Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#WWJD

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:36-38)

Remove your gold-plated halo. Take off your thousand dollar brand-named shoes. Empty your pockets of "thees" and "thous," and put your velour Bible back on the shelf before you read this.

That doesn't sound like you? Then maybe it's lace collars, ballet flats, and tweed coats. Makeup free, refined sugar free, unprocessed, homegrown. Maybe you squeak when you walk.

Or maybe you've read your Bible so much you can't see what's on its pages for the haze that's formed in your mind. Go to church. Attend every Bible class. Raise your hands at appropriate intervals.

But scoot over in the grocery line because he has a tattoo.

Oh, friend, so does God, and it has your name on it.

But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:14-16)


It's shaped like compassion and perfumed with the heart of the Father. For the drug addict. The fornicator. The adulterer. The abused. The abuser. The victim. The perpetrator. The down-and-out.

Nothing Jesus did was without mercy, and everything He did was after God's heart. (Jn 5:30) There are 35 references to the words "compassion" and "mercy" (without derivatives) in the gospels alone. It was how Jesus operated, the pain, discomfort, and anguish of the hurting what He saw.

He didn't simply feel sorry for them. He longed to heal them, and even greater, He did something about it. When others turned the outcasts away, He accepted them.

A Samaritan.
A woman taken in adultery.
A tax collector.
A woman perfuming His feet.
A man let down through a roof to a place at His feet.
Thieves and robbers.
A centurion.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee.

He turned no one aside, but with a heart of mercy extended love and forgiveness.

Who, my friend, have you turned away?

"He drinks too much. I can't be around that."
"He's having an affair. I can't speak with him."
"She smells funny. She might have something catching."
"Their kids are too wild. Mine might pick up a bad habit."

Now, I'm not telling you to plunge yourself into the midst of sin. That would be foolish. I am telling you to shine your light into the lives of those God has placed in your path. Do what Jesus' did, and do it, head held high, chin up. Don't let the world, the flesh, the devil ... THE CHURCH ... intimidate you otherwise.

Did Jesus tell us to love our neighbors, or didn't He? (Mt 19:19;Mt 23:39;Mk 12:31,33;Lk 10:27)

Do you want to obey, or don't you? What part of His command was multiple choice?

None of it. It really is that simple.

I am not here to attend to people who are already right with God; I am here to attend to sinners. In the book of the prophet Hosea, we read, “It is not sacrifice I want, but mercy.” Go and meditate on that for a while—maybe you’ll come to understand it. (Mt 9:13 VOICE)

Check out what one man did to live a life of compassion: http://www.godvine.com/This-Man-Gave-The-Homeless-The-Shirt-Off-fb-gv--5550.html



JOIN US at THE EDGE. On FB, Twitter, and via our Blog.



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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Photographs

More sun. More heat. More rain. The cattle field beside us has become a pond. It's fun to watch because there are black-whistling ducks and all manner of other water fowl out there. Also, this week a softshell turtle wandered through, big fellow.

Enjoy the pics.

Softshell Turtle 7-14-2014 photo 500-DSC_2255_zps0ab339f3.jpg


Water Lilies

  photo 500-DSC_2438_zps22a94d3a.jpg

Water Lily 7-19-2014 photo 500-DSC_2443_zpsad3687de.jpg


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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Story Saturdays

This months 99 CENT Amazon specials are:

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LUCAS MCGILLEY
EDEN
TAKE ME AWAY

Also, A MIRACLE FOR MARI. This story is part of the 99 CENT Christmas in July sale over at Cynthia P. Willow's blog. Be sure to check out what else is available. Many genres to pick from.

A couple weeks ago I released the book covers for an upcoming historical fiction/western series. Funny how things work, but just days later, I decided those covers just wouldn't do. Minds/emotions change about things. I will "re-reveal" them today, along with a modern cowboy story, book one of a series on two brothers.




Next summer, look for two independent novellas I'm calling "beach reads".



For today's STORYLINES, I've chosen a few character quotes from upcoming novels. Enjoy!

