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Thanksgiving has ushered in
the Christmas season.
I am sobered
not so much by the calories
I have consumed
as by the contrasts I see.

There is plenty and want,
joy and grief,
love and hatred,
hope and despair,
the real and the artificial.

Father, help me to see You
and to share Your love.
Move me to give
as Your Son gave
when He willingly went
from the manger to the cross.

Let there be a difference in me
that is visible and credible –
that points others to Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and only hope.

The reality of children going hungry – even right here in America – as I eat more than I should (and more than I need), deeply concerns me. And then there is the grim forecast of global famines of ‘biblical proportions’ [that] will be caused by coronavirus pandemic.

About 40 years ago I read What Do You Say to a Hungry World? by Stan Mooneyham* who was then president of World Vision. His words were convicting and compelled me to organize the “Hands Reaching Out” Community Hunger Bazaar. Over 100 women from 17 churches created handmade crafts to put food into the hands of women whose hands were empty. We raised almost $4,000 in the handcrafts we sold at the day-long bazaar.

Grace and Weight | Write His Answer MinistryToday, rather than teaching women how to make sand paintings, wreaths, and Moravian stars in classes in homes and churches, my hands are now better put to use editing and publishing books for others as well as writing my own books. My latest, Grace and Weight – Encouragement for Dieters, is a book I began 37 years ago. (Click here for the God-story and an excerpt.) Karen Linamen Bouchard, author of Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt, says:

“Perfect for gift-giving, solo reading, or reading with friends, this book delivers inspiration and grace for the journey. Any book dealing with weight can be a tricky item to give to someone, right? But Marlene’s writing is so authentic, heartwarming, and encouraging that anyone who receives it will consider it a blessing.”    

Grace and Weight came off press this week and is available on Amazon. Set up a SmileAmazon account and 0.5% of your eligible purchases will go to the charity of your choice. Or order directly from me, and I will donate 10% of the purchase price to Becky Spencer’s Grand Staff Ministries to the children of e-Swatina (formerly Swaziland). The need, as Becky shares each year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference**, is so great.

“Children in Swaziland, Africa, are as vulnerable as ever.  Burying parents who have died with AIDS, being driven from homesteads of relatives who don’t want them, foraging for food in the forests, stealing food from street vendors, and worst of all, finding themselves victims of deceived individuals who believe that AIDS can be cured by relations with a virgin.” 

As you shop for Christmas gifts, please check out the Write His Answer bookstore. Today I added over 60 writing how-to books plus you’ll finds books I edited, Ampelos Press titles I published, and lots of other books that I recommend – over 200 in all. I will gladly donate 10% of the price of any titles you purchase now through Christmas to Becky’s Grand Staff Ministries. Together we can make a difference!

“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?
Or thirsty and give you something to drink?”
Jesus will say, “I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least of these
my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Matthew 25:37, 40 (NLT)

*Stan is home with the Lord and his book is out of print, but you can find it at BookFinder4U.com.

**I am hopeful that the May 12-15, 2021, Colorado Christian Writers Conference will be held in person at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center with the faculty and program that was in place for 2020. Visit the website at https://colorado.WriteHisAnswer.com. If the coronavirus continues to make it unsafe to meet, the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will be virtual. I do not yet have a date for the Greater Philly conference, but the faculty is partially planned (see https://philadelphia.WriteHisAnswer.com).

Thankful

Every morning tell him,
“Thank you for your kindness,”
and every evening rejoice
in all his faithfulness.

Psalm 92:2 TLB

None of us could have imagined last Thanksgiving Day that the new year would bring a pandemic that would turn our lives upside down. Some have lost loved ones. Others have been infected, have survived, but are still struggling to fully recover. Many have lost their job or a business they have worked so hard to establish. Hunger is a reality for tens of thousands along with the threat of losing their home. And we all are being cautioned to avoid gathering with family and friends.

A 17-pound turkey is defrosting in my kitchen sink, but it will only be my husband and I at the table this Thanksgiving. My daughter, a physician, has had us on lockdown since February because Paul and I are both high risk.

On our 57th wedding anniversary November 9 we learned that Paul has prostrate cancer. To determine whether or not it has spread, he had a CT and Bone Scan two days ago – just one day before the hospital went on lockdown. We will get the results this coming Monday morning.

