A Mother’s Love

When I think about a mother, my frame of reference is obviously to think of my own mom. As many daughters, my relationship with my mother has had many stages. If there’s one thing I’m always sure is that noDSC_4396 matter what, my mother loves me and that I love her too. Some days she drives me absolutely crazy, but that is her job and she does it very well. Some days I catch myself behaving just like her, reasoning like her and saying the same things that she says.

Last year for her birthday my brother came to visit, I heard him say something that I could hear myself saying and I joked, “I think we are related”. He then replied, “Don’t forget we have the same mother” Which reminded me that our wit comes from that little 4’10 woman full of personality.

From her I’ve learned that a mother’s love is sacrificial, supportive, unconditional, protective and educational. A mother’s love is essentially the closest thing on earth to God’s love.

Now a mother is more than someone that has a biological connection with another human being. Being a mother is a more intimate connection than DNA. Therefore I know for a fact that there are more mother’s out there than those who have carried a child inside of them. So to every woman who has mothered someone  from her heart. Happy Mother’s Day!

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift, the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” (Psalm 127:3-5, MSG)

As a gift to all the mother’s out there, I’m placing both of my fictional books on sale! They make a great gift for all the mother’s in your life. This sale is only through May 13th by clicking on the book covers below

TheRoadHomeFinal (2)     SeasonsGreetingsFinalCover

$2.99 (save $2)                          $0.99  (save$1)

Advertisements

Satan and the Hot Stove

By Staci Stallings

The other day it occurred to me that God is like a lot of parents who want to keep their children safe because they know the dangers inherent in this world. So think about the parent who is in the kitchen with her child toddling around. The child gets close to the stove where Mommy is heating supper.

“No. No,” Mommy says. “Don’t touch. Hot!”

Wide-eyed the child looks up at her and nods. Thinking the child surely understands that “hot” equals “it will hurt you,” the mother continues preparing until she hears the child wailing uncontrollably.

Why?

Because the child just touched that hot stove of course!

Now consider this, not altogether different, scenario. God is in the Garden with his children, and He tells them, “You can have the whole garden to play in, just don’t eat from this one tree.”

Why? Because God knows the everlasting pain it will cause His children. Then He goes back to doing His God things leaving his children to play in the garden.

I guarantee the same thing happens next. Satan shows up, knowing that the tree just like the hot stove will cause pain, and wanting the children to be in pain. So what does he do?

“Did God really say…?” “I bet Mom’s just trying to ruin my fun.” “God just knows if you do it you’ll be like Him….” “Mom uses that stove all the time, why can’t I? I’m going to try it.”

Our problem is not with the thing that causes pain. Our problem is not listening to the One Who has our best interest at heart!

We start listening instead to that little voice in us that says we don’t have to listen to authority, that they don’t know what they are talking about, that we know better.

Think about how many times this scenario is played out in our lives. First it’s the stove or the stairs. Then climbing that tree, putting that rock in our ear, or the car in gear. Then it’s riding the ATV too fast or driving at night alone when you are only supposed to drive during the day with an adult present. Then it’s taking our friends for rides in that car and sneaking out to be with someone we know Mom and Dad don’t approve of.

As we get older, we kind of transfer our transgressions from not obeying Mom and Dad to not obeying God. We sleep in on Sundays because who’s going to know. We start hanging out with the “fun” crowd, drinking and doing other things that don’t make us feel very good in the morning.

Oh, and sometimes, instead of being content with what we have, we start becoming materialistic–wanting cars we can’t afford and other status-symbols to impress our friends and make us feel “accepted” and “worthy.”

The amazing thing is that at some point we all realize we are hurting and miserable. When the pain shows up, what do we do? We blame the very Person Who warned us against doing all of that stupid stuff in the first place!

Remember this, no matter if you are 2 or 92, Satan has a plan for you, and it is for your ultimate pain and destruction. He is going to lie to you and manipulate you, and do whatever he has to in order to convince you to touch that hot stove. So if you are inclined to not take God at His word that doing so will hurt you, I strongly suggest never letting God take His eyes off of you. Latch onto Him and don’t let go!

God really does have great plans for you–to prosper you and not to harm you, but you have to be willing to take Him at His word that that stove is HOT and you should not touch it!Staci Stallings New Headshot 1

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. You can check out Staci’s newest release…

For Real

Book 3, ~ THE COURAGE SERIES ~

“It will pull you in and touch your heart.”

