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Are you frustrated yet?

3753584003_95eef4f7ce_oYou’re 18 days into the new year, and you still haven’t lost those ten pounds, finished that novel, or gotten your kids in line. Your plan to get the house clean seems to have disappeared beneath a fresh layer of dust, and you’ve apparently misplaced the organization chart you spent hours crafting. Your decision to work out daily was waylaid by a nasty cold, and your resolution to make it to church every Sunday wasn’t quite enough to drag you out of bed on time.

You started the year with such hope lo, those many months…er, days ago. And now, all is lost.

Or maybe you’re like me and quit making resolutions years ago. If we don’t aim for anything, it’s impossible to miss.

Impossible to hit, too.

I jumped on the word-of-the-year bandwagon awhile back, so every year around the first, I pray about what word God would have me focus on for the next 365 days. Guess which one he gave me this year?

Perseverance.

I wasn’t happy when the word came to me, because it means that those things I want might not come so easily. The ten pounds won’t just slip off like pants two sizes too big. The words of the novel won’t glide effortlessly from my fingers onto the screen. The teenagers won’t suddenly behave like mature adults.

So I’ve decided to look at my word from a different angle. Perhaps my word is not about the goals at all. Perhaps it’s about trusting God with everything and slogging forward—“straining toward what is ahead” as Paul so aptly put it (Philippians 3:13).

Would God ask me to persevere in a lost cause? Would he expect me to keep fighting a losing battle? I think not. I think he wants me to fight for what I want and trust him with the results, so that when I do achieve what I’ve worked for, I’ll have truly accomplished something. And I’ll know he was with me all along.

There are still 347 days left in this year to persevere. Imagine what God can do with a servant unwilling to give up.

Bring it on, 2017. I’m ready.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Check out my latest releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal, at my website. Or read more about them below:

Kindle CoverConvenient Lies

What happens when a woman marries her greatest enemy?

When investigative journalist Reagan McAdams discovers her new husband Julien is part of a powerful international crime family, she flees Paris with their newborn, returning to her childhood home in Nutfield, New Hampshire. She plans to gather her inheritance, collect her beloved grandmother, and disappear forever. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her son from his criminal father. 

But when Reagan arrives home, her heart breaks at the news of her grandmother’s death. Finding her missing inheritance—hidden somewhere on the property—is as impossible as a second chance with her former boyfriend, Brady. Reagan’s feelings for Brady are stronger than ever, but when Julien harms innocent people to smoke her out, Reagan must make a choice.  

What—and who—will she have to sacrifice to save her son?

Only Mine

A Package Deal

Jo didn’t know she wanted children until she learned that cancer had likely ruined her chances to have them. Dared by her friends to try online dating, Jo meets a man who would be perfect—if not for his obvious desire for a family and her too recent cancer scare. 

Carter can’t believe his luck when his first match through the online dating site is the pretty woman from the UPS store. He figures he’ll tell Jo about his five-year-old daughter if things get serious—which he doesn’t figure they will. He’s been burned by enough women not to get his hopes up. 

As Jo and Carter start to fall for each other, they realize the secrets they’ve hidden could tear apart the tenuous bond they’ve created. They both come with baggage. 

Can either of them accept a package deal?

 

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Playing the Comparison Game

 

compare-643305_1280I recently watched a sermon series by Andy Stanley called The Comparison Trap. In it, he talks about how we humans look to the right and to the left to find out if we’re okay. It’s how we decide if we’re doing well or failing, if we’re good enough or not quite making the grade.

I don’t consider myself somebody who falls into this trap often, but listening to him, I realized how I subtly compare myself and my family to others. I compare how we look, how much money we have, the size of our house, what kinds of cars we drive, where the kids go to school, what we do for work… The list is as long as the unique things that define us.

But by comparing my family to others, I’m discounting God’s hand in our lives. I’m judging God’s plan for me based on what He has done for others. And in doing so, I’m throwing myself into an unwinnable game. For every person I compare well to, there are two or three (thousand?) others who are far exceeding me.

But God’s way is better. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6:45 NLT).

So what’s the solution? Not that I’ve arrived—not even close—but I find I need to keep my focus on God and what His plans are for me. If I focus on my work and pay attention to accomplishing all God has given me to do, then I have little time or reason to compare myself to others.

Maybe my books don’t sell as many copies as another author’s books, but as long as I write what God wants me to write, I’m a success in His eyes. My children have their own dreams, and their plans don’t include top-level colleges. But God looks at the heart, not the resume. Maybe somebody else’s husband has more worldly success than mine does, but my husband loves the kids, he loves me, he loves God, and I suspect God is pleased with him. So who cares what somebody else’s husband is doing?

We’re walking the path God laid out for us. We’re doing our best and striving to obey Him. Success comes through obedience, and since God’s plan for us is different than his plan for everyone else, the comparison game is one nobody can win.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website, follow her on Facebook, or keep up with her releases by joining her newsletter list.

 

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Celebrating Failure

 

unknownWhen this blog posts, I’ll be on vacation. But will it be a vacation I’ve earned?

Last January I set a goal to write two full-length books and a novella by December 31. I failed. I completed one novel and one novella, but the other novel is only half finished.

Some goals I did accomplish, and there are many that I’m quite proud of. I published two books and edited a lot of great manuscripts for other writers.

(Check out my new releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal.)

On the personal side, I was able to spend time with friends, pray with people, make meals, attend funerals, and try to support my loved ones. Most importantly, I was available for my teenagers, who went through some unexpected and sometimes serious issues this year.

As I reflect on my 2016 goals, I realize that last January first, I had no idea what the months ahead would hold for me and those I love. I’d made my goals blindly. Don’t we always?

So rather than look back in disappointment over my perceived failures, I’ve decided to give myself grace for what I didn’t do and focus on what I did.

I’ll set more goals this year. With God’s help, I’ll achieve them. But more important to me than reaching work and personal goals is my desire to be obedient to God and to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend I can be. If I can keep those priorities straight, I trust God will work out the rest.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at RobinPatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Parenting, Robin Patchen, Writing

 

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364 Days to Go

hurry-only-364-days-till-next-christmas
The birth of our Savior. The gathering of friends and family. The exchanging of gifts.
So many emotions are wrapped around this particular day.
How does it leave you feeling on the day after?
Are you looking forward to next year – or dreading it.

Keeping Christmas simple is next to impossible in this day and age.
We prepare – we over-prepare.
We fuss, we worry, we shop and bake and cook.
Are you exhausted today? Burned out? Emotionally flat-lined?

Is it time to rethink your Christmas traditions?
Is it time to envision the next year as a time of joy and magic of the season?
Instead of a merry-go-round of fuss and bother.
Instead of a hassle and a grind.

If you dread next year already, decide this day to change that.
Make your resolution early this year.
Plan ahead to make next Christmas your best yet.
Keep it simple.
Keep it about Christ.

PeggThomas.com

Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Pegg Thomas

 

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Unwanted Gifts

flexible_flyers_in_snowI’m sure you can remember some of your favorite Christmas presents ever. One year our parents bought my sister, brother, and me those old-fashioned sleds with the metal runners on the bottom. A few days before, the skies had dropped frozen rain on top a foot of snow, so that the little hill in front of our house was as solid as the pond across the street. The sleds flew like rockets down that icy incline. It was one of the most fun and memorable Christmases of my childhood.

Other Christmas gifts haven’t seemed so wonderful.

Last year, my 18-year-old son wasn’t home for Christmas. Instead, Nick was in a rehab facility six hundred miles away. While his being there was a gift straight from God, it sure felt terrible at the time.

Some gifts are like that. They come wrapped in hardship and layered in pain, and they carry the scents of disappointment and shame. But when you get through all the coverings, the treasures beneath are priceless.

This Christmas, Nick is home, healthy, and sober. He’s already had a number of opportunities to share his testimony of God’s grace in his life, and he’ll have plenty more as he heads off to Youth with a Mission next month. We will miss him terribly during the months he’s gone on his mission trip, but even that will be a gift, knowing that God is using him to bring light to dark places.

Some gifts don’t look like gifts right away. And sometimes, those are the best gifts of all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

 
 

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Thanks to God–and You

Have you ever felt hopeless? Had that feeling that all is truly lost? In fiction, we call it the “black moment.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few black moments in my life. The worst came a little over a year ago and had to do with my eldest son, who’d made some life-altering and potentially deadly choices. All I could do was watch and pray.

But there was one other thing I did. I told a lot of my friends and family about our struggles. Not because they were fun to share—trust me, they weren’t. I told them because the Lord encourages us to be honest with each other and to and pray for one another. When we pray, He moves. (James 5:14-16, I Timothy 2:1) And our family desperately needed God to move.

My friends here at Quid Pro Quills prayed. Other friends prayed. Extended family prayed. Even some strangers prayed. And guess what? Through all those prayers, the Lord reached and saved our son.

Now, he’s home and safe. He’s a new person in Christ. He believes in the power of prayer as much as the rest of us, because he’s experienced the results of it. He’s so convinced of the Truth and so in love with his Savior, he’s headed to Youth with a Mission this January, where he’ll spend three months in Discipleship Training School before heading somewhere in the world (we don’t know where yet) on a mission to tell the lost about the freedom he’s found in Jesus Christ.

Our black moment was turned into victory, and it’s all because of the folks who prayed and this amazing, beautiful, powerful God we serve.

Tweet this: The prayers of good friends turned our darkest moment into victory.

For those of you who prayed, thank you for interceding for my family. For all of you, if ever you need prayer for yourself or someone you love, please ask me. I would be honored to lift you up the way we have been lifted, to be a part of your miracle the way so many of you have been a part of ours.

If you’d like more information or if you’d considering partnering with Nick on his mission trip through prayers or financial support, click here.

If you’d like more information about this amazing organization, Youth With a Mission, check out this video.

 

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her website.

 

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Seeking Truth in Modern America

usa-1491734_1280
Such a lofty title for my blog this week, but it seems apropos as Americans try to discern truth from fiction in these final days before the election.

“What is truth?” That question has been asked throughout the ages, always with different answers, answers that reflect the speaker’s own beliefs. In recent years, many Americans would reply to that question with the stock response: “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” I find that answer ironic, considering that it is worded as an absolute truth. Therefore, it cannot be true.

Alas, I pointed that out once to a young ideologue and received a blank stare for my efforts. Some people prefer not to be confused by pesky logic.

The most famous person to utter the words “What is truth?” was Pilate when he questioned Jesus the morning of his crucifixion. It started when Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king.

John 18:37-38 reads:

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Right after Pilate asked this question, he walked away, not waiting long enough to allow Jesus Christ, Truth Himself, to answer. Imagine if Pilate had  been “of the truth,” as Jesus described, and had cared enough about the truth to seek it out that day. The outcome—Christ on the cross—would have remained the same, of course. But perhaps for Pilate, the outcome of his life would have been vastly different.

We Americans behave in a similar manner. We say we want to know the truth, but we don’t seek it out. Instead, we settle for pretty lies that confirm what we believe. Like Pilate, we walk away before we receive insight and understanding.

It’s so evident in this election season. We have media outlets skewing facts in order to get their candidate elected. We have citizens making up news stories and passing them off as truth in order to cause one candidate to look bad, so the other will be elected.

It’s not as if we can blame one side or the other for this behavior. I have a friend who consistently shares stories on social media about one of the candidates. Unfortunately, often those stores aren’t true or have been spun so fast, the truth has leached out like dirt in the spin cycle. But what we’re left with doesn’t smell fresh. Instead, it reeks of deception. This is happening on both sides of the political spectrum.

Lies are everywhere. That’s no surprise. Jesus called the god of this world the Father of Lies, so we shouldn’t be shocked when we see him at work.

What shocks me is how little Americans seem to care. We should be outraged by:

  • Lying candidates
  • Lying newsreaders
  • Lying journalists
  • Lying businessmen
  • Lying non-profit leaders
  • Lying pollsters
  • Lying friends and family members
  • Lying everybody

Instead, what do we do? We shrug. We justify it when our own side lies, while we cry foul when the other side does it. We keep watching the dishonest personalities on TV. We keep reading the skewed news stories. We take in the lies, swallow them over and over, until we’re bloated and sick with them.

We’ve become a nation that feeds on lies. The Father of Lies would stop to celebrate if he weren’t so busy. Tweet this.

It all feels so out of control, doesn’t it? But we still have the Truth on our side. His name is Jesus, and he is waiting to help us.

Isaiah 30:18 reads, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

The Lord wants to rescue us from this foolishness. Join me in praying that now and beyond the elections, Americans would once again become a people who seek truth. Tweet this.

Otherwise, these lies will destroy us all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her author website and at her freelance editing website.

 

 

 

 

 

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