“A man needs only three things to survive – God above him, a horse beneath him, and a woman beside him. I have two out of three. What about you, Miss McCall?” - Gray Sterret, GRAY

This was the chemistry that wrote romance novels, the dirty kind she refused to read. - Alabama McCall, GRAY

“Teenage boys, as well as most men in general, are clueless about how a woman thinks. You see a pretty girl and your brain says legs and boobs. Hers says relationship. I’m sure you meant to be nice by accepting, but in her head, you said you liked her.” - Joshua Dixon's Mom in PICK ME

He’d longed for her chatter, which sometimes used to annoy him, to hear her laugh at one of his stupid jokes, and more than anything to hear the slight gasp from the base of her throat when he kissed her just so. - Bobby Guildford, ALWAYS

How had she gotten in this deep so quickly? One night was now two, and if he came to the door tomorrow, it’d be three. She was addicted, to the rush, to him … which didn’t make it right. In fact, saying no when everything in her wanted to say yes proved harder and harder to do. - Irina Faussett, FOR TONIGHT


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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Photographs

I'm calling this Throwback Sunday, as all these photos were taken in 2011. Enjoy! (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

Mexican Sunflower
Mexican Sunflower photo 640-DSC_7818_zps5608e934.jpg

Sunrise
Sunrise photo 640-DSC_7542_zps464c21f7.jpg

Water Lily
Water Lily photo 640-DSC_6723_zps9450b197.jpg

American Lady Butterfly
American Lady Butterfly photo 640-DSC_6040_zps63d53fe5.jpg

Bullfrog
Bullfrog photo 640-DSC_8021_zps10a1b8de.jpg


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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Life On Hold

holding pattern – n.  a traffic pattern for aircraft at a specified location (holding point)  where they are ordered to remain until permitted to land or proceed;  a state or period in which no progress or change is made or planned (Dictionary.com)


There I was ready to land again, my airplane of progress having completed its mission – or so I thought – when I saw the signal to keep flying.

“Keep flying, Lord? Why? I did what You asked, and here, I am with yet another set of excellent results. If I could just land ….”

But, no, it came again, a command from the tower. “Circle again, Suzanne.”

God has put me in a holding pattern. This is different from waiting. Waiting means I’m ready for takeoff, but am not yet in the air. It’s full of expectancy for the upcoming trip. A holding pattern, on the other hand, means for some reason unknown to me, I’m already flying but cannot land.

The primary use of a holding is delaying aircraft that have arrived at their destination but cannot land yet because of traffic congestion, poor weather, or runway unavailability. (Wikipedia)

Both waiting and holding require patience and trust. We believe God is working out an area in our life, putting our faith that the end (or beginning) will come when He is ready. Both are actions, requiring us to do something. But in a holding pattern, a number of requirements are given.

First, there’s a predefined path:

A holding pattern for instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft is usually a racetrack pattern based on a holding fix. This fix can be a radio beacon such as a non-directional beacon (NDB) or VHF omnidirectional range (VOR). The fix is the start of the first turn of the racetrack pattern. Aircraft will fly towards the fix, and once there will enter a predefined racetrack pattern. (Wikipedia)

This isn’t me on my own wasting time while God hurries in the background because He wasn’t quite ready for me. I didn't catch God off guard! No, He had the pattern I’m to follow already plotted out.

“Go this direction, Suzanne, and keep your eyes on me until I give the signal.”

As long as I do that and don’t deviate in height or distance, I won’t run into anything I shouldn’t and, when the time is right, will be able to land like always.

Second, it’s tough to get going:

The entry to a holding pattern is often the hardest part for a novice pilot to grasp. (Wikipedia)

And sometimes I’m not the only one waiting on a runway:

Several aircraft may fly the same holding pattern at the same time, separated vertically by 1,000 feet or more. This is generally described as a stack or holding stack. As a rule, new arrivals will be added at the top. The aircraft at the bottom of the stack will be taken out and allowed to make an approach first, after which all aircraft in the stack move down one level, and so on. Air traffic control (ATC) will control the whole process, in some cases using a dedicated controller (called a stack controller) for each individual pattern. (Wikipedia)

Isn’t that the truth? God tells me to keep flying, but sometimes getting out of the rut I’ve put myself in is the hardest part. It isn’t easy to change my plans. I want to hurry up, get this over with, and go on to the next great thing.

But God isn’t ready for me to do that yet. He can see what I can’t, knows if someone else is flying in my way. Perhaps they even got there first. It could be if I land right now I’ll get in the way of another person who really needs that runway. But regardless, I’ll definitely be out of God’s timing, and that’s not worth the risk.

Lastly, slow down:

Many aircraft have a specific holding speed published by the manufacturer; this is a lower speed at which the aircraft uses less fuel per hour than normal cruise speeds. (Wikipedia)

Ah, here’s an important truth. Not only am I not flying wherever I want. I’m flying at a different speed than I was. In essence, I’m maintaining. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing, hanging onto the original purpose of this flight, and know that God will let me land with my cargo at the appropriate time.

