"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

10/31/11

Loving His Law

Living by Grace
This week, Vonnie is hosting Monday Manna, so be sure to pop over to My Back Door and read the other entries, and link up if you want to participate. And we're also discussing this post at Living By Grace today. Would love to have you join the discussion there!


Here's today's verse:
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.  Psalm 119:165
I LOVE to read the Bible. I've read it all the way through every year except one since I got saved in 1998. There is so much wisdom in it, for every kind of decision I might need to make.

Sure, some books/chapters are more interesting than others, but there's value and blessing in each and every word in His Word. Sitting down with my Bible every morning, glass of skim milk in hand, is one of my favorite parts of my day.

But, do you know what? I DON'T always have great peace, and I stumble. A LOT. Does this mean the Bible is false?
Not a chance!
Loving reading and loving what is read are two different things. Am I really cherishing the words God has sent to me through the human authors of His Word? Do I take every Word to heart? Do I show the message God shares with the world the respect and appreciation I show, let's say, my spouse? My children? My parents? Do I love the Bible as much as Christ loved me?

And my answer? Certainly not always. And not every bit of it. But I'm getting better. And, thank the Lord, He does not yet expect me to be perfect. For even when I don't have peace, He is there to comfort me. And if I stumble? He's right there to catch me.

**

Thanks for reading. Be sure to stop by Vonnie's blog for more Monday Manna.





Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/28/11

Finds for Fridays: October 28

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And here they are!

My Bottle of Tears by Kristi Huseby at Broken and Redeemed (about our preciousness to God)

Beautifully Blameless by Sherry Castelluccio at Embattled Warrior (about God's perspective)

Thankful is as Thankful Does by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about unworthiness vs. worthlessness)

The Sweetest Downfall by Jessica R. Patch at her blog (about Samson and the lessons we can learn)

Writing/Craft Posts
Blessings From A One-Star Review by Susan DeMickele at WordServe Water Cooler (about benefits of criticism)

On Being Mentored-Our Responsibilities by Mary Vee at The Writers' Alley (about what we can learn from mentors)


Thanks for stopping by - hope you'll check these posts out and be blessed as I was!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/25/11

W is for....well....

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Welcome to week TWENTY-THREE of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From  A 2 Z 4 U and me. (can you believe it? Only three weeks to go!) We're working through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog  to link up.
 One of the very best days of my life was my WEDDING. Not only did I become the WIFE of a WONDERFUL, fun, giving, and special man, but I got a new name.

That name? SHER. In case you're curious, it's pronounced like "sure" - as in "Sure, WHY not?" Some people think it's funny for just that reason. I suppose it won't be too hard for folks to find a way to make fun of it.

When I'm asked to spell my last name, nine times out of ten, I get to the end and folks are waiting for "the rest" of it. You know: Sherman? Sherwood?
Wiener Dog Hot Dog Pictures, Images and Photos
But, do you know WHAT? I WON'T ever complain about it. WHY? Because the last name I traded in on May 29, 1994 was, in a word, WORSE. Much WORSE.

You think "Raise Your Hand if You're Sure" is embarrassing? Try having kids sing a certain commercial jingle to you as you WALK by. Try having your surname be an..um..unmentionable part of the male anatomy.
WienerMobile Pictures, Images and Photos
Try teaching - middle schoolers  - WITH this WINNER of a last name. (Yeah, I feel sorry for my brother, his wife, AND his precious children. But they're more self-confident than I am anyway.)

Of course, I could always have folks pronounce it another WAY. It DOES allow for another "sounding out." But even that implies I'm an annoying complainer.

Thankfully, it's no longer an issue WITH me. It's in my history. I WON'T be using my maiden name unless I need to (it WILL certainly NOT be my pennname). Sher sure is fine with me.

WELL - are you WISE enough to figure out WHAT my last name WAS? If not, keep WONDERING: and check out my graphic "hints." And if you don't care? WHATEVA!

**

Now THAT was a fun post to write! I'm sure the others will bless you as well. Be sure to stop by Ordinary Lives for more "W" posts.


Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/24/11

Good



Living by Grace
Welcome to the combined Monday Manna with Living By Grace (click here for this new Facebook community). The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

AND now, we'll also be discussing the devotional - and thoughts about it - at Living By Grace.

