Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be Not Afraid - Guest Blog Host Angela E. Arndt

How many of you have heard the old story about the bumblebee? Supposedly, a scientist compared the weight and measurements of its body to its wingspan and judged that bumblebees cannot fly. However, the bumblebee just keeps vibrating its wings and buzzing away from flower to flower.

Lately I've been getting little love notes from God. No, I'm not hearing voices, but do you ever find yourself seeing things with a common theme over and over? Lately, my theme has been, "Don't be afraid."

"Don't be afraid," you ask? Am I climbing a mountain, taming lions or fighting a war? No. I'm just writing a little novel and sometimes it terrifies me. The What-If-Asaurus hovers over me as I type, his stinging stinky breath settling over me like a cloak, telling me I'm going to fail or I'll never finish or even, I'll finish and be published (which in some ways is even more terrifying).

But these little love notes keep popping up for me. Scriptures such as Deut. 31:6 -

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

Or I may "happen" to read blog posts or inspiring articles while waiting in the doctor's office on conquering fear. Over and over again, I find this topic keeps popping up and you know what it tells me (besides the obvious)? It's telling me that Someone loves me enough to make sure I hear His message. It also tells me to keep on going, even when the little voice inside me says I can't do it. I'm supposed to keep on writing even if what I wrote last night sounds ridiculous the next morning.

Did you know there are at least 11 references in the Bible that say, "Be strong and courageous?" From Deuteronomy to the Psalms and through the New Testament to Ephesians, we are admonished to go forth with courage and strength.

In addition, we're also reminded that we should:

• Not be frightened (Joshua 1:9)
• Obey the Lord's commands (Joshua 1:7)
• Remember the Lord will defeat our enemies (Joshua 10: 25)
• Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11)
• Obey the Lord's commands and don't be sad (1 Chronicles 22:13)
• Remember the Lord will be with you until our work is finished (2 Chronicles 15:7)
• Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14)
• Remember the Lord will not leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6)
• Remember the Lord will be with us (Deuteronomy 31:23)
And I have to do more than just show up. Remember the bumblebee can't fly unless it vibrates its wings. I've got to move my fingers and try, at least. And I've got to trust Him to do the rest.

What a wonderful testimony to God's love for us and His commitment to His plans for us! If God is for us, who can be against us? As long as obey His commands and do His will, we have no reason to be afraid. God is in control!

Angela Arndt is a writer living in "smalltown" South Carolina. She has her master's from the University of South Carolina in Education and currently writing a series of mystery novels. Check out Angela's site at:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overcoming the Writing Overwhelm

Life does have a way of happening. As much as I make the effort to control the things around me the truth is, I’m not in control at all. Publishers and professionals tell me, “You must blog. Facebook is an asset to your writing career. And oh, chirp, warble…uh no, it’s tweet, tweet, TWEET .”

When I gazed across my to-do list and see its length, my stomach churned. Worse yet, none of the work is my personal writing. It’s writing for others, reading submissions and editing. In the back of my head my own novel flailed, bobbing up and down through the river of “stuff” that called my hand of attention. My work was floating but I am personally drowning.

How do we manage to write when we’re overwhelmed? It begins when we re-examine the reason we write. The reason we write is from a love, a passion that burns deep inside us—that gift God has placed within us to nurture and develop so He is able to use our talent. When we allow the world to overwhelm us with earthly junk, God won’t work through us. We shove God to the bottom of the slush pile when it’s His calling that has ignited the desire to write.

I sat in front of my computer screen in a fog. Tweets popped up in the corner of the screen and instant messages lined the bottom. Who do I answer first? I slowly inched the cursor over the x and closed out Tweetdeck. One by one, I closed the instant messages and marked myself…off-line in Gmail. My heart knew I needed quiet.

I turned my Bible Isaiah and his words of encouragement…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Just reading these words gave me a renewed strength.

Mental and physical overload is a worldly thing that sends me into a frenzy where the unimportant cloud the words God speaks to me to write.

It seems cliché to say “Pray,” but God wants us to bring every need, every thought to Him. When we offer up our plate filled with “things,” it’s His pleasure to scrap it clean.

Fighting overload begins at the feet of Christ—here we release the unnecessary and regain the necessary.
The work is too much to handle alone. Be quiet. Lift your weariness to the one who can manage it. Give the work to God. Renew your strength. Then, will you find the strength to fight the overwhelming junk of the world.

