Dare To See Yourself!

Dare To See Yourself!

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. Proverbs 14:10 NIV

Here’s a challenge for everyone today. Get a mirror or go to the mirror in your bathroom or in your car. Take a good look at yourself and be willing to see the depths of your soul through the windows of your eyes. What do you see?

Do you see joy or sadness?

Do you see love or hate?

Do you see angst and bitterness?

Do you see helplessness or hope?

What do you really see?

Think about that for a moment. Now think about “why” you see what you see.

Far too often, people are bitter and hateful because they do not recognize the seed that has been planted by circumstances beyond their control. That includes how parents raised them or not raised them (love and hate are taught)–the struggles they fought through on a daily basis–or the envy and jealousy they felt when they looked at others and wondered, “Why them and not me?”

I have a better question for everyone to wonder about–why not you?

Look, every morning (because of my age) I take a good look at myself in a magnifying mirror so I can “see” the hair growth and pluck it out before I leave the house. Some women don’t care, but I do. Nothing creeps me out like discovering I left the house with a long, curly black hair sticking out my face (chin) wherever it might be. But now here’s the tricky part–cataracts are forming in both eyes and even when I look before I leave, I don’t always see the ornery little hair trying to escape detection. When I “feel across my chin” even the tiniest hair is discovered and back into the bathroom I go with my trusty little tweezers until the culprit is gone.

Even though I get a little put out when I miss those hairs, it’s nothing that compares to how I feel when I know I have slighted someone–unintentionally–and when I look at myself–I recognize when I’ve headed in the wrong direction and immediately, I repent.

Though life’s circumstances (in the last 65 years) have provided plenty of fodder and fuel and fertilizer to nurture bitterness and disappointment--I refuse to let it grow. God has been too good to me to allow a seed of bitterness to linger in my soul and bud, attempting to flower and spread like an ivy throughout my being. So, I allow His love to flood my soul and heart–washing away the bitterness and disappointment–never allowing hate to bud or flower and every time–every time–I get angry and want to hate–He reminds me He is love and if I truly belong to Him; I cannot hate. What a wonderful feeling–to have so much love within that hate has no room to enter.

Now, have you had time to really look at yourself and think about what you see? If you haven’t, keep looking and dare to see beyond the surface, all the way down to the depths of your feet.  Is there anything there that needs to be plucked out? Do you have a trusty pair of tweezers?

Own what you see and be willing to rid yourself of anything that will nurture bitterness and hate and allow the Love of God to fill you to overflowing and the world will see–the joy that resides within.

This joy I have–the world didn’t give it and I won’t let the world take it away!


Fighting The Good Fight!

Fighting The Good Fight!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy 6:9-12 NIV

How do we measure progress when we’re doing something for the first time? What standard becomes our benchmark? We’re still determining our direction with our boot camp.

What we didn’t anticipate is a change in our scheduling that makes this attempt almost futile. I say, almost because I’m not one who gives up easily at the first sign of adversity. Unexpected events have taken me away from home during the crucial hours of our scheduling and that has thrown everything off course. But still we muddle forward. Leaving written instructions for someone to follow without being in their presence is not the same as being right there.

While we’re learning how to adapt our methodology and accomplish our goal, I get a better glimpse of how God views us. Though He has set out the guidelines for us to follow in His Word, if we are not totally cognizant of His presence–at all times, we veer off track.

This then, is how we fight the good fight of faith. We must remember at all times, He is a very present help in our midst and we must look to Him for direction in all things. ALL things–every little thing–and never take Him for granted because He knows when we’re faltering in our own wisdom and when we allow Him to guide us–we cannot go wrong.

So, instead of relying upon my memory for the first breakfast of this boot camp, I should have consulted Him–who would have reminded me to look it up and all ingredients would have been included. Had I consulted Him about the week of our plans, He would have provided me with insight as to what else would occur in our lives.

What to do, what to do! Adjust–all plans and determine if there is a need for continuation for another week or even for the next month–one day at a time. I’m waiting to hear but I will continue to provide the necessary building blocks that will ensure my grandson will thrive and be able to resist the temptations that are bound to be put before him.