And here's today's verse:
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1 Timothy 4:4
And the Lord saw that it was good.  You can find this phrase, or a slight variation of it, seven different times in just the first chapter of Genesis. EVERYTHING He created is good: algae, shellfish, hamsters, mountains, sequoias, pomegranate, pigs, and mosquitoes (yeah - even mosquitoes!). And that's just the beginning.

Sure, sin has tainted this world, but in its essence - in its creation by the God of the universe - God's declaration of its goodness does not change. Everything He created, whatever it is, is good.

But because God gave man free will, we have the ability to take anything good and make it, well, bad. And, as today's verse points out, it is often our attitude that creates that transformation.

When we are not thankful for what the Lord has provided - our families, the food on our tables, the job we have, the roof over our heads, the talents He gives us - those good things can quickly become stumbling blocks to living the life God wants us to. The good things become sin.

Everything that God has made is good, whether it seems that way or not. And thankfulness is one of the keys to keeping it that way - if not in our own eyes, then in God's.


**
Thanks for reading. Be sure to link up below with your own thoughts. And come chat with ME about this post at Living by Grace.





Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/21/11

Finds for Fridays: October 21

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And here they are!

Are You A Risk Taker With Your Relationships? By Terri Tiffany at her blog (about daring to trust and make friends)

Momentary Message by Lori McMath at Internet Cafe Devotions (about not leaving the message at church on Sunday)

The Colors of Grief by Alice J. Wisler at Jennifer Hudson Taylor's blog (about loss and grief and God)

Going Under For the Last Time by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about lack of faith and God's provision)

Shining Your Light by Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today (about being extraordinary - DON'T miss this one, folks. Gave me goosebumps!)

Hope you enjoy my choices - I know I did. Check them out!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/20/11

In Search of Hope - And October 24's Monday Manna Verse

I'm over at the Internet Cafe today,  talking about a week not too long ago when I was, well, GRUMPY. No valid reason, of course, especially considering the Lord's blessings. Stop by to read Where's Your Hope?






The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

I'm hosting this week. And here's the verse!
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1 Timothy 4:4

Looking forward to pondering and writing on this one. Hope you are too! See you back here then!


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/19/11

I'm at Jewels of Encouragement today

Be sure to stop by JoE today. I'm posting over there about leaving. Praying it encourages you (that's what the blog's about, yanno!).
 
Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/18/11

V is for...

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Welcome to week TWENTY-TWO of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From  A 2 Z 4 U and me. We're working through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog  to link up.

These seem to be getting harder and harder! I actually flipped through the dictionary (online, anyway), trying to find a good one for this letter. I briefly considered vacuum (my hate of them mostly, and how lonely ours is), vacation (how much I enjoy them), and "Valley Girl" (cuz I grew up as one). But they were discarded.

Then I remembered a "V word" that has a great impact on my life, especially over the past eight years. And that word is VISION.

My eyesight isn't the best - 20/400, to be exact. I've had glasses (or contacts - briefly, anyway) since sixth grade. My husband has been in corrective lenses since first grade. So, even before eight years ago, vision was an issue. We just assume our kids will eventually need glasses.

After his first brain surgery
But then in August of 2003, a tumor was found on my husband's brain, in the optic chiasm - where his two optic nerves meet. And his vision, in a word, decreased exponentially. He has no sight in one eye (though that eye is sensitive to light) and no peripheral vision in the other - about a 30 degree range of vision. He has other symptoms too (which I won't go into here), but this, I'm sure he'd agree, is the one hardest for him to cope with. He can't drive. He can't concentrate for very long without a headache. Bright colors overwhelm him. I think I'll stop there.


The patch helps with brightness
But God has been with us in so many ways during this journey. I could go on and on (and in fact do, in the book I've written on the topic - looking for an agent). Suffice it to say, he has shown Himself over and over, and we have been blessed through this trial. He has been our VISION through all this.

About five years ago (three year after Marc's turmor was found), I wrote a story for the FaithWriters writing challenge about sight and vision. While it isn't true, I don't think I could have written it if my husband and I hadn't been through what we did. Click here if you'd like to read "Crystal Clear." Even though it's one of my very early entries, it's probably one of my very faves.