Yes, I am worried, but this I KNOW – God is with us. And He is with you in whatever you are facing. I’m praying we will all turn our eyes upon Jesus not just on Thanksgiving Day but every morning and evening and throughout the day. May He bless you and keep you safe.

Growing up, I had strict parents who enforced the “do not talk about religion or politics” rule. A Google search reveals that was considered to be etiquette back then:

“A rule of etiquette–in business, at the dinner table, at the barbershop and elsewhere—is ‘never talk about religion or politics.’ These subjects are highly contentious and usually result in heated argument instead of general agreement. ‘Never discuss religion or politics with those who hold opinions opposite to yours’” has been cited in print since at least 1840. ‘Do not discuss politics or religion in general company’ is from 1879.

“The saying was further popularized by the Peanuts comic strip in 1961. The character Linus said, ‘There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people . . . religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.’” 

I didn’t have the courage to defy my father. He weighed over 300 pounds. It was not unusual for him to slap me across the face and lock me in the bedroom for hours. He is no longer living, but I still have to fight the “rule” that was engrained in me and that is anything but what Scripture commands me to do.

Matthew 10:32 in The Message reads: “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.”

Sadly, I still need to battle the fear that seeks to muzzle me from having the courage of my convictions to say what I believe especially when I know there are some, even in my own family, who will disagree with me.

But I choose NOT to be a closet Christian. I cannot be silent when I believe what Jesus said: “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me” (John 14:6 TLB).

And I cannot be silent after prayerfully viewing the platforms of the Democrat and Republican party in light of God’s Word.

Of course, I do not appreciate everything President Trump says and tweets, but I do believe “for such a time as this” God has raised him up to lead our nation because he is pro-life, pro-family, pro-Israel, and has taken a stand for religious liberty. And his vice-presidential running mate, who is a heartbeat away from the presidency, is a committed Christian who I deeply respect.

There are others who can say it much better than me:

Joel Rosenberg – I used to be a “Never Trumper.” Not anymore. 20 reasons I strongly support the President’s re-election.

And Joel Rosenberg again – For Evangelicals struggling whether to vote at all, or how they could vote for Trump with all his flaws, here are two columns worth reading.

Family Policy Alliance – In 3 Videos: Kamala Harris

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House Press Secretary – I highly recommend her book, Speaking for Myself. And click here for an interview on ABC News.

Mike Huckabee – I think his morning and evening newsletters at www.MikeHuckabee.com are must reading. He says:

“Each party has staked out diametrically opposed positions on pretty much everything. This is not like any election ever.

“President Trump is admittedly abrasive, combative, at times vain and vulgar. He became President having never held or even run for any political office. He has been disruptive to the political establishment and the genteel ways of Washington. He acted without regard to whose feelings he stepped on. He’s been like the doctor whose bedside manner was gruff, impatient, and even rude, but it’s hard to objectively deny the positive results….

“President Trump lowered your taxes and put money in your pocket–an estimated $6500 for the average family before the Chinese Virus hit. He stood up to China, stopped the nutty Iran deal, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, passed criminal justice reform that brought mercy and equity to the over-incarceration of black people, funded the largest amount ever for Historically Black Colleges, secured our borders, appointed great justices to the Supreme Court, protected religious liberty and has made the most efforts to protect unborn babies.”

Click here and scroll down to read more of what Huckabee says under “Election Day Is Coming.” And click here for this morning’s post, “MEDIA SHAMELESS IN ‘LOCKDOWN’ ON BIDEN STORY.”

Where the parties stand – Click here for Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine’s 2020 election guide.

Lest you think I only read and listen to those whose views I support, I daily read Time magazine’s online newsletter and I check the news not just on Fox and CBN but also on CNN. And Monday through Friday evening I watch Norah O’Donnell, the CBS Evening News anchor. I seek to weigh what I read and hear against the Truth of God’s Word.

Again, I know some of you will disagree with me, but I hope you will at least prayerfully consider what I have shared. And for those who agree, I’m praying you will have the courage of your convictions to break the “do not talk about religion and politics” rule and share what I’ve posted.

May God bless you all, and may God bless America.

For twenty-three years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference has been so blessed to call the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, our home. Sadly the pandemic prevented us from being there this May, but we are already contracted for 2021 and 2022.

Because of the pandemic and now the wildfires that are dangerously close to both the Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch, they need our prayers and our financial support.

