Listen to Valerie Loveless interview me about both of my books, Safe House & Finding Hope, on Cedar Fort's Behind the Scenes Podcast!
When I was twelve, I prayed for a bicycle. My father, a spiritual man, told me I shouldn’t bother God with it. That I should solve my own problems. I was pretty sure he was wrong, so I just kept praying and saving my meager earnings. Sure enough, a brand new bike showed up. To my young heart, it was a miracle.
I reasoned God blessed me with a bicycle because I was a good girl, at least that is what my father told me. We were both wrong. Later, while we were tossed about by the winds of life, we learned the truth.
We learned to see the Lord, while life’s challenges raged like storms all around us. We learned ways to Hear him, in the gentle whisperings of the spirit and see Him in the large and small miracles that came in answer to sincere prayers. We felt Him in our hearts and searched for him in the scriptures.
We both gained a firm belief in the Lord’s love for all of us. He meets us where we are, and during his lifetime blessed many people who the world labeled as unworthy, like the woman caught in adultery or the woman at the well.
Bad things happen to good people. We will all experience storms or trials in our lifetime.
The Lord may not remove the storm, but He will not leave us alone in it. He wants us to know Him, to learn to hear Him, so when the wild winds blow we can find Him and the shelter He offers us.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this life is to see the signs of the Lord in the storm. The tender mercies Psalms 145:9 talks about when it says, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
Many years ago, I began a daily list of things I am grateful for. It became my greatest anti-anxiety medicine. When I couldn’t sleep, I would quiet my worries by listing all the blessings I experienced that day.
Immediately, my perspective on life was permanently and profoundly altered. I found daily reasons to rejoice. I learned to see Him.
But, you may ask, how can we rejoice in this place, at this time?
In this place ~ Covid-19
We are in quarantine. It is late, but the house is not quiet or tidy. My daughter, her husband, and my eight-year-old grandson moved home six weeks ago. My grandson is roller skating throughout the first floor instead of brushing his teeth for bed, my adult daughter and her husband are upstairs calling him. Two televisions are competing for attention.
My kitchen is cluttered with a project. We are in the middle of a pandemic and because a loved one asked; we are sewing face masks. We have sewn well over a hundred and more are lined up waiting to be finished. I have work to do before I sleep.
And yet, I am filled with joy as I count the tender mercies of the Lord, the answered prayers, and little miracles that surround us. Everything is as it should be (Something I never thought I would say in a pandemic). But first it had to fall completely apart.
At the first of the year, it seemed our lives unraveled around us. And yet, in hindsight, we can see how the trials led us to miracles. Things that at first seemed like bad news have been revealed as blessings. Prayers that had gone unanswered for months, were answered in a week. Everything in our lives changed to prepare us for the storm already raging just out of sight.
We felt confused while our lives were unexpectedly rearranged, but at peace all at the same time. Looking back, the pattern of the Lord answering every prayer is clear. He provided for all of our needs before we ever heard the world “virus.” And he spoke to peace to our hearts.
We are like you. Some of us are working, some are not. We scrambled for toilet paper. We have family members with seriously compromised immune systems, and we are afraid to go out the door without a full hazmat suit.
But on the first Sunday of home church, the historic Sunday when church was cancelled worldwide, we counted our blessings and we knew we had felt the hand of God in our lives.
The kids moving home had changed from a trial to a blessing. We relished the ability to be together, support each other, and combine our food storage. My new job temporarily went away with the virus, giving me time to prepare and enjoy the birth of my son’s baby. And just over the horizon, unknown on that Sunday, was something wonderful, already in the works. The quiet days of a simpler life in quarantine allowed us to appreciate each other on a deeper level.
Friends and family members have expressed experiencing similar blessings, or tender mercies, during some of the darkest days in world history.
That first Sunday, we marveled at the ways Heavenly Father takes care of his children and knows them all by name, even though they number more than the sands of all the seas. We recognized His hand in larger things, while He still showered us with tender mercies. Even when we wondered if he would ever answer our prayers, He already was.
