Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peace-giving God

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “P”

The LORD blesses his people with peace. – Ps. 29:11 (NIV)
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” –Jesus, as quoted in John 14:27 (NKJV)

Three days before my twentieth birthday, my father died.
I’d been summoned from college, a hundred miles away. This wasn’t the first summons.
I’d been watching Dad lose weight for months. Surgery a month earlier hadn’t been successful. But Dad and Mom tried to convince me it was an ulcer, not stomach cancer.
The “C” word. Back then, in 1971, it was a death sentence. Especially when you let it go as long as Dad had.

Perhaps my parents didn’t want to burden me during a 19-credit semester.
But I knew. Deep down I knew. And gnawed with worry. About Dad. About my academic load. I was a semester away from student teaching, a semester away from graduating. I couldn’t afford to miss any more classes.
So I visited one of my favorite professors, one of the few who took a personal interest in his students and who’d be honest with me.
“Go home,” he said. “Your family is more important. You can always withdraw and take your courses next semester.”
He knew what I wasn’t ready to face—that my father was dying.
A friend drove me to the hospital. Dad died a few hours later. It was my first experience with the death of someone close to me.
I went home that night looking for him. Surely his spirit would come to say goodbye. I looked and looked. A radio mysteriously turned on. Anything.
But nothing. Nothing until Friday morning, the day of his funeral—and my twentieth birthday.
I sensed it before my eyes even opened that morning—a peace so profound, so pervading, so supreme that it was present in every molecule of the air around me and in every cell of my being.
I, who work with words for a living, have no words to describe it. The closest description is what Paul wrote to the Philippians when he described God’s peace as “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
God’s peace transcends anything we can even imagine on this side of heaven.
Forty-three years have passed. I’ve been on the mountain. I’ve trudged through the valleys. I’ve wrestled with despair. But I never forgot the gift of peace God gave me that day. Indeed, the memory—I can still almost feel that peace—has gotten me through life’s challenges.
I’ve found truth in what Isaiah wrote: “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 23:3 KJV).
One of God’s names is YHWH Shalom, which means “The LORD is peace.” He is peace and He gives peace. The peace that transcends all understanding.
Do you have it? Have you asked for it?
May Your peace, O Lord, reign in my heart and soul and mind today and every day. Amen.

Mom, me, and Dad - summer, 1971
Special-Tea: Read Mark 4:35–41

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New novel launched

  54-year-old Linda Laverly longs to experience, just once more, that head over heels feeling of young love. The only problem is her husband.

Dear friends,
The day has finally come! Before I Die, my second novel (actually the first novel I ever wrote) has been released by Helping Hands Press as an e-book ($2.99) and paperback ($14.99) on Amazon. 

Here's the book description:
Linda Laverly wants to fall in love again—to experience deep in her soul that head over heels, I’m-crazy-about-you feeling just once more. Time is running out, she thinks; her sister died at fifty-five, and Linda is just one year shy of that milestone. So she leaves Brian, her predictable, dependable, faithful, but unromantic husband of thirty-two years to try to find a spark again. Is her quest worth risking her family, her job, her reputation, her faith? As she wrestles with issues of aging and self-image, anger and betrayal, she finds the love she’s longing for where she least expects it.  (Women’s fiction, Christian fiction) 

Here’s what reviewer Kerin M. had to say about the book:
“I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! My eyes were filled with tears at the end. You had the courage to write about the secrets of women our age – that longing to be loved and not just taken for granted – or to feel like we’re stuck with each other now, so let’s just make the best of it. I saw my own self in Linda. Thank you for writing this story. May God bless it and cut it loose to touch the lives of many others.” 

To download your e-book or order your paperback from Amazon, visit my Amazon author page and click on BEFORE I DIE. Here’s the link to the Amazon page where my books are listed:

If you want your e-book autographed, go to and request an autograph. It’s free!

