Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Would You Like To Blog Hop With Me?

Today my blog is part of something bigger than usual. Last week, Alecia Roberts invited me to be part of a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. I was not familiar with doing a blog hop, but I decided to try it because it is an opportunity for me to bless other authors.

The purpose is to help readers discover the next great book or author; i.e., the one they will be compelled to read or the author whose work they simply can’t put down.

Check out Alecia's latest book and blog:

Another part of this blog hop involves me answering ten questions about my book A Scarlet Cord of Hope...My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope

Ten Questions With Sheryl Griffin:

What is the title of your book? A Scarlet Cord of Hope...My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope

Where did the idea come from for the book? For a long time I felt as if I had a scarlet cord wrapped around my neck that seemed to label or identify who I was through the things I went through and choices I made in the past. In 2007, after my diagnosis of ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder) along with panic and anxiety I began my journey of hope and I wanted to share the hope that I found with others.

What genre does your book fall under? Memoir/Nonfiction/Inspirational

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Wow, I have never considered this before and its hard for me to even think of anyone. I asked my husband and he said, I should have Helen Hunt play my character (only because he likes her!) and his character would have to be George Clooney (only because he recently got his hair cut like his, although my husband is 6'6 so George would probably have to wear shoe lifts-lol)

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? Struggling with guilt, shame, and fear since my childhood I have now found hope...hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and even hope from my past!

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency? Originally it was self-published through Published by Westview, and now as I am going through a revision process (adding more detail- much has happened since the end of my book and I am also adding a small group discussion question section that can be done in a small group or on your own) this revision will be published through WordCrafts Publishing

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Less than six months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  There are a lot of memoir's that deal with certain aspects that my book does, however, I feel as though my book is unique because of the many areas that I share openly with readers: alcoholic parents, abortions, abuse, divorce, guilt, shame, and fear issues, all of this and more wrapped up in the end with the hope of God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I also have a section at the end of each chapter called What I Know Now which takes the reader through things I have learned, insights, facts, tools, scriptures, among other things. Also with the upcoming addition of Small Group Questions at the end of each chapter, this will  lead the reader into a deeper understanding of their patterns, behaviors, thoughts, or beliefs and ultimately towards the one true HOPE...Jesus Christ. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I never thought I would be a writer or a speaker, however, God has opened this door and I have obediently walked through it feeling like Moses...very under qualified.  My book came about from the journaling that my doctor suggested I do. I was trying to piece together why I made certain choices in my life and why I allowed others to dictate what I did or did not do. I wanted to get at the root of all of my guilt, shame, and fear issues.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? While not every reader will identify with my entire story there are elements in my book that everyone at some point in their life can relate to. We all have a past and some of us have allowed guilt, shame, or fear to keep us in bondage and  that hinders our walk with God, our relationship with our spouse or family, and makes us want to keep "the mask" on. I have boldly taken "the mask" off and my hearts desire is to share the HOPE that I have found! 

Next week take the opportunity to hop over to the blogs of the following authors. These authors have been a blessings to me and I am sure you will enjoy them as well.

Monica Schmelter is an author, speaker, and Christian Television Network Host


Jan Balzer an author, speaker, and life coach

Beth Jones an author, speaker, and life coach 

Glenn Garvin author, speaker, and vice president of camps at Royal Kids Camps


One moment at a time, one day at a time, there is always HOPE!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Do You Have Faith Like Mary? The Top Five Lessons We Can Learn From Mary's Faith

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb  and bear a son and you shall name Him Jesus  ~Luke 1:30-31

In order to fully appreciate this scripture and what it meant to Mary, we need to dig a little deeper and look at the all of the surrounding circumstances of that time.  In Biblical times, Jewish authorities determined that marriages could take place when a boy was thirteen years old and a girl as young as twelve. Often parents arranged marriages and typically a boys parents would select  their sons bride, not just based on if they thought they would be compatible, but also how well they thought of her family.  This would hopefully ensure a successful marriage and family relationship.

Once the parents agreed on a marriage the young man and young girl would become betrothed.  A betrothal was stronger than what we now refer to as an engagement.  To break a betrothal you had to actually go through a divorce. A betrothal contract was as binding as a marriage.  To be granted a divorce (or to break your betrothal contract) the husband was the only one who could be granted that privilege.  If the husband (or the betrothed young man) died that was the only way a wife (or betrothed young girl) could be relieved of her legal marriage commitment.