Lord, though we know to seek Your wisdom in all things, sometimes we think we can handle the minor details without You. Thank You for bringing us back to the realization that You are our focus and without You, involved in all things, we can do nothing. Thank You for reviving us and strengthening to continue the good fight–every day!

Sometimes, It’s Best To Be Quiet!

Sometimes, It’s Best To Be Quiet!

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. Proverbs 15:14 NIV

I’m sure most of us have had opportunities in which we have listened to someone talking, trying to make a point, but strayed so far from the point, people who were listening forgot why they were listening.

When I’ve encountered this situation (and I have a lot lately), I often wonder if people are listening to themselves.

First of all, The Word tells us, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34), if a person’s mouth keeps speaking do we not see what’s in their heart?

Then there are those who love the sound of their voice and forget that others are not that crazy about “their voice” but they’re so wrapped up in themselves, they don’t recognize when people start squirming and looking at watches.

Moving onto those who–when speaking to a new audience–make certain erroneous assumptions about the crowd to whom they’re speaking. This is where the rubber meets the road and the speaker is found guilty of presuming–having no knowledge–thinking they are the only one “in the know.”

Personally, based upon my experience in various environments, I’ve learned that any time a person has to tell me they are, “God-fearing” or a “Christian” they are not telling the whole truth. I’m more convinced by a person’s actions as to who they are than I am by their words. And if your actions don’t demonstrate what your words say–I’m not interested in anything else you have to say.

Okay, I won’t bore you any longer with this diatribe, but I wanted to remind anyone interested–when speaking before people you’ve never met–don’t try to impress them with a lot of talking,–just get to the point and sit down. Let your audience lead your speaking with their questions.

Love That Remains!

Love That Remains!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

Ten years ago today, my husband and I embarked upon a new chapter in our lives–we got married!

Big deal, you say? Yes, for us it was a very big deal. This was not the first for either of us and with grown children and grandchildren on both sides of the aisle, some smiling, some frowning, and some looking on in total disbelief, we stood before family and friends and pledged the rest of our love and determination to see the next forty years together. Since we’re not youngsters, this pledge was an act of faith.2006 fishbones

Within in the first two weeks, my husband had a stroke but he survived. Later in the first year of our marriage, he ended up in the hospital again and needed surgery–he survived. Two years later, I had a stroke, but I survived. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer–but he survived. We are survivors in Jesus’ name!

In the midst of various illnesses, he had back surgery and retired sooner than anticipated. In the midst of uncertainty and chaos with the school district where I worked, I retired sooner than I had anticipated. We’ve made major changes in our lifestyles, moving from one location to another, taking on new challenges, starting a podcast on BlogTalk Radio and we broadcast every week–no matter what (it’s our time together) and for the most part–just enjoying life and each other.

We have strong faith in God and believe we receive all of His promises–no matter what the enemy throw our way. Our hope is in Him and our love for the Lord and each other has managed to overcome the obstacles that attempted to snare us and drive us apart. We have survived the last ten years by praying and loving–no matter what. We are looking forward to the next 30 years with the same determination and love because after all--the first 10 years were the toughest!

And just as our love for each other has remained steadfast and true–God’s love for all of us is even greater and His commitment to us, never changing.

So, the rest of this day will be spent celebrating with my hubby and enjoying what we do most–eating good food at our favorite restaurant and praising The Lord that we can enjoy it.


The Purpose of My Books!

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

Though I will be the first to admit that I am not a particular fan of Toni Morrison’s works, I agree wholeheartedly with her stance about writing. Before I even read this quote, I knew what type of books I wanted to read and wrote them–with the hope that I was not the only one who wanted to read–wholesome literature–devoid of voyeuristic scenes and profanity.

You see, as much as I love mysteries and romance novels, I started avoiding most of those on the market. Most of the suspense and thriller novels are so laced with profanity that I can’t get past the first chapter. When that happens, I simply stop reading. The same is true of some of the books that people are trying to pass off as romance, when they’re actually only about sex.

I’m not trying to tell other people what to write or how to write it, but I won’t read literature that opposes my faith and my stance with moral issues.

Therefore, I’ve written a number of books–that are romantic in nature without making the reader feel like they’re taking part in a perverse act–and have an actual story line, with lovable characters and those the reader can hate as well.