I get it God, I thought. So I slammed my Bible closed and grinned as a Twitter feather floated to the floor.

You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Exodus 18:18

Thursday, November 03, 2011

God's Emancipation Proclamation

Below you will find a very unique piece sent to me recently. It didn't fit the criteria for our devotional site but at the same time, what is written was a message that needs to be shared. A special thank you to Sheree Whitby for allowing me to reprint her work on my blog. Read through. Think on this.

(used by permission by Sheree Whitby)

By the Lord God Almighty
A Proclamation

Whereas on eleventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, a proclamation was issued by the Sheree Whitby, inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ, containing among other things the following, to wit:

Today, all persons held as slaves (me, my family, my bloodline, my friends, my associates and all who come in contact with me), within any State or designated part of a State and especially in our bloodline, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and or financially, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the Lord God Almighty, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the devil of hell and all his minion, legions, authorities, followers and powers will recognize and maintain the freedom of God’s people and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

And by virtue of the power and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the purpose aforesaid, we do order and declare that all persons held as slaves (me, my family, my bloodline, my friends, my associates and all who come in contact with me) within any designated States, and parts of States, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and or financially, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the High authority of our Heavenly Father, including Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And we hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless necessary self-defense; and we recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed by God, they labor faithfully for more than reasonable wages.
And we further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into God’s armed service to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Bible, upon God’s military necessity, we invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God. We shall be free and free indeed!

In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hand and caused the seal of the Lord God Almighty to be affixed.

Done in the city of Heaven and on Earth, this eleventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the people of the Lord God Almighty.

By (insert your name here):

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

But If Only for a Minute - She Said

Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman…Jeremiah 15:19 NIV 

If but only for a minute, I thought. Only a minute, can I speak with grace. I waited my turn to do a 5-minute tape recorded presentation
God knows me and my mouth. He also knows my naivety and I have to wonder, since He does know these things…why He doesn’t always open my eyes. I’d sat and listened quietly at the stories of 23 amazing women. I could see where their stories came from and how they could make motivational and inspired talks. What I didn’t know …was my story.

I’d planned something humorous. A true story from an eldercare visit but in my naivety I didn’t see it might not be the right presentation for that particular moment and when I found out from loving friends it wasn’t…I was not only embarrassed but at a loss.

I guess I’ll close myself into the closet upstairs and work through the night, I thought. So I did. I closed myself inside a small closet away from everyone with my Bible and a blank sheet of paper that lay, untouched, all night. My mind was blank. Fear closed in around me. Failure seemed imminent.

The women at this speakers conference were amazing. My life had been somewhat mundane compared to theirs. I felt so undeserving…unworthy to stand in their presence. God had worked wonders in their lives and though I knew He’d done great things for me, nothing seemed to “top” what I’d heard.

“God do you want me to be a speaker?” I asked. “Cuz’ I’m not doin’ so hot.”

The minutes turned in to hours and before long morning had come. There I still sat without a presentation.
“God,” I said. “I need to do this presentation. I got nothing. Nadda. I’m up second to speak. The words I had were wrong. I’m sorry. All I can do is trust when I stand in front of this group, You will speak.” I folded my paper in half and tore it into four pieces. They were blank…waiting for God to print on the page.
If but only for a minute, I prayed, can I speak with grace. My name was called and I laid the four blank papers on the small table. “But if only for a minute,” I whispered. “Grace.”

That’s the amazing thing about God. Sometimes He makes us wait to the ultimate last moment. But He promised He’d restore us…me… so I could serve Him and if I uttered worthy words, I could be His spokesman. My pages were blank but as the cue to speak came, my heart was filled.

Graceful words slipped from my mouth, gentle gestures, strong phrases and articulate sentences. I, me…Cindy…just opened my mouth and God allowed me to be His spokesman.

I learned this week, we’re all His spokesmen. He’s given us all a story to tell. Some amazing while others are steadfast, but until we utter them as worthy words, they cannot be heard and others cannot be touched.
Look for your story. Find it and then “Oh, but if only for a minute, speak with grace.” God will bless.

P.S. I AM A SPEAKER. Do you need one for an event?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Is Yet to Come: 60 Devotions

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The Best Is Yet to Come: 60 Devotions

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What We Least Expect

I never imagined this. Never.

Who'd have really expected what would happen? Not me, but then, I wasn't really looking for the unusual.

When I turned 50 the reality of half my life having passed was a snapshot of one picture. Me with a plastic crown and a pink wand labeled, "Princess." (A nickname lovingly bestowed on me by a best friend from college - Thanks Keeb...it stuck.)

Today, marked another of those memorable days. I think, the one I expected least. Outside of the fact it was another birthday, the unexpected part was this outpouring of love and kindness. Literally hundreds of emails and facebook messages wishing ME...of all people...ME, a happy birthday.

I just didn't expect or deserve such a gift.

This past week, I came under fire. It's not the first time and I doubt it will be the last, but the attacks were personal and deep. I can say, without a doubt, my heart was broken.

Probably not much to the average Joe, but to me, a big deal. Now, I'm no saint, no Peter or Paul, but I make every effort to be a good and kind person. Though I've suffered and survived a divorce, I brought out of it two wonderful sons that have been my lifeblood for 31 years. Two years past the aftermath of divorce, God provided someone who has taught me what it means to be loved and cherished--something I'm grateful for everyday I open my eyes.

Our blended family gave us 4 sons. I've never called my stepsons, stepsons...they've always been "My BOYS." And likewise, have my sons been Tim's. We've struggled through near financial disaster from medical bills, learned to manage the special education maze, managed to raise a son with a disability to be a wonderfully loved and respected citizen, cried through a prodigal and rejoiced when he came home. We've lost parents, fought through cancer scares, dug through blood clots that nearly took Tim and still we've been continually lifted from the mire of despair virtually unscathed.

This week has been a test. A hard test. My ministry partner said, "Satan knows where you are vulnerable...your heart." And he is right. I've not slept well this week, had a few moments of tears, a few times I wanted to throw up. But here's what I've learned.

1) When we're attacked it always looks bigger than it really is. That's part of the lie Satan tells.

2) God is a God of foolproof promises and His comfort is available at the sound of a whisper.

3) When we feel as though we are alone in the battle, God surrounds us with people who stand shoulder to shoulder forming a wall of protection.

4) And finally, that all of these people show you just how much they love you.

Today is my birthday. I really don't think much of them (except that I expect my children to at least call)...but otherwise, I'm as happy to pass it by and remain unnoticed. Through this week of trial, literally hundreds of people have emailed me, commented a birthday wish on Facebook or tweeted a wish. My sweet friend, Kevin wrote a devotion in my honor and though I nearly didn't post it, the staff of Christian Devotions over rode my vote. And tonight, during choir practice, the entire choir harmonized the happy birthday chorus to me. My son called from Florida, my cousins took me out to eat lunch and my mom, husband and another son, joined the party. My brother and sister-in-law called too not to mention an email from a man I'd never met who spent two full paragraphs telling me what the ministry of Christian Devotions and He Said, She Said had meant to his life. My friends Edie and Mary called me from South Carolina (Sorry girls I was in church when you called), and my buddy Marianne sent me this HUGE box of treats (You always know how to treat a friend) and finally, Tim took me out for a chocolate extreme Blizzard. What more could you ask for?

Frankly, the attention made me feel small, undeserving and a little embarrassed. Then I thought of a song by Greater Vision called Faces where a person stands before Christ and reviews his life feeling as though he'd done nothing special or unique.

See I'd done my best to share
That Jesus really cares
And he would save if they just believe
Oh, but seldom did harvest come
And so few did I see won
Until the Lord said, "turn around and see."

Then he showed me the faces of the ones who'd come because of me
So many faces that my life had led to Calvary
All those years I thought nobody saw as I labored in lowly places
That's when Jesus smiled and showed me all the faces.

This is not to say, I'm one who saves thousands. But it is to say, none of us know...I mean REALLY know the people we touch on a daily basis. We never know the moments that a touch on the shoulder, a smile, a call...really makes a difference. We tend to miss those things.We rarely see the instant that something we do, changes a life, offers hope or stands in our behalf.

Throughout this week of tests and trials, I felt broken and lost until today. I'd probably never mention the deepest part of the hurt to anyone, instead, I'd just swallow it, pray over it and keep it buried. Until today.

I've never had such an outpouring of genuine love in my life and I am so touched...so grateful that through it all my amazing Father in heaven loved me enough to show me the FACES of those who care for me.