I don’t toss out the cargo and passengers because I can’t land yet! They’re still valuable.

The reason I was hired to pilot this trip was to get someone or something from point A to point B. That hasn’t changed. Point B simply isn’t ready for me yet.

But here’s the good news, it will be! God is still working on my behalf. He’s still speaking to my heart. He hasn’t changed how He works in my life. Instead, I must listen and obey, and then I’ll fulfill what He has for me.

God never sends you on a trip and leaves you halfway. What He said He’d do, He will. I put my faith in Him to get me there, exactly how He planned.

Even if that means flying in circles for a while.



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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Photographs & Steve's Digicams

Be sure to check out my June Steve's Digicam's article, HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?, my look at "artistic license." http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/how-far-is-too-far.html

Had the hardest rain ever last evening with winds up to 60mph. Thought things would blow down in the yard, but escaped without damage due to the direction of the wind. It did send a pair of flip flops to the opposite end of the porch.

Here's this weeks pics.

Sunrise
 photo 500-DSC_1948_zps968a448a.jpg

Longwing Skipper
Longwing Skipper 7-4-2014 photo 500-DSC_1956_zps51c19ad8.jpg

Horace's Duskywing
Horace's Duskywing 7-4-2014 photo 500-DSC_1973_zpsefbc7e0f.jpg

Green Anole
Green Anole 7-4-2014 photo 500-DSC_1969_zps3124c351.jpg

Sparkler
Sparkler 7-4-2014 photo 500-DSC_2065_zps92d1a6f9.jpg

Black Swallowtail
 photo 500-DSC_2077_zpscafb7896.jpg

Black Swallowtail 7-5-2014 photo 500-DSC_2083_zps4b7259c7.jpg


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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sunday Photographs

The summer pattern has set in. Heat. Rain. Heat. Rain. You get used to it growing up here and fall in love with your air-conditioning all over again.

Here's this week's pics (the few times I did go outdoors).

Hummingbird Moth
Hummingbird Moth 6-22-2014 photo 500-DSC_1725_zps8d0be7a7.jpg

Red Gladiolus
Red Gladiolus 6-26-2014 photo 500-DSC_1737_zps1f4616d5.jpg

Adult Grasshopper
Grasshopper 6-28-2014 photo 500-DSC_1741_zps604f1326.jpg

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly 6-28-2014 photo 500-DSC_1749_zps80c379b9.jpg



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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Story Saturdays

It's the half point in the year, so I've reassessed my goal for the year, as well as the direction I'm heading in. After releasing story number nineteen this year, I penned an article for the GNFA blog - FIVE TROUBLES OF BEING A PROLIFIC WRITER. I encourage you to go read it, as it contains some of my thoughts. But, along that same line, I've decided to concentrating on loving what I do.

I do love it, but I look at the number of unfinished stories sometimes and get discouraged. Weighing me down further are the book covers I've done (for unreleased stories) that I've seen inadvertently duplicated by other independent authors. Great minds think alike, I guess. We encounter the same stock photography and have the same ideas. But my point is ... I'm such a visual person, that I've found it hard to finish stories with covers like someone else's.

As I said in my recent devotional, I'm going to HMO, highlight and move on. The stories are all viable, and who knows what God will have me do with them in the future? All writing is good exercise, a verbal flexing of my craft.

My rambling done, I have a new series and an additional single story, I'm working on. These have taken precedence in my mind over the others. Also, don't forget the final book in The Italian Series has been released, PLAY IT FOR ME. All the characters return in some fashion. You won't want to miss it.

Links to my other new releases - GIVE ME CHOCOLATE (AND JORDAN), THE GIRL IN THE PINK BIKINI, and IT DONT' RAIN IN TEXAS - as well as a slew of other stories from this year, can all be found on my blog.

This new series, so far in my head, is two books. It's historical fiction set in the late 1880s. Book 1 tells the story of Genevieve Nichols, a girl running from her past. Book 2 has the same characters, but introduces a girl who doesn't know she's beautiful.

In this scene, Genevieve, dressed like a boy, is trying to steal from the general store:


“No, now, I don’t know how your mama raised you, but mine taught me what the Good Book says about stealing. You owe Mrs. Dresslin one jar of preserves. I imagine she can find you some work …”

No sooner had the words left his lips, than the boy raised one foot, bringing the heel down on Virgil’s toe. An unbidden oath left his lips. His grasp tightening, he twisted around, slinging the boy against the back wall of the store, and in that moment, the boy’s hat fell off.

