3 Aspects of Faith for Daily Life

I was so upset one day after a phone call from someone I dearly loved.  I was not happy with the situation I thought they were allowing…I wanted them to do something different, but I knew I couldn’t tell them that . . . I’d already done that a few times. . . and it didn’t work. So I went for a walk on the beach.  It was a gorgeous day with blue skies and glitters on the aqua blue waves. The air was warm. People were walking and swimming and playing. . .a beautiful day.  I took in the beauty, but inside I cried out to God. “Lord, I need to hear from you on this. I need your perspective.  I don’t want it to go this way.  I want to fix it. I want to shake someone so they see it correctly.” I was looking up and there may have been tears in my eyes. When I finished my little rant, I glanced to my side.  There on a bench about 20 feet away sat a man with a black t-shirt on. In huge white letters his t-shirt said, “Stay Calm and Walk On.” At first, I did not want to acknowledge that God was answering me like that. But He was.

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Faith needs Hope. Without hope, there is no foothold for faith, no path to walk on. The Bible tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, so hope needs to be present.  You have a desire, a need, a dream and you hope for a fulfillment, an answer to your desire.  If you spend time in the Bible, known as the Word of God (what He says), you’ll find all kinds of promises, and more often than not, there will be a promise for what you want or need.  So, you want it, God promises it, and now you build on that with faith. You believe and trust that you will get the answer, the need met, the desire fulfilled.

Faith works by Love. Faith doesn’t stand alone when you are believing and trusting. It travels down a two-way street of love.  One direction is knowing that God loves you and wants the best for you, and the other direction is loving Him and the people He has set around you.  1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible holds amazing truths about love.  We can have all kinds of faith, but faith is nothing without love.  That chapter in the Bible tells us love isn’t rude, but is kind. It doesn’t rejoice in evil but in truth. Love isn’t resentful and touchy. Helping others in faith, hope, and love will open doors for you.

Faith without Works is dead. The Greek word for work is ergon, meaning toil, effort, labor. Sometimes we want to believe God for what we need and never do a thing…just sit back and wait. There is a certain truth to that…it’s called resting in the Lord, letting go, not trusting in our own efforts. However, there is a toil, an effort, a labor to standing firm in your trust, in obeying God in those little and big things He may nudge you to do. It is a bit of a dichotomy, but you let go of your own way of doing things, put your situation in God’s hands, and then speak and act as if it’s done, staying vigilant to hear and obey what He wants you to do.

So now what do I do about the situation that so upset me. I have to walk in faith. I have asked God to lead me to promises and verses that lay a foundation of hope. On those I build my faith and trust God to fulfill those promises. I stay calm in faith and make a continuing effort to walk in love, knowing God loves those involved more than I ever could, and He can guide them. And then my work, my ongoing effort is to pray for His will to be fulfilled, to trust and believe and to speak the promises in faith, knowing God will bring them to pass. And if He nudges me to say something, do something, I will obey.

Construction Zone Living in Paradise

Yes, we winter in Paradise. Hurricane Irma wrought havoc with many places not far from here. Amazingly the place we rent on an island in the inter-coastal of the Gulf sustained little damage. At least that’s what we thought – there were only a few issues, but no devastation. Enter the necessary corrections. Life is full of necessary corrections. Now, this isn’t to get your sympathies. We have not experienced the devastation that many did nor are we dealing with catastrophic problems . . . just those annoying noises and awful smells and messes that seem to last forever. You can grumble, or endure, or laugh, or a little of all three. I know those who remain in the north dealing with way too much snow, cold, ice, slush, full time jobs with way too many demands, kids with way too many activities and sicknesses may well be thinking nasty thoughts already about my ‘complaints’, but I’d prefer you laugh and maybe even find a bit of relief. Did you ever hear two cranes go beep, beep, beep for several hours—it’s really nice when they quit.