So, that's my V. Be sure to stop by Peejers' blog for more V posts (and be back here for next week's - I already know what I'm doing with "W" :D).

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

Why I Can't Fly

(and why you probably can't either LOL) I'm over at my DEAR friend Jennifer Slattery's blog today, talking about those "all things" we can do through His strength - and why we can't do some things.

Enjoy my post, and stick around Jen's blog - it's a great one!

Traveling Rough Roads with God's Strength

10/17/11

Pride and Humility

Living by Grace
This week, Vonnie is hosting Monday Manna, so be sure to pop over to My Back Door and read the other entries, and link up if you want to participate. And we're also discussing this post at Living By Grace today. Would love to have you join the discussion there!


Here's today's verse:
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
Ever wondered why, when you're doing good things for God, they don't always work out? Why your efforts to bring folks to Christ, for instance, or raise support to be a missionary are such a struggle. Ever had a great lesson to teach your Sunday school class, but you got tongue-tied, or the kids refused to listen?

There are several possible reasons, of course. God's timing. Outside circumstances.  The hearer isn't ready. And that's just a few. But there's one that perhaps you don't consider too often.
Could it be that God is opposing you?
I don't know about you, but just because I'm doing the Lord's work doesn't mean I'm in His will. My motives are not always right in His eyes. I write for selfish reasons. I serve to be praised. I pray to look good. I share the gospel to "increase my numbers." I help my husband in hopes he'll help me back.

I think, in brief, that my reasons are more important than God's.  I'm looking to make MYSELF increase, whether I realize it or not. And that is displeasing to the Lord. And though He sometimes allows us to succeed despite our attitudes, it is not always so. Sometimes, when our pride is our motive, He opposes us, and the work we are doing. And it doesn't succeed.

But if we humble ourselves and do His work for His glory, then perhaps He will show us favor and give us the victory - in HIS name.

Heavenly Father, I know that my motives are not always pure, and that sometimes THAT is the reason my ministry is unsuccessful. Help me, Lord, to do everything for You, and with the motives You wish me to have, because then, no matter the outcome, I know I will be in Your will. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

**
Thanks for reading. Be sure to stop by Vonnie's blog for more Monday Manna. And come chat with ME about this post at Living by Grace.




Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/14/11

Finds for Fridays: October 14

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And here they are!

Every Day Is Tax Season by Lynda Schultz at Grains of Sand (about images, coins, and man)

U is for...Unforgettable by Kim Russell at Roar Of A Lioness (about black swans and bffs)

Microcosm of Humanity by Joy Bach at Life Moments (about people watching)

Embracing Change with Ruthy and Oprah, Only Oprah's More Famous by Ruth Logan Herne at Seekerville (about the benefits of change, and our hate of it)

WRITING/CRAFT POST:
The Difference between Knowing And Understanding: Successful Writers Get It! By Scott Eagan at Babbles from Scott Eagan (about mastering the craft)

Enjoy these posts - I know I did. Have a great weekend!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/11/11

After you check out my blog makeover... ;)

Click here if you haven't seen my post about it :)

But THEN, stop by author and publicist Jennifer Hudson Taylor's blog. This month is National Sensory Awareness Month, and she invited folks with special needs children to share their experiences, struggles and joys on her blog. And, well, I'm there today. Come see what I have to say about being Friendly...To A Fault?

Thanks!



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

U is for... UNVEILING

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Welcome to week TWENTY-ONE of my dear, dear friend Patty Wysong's From  A 2 Z 4 U and me. We're working through the alphabet - one letter each Tuesday. No rules, other than your post has to relate to the letter of the week. Link up at Ordinary Lives and check out everyone else's post. Click on the graphic above for more details, and stop by Patty's blog  to link up.
Unveiling what, you ask?? Well, if you're reading my blog on a reader (Hi, Marc!) or through email, perhaps you have no idea. But if you're actually at my site, you may have a BIT more of an idea.

Welcome to my BLOG MAKEOVER! Dontcha love it? I know I do.

