Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Count Your Blessings

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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

 

We all have Christmas traditions. One of ours is to play the movie White Christmas while the tree is being decorated. I love all the music from that classic movie. Of course the iconic “White Christmas” song by Irving Berlin is one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time. And I do love that song. But there’s another song from the movie that I love. “Count Your Blessings” was also written by Irving Berlin. He wrote it during a time he was suffering from insomnia brought on by stress. A doctor suggested to count his blessings instead. Good advice.

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings
when my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

 

I think about a nursery,
and I picture curly heads,
and one by one I count them
as they slumber in their beds.

If you’re worried and you cant sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

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Worry and stress are exasperated during this “Most Wonderful Time of The Year”. While it should be one of the happiest times, for many it can be one of the hardest. I think of this song often throughout the year when I feel stressed. When I stop and count all of my many blessings it gives me perspective. The problems will always come, but the gifts from our Heavenly Father will come too. So let’s thank Him for all He has given us, for all He has done and continues to do.
The Word of God is clear about what we are to do with our worry. Give it all over to Jesus. Here are just a few verses:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV) 
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
No matter what you are facing today, stop and take a few moments to thank God for everything He has blessed you with. Write these blessings down and look at them daily to remember how faithful God is. Let’s count our blessings! Our lists should be so long that we run out of paper. If you are in a painful place, at least write a few blessings down. There is always something to be thankful for. Your list will grow as you begin to think about all the good God has done.
Here is big blessing to start you off. Jesus came into this world as a tiny baby to save us. Thank you Jesus for the blessing and miracle of Christmas.
When we thank God for His many blessings something happens. We stop focusing on the problems and stress and start focusing on God. That changes our mood and our attitude. Our faith grows, and our praise gets stronger. That’s powerful!
May your load be a little lighter today. May God give you fresh joy and perspective when you think on all He has done.
Love you all,
Meghan
P.S. If you need prayer leave your request in the comments or on my contact page.
Images by monicore from Pixabay
Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Uncategorized

Black Friday Giveaway

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I’m giving away a copy of my book Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale and I want that winner to be you! It’s my debut Middle Grade Novel. Perfect for ages 8 and up. Both kids and adults have loved my little book. It’s a fun, adventurous story that happens to have a deeper message. To trust God.

But that’s not all. I’m giving away a T-shirt too! As you can see from the picture, the T-shirt has the theme of the book. It’s an adult size medium, and is unisex. It would easily fit an older child or small adult. My husband’s friend Adrien made these T-shirts for me last year, and my friend Nick designed them. The blue is actually much more vibrant than the picture is showing.

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If you want a different kind of children’s book that will encourage your faith, and maybe teach your kids something new about faith in God, then enter my contest. It will cost you absolutely nothing. Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale makes a great gift, and a fun read aloud with your kids.

How to enter the contest:

It’s that easy to enter the book and T-shirt giveaway.

The winner will be chosen and notified next Friday, December 6th.

 

It is my pleasure to share Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale with you and your children! It was a labor of love. I never wanted to write anything, let alone a children’s book. God asked me to write, and you can learn more about why I wrote here: Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?

You can listen to an interview I did with Kid’s Stuff Podcast here: http://kidsstuff.libsyn.com/interview-with-childrens-book-author-meghan-white

 

Enter my contest today! It will cost you nothing and you may be the lucky winner!

P.S. I will sign the copy I giveaway. That’s right. You will have the signature of a famous author. OK, that’s not even close. You will have the signature of an unknown author.

 

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, God, Uncategorized

It Really Is Grand

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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

“America the Beautiful” popped into my head the other morning as I was walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon. I could hear choirs of angels singing there as well. It’s just that magnificent of a place. It’s hard, almost impossible, not to be moved while visiting the Grand Canyon. All my troubles melted away as I looked out at this exquisite masterpiece made by the hand of God.