Now, I’m not from Perfect Country, but Fun Country is in my ancestry, and when fun gets poked at by annoying things, well, it’s just annoying. Stress comes in all forms and as a Bible believer, I strive to follow the admonitions my Lord has given me: Cast all your care on Him for He cares for you. Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Peace I give you. Do not fret, it leads only to evil doing. He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him. I know these verses intimately and believe them wholeheartedly. There’s also the caveat of obedience. If you obey, all these blessings follow you (and they are great blessings – check out Deuteronomy 28). Stress is an area in which I sometimes struggle. I do trust the Lord with my life and that of my family and pray earnestly for them and others daily. But those deadlines and those interruptions that keep you from the deadlines or those little things that make a short job take way too much time. . . aaah! I see you guys on facebook and I know they bug you too. But stress is awful for your health, so we really need to heed the verses about trusting rather than stressing.

I’m retired and spending three months in Florida. But in many ways I’m not truly retired. I’m no longer teaching, but now I’m an author. Five of my book have been published, a sixth is scheduled for release this summer. One other is complete and I’m hoping it will be published. Two books are in progress and I want to complete them and see them published. Plus, I do some writing for Guideposts Magazine and I need to keep up with that. But, guess what . . . after the signing of contracts followed by all the rejoicing and jumping up and down in excitement, the editing process arrives and it may be awful or wonderful or both. Then the book is released – it’s amazing and so exciting. My first grandchild will be born this summer – I’ll find out probably that book launches are not as wonderful as grandchildren.

But, after a book is released, the writer is to be the marketer. Some authors are naturals or easy learners on that front. Somehow I missed the gifting, so I must work at it. So anyway, I’m retired but not really. However, I am in Florida for three months and get to walk the beach every day – please, put down the snowballs, and really, don’t spit. Dolphins swim right next to the seawall and our view from the eighth floor is magnificent. We can’t complain, but if we look down there are two huge dumpsters, a porta potty, and the big smelly cooker that heats the tar for the roof repair. The crane rolls back and forth right outside our window and balcony. For some reason when I look in our bedroom bathroom mirror and see the crane going back and forth with tar, debris, and air conditioners I get a little dizzy, but the view past that is marvelous so no complaining . . . things will be great when it’s all done.

So back to the entrance of the necessary corrections. The elevators were damaged by the hurricane. For two months plus, there has been one elevator working at a time, and so much stuff around that area . . . barriers, tools, workers, noise . . . but repair was getting done. Noisy, a little smelly, sometimes a longer wait. Just this week we have two elevators and the doors are clean again, the lobby is almost clean, although the elevator floors are still really a mess. Elevator Two is good except it won’t stop at floor 2 going up, only down, but hey, we have two elevators. Those bugs will get worked out, and the workers have been great.

Now the carports had most of their metal roofs ripped off. Those took just a few weeks to replace, but have you ever heard three or four people pounding rivets into metal I-beams for six hours a day – it’s quite a noise. But hey, we all have carports again.

The roof – well, that’s involved. First they have to move the air conditioners . . . 96 of them. Many residents had to get new ones. Those had to be delivered, dollied in, physically lifted from the 8th floor through a closet size opening up a ladder – painful to watch. Soon they took them up on the crane. Of course the old ones had to be removed. Then the roof repair needed lots of tar – ever smell hot asphalt. . . it’s bad. The cooker is just outside in one of the parking areas and it’s strong awful sickening smell is carried by the wind up to all the balconies with the beautiful view. No sitting outside when the wind blows your way. Now for some, their air conditioners were off while roof repair was going on and the temperature was in the mid to high 80’s. Because of the smell, though, they couldn’t have their windows open . . . construction in paradise.

When I taught, I had all the fifth grade science classes. I loved doing the chemical experiments. However, when I moved the chemical substances in their sealed containers around in the closet, there was one that made my tongue and lips tingle – literally. All I did was pick it up and move it and I could feel it affect me. I have a hard time going down the detergent and cleaning supplies aisle in a store because of the smells . . . that tar smell made my head hurt.