 Estes Park Center  |  Snow Mountain Ranch   
Photo Credit: Justin Smith, Larimer County Sheriff
WILDFIRE UPDATES

YMCA of the Rockies is experiencing extremely uncertain times as we navigate the threat of the East Troublesome wildfire to both of our properties – Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch. 

We safely evacuated all staff and guests from Estes Park Center property on Thursday, Oct. 22, after receiving mandatory orders from local authorities. Firefighters have accessed the campus and are actively creating fire lines and performing other protective measures to help hold the fire away from the property.

Snow Mountain Ranch remains under a pre-evacuation notice from local authorities. Snow Mountain Ranch is not open to guests but is hosting the fire teams bravely heading out to fight this fire, as well as our seasonal staff and staff who have been evacuated from their homes. 

Since the wildfires began we have housed and fed hundreds of firefighters so they can rest and return to their work protecting our facilities, homes and communities.

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the love our donors, members, guests and friends have shown for YMCA of the Rockies. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We are closely monitoring the East Troublesome Fire and are grateful for snow and cooler temperatures today that will help slow the advance of the fire and give firefighters time to put in extra protections. We will share more updates when they become available. 

Get current fire information:

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/

YOU CAN HELP
As we face these uncertain times and as many of our neighbors’ homes and livelihoods are threatened, YMCA of the Rockies is committed to help where we can and to protect the well-being of our staff. Below are the words of Estes Park Center chaplain, Greg Bunton.

“On October 14th my family was evacuated from our home in Glen Haven due to the Cameron Peak Fire.  We found refuge at the YMCA of the Rockies as the fire swept through our neighborhood.  We have experienced many anxious days and sleepless nights in Tonohutu cabin, all the while giving thanks for the gift of family and friends, and life itself.  

“On Thursday, October 22 we were once again evacuated, this time from the YMCA of the Rockies as the East Troublesome fire grew near.  We are currently with family in Wyoming.

“Yesterday, we knew the fire was very close to the Y, and the Cameron Peak Fire in Glen Haven had increased again.  Once again, I found myself worried and anxious.

“I’m leaning on scripture, knowing that no matter what happens, God will be with us, in and through the fire.

“Houses are made of brick and mortar, timber and nails.  Homes, however, are made of family and friends, laughter and tears, hugs and handshakes, and most of all love – it is in these homes that God meets us. Fire may damage our houses, but it can’t touch our homes!  That’s the promise of God with us!”
Rev. Greg Bunton
Chaplain, Estes Park Center YMCA of the Rockies


Closing our centers means losses of up to $10,000 a day. And housing evacuee families – we have hosted 76 families between Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch – costs about $1400 per family/per week.

Will you help us face these challenges with an emergency gift today?

Your generosity will sustain YMCA of the Rockies during a very difficult time.

Make your tax-deductible gift at
https:donate.ymacrockies.org/wildfire-support/.      

     
     
 Estes Park Center
2515 Tunnel Road
Estes Park, CO 80511  
Snow Mountain Ranch
1101 County Road 53
Granby, CO 80446
(888) 613-9622  
 
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YMCA of the Rockies puts Christian principles into practice through programs, staff and facilities in an environment that builds healthy spirit, mind and body for all.  We will accomplish this by serving conferences of a religious, educational, or recreational nature; providing unifying experiences for families; offering traditional summer camping experiences for boys and girls; and serving our staff with leadership opportunities and productive work experiences.  

This is a great learning opportunity that I HIGHLY recommend!

One free registration available.

Email me at mbagnull@aol.com and tell me why you believe God has called you to write a novel.
Include the title & a 50-100 word description.
How far along are you in your work-in-progress?
Deadline to apply: October 5, 2020

STARTS NEXT WEEK: REGISTER NOW.
The Art of Writing and Christy Award Webinar Series for writers, storytellers, and publishing curators. Live-streamed every Thursday, October 8 to November 12. Recordings available on-demand for 30 days to those who register.



The Christy Award® is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and is the foremost award honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction since 1999.

For more information about ECPA, visit ECPA.org. 

For more information about the Christy Awards and Art of Writing conferences, visit ChristyAwards.com or email TheChristyAward@ecpa.org


Leona Choy is an author, speaker, publisher, and broadcaster still going strong in His strength at 95 years of age. The following is reprinted with her permission from her 9/17/2020 blog at https://leonachoy.com/therestofthewayposts. I encourage you to visit her website and subscribe to her posts.