If you doubt God’s love, just take a look at that picture. Something that beautiful was made by a loving God for our pleasure. It’s easy to see God as distant, and shaking His fist at us. Like we’re all waiting for the lightning to strike. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We should definitely have holy fear and respect of Him, but we should never doubt His love. He loves you and me so very much. So much so that He sacrificed Jesus, His only son, to save us. (John 3:16) That’s real love.

And, God gave us a beautiful place to live. And, He gave us beautiful places to see and experience, like the Grand Canyon. Thank you God for blessing us with such beauty!

We were in Arizona visiting my in-laws and they blessed us with a few days at the Grand Canyon. It’s been on my list of places to see for several years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to such a wonderful place. Not man-made, God-made. I love architecture, but no one, and no thing can beat the Great Architect. His works are marvelous!

Vacations come with expectations. They should be trouble free, worry free, joyful, relaxing experiences. I know, I know. That’s pretty funny, and completely unrealistic. We go to new places with hopes of soul restoration, fun, and enjoyment. And all of those good things can take place during these getaways, but they come with a price. Both from our pocketbooks, and a little from our souls.

Troubles don’t take vacations. I really want them to. In my mind it’s my vacation. My chance to try and turn off my brain. Break out from the routine, and hopefully get new perspective, get some rest, and make some fun memories. Unfortunately, troubles still come along on our vacations. The little stinkers. Don’t they know I need a break from them. Trouble packs it’s bags too. It’s at the airport, in the hotel room, at the restaurant, and sometimes in our attitudes.

But God is there too. Guiding us, providing for us, and making a way through the troubles that show up.

We started off on our road trip from Tucson to Grand Canyon National Park with excitement, and great anticipation. Yeah! This was going to be incredible. Then red and blue flashing lights rained on our parade. My husband was handed a speeding ticket. Wait a minute, that’s not fun. We were all really annoyed. I know, that’s not a very Jesusy-attitude. Shake it off, and keep moving. Hours later my husband quickly pulls to the side of the highway and throws up. That’s not fun either.

Tom was still able to drive because he’s a determined, tough person. We make it to the park and check in exhausted, and Tom was still very sick. Press on. We see the gorgeous sunset and walk the edge of the rim. Pretty, pretty, pretty, even in the dark. It was very cold that first night, so we all bundled up and went outside to watch the best show of stars. Crystal clear skies with no light interruption gave us perfect views of the Milky Way. These are good things in spite of troubles.

The next morning I sneak out while everyone else is asleep and walk the rim. I see the mules getting ready for their ride down the canyon. Amazing creatures. Hard working, and underappreciated. Just me, Jesus, a few hikers, and that magnificent canyon. I breath in and exhale my troubles with new faith, and new perspective. Dylan and I hike a small part of Bright Angel Trail in the early afternoon.

Rain and cold hits as we step out to take the bus for Hermits Rest. Tom notices a flat tire on our rental car. This is not fun. This is not what a vacation is supposed to be. Stinking troubles just had to come along. After several phone calls, and Tom out in the cold and rain, still sick, inflating the tire, we have a solution. We will swap a new rental car in Flagstaff the next day. Press on.

We made it back safely to my in-laws house on Wednesday night, and flew out the next morning. After a flight delay in Tucson, and a second delayed flight in L.A., we landed in Houston last night. Dylan’s bag never made it to Houston, but it just arrived by courier to our house.

Yes, trouble comes no matter if you are on vacation or not, but God is there too. Do you see Him working? He is, whether you are noticing or not. Troubles make us cry out to our Heavenly Father for help. Troubles keep us humble. Troubles stretch our faith. Troubles give God a chance to show up and show off for us.

On your next vacation when the troubles come along too, God will take care of you. Do you trust Him?

The Grand Canyon really is grand. If you’ve never been I highly recommend making your way to that wondrous place. Breathe in fresh air, quiet, and calm. And see what a loving God made just for our enjoyment.

 

He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Amos 4:13

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I am tired but amazed at God’s goodness. He is faithful. God bless you!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Faith, God, Uncategorized

Do It Afraid

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The room was filled with seemingly perfect looking young moms.