You can also order an autographed paperback from me by

  • emailing me your order ( and mailing me a check for $15, plus $5 shipping and handling, if it’s to be mailed. I don’t have a problem delivering books to folks in Punxsutawney who have ordered them. If that’s the case, the cost of the book will be $15 (tax included). My address is 121 Homestead Lane, Glen Campbell, PA  15742.

Thank you for your interest. Please share this post with anyone you think would be interested in Before I Die.  

Happy reading,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Get your e-book autographed

Receive a personalized inscription that you can view in your favorite reading apps and devices.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Taking the log out

Image courtesy of suphakit73/

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.  – 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

When our daughter was a teenager and on the dating scene, quite a number of fellows showed up at our door.

I remember two in particular. One young man was clean cut, dressed conservatively, and arrived late. When Charlie, our Brittany Spaniel, approached him, stubby tail wagging, his muscles stiffened and he leaned away—body language for “I don’t like dogs.” He practically ignored Jaime’s younger brother, although he was polite to me.

The other fellow arrived on time—dressed in black, complete with chains, body piercings and tattoo. He, in contrast to Mr. Clean Cut, crouched down and ruffled Charlie’s soft fur, then grabbed a baseball glove and threw catch with Jaime’s younger brother while she finished getting ready for their date. He, too, was polite to me, but not in a stiff, formal manner like the other guy.

Now, as a mother, I preferred the appearance of Mr. Clean Cut. When Mr. Gothic showed up at the door, my heart sank. But their actions spoke volumes for their natures.

One of my “litmus tests” of people is how they treat animals and children. So, even though I cringed at his appearance, I liked Mr. Gothic better than Mr. Clean Cut.

It turned out Mr. Clean Cut was also Mr. Bad News.

I’m too quick to judge people based on their outward appearance.

When I sat in my booth at the Groundhog Festival in June, I saw all kinds of people—young, old, middle-aged, whose dress was gothic, conservative and downright outlandish. I especially recoiled inwardly when I saw tattoos. I mean, not one tattoo, but—well, put it this way: Their arms were mostly green.

The way we dress is more than a fashion statement. It’s a period, a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point (and sometimes more than one). It’s a proclamation of who we are.

But still I’m not to judge.

But I did.

“Stop judging by mere appearances,” Jesus said (Matthew 7:24).

“Take the log out of your own eye, then you will be able to see clearly,” Jesus admonishes us in Matthew 7:5.

“Let us stop passing judgment on one another,” Paul wrote (Romans 14:13).

I remember one time long ago when I was being particularly critical of a family member. Then one day during my Bible reading, a verse jumped out at me and hit me square between the eyes: “Who are you to judge the servant of someone else?” (Romans 14:4 TEV)

The Bible has lots more to say about judging, but we can sum it up in one word: Don’t.

Don’t judge other people’s appearance. Don’t even judge their actions. How do you know if that snappy cashier wasn’t up all night with a sick child? We don’t know what pain or heartbreak folks are trying to hide.

Billy Graham once said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

When I find myself judging others, Lord, remind me to pray for them instead. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Matthew 7:1–5

Friday, August 8, 2014

And the winner is . . .

Thank you, everyone, for your input on the cover. We decided to go with this one, since, in the words of reader Sybil Nichol, "it best depicts the starry romantic love that Linda is yearning for displayed by the foot-popping kiss!"

Click here to read the book description and first two chapters.

Said ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) reviewer Kerin M.:

"OOOOOOOH, Michele!! I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! I LOVED IT! My eyes were filled with tears at the end. You had the courage to write about the secrets of women our age - that longing to be loved and not just taken for granted - or to feel like we're 'stuck' with each other now, so let's just make the best of it. I saw my own self in your character. Thank you for writing this story. May God bless it and cut it loose to touch the lives of many others."


Before I Die will be available as e-book ($2.99) and paperback ($14.99) on Amazon on THURSDAY, AUG. 14.  (I'll include the link when it goes up on Amazon.)

Email me at to order your autographed copy.

Listen to the "story behind the story" of Before I Die as I discussed it on Gelati's Scoop Blogtalk radio today (above).