So in the midst of all this we’re having a big baby shower in our condo for our daughter and son-in-law who will have their first child, a boy, our first grandchild. I am over the top excited and as is my personality, which reveals just a bit of Control Country ancestry, I’m totally focused on having everything ready for this party. The plan is for it to be perfect and fun . . . no wiggle room. Bethany and GC are flying down from Washington DC on a Friday. Bethany texts me Thursday to pray as there is a wind warning . . . 50 plus mph winds for Friday. Bethany and GC have experienced lots of delays when flying, so we’re praying for favor and protection and getting out on time. Thank God they did – later on Friday and Saturday hundreds of flights in the northeast were canceled and delayed.

While they were en route we were notified that our ac is being turned off. Not the following Monday, but today – Friday. At least it was no longer in the mid 80s but the low 70s – we’d be fine without ac. No problem. The kids arrive. There is no construction on the weekend so no smell, no noise, just beauty and no ac. One elevator, lobby full of air conditioner boxes, but we’re good.

Saturday morning. Kids sleeping in and Lee going for a run. I’m finishing up things and starting food. Lee comes back. The elevator is out, not working. We’re on the 8th floor. 25 people coming to our condo. Not all of them can do stairs. Several of them are bringing food. There’s no elevator. Lee starts making contingency plans. Can we go down to the library on the first floor – it’s such a pretty area and socials are often held there. Oh, wait, it’s full of ac boxes. Okay, we may have to transfer everything to Lee’s sister’s condo on the third floor.

What is my thinking  . . .that the elevator needs fixing! Have they called the repairmen? Where are they? Don’t they know I’m having a party? Lee keeps making plan B. I’m gripping tightly to plan A and praying. I have food and tables and decorations – I have spent days getting it all ready. Well, deep breath, calm down. Okay, I’d better let people know that we may have a problem. I’ll assure them it’ll be fixed, but don’t try to come early. Now I must mention I’d suggested everyone come a little early since it was likely they’d sit for a half hour on the mile-long causeway due to the heavy traffic going into the huge state park that takes up most of the island. The two previous Saturdays and Sundays traffic had taken almost an hour to travel the causeway. But now, it was cooler, so maybe there wouldn’t be such a backup, so no need to be early unless it takes time to walk up eight flights of stairs.

11 AM the elevator works! Thank you Lord!! Judy is breathing and rejoicing – see, I knew all along. Everything is good. Parking maybe tricky for those coming, as the parking lot is full of dumpsters, huge cooker, porta potty, and crane, but it’ll be okay.

Everybody made it. All the food made it. The party turned out well. It was great fun. The food was good. Everyone had a good time. I was happy and thankful as were the mom and dad-to-be.

The kids flew home Sunday – with delays, but only a few hours. They still got a good night’s sleep before work on Monday. I was a little tired on Monday – maybe a bit burned out. The workers returned, worked on the roof and the elevator, the cooker smoked up that smelly tar, but it was a pretty day. Got my walk in. Thank you Lord – all went well for the shower . . . didn’t really need ac and today the wind blew the nasty smells away from us.

Tuesday was the day to get back to my writing deadlines. I’d been so focused on the shower that I wasn’t even sure what my deadlines were. I needed to go over all my to-do lists and just get my head once more wrapped around writing and marketing, promotions and social media.

First on Tuesday, before the workers fired up the cooker and the crane rose in front of me and the hammers and pounding on the roof began, I sat on the balcony with my Bible, praying. Actually they were already on the roof and really hammering, but that was so much better than the hideous tar smell. I thanked God for a great weekend with the kids and all the family on both sides, thanked Him for the beautiful view, and the blessing of being in Paradise, and I asked Him to help me focus on my writing, have ability in marketing, and stamina to do my necessary work.

That’s when Lee called to me to come help, grab some towels, for the kitchen floor was flooding. Whaaat? Or, maybe, Well, of course, why wouldn’t that happen. We had ceiling leaks when we first arrived, had to put buckets in the living room when it rained. Why shouldn’t the kitchen flood? I’m laughing now – I mean, thank you Lord it didn’t happen on Friday before the shower. Lee turned off the water, we mopped up with the towels. Lee got a fan on the hallway carpet where it spilled out of the kitchen. We called Craig who’s in charge of many of the construction issues and he called the plumber. The plumber arrived an hour later . . . that was quick. He and Lee and Craig discuss the situation. I laugh.