Tomorrow will come
We may not all survive. The storm may continue on. But while the winds blow, we will be on our knees, seeking Him, listening for Him, and trusting the plan He has for us, knowing he is mindful of us. He will answer your prayers. Be patient. We are part of His eternal family. We Hear Him promising to come again.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him…” (1 Kings 19: 11–13)
My gift to you, while we wait for tomorrow to come. The lowest price Amazon will allow.
During these difficult days authors like me wonder what we can do for you. Because I wish I could do more, I’ve priced my latest release, Finding Hope, for 0.99 cents on Kindle (The lowest amount Amazon allows).
Let me know how you are. It matters.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Link to more free books for days like these from Cedar Fort-through Book Funnel: https://mailchi.mp/60e151a229fa/shannon-symonds-author-newsletter-625851
Today the World Health Organization declared the “novel” Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This is one novel I hope you never have to read.
When we originally heard about it, we noticed that the shelves were empty of toilet paper and had a wonderful chuckle. Then our family welcomed a new baby. Suddenly, germs seemed a bit more serious. One of us has CKD or Chronic Kidney Disease, and others in our tight-knit family have weaknesses that make us worry.
We realized the problems surrounding the virus were bigger than we thought when my daughter went to a big box store to buy toilet paper. Ironically, after 3 stores she ended up snatching one of the last cases off a pallet in a Walmart and in a game of chicken with another shopper.
We all cope in our own way. My kids cope with humor. I don’t know who created this meme, but it’s priceless. I hope the creator doesn’t mind sharing.
For the first time in my memory, on a recent workday, I went to a big box store to get some things for the new baby. Our small town Costco was packed, on a day it should have been empty. Carts were full of toilet paper, water, and interestingly, televisions.
At first I smiled, then I noticed the people pushing the carts were the same age as my parents, who are ordering their groceries delivered for the first time in their life. And I wondered, would we lose one of these family faces? Even one would be too many. The drinking water is safe and our bathrooms are stocked, but still we seem to all be nervous. It has become a small world, indeed.
And so we have cancelled the world. Meetings are online, school is online, stadiums are empty, and so are my friends restaurants. We are all going to be impacted, either through our health, finances, or loss of loved ones. It is a forced slow down and as you can see, everyone who can has stocked up.
My hope is that you get more time at home around the dinner table, more time with good books, and more time to write and collect your thoughts. I also hope that you look around and realize that time with loved ones is priceless, that person matters, and cherish each other just a little bit more. And most of all, I pray you and your loved one’s stay well.
“I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.” Moroni 8:3
Stay tuned for the first few chapters of my next book. We will be sitting by the fire, walking by the ocean alone, and writing a book about a small beach town, Grace’s daughter, her hilarious friend, and the kids and families of Oceanside High.
Have you ever wearied the Lord in prayer and wondered when he would answer your prayer, or if he would answer? Have those answers come in unexpected ways? I know I have. I have wanted more time for family and writing. I think I have my answer and it will mean more time to write.
I love to write stories about characters that have deep needs, face insurmountable odds, are tried during the storms of life, face destruction, and still find their happy ending. I write about unexpected heroes and heroines, who after the storm is over, realize the hand of God was at work the entire time. And the events they thought would annihilate them were actually the best thing that ever happened to them.
Why do I love to write stories about people who face impossible odds? Because that is the ongoing story in my life, and I would bet a few of you have been caught in the rain before. But I believe in miracles and I believe in happy endings, so here we go! New job and more writing.
Today, I found one more survivor. This afternoon, the sun was out, and I worked in the garden. I weeded and pulled out the plants that hadn’t made it through the wild coastal winter months. We have had snow, fierce winds, and record rainfalls. I opened the gate to put my tools away in the backyard and look what I found. While everything else turned brown and withered, this beautiful little plant flowered through the dark winter months on the north side of the house. It blossomed against all odds, just like the heroines of my stories.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak on Hope in church, while I was praying and working on making more space for family and writing. It was a great opportunity to explore one of my favorite words-hope.