Thank you doesn't seem to be enough. But I can tell you this. My tears are no longer tears of broken sadness, but tears of joy. So, NO, I didn't expect this gift of love today. Wasn't looking for it coming...but I'm grateful. I hope you'll zip back to the top of this page and listen to the song FACES by Greater Vision. Then when it's done know that you are standing before God and He tells you TO TURN AROUND AND SEE MY FACE. Thank you for touching my life. Thank you for taking the time to make a difference. May God heap blessings over you.

A very humbled friend,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not What They Expected

Honor your father and your mother…. Exodus 20:12

Listen to Not What They Expected - She Said

I’m probably not what my folks expected. When most parents spent sleepless nights wondering where their children were, I was stuffed neatly under Mom’s handmade quilts, sleeping. When compared to my friends who caused constant worry, I wasn’t what my parents expected.

They taught me to say thank you and to encourage the spirit of others. It was “right” to:
- Allow others to step in front of me—they may have never had an opportunity to lead.
- Share all I had with others because the joy was not in the possession but in the opportunity to experience it with someone else.
- Remain silent than to utter hurtful words.
- Be more productive to help others succeed–my success would be in theirs.
- Seek spiritual rewards rather than earthly ones and enjoy the blessings of humility.
- Work for free and expect nothing in return because payment comes from the Father.

I could have shunned my parents, said “Nope,” but I didn’t. I honored them. That probably wasn’t what they expected.
When I married a preacher, they didn’t expect to see me divorced and broken. My folks didn’t expect I’d deal with a disabled child or a prodigal son. They expected the best for me. Instead, they saw struggle and pain.

Jesus learned these same principles as a child. Mary and Joseph didn’t expect to find Him teaching in the synagogue as a boy. When He was spat on, shunned, had no place to lay His head...I doubt they expected that either. As He shouldered the sin of man, blood trickled down his legs and dripped into a pool at His mother’s knees. My best guess was, this wasn’t what Mary expected.

Jesus was a son…the Son of Man and the Son of God, and He was raised to honor His parents. Few expected miracles from a carpenter and fewer expected salvation from His wounds. Still, He kept His eye firmly fixed on His Father and honored Him. Not what most expected.

We can’t chose the paths our children will take. The world offers them such neatly painted lies that tempt them to stray. All I can do is plant the seeds of honor within them and then pray for them daily. I have honored my earthly parents and my Father in heaven by teaching my children all that was instilled in me. Do I always get what I expect? No, but then sometimes I do.

Honor your father and mother by being godly parents. Give them what they expect.

(Happy Father's Day dad. Fifteen years and we still miss you.)

Read Cindy's devotions

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and cofounders of ChristianDevotions.us. They cowrite the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host Blog Talk Radio's Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! along with Scott McCausey. And now you can catch them each Friday evening at their new time, 6 p.m. on He Said, She Said Radio. (Call in number, 646-929-0706 ).

Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God?

Try He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion. This compilation of 54 devotions includes scripture verses, space for journaling, individual prayers and words of wisdom from two of today's funniest and insightful Christian authors. This heart-warming collection of stories will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God. These deeply personal devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the perspective of one man and one woman.

Perfect for your quiet time. No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you. Begin this new year committed to spending a few moments each day connected to God. He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship.

He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion
by Cindy Sproles & Eddie Jones

That's Why They Call It Making Love: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion
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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Gems of Wisdom

In Gems of Wisdom: For A Treasure-Filled Life you'll embark on a treasure hunt for God's unique gems of wisdom. Be empowered, learn to influence through your own life lessons, and preserve important relationships. Gems of Wisdom invites the reader on a treasure hunt to find important life concepts represented by the beautiful stones God created. Excellent for Bible study and book clubs as well as individual study.

About the author:
Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009, a multi-award winning inspirational speaker and the author of the Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life from Journey Press, the Creative Cooking Series including the new release of Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance and the new Kindle release, Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She connects missions to her work with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. Angela also teaches online classes and coaches one-on-one in courageous confidence, personal growth, and powerful living. She’s certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and life coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister for her congregation in Missoula, MT. She volunteered as the American Christian Fiction Writer's publicity officer for two years. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. Angela is married with a combined family of six grown children and two grand children. Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life releases May 2011 from Journey Press, a Sheaf House imprint.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Marc Eckel

There are those gifted with talents. Some with words, some with music, others with performing. But there are few who touch so many without a word. Meet one man who never utters a word but truly speaks with his hands.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Promises to KeepPromises to Keep by Ann Tatlock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written in the touching and sweet style of Christy Award winner, Ann Tatlock.

