Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I Write Blogfest

I write because I have something to say. You may think that a bit prideful, but that's probably the bottom line for most writers. I certainly don't write to make money although the more people who read what I write, the better not only for my ego but for my pocketbook.

It's quite possible that many people don't or won't like reading what I write, but if I didn't think it was important to get my thoughts and opinions out there, I wouldn't bother.

So I write on my blog primarily to promote the book my husband and I wrote together, Aloha is Forever. Although the story is sad, it is also inspirational. It is a way of sharing the hope we have as well as honoring our son's memory. Lest you think it might be full of mushy platitudes and silly ideas, nothing could be further from the truth. We tell the heart-wrenching story exactly as it happened but we also tell of the miracle that took place to put our hearts back together again and give us peace. That is a story worth sharing! I hope you take the time to read it.

Giveaway Winners

The book giveaway winners are:

Rose Avelar (name drawn from the basket).
Bonnie Morton (a winner for promoting our giveaway more than any of the other participants).

Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to all of you who participated. I sincerely wish we were independently wealthy and in a position to give a book to each person who wants one. However, they aren't that expensive so if you'd like to support us and our ministry and get your hands on a very special book, go ahead and click on Aloha is Forever and order one for yourself and another for a friend or loved one who has recently lost a family member. It will encourage them!

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated. I'll probably do this again next year in honor of John's 35th birthday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Giveaway Details

Alert: The contest has been extended until tonight, June 25th at midnight (CDT).

This is John's birthday week - June 24th! He would be 34 this year. So in honor of his birthday we are giving away a signed copy of our book, Aloha is Forever. I'll be doing the drawing on the 25th and will announce it either on the 25th or 26th. Busy weekend so I'm not sure how all of this will fit into my schedule!

Here are ways you can get your name into the hat:

1. Comment on this blog - one chance for each comment between today (June 21st) and Friday (June 24th). You're welcome to comment on as many posts as you like, just don't make them "one word" comments.
2. Comment on our facebook page - one chance for each comment between today and Friday.
3. Become a new follower of this blog - one chance.
4. Become a new follower of our facebook page - one chance.
5. Share our announcement about the contest in your status on Facebook - two chances.
6. Email at least 2 friends to tell them about our giveaway - one chance per friend.
7. Tweet my blog link - one chance.

In addition to one book in the drawing, we are going to give away one book to the person who accumulates the most total points by the end of the day, June 24th (midnight central daylight time). So two books will be given away. And don't forget to email us telling us what you have done.

For the actions you complete please email us at just so we can get an accurate account to put your name in the hat the appropriate number of times. That will also give us your email address so we can contact the winner. Don't worry, we won't be putting your email address into any autoresponder list or selling it or anything of the sort. We respect your privacy!

Thanks for participating and good luck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weeds in the Garden

As I was digging weeds out of my garden bed recently, sweat was pouring down my face, fogging up my glasses, making them slide down to the tip of my nose and I began to think that gardening is really painful. But the thought of the crop of cucumbers I was eventually going to harvest kept me going.

Two things came to mind as I worked. First, I thought about the original garden. God had provided everything that was needed and the trees were "pleasant to the sight and good for food" according to Genesis 2:9. Water was provided by a river that flowed in and through the garden - no need for irrigation! But something happened. Out of all the trees in the garden there was only one that was forbidden; the tree bearing the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:6 says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, (note that all the trees in the garden were good for food) that it was pleasant to the eyes, (note that all the trees in the garden were pleasant to the eyes) and a tree desirable to make one wise, (note that it was not billed as a wisdom tree, but as a tree that would make one aware of both good and evil) she took of its fruit and ate." In that moment life changed forever for Adam and Eve and consequently for all of humanity.

Life suddenly became difficult.

Genesis 3:17-19 says, "...Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you. And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground..."

Much can be said about this account in Genesis. Had it not been Eve and then Adam who took of the forbidden fruit, it would have been someone else. That desire to know what is unknown and to do what is forbidden is in the heart of each one of us. Just observe a small child for a few hours and you'll see it in action.

So there I was, toiling in the thorns and thistles, sweat pouring from my face and not enjoying myself very much. But the end result is still sustenance and even though it's terribly hard work, there is a satisfaction that comes as a result of our labor and toil that doesn't come any other way. And there is the anticipation of the fruit of our labor that is very sweet.

The second thing that came to mind was the fact that sowing naturally results in reaping. Throughout the Bible there are countless places that talk about sowing and reaping. The principle works in agriculture, in finances, in relationships, in spiritual vigor, in academic knowledge, in health, etc. We find examples of this principle just about everywhere we look.

I have a large portion of one garden bed that isn't planted. It is supposed to be filled with okra but instead it is filled with weeds! A two week trip at the time I should have been preparing the soil and sowing the seed, has resulted in no harvest to reap. In fact, not only is there no harvest, but the weeds have grown so thick that I dread tackling the task of removing them! It will be very hard work. But the end of the bed that did get planted with okra is lush and beautiful and I am about to begin reaping an abundant crop of the most delicious heirloom red okra you can ever imagine. Now I realize that there may be many readers who don't consider okra a delicacy, but I assure you that my family is waiting for it with bated breath. It's one of our favorites!

Sowing takes time. It requires sweat and toil to prepare the soil. Then it takes wisdom to know just how deep to plant the seeds, how far apart to place them, etc. Then it requires patience mixed with water to cause the seeds to sprout. In another bed I recently planted an heirloom variety of summer squash so I just went through this cycle once again. If I hadn't watered the bed well, most of it would not have sprouted. Since we haven't had rain in several weeks, watering is a continual task. At the same time we're experiencing drought in the physical, we're also experiencing it in the spiritual realm in this country. And we must get our water from God's word on an ongoing basis or we will not produce fruit in our lives.

You must also sow the right seed to get the right crop. I was just looking at my pepper plants today. Ones I thought were mixed colors of bell peppers look very much like they are yellow sweet banana peppers instead. Oh, no! What a disappointment! I purchased these plants from a store so apparently someone switched the labels around. Believe me, when you are looking for mixed colors of bell peppers, you are not a happy camper when yellow sweet banana peppers appear instead!

This principle works in many areas of life. We reap what we have sown. It's simple. If we sow discord we will reap discord. If we sow peace and joy, we will reap peace and joy. So if you are disappointed by what you're reaping, you may want to think back and remember what you have sown in the past.

Through our book Aloha is Forever that tells the story of losing our son, John, we have purposefully attempted to sow life. He is already seated in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus and using the story of his disappearance to impact the lives of others in a positive way is exactly what he would have wanted.

John 12:24 states it well:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."

It has been said that we can count the seeds in a piece of fruit, but we can never know how many pieces of fruit there are in one seed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 24th Book Giveaway

Get ready for June 24th! I will be giving away a signed copy of our book on that day in honor of John's birthday. He would be 34 this year and that is cause for celebration.

I'm still thinking about the details of how to do the giveaway so check back for more details later. I will pick a name out of a hat from among all those who comment, become new followers on Facebook, and maybe some other tasks. One chance (name in the hat) for each task completed. I just got the idea from reading another person's blog. Since John isn't here to get any gifts, I can at least give one in his honor!

Any ideas on how to work out the logistics and details of my book giveaway would be most welcome! Thanks.