Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back Home

Greetings in Jesus' name.

Just returned from five fabulous days spent at the Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center taking a Christian Writers workshop. It's a treat spending time on the more-than-1000-acres of wooded property. Old, stone buildings house the participants; stone bridges and narrow trails beckon visitors to explore the flora and fauna. This time around, I watched a doe and her twin fawns outside my window and had to stop my car so two wild turkey families could cross safely.

The Fiction Writers workshop, led by author Patti Lacy, inspired me to greater writing heights and helped me solidify the plot and characterization of my second novel, TROUBLE AT FISH CREEK, in the "Ways of the Williwaw" series. As I work on this exciting story in the weeks to come, I'll be sharing excerpts with you.

Here is this week's devotional column. May God bless you richly. Sally

By Sally Bair


My garden is surrounded by a fence that protects the plants from deer and other large critters. I even cover the strawberries with nylon netting to keep the birds away. Safeguards help protect us, too, from invaders or harm—home security systems; brakes on our vehicles; warning labels on some foods, drugs, and cleaners.
Societal safeguards are also necessary. Years ago, men were taught to walk on the street side of the sidewalk—the unsafe side—to protect their female companions from being splashed, hit by vehicles, or attacked by thugs. Over 100 years ago, a God-fearing woman seldom went anywhere alone with a man who wasn’t related to her. And she always dressed modestly to avoid tempting men with sexual thoughts.

Most would argue that the prudish rules of Victorian-age society went too far. But for the most part, they served well in protecting women and children from danger.

Today, however, many of society’s safeguards have disappeared. In part because of today’s accepted dress code and behavior in both women and men, sexual abuse, pornography, and promiscuity have become rampant in our country. The value and dignity of our God-created bodies has diminished to the point where it’s now common and accepted even for many Christians to dress, speak, and act immodestly.
One church leader lamented that it’s nearly impossible, even in church, to avoid the sight of girls and women wearing suggestive clothing and displaying suggestive behavior. He said that Christians must walk constantly in the light of Christ’s Word and in His power to avoid temptation. Since many are not so spiritually strong, he added, they are more open to temptation.

“Therefore let us not … put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)

Fashion has changed greatly from Victorian times, for the better in some ways. But in the ways fashion has changed for the worse, we Christ-followers need to become a safeguard against temptation through our positive example of behavior. It’s a matter of loving our neighbor with positive words and action.

Lord, help us to use the safeguards given in your Word to keep ourselves holy and to guide others to do the same, by our example. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Beginnings

Much has changed since I last posted on my blog. Since then, I have published a book and have my new website up and running. Please check it out:

my website

My book, WILLIWAW WINDS, will be available by September 20, but you may order it now on my website, which tells all about the book.

Later this month I'll be attending the Green Lake (Wis.) Christian Writers Workshop. This will be my first attempt at presenting my book. I feel like a mother who has just birthed a baby--wow! In September, my attendance at two writers' conferences will offer even more opportunities to present my book.

I'm learning that book marketing requires lots of time and energy. But it's fun--and a great learning experience. With some help from my niece, Ann, we're researching public libraries and bookstores as possible venues for book signings/readings/talks/seminars.

Besides choosing venues in my immediate vicinity, I hope to touch two birds with one stone by scheduling venues in the Upper Peninsula so I can visit my sister who lives north of Calumet.

I've received some dynamite testimonials about WILLIWAW WINDS, which I'm using on my website and brochure.

God is good. His blessings are abundant.

My weekly devotional column follows:


Dragged Under
Last week I talked about the book I wrote, Williwaw Winds, which is based on the true story of how my son and four others were rescued by the Coast Guard when their fishing boat went down in the violent (williwaw) winds of the Bering Sea.
When they finally made it into their life raft, it quickly became tangled in the deck rigging that kept blowing around. Still tethered to its 100-foot lifeline, the raft moved steadily closer to the boat because of the tangles. At one point, the wind whipped the boat around so the raft came right up to the stern. The men knew if they couldn’t free the raft’s lifeline soon, it would become their death line. They’d go down with the boat. Once, in fact, the wind sent the boom right onto them, submerging the raft momentarily. Only when one of the men finally found his jackknife could they cut themselves free before the boat sank.
In a hugely insignificant way, I recently felt like I was being dragged under. My “To Do” list, growing longer and longer, overwhelmed me. Would I ever again feel like my head would stay above water? You must know the feeling. Yours may not involve a To Do list, but we all face overwhelming feelings of hopelessness.
Sometimes our situations are beyond our control. Oftentimes, however, we cause our own burdens. Either way, we wonder: where is the hope when we’re being dragged under by our burdens? Sometimes it’s in God’s wisdom, learning how to pace ourselves and prioritize our projects. It’s definitely in the time we spend with Him in prayer and Bible meditation, which helps us keep our focus on what’s most important. And it’s in the strength of our faith in His promises.
When Joshua took over the leadership of the Israelites after Moses died, he must have felt overwhelmed. That’s when God gave him a promise. “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage ….” (Joshua 1:5-6)
Whether we have some control over our situations, or no control as did the fishermen who were literally at the end of their life rope, we can be assured of God’s presence and help. All we have to do is ask. And trust. That’s what the fishermen did. That’s what saved them.
Lord, we ask for Your peace that passes all understanding and that comes even when we feel like we’re being dragged under. Thank You for the promise of Your abiding presence and help. In Jesus’ name, amen.