God still speaks…but are you listening?

As a retired speech-language pathologist, I know the importance of listening. Good listening skills make a difference. Good listening skills can help you be successful in school, in relationships, and in life.

And who better to listen to then God!

God can speak to us in many different ways. The Bible is the main way but certainly not the only way. There may be weirder examples, but God used the hula hoop to speak to me.

Yep! I said a hula hoop!

When I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012, my life took a dramatic turn and is still topsy-turvy. Fortunately they were benign, but there are two definitions for benign. One being non-cancerous, the other meaning harmless—which my brain tumors definitely are not!

In spite of that, I love my life!

I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but it’s true.

Anyway…a while ago I started trying to hula hoop. Now why would an overweight, sixty year old woman with brain tumors want to hula hoop? If you want to know that, you’ll have to read the book!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what about writers? When the going gets tough, they write! And so I have. GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS is the result. Simply put, in the book I share some of the listening lessons God taught me that have helped me face my new reality with brain tumors.

And the book is FREE today! AMAZON BUY LINK:  http://buff.ly/1DVLGZZ




The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel-Part VI


The little old lady smiled her sweet but enigmatic smile. “But no matter how many times I say that at the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel, no one quite believes me. So I will tell you this about the Princess Path.”

“To become a princess, the path is narrow. Sadly, too narrow for many. As you all continue on your One True Journey, many will turn from the narrow path that leads to becoming a Princess.”

How could anyone not want to be a princess? It was the most honored positon in all the kingdom. Who would someone choose a different path? Why would they even want to?

“As I said many of you—most of you—will not become a Princess, but each of you have the power to become a Princess if that is the path you choose on your One True Journey.”

Could that be true? Could every girl here really become a princess?

“There are no arbitrary cuts on the narrow path. The only way to leave the path is to let your feet lead you astray. But remember this well. Once your feet has taken you on another path, it becomes even more difficult to resume the journey of the narrow path. But not impossible. Nothing is impossible for the Creator.”

But Rose wanted only one path. The narrow path to become a princess. But it sounded almost impossible.

“There will be many who want to lure you from your chosen path whatever it may be. It is your responsibility to not allow others to determine your path. The Creator has indeed created for each of us a One True Journey. But when we allow others to determine our steps…”

She stopped speaking and shook her head. Princess Michella did the same. Both looked so sorrowful that Rose felt sad as well without knowing exactly why.

Princess Lilianna looked out at them. Her smile so sweet, so filled with loved. “The only path to happiness is to complete the One True Journey to its final destination. When you allow others to lure you from that path, you will not find happiness. Instead, you will find pain, sorrow, and heartache.”

The harsh words cut through Rose’s excitement, causing her to tremble. Veronique clasped her arms. Rose could feel her trembling as well. But Bells simply looked excited as if she couldn’t wait to begin her journey. Had she already chosen her path?

Princess Lilianna continued, “Ah, but this is not a day for sadness. But know that you’ve been warned, so take care where you allow your feet to fall. Now it is time for your gift from the Creator. Look down by your feet and you shall find yours.”

Rose did as instructed, shocked to find a small wooden chest on the floor beside her feet. It hadn’t been there a moment ago, had it? And yet she’d seen no one place it there. How had that happened?

With shaking hands, Rose picked up her gift—her Blessed Vessel.



Nike Chillemi is my guest writer today. I’ve “known” Nike for many years–well maybe not many but several. Like me, she writes suspense novels,. She is the self-proclaimed Crime Fictionista! Sure wish I’d thought of that title.

Anyway, thanks Nike for this devotional.

He Said “Do Not Fear” by Nike Chillemi

The King James Version of the Bible says “fear not” 103 times. Other versions have a similar amount of fear nots or say “do not be afraid.” In fact, scholars have said it’s the most repeated command in the Bible. Since He has said it so many times, it must be important to God that we fear not.

Right at the beginning, God tells Abram (before the name change to Abraham) not to fear. Genesis 15:1 [NASB] ~ After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying: “Do not fear Abram, I am a shield to you.”