They have it all together.

They are the perfect Christian moms and wives. 

You don’t belong here.

I walked up to the check in table where I was met by a smiling face. After sticking my name tag on my shirt, I took a deep breath, and walked into the unknown.

That internal dialogue went on for many weeks. I can recall walking into that Mom’s Bible Study and hearing the same words each time, You don’t belong here. Yet, I walked in, afraid. In spite of my feelings, in spite of my fear, I kept coming. I was afraid of rejection. A group of women is intimidating. For an introvert, a large unknown group of any type is panic inducing.

Why did I do it? Because the potential reward was greater than the risk. Because God was calling me to it. I needed a mom-community. I needed friendship, discipleship, mom-help.

And guess what? Doing it afraid paid off big time. It was the best group of Christian women I had the privilege to be a part of, as a young mom. It was run like a small church service with weekly worship, teaching, Bible study, small group time, and prayer. There was intimacy, accountability, and a whole lot of fun. We became like family to each other.

When God is leading you somewhere that makes you uncomfortable, trust Him. God is a good, faithful, loving God. He is going to ask you to step out of your comfort zone. It will stretch you and stretch your faith. But, there are rewards and blessings waiting on the other side of the fear. If I never came back after that first visit to the Bible study I would have lost out on so much that God wanted me to experience.

We gotta do it afraid, with God’s help.

This does not mean we stay afraid all of the time. It just means we don’t let our feelings dictate our decisions. God knows we will be afraid sometimes. For some of us, it’s a constant state of fear. He knows. The Bible talks about fear hundreds of times. It’s how we respond to our fear that matters.

There is not a single fear we have to face alone if we’ve got Jesus.

So we can say with confidence,

The Lord is my helperand I will not be afraidWhat can people do to me?

Hebrews 13:6 (NET)

Another big fear I had to confront was writing a book. I was terrified. I avoided writing for years because of my fear. God called me to write, and I ran. I didn’t know how to write, let alone a children’s book, and I was definitely not a good enough Christian. Come on Lord, you know there are better people out there to do this. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of me to write for Him. I could not live with myself if I didn’t do it.

I faced my fear of completing the huge task of writing a book one step at a time, one day at a time. And yeah, it freaked me out most of the time. Honestly, writing still scares me. It’s vulnerable, especially blogging. I have gotten stronger, thicker skinned. I have learned that God will give you exactly what you need. We have to step out first though.

God-sized things require God to accomplish them. We can’t just pull ourselves up by the boot straps and do it alone. Sure, you can do quite a bit that way, and many people do. When we rely fully on God to carry us, way bigger things can be accomplished. It’s quite freeing. It’s not all on me. I just step out with God, and He’ll keep guiding me and leading me. Step by step. Not running ahead of God, and not taking God out of the equation entirely. Just He and I together. That’s my awesome God. He loves us that much!

What have you been afraid to do that God is calling you to do?

Write it down. Pray about it. Step out. Even if it’s one teeny, tiny baby step. You are not alone. God is with you every step of the way. It’s O.K. if you feel afraid, do it anyway. Do it afraid. God is 100% with you and for you. Remember, the Lord is your helper!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Father God,

Thank you that you are always with us and we don’t have to be afraid. Please give an extra dose of courage to the person who needs to step out and do the thing you’ve asked of them. Bring comfort, peace, and confirmation of your will for them. You are a loving God who cares about every detail of our lives. Help us to trust you more, and follow where you lead.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?  by Meghan E. White

It Only Looks Scary by Meghan E. White

 

My interview with Kids Stuff Podcast.

http://kidsstuff.libsyn.com/interview-with-childrens-book-author-meghan-white

 

Photo credit enriquelopezgarre fromPixabay

 

Faith, U.S. Military, Uncategorized

Thank You Veterans!

