Monday, June 30, 2014

Freedom

Today is a milestone birthday for me.

I’ve now been alive for 600 months. That’s 2,609 weeks . . . or 18,262 days. Yet no matter how I break down the math, I’ve lived a half century. There! I admitted it!

FFF July 1 Pic.1While the chubby cheeks and chunky thighs of infancy may never have abandoned me, much can change in fifty years. When I reflect upon national events that occurred during my formative years, I see a theme emerging that is fitting for a child of Freedom Summer.

When I was one day old, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Shortly after my first birthday, the Voting Rights Act, guaranteeing African Americans the right to cast election ballots, gained his signature. I rode to grade school with Helen Reddy belting “I am Woman” over the bus’s radio speakers. As women struggled for equal opportunities, I saw bras burned before I was old enough to wear one.

[caption id="attachment_548" align="alignright" width="199"]Photo Courtesy of MPhotography, Miranda Prusik Photo Courtesy of MPhotography, Miranda Prusik[/caption]

And each year, three days after smoke clears from my birthday candles, the skies light up as America celebrates another year of independence.

Another year of freedom.

As a woman whose age increases in the glow of July 4th fireworks, I can’t help contemplating which freedom is most important to me.  Freedom to vote? Freedom to work outside the home? Freedom to speak my mind on a public blog? All are priceless to me.

Yet another stands high above the rest:

Freedom to accept Christ as my Savior.

Amazingly, no individual, group, or government can take that privilege from me. No laws or chains or prison walls are strong enough to bar me from it.

FFF July 1 Pic.3Yet whether the Lord grants me another fifty years or fifty seconds on this earth, this treasured freedom comes with tremendous responsibility. As Christ's follower, I am called to realize my life is not about me. This day doesn’t exist for me to make a wish and blow out fifty candles atop a cake, though I likely will do so and enjoy it, too. Instead, my primary task is to live by and spread God's word, to share His love, to be His hands and feet, to put the needs and concerns of others above my own. Easy? Hardly. Worth it? You bet! The rewards fill eternity, and at fifty years, I'm just getting started.

Care to join me?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called walking.”  ~George W. Bush

A smile lifted my mouth when I read this quote from our former president. I could actually see him walking! Isn’t it amazing how a picture can stay with you over a length of time? This is exactly the reason I enjoy traveling to different locations to do research before I begin writing my novels.

Last year my family took a trip to Florida to visit the Tallahassee Museum. While visiting the “Big Bend Farm,” it gave me a glimpse of what living in the 1880s would look like. Here are a few pictures that have helped me to incorporate descriptions into my novel series called All Roads Lead To Texas.

[caption id="attachment_523" align="alignleft" width="300"]General Store General Store[/caption]




 

 

 

 

 

 

[caption id="attachment_528" align="alignright" width="300"]DSCN0331 The Buggy House[/caption]

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[caption id="attachment_534" align="alignleft" width="266"] The Potato House[/caption]

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If you ever get a chance to visit Florida, the Tallahassee Museum is a wonderful place for the entire family, and fun. There's nothing like flying across the trees at the Tree To Tree Adventures or having a sucker made with ants and crickets for an afternoon snack!

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignright" width="194"]Yep! Bacon & Cheese! Yep! Bacon & Cheese![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_536" align="alignleft" width="243"]YUM! YUM![/caption]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some pictures help us to write a better story, others to recall special times with family and friends, or as proof when your children eat ants for the first time. In any case, pictures are worth a thousand words, just don't forget your camera!

 

DSC_0904Tanya Eavenson enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weavers International, and writes for Christ to the World Ministries. Her novels are available on Amazon and other retailers. You can find her at http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/

 

 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Reading!

Happy Saturday to all our Faith-filled friends! We've got fun news to share with you, and just in time for the Fourth of July!

SweetFreedomCoverSweet Freedom book one is currently free on Amazon! Get it here!

Words hurt. Fears debilitate. Abuse creates long-term scars, wounds only a risen Savior can heal.
In these pages you will read stories of people held in bondage by fears, bitterness, and deep emotional wounds, set free by their loving, compassionate, all powerful Savior. The same Savior that longs to free you. For when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

This Fourth of July, may you grab hold of the freedom that penetrates to your very core. A freedom only Christ can give.

SF Front CoverAND book two in the series, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, is now available, and for under a dollar! Get it here!

For some, the fourth of July is a celebration of freedom; for others it is a reminder of bondage. Of pain. Of fear. Of hopelessness. But there is a hope that is deeper, a love that is truer, and a freedom that no one can ever snatch away.

How can one take a step toward that freedom when the road appears shrouded with insecurities and doubts? These pages contain numerous stories: a woman longing to start again but bound by the failures of her past; a young man who, upon reaching adulthood, must face his fears of death; a woman offered a chance of true love but held back by crippling insecurities.

Is God even there? Does He care…enough to reach down and pull these men and women from the messes they’ve landed in, some of them by their own hand?

Freedom. Peace-saturated, joy-infusing freedom.

We pray our stories demonstrate what it looks like in the day-to-day…and provide a little insight into how one grabs hold of that treasured state of heart and mind.