As far as I can determine, Jesus says “fear not” eight times in the Gospels. One of these sayings touches me deeply every time I read it in the Bible. Luke 12: 32 [NASB] ~ Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

As a writer of detective stories, I’m well aware of fear. I’ve researched fear, written about fear. However, the point of my novels is never to glorify fear. Rather, I strive to create main characters who are flawed, ordinary people facing many personal issues, yet they manage to overcome their fear and anxiety to fight evil when they come upon it.

Of course fear is not a thing of fiction. Fiction takes fear from real life. We hear daily of the almost unimaginable terror of ISIS, an entity deliberately striving to create world-wide fear as a tactic to achieve tyrannical power. Ebola seems to never go away. There is nuclear threat.

On a personal level people face fear every day: fear that they won’t be good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, that they will fail. I think fear is a tactic of the enemy to steal our faith. If the enemy can create fear in believers, he can steal faith right out of our hearts. Fear is the antithesis of faith. It will steal our faith in God’s great and powerful ability and have us focus on our puny inability.

Christianity is a faith that teaches love. Believers grow and come to know that love, God’s kind of love, overcomes fear. First of all, we must each receive and deeply know how much God personally loves us. He loves us so much He gave His Son for us. His love for us never ceases. He is there whenever we call on him. When we overcome our fear and are able to walk in love, it opens the way for God to bless us. God is in the blessing business (good health, the right mate, secure finances, and so much more). And when we walk in love, we are able to pass the blessing on to others. And believers are indeed to pass the blessing on. We are God’s hands and feet on the earth.  Where the blessing flourishes, fear has trouble getting a foothold.


A little more about Nike…Like so many authors, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press has finaled in the Grace Awards.

Blog: https://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nike-Chillemi/e/B0050ZD44O/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1/186-9398678-9394414

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

MORE RED WORD WISDOM to share today. As I explained, my current Bible studying is revolving around Jesus’ words.  I have a feeling studying Jesus’ words are going to take most of this year. Obviously, I can’t go in to every verse so today I’m focusing on the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes were part of his Sermon on the Mount, which was his first major speaking event.

Studying these were a revelation to me. They demonstrate the many layers of God’s Word. Simply reading a Bible passage and moving on to the next  is never enough. It pays to do a little research and see what Bible scholars (the experts) have to say about a specific verse. Then put the verse in your own words so that you understand it for yourself.

Today, we’re just going to look at the first Beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed is a term that refers to the inner joy and peace that comes from being right with God. Another definition I came across that I love is DIVINE REWARDS. Doesn’t that say it all?


Blessed are the poor in spirit. What does poor in spirit mean? Spiritually bankrupt. Nothing to offer God. No way to save yourself.

After much reading and studying, I came up with this definition: understanding I am “poor” spiritually, that I have nothing of worth to offer to God. Therefore, I can’t “buy” my way into heaven with good works. Only after understanding this principle, are we ready to accept God’s gift of salvation.


That’s only the first Beatitude, there are seven more, which I’m not going to get into since I’m out of space. But I would love for all of you to take one of the Beatitudes and tell us what it means to you!











The Bible is filled with all the wisdom we need to have a successful life here on earth. And certainly the words of Jesus are no exception. In fact, perhaps, his words deserve some extra attention so I’m starting a new Bible study that focuses on Jesus’s Words.

Time wise, Jesus’s first recorded words were found in Luke 2: 49 (NIV) when he went missing and Mary and Joseph found him at the temple. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The New King James Version says it this way:  “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

I think both versions have something to teach us.

In my Father’s house. When you spend time at another’s house, it implies a relationship with that person. I don’t believe it’s an accident that Jesus’s first recorded words point to having a relationship with God—His father. Our Father. First and foremost, we were created to have a relationship with our Creator.

Don’t neglect that relationship.

About My Father’s business. Jesus knew that he was put on this earth for a reason—to do God’s business. We were put on the earth for that very same reason. Jesus was put on this earth for a very specific purpose—and so were we.

My purpose is not the same as yours. And yours is not the same as anyone else’s. Once you have that relationship with God, then it’s time to discover the business your Father created you for.

Get about His business.

