Friday, 16 March 2018

Saying No

 By Jenny Glazebrook

I watch my 10 year old daughter lie on her bed and create stories, page after page of words and pictures as her imagination runs wild and she escapes to another world. 
And I remember when I used to do the same thing. 

Some of 10 year old Clarity's creations

I remember back to when I loved writing. Before I was officially an author.
Presenting a school writing workshop
I’ve been so busy helping others write the past few years that I’ve had no time to write. I’ve run workshops, mentored young writers, been on committees for writers’ festivals and conferences, done free proof-reading, written reviews, given inspirational talks … and in it all, lost my love of writing.

I have to ask myself, when did it become a chore? When did it become another ‘should’ in my busy world?

This year I felt that the Lord wanted me to pull out of all my voluntary roles. It started when I developed a painful condition of my wrist (De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) with associated radial nerve damage – a result of the type 1 diabetes I was diagnosed with at 8 years of age. I am waiting for surgery. I can no longer use a computer mouse without a lot of pain. But free-flow typing is fine.

My 'No!' button
I don’t find it easy to say ‘No’when people ask me to help. In fact, my mother bought me a ‘No’ button to help me with this issue. When you press it, a deep, masculine voice says ‘No’ in many and varied ways. My kids love it and have a good giggle when they use it to answer a question I ask them. And sometimes I get a shock when it’s buried under a pile of papers and I accidentally lean on it.

But I have to ask myself, why is it so hard to say ‘No?’

Is it because I don’t value my work and see other peoples’ gifts as more valuable than the one God has given me?

Is it because I have this warped idea that helping others will make them like me more?

Is it because I’m afraid to fail? What if I focus on my own writing but it’s not good enough?

Is it because my pride says I am able and more willing to help in these areas because I do the job properly, putting my heart and soul into it?

Is it because my default is to rescue others at my own peril?

Is it because I feel I have to prove my worth to the world, to prove I am valuable and deserve to be here? And that by pouring myself out for them I am making their lives better and therefore am valuable?

I have had a good, long, hard look into my heart and I believe it is actually a bit of all of these. Particularly, the last two.

But they are lies of the devil.

God does not need me to rescue people. That is His job and He does it way better than I do!
And despite the fact that I am on a government pension because of family health issues, I do not ‘owe’ it to the world to prove my worth.  God, the King of the Universe, has made me His child. And the government pension is not so that I can wear out my mind and body rescuing others … it is so I can care for myself and my family.

Pop in 2005
I recently spent a day with my 90 year old grandfather in hospital.
Several times he spoke to me of his regret that he didn’t write more down over his lifetime. He kept saying, ‘But Jen, now there’s just not enough time …’
And it struck my heart that I don’t want to be lying on my death bed regretting that I didn’t write more, that I didn’t do what I love and bless others through it. I wish Pop had written down the things on his heart, the lessons he’s learned through life, his spiritual insights. I wish it was here to hold onto when he’s gone. But now his memory is failing and at times he is too weak to even speak.

My time is now. The time to love my family, to live in the moment, to express my heart through writing, to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary did and stop being a Martha. I am troubled by so many things. A couple of nights ago I went outside and sat looking at the stars while our dog laid his head in my lap and our pet goose made gentle honking noises, trying to get my attention. And I just breathed and soaked up God's presence as I remembered what it means to be alive.

And so, to regain my joy in using the gift of writing God has given me, to receive inspiration and strength from Him, this year I say ‘no’ to all the shoulds and instead,  I will enjoy being a wife, a mother, a writer, and most important of all, God’s precious, valuable child … just because I breathe, because He made me in His image and He loves me.

May we never lose the joy of using the gifts God has given us. May we never get so tied up in the business and responsibility of being an author that we forget to write. May our inspiration in Christ be endless, our imaginations set free and our love for God and others grow stronger with every passing day!

Much love to you all, my brothers and sisters, my fellow writers.


Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She is currently working on her next series with publisher, Breath of Fresh Air Press. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker, a chaplain, and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day.  
Jenny’s website is:

Thursday, 15 March 2018

What Dreams May Come Review

What Dreams May Come 
Review by Carolyn Miller @CarolynMAuthor

She's got her heart set on becoming a missionary. He's determined to recruit her for the job.
But is it possible to fall in love with someone you've never even met?

Susannah’s convinced that God has called her to the mission field. That’s why she’s serving him with single-minded focus in Orchard Grove, waiting for the day when she can leave her small town to take the gospel to the nations. Is falling in love with her missionary recruiter part of God’s plan for her life or a distraction from the real goal?

Scott loves his life. Traveling the globe, offering spiritual support to missionaries around the world offers enough excitement that the loneliness hardly ever gets to him …
Until he receives an application from a young girl with a heart for the mission field as large as his own, a young girl he finds himself falling for even before they get the chance to meet face-to-face.

Unfortunately, a promise Susannah made to her family may tear her and Scott even farther apart than the miles that separate them.