The suspense and thriller novels–are filled with all the stuff we love–intrigue, murder, human trafficking, kidnapping, but no profanity and the characters have developed “alternate” expressions that work well when they are emotionally charged.

I want to see a return of moral values and structures that all can read in the literature produced. So I have accomplished–at least I think I have–this goal with my books. Why am I saying this now? An author on Twitter posted that Indie Publishers should be blogging about their books, not their blogs. I agree and here I am.

I’d love to know what you think–regarding my purpose.  Did I accomplish my purpose or am I just whistling in the clouds of hope?

There are two fantasies for kids and I’m working on the third in the series. In these books, kids are empowered to overcome good with evil by relying upon innate powers within them– myBook.to/SuperTweens and myBook.to/OtherSide.  Both were written to empower kids between the ages of 10 and 12 and beyond with the latest effort–not yet available. Kids need all the encouragement they can get to do the right thing and to know others see them as worthy and not just a nuisance to be tolerated.

The suspense/thriller works are: myBook.to/Sword about a serial killer in a small town in South Carolina. I introduce Tyson and Tiffany as they team up to find the serial killer. In the second book myBook.to/TNT Tyson is working for the FBI and Tiffany is battling demons from her past, but it is with the struggle they discover who’s kidnapping mentally challenged girls and are able to defuse all the bombs the crazy Russian plants, except one. In  myBook.to/ElevatedHijinks Tyson and Tiffany and their team must find Swatere’s kids who have been kidnapped as revenge against Tiffany. They find the kids, but will a blazing mountain fire defeat their attempt to rescue them?

Two of the romance novels are based upon two ministers who meet over the phone and begin the journey that is overwhelmed with obstacles. myBook.to/Gifts begins the story, but even after they overcome the barriers set before them, others attempt to cloud the issues in myBook.to/Storms.  The last romance is more secular in nature, but still provides insight into matters of the heart and love without being erotically perverse. There is a wonderful story line in myBook.to/MoneyTalks about love, trust and betrayal.

There are many more found on Amazon–mostly Christian Living and can be accessed through this link  viewAuthor.at/maryglobal.  My goal with this post is to entice you to read my books and let me know if I have accomplished my purpose.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Wholesome Christian Literature

Today, my 21st eBook was released on Amazon. When you get a chance, please check it out at myBook.to/ElevatedHijinks

This book is the end result of my NaNoWriMo novel and I am genuinely pleased with the results and I know you will be too if you like unexpected adventures.

When an FBI Agent’s sons are kidnapped, the other agents–particularly Tiffany and Tyson, along with Battle (who finds love in the valley), set out to find out who the kidnappers are. AJ and Raphi have their own plans to escape and it all works out until they have to outrun a blazing mountain fire. Lots of twists and turns, but you’ll have to keep turning the pages–just to see the hijinks revealed.

Anyone with a heart for adventure and love the mountains will enjoy this book.

EH promo

Fool’s Delight!

“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.” (Proverbs 18:2,6 NIV)

The words fool or fools is mentioned in the Bible 108 times and predominately in Proverbs–the book of Wisdom. Hmmm! Now, we know that if we lack wisdom, we can ask of God who gives it to us liberally (James 1:5), but what happens when we lack wisdom and don’t realize how foolish we are are?

How many times have we seen evidence of fools through their behavior? You know, those folks who do really dumb things and think they can get away with it. There was even a show on television about “dumbest criminals” that a number of people watched, just to laugh at the foolishness.

I’ve often said stupid people think everyone else is just as stupid as they are. They don’t realize they’re incapable of having a rational thought and so they think no one else can either. A perfect example of this mentality is a young woman trying to cash a 94 million dollar income tax check. Really? Of course she was caught! No one in their right mind would attempt to cash a 94 million dollar income tax check when they walk into a bank looking like they just rolled out of bed. Seriously?

But in her mind, the foolish mind, no one would be the wiser and she’d walk away with all that money. I don’t even think she had a bank account which proves her inability to have a rational thought. Fools delight in their own opinions, devoid of understanding.

