To Pray or Not to Pray, That is the Question

Before I begin my blog, I’d like to make a plea to all readers of my books. Please take a few minutes to review my books on Amazon or Goodreads. The publishing industry has changed so much in the past ten years, and now, the only way for an author to survive is by amassing reviews on Amazon. It’s crucial that readers spread the word about books they’ve enjoyed. On another note, I’d love to chat with your book club in person or via video. Just send me a message! contact@amyschislerauthor.com


The other day, I learned that a fellow author and friend of mine received the unexpected news that she has cancer and that death is imminent. To know, to plan, to seek help, and to fight are all things which humans are adept at handling. To be told, out of the blue, that there is nothing to be done except gather your family together is, to me, unimaginable. It would be a blow so detrimental to one’s emotional and physical being that I can’t grasp the enormity of what she could be feeling. For me, I believe that I would have to hand all of the fear, uncertainty, and anguish over to God. I would need Him to take on what I could not and to reach out His hand to lead me home.

My first instinct when hearing about someone who is sick or facing death, is to pray for them. While it’s not necessary to tell them that I’m praying for them, I’ve learned that many find it comforting to know that others are offering prayers for their healing or comfort. 

So, what do you do, how do you offer comfort, when the person does not believe in God? What words can be said other than the dreaded, “I’m sorry”?

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and I humbly believe… Read more

Listening to the Silence

Here we are, more than halfway through the season of Advent. Two weeks ago, I wrote about being grateful and giving the gift of love this Christmas. Last week, I wrote about the importance of patience and even more important, not taking for granted what you’ve been waiting for! This week, amid the hustle and bustle of the season, I’ve been trying to remember to be grateful, patient, and appreciative, but it’s a busy time of year, and it’s easy to get caught up in the preparations without remembering what it’s all about. For several days now, I’ve been thinking about a beautiful Scripture passage: 1 Kings 19, 11-13. I can’t help but marvel in how that story of Elijah is repeated every day in our own lives, especially during the Christmas season.

Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake;

after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Read more

Longing for a Little Sleep

IMG_0085Have you ever noticed that a child can sleep anywhere? How about that guy on the plane next to you who is asleep before the plane takes off and slumbers soundly until the plane touches down? By the way, that’s my husband. Oh, how I wish that was me. Actually, forget sleeping in a car or on a plane. I just want to be able to sleep in my own bed.

At some point every night, I wake up. Sometimes, it’s because Ken wakes up, and since I can’t sleep through the sound of a drop of rain on a blade of grass, that wakes me up, too. Sometimes, it’s the sound of the wind against the house. Sometimes, it’s because I hear Morgan get up to use the bathroom, or our dog, Misty, softly padding across the carpet. Sometimes, I have no idea at all what causes me to stir. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Once I’m awake, there’s no going back to sleep, even if it’s only midnight.  I lie in bed for the next two hours, four hours, six hours, just praying that I can go back to sleep. My body longs for restful slumber, but my mind refuses to shut down.

It’s not that I’m worried or stressed. I just can’t seem to stop the thoughts. I’ve written entire chapters with engrossing scenes and witty dialog while lying in the dark, my eyes closed, but my mind open. I’ve planned days and trips and parties. I’ve rehearsed conversations I intend to have family or friends. Mostly, I pray. I pray rote prayers I’ve known since childhood as well as long streams of consciousness that roll through the foggy recesses of my mind. There never seems to be an end to my prayers–asking for good health for my parents and Ken’s, asking for wisdom and happiness for my daughters, for success with a project, for traveling mercies, for the intentions of friends and loved ones. I pray more at night when I’m trying to sleep than I do during the day when I’m fully awake.

prayerWhich brings me to wonder… Maybe I’m trying too hard during the day to do things on my own, to fit in too many things, to honor too many commitments. Maybe I’m supposed to be doing less and praying more. Maybe I need to spend less time focussing on myself and more time focussing on God. It’s not something I ever thought of before, but maybe it should have been. 

Glancing at the clock, I have several more hours to go until bedtime. Perhaps it’s time to take a break from this world and concentrate on the next. Maybe then, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Learning from the Past, Changing for the Future.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

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)

Saying Goodbye to Worry and Regret

img_0144I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole nature versus nurture debate.  Are we really born with certain innate traits, or do we develop them based on environment and experience?  As our oldest daughter applies to law school, our middle daughter applies to college, and our youngest deals with the trials and tribulations of being in high school, I can’t help but wonder how they all three inherited, or perhaps learned, their father’s penchant for worrying, doubting, second guessing, and obsessing over the what ifs.  Contrast that with my own attitude of let go, let live, and let God, and I think, where did I fail to instill in them a belief that worrying is a total waste of time?