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My grandpa, Michael T. Whitney, served in the U.S. Navy during WWI. He was just a kid, like so many of that time. Enlisting at 16, he lied about his age, also a fairly common practice of young men in those days. Grandpa was the son of Irish immigrant parents, one of nine children. Maybe the Navy was his chance for adventure. I can only speculate since he died before I was born. I do know that he was on a troop ship, which brought troops to Europe. Grandpa worked in the engine room. That must have been grueling work. There was plenty of danger for him in the Navy during the Great War as German U-Boats sunk many U.S. ships.

All three of my grandpa’s sons, including my dad, served in the U.S. Military. Uncle Tom was in the Army during WWII. He was part of The Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Tom was injured in battle, getting hit with shrapnel on his arm. I remember Uncle Tom’s scar tissue on his arm. I don’t recall if it was his right or left arm, but I do know he couldn’t straighten his arm out. The few times I was around Uncle Tom as a child, I always looked at his arm. It was slightly bent up with a large amount of scar tissue at the elbow.

Uncle Mackie served in the Marines during Korea. My dad, Lee, served in the Marines during Vietnam. My cousin Tommy, Uncle Tom’s son, was in the Army during Vietnam and did two tours. My brother Michael served in the Navy during The Gulf War.

My husband Tom is an Air Force Veteran. My brother-in-law Steve is also an Air Force Veteran. My husband’s Great Uncle James served in the Army during Vietnam. There are records of U.S. military service on Tom’s side of the family dating all the way back through the Revolutionary War.

I just named the few Veterans that I can recall off the top of my head, there are many others throughout my family. I love Veterans, so much so that I married one. I love our current active military. U.S. soldiers have a special place in my heart, and they always will. As you can see, it’s in our DNA to serve, though I have never had a desire to serve, I am so grateful to all who have. Especially my family members.

When my oldest son Dylan was in Cub Scouts they would place American flags at the Veteran’s cemetery in Portland, Oregon for Memorial Day. This was my absolute favorite thing they did when he was a Scout. Each Scout swept off the grave marker, placed an American flag, and saluted. Some of the graves were fresh, as this was in the middle of The War in Afghanistan. Some of the graves were from WWI. It didn’t matter though, they all are worthy of respect and admiration.

A very tiny percentage of Americans serve in our military. It’s a big deal if you have served, you are among a small group. So today Veterans, I honor you.

Thank you Veterans! I am grateful for your service to America.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

 

 

God, Trials, Uncategorized

How Soon We Forget

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“Remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.”   Charles Spurgeon 

Oh no! Panic! Panic! Panic! What’s gonna happen to me? Will God help me? Where is God? How quickly I forget when things go wrong. My first reaction used to be fear. Not anymore. The Lord, in His grace and mercy, has taught me to trust Him. That did not happen overnight. That took years. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have short term memory problems when it comes to God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I forget, we all do.

What triggers those feelings of fear and abandonment? Trouble. Life stops going our way and we may assume God has left us. Where did we get the crazy idea that life is supposed to be problem free, and if we do have problems, that God must have left us. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Trials will come. I know, not exactly what you want to hear. But, it’s the reality of living in this world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

Jesus tells us that the trouble will come, but he’s already overcome the world. He will take care of us and get us through any trouble we face.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

God will never leave us. Ever. Trials will come, but He will be with us. Guaranteed.

Sometimes we forget what God has done when things are going great. It doesn’t mean it’s intentional, but it happens. It happened over and over again to the Israelites in the Old Testament. God warns them in Deuteronomy 8 not to forget Him.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV)

“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:11, NIV)

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NIV)

When we forget God a nasty thing slips in. Pride. At first we aren’t even aware of our pridefulness. But it can take over before we know it. Everything is going well. Do I really need God? I’ll just call on Him when I’m in trouble. And there it is. I’ve done it many times. I don’t recommend it.

Remember what God has done for you. That same God will do it again. He loves you so much. You are His precious child. God takes care of His own.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11, NIV)

Years ago, I started writing down all the times God showed up in my life and did the impossible. If you’ve never done it, you may want to try it. Take a few minutes and think back on all the times in your life you were up against a wall and God made a way. This is important to remind us of His faithfulness.