He checked to see if it was the dishwasher. It wasn’t, so it went back in – but not quite right, so it began to leak the next day and the little seeps were kind of sneaky. We almost missed it, but the carpet wouldn’t dry. The plumber returned a few days later and that was fixed. But our problem this day was this old, old pipe that was put in years ago to provide water to wash the garbage chute that stood right by our kitchen window. The roofers had discovered the one at the other end of the building but hadn’t located the one at our end. Guess what – we found it. I laughed . . . can’t seem to quit laughing. But to get to it they had to jack-hammer . . . yes, jack-hammer into our cinder-block wall in the kitchen until they found the hidden pipe. Did I mention that I’m laughing? They found it, cut it and capped it off. They’ll fix the hole in the wall when everything on the roof is done and they’re sure there are no more leaks. . . this summer, maybe mid-spring. Can you hear me laughing?

So, we’ll be here a couple more weeks. The cooker is still there, but they haven’t fired it up for several days. We have two elevators as of a few days ago, and when they tested them they had to set off the fire alarms to make sure the elevators respond accordingly. The buzzer for the fire alarm is attached to the outside of the garbage chute – outside our kitchen window. Of course it is. The fire alarm works quite well . . quite loud, quite long. It’s ability to work well is obvious when it goes off every few minutes. There’s a lot of pounding still on the roof. It only bothers me when it’s the same tap, same rhythm for ten minutes at a time right above where I’m writing. Other than that, the intermittent constant noise is just background . . . well, sort of.

Friday they brought two more cranes, another dumpster and another porta potty into the parking area next to the building. Oh, but wait, two more arrived and so there were four . . . the cranes of Paradise . . . the ones that go beep, beep, beep, for a couple hours at a time. Is it illegal to disconnect that beep beep, beep? Some have told me it is. I’m praying I won’t have men in a crane basket outside my window and balcony scraping shingles and nails for our last days here – that would interfere with the beautiful view. But, alas, they’re there today. I can always walk on the beach or go watch the dolphins – they like to hear me laugh.

There’s a New Cheesehead on the Block!!

Woo hoo! The Cheesehead Devotional, Hall of Fame Edition, has just released through SonRise Devotionals, a division of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It’s been a very busy year-plus in the making. This is the second in the series. The Kickoff Edition came out in 2012 . . . yes, 5 years ago. It’s still a strong seller. This one focuses on the Packer Hall of Famers. I was totally delighted to have Bonita Favre, Brett’s mom, write my foreword. She endorsed the first one and graciously agreed to write the foreword for this book.

Reggie White’s wife, Sara, wrote the foreword for the Kickoff Edition and endorsed the Hall of Fame Edition. I was so pleased that Kevin Harlan gladly endorsed as well. Kevin is the son of Bob Harlan, former Packers President. He also announces football and basketball for CBS, TNT, and Westwood One. Kevin wrote: ‘As a man of faith and with a profound interest in the Green Bay Packers, I can tell you that the two are joined seamlessly in Judy DuCharme’s The Cheesehead Devotional, Hall of Fame Edition.’

Wayne Larrivee, game-day voice of Packer radio endorsed both books, saying about the newest: ‘Judy DuCharme has taken the quotes of Lombardi and the spirit of some of the greatest Packer players of all time and skillfully woven them into a series of inspirational messages for us all.’

Well known fans, Steve “The Owner” Tate, and Wayne Sargent, the ‘Ultimate Packer Fan’ joined the endorsers. This book is written for the fans so I was delighted to have these two endorse the book.

So if you’re ready for the adventure of the game, the challenge to live strong with excellence, a time to honor the history of the Packers, and a view of many Lombardi quotes, this is your book. It’s available for on Amazon and soon to be in local stores. Let me know what you think on facebook (Judy DuCharme), @PackerJudy, or judyducharme7@gmail.com.

If you get the book on Amazon, would you be so kind to write a review. One or two sentences are all that’s needed. Thank you so much.