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Better Than A Bodyguard

Tom Selleck as Thomas Sullivan MangumAs of last month, I have three teenagers in my home. Thankfully, my oldest turned twenty the day before Christmas so I don't have four. She is living in an apartment while earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography less than an hour from here, so we see her often. She is doing quite well in school, managing her money and making good, God-honoring decisions. So I know we can do it, with God's help. We can successfully raise a child to an adult.

But with the other three, ages 15, 13 and 13, it seems to be a bit tougher. Circumstances lately have caused me to often doubt my skills as a mother. Life at the moment is just ... murky.

My children often tease me because I enjoy watching old TV shows. My current favorite is Magnum, P.I.. Several years ago it was Hawaii Five-O. Not the current version full of bikini-ready bodies, but the original, with the skinny Chin-Ho and fat, male Kono. My husband once asked me why I watched such out-of-date programs, and I told him it was because they were so much simpler and cleaner. True, some characters still killed and others died. They were cop shows after all. But when they died, they were found without multiple, graphic bullet holes, lying in gallons of spilled blood. Unrealistic? Probably. I don't care.

It's a cheap and temporary reprieve from a stressful and chaotic world, I know. But sometimes I just need a quick escape. The world seems to be changing far too quickly, and rarely for the better. The things my 15-year-old sees are far different from what my older daughter experienced just five years ago. And other than locking her up in a box until she is thirty, which I have seriously considered, there is very little I can do to protect her from a world that is decaying by the minute.

Or I could hire a Magnum lookalike to follow my kids everywhere, to keep them safe and keep trouble at bay. But even that would only protect their bodies.

What I can do, though, is pray. Because only Jesus knows not only everything that is happening now, he knows everything that is going to happen, whether in ten minutes or ten years. He can protect their hearts and minds. He can save their souls. And He can give me peace throughout it all.

And no matter how good-looking Thomas Sullivan Magnum is, he can't do that.




Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her Biblical fiction novels, In the Shadow of Sinai and By the Waters of Kadesh are available on Amazon and other retailers. You can find her at www.CaroleTowriss.com.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Glorious Discomfort

apartmentsAt first glance, the building didn't look so scary. If it had, my friend and I probably wouldn't have gone in. Or at least we would've prayed long and hard before we did. But shortly after we'd stepped into the dark inner hallway of the Kansas City low-income apartment building, the smell of smoke and mildew swirling around us, my pulse began to quicken.

Suddenly I became acutely aware of how vulnerable my friend and I were. And I wondered if maybe our husbands should've come with us. Or gone in our stead, leaving us to cook hotdogs or toss frisbees out in the grassy common area.

And yet, despite my uncertainty and insecurities, what we were doing felt so right. It was perhaps the most potentially "dangerous" experience I'd had in some time, and what was more, I'd placed myself in it intentionally--for Christ. Uncomfortable or not, it felt good. Because I knew my friend and I were exactly where God wanted us to be, doing exactly what God wanted us to be doing.
This is exactly where we find Ainsley Meadows, the heroine of my debut novel, Beyond I Do. She's a bit... cautious. She doesn't like surprises, and though she came from a broken home, she's lived a relatively sheltered life. She can't remember the last time she traveled into Kansas City's sketchier areas, if ever.

But one day, her mentor asks her to deliver medicine to an old woman who lives in an area plagued by crime. At first, Ainsley's scared. Stepping out of her fancy car, her slight frame decked in  department store garb, she feels as if a bright red target is attached to her back. concentric-rings-4-1101918-mTo reach the individual apartments, she must go inside, closing herself off from daylight and watching eyes (not that the eyes outside, watching her like hungry foxes bring her any comfort).

She enters the dim hall, similar to the one I had a few years previously, her senses alert to every smell and sound. Prepared to run, if need be.

What she isn't prepared for is the brokenness she sees when a drunken man storms out of his apartment, leaving a battered woman and her son cowering on the floor.

She sees them for but a flash, but that's all it takes for the two to become permanently seared on her mind and heart. She doesn't know how to help them, or even if she can. But she knows she must do something.

Because you can't encounter the broken, the helpless and hopeless, and walk away unchanged.

Both Ainsley and I faced an uncomfortable situation, situations we could've avoided. And yet, my encounter with inner-city missions creating a lasting impact and passion. That encounter and others like it trickles into everything I write.

I know Ainsley would say the same. Her encounter with that battered woman and child radically changed her trajectory--for the good. No, scratch that. For the glorious. If she and I had avoided that frightening situation, or turned back when we began to feel uncomfortable, we might've missed the amazing things God had planned. Amazing things like heart change, life change, ministry opportunities; we might've missed catching a vision of our calling.

What about you? When has an uncertain or uncomfortable situation turned into an amazing God-encounter? When has God used an uncomfortable situation to bring clarity to your calling? Tell us about!

Or maybe God is calling you to something right now that feels frightening, uncertain, and uncomfortable. Maybe you're looking for any excuse to bolt, but what if God's asking you to hold tight to the one reason to keep stepping?

BeyondIDocoverYou can find out more about Ainsley's steps of faith in Beyond I Do, currently available for preorder here, at a 26% discount. You can read about the woman who encouraged Ainsley to take this first step here.

And you can tell us about your steps of faith (or God's nudgings) in the comments below.

About the book:

Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiance' or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.