I’ve had students who tried to turn in papers they didn’t write and thought I wouldn’t know. If a student can’t write a grammatically correct, complete sentence in class, why would they be able to write an entire paper that is flawless, outside of class? Really? Do I have stupid written across my forehead? I think not. And when I give their papers back with comments across the top of the paper about plagiarism, they start stuttering, trying to explain how they didn’t have time to do the work, so they had someone else do it for them. Uh huh! Then I tell them to re-read their syllabus which explains the consequences of plagiarized work.

And the same is true for those who run their mouths without thinking–especially in situations they do not understand. They talk and talk and talk, ignoring the warning signs from people who don’t want to hear what they have to say and then, when they get in someone’s face–the wrong someone–they get the beat down of their life. I’m not condoning violence, just referring to why some things happen to people. Wise people walk away from strife, fools simply continue stirring it up until it explodes on them.

If I, a mere human being, can detect foolishness and a lack of wisdom, how much more so can God detect the fools who delight in stirring up strife?

It is better to be quiet and thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and let everyone know–yep, there’s a fool in the house!

I encourage all reading to consider what’s being said even in a humorous light and encourage others to seek God and His wisdom before doing or saying something foolish that will result in severe consequences.

Thanks For The Support!

Over a year ago, I was praying my writing and the Lord showed me that He would have 1 + million readers read my books. Well, of course He didn’t share His timeline, but I’m so grateful to those who are hearing Him speak to their hearts and we’re getting closer each day. My God is an awesome God and He is more than able to fulfill His promises to us and through us!

So, for those who are reading my books–Thank you! For those who haven’t–what are you waiting for–you’re missing out on good, wholesome literature–Mystery with no profanity or violence, Christian Romance with no porn, Christian literature clarifying scripture, poetry, and fantasy for kids–I’m writing so there is something for everyone!

Reading–research has shown–increases literacy and for the older generation, helps to allay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer disease.

So, let’s get away from the television and curl up with a good book.


Mightier Than The Sword–Live on Amazon!

I am so grateful that I’ve finally completed this project and can share it with you! If you read free chapters on JukePop, you can now read the entire book–after the 15th revision. A mystery/suspense worth reading and you may be surprised! amazon cvr 3   You can get it now http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

Think You Can Write?

Purposeful Writing

Writers today lack ability to compose words that connect the reader with a mindset to engage, entertain, and influence those that ponder and contemplate the connected contextual content of so many slashes on paper that attempt to mimic classic construction of such, viably termed, literature. Small wonder that society as a whole has lost its way to elucidate minds and encourage discovery in changing and rearranging the alphabet in ways that tackle the boredom of youth, yet re-energize the minds thought past redemption to understanding age-fraught diseases that lead to forgetfulness and sometimes complete eradication of what was.

Stifled, stunted by contemporary verbiage that is more folly than wisdom at its best when the best of language appears to be that which we now disown rather than use as an indicator of our intellectual ability and foresight and not just an extant reflection of who we once were.

Hampered, hamstrung by rituals and rules constantly changing, and rearranging thought patterns from ancient to present, but not relaying any message with clarity, as yet understood by the masters-of-words who could with the blink of an eye or stroke of pen transport readers from there to then within the space of time, not withheld from those who had imagination.

A preponderance of evidence exists, illustrating ineptitude by many, including those who proclaim they are masters of the written word in teaching it and yet fail to elucidate their ability at every turn, penning composition better suited for elementary students with simple minds that lack sophistication to compose letters of the alphabet that would entice a scholarly mind to read.

Mundane describes with understatement the slew of words on paper that attempt to divulge the essence of thoughts pre-arranged in random order that never meets with structure and organization designed to formulate a clear, concise message with fortitude.

Many redesign and regurgitate the prose of ancient ones in an attempt to supersede abilities in their proliferation of archaic pronouncements in terms that float just out of reach of those who dare to contemplate use of a dictionary, or resource of any magnitude, dispelling the notion that words and their contextual use are unimportant.

The means by which change occurs, lies within the ability of all concerned to see the need to reevaluate the processes used in learning and teaching and mostly in views that are ensconced in boxes with lids and fresh ideas are staled with the hindrance, and no one gets beyond the pale to think beyond the boundaries established by those who did not access galactic thinking.