Another fact was that the young girl had to be a virgin on the actual wedding night. A betrothal contract did not give permission for premarital sex. While there is nothing new under the sun and things that are going on today were certainly going on in Biblical times, there was more priority placed on waiting until marriage and the value of what the covenant of marriage meant between two people.

We know that Mary and Joseph's family must have agreed upon their betrothal and marriage.  And even though the Bible doesn't tell us the exact age of Mary and Joseph, we can assume that they were in the age range of twelve to thirteen, as was the custom in their day. 

We also know that Mary (according to Luke 1:38) was considered a bondslave of the Lord.  The Greek word for bondslave (doulous) speaks of one who serves with disregard of her own interests. We also know Mary was raised in a home that served God and her parents must have taught her scripture, because in Luke 1:46-56, Mary is quoting  fifteen discernible quotations from the Old Testament.  This could only be possible if she was familiar with Gods word. 

As we put these pieces together you begin to see the incredible faith Mary had to have when the angel told her she would become pregnant and have a son. The only question she asks is, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"  She never once argued with the angel, asking what will my family think of me?  What will Joseph or his family think?  According to that time frame and culture women who were pregnant before the marriage ceremony were shunned and considered an outcast by the town and even family members. The groom and the bride were looked down upon.  Mary also knew that Joesph would know it was impossible for him to be the father since they had not had sex. The consequence for a betrothed woman getting caught with another man or becoming pregnant by another man, the betrothed husband could have her stoned to death or give her a divorce.

Mary never seems to consider another option; she could have simply told everyone she was raped. The custom in those days was if a woman was raped and became pregnant the towns people, as well as family, would then come around and support her without question.  

Mary's faith was so strong and bold that when the angel answered her only question, saying that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called,  "the Son of God" and then  the angel  reminds Mary, that nothing is impossible with God,  Mary responds with an absolute acceptance saying, "If it's Gods will, may it be". 

Mary never wavers in her faith not even when Joseph, not wanting to have her stoned, considered discreetly divorcing her, that is until an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel told him not to be afraid and to take Mary as his wife, and that the child within her was conceived through the Holy Spirit. After this, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him to do and he kept her as a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus.

Mary and Joseph's faith remained strong and they never wavered, questioned, or doubted God's purpose and plan for their life. I pray that I can attain the same faith as Mary, even within my day to day life and especially when I am faced with challenges or difficulties.

The top five lessons we can take away from Mary's  faith
  1. Live a life worthy of Christ (like a bondslave of God)
  2. If you were not (or are not) in a home that has given you a foundation of faith it's never too late to start today
  3. Make reading the Bible a priority in your life
  4. Believe with all your heart that God's word is truth
  5. Be willing to stand up and be bold for your faith even when everything around you seems to be in question

One day at a time, One moment at a time, There is always HOPE!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Answered Prayer...

Never give up praying and hoping for those you love! 

This past week God answered a prayer that has been on my heart for many years.  As you may know, several years ago, I was able to locate my older brother after not knowing what happened to him almost thirty years ago.  During our initial conversations we talked about the possibility of him coming to visit my family in Tennessee.  Neither of us knew if or when that may happen.

My prayer and hearts desire was answered last week!  My brother was able to spend four days with us!  It was an amazing time for me and my family.  We laughed, cried, reminisced, and filled in blanks for each other about our lives.  It was also a time of reconciliation and closure for him and another family member, for which I am grateful to have played a small part in.  He left Tennessee with his heart full and headed to one last stop before he goes back home to California.  His last stop was to visit another family member that he desired a heart felt connection with.  It appears that his hearts desires have come true!

I am amazed at how God has orchestrated this entire situation.  "For such a time as this," heart is full and rejoicing at the reality of watching a redeemed situation unfold before my eyes and heart. It gives me courage to continue to live in hope.

One day at a time, one moment at a time, there is always HOPE!

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find ; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  1John 5:14

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy SpiritRomans 15:13

If you have a story about an answered prayer for a family member I would love to hear from you!