He stared wide-eyed at the vision before him.

A woman. This wasn’t a boy, but a beautiful, young woman. Blonde hair framed clear skin lightly dusted red from the sun. The woman lifted her chin and glared at him.

---

THIS NEXT STORY, came to me in a dream. At least, chapter 1 did. It's a romantic suspense with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. Detective Irina Fausett is trying to arrest a serial killer for good. Problem is, he has a good attorney - her father. Twist #1. Seeing said killer walk out of her precinct again sends her out for the evening to blow off some steam. But a bad decision and a lot of body heat turns into a one night stand that she thought would mean nothing, especially since she has no idea who the guy was. Except ... Twist #2 ... her unknown man walks back into the story in spectacular fashion.

In this scene, she's arguing with herself over giving in.



Her cop-side kicked in. He’d paid cash for the room, used the name John Smith, and she’d known that wasn’t true. In the heat of the moment, she hadn’t cared. She should have cared, should have stopped her behavior when he’d whispered the suggestion in her ear.

Let’s leave.

The piece of her brain still functioning had said no, but the rest of her had screamed yes. That easily, she’d thrown aside all the things she’d learned in church, all the reasons she’d been taught it was wrong, simply to forget Damon Levin.

She hadn’t forgotten him at all. He was still out there, plotting his next move, and now she’d have to live with the fact she’d slept with a guy she didn’t know his name and probably wouldn’t see again.

Definitely wouldn’t see again, because she wasn’t returning to that club. Ever. If he went back there, he wouldn’t find her. A one-night stand wasn’t a relationship and wouldn’t do anything for her in the future. It served only as a reminder of how low she could fall.

Plus, it had been incredibly dangerous. He could have been anyone. He could have been exactly like Levin, and she could be laying in a ditch somewhere, a corpse. She knew better.



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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Photographs

The temperatures have soared this week. We're running 95F, 50% humidity, and with less rain, that means it's sweltering outside. The only time to really be out is early or late. Even the dog refuses to stay out there.

Here's this week's sample. Enjoy!

Sunflowers
Sunflowers 6/21/2014 photo 500-DSC_1665_zpse079c678.jpg

Sunflowers 6/21/2014 photo 500-DSC_1667_zps45a7ba0f.jpg

Sunflowers 6/21/2014 photo 500-DSC_1668_zps7052f0a3.jpg

Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtle 6-21-2014 photo 500-DSC_1677_zpsdb55af4f.jpg

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Caterpillar 6/21/2014 photo 500-DSC_1694_zps06fec7b6.jpg

Powder Puff
Powder Puff 6-21-2014 photo 500-DSC_1695_zps72ad0286.jpg




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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HMO: Highlight and Move On

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (Ps 42:11).




I've asked myself that more than once."What has you so upset, Suzanne?" Usually the answer lies in some perceived insult. Somebody didn't like what I said or did and I took offense.

The fact is, there will always be disappointments. That is part of life. How you handle them controls your end result. Jesus gave the key.

In speaking to the disciples, He told them to, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." (Mt 10: 8) That's a pretty huge assignment. I mean, He didn't say, "Go pass out tracts." He asked them to move in the same anointing, or power of God, that He moved in.That's strong stuff!

But He also knew not everyone they ministered to would receive what they had to say, and at that moment, when the person turns their back, they'd have a chance to be outraged and rant and rave. But if they did THEY'D REMAIN THERE.

Notice His words:

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet (Mt 10:14).

His first instruction was to DEPART. His second was to SHAKE OFF THE DUST.

My good author friend, Jersey, has a phrase she uses, and I've found it to be a powerful truth. Often in writing, you run up against a word or phrase you need more clarity on. It could be something geographical or historical. It could be the proper choice of words for that scene. But watever it is, you can waste a lot of time finding the answer and lose the flow of writing you've established, or you can do what she does, HMO - highlight and move on.

It's not that you ignore the problem. It's not that you don't seek a final solution. But you refuse to get stuck in a place of stumbling and setback.

Where real life is concerned, you can't highlight it, but you can pray about it. That's where you'll find your answer anyhow. In the meantime, you and God can be miles ahead of where you were, walking toward the blessing He has for you.

So shake the dust off your feet today and let God worry about that person or situation that threatens to have you sidelined. No matter what it is, He is big enough, strong enough, and willing enough to take care of it.



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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.