Crossing OceansCrossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A breakout book with a breakout effect. Gina Holmes Waters knocks the reader off their chair with this page turner of a dying woman, the decisions she must make about her daughter and the trail of forgiveness she must find. A must read.

The Curse of Captain LafooteThe Curse of Captain Lafoote by Eddie Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In true EDDIE JONES fashion, this adventure takes you through the imagination of a young boy and spits you out into the world of pirates. A wonderful read for middle grade kids and adults with a eye for the ocean, The Curse of Captain LaFoote will have you in search of buried treasure. Put on your sword, man the ships and sail away with Ricky Bradshaw.

Monday, April 11, 2011

He Said, She Said

Take CoverTake Cover- He Said

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22:3

Listen to Take Cover- He Said

The collision bounced the young man off the hood of the car, over the roof, and into a field. Unfazed by the horror of blood on his windshield, the driver of the Buick continued, crushing the boy’s bicycle before ramming into the father, killing him.

Perhaps the driver reached for an open can of beer. Maybe his fingers fumbled for more of the cocaine resting in his lap. Regardless, he drove another thirty yards before witnesses waved him down and forced him to turn around. By then it was too late—one dead, another soon to be. The prudent see danger and take refuge, the simple keep going.

Months before my friend killed the two cyclists he had, in descending order, left his live-in girlfriend, divorced his wife, had an affair, lost several jobs, moved away from his friends, and stopped attending church.

I’d tried to stay in touch after his youngest son died but it was hard. Saw him for a few minutes before his mom’s funeral. Tried to find him after the service, but he was gone. Maybe if I’d visited more often I could have helped. Or perhaps he was beyond help. The last time we talked I asked, “Do you still think about him?”

“Every day, Eddie. Every hour.”

The loss of his boy left him gutted. The smile was there but the eyes were dead. I never asked and he didn’t say but I sensed he blamed God for his son’s death. Now, on a fine spring morning some ten years later, my friend had done some killing himself. Perhaps not intentionally, but two were dead and the grieving would roil the lives of their families and friends for years to come.

What starts the spiral? What turns us away from God and toward destruction? Is it the pain? If so, I should have shouldered more of my friend’s. Maybe if I had, he wouldn’t be in jail and that father and son would be resting their tired bodies on fresh cut grass instead of lying beneath it.

Twenty-five years ago he was the godfather of my first son. Twenty-five years ago we served as youth counselors, sailed together, laughed together, and worshiped in church together. Now he sits in jail charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle. The prudent see danger and take refuge, the simple keep going.

The danger isn’t in the storms. The danger is in refusing to read the clouds and heed the rumble of thunder as trouble gathers around us. The prudent take cover. The fool sails on taking those with him to the depths of despair.

What storms gather in your life? Turn around and take cover in God’s embrace before it's too late.

An April Fool
Hiding Out - She Said

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22:3

Listen to Hiding Out– She Said

I love my pond. A gift from my boys, it’s brought me hours of rest. The pond started as one small 80-gallon divot but as the years passed we added a long creek filled with beautiful rocks and waterfalls. We added fish one by one; the kids named every finned friend that called our pond home and before long we had a mixture of coy and goldfish swimming in our lilly-covered waters. The boys named the tiniest fish Bob.

Bob was hard to find in the pond. He kept out of sight by hiding in the water iris, peeking through the floating roots and algae. We’d go weeks and never see Bob, wondering why he avoided the open waters of the pond.

One afternoon I pulled open the plastic container of fish food and spread a handful of colored feeding sticks across the water. Nothing. That’s odd, I thought. Generally a handful of food meant a feeding frenzy. I knelt by the pond and peered in. No fish. Well, there was one. Bob was nestled among the lilies, hard to see and very still.

There were no little fish bodies around the pond—no sign of life anywhere. We joked and wondered if a fish rapture came and the others had been “raptured away,” leaving Bob behind.

The writer of Proverbs warns, The prudent see danger and take refuge. Swimming into dangerous currents can be exhilarating. Waterfalls rocket us along, providing a momentary thrill, pushing us through narrow crevices and into swirling whirlpools that leave us dizzy. The sun warms our tidal pool, we relax and drift along, admiring the reflection of our silver scales on the mirrored bottom. Then GULP! Life lunges, taking us down into the depths of darkness.