A Fresh Slice of Daily Bread

What does the Almanac predict for this fall?

For the benefit of younger generations who might never have heard of such a book, it is a formerly much-relied-upon annual paperback publication listing events forthcoming in the next year: weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, celestial data like eclipses, religious festivals and holidays. That was before the sophisticated technology of weather forecasting and today’s scanning the heavens for astronomical data. In spite of all the refined applied science, the weather person on TV is seldom right on the button.

If we’d like to know the societal and political forecast for the rest of 2020 and into the next year, forget the Almanac. Don’t consult some crystal ball. Google can’t tell us either. Modern seers and prophets of the day are attempting to interpret their personal dreams. The Bible is being seriously studied to understand the signs of the times which many conclude are “the end times.” We listen and then must pray and discern. God, who created this blue planet and mankind to populate it, is still in full control. He hasn’t left us without a reliable Scriptural GPS for “things to come.” At least to provide us with as much as we need to know to navigate one step at a time.

SO WHAT’S THE FORECAST? We can expect unusually stormy weather! Perhaps a fall and winter such as we have never known before. Not necessarily in amount of snow accumulation and severe temperatures, but in our daily way of life. Let’s be realistic. Not to scare but to prepare ourselves and our families. It is a fantasy to expect our society to ever return to the lifestyles to which we had been accustomed.

What happened to the world we once knew? How is it possible that so many things could change so fast and so dramatically?

Look around: Society has lost its way. Possible, probable, incredible uncertainties and shakings are in the offing even as early as this fall: Facets of our society are moving at warp speed to cast off all restraints while insisting on ever-increasing entitlements. Evil powers both in heaven and on earth are reaching for the reset button to drastically change the trajectory of our beloved nation and the entire globe toward lawlessness. The spirit of the age is reflected in moral breakdown, free-floating ethics, the shakeup of our courts and justice systems changing the way our nation has been governed, redefining marriage, the family, even genetic identity. Natural catastrophes of unusual proportions are accelerating to shake the world and add to the threatening storm clouds.

Affecting Christians directly is the widespread mutiny against God, We face an anti-Christian future nation and world where intolerance has turned to outright hostility toward those who stand for moral absolutes. Our freedom to practice our Christian faith is in jeopardy. We are moving toward being controlled in many critical aspects of our lives where we have heretofore had liberty.

Let’s not be afraid of “things to come” or let “our hearts fail us for fear.” Nothing can separate those who belong to God from His love and care. (Romans 8:35-39) We are not to be anxious for daily protection and provision. Jesus promised that our Heavenly Father knows we have need of these things. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31) As God’s children, part of God’s Kingdom and His Body, we are not living through 2020 by accident. He has chosen us to live in this climactic generation to stand steadfast and shine in these prophetically “perilous times.”

Although darkness encroaches on this entire planet, we can circumvent the pitfalls. Each of us must choose whether “me and my house will serve the Lord.” Will we retreat and accommodate to the coming upheaval of the world system or will we stay anchored in Christ? Will we be overcome by the chaos and shaking or will we be courageous overcomers?

The genuineness of our Christian faith is soon to be tried by fire and tested. (James 1:2-4). Don’t be surprised or think it strange or unusual. (1 Peter 4:12, 13) “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” (MSG)

We don’t know about tomorrow, (James 4:13-15) but we know Who holds our hand. Let’s trust the Lord completely and rest confidently in His peace even if the world’s forecast is “probability of extreme weather conditions ahead.”

“With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)

___________

A Note from Leona: May your readers become aware of the challenge of our uncertain times and at the same time our incredible opportunity as Christians which lies ahead of us. Without fear, in God we trust!

And from Marlene: Again I encourage you to visit Leona’s website at https://leonachoy.com and be sure to visit her bookstore with 36 titles in print including 3 books for writers that I highly recommend: Release the Poet Within, This Is Your Life – Write It!, and Writing for the Supreme Editor.


Ten Good Website Design Practices

Guest blog by Bruce Shank, Celebration Web Design

Note from Marlene: I strongly recommend Bruce and his team at SKWD Associates. They designed and have helped me maintain my three websites: https://writehisanswer.com, https://colorado.writehisanswer.com, and https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com for the past 8-10 years. They are not just skilled professionals, they are committed Christians that I am blessed to have as friends and partners in ministry.

