There are just six days left until my online launch party!
I’m so excited! On Tuesday, December 1, I hope you will join me between 4:00 and 6:00PM Eastern Time on Facebook or YouTube. You will have the chance to order Desert Fire, Mountain Rain, book one of my new series which takes place in the Ozarks. You can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers who leave comments. It’s going to be so much fun!
I don’t know about you, but I really feel like I need something to look forward to this week, and what better thing to get excited about than a new book series? Seriously, winter is coming, fireplaces are ablaze, and those fuzzy blankets are being put to good use. This one is a gift I received last Christmas from one of my best friends, and I look forward to cuddling up with it every night! I love to cover myself with a warm blanket and lose myself in a good story. Can’t you just hear those book characters calling you?
You know what else I look forward to?
Hot chocolate! Oh my goodness, how I love hot chocolate! I especially like it mixed with peanut butter whiskey and topped with whipped cream. Yum!
Right now, it seems like there’s so much turmoil in the world, especially here in the US. People are angry, people are afraid, and people are forgetting what we need to be focusing on this time of year. I know I’m one of them.
I am so angry and so upset that I will not be with my parents tomorrow. I can’t think about it without crying. In fact, I’m crying as I write this. But I’m reminding myself that this is a good time to reflect on what’s important in our lives and what the holidays really mean.
Thanksgiving isn’t just about turkey or pumpkin pie or football (not that I’m knocking any of those). It’s about taking the time to count your blessings, to be grateful for all you have, and most importantly, to thank God for all that He has provided. Our family says grace before every meal, but on Thanksgiving, it takes on a much deeper meaning (and it takes a longer time). Yes, we are one of those families that goes around the table, while the food gets cold, and each person says what they are thankful for that year. Our family has so, so much to be thankful for in 2020 from my nephew’s miraculous survival and recovery after an accident involving a lawn tractor, to my father’s successful gallbladder surgery, and the beautiful wedding of my oldest daughter. We’ve had valleys and peaks over the course of the year, and I imagine that, were we to be spending Thanksgiving together, tomorrow’s round of blessings would be the longest ever.
But it’s not enough to just say thank you. Jesus told His followers, “To whom much is given, much shall be required” (Luke 12:48). Those who have been blessed have an obligation to bless others. This will be even more important, I believe, this year when so many are suffering. What can we do to lessen their burdens? This past Sunday, we heard the words, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40). In its simplest explanation, the statement tells us that whatever, whatever, we do for someone in need, we do for the Lord. It doesn’t matter how grand or how small the gesture, though again, “To whom much is given, much shall be required.”
We have four weeks until Christmas. Four weeks to examine our lives, our abilities, our wealth. And that’s not just capital wealth. How are you rich?
Im not asking, how rich are you? I’m asking, how are you rich?
What are your blessings? What can you give or share, not only of your things, but of yourself? Even if all you have to give is a piece of advice to someone who desperately needs to hear it, that’s enough.
“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood'” (Mark 12:41-44).
So, over the course of the next four weeks, look at what you have to offer, what you can do, what you can share, and what you can give. Be grateful for all that you have, and find a way to use your blessings to bless others. That’s what these holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are really all about. That’s why we’re all here–to help others, to become better people, to reach for Heaven. That’s why Christ came–to redeem us, to show us the path to Heaven; and that path is marked with opportunities to help others.
Enjoy your turkey. Play games and watch football. Cuddle under a warm blanket with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, but don’t forget those who need help. Reach out to them. Talk to the lonely. Visit the imprisoned (even if it’s only a Zoom visit). Share what you have, even your last few coins. When Christmas comes, and you sing Joy to the World, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in bringing joy to someone else. You may find that the tidings of comfort and joy that you gift others will be the gifts you give to yourself.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).