Guest Poem: Has Anyone Seen my Aplomb?

by: Tonja Taylor

Has anyone seen it—my dear aplomb?
Maybe I left it behind at home;
Or put it on a secret shelf,
To wear when I didn’t like myself.

I had it before; it was clearly seen,
Or so to my keen intellect it seemed; 
Didn’t I infer what they implied?
I thought t’was my aplomb they spied—

Sparkling, striking, powerfully pleasing;
“It becomes you,” they said with a grin.
(Then again, it might have been
That they were only teasing.)

Surely it didn’t fall and slip
Down the sink while I did dishes–
Now lost on some iridescent trip
Of ethereal suds and squishes?

Did the maid, in cleaning determination
Think it dust or an aberration?
And remove it forever from its place
In the room where I daily put on my face?

I wore it with charm and poise, and grace.
With style, panache, finesse,
But now I have misplaced my aplomb,
And everything’s a mess.

Maybe the verbal snafu last night
Caused my aplomb to leave in flight;
I should have know it could erase
It; and perhaps make me lose face …

It’s quite the faux pa I have made
I guess; but even so
The moi I was I wouldn’t trade
For the new me I now know.

You can enjoy more of Tonja Taylor’s work on her website:

Learn to Love the Skin You’re In … by Amelia

Another thought-provoking article by a wonderful writer, Amelia, at The Bottom Line:

We can’t change our skin like snakes do; so, learning to be comfortable in our own skin is vital. We have to love ourselves, or else others will find it hard to do it for us. The message about “loving our bodies” is worn out. Yet, people aren’t convinced. Maybe it’s because the message about “skinny being the only sexy,” is louder.

Numerous people struggle to love their bodies—a large percentage of them are teenagers. An article on Huffington Post states, “About 40 percent of 10 and 11-year-old girls in the U.K. want to lose weight. That number rises to 54 percent in 12 and 13-year-old girls and to a stunning 63 percent among 14 and 15-year-olds.” While boys are less concerned about body image, they’re not all exempt.

Finish this post here … 

Lewis Does It…Again

I so wish I could’ve met C.S. Lewis! He “gets” me like he’s inside my head sometimes. Then again, other times, he washes completely over my head and leaves me gasping for breath, dazed and confused.

This arrived in my inbox last Thursday. I love everything about it. From the consideration of redeemed creation to the gentle appreciation for broken-down bodies.

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the resurrection of the body and of all creation; and on the goodness of the bodies we now have.
26 November 1962
My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain. I ventured the supposal—it could be nothing more—that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us. Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves? That may be the way in which the ‘new heaven and the new earth’30 are formed. Of course we can only guess and wonder.
But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a- days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful—to our great impoverishment. Not that you and I have now much reason to rejoice in having bodies! Like old automobiles, aren’t they? where all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out. Well, it was not meant to last forever. Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old rattle-trap. Through it God showed me that whole side of His beauty which is embodied in colour, sound, smell and size. No doubt it has often led me astray: but not half so often, I suspect, as my soul has led it astray. For the spiritual evils which we share with the devils (pride, spite) are far worse than what we share with the beasts: and sensuality really arises more from the imagination than from the appetites: which, if left merely to their own animal strength, and not elaborated by our imagination, would be fairly easily managed. But this is turning into a sermon!
From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Book Tour for “How Sweet The Sound”

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Book Title: How Sweet the Sound
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (March 4, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1426749287
ISBN-13: 978-1426749285
Genre: Historical Gospel Fiction

How-Sweet-the-Sound Book Cover
About The Book:
Shar Gracey wants nothing more than to sing the Lord’s praises, so she jumps at the chance to join a traveling choir led by the father of black gospel music, Thomas A. Dorsey. Better yet, the opportunity will give her money to pay for her ailing mother’s medical care.
While on tour she falls under the tutelage of gospel great Mahalia Jackson—and falls for the handsome but not-so-great Nicoli James, whose desires for Shar are fueled by his own greed. Shar would do anything for Nicoli—and he knows it—so when his life is threatened after a night of gambling, Shar agrees to help pay Nicoli’s debt, only to have her faith and dreams shattered.
Reeling from the betrayal, Shar loses her voice and she believes that she will never sing again. She has no place to run except back home to her seriously ill mother—and the man she left behind, who would move heaven and earth to make Shar’s pain go away. Even if it means he has to let her go . . . again.

About the Author
Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio, is a best-selling author, photoplaywright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying. Vanessa is currently in the process of turning the novels in the Rain Series into stage productions.

Vanessa has been writing since she was a young child. When she wasn’t writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels, reading great books consumed her free time. However, it wasn’t until she committed her life to the Lord in 1994 that she realized all gifts and anointing come from God. She then set out to write redemption stories that glorify God.
To date, Vanessa has completed the Rain and Storm Series. She is currently working on the Forsaken series, Second Chance at Love series and a single title, Long Time Coming. Vanessa believes that each book will touch readers across the country in a special way. It is, after all, her God-given destiny to write and produce plays and novels that bring deliverance to God’s people. These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.

The author is giving away 2 advanced reading copies of her book #HSTS. This offer is open to US residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Social Links:
Email: vmiller-01@earthlink.net
Website: http://vanessamiller.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vanessamiller01
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vanessamiller01
Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/77899021863/

Buy Links:
Amazon paperback: http://www.amazon.com/How-Sweet-Sound-Vanessa-Miller/dp/1426749287/ref=vanessamil-20
Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/How-Sweet-Sound-Book-ebook/dp/B00I11W3CS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=
Barnes & Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-sweet-the-sound-vanessa-miller/1118719005?ean=9781426749285&isbn=9781426749285

Screenshot 2014-04-12 13.42.10Hosted by Write Now Literary http://www.wnlbooktours.com
Tour page: http://wnlbooktours.com/vanessa-miller-how-sweet-the-sound/

Borrowed Wisdom from Rick Warren

“Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3 NLT)

In 1979 I was finishing up seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and I felt like God was calling me to Southern California to start Saddleback Church. So I phoned a guy that I respected a lot and told him what I thought God wanted me to do.