 

Christmas Ivy

Product Details

Christmas Ivy a heartwarming Christmas story with a twist of how God provides published by Prism Book Group in November 2016. It is available as an ebook at Amazon.

How can one visit alleviate the trials of the past few years? How can one quilt reveal truths never before realized?
It had to be a dream…
Her grandparents passed away a few years earlier, but here in the family kitchen on the dawn of Christmas morning, they greet her with the same love and sage advice she grew up with. Their presence captivates reality and brings Ivy to complete confusion.

Could this strange visit truly be the provision for which Ivy longed?

Excerpt: The sizzle of bacon cooking brought Ivy to an upright position out of sound sleep. The smoky flavor tantalized her nostrils as the fog in her mind slowly lifted. Her hands flew to her face. It’s Christmas! The words rose within her, not with joy, but with panic. How could she have slept so late!? Mama will have my head. I should be making breakfast. But wait. It’s Christmas! Mama must have let me sleep. A wonderful gift, to sleep past dawn. Ivy heard a gentle snoring and looked to see the cat curled next to her legs.

 

Run With the Wind

Product Details

Run With the Wind is part of a Christmas Cowboy novella series, published by Prism Book Group in November 2016. It is an ebook available at Amazon.

Linney Merritt loves her life in the Florida scrub where she assists her Pa in raising and taking cattle to market. The new cowman, Cyrus John, appreciates the chance to start over. Marrying holds no interest for either, but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. And then, just before Christmas, they find themselves fighting together to save the life of a calf, all while discovering the One who can remove fears and provide forgiveness.

Life changed for the world in a stable one Christmas. Could it also begin for Linney and Cy in this stable?

Excerpt: Nellie moaned, and Linney pulled. The emerging calf licked her face. “We better hurry, Pa. He just done licked me. Don’t want him thinkin’ I’m his mama.”

“You’ll make a good one someday.”

“That ain’t happenin’. Why would anyone want to go through this?”

Pa looked around Nellie’s bulk. His eyes found Linney’s. “For the likes of you, girl. It’s  worth it.”

 

Miracles Do Happen — Guideposts

Guideposts publishes books. One of those is Miracles Do Happen, 101 Glimpses of the Hidden Hand of God. It will include two stories from our family. One is Lee’s story of being instantaneously healed of a broken back. He was riding his motorcycle with his brother-in-law and hit an overgrown stump in a field. His 25% compression fracture of his 7th vertebrae could have made him a paraplegic. In a wonderful moment at a Kathryn Kuhlman service in the early 1970’s he was completely healed. He left his back brace in New York. The other story occurred the day after my nephew Matthew died. I saw a window into heaven open and Matt leaned forward to tell me he definitely was there. It makes me laugh and cry every time I think about it. The book was originally scheduled to be published in May 2017, but it has been put off to May 2018.

Christmas Novella and Short Story

November, 2016 will see the publication of Run With the Wind, Judy DuCharme’s Christmas Cowboy Novella, published by Prism Book Group. It’s the story of the Florida Cracker Cowboys, called Crackers as they cracked their whips to keep the cows in line and take out the varmints. It’s set in the Florida scrub land in the 1880’s. Cyrus John is the new cowman, but Linney Merritt is just fine not having a man in her life. She’s great at helping the cows give birth, but since her ma died in childbirth, she is not about to have that possibly occur in her life. The novella (short novel) will be part of a print collection and as well as a standalone ebook.

Also available in November by Judy DuCharme, and published by Prism Book Group, will be Christmas Ivy, a story of Christmas provision through amazing circumstances. It will be an ebook.

Society of the L.A.M.B. released 9/23/16

So happy to announce that Society of the LAMB will be re-released September 23, 2016 by Prism Book Group. It will be available on Amazon and many other places.

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Check out the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biM0a3RKIn0

Josiah knew he’d been detected, but by whom? He must get to Grandfather’s place to see if survival in this age was still possible. The stories from his youth about King Glory . . . could they be true? Could life and freedom be normal again. Not if the watchers had their way. The dreams, the visions, revealed he was chosen. Had he heard the shout? 