A few days after Bob’s schoolmates went missing, I solved the mystery. We caught a raccoon fishing in the pond. Bob’s prudence served him well. Last week we added new fish to the pond. They’re small and spend their time hiding in the tangled Iris roots too. Perhaps Bob passed along his wisdom. For my sake, I hope so. I can’t afford to keep stocking the pond.

Don’t venture out when danger lurks. Instead, seek shelter and wait in the safety of God’s pond.

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and cofounders of ChristianDevotions.us. They cowrite the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host Blog Talk Radio's Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! along with Scott McCausey. And now you can catch them each Friday evening at their new time, 6 p.m. on He Said, She Said Radio. (Call in number, 646-929-0706 ).

Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God?

Try He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion. This compilation of 54 devotions includes scripture verses, space for journaling, individual prayers and words of wisdom from two of today's funniest and insightful Christian authors. This heart-warming collection of stories will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God. These deeply personal devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the perspective of one man and one woman.

Perfect for your quiet time. No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you. Begin this new year committed to spending a few moments each day connected to God. He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship.

$2.99 Kindle eBook

$2.99 NOOK

$9.95 Paperback

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Meet My Friend and Writer,
Eddie Jones!

Please leave your comments and email address for a chance to win Eddie's book!

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I wrote for my high school newspaper and later the college newspaper, The Technician. Earned a degree in English and continued to write part-time after college. Since the mid-eighties I’ve written a humorous boating column called Hard Aground. Still do. Couple of years ago I began writing full time. I make less now than I did selling toilet paper but I started at the bottom there and worked my way up, too.

I don’t know that I received a call so much as a nudge. Was in the audience at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference several years ago. I’d just been laid off from my job at IBM. Al Gansky mentioned something about writing for God. That seemed like a good gig. I figured God wasn’t going out of business and wouldn’t fire me. Turns out God doesn’t pay writers a lot of money. But there’s a clause in my contract that says I’ll get my rewards later so I’m banking on that bonus.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write adult fiction and non-fiction, Teen / Tween and Middle Grade books. I also write devotions and columns. If it has words I’m all over it. As far as adult genres, I write romantic comedy. My characters are disturbed — but then so are most my friends and All my family members. Currently my agent is pitching Bahama Breeze, a tan and sandy love story. She also has Dixie Chicken, another love story that involves Civil War reenactors in denial, professional golfers in recovery, Tea Party patriots, civil rights leaders, mafia hit men and a cadaver dog. I’m working on the second book in the Caribbean Chronicles, Dead Calm, Bone Dry. This is a teeen/tween middle grade read. It follows on the success of The Curse of Captain LaFoote. Finally, my agent is pitching a straight middle grade book called, The Hill Top Ghost Ranch Mystery.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

On my novels, I try to write 1000 new words a day. I write on my own work from 7:30 to 11:30, grab lunch and begin work on my freelance and ghost writing. That usually takes me until nap time. Afterwards, I grab a cup of coffee and finish up that’s days quota. I polish as I write so I spend a lot of time going back, editing what I wrote the day before. This allows me to build up momentum for the new words. But I’m also a little obsessive compulsive. I can’t just leave something alone until I fix it. I can usually finish an 80,000 novel in six months. But lately, given all my work with Christian Devotions Ministries and the teaching at writers conferences, it’s taking longer.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

The Curse of Captain LaFoote is a pirate tale awash in buried treasure, romance and dead men's bones. The truth is, this book and the ones that follow in the Caribbean Chronicle series are love stories. For Ricky Bradshaw, the hero of the book, the story is a quest to find his father, soul mate, and purpose in life. For guys, finding their father and gaining his approval is huge. Of course finding love is pretty high up there, too.

Here’s the book’s premise:

If you drowned and the sea spit you out, thrusting you back into an age of pirates, buried treasure and beauty beyond belief… would you stay?

Ricky Bradshaw has never sailed the Caribbean Sea, searched for buried treasure or battled pirates on the deck of a Spanish Galleon. He’s never fallen through the floor of Davy Jones’ locker, befriended a witch doctor or watched an old fisherman morph into a porpoise. All Ricky knows is his lonely life with his widowed mom in a tiny apartment overlooking a marina on the Chesapeake Bay.