Book one in an inspirational sweet romance series by award-winning Christian author Alana Terry, who has won awards from Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, Grace Awards, and several others, What Dreams May Come is based off of the author’s own experiences falling in love with (and eventually marrying) her missionary recruiter.

I remember first hearing about this book on Carrie Booth Schmidt’s blog ‘Reading is my Superpower’ and being intrigued by the premise. When Bookbub recently had it on sale, the ‘Look Inside’ first few chapters were enough for me to snap it up.

It’s an interesting novel for a number of reasons. One, the plot follows the author’s own story of connecting with, and falling in love with, her missionary recruiter. To me, this added a sweet though slightly disconcerting element, as at times it seemed hard to separate fact from fiction. Maybe it’s just me, but when the hero says things like “You are the most compassionate, gentle-spirited person I know…there’s none as sweet or as giving or as selfless as you…” then it’s hard to read that without wondering what is fictional and what is (enhanced?) fact, which can feel a little intrusive.

Another interesting factor is how it progresses, with very short chapters told from alternating viewpoints, followed by a lengthy section devoted to emails as a form of flashback to fill in the details on what exactly happened in their relationship, then another section of action.

There is a great deal of introspection, with some chapters seemingly almost wholly consisting of characters questioning their motives and rehashing what happened, which, while helpful in understanding their thought processes, is not something I’m used to in contemporary fiction, and something that seems to fly in the face of ‘show, don’t tell’ writing advice we hear.

I’m not used to reading about such sheltered (almost Mary Sue type) main characters, so it was good to see characters like Grandma Lucy and Kitty add an element of grit and challenge. I’ve known ‘Grandma Lucy’ types, and enjoy the passion and directness they bring out in others, and the Kitty character was fully realised, someone I could see from my days working with special needs children in school.

Overall, this book appealed to me because I could relate to some of the heroine’s issues: the interest in missions, the questions about God’s call, and the doubts about relationships. This book is the first in ‘A Sweet Dreams Christmas Romance’ series, which sees Grandma Lucy return.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc
Connect with her: website | facebook | pinterest | twitter

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Remembering Billy Graham

Photo source: Herald Sun

The Year 1979

The photo at left was taken in 1979 at one of Mr. Graham’s crusade meetings held at Sydney’s largest racecourse. 1979! Oh what a year. I think back on it with great fondness. I was in Year 10 at school and I particularly loved that school year. I even did well at Science that was a first for me. It gave me a boost especially as I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and study medicine. When it came to selecting my subjects for the final two years of school, I ignored the vocational guidance tests that indicated I was more suited to arts-style courses, and chose to study physics and chemistry so as to give myself a chance of qualifying for medicine. I soon discovered in the early weeks of Year 11 that I really wasn’t cut out for either of them. Darn!

But more significantly in 1979 I met Jesus. Because of Mr. Graham.

I had been attending youth fellowship and church for about nine months when Mr. Graham’s crusade came to town. So many of us from church attended that we had buses ferry us to the other side of Sydney to Randwick Racecourse to attend each night. We had a lot of fun on those bus trips.

I attended five nights. To hear Mr. Graham speak. To hear more about this person, Jesus Christ. I responded to his alter call invitation on the first night. I remember that stirring in the gut, will I/won’t I, and then having to make a long trek from my seat in one of the stands to the front of the stage. I was met by a man, one of hundreds of volunteers, who said a few things and gave me a small book. I never heard from him again. But that didn’t matter. I’d accepted Jesus into my life. I was born again.

Just the beginning

Soon after the crusades finished I enrolled in confirmation classes at my church. Yes, we had eight to ten weeks of classes in the home of one of the great families in the church to learn more about what being a Christian meant. In addition, we were given an overview of various disciplines like prayer and reading the Bible.

I also needed to be baptized as my parents didn’t baptize any of us when we were young. This created a bit of angst with my Dad. He challenged me to consider ALL the alternatives to Christianity and even asked me to read a book written by Carl Sagan who was a recognized God-skeptic. I read it but it didn’t discourage me in my decision. Dad appreciated the fact I read the book and even though he still questioned my decision he allowed me to proceed.

The journey

It has only taken me another almost 40 years to begin to better understand who Jesus is and how much He loves me but gosh I’ve loved the journey. Certainly, there have been many valleys where I’ve struggled in my walk but I’ve come to realise the importance of communicating with the Lord, reading His Word all the time, and being in community with other believers is so important to moving forward. Most of my valleys have been times of when I’ve tried to do life on my own terms. It’s been in learning that God made us to be dependent on Him that I’ve discovered the victory we have in daily walking with Him.


Thank you, Mr Graham, for introducing me to Jesus. There have been so many wonderful and much deserved tributes dedicated to the great man but it’s kinda special for me to know that I’m one of the many millions who carry the legacy of the incredible life he lived. I’ll always treasure his memory.

Now your turn. Love us all to share in the comments of someone who has played a key role in your faith walk. What about Billy Graham? Did you attend one of his crusades?

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter