When Life is Unfair

When Life is Unfair

2 June 2017

Hello everyone,

The Bible gives us all sorts of good life lessons from real-life stories of people who have fought through the worst, and survived. My favorite apostle of all time is Peter, because in the beginning of his relationship with Jesus, he was very charismatic and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. He loved Jesus, don’t get me wrong, but he was always questioning Jesus’ motives and reasons for doing things. I think he did so, not because he didn’t trust Jesus, but because he wanted to understand the right thing to do in these situations. He was a man who fought his faith, and who saw Jesus’ miracles hands on. He was also kind of a troublemaker, such as denying Jesus 3 times and cutting off a soldier’s ear to defend Jesus. I could almost picture Jesus looking at Peter when he did that, pretty much saying, “Peter, come on.” The story that really sticks with me, though, is the story of, when Jesus walked on water, Peter didn’t have enough faith to trust in Jesus to walk on water, too. As charismatic, courageous, and adventurous as Peter was, in that tiny moment, fear and distrust of faith got the best of him.

Such a story tells us that even when the apostles saw Jesus in actual physical form in front of them, they still had a lack of faith, such as not trusting when they were in a boat with a sleeping Jesus in a middle of a terrible storm. Nowadays, we trust Jesus completely. But the instant a trial hits us – a loved one dies; a dream disappears; we don’t get an expected answered prayer – we instantly turn into the “why God? Why me?” person. We are all human, but God expects us to trust Him. That is who He is. He is amazing.

A couple months ago, I saw the movie, “Is Genesis History?” It was really a tell-all story of God’s creation and how amazingly He created this earth, more than we can possibly imagine. We know that God created everything and made every human uniquely different, but did you know he made every single living thing unique too? From the biggest animal like the elephant to the tiniest ant – God knows every single one of them and made them all differently. And He cares for every single one of them, too! Isn’t that amazing? Then why is it that when a trial hits us, we forget about that and focus on the trial, as if we are all that matters, as if God doesn’t care about us, as if what we want matters more than what He wants for us.

Faith is a troublesome thing. When life is great, you may have a strong faith in God. But when life is sour, you forget about God and lose complete faith in Him. But we need to be faithful, because of the storm. We need to praise Him in that storm (yes, you read that correctly) and we need to trust that for whatever reason He’s letting the trial happen, no matter what, He has a unique plan for every one of us. He doesn’t have the same plan for somebody else. Just like there’s nobody else in the world with the same personality as you and I, there’s nobody who will ever have that same God-designed plan. Because we all handle life differently, act different, and are different! We are unique as God has blessed us to be, and to dive toward that beautiful plan instead of running from it will give us blessings instead of sorrows.

Recently, and still, I’m going through a personal trial. It is a trial of my faith, of trusting the Lord. My endless fear had been that God will not provide me with specific blessings in my life, or else He would make them different than how I’d like them to be. For months, I struggled with this, in denial that I had no faith problem. I read countless Bible reading plans and devotionals that gave me comfort. But finally, I realized that I needed to trust and accept that God would provide. I had to be courageous to accept that, and I needed to be wise to know how to accept it, and I’m still praying for these things. But because of this trial, I’ve actually drawn much closer to the Lord than I ever thought I could be, and not only that, but I’ve trusted the Lord much better, harder, and stronger than I ever have before, and I’ve been happier and more accepting of life because of it. God may not provide exactly what you want, but He will provide something that’s beautiful, wonderful, and much better than you could ever imagine. Even much better than what you wanted! You may have wanted something wonderful, but God provided something even better than that! All because you didn’t give up hope and kept your focus on the Lord. For example, when my late sister died, my parents blessed me with three more sisters. When a sheep epidemic hit our family’s farm one year, God not only healed the epidemic but blessed us with far more sheep than we ever thought of. God always comes through for us even when all seems hopeless.

You may think that your life is stuck in a rut and not going anywhere. But right now, God is using this time where time in general seems to be running agonizingly slow as you wait for His answers to your prayers. He’s using this time to train you in patience, gratitude, and overwhelming trust and love for Him. He’s using this time to help you grow in trust and love for Him and with your loved ones. He’s not just sitting there waiting. He’s growing the seed in your heart that relentlessly wants to stay put! He’s watering and watering and watering. And soon, you’ll be ready to receive these blessings. Will they be what you really wanted before? Probably not. Will it be exactly as you imagined it would be? No. But will it be worth the wait? Ohhhhhhhhh yes!!!!!!!!!!!

You may be stuck in a rut of growth, just like me. But hold your horses, partner. God has something beautiful planned for your life, something that will make the long wait worth waiting for, and something where you’ll be incredibly glad you trusted in Him all along. So trust in Him, friend, and trust as hard as you can. It will be a stunning sight of heaven when it is all over.

Oh, and don’t forget these three very important verses along the way, something to keep with you at all times, particularly every time a sliver of doubt assails your mind:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

So is life really unfair? No, because God’s got it covered. All you need to is sit and wait and trust.God will provide, in accordance with His will, in His good time. And it will be beautiful.

JMK~ 🙂

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

30 June 2016

 

Hello, everyone,

 

“Life happens in the oddest of moments.” Currently, I am working on a book where, in one scene, a mother recalls the mistakes she’s made and how, as an adult, she wished she hadn’t thought them as mistakes back then. God gives us blessings in life when we least expect it. I strongly believe that. Now, it’s still a daily struggle to count my blessings and truly be thankful for them. It’s hard for me to be thankful when I recognize how much I struggle in my own faults and flaws, and most of all, I worry what other people think about them as much as I do.

 

I grew up in the country in eastern Minnesota, the oldest of five girls. I was blessed in growing up with parents who raised us to love God first and foremost, who took us to church every Sunday, and who taught us right from wrong. My mother always said to find a career that makes you happy, and I have. But in life I learned something that I heard once on “Little House on the Prairie” (love that TV series) – that is, to count every moment and also, you can have many careers in your life. Which is true. In my life, I am an author and also a wife. I am a daughter, granddaughter, and one day, I will be a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

 

Not only that, but living in the country really made me appreciate life as it came. We were snowbound in winter a lot of times, not being in school with everyone else, simply because the school bus couldn’t make it down the not-yet-plowed gravel roads. In the summer, if you wanted real work, you helped in the barn by shoveling sheep manure out of the pens, and may I add that the barn was NOT air-conditioned and had very little air circulation? Most barns are anyway. We were faithfully involved in 4-H. We took livestock to the county fair every summer in mid-July. We daily practiced with our sheep, including with walking our lambs down to the end of the long driveway and back, or even down the road farther, halter-breaking them and then walking them to make sure they got enough exercise. Sheep were judged according to how meaty their thighs, back ends, and sides looked. It was a serious deal getting money from the 4-H auction, getting blue ribbons, and have the warm feeling in the center of your chest that your hard work truly had paid off. We weren’t afraid to get sweaty, down and dirty, and although we complained at times, I regret all of those regrets now, and would gladly do it all again.

 

As an adult, you really appreciate the home where you’ve grown up, and the people you grew up with. I remember the afternoons and evenings I spent at home in my bedroom writing stories in my notebooks, and I wish I’d been spending them in the living room with my family instead. I remember listening to the trains’ horns as I drifted off to sleep most nights, the crickets chirping, and the fresh smell of nature on your nose through an open bedroom window. I remember practicing my piano pieces while my mother made supper and my dad watched the evening news. It’s the simple things you never forget.

 

Most of you out there are young like me, around the age of 28, younger or older. Here’s a piece of advice: appreciate every day you have. Some days, I am just content on sitting in the quiet solitude of our living room with my husband, watching our cats play together or snooze. Sometimes I look at him and have a sentimental feeling – that one day, seventy years from now, I may very well be looking at him for the very last time. I’m not trying to be morbid or anything, but my point is this – you only have one life. If you read the Bible and obey what it says in there, you will find true peace in your life that doesn’t come anywhere except through God above. The stresses we deal with now in life is nothing compared to the glory that we will one day see. There is always victory in the Lord. Nobody is perfect, and I certainly don’t claim to be. But how much sweeter our life will be if we appreciate our loved ones, constantly show them, and love them even more than the day before that. May all of you be always blessed in your lives. Be faithful to God, choose the right mate, and enjoy the rest of your life as much as you possibly kind. As in Tim McGraw’s song, “Humble and Kind,” (a song I love), follow suit. Live a wonderful life.

 

Don’t forget to look for Jenna’s new book, “The Magic Suitcase: Martha” in online stores through Amazon and Smashwords! Buy it today and then buy it again when it arrives in paperback – which is coming soon!  Focus your reading energy on a book that will remind you about the wonderful blessings of life, and the surprises that come upon life’s way!

 

Have a wonderful week!

 

JMK~ 🙂

 

 

What Being a Custodian Has Taught Me

Hello everyone, 

I apologize for not writing in here for a few weeks. It’s been crazy busy for me. But yesterday was my official last day at doing custodial work, because I’ve moved onto better horizons. I spent 8 months working at a private school, and now I’ve come to tell you what I’ve learned from it. I was in charge of cleaning and organizing the entire middle school. It’s hard but good work. In fact, I enjoyed it. You may hear a lot of criticism about custodians / janitors. But you need them more than you think. 

What I’ve learned:

1. It’s job security. 

This job provided me with work for a short period of time, and although I hadn’t done it before or had experience, I became quite good at it. I’m a fast learner, so I learned the ups and downs, where everything was located, became acquainted with my very own custodial closet, and got a nice ring of keys.

2. Teenage kids can be little demons.

Kids will show no mercy. They’ll middy up the floors on purpose, barf in places like in a bathroom where a toilet or garbage can is five feet away, abandon school books in random places, spit gum on the floor, miss on the toilet and urinel, never flush, drop juice on the floor, leave leftover milk and juice in the trash, throw food on cafeteria floors, etc. 

3. You’ll lose weight.

I didn’t even need to lose weight when I started, but I ended up losing 30 pounds.

4. You’ll be appreciated.

I always received compliments while working there. 

5. You’ll be so paranoid about how your work looks that you’ll master it to perfection. 

6. You’ll look at the students’ artwork on the walls while you clean.

7. Cleaning bathrooms isn’t so bad.

For me, I always listened to music, which helped immensely in the process. But once you clean a bathroom a thousand times, you’ll know more about it than your bathrooms at home.

8. You’ll have more free time. 

Since I worked the evening shifts, my mornings were free, which caused me to easily write a whole novel, edit it, and submit it to be published.

9. The little things matter.

Such as the teachers putting the chairs onto the desks, taking out trashes for you, etc, it means a lot. Especially when you’ve got enough on your plate. 

10. You’ll miss it when you leave for good.

I got choked up yesterday when I left. In the end, it’s not about the bad, disgusting  stuff I saw in a day. It was much more than that. It was cleaning your place to perfection for 8 months. I got to know every nook and cranny of the place. I could stroll through the place blindfolded. It was a job that I enjoyed, and in the end, one I’ll always say I’m proud I had it. 

Have a good week 🙂

JK 🙂

Too Much Technology?

Too Much Technology?

Hello everyone,

 

Is there such a thing as too much technology? I enjoy technology as much as the next person. I have an iPhone 6 Plus, a Samsung tablet, two laptops, and a desktop computer. So I guess you can say that technology is the thing of the present and of the future. Everybody wants the latest and greatest thing. But for me, there’s such a thing as going too far with technology and being just right with technology. Let me give you an example:

 

Sunday night, I was sitting on our apartment couch watching “WALL-E” (love that movie), when I noticed a weird toothbrush commercial. It was essentially a Colgate advertisement that was advertising not only a fancy electric toothbrush–but one that a teeth whitener inside the toothbrush. So then, all you have to do when you’re done brushing is whiten your teeth!

 

Ahem. What? I don’t even whiten my teeth. They’re white enough. I remember thinking, what’s going to be next, toothpaste built into the toothbrush so that we don’t have put it on the toothbrush ourselves? Have we really gotten that  lazy where we depend on technology to do our work for us? Using technology for work and writing, I understand that. Do we need a Bluetooth? Sure, for work. But could we live without it? Yes.

 

I’m the type of person who would never buy a Kindle or a Nook. When my book comes out in e-Format, of course I’ll have to get the app where I can locate it. But that’s necessity. I don’t need to buy an electronic version of a book, because I’m perfectly happy holding an actual book in my hands. I like the smell of the book, the feeling of the crisp, soft pages within my hand, like you’re holding the whole world within your fingertips. Having technology as a necessity is much, much different than needing to buy the latest and greatest thing. I’m fine with holding off from getting technology that I really don’t need. Sure, I may like it and think it’s cool, but whenever I see advertisements on TV doting the thought that one day, we’re going to rely upon technology for pretty much everything, I always have one single thought. And that thought is, will buying all these new technological stuff enhance my eternity one day? I won’t be able to bring any technology with me. In the Bible, you don’t hear about angels flipping through their iPads.

 

Think it over: when technology becomes less of a necessity and more of a want, such as absurd things like a teeth whitener in a toothbrush, are we really thinking it through? Don’t get me wrong: I love technology. Technology has gotten us so far, and I love that it has. I would love to get the newest iPhone, newest Apple Watch, and so forth. But when technology has gotten so far that it does work for us or work where settlers in pioneer times did fine without, that’s a completely different story. If you’ve ever seen the Robin Williams movie, “Bicentennial Man,” you realize he’s a robot who becomes the family servant and does everything for them. They have flying cars that drive for them, and so forth. That’s technology, just that toothbrush, that has gotten way out of hand.

 

It’s fine to get things for necessity, or even to buy the latest and greatest technological gadget. But when you buy something that does something that you yourself are perfectly capable of doing, that’s going too far. And remember, folks, when you are buying this new technology, that one day when you die, you won’t be able to take any of that with you. Oh, you may have your loved ones bury these things in the casket with you, but they’re not really going with you. Not at all. Buying  new technology stuff is fun. But don’t let technology run your life. For example, as a parent, I would never allow my child to use a tablet. I grew up just fine without one. I would never buy a tootbrush that does more than brushes your teeth. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll floss for you too. I would never buy a Kindle or Nook, because you can buy and check out actual books the same way.

 

I saw this “Born Loser” comic one time where the main guy, the born loser guy, ran into his neighbor’s little girl. He said he was off to the library and asked the girl if she wanted to come with. The girl then went on about how cool the library is, that you can use the computer and check out movies. The born loser guy said, “You know, when I was your age, we didn’t have such things in the library.” Then, the little girl replied, “Then what was the library even used for?”

 

How sad is that. The Spanish word for books is libros. The word LIBRARY is testament of that. I even am still surprised to see computer laps in libraries, unless it’s a college or high school ibrary, because libraries went on just fine without technology when I was a little girl. My mom would bring my sisters and I to the library to READ BOOKS. There were no computers, etc there. It was all books. Books, books, books. And you know what? We were perfectly happy because books was all we wanted.

 

If you’re confused by now on whether or not you think I enjoy technology, don’t be. I do enjoy technology. But the bottom line is that we don’t need technology for everything. We shouldn’t let technology run our lives. Focus on God, family, and friends first, and then use technology as a necessity first. That’s how you became a happier person, not by technology.

 

By the way, my book, “The Magic Suitcase: Martha” is now on Netgalley to be reviewed. You may review it HERE before you buy it.

 

Have a good week, everyone. 🙂

 

JMK~

Life Lessons from Joseph

Life Lessons from Joseph

Hey everyone,

 

One of my most favorite Bible stories of all time is about Joseph. When I was in high school in eleventh grade, I was in the chorus for our high school’s spring musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Not only were the lyrics catchy, but they were right on. They clearly told the story of how Joseph gradually arose to become second-in-command to Pharaoh. He’d encountered many a trial and challenge. His older brothers had sold him as a slave and then lied to their father about it; then, when he found a master he enjoyed working for, he was wrongly accused of having an affair with the master’s wife; he was thrown in prison where he would remain there for two full years before Pharaoh would have mysterious dreams that needed to be interpreted. Once they were interpreted by Joseph, Pharaoh made him second-in-command.

 

Much like Paul from the New Testament, do you ever witness Joseph complaining about his circumstances? Not ever. Imagine the hurt and betrayal he felt about his brothers, his own flesh and blood, selling him to the Ishmaelites for money. They’d wanted to get rid of him because he’d been their father’s favorite son. Imagine the shock and desperation he’d felt when he’d been wrongly accused of having an affair with his master’s wife. Imagine the hurt he’d felt for being thrown in prison and staying there for two years, even though the chief jailer had made him in charge of all the other prisoners.

 

People can look at this situation two different ways. One group of people may look at how Joseph kept on having problems and God wasn’t good to him. But the other people may see how God WAS good to Joseph. He took care of him always. He made sure he had a good master, where he’d become leader of the household. Then, the chief jailer had entrusted in him to be the person who overlooked all the other prisoners. He was a leader in these two situations, which gave him experience in being a leader over Egypt one day. What a high priority! Pharaoh saw something in Joseph that nobody else did: the means to build his kingdom and make Egypt prosper. And all that just for Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams!

 

Lately, all I’ve wanted so badly is for my dreams to come true. That’s all I want. But every day, they keep getting farther and farther away and it’s hard to keep the faith. Hard, but not impossible, though. Just like Joseph never gave up, I refuse to give up as well. I think that God gave us such Bible examples like the Joseph story to remind us to never give up. Keep trying and doing your best, and God will do the rest!

 

Have a good weekend, everyone. 🙂

JMK~

 

Setting Long-Term Goals

Hello everyone,

 

I apologize for not having written in a while–been a very busy lady! Part of this busyness has been thinking of Paul from the Bible. Over the past month, I read through the whole book of Acts and pondered his immense courage. As the apostle John relays the sometimes chilling details about the problems and obstacles that prevented Paul from preaching the Gospel, such as imprisonment, being shipwrecked, and confronting an angry crowd – to name a few, I admire him even more. Not once do you hear of Paul complaining about his circumstances or how he wished for more chances to spread the Gospel. Not once do you hear Paul fearing for his life. He seems like an easygoing guy who just takes conflict and runs with it. The courage he had was amazing, and that’s the kind of example I hope to set in my life as well.

 

My husband is my biggest support system and encouragement with me and my writing. I couldn’t do anything without him. He was the one who suggested that besides doing freelance writing/authoring, I look for opportunities around our hometown where I could get my foot in the door. Then, that foot in that door could lead to a career down the road that will have given me, overall, healthy experience. Who knows where it could lead, but I’m hoping that it’ll eventually lead me to a full-time opportunity. Therefore, on the sideline, you will see another milestone goal I put up. I plan to look for opportunities every day, Monday-Friday (since I use the weekends for spending time with my husband and family), and do it up to a year. Hopefully and God willing, I will be blessed in what I do and the determination I use.

 

Over the past month, I have also been busy with finishing writing and completely revising my romantic suspense novel, “Hush, Don’t Tell.” You can find more information about it HERE. My next goal for that is to submit query letters to 50 agents, and then 5 small publishing presses afterward if necessary.

 

Then, finally, THIS MONTH you can be able to pre-order my YA fantasy novel, “The Magic Suitcase”! I will let you all know the moment you can start to pre-order it, and also when you can look for it on Netgalla so you can start reviewing it!

 

Exciting things happening in 2016 so far! I am excited and looking forward to following God’s footsteps in wherever he may lead me beginning today, and you should, too. Go to God in prayer, and study the Bible on what it means to obey the Gospel. Paul encountered many obstacles along the way, so many that you would think he would give up instead of pressing on.

 

Philippians 3: 12-16: Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

 

Have a good week, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

 

 

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Home Is Where the Heart Is

March 10, 2016

Hello everyone,

 

Last night on my drive home from work, I was flipping through the radio channels, and found a classic: “Rhinestone Cowboy” sung by Glen Campbell. What a legend. I turned up the volume right away. My sisters and I grew up to this music. My dad often sang it at home, and he and my mom enjoyed the man’s music. We knew every lyric.

 

But it was perfect timing. It was a song I needed to hear desperately, and I hadn’t known it until that moment. It reminded me of home, but more than that, it reminded me on what truly mattered. Lately, I’d been ridiculed, harassed, and criticized by online strangers who know nothing about me as a writer, so easily doubt my writing and editing abilities without getting to know me, and never give me a chance. They’re the kind who don’t want to have an open mind, who don’t want to hear me out.

 

When I was in college, such legendary songs on the radio gave me comfort, reminded me of my roots. I come from a big family, and am a down to earth Christian country girl and proud of it. I was raised on a sheep ranch. My sisters and I brought sheep, chickens, and rabbits to the county fair and won. We cleaned after them, loved them, cared for them, and sometimes got annoyed with them. But these animals were the heart and soul of the farm. We literally delivered lamb babies, mourned with the ewes when they lost a baby, and cared for them like they were our children. Such roots has caused me to be a strong willed person and find God’s blessed mercy and love through it all.

 

I adore having social media followers. The immense support means everything to me. But comments I receive must be the kind you’d receive from a friend. Remember the golden rule: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. If that’s not the case, your comment will be deleted and sent to spam. Nobody needs to be a victim of those type of remarks that aren’t encouraging and that doesn’t build another up.

 

Earlier in this blog post, I mentioned that Glen Campbell’s song reminded me of what truly mattered. What truly matters is having a husband, friends and family, even social media followers, who do believe in you no matter what, who never doubt your potential. That’s the kind of support I plan to carry with me till my dying day, because negativity will never prosper in the end, and we will all have to give an account to God one day.

 

JMK 🙂