Wow! Jesus’s first words give us direction and purpose in our life. Can’t beat that. I have a feeling this Bible study might take a lot longer than I realized.




Are You Putting God In A Cage?

This is not the first time I’ve used this devotion, but I love it! It’s a good reminder for me–and maybe for you?  So I use it from time to time. I hope you enjoy it as well.


James 4: 8 (NLT)

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”

Friends told me this story of a rescued dog long ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. The dog’s owners decided to use cage training to housebreak their young puppy. Cage training consists of having the puppy spend time in his cage until he figures out where to go potty and where not to.

Unfortunately, the owners missed the point. They brought their young puppy home and, as expected, the puppy soon had an accident. His owners punished him by putting him in the cage. With each accident, they would punish him by keeping him the cage for longer periods. Naturally, the dog would have another accident in the cage and so the cycle went.

Eventually, the dog was in the cage for several days at a time without food or water. The owners didn’t understand why the dog had turned mean.

Dogs are great pets when they are loved and nurtured. The more time we spend with them the stronger the bond becomes. The key to any relationship is the time, attention and effort given. That holds true for relationships with animals, people, and God.

The more time and effort we put into a relationship the more we receive.

What about our relationship with God?

Do we treat Him in a way that we wouldn’t treat a dog? Do we take God out of the cage on Sundays for a few hours and then stick Him back in until the next Sunday? We may even have good intentions but…life can get so busy.

I know that happens to me more often than I care to admit. I have good intentions to spend time with God but then life happens. Before I know it, I begin to lose my patience, my joy, and my peace. That’s when I know it’s time to draw near to God and He’s always there waiting.

Don’t cheat yourself out of a loving relationship with God because you think you don’t have time. There is no right or wrong way to spend time with God. Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend time with God:

While you do your chores, listen to praise music.

Pray whenever the mood hits.

Start writing a list of what you are grateful to God for–big and little things.

Rent a Biblical movie.

Put index cards and a pen by your Bible. Write out verses that are meaningful.

Sing your favorite hymn–even if your husband doesn‘t like your singing.

Reflect on God’s goodness as you notice His beautiful handiwork.

As you fall asleep, end your day with a pray of praise and thanksgiving.

Be creative, be flexible, and enjoy your time with God. The more time you spend with him, the more peace and joy you will experience. As you reap the benefits of spending time with God, you will soon find yourself craving more time with Him. He’s here right this moment–waiting for you.

What’s one of the ways you enjoy spending time with God?




1 Peter 1:13

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled,

set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Paul may not have written these words with a writer in mind, but I think it’s great advice. We can learn much when and where we least expect it. Let’s take a look at the verse part by part.

STEP 1: Prepare your minds .Being an excellent writer takes more than sitting down at a computer and writing. First, you must be a reader, and I don’t mean one or two books every year. One of the best ways to learn to write is to read, read, and read!

Second of all, as a Christian writer, you want to be excellent at what you do. And that means being good at the craft of writing. There are lots of ways to do that, such as classes, workshops, reading books on writing, joining writing groups and critique groups. Along with learning more about the writing craft, writers need to learn more about the business of writing as well. But whatever you do, you must prepare your mind.

STEP 2: Action. You can’t stay in step 1 forever. Some people talk about wanting to be a writer. Some people study writing.  But the only way to become a writer is to write.  So even as you continue to learn all you can about writing, you must write. Writers write!

STEP 3: Be self-controlled. So much to do and so little time to do it! We live in busy times. A multitude of people, activities, and responsibilities tug at us.  You can’t say yes to everything and still have time for writing. Being a writer takes a commitment, self-control, and self-discipline and time. Lots of time. If you can’t make a complete commitment to writing , this may not be the season for you to follow the dream as wholeheartedly as you want. You can still work on steps 1 & 2 so that you will be ready for step 3 when the time is right.

STEP 4: Set your hope fully on God’s grace. How long will it take you to reach your writing goals? I have no idea, but I can assure you it will be longer than you want or expect. Whether short or long, keep your eyes focused on God and His goodness, and know that He is faithful.

Paul’s words may not have been intended for writers, but when you consider the fact he wrote a majority of the New Testament, I believe he knew what he was talking about.