I recently read an article that claimed that there is a great “connection between anxiety and a stronger imagination.”  The article went on to say that “Worry is the mother of invention.”  That’s funny; I thought it was necessity.  Oh, and it also said that “Cheerful, happy-go-lucky people by definition do not brood about problems and so must be at a disadvantage when problem-solving compared to a more neurotic person.”  Um no, when my girls have a problem, they come to me.  When Ken has a problem, he comes to me.  My totally neurotic family aren’t able to see the forest for the trees.  I, on the other hand, can see the light on the other side of the forest.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m certainly not trying to blow my own horn.  I just haven’t been able to reconcile, in my own mind, how and why worriers are the way they are and the rest of us aren’t.  If it were really as simple as “Overthinking Worriers Are Probably Creative Geniuses,” as the title of the article suggests, then why does Ken not have a creative side while I write fiction?

I was at an impasse trying to figure this out until this past Monday, and then the light through the trees became even brighter as understanding dawned on me.  I was in a meeting with a wonderful group of women whom I am so lucky to be able to call my friends.  Many of us have been meeting every other Monday for the past twelve years.  We pray, discuss, read, and learn, and some of my greatest revelations have come from those Monday morning meetings.  We were watching a short video in which we heard, over and over, people saying that they always worried, were never content, and were constantly searching for happiness and the meaning to their lives until they realized that they could only find true joy in God.  When they learned to let Him guide them, take away their cares, and be the light at the end of their tunnels, their entire lives changed.  And that’s when it hit me.  It’s not about being creative versus neurotic or being intelligent versus imaginative.  It’s about knowing that there are many things in this world that are simply beyond our control.  We can only do so much and have to have faith that the rest will turn out okay.

This past weekend, I helped chaperone a group of high school students on our school’s annual trip to New York City.  We arrived back home after midnight on Saturday, and on Sunday, I chaired our Post Prom’s Bingo.  I had several friends comment that they couldn’t believe I was able to go away for the two days before our biggest fundraiser.  I didn’t see the problem.  I had everything ready the night before we left, and I had confidence in the others who were assisting me with the event.  While there were things that I would like to tweak for next year (including not holding them the same weekend for my own body’s sake), the event was a success, we made money, and we’re ready to move forward.  I could dwell on the fact that turnout wasn’t as high as last year, so we didn’t bring in quite as much as we had hoped, but I can’t change it, and worrying about it won’t make a difference; but analyzing why we had fewer people and planning the next event will.  It’s all about keeping perspective.  Staying calm, making plans, evaluating results, and moving on are the keys to success.

Do I worry about things?  Sure I do.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I worry about about the future of our country, but I can only look out for my small part of the world.  I voted, and then I had to let it go.  I can’t change minds or hearts, but I pray that God can.  Do I worry about the safety of my children?  Absolutely.  The health of my parents, the state of world affairs, the future of our school?  I’d be living in a dream world if I didn’t.  But do I dwell on them?  Not for a minute (okay, last night, for maybe longer than a minute).  

What I always do is pray every day that my children will learn to let go, let live, and let God.  To worry about the future is futile.  To dwell on mistakes of the past is incapacitating.  To fear every possible outcome is debilitating.  But to have faith that you have done what you could, and let the rest happen, prepared to move forward no matter the outcome, will allow you to walk calmly ahead and deal with the consequences.  The next time you find yourself giving into worry, go forward, into the trees, and have confidence that there is light on the other side.  Your attitude, and a bit of faith, will make all of the difference.

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Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her latest book, Whispering Vines, is now available for purchase.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016)

Raising Adults

DSC07028No offense to any new moms out there, but you have it easy!  Those first few years of parenthood are both wonderful and exhausting.  Sleepless nights, changing diapers, choosing a preschool, putting them on the bus, teaching them to make friends, watching them make the wrong friends, helping with homework, cheering on the sidelines, cleaning scraped knees and wiping snotty noses and tear-stained faces are just some of the painful joys of parenthood.  But I have to be honest with you, looking back, it was actually quite easy to raise children.  It’s once they hit high school that everything changes because that’s when you realize that you are no longer raising children; you are raising adults. Read more

Be Not Afraid

My SSPP GirlsYesterday, some friends and I were talking about how hard it is raising children in today’s world.  As mothers, we all worry about our children.  Will they make the right decisions, meet the right people, find the right job, make it to school or work and back safely, be safe at school or work, survive to be an adult, a parent, a grandparent.  It’s a constant state of worry.  Read more