But all that changes on a snowy Christmas Eve when Ricky’s apartment building burns down and he falls into the chilly waters while trying to save barnacle, a mangy mutt with shrimp breath. Suddenly Ricky finds himself confronted by his neighbor, a young woman in a pink bathrobe who jumped to her death in order to escape the flames. She offers him a choice: go with her to a wonderful afterlife where snowflakes taste like candy or return to the dreary old world he knows. Ricky picks the past and awakes on a raft in the middle of the sea where there is surprising beauty on every island, danger around every corner and great honor and glory ahead of him… if only Ricky can summon the courage to survive the curse of Captain LaFoote.

So it’s a pirate fantasy love story. One of the great things about the book is that Ricky suffers from epilepsy and I get to weave a little of that into the book, too. Early in the story I needed a reason for Ricky to fall into the water. I did the same thing years ago. Jumped into the Neuse River in February while holding an outboard motor. So I knew how Ricky would react to the shock of cold water. I also knew Ricky would surface and be okay if I didn’t give him another wound.

A friend suggested that I let my lead have epilepsy. She said when she has episode she sort of zones out: like daydreaming except she can’t stop it. She also said she knows when it’s about to happen. That she smells something like burning wires. So I gave Ricky epilepsy and finished the story.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized the book had a larger purpose. I met another woman at a writer’s conference whose son has epilepsy. During the conference, her son suffered a seizure — the first one he’d ever had without his mother present. The look on her face that morning convinced me that Ricky Bradshaw could be a champion for those suffering from epilepsy.

It’s not cancer or heart disease but over three million Americans live with epilepsy. If the sale of this book can raise awareness, then the book has done its job. For each book sold, the publisher and I will donate “a few pieces of eight” — half a sandy dollar — to the foundation’s Heroes Among Us program. Our goal is to raise ten thousand dollars in honor of Ricky Bradshaw. I’d like to present them with a portion of those funds later this month at the Walk For Epilepsy in Washington D.C.

The book is available at http://CaptainLaFoote.com/ via Amazon. Or just search “LaFoote” and you’ll pull it up. It should be in the Barnes and Noble system, too. I doubt you’ll find it in bookstores yet.

What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

That courage costs. Near the end of the book Ricky has the chance to go back to his old life. We get to do the same thing, go back to our old way of doing things. But Christ calls us to repent and move on. Ricky faces that choice. Either way he’ll pay a steep price, as will we.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

My wife wishes I’d give up and get a job with a regular paycheck. But I’ve done that and found there’s no security there, either. I don’t really think about giving up. What I do think is that this is a tough business because of the solitude, of the way we don’t get daily feedback from our employer or customers. I have a pretty idea of when an article or scene is well written but there isn’t any affirmation so it’s a lonely journey. This is why faith in God is key. If you’re not sure He’s in the calling and craft then I think you’ll spend a lot of time looking over your shoulder wondering if you should be doing something else.

He’s given me a gift and it’s my job to develop it to the best of my ability.

Who’s inspired you the most?

I know I’m supposed to list people who pump me up and push me to be better, but honestly, I’ve had more people tell me to quit than keep going. So in that sense, I’d have to say God has inspired me the most. He’s the one who, when I’m down, sends me a verse of encouragement or a promise. ‘Course, I’m also hard headed so sometimes he sends road blocks that force me to stop and pick a different route.

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

First one that offered a contract got the book. I like to produce, not dicker. My agent wanted to hold out for other offers. In hindsight, she was probably right. We had a few houses show interest after I signed. But it’s just one book and there’ll be others after this one so you pick and move on. God can work all things for the good so I trust this will work out for the best.

As to relaxing, I wish I could, but the marketing part of selling a book is the real work. Lining up the blog stops (like this one), media appearances, radio interviews, reviews, endorsements, and all that is a job. Plus, I still have other books to write. I haven’t had a vacation in two years and don’t see one on the horizon.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

I like sailing, surfing, walking in the woods and sitting on the beach when it’s hot. I hate the cold. Takes me until June to thaw out. Each day I put on the armor of God and when I get to the breastplate I say: Lord, place your breastplate across my chest that my heart may be pure and my dreams secure — my dreams of sailing around the Caribbean, surfing reef breaks and writing a best selling novel. Maybe one day He’ll give me that dream.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?


I’d also like to put a shout out to moms and dads with kids. We’re holding our first DevoFest Creative Arts Conference this June 17,18,19 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest North Carolina. This is a media arts event for kids ages 7-17. Conference fee is $85. We’ve got a great faculty, some of the top names in writing. For adults, if you bring your kid you get to attend for free. Helping kids become better writers is a passion of mine, so please, visit http://www.devofest.com/ and sign them up!