Not every website will be able to adhere to all of the good practices. Different websites have different purposes, but in general most of these practices should be present in every website design.

  1. Simple Is Best
    Simplicity usually works in an effective web page design. Be careful not to use too many elements on your landing page. This may lead to distracting visitors from the main purpose of your website. Clean and fresh design makes your website appealing and helps the user to navigate from one page to another seamlessly. Keep your design, including the navigation of your site, as simple and easy-to-use as possible.
     
  2. Website Purpose (Communication)
    The ultimate purpose of the visitors is to get information, and if your website can communicate with your visitors efficiently, most probably they would spend more time on your site. Organizing information by making good use of headlines and sub-headlines is a great way to display your information. Avoid long gusty sentences. Use shorter sentences and sometimes bullet points are effective.

    Your website needs to accommodate the needs of the user. Having a simple clear intention on all pages helps the user interact with what you have to offer. What is the main purpose of your website? What do you do? What do you want the user to do? Make these easy for the user to grasp.
     
  3. Content
    An effective website design has both great design and great content. Great content can attract and influence visitors. Readability is a key element in web design. Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood. Make sure your copy is easy to read and easy to understand. Have at least 300 words of content on each appropriate page. There is a fine line between keeping it simple and having enough text on your site. Grammar and spelling are important. Flawless copy makes you look professional. Read and Reread your copy. High quality content is easy to read and suitable for scanning by Search Engines.
     
  4. Typography
    Font style and size play an important role on your website. They command attention and work as the visual interpretation of your brands voice. Typefaces should be legible, and you should use a maximum of 3 different fonts on the website. Since search engine crawlers are very familiar with this data, it becomes an integral part of SEO activities. Consider using fonts that are easy to read. Stick with your font choice throughout the website. Font size needs to be appropriate, not too large and not too small.  They need to be readable especially on handheld devices.
     
  5. Imagery
    Imagery includes still photography, illustration, video, and all forms of graphics. All imagery should be expressive and capture the spirit of you site. Most of the initial information we consume on websites is visual, and as a first impression, it is important that high quality images are used.  High quality images form an impression of professionalism and credibility. For faster loading, remember to optimize your image size. Celebration Web Designs EZ-CMS  management system helps with optimizing images.
     
  6. Color
    Color has the power to communicate messages and evoke emotional responses. Finding a color palette that fits your brand will allow you to influence your visitor’s behavior. Sometimes the colors which we like, might not be liked by others. There is often a tradeoff between colors we like and colors that are widely liked by others. It is important to make sure that the colors you choose are well-liked by others. Keep color choices to a minimum: too many colors are distracting. Keep the coloring scheme consistent throughout. Remember you are building your site for visitors, make sure your site is pleasing to look at.
     
  7. Formatting
    Eye tracking studies have shown that much of what people see is in the top and left area of the screen. The F’ shaped layout mimics our natural reading pattern in the West. An effective designed website will work with a reader’s natural pattern of scanning the page. Grids can help when structuring your design. They can help keep it clean and keep your content organized. The grid helps to align elements on the page. The grid-based layout arranges content into a clean rigid structure with columns, sections that line up and feel balanced impose order in an aesthetically pleasing website. Remember most peoples’ eyes will skip the banner before scanning the page. The banner can help set the tone of the website but don’t put critical content in it.
     
  8. Navigation
    Navigation is the way your visitors interact and find what they are looking for on your site. Website navigation is key to retaining visitors. If the websites navigation is confusing visitors will give up and find what they need elsewhere. Keeping navigation simple, intuitive, and consistent on every page is key. Studies show that visitors stay longer when websites are easy to navigate. Remember to follow the “three-click-rule” so visitors are able to obtain the information they need with as few clicks as possible. A max of three is a good rule to follow. Often repeating a link to your most important content is effective.The CWD teams often includes a menu item, text and button link from your home page for the most important items.
     
  9. Mobil Compatibility
    Keep in mind the ever-growing usage of smartphones and tablets. Web design must be efficient and effective for all of your pages. If your website is not responsive, and does not support all screen sizes, the chance is that you will lose visitors and certainly you will not be indexed well by search engines.
     
  10. Loading (Time)
    Waiting for a website to load can lead to losing visitors. Nearly half of web visitors expect a site to load in 2 or 3 seconds or less. In most cases they may not wait and will leave your site if loading time is greater than 2 or 3 seconds. Using good judgment and design elements when creating your site is essential. 
     