God is not a person. God is reliable, dependable, and will always come through. Maybe not the way we expect or exactly when we would like, but He will make a way. We are the creation and He is the magnificent Creator so He knows best. Trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Father God,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. Thank you for your perfect love and care for us. I lift up all those who are afraid because of their circumstances. Remind them of your faithfulness in the past. Give them peace as they wait on you. Nothing is too hard for you. We praise and thank you and remember your goodness.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Photo credit: Strikers

 

Bible, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

Jesus & Coffee

CHIANGMAI, THAILAND, February 4,2015. Reading The New Internatio

Every morning I grab my Bible and stumble into the kitchen. I grind those beans and pray for the water to boil quickly so I can get that first cup from my French press coffee pot. Yeah, I’m fancy like that. Not really, but I do like good coffee. I plop down on the couch and say, “Thank you Lord”. I thank Him because I’m alive. I thank Him because I’ve got a nice roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, and coffee. I thank Him for three incredible men in my life; my two sons and husband. I thank Him for saving me.

I begin each morning spending time with Jesus. It was a discipline I started years ago out of necessity. I need Jesus in my life every moment, of every hour, of every day. I am not super spiritual or special in any way, just hungry. This is what works for me to strengthen my relationship with God, and keep me focused on what really matters in this life.

I start my quiet time, or Jesus time, or God time, whatever you want to call it, by reading my Bible first. I say a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me and teach me what I need to learn. I always have paper on hand to write notes, which I do often. I have a prayer journal as well. I write in that throughout the month, but not daily. Bible reading plans have been helpful. Devotionals are also something I read as well. I’ve got three going right now.

You can read about the Bible I use here My Bible It’s broken in and comfortable, sort of like an old sweater. It’s marked up with highlights, and notes. I recently had to tape the binding of my Bible. It’s not pretty, but well loved. I have many reasons why I read the Bible. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I want to know. Only Jesus truly satisfies, and when I meditate on His word I am changed. Little bits at a time, I am being transformed by His word.

What does the Bible say about being in the Word?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV)

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NIV) 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NIV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, HCSB)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, HCSB)

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NIV) 

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)

This is not an exhaustive list. But these few scriptures tell us how important it is to study the Word of God.

Prayer is how I end my time with Jesus in the morning. I have a list going of prayer requests from family and friends. I lay my requests before Him knowing He will answer in His time, in His way. It is freeing for me to let go of whatever is weighing me down. I don’t have to carry it. After I’ve had my coffee, and read the Word, and read my devotionals, and prayed, I can face whatever lies ahead with confidence.

There are a few things I do to protect this quiet time with the Lord. I do not check my email or any social media when I wake up. It’s coffee to wake me up, and then the Word. If I get online or do anything else it’s very distracting and I lose my focus. This is what has worked for me.

Mornings may not work for you. My husband listened to a podcast every day that went through the entire Bible in one year. He was also going to school and working full time back then, and that’s what worked for him. Maybe you’ve got a night time routine that’s effective for you. Maybe you have no time alone with Jesus, squeezing in a quick prayer here and there.

Jesus and coffee is what starts my day but one of those I can live without. I would get an awful headache, but I can live without coffee. I can’t live without Jesus. I may start my day with Him, but He and I are talking all day. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, He is my friend, and constant companion through the Holy Spirit. The most important relationship I’ve got is with Jesus, so I try my best to make Him the priority to start off my day.

Do you have daily quiet times with Jesus? What works for you? Please feel free to share any ideas for alone time with God.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Here are some Bible reading plans that can be a starting point:

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/3-esv-mcheyne-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/6-esv-chronological-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plans/2-esv-a-psalm-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/5-esv-a-proverb-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological-new-testament.html

 

 

I recommend this devotional:

Renovating Your Mind. Read about it here: Q & A with Author Patrick Egle