Can you be brave enough to let your inner light shine while other feel compelled to put that light out? Is your life showing?

Godly Grandeur — Perpetual Creation

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If you haven’t taken a walk in the woods this season, now would be the time. The beauty and continuous life seen there is breath-taking. The hush of the breeze, the variety of shape and size, the colors that wash over you represent the trueness of God. Even with the death process that is ongoing and the destruction that occasionally attacks, life is perpetual. . . like the first law of motion, that which is in motion tends to stay in motion.

Here in the woods, the motion of creation is displayed wonderfully. Creation is life. Yes,301 death and destruction attack and destroy, but life keeps going. To believe that God created this in six days is not hard to believe. To think that all this just happened is hard to believe. We have the saying ‘Life goes on’, and how true it is. We cry out against that saying when we have experienced evil and loss. That life goes on seems wrong and unfair. But, be thankful that it does. Look at the plants that grow unaided by human intervention . . . the trilliums, the lady-slippers, the forget-me-nots. A multitude of plants keep on growing, trees grow out of dead trees and through rock. God is life continuing.

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We say destruction is from God, we rail against God allowing evil and therefore conclude He doesn’t care. But life is what God does. Life keeps going perpetually. Think of the thousands of years that life has kept going. We think that accidents are God. An unwanted pregnancy may be an accident, yet is is precipitated by the law of sowing seed . . . you sow seed, you reap life. And think about the infant growing in the womb, the wonder of giving birth, the growth of that baby into someone with a totally unique personality, able to talk and walk and create and think brilliantly. Yes, a birth defect is an accident, not God’s original plan, and I know about that.  Yet, considering all that could possibly go wrong in the growing of an infant, because so much goes into that growing, it is amazing that the majority of births are defect free . . . that’s life continuing, God’s plan.

We know the agony of a young person dying at an early age, truly an accident, crying out against all that is right. Truly tragic as it is, it shows God’s plan is for life — for we correctly don’t think of early death as a right thing. We do take note and find comfort in the good that may come of it, but that again reveals that God’s purpose, His grandeur, is life, not death. He will help us go on . . . and it’s right that we do so, allowing His healing and comforting hand to work in us. Life does and must go on.

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We see evil in the world, but it is not from God — it comes from without. Even the word evil in English is live backwards. It’s a wrong direction, going against God’s purpose. 

Sometimes we worship what man does, his creative brilliant mind, the many inventions and commodities he has made. But where did that intelligence come from? God began it all with creating a world that perpetually continues, that demonstrates life.  We marvel at science, yet the laws that we use to create are the laws that God placed in the world. The law of lift, gravity, laws of motion, of thermodynamics. All of it we discovered in the world that God created. All the abilities of language, of communication, of intervention, came from the creative mind of God. He created a world that is logistically amazing and interdependent on its working parts.

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Even the simplest cell has over 60,000 proteins and thousands of interdependent parts . . . not simple at all . . . except that it is simply magnificent. Some say evolution is true because of similar systems in all animals. Yet, when we find a work of art, or pieces of writing, we identify the creator by the similar patterns. God has similar patterns throughout all living things, but the most marvelous variety you can imagine. We want to call it mother nature, but it’s Father God, who loves us and gave life that continues.

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So go outside and find a place where you can consider what God has done, what He is doing, and what He will continue to do. His heart for you is life, continual, restorative life. No matter what has attacked you, what lies have been told to you, God is a life-giving God. His Godly grandeur is perpetual life. Feel free to tap into it.

 

Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest

2014 was the year I entered the Guideposts Workshop Contest with thousands. Along with eleven others, I won and was sent to New York for an amazing week of training. In the March 2015 issue, the harrowing story of my niece who spent the night in the ocean was published. Here it is:

Clare Louis story Guideposts

If you have a story to write, the deadline for this year’s contest is June 10, 2016. Go to this site for all the information you need:  https://www.guideposts.org/enter-the-guideposts-writers-workshop-contest