Thought For Today

Standing Up For Your Faith

Excerpt taken from a Feb. 6, 1968, speech in Washington, D.C. 

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it political?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where do we stand? Are we often afraid to say what is right, to say what we believe because it is not politically correct? The more we allow Jesus to control our lives, the more we are able to take a stand for what is right, whether it is politically correct, popular or safe. Let’s not worry about what our culture says we should say or do. Let’s pursue a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord and allow Him to control what we say and do.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14 ESV


Bruce Shank

Bruce is a graduate of Philadelphia University and has been working in the IT world for over 35 years. His experience ranges from programmer to president of Finpac Corporation, a software design firm. He is currently president of Celebration Web Design by SKWD Associates, LLC. Celebration Web Design is dedicated to designing, developing and hosting websites for ministries, businesses and non-profit organizations. Bruce is always looking for the opportunity to partner with others seeking to further God’s Kingdom.

I’ve so missed connecting with old and new friends this year on the mountain in Colorado at CCWC and here in my backyard at GPCWC. Postponing both conferences until next year was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, but the coronavirus gave me no choice.

This year more than ever I believe we needed to hear our keynoters challenging us to “Write His Answer.”

I’m feeling a growing sense of urgency as I view what is happening in our nation. And I’m fearful of our fear to speak God’s truth into the events that are unfolding.

For years I’ve been talking about how we are like the frog in the kettle – how the temperature is being turned up but in our complacency we are not even aware of the danger.


You have probably heard me quote my friend, Hannah Crabtree, who grew up in Switzerland before the start of World War II. She said, “The church in Germany saw what was happening, but the church in Germany was silent.”

My friend, Eric Ludy (I was blessed to edit and typeset Eric and Leslie’s first two books many years ago) has just echoed Hannah’s words.

In Nazi Germany, out of 65 million people, there were 45 million Protestant Christians. And out of those 45 million, only 150,000 of them stood up against Hitler. That’s something like three out of every thousand. The church in America today is on the verge of being just as passive as the church in Nazi Germany was. In my new blog video, I present a challenge to all of us as modern Christians to rise up and take a stand for truth — not in the future when things get worse, but right now. Let’s not become silent at the very moment we need to speak up.  

Friends, I can’t urge you strongly enough to listen to Eric’s blog video. It’s only 2.36 minutes.

Father, please help us to wake up and to write and live Your answer for such a time as this.

With the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences not happening this year, I’m still faced with ongoing expenses. Please help by purchasing books from the Write His Answer bookstore. I’ve just added seven more books and discounted all of them. It makes no sense (or cents) to have money tied up in books I purchased for the conferences especially when those same books can help you grow your writing and marketing skills.

Whether you are traditionally published or have self-published, most all the work of finding buyers for your book is your responsibility and challenge. I love Cheri Cowell and Michelle Booth’s approach in this book. Their heart is in the right place, and the info they provide is very helpful. Both have served on the faculty of CCWC and GPCWC. I highly recommend this book.

If you want to be traditionally published, a well-crafted book proposal is essential. Terry’s vast experience in publishing, including as an acquisition editor, makes this a must-read book. Even if you choose to go indie, you’ll find a lot of helpful info. Terry has served on the faculty of CCWC & GPCWC, and I highly recommend this book too.

Three helpful books for novelists:

The Crown of Excellence
for Book Marketing

by Susan G Mathis

Don’t we all want a marketing crown? One that lets us know we’re successful as an author with all the marketing efforts we do? I sure would. But how can we measure that, see that, know that?

Last year’s debut CAN Crown Awards did just that, and our winners showed us some wonderful results for their work. You can, too.

Measuring marketing excellence, especially as an author has been too elusive for too long. But the Christian Authors Network (CAN) has developed tangible, measurable marketing standards of excellence to help Christian authors know that their marketing for books, book series, or brand if effective. After all, that’s why CAN exists!

Authors are often unsure, fearful, or reticent to tout their marketing work. And every time there’s a new platform to learn, well, our marketing confidence can be shaken. Can you relate?

What if someone showed you what a successful marketing plan looked like and how to plan to succeed by example? What if being recognized for marketing excellence earned an award—a crown— that continued to gain marketing and media attention?