I've been itching for a new look for several months now. In and of itself, that's surprising, because I'm a routine kinda gal. Not much for change. But for whatever reason, I was getting bored with my old header (which I made myself, thankyouverymuch) and colors. And I wanted to incorporate my tagline"Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength" into the theme. But blog design is NOT my talent.

So, I turned to my near and dear Patty Wysong, who knows my brain as well as anyone I know (we share it, after all LOL), and gave her a bit of a project. And though I definitely was challenging, she came through with FLYING colors. And she was even willing to put it up for me to correspond with my u post (cuz I'm anal that way).

I LOVE the header. And the colors. AND the dividers. AND my drop-down navbar (REEAALLLLYYY love that!!). I'm so very pleased with how it looks.

And here's my button. Grab it if you'd like (code's on my sidebar)!

Joanne Sher. Traveling rough roads with God’s strength. An Open Book.

So, if you're not here, pop over and give it a look. And, of course, lemme know what you think. (and in case you don't know, Patty doesn't just design for me. If YOU're looking for a new look on your blog, pop over here and check out her designs and classes. Beautiful, and super reasonable!)

So, that's U :) Can you believe we've only got five more letters? Be sure to pop BACK over to Peej's blog for the other a2z posts.

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

10/10/11

"Old-Fashioned" Paths


Living by Grace
Welcome to the combined Monday Manna with Living By Grace (click here for this new Facebook community). The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

AND now, we'll also be discussing the devotional - and thoughts about it - at Living By Grace.

And here's today's verse:
This is what the LORD says:“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it." Jeremiah 6:16
Looking forward to your thoughts. Mine are below.

**
New can be so exciting. Very few would choose, all things equal, an old computer, let's say, over a new one. New things often catch our eye. New kinda goes with improved - and who doesn't want something improved?

Today's culture is always looking for the next thing. The world seems to be run by the young and up-and-coming. And, it seems, nothing old is valued.

And it's a shame. Because a whole lot can be said for experience. For the familiar. For time-tested and faithful. For what we know works.

An excellent example of this, of course, is God's Word. Parts of it are several thousand years old, and even the "newest" of it has been around for close to twenty centuries. And many people today think that, because the Bible is old, it's irrelevant. Because it's not "new and improved," it's not worth learning about.

We can look at the world and all its bright and shiny, colorful promises. We see all the new things, and long to grasp them. And just to the side is the ancient path - the good way. It may not tempt us, but if we are quiet, and listen to His voice within us, it calls. And if we walk in it, we will find rest for our souls, for He will give us that rest.

**

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Be sure to share yours in the linky below, and read others' comments. And jump in and join the discussion at Living by Grace as well.


 
Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/9/11

Seeing Fall - and Giveaway winner!

I love the fall. And have since the very first time I "saw" it (REAL fall - changing leaves, etc. Not Southern California fall LOL). I share a bit about my first experience with a colorful autumn over at the Barn Door today. Hope you'll check it out!

But that's not what you're here for, is it? You wanna know who won the Starbucks card, right? Well, first, don't forget to check out Lisa's book, Her Safari - pick up a copy here. And check out my post here if you haven't already.

AND - tomorrow the blog tour continues at my very, VERY dear friend Cat's blog: http://catrinabradley.blogspot.com/. I do believe she's having a gift card giveaway as well.

Okay, enough of the delay. I used the random number generator to choose one commenter for the prize. And the winner is...

WANDA!!

Congratulations, my friend. We'll be getting that out to you quick.


Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/7/11

Finds for Fridays: October 7

Click here to enter my giveaway for a $5 Starbucks gift card - and learn more about Lisa Mikitarian's wonderful book, Her Safari. WINNER ANNOUNCED SUNDAY.

Finds for Fridays is my way of sharing some of the wonderful blogs posts I read each week. I am currently following close to 100 blogs and at least scan them as much as I can. Each week, I'll note and "set aside" some posts that especially speak to me for whatever reason. And each Friday that I am able, I'll share them with you. I hope you'll stop by and read the posts, and maybe even follow the blogs if you aren't already. A win-win, right?

And here they are!