You know what he told me? “Rick, that’s the dumbest idea I ever heard. You go out to California, and you’ll never be heard from again. It’s not going to happen.” He poured cold water all over my dream!

Any time you get serious about using your life the way God wants you to use it, there are going to be people who oppose it. You’re going to have friends and maybe even family members who oppose you, because Satan is going to throw everything he can at you to keep you from fulfilling your calling. One reason why so few people actually fulfill God’s calling is because they are unwilling to go against popular opinion.

If you want to follow God’s calling on your life, you must be willing to reject negative advice, no matter who it comes from.

The Bible says in Numbers 14:2-3, “Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. ‘If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained. ‘Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?’” (NLT) When faced with difficult circumstances, the Israelites decided they actually preferred slavery to freedom because it was safe. Rather than following God and doing what he had called them to do, they wanted to go back to their old way of life.

But one of their leaders, Caleb, had uncommon courage. He decided he was going to face the challenges with God’s help, even if he was scared. He was ready to reject negative advice in order to follow God’s calling.

In fact, Caleb didn’t just receive negative advice. Numbers 14:10 says, “The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle.”

I love the fact that God’s presence saved Caleb and Joshua. That will happen in your life, too. Pioneers always get the arrow in the back. You’ve got to determine now to reject negative advice if you’re going to go after God’s calling in your life.

Talk It Over

  • What slavery are you willing to go back to rather than move forward and take a risk?
  • When you evaluate the advice you’ve received lately from people you love and trust, how much of it helps you move in the direction of your calling? How much of it is negative advice?
  • Why is it so difficult sometimes to go against popular opinion or the advice of our friends?

I’ve just returned from traveling and I’m doing my best to get my feet under me again. Pardon the “cheat” as I borrow some wisdom from an excellent preacher. I hope you enjoy this devotional by Rick Warren.

4 Questions, 3 Authors and a Blog Hop

Ever heard of blog hopping? Yeah, me neither 🙂

But, thanks to the incomparable Megan Cyruleski, I’m trying my hand at this!

The long and the short:
I give you the answers to four questions about my work as a writer and author. Then, like a chain letter (in a good kind of way) I “tag” three more blogger/authors and then they do the same. Fitting that I was tagged by Megan 🙂 the generous ambition behind her blog is to support other authors. Shout out and a hardy thanks to Megan Cyruleski–and you HAVE to read her book, Who Am I?

And up next…

Heather LettoHeather Letto

You’re in for a treat! I’m halfway through an advance copy of Heather’s first book, Impervious, and it’s incredible! Think Hunger Games mixed with the creation story. In this book Heather skillfully portrays the consequences of sin and the beauty of redemption. Her book will be available in May 2014!

walk in freedom

Brenna Kate Simonds

I first met Brenna Kate when she wrote a guest post for FINDINGbalance. Brenna’s guts and grace blew me away. When I found out that she was in the final stages of publishing her book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, I begged her to let me read and review it. If you’re stuck, mired in addiction–of any kind–this book is for you. 

Yojary Moreno

Yojary Lozano

Yojary Lozano’s book, Family Baggage, is waiting in the wings. Because we are represented by the same wonderful agent, Vanessa Grossett, I was given the opportunity to read her book before the rest of you. (Lucky me, just you wait!)
Yojary’s book is unlike any I’ve read before. Growing up in poverty, in the jungles of Columbia was the least of her challenges. Her story mines the depths love, determination, true grit, pain and forgiveness.

Now for the four questions:

What am I working on? The bloody (not really, just pretending I’m British) painful and ubiquitous art of publicity. There is forever another opportunity to promote a book. The constant fear is whether I’m doing it right. Thankfully, the same God who healed me from anorexia, prompted me to write the book and then gave me words and energy to do so, will do this for me as well. On top of that, I continue to write for a number of Christian publications. And my husband and I fast approaching our next military move.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? My book goes beyond the fairly familiar story of: eating disorder, counseling, recovery. Few other books take the reader inside a treatment center and show the daily details–in a positive way. Also, my book spans almost two decades, vulnerably showing how the eating disorder wounded my nuclear family and also how it affected my marriage. My book is unapologetically Christian. In that way, I feel it offers a stronger hope than many books who leave the reader still wondering “will what they did work for me?”

Why do I write what I do? A few weeks ago, a friend from high school messaged me and said that she remembered me saying way back then that someday I wanted to write a book. In high school, I had already been through treatment once and was still living in the hell of anorexia. I knew that there was no point in the suffering if I couldn’t reach out someday to lift others up from that pit. That’s why I write–to be evidence that Jesus saves.

How does your writing process work? Hmm…I’m still trying to figure that one out myself 🙂
It depends on the day. Since my husband and I don’t have children and I don’t work outside the home, I’m pretty flexible with my schedule. My dog and I volunteer with Pet Parters visiting local schools, nursing homes and hospitals on a regular basis, so that takes some time away from the keyboard.

Usually, my ideas germinate during my Bible study in the early morning. They sprout while Brave (my dog) and I walk around the lake, during my workout and laundry, dishes, dusting, etc. Finally, when the thoughts are bursting from my brain, I sit (or sometimes stand at the kitchen bar) and spew them on the page. After the draft is done, I leave the house. Anything, something–just to get away from words. When I come home, I edit for a while. If it’s short, the piece might be polished in a day–or not. 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting me here today! I hope you’ll visit each author I mentioned above and READ THEIR BOOKS!