Welcome to the Christian Authors Network #CANCROWN AWARDS. These awards recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of Christian authors. 

Christian authors want to get their books, book series, and brands out to readers, retailers, and librarians. The messages in those books reflect the love and glory of God. But without an excellent marketing plan that very message may go unread. The #CANCrown Awards recognize authors for their excellence in marketing and media, and being a winner gives you continued credibility long after the contest.

By highlighting stellar examples and recognizing marketing and media expertise, the #CANCrown Awards helps all of us as authors. There are three categories for books, book series, and author brands:

• Visual Media

• Broadcasting

• Web Presence 

These three categories evaluate the author’s physical materials, social media, major media, websites, blogs, and newsletters respectively. Therefore, the purpose of CAN Crown Awards is: To recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.

The CAN Crown Awards Celebrate Excellence
in Christian Media and Marketing by Authors.

The CAN Crown Awards

Time is limited; the CAN Crown Awards close August 31, 2020.

Judges are independent professionals with knowledge in marketing and media. Finalists will be announced and will receive finalist logos/badges for their websites and materials.

The Christian Authors Network will announce the finalists in advance of the Crown Award Celebration. The virtual Crown Awards will be presented in November. Winners (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) will be awarded at the virtual Crown Awards. Presentations will include an overview of each winners’ campaign to an audience of filmmakers, publishing industry, and then out into the public to reach readers, retailers, and librarians.

The Christian Authors Network will also partner with authors to share finalist and winning entries to bring attention to these excellent author marketing plans. We’ll promote the winners through the many  #CANCrown Awards channels of influence—all for the price of entry.

Award design and entry pages are on the CAN website. 

Cost per entry: $40 CAN Members/$80 non-members.

Access the entry forms on our CAN Website: https://christianauthorsnetwork.com/can-crown-awards/

FAQ:

What’s CAN? Christian Authors Network. Check us out here: https://christianauthorsnetwork.com 

Hurry! Time’s ticking. We’ll be watching for your entry and will enjoy connecting with you.

Susan G Mathis, Christian Authors Network vice president

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Here’s a excerpt from Grace and Weight, the new book I’m writing. Even if you don’t struggle with excess pounds, I believe you’ll find it relevant.

Stress Eating

Let him have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you
and watching everything that concerns you.

1 Peter 5:7 TLB

Someone has said a picture is worth a thousand words. Drawing isn’t a gift I possess, so picture this caricature in your mind: A wild-eyed woman is clutching a big bag of potato chips in one hand and stuffing a fistful in her mouth with her other hand. The caption reads: “I’m not stressed!”

Stress may not cause us to look wild-eyed, but it is likely to cause us to consume food without thinking. We can call it “just nibbling,” but let’s face it, we’re likely to nibble more than we realize. We’re horrified when we finally have the courage to get on the scale, but we deserve those pounds we’ve put on.

[Don’t I wish I only weighed 118 pounds!]

Now picture one of those graphs that have become so familiar during the pandemic. This one represents the weight gained each week from a cross-section of women who tend to be overweight. I have no doubt the curve would be trending up and not flattening.

The past months of lockdowns, mask-wearing, and social distancing have been stressful. For some it’s been a life-altering time with the loss of employment. And tragically, for others the pandemic has caused the loss of loved ones.

We hope and pray that a vaccine will soon be available that will put an end to the coronavirus, but invariably we’ll encounter another crisis. None of us are immune. Jesus sought to prepare His disciples, and to prepare us, for hard times. He said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 TLB).

Christians are not promised that life will be easy, but Jesus has promised, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 TLB). I don’t think it’s stretching the truth of this Scripture to add, “So don’t use food to try and ease your stress.”

What does Jesus want us to do when we’re confronted with a stressful situation? And let’s be realistic. More often than not it won’t be just one situation that is causing us to stress. What can we, should we, do? Instead of reaching for comfort food, let’s reach for Him. After all, “He knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and he is wonderfully able to help us” (Hebrews 2:18 TLB).

Thank You for Your promises, Lord. When life overwhelms me, help me to turn to You and to Your Word rather than to food.

If you need to lose weight, I hope you’ll visit my new Facebook page, Grace and Weight. And please pray I can finish this book and lose the excess pounds that are not helping my knees.

Reminder: The special price of 37% off MP3s of the 2019 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is good through July 31. Go to https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.