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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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Carnival of Beauty: Blessed to Blog



This week's Carnival of Beauty is being hosted by Mary DeMuth over at relevantblog. The topic is The Beauty of Blogging.

Blessed to Blog

I’ll never forget the day. Jules (The Master’s Artists founder) and I chatted about blogging. “What in the world is a blog??” I asked. Jules had a vision for a group blog where artists who take pride in the craft could contribute pieces with the purpose of promoting Christian writing. I was honored Jules wanted me to be a part.

A couple days later, I had gone to the bank, and on the way home worked on a devotional in my head about the experience. When I got home, I wrote it, and sent it to the Master’s Artists blog. Then as I sat staring at my laptop in my family room, I felt compelled to start my own blog. But why? What would be the purpose? When in doubt, I pray, and felt the Lord urging me on. Okay. Now what should I call it? Since what I wrote seemed like devotional writing, and I like alliteration (can’t you tell by my titles?), I thought of “Devotionals by Donna” and then dismissed it. How much of an ego did I have that I should put my name on the blog?

But the prompting of the Holy Spirit urged me on, and I started my blog. The Lord has blessed me beyond all my expectations. I have made so many wonderful friends, I have an outlet for what I love to do most – write devotionals, and I’ve even become a professional writer due to the exposure. When I first started posting, I got several emails. “Why are you giving your writing away?” “What are you doing? Don’t you realize you’re publishing your work? Now you can’t make any money on your writing.”

Au contraire! (As Mary would say.)

The Lord used my humble attempts. A friend (hey, Elece!) saw my writing, recommended me for a project she’d heard about. What if I had hoarded what God gave me waiting on that paying market when I felt His urging to post what He gave me?

While all this transpired, I worked on a children’s book published by Hidden Pictures Publishing. By the time Topsy Turvy Land was released, my blogging buddies became my biggest promoters. Heather Ivester of Mom2Mom Connection got me to talking and it went on for two days! Can you imagine my having that much to say? Don’t answer that.

So, blogging has indeed been a blessing. Because I did put my name on the original blog, I’ve had many friends comment that I’m easy to find, so thank God I listened to Him after all. (Hmm….note to self – Shouldn’t you do that ALL the time?) In fact, I kinda went blog crazy. I started one for my children’s writing, recipes, reviews, poetry, prayer for the president, and of course, I’m still a group member of the one that started it all – the Master’s Artists. I count many people whom I’ve never met in person as my dear friends. I keep a long list of blogs I frequent, commenting and encouraging when I can.

Not too long ago, I received an email from Ann.

“Hey Donna! You have no idea how I smiled to find your post in the Beauty of Contentment Carnival!

Did you know that it was your post to CCWL back in 2004 that got me blogging!?? I am VERY grateful to YOU for this creative forum and opportunity to weave together words into an act of worship for Him.

So a heartfelt HUG of appreciation for how you have changed the course of my path!”
Talk about a blessing! I wanted to shout! I love Ann’s blog, and you will, too. Check it out at “Holy Experience.”

Through the many blogs I frequent, I know my friends have allowed God to use them in mighty ways to reach people for Jesus Christ, encourage those in need of a good word, give peace to the hurting, promote writing, and provide humor, too.

I hear so many negative comments about ‘the evils of the internet,’ but God proves every day He can use it for good. You can sit in your jammies at home with a cup of coffee by your side, and minister to hundreds, if not thousands, of people with the gift with which God has blessed you. If you’re like me, you make a lot of friends in the process – an added bonus, and I thank God for each of you.

Donna

* I have a list of Blogging Buddies and Favorite Links in the righthand column, but I haven't updated it recently. If I've overlooked you, send me an email. Thanks!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Perseverance

*For something different, I'm including a few posts on writing. I have a lot of readers who write, too!

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. - Proverbs 3:3

I attended an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) meeting recently. Diana Jenkins spoke, and gave us many wonderful tips on how to get published in children’s magazines. She knows whereof she speaks, having been published over 400 times.