Blaine Donovan has a secret, but so far his plan to keep the rest of the world in the dark about who he really is and what’s really going on in his life has worked. If he can just finish school before the demons catch up with him, he knows he can make clip_image002life make sense once again. However, when he runs into Melody Todd, a semi-friend he had thought was long-gone, life takes a turn Blaine wasn’t at all expecting.

Still hurting from watching her best friend marry someone else, Melody Todd has given up on dating, guys, and on herself. In fact, when Blaine shows back up in her life, she does what she always does with the eligible guys who look her way—she sets him up with someone else. But Blaine soon proves to be much different than he at first seems. Too many things are not adding up the way they are supposed to, and the more Melody digs, the more she sees that the Blaine she knows is not the real Blaine at all…

“For Real will show you how you can lay those things that are preventing you from loving Jesus at the foot of the Cross. It will inspire you and give you hope.

Meet Jim Doe and Jane Smith

By Anonymous Author

Two young people are especially on my heart right now, and I’d like to introduce them to you, in a roundabout way. I pray you’ll understand my reasons for writing like this, but I know their stories aren’t over so I want to protect them as best I can.

Jim Doe and Jane Smith are in-laws – Jim’s brother married Jane’s sister. They had never met one another before their siblings wed.

Meet Jim Doe. He is 23 and was raised in a single parent home. His life was turbulent growing up, but his mother and brother loved him dearly. They moved frequently, and because his mother had to work to support the family, he spent much time with babysitters.

One was discovered to be selling drugs from her home – and this was a babysitter recommended by her pastor – the cousin of the pastor’s wife. When he was three years old, his new step-grandmother took over their care. From outward appearances, she seemed to dote on the boys– but within a couple of years, it was discovered she had been abusing both boys. She put pennies in Jim’s mouth and put duct tape over it, telling him if he cried or called out, he would swallow a penny and choke to death. She also beat the boys with an electric cord from a lamp she ripped from the wall. And she told them that if their mother ever left their stepfather, it would be to kill them. She said their mother would take them somewhere to kill them, then hide their bodies and go back to the stepfather to have “real children” with him. Jim’s mother discovered the abuse, tried to stop it, and after counseling with instructions to “submit” to her husband (and his mother) at all costs, she fled – getting the children away from all of them – and away from the abuse – permanently.

His mother tried to build a good life for her children, but she made many stupid and selfish mistakes. The family was active in church and the children were raised with much prayer, if not always good direction. They had minimal support from extended family. After Jim finished the 4thgrade, his mother decided to homeschool him. For the first two years, Jim thrived with the set-up. He learned at a rapid pace and grew to love learning and reading. He absorbed library books by the dozens, and his studies moved quickly. But then he got involved with some kids from church who led him onto a path he should have never taken. About the same time, he was introduced to music by Eminem that promoted disrespect, anger, hatred. They moved once again, and Jim entered public high school, but after a year or so, asked for homeschool studies again. His mother resumed teaching him, and he eventually passed final exams and graduated high school. But by this point, he was out of control. He worked random jobs to support himself, and had a good work ethic – but when work was over for the day, he just would not settle down. He even attended college for a year – and loved every moment of it, but did not stick with it.

Years passed. His mother remarried and life settled for her. Jim eventually ended up in a serious relationship with an older woman. About 18 months into the relationship, he told someone that his girl had tried to stab him – with a 3-foot sword. At that point, all the signs of domestic abuse became apparent to his family. But there was nothing they could do. A couple of months later, his girl went on another tirade and he hopped into their car to get away from her. There wasn’t enough gas in the car to get very far, so he turned around, determined to make things work. When he arrived back home, the police were there. The vehicle was in his girl’s name only, and she had called the police to report it stolen.