The #1 Reason Why You Should Kiss With Your Eyes Open by Jessica R. Patch at her blog (just prepare to laugh so hard you cry)

Overwhelmed But Not Overcome by Hanne Moon at Jewels of Encouragement (about evil, Ecclesiastes, and a bit of hope)

Her Sister's Hero by Sherry Castulleccio at Embattled Warrior (about God's power and our reluctance)

Borrowing Tomorrow's Troubles by Kristen Schiffmann at On Talk 21 (about living in today)


WRITING CRAFT POSTS
Characterization Multitasking by Linda Yezak at 777 Peppermint Place (about showing both characters from one's point of view)

Your Words Right Now By Julia Reffner at The Writers Alley (about our writing purpose)

Hope you enjoy these posts. Stop by and read - and maybe even follow these blogs. You won't be disappointed!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

10/6/11

If You Start Something... (with a giveaway)

you should finish it. That's what they say, anyhow. 

And, in a surprising twist, my dear friend Lisa Mikitarian, for perhaps one of the first times in her life, did. And it was good.

demmehouse
What is it, you ask? Her Safari: Snapshots Along The Way - a wonderful book about a variety of women we can all relate to. This collection of short stories will make you laugh, cry, and nod. Lisa Mikitarian is a wonderful writer, and each story draws you in and keeps you intrigued. (Click on the link to buy it. Go ahead. I'll wait)

But I digress (LOL sort of - as this post is actually SUPPOSED to be about the book - just play along, okay?).


As I was saying, Lisa, bless her heart, is not one to finish projects. She's a great starter - but getting to the end often eludes her. She sets goals, but she doesn't meet them. She makes plans, but they don't come to fruition.

For example, Ms. Mikitarian LOVES knitting. She's made several parts of socks, sweater arms, and perhaps even half a scarf or two. But a completed piece, ready for use? HIGHLY unlikely. (and note how MANY unfinished socks are in the picture here. ;) )

She decided that, for a year, she'd decorate her husband's car with messages. It lasted eight months. The list goes on. And then, of course, there's her...um...er...daily hygiene. I hope she eventually finishes THIS project :D. (The right side of your hair looks LOVELY, my dear)

And so, to celebrate the one project Lisa Mikitarian DID finish, I'd like to encourage you to pick up this book - for yourself, first of all, and of course as a Christmas gift for a woman (or two) in your life. Click here to order this wonderful book (and if you click on HGIM when you order, part of the proceeds will go to Heart of God International Ministries - what a bonus!

Leave a comment on this blog post, and you're automatically entered to win a $5 Starbucks gift card. Winner will be announced here, on THIS blog, on Sunday, October 9.

But before I go, I decided to ask Lisa a few questions - to maybe get to the bottom of this "not finish what you start thing."
 Hmmm…Joanne--this feels like a trick question! There are little pieces of me sprinkled here and there in many of the stories. I’ve never been on Percocet--am terrified of the prospect--because most likely I would behave like Ms. Scott. I did sneak a dog home that wasn’t a Dachshund, and I did go alone to Greece when I was 19 when my girlfriend ditched me, and where a senior citizen tour group saved me from my own stupidity. From time to time, I’m a melancholy martyr, an eagle-eye mom, and a smart wife who could whip up a smorgasbord if I needed to--well, half a smorgasbord, anyway.
Which MC would finish a project she starts (and is therefore completely unlike me)? Either Colleen from “Lord, Not another Shop Vac Christmas”--I fantasized what it would be like to be a completely self-sufficient homemaker for that one--or Catherine from “Heartburn at Mike’s Bar and Grill”--she’s so uptight, she scares me.

Click here to order a copy of this wonderful book, for you AND every woman on your Christmas list. And don't forget to comment on this post to be entered for a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

Monday Manna for October 10 - New Verse

The purpose of Monday Manna to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. Each Thursday, a Bible verse to ponder will be posted, either here or at my dear friend Vonnie's blog, My Back Door. The following Monday, those participating will post their thoughts on the verse at their own blogs and link up at the bottom of the post in the Mr. Linky  gadget. The main purpose is to chew on the same Scripture and learn from one another.

I'm hosting this week. And here's the verse!
This is what the LORD says:“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it." Jeremiah 6:16
See you back here on Monday!

Riding God's Grace Over Rough Roads

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