen, and before I knew it, I’d placed another order.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul shares his attitude concerning material things. He says, in verses 11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

When he wrote to the Philippians, Paul declared he was in chains for Christ. Even the palace guard had been witnessed to because of Paul’s bonds. He had spoken “courageously and fearlessly.” Paul experienced trials like nothing we have ever experienced - beatings, stoning, shipwreck, hunger, misunderstanding, and on top of it all, desertion, yet he had learned to be content.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21.)

Ouch! Oh, me! Contentment comes from establishing biblical priorities – and materialism is not even on the list!

I can hear the protests. “But I need to strive for a better job. I can’t rest on my laurels. I must get ahead in my profession.” “Doesn’t God want me to have a bigger house? Better clothes?”

Being ambitious can be a good trait. Paul certainly exhibited an undeterred desire to tell others of Jesus Christ, but he was willing to submit to God's will, and even if God took away every material good, I must learn to be like Paul – content in all circumstances, knowing God’s will is best.

Contentment is not being joyful with what we own, but Who owns us. I’m not my own, I’m His. God is my Father, and He says He will never leave nor forsake me. I rest in that promise, and I am content.

Since that first order from a shopping channel, my cable system has added two more, but I only get a brown package every now and then these days. I’m learning.

Prayer: Lord, I trust you to provide for me all my needs. My life is in Your strong hands. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Blog Tour with Alyice Edrich

Since I have an ebooks available now, The Lonely Lightning Bug (Guardian Angel Publishing), I had questions for eBook author, Alyice Edrich, when she made a stop here on her blog tour.

Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books, including Tid-Bits For Making Money With E-books - where parents earn hundreds of dollars selling information they already possess.

Donna: How long should an e-book be?

Alyice: An e-book should be as long as it needs to be to get the point across. Often, people come up with a great title, a great theme, but then leave the readers hanging because they don’t put in the time necessary to write a thorough book.

If you are writing a book on how to build a tree house, for instance, your book will need to be comprised of things such as: do you need a building permit, how to get a building permit, how to draw up a blue print, how many people will be needed for the project, how to tell if a specific tree is sturdy enough, what types of woods are there and which are best, should you use nails or screws, shingles or cement, etc. Then of course, you’ll need to decide if pictures should be included and if you use pictures will they be sketches or actual photos, in which case you’ll need to build a tree house from scratch. Such a book could run 200 pages.

If you are going to write a book about building a tree house, it does no good to just give a list of rules in 20 pages. People could end up buying too soft of a wood, untreated wood that warps once put together causing a safety issue in the structure, and nails that rust or loosen over time.

By taking the time to go into detail, providing more than surface answers, your readers will tell others about your book and you’ll gain more sales through word of mouth advertising.

Donna: Do non-fiction e-books do better than fiction?

Alyice: Yes! While you can do well with fiction books, many people buy fiction to read at leisure and often prefer bound copies. It’s a little hard to read a computer printed book while soaking in the bathtub, or traveling on a bus, for instance.

Donna: How do you decide the price of an e-book?

Alyice: It depends on what the market will bear. If you have written a book that can be found in traditional bookstores for $10, then you’ll have a very hard time selling your e-book for $50 unless you do some sort of package deal where you include bonus e-books or a bonus training session via email or the phone.

Donna: How long are chapters in an e-book?

Alyice: Again, chapters should be as long as they need to be to get the point across. But I will tell you this: readers feel ripped off if they receive an e-book with twenty chapters and those chapters are only one page long or consist of graphics that take up over half the page and then three pages in each chapter.

Donna: How do you market an e-book?

Alyice: Marketing e-books is just like marketing any other product. You have to develop a business plan. You have to discover your target audience and then you have to pitch your e-book to that target audience.

Market your e-book through word of mouth, speaking engagements, published articles, advertisements, press releases, radio interviews, etc.

You can visit Alyice Edrich at The Dabbling Mum Press to order a copy of her e-book, Tid-Bits For Making Money With E-books today! To make more stops on the blog tour, click HERE.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

New Columns and Poetry, too!

  • Click here to read the February column for BUSY Parents on The Dabbling Mum called Agape Love.
  • I started a new poetry blog. I've already had one poem I've posted published in a church newsletter. What a blessing! Here's the link if you'd like to read. Feel free to post comments there just like you do here: Poetry by Donna
  • I also have a column up on NABBW for February called From This Moment. Click here.
  • My column on Crossmap.com called Smelly Saints is now one of the All Time Most Popular! Thank you for reading it or click here if you haven't yet.

    I'm pleased to announce my inclusion in the book, Itty Bits of Bliss. Compiled by Christine Tricarico, the book contains 38 fully illustrated fun, whimsical poems to inspire children ages 4-ll. $2.00 per book is being donated to Love Our Children USA in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    Here a link to purchase information:

    Itty Bits of Bliss

  • Donna J. Shepherd © 2005 All rights reserved.
    No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission.
    For more information, contact Donna.

Monday, February 06, 2006

That Lovin' Feeling

Aren't you humming the Righteous Brothers song after reading that title? A new devotional is published in Blessed Lady. Since it's February, I wrote on love, or should I say, the sometimes lack of it - even in Christians. Oh, dear!

Click here to read!

Donna J. Shepherd © 2005 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Author Chat

Twice each season on his website, Kevin Scott Collier, the illustrator of Topsy Turvy Land, features an interview with a writer or author with whom he has worked. For the end of winter 2006, he chatted with me! We discuss our joint creation of Turvy Turvy Land, Chizzy's Topsy Tale, and The Lonely Lightning Bug, and a few other topics. To read, click here!
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