He spent 110 days in jail. For the first 30-45 days, he was convinced that he still loved his girl and that they could make things work. He never admitted that she hit him, but a deputy told his mother that the girl had sure worked him over good. When his mother visited him in jail, he was covered with cuts and scrapes all over his face and head, and he had a bruise the size of a baseball bat on his arm, where he’d deflected some of the blows. But he refused to report her. Because he’d returned the car, the charges were dropped down to two misdemeanors, and he was released on a two-year probation – with orders to pay thousands of dollars in fines, take three specific evaluations and if they required classes, to take those as part of the probation. He was also ordered to see his probation officer once a month and perform 120 hours of community service. He was placed under a “no contact” order with the girl – and she was told she could not contact him either. He is currently in month four of his two-year probation. He lived with his mom and stepdad for awhile, but could not abide by their rules. He now lives on the streets, occasionally stopping by their house to take a shower or eat a meal. Some days he berates his mom for her poor parenting skills, other days he’s respectful and grateful.

Meet Jane Smith. She is 24. She was raised in a two-parent environment. Her parents recently celebrated their 30thanniversary. She has three siblings and lived in the same town all her life. The family is Catholic, but they are not active in church. Her parents work hard to provide for the family, and all of the children began working as soon as they were old enough. Last year, Jane decided she wanted to go to college, and began exploring her options. But then she met a young man – three years her junior – and fell in love. She dropped her plans to attend college, and her life became absorbed with taking care of this man. But soon, her family realized things were not quite right. She was caught stealing things from family and friends. She lived in her car for a time – the family never sure if her fellow was with her or not. Then one day, her sister discovered her bruised and beaten. She dismissed her sister’s concern, and avoided family for months. She now excuses the abuse, saying it happens to everyone.

Apparently this was Jane’s new norm.

A few weeks ago, Jane was arrested and charged with shoplifting. In lieu of bail, they released her wearing an ankle bracelet while she waits for a court date. Her parents took her home, with her promises that she was a changed woman and things would work out great. Before they even got home, her tune changed, and she ranted and raved about how sorry her parents were, and how she was an adult and could make decisions on her own. How much she loved her boyfriend – the one she was arrested with, the one who continued to abuse her. Once they reached home, her mother ran to the grocery store, her father began preparing the house for their daughter’s extended stay. But when the mother returned from the store, the daughter was gone. She disappeared for days, and last week, was arrested in another county.

What is it with kids this age? These are only two examples of many, many young people who are in similar situations.

Where have we, as a world, as a generation, as parents – failed these kids?

But is it more than that?

Some place the blame firmly on the parents. Others on broken homes. Others place it on religion. Or lack of religion. So many other avenues to place blame. But these two examples show it must be more than that. Why this specific age group of kids? What is it about these kids that make them feel they are not worthy of something better? That they are only worth abuse? Why do they feel it’s okay for someone to beat them? Hurt them? Abuse them?

A recent conversation with another loved one opened my eyes to other possibilities. At the time when this age group of kids were at the most impressionable age – during their formative years – there were several major events going on nationally. Bill Clinton was president, and his personal actions – making headlines and newscasts for years – revealed a man with no morals, no values, no conscience. And he got away with it in the highest office of our land. An office that prior to his election had been revered and dreamed about by young children for generations. That dream was gone. In other news during those same years, the O.J. Simpson trial kept everyone glued to their TV sets for weeks on end. He, too, because of his celebrity, appears to have gotten away with murder.

Did those events cause one age group of young children to lose their way in this world?

I’ve heard people say that people like Jim and Jane are worthless.

Every time I hear a comment like that, it infuriates me. It makes me want to shout: “NO THEY ARE NOT” from every rooftop in town. No one is worthless – I don’t care what they’ve done, who they are. No one. Author Lori Roeleveld wrote an excellent post on this very subject a few weeks ago – you’ll want to check it out, because it shares my heart precisely.

What hope does this generation of young people have?

We cling to hope, and we must PRAY. We must pray fervently for each and every young person we know, because God’s not finished with them yet. Their stories are indeed still being written. I trust He knows the outcome, and will use these two in some special way that will impact lives.

How can I know that? How can I say that?

Look at the examples provided in the Bible:

Moses stuttered.

David’s armor didn’t fit.

John Mark deserted Paul.

Timothy had ulcers.

Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.

Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.

Jacob was a liar.

David had an affair.

Solomon was too rich.

Abraham was too old.

David was too young.

Peter was afraid of death.

Lazarus was dead.

John was self-righteous.

Naomi was a widow.

Paul was a persecutor of the church.

Moses was a murderer.

Jonah ran from God’s will.

Miriam was a gossip.

Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

Elijah was burned out.

Martha was a worry-wart.

Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?

So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

If you have a loved one who is not living the life they were meant to live, DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM. And don’t stop praying.

Their stories aren’t over yet. God is still working.

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

I received this story in one of those chain e-mails that we all get. I rarely read

Afrikaans: Geroosterde pitte van die koffiepla...

those, but this one really caught my attention and decided to share it with all of you. The author is unknown and may we all be coffee…

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.
Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity…. boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Now think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot
that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg
that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or……
Am I like the coffee bean?
The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything… they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past . You can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. 


May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!

 

 

Behind the name

WordPress gave us a  prompt some time this weekend, Where did your name come from? (or something to that effect). My full name is Natividad. People tend to think that I was born around Christmas as it sounds very close to the word Navidad, which is Christmas in Spanish. Ironically my birthday is in July. I’ve been sang “Feliz Navidad” many times at the sound of my name.

I can’t deny that I didn’t like much of my name growing up. It has so many letters that it usually didn’t fit in any form with squares provided to enter your name. Since I moved to the continental US it has been funnier because people struggle to pronounce it and some make it a personal challenge to say it well. At this point I’m used to it and when I’m in a public place and hear someone with their tongue tied trying to say out a name, I know they were calling my turn. I have not been mistaken once.

The fact is I received my name after my paternal grandmother. My father who had six daughters told my mother that he had always wanted to give one of his daughters his mother’s name and had never had the chance, so my mom agreed. I never met my grandmother as she had passed away when I was born. I think I’ve seen some old pictures of her.

Now as a writer working on branding my name I’m actually grateful for the name I have. I like the meaning of my name. It means being born and I’ve been in life situations when I’ve been given the opportunity of being born again and start life all over.  Also I’m glad that I have a different name that way people will recognize my name when they are looking for my books.

Ah Mothers!

As we celebrate Mother’s day I’ve been thinking about the mother’s in the bible that have exemplified in one way or another the life that mothers live.

Eve

I’ll be honest and say she was not the first in my mind, but this is a mother that deserves a lot of credit. Everyone remembers Eve just for what she did wrong. Granted, she messed it up for all of us, but Jesus fixed it so time to forgive and forget. She had to experience it all alone. There was no girlfriends to call when Adam was giving her a hard time or someone to show her the secrets of childrearing.  To top it off she had to endure the murder of one of her children all by herself. She deserves some credit for the mother she was.

Sarah

Oh Sarah! I’ve always seen her as one more evidence that God can make a way out of nowhere; and that when he makes a promise, he will come through no matter when it comes to fruition. I can only imagine this woman pregnant so late in her life and having to take care of a baby, running around with him. Not forgetting that after she gave her maid to Abraham to have a baby, the little brat had an attitude towards her. Too much drama for your later part of your life.

Hannah

Hannah had begged for a child for years and promises God that if he gives her a son she will give him back to him. So God gives her a son and so she did. Can you imagine dealing with years of fertility problems and then giving your son up? 

 

 

 

Mary

An engaged 14 year old engaged to be married, when she’s told she’s pregnant from God in a time where adultery was punished with death.  Mary didn’t belong to the “but social club” and she should have lead it. Yes, the club of us who every time God tells us that he wants us to do something we go but God… and I’m not saying she didn’t ask questions, but she did what she was asked. The “but social club” is for those who set up the excuse and don’t do. Then she had to give birth in a manger. No Pitocin, Lamaze; not even a clean room. For the first few years when a mother is enjoying her baby, she was running around like a fugitive trying to protect him from being killed.

I’m sure that Jesus got on her nerves every now and again. She was not too happy when he was 12 and he got lost in the city to be found at the temple. Finally having to see her son murdered in front of her eyes. How many mother’s have had to endure such pain?

Ana

I’m not talking about Mary’s mother and this one is not in the bible. I’m talking about my own mother.  She did the best she could with what she had. She sacrificed her life as a single mother working really hard to give her children what she felt was the most important things: The fear and love for God and a good education. Although our worship has changed paths, she taught me that without God there’s nothing in life and that we are to be grateful for all our blessings. She taught me good work ethics and to pursue my dreams. She supported me through the rough patches and bragged about my accomplishments. She too deserves credit for all of them!