More on hope later-for now, here is one of my favorite quotes:
Eve Marx of the Seaside Signal not only featured my newest novel, Finding Hope, she investigated trafficking in our small town and researched what it might look like in yours. Do you wonder if your kids are at risk? Do you want to know what to look for?
Do you want to learn to recognize trafficking? Have you ever thought about volunteering from your own home town?
Take Operation Underground Railroad’s Free Online Volunteer Training to learn to recognize signs of trafficking.
Read My Book A Day’s review of, Finding Hope, on her fun Blog!
Finding Hope is featured in a list of clean sweet romantic suspense novels. Here is the scoop!
-Fast, funny, exciting, action-packed and suspenseful?
They featured Finding Hope! I have to say; I am not a fan of all the covers, but the authors promise-Sweet, Clean, Romantic Suspense!
When you use your dollars to purchase books, movies, or any other form of entertainment you influence the world. Our purchases of clean and inspirational work support authors who write well-told stories and inspirational books. Together, authors and readers can create change and make a statement. Light the world with books.
This Week’s featured author fascinates me. Aryeh Green is Chief Strategy Officer at EnergiyaGlobal, a Jerusalem-based company developing renewable energy projects in Africa. He was the founder and director of MediaCentral, a Jerusalem-based project of HonestReporting, providing services for the foreign media in Israel. He is a true world changer, speaking at Stanford as a lead up to Martin Luther King day, and the author of the recently-published book My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Promised Land.
Aryeh was born in Washington DC, a descendant of one of the first Jews in North America (who arrived in 1690); he grew up in San Francisco, went to UC Berkeley, and has lived in Israel for well over 30 years.
Aryeh has been a policy advisor to Natan Sharansky and a business executive and consultant for the past three decades. He served as a senior member of minister Sharansky’s staff in the Israeli prime minister’s office, where among other things he was responsible for supporting civil society activists in the Arab and Muslim world. He continues to be active in the effort to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East.
Aryeh holds a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley, an MA in international relations from Hebrew University, and an MSc in business management from Boston University & Ben Gurion University, and has been widely published in various newspapers, magazines & academic publications.
Aryeh was married four years ago to Miriam, and they live in Beit Shemesh (the “House of the Rising Sun” in loose translation). They have 9 children between them… and aside from hiking all over Israel (or talking about it), when not promoting renewable energy and accuracy in the media, Aryeh grows grapes and makes wine.
I asked this fascinating author why he is committed to writing only clean or inspirational books. He said:
“As an observant Jew who leads a traditional life and believes in expressing gratitude for God’s blessings, I want to share my outlook and values with others.”
Well said, Aryeh! I I have enjoyed learning about Aryeh’s traditions and values on his many television and online interviews, like his interview on the Christian Broadcast Network. As a young girl, my Jewish neighbor shared her history and heritage with me. I ate her stories up like chocolate ice-cream on a hot day. I gained a deep respect or the culture.
About the Book: My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Promised Land
“My Israel Trail is a book about a hike on the 700-mile Israel Trail, and facing personal challenges. It offers new perspectives on Israel – the land, the country, its history and people – and illuminating insights from the experience.
Natan Sharansky celebrates Aryeh’s “engaging passion and persistence”; Mayim Bialik calls the book a “fascinating journey” and “beautiful exploration of self and identity”.
After a devastating divorce, which rocked his world and confounded his deeply-held optimism, Aryeh Green’s goal was to find healing, and get his life back on track. His hike along ‘Shvil Yisrael’, the Israel National Trail, enabled the discovery of a number of universal truths for living based on Jewish tradition.”
You can find, My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Promised Land, at Barnes & Noble, Costco, Target, Walmart, others.
In honor of my 29th birthday, Cedar Fort and I are giving away copies of my books on Kindle between January 7th and 11th, 2020!
Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads Giveaway!
But, if you entered the Goodreads giveaway and didn’t win, you can check out:
Thank you for being a part of 2019, a great year. May 2020 be a year of reading, fun, and personal growth for you and yours.
You can also win, Finding Hope, and, Safe House, by joining the Storytellers in Zion Polar Bear Plunge Reading Challenge. Join the fun HERE!
Here are the rules:
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