When we ooh-ed and ah-ed over her body of work, she hastened to say she has probably had at least four times that many rejections – more in the beginning. That’s 1,600!

But even in being rejected, Diana was in no way dejected. She looks to the future, and when receiving that dreaded letter declining to use her masterpiece, she anticipates a sale to a more fortunate editor.

I enjoyed listening to someone speak who is so prolific and excited about writing, and also learned a few other tips – to be hardworking and organized, and perseverant.

What’s #1 on your ‘to do’ list? As my example, I look to Jesus. He knew His life’s mission, His purpose. He set goals, and made each day count. As His days dwindled, He never let up.

Sometime I get so caught up in the busyness of life, I lose sight of my goal, my purpose – to serve God and share His love.

In the first chapter of the book of Mark, we read where Jesus had an extremely busy day. He taught at the synagogue, cast an evil spirit out of a man, and then went to Simon and Andrew’s home where He healed Simon’s mother-in-law. That evening the whole town gathered at the door! “Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”

The next morning, Jesus got up very early in the morning to pray. When His disciples came looking for Him, he said, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." He already had His ‘to do’ list. He knew His purpose.

If anyone would be our example of perseverance, Jesus would. He carried on with His mission, and accomplished the will of God. Oh, that I could be so focused, and clear about my goals, and carry on in His will for my writing!

God has given us the ability to be creative. Let’s follow Jesus’ example, and focus on our mission.

How many words have you written this week? Perhaps you need to get caught up on some research, and have been putting it off. Did you send that query letter yet? I’m preachin’ to myself here, too, you know. We won’t get 400 articles published this week, but we might get one. You might not write an entire novel, but three chapters would be a great start.

Let’s keep writing!

Prayer: Lord, please give me wisdom to use the abilities with which You've gifted me, and grant me the perseverance to accomplish what You would have me do. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2006

"Miss Those Sunday Drives" in Reminisce Magazine



I have an article in the new issue of Reminisce Extra called Miss Those Sunday Drives. If you see it on the newsstand, you'll see my picture on the front cover!

Click here to visit the site: Reminisce Magazine

*Single copies may be purchased at any
Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Blooming Christian



Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
James 1:2-3 niv

Up until a few days ago, I had a lush hibiscus tree on my deck. This morning I glanced out my back door to see this once beautiful plant had deteriorated into a pitiful state. Our back yard has a small patch of woods and it looks as if an animal might have gotten hold of the hibiscus and almost killed it. Yellow and brown leaves droop from every branch. In spite of it all, the plant managed to force out several beautiful peach blossoms.

It made me think of people who, in spite of horrendous events that would kill weaker souls, manage to bloom – becoming more beautiful people in the process. No bitterness exudes from their personalities. They not only take the lemons they’re handed and make lemonade, they find the zest in life – the lessons learned, and share them with others.

A friend of mine has been through unbelievable trials. To relate how much he’s been through would take hours, but he has never wavered in his faith in God. Not that he hasn’t asked God “Why??” many times. He has. And with good reason. I have struggled with these issues myself with regard to his circumstances, but if you talk to him today, he talks only of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Contrast this with another friend who makes, as my mother used to say, “mountains out of molehills.” Every event in life turns into a major dramatic trauma, and an excuse to complain to God and anyone else who will listen. “Why me??”

The Apostle James wrote (James 1:2-4) that we should consider our many kinds of trials as joyful, tests for our faith, that we might develop perseverance. Only then will be mature and complete Christians.

I know we’ve all had trials that caused us to question God, and I have to say, I’ve done my share of complaining. But I want to be like my faithful friend, and kind of like that plant on my deck – blooming anyway, giving praise to God, and glorifying Him – a mature Christian.

Now I must tend to my hibiscus, poor thing. It looks like it might have gone a few rounds with a squirrel and the squirrel won.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that in the worst of trials, I can lift my head and praise You, knowing that You never leave nor forsake me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved.
No portion of Devotionals by Donna may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna by clicking on link in righthand column. Thank you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Omnipresence of God

Click HERE to visit the Comfort Cafe and read "The Omnipresence of God."

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.
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