Monday, December 30, 2013

The Impact of Encouragement

     Have you considered the impact your encouraging words can make on others? Throughout my life, encouragement from others has changed the way I look at situations, picked me up when I felt low, helped me try new things, and pushed me to reach for my dreams.

     When I was pretty young, about eight or nine, our music leader in Sunday school told me I had a pretty singing voice. She also told me that when I got older, I should join our choir. I'll never forget that because she is the first person I remember telling me I could sing well.

    Your encouraging words can open others' eyes to something they've never considered before. You may be the first person to ever tell them they can do that particular thing, and the simple words, "You do that well," are often enough to give them the desire to try.

     When I was about fourteen, I emailed one of my uncles part of the fantasy book I was writing - he was one of the first people I got the courage to show it to. Looking back now I know how horrible it was, yet he was very encouraging. He pointed out things he said he liked, gave suggestions, and asked a lot of questions about consistency. He could've crushed me had he been too harsh, or he could've disillusioned me had he simply told me it was great. Instead, he took the time to explain what didn't exactly work and give me ideas, while at the same time praising my efforts.

    Never underestimate the time you invest in giving encouragement and honest critique/opinion. You should be careful to balance your words of praise and words of critique, but always be honest. Tell them what you think, while at the same time being an encouragement. You can help them improve and show them things they might not have seen that way before.

    When I was sixteen Grace Pennington said, “You're becoming quite the poet! You must put them into a book or something. I'd buy it.” I had been thinking about self publishing "someday", but her words spurred me into action. Why did her words mean so much? Because she had showed me multiple times before that she cared about me, and that she wanted me to succeed. She believed in me, and that knowledge gave me the push to chase my dream.

     As a friend, you can be a powerful encouragement. Learn about what excites them, guard what they tell you, be honest, watch what you say, remember they are different from you, be someone trustworthy - be the kind of friend to them that you'd want. Encourage them to do what they long to, and let them know the good you see. At any age the knowledge that someone you trust believes in you is a powerful thing - I know.

Though I don't have a specific story I'd like to share for this point, I consider it important to mention anyway. People have made a big difference in my life and helped me by doing this simple thing: Listening. Stop talking, or typing, or saying everything you think others need to hear. Just shush for a moment. Let them know they have your attention. You can say all the "right" words and it won't mean anything if you've blown off what they've been trying to say to you. We all want to know that when we speak, others are listening - really listening. Sometimes all we need to do to be an encouragement is to show that we care enough to be quiet and listen to what others have to say.

     I want to point out the good I see in others and encourage them to share what they love. I want to listen and care, even when I'm not sure what to say. I want to be someone who takes the time to make a difference in the lives of those around me. I want to pass on the blessing that I was given.

Will you seek to do the same for those in your life? When sharing the love of God - every minute is worth it. 

~Ophelia - Marie

A good post on encouragement:
 Kindred Grace: Give Courage

(I love this song. )

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winners Announcement!

The giveaway is over!

*Hits the random draw button three times* 28 people to choose from... 

I'm not going to drag this out, don't worry. ;)

The first prize, a signed copy of  Of Whispers and Wanderings  and a signed copy of  Zeal Aspiring, goes to : Elizabeth (Imnott)

The second prize, signed copies of Zeal Aspiring and Sixteen, So In Love With You, goes to: J.M.  C. 

The third prize, a signed copy of Quest for the Swords of Healing, goes to: Joshua S. 

Congratulations! I will be emailing the three of you sometime today, (if I haven't already ;) ), so be on the lookout for it!

I'd  like to thank everyone who got an ebook copy of Zeal Aspiring during the free five day sale! I was able to give away 82 copies, and received three new reviews! 

And thank you to everyone who participated and made this book giveaway successful! ^_^  We really appreciate it! 

~Ophelia - Marie

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Five Book Giveaway!

        Guess what?  *Points to blog post title* I'm hosting a giveaway! 


                The 1st prize is a signed copy of  Of Whispers and Wanderings by Theodora R. Ashcraft and a signed copy of  Zeal Aspiring by me.

              The 2nd prize is a signed copy of Zeal Aspiring and Sixteen, So In Love With You (both by me).

           The 3rd prize is a signed copy of Quest for the Swords of Healing by Trista Vaporblade.

Of Whispers and Wanderings is a collection of short stories, songs, poems, and drabbles. With multiple themes, this collection will have something for everyone.  Theodora's writing is descriptive, engaging, and well done - a great little book that will have you laughing on one page and pondering on the next.

"From mysteries, hope, and magic
From brave hearts and lives so tragic
Gypsies sing and dragons fly
Running wolves and stars in the sky..."

Both  Sixteen, So In Love With You and Zeal Aspiring are books of my poetry. 

Sixteen, So In Love With You is full of poems that show God's power, patience, kindness, and love, through the eyes of myself at sixteen. They also portray the struggles and questions of growing up and trusting in God's perfect plan.

Zeal Aspiring examines lessons learned from walking with God, and shares my ponderings about friendship, growing up, hardships, life, and redemption.

    Quest for the Swords of Healing is  Trista's first published work, and book one of The Guardian Elf Scrolls. 

"Actors for years, eight teenagers work alongside hundreds of others to create a medieval film full of astounding battle sequences, when unforeseen circumstances throw them into a real battle. Two opposing forces divide the teens and new, mind-blowing possibilities are presented to them about who they really are. Sent on a quest to find relics of years gone by, the young warriors encounter things that send them reeling, surpass the bounds of reality, and remove all doubt of their past. Adventures are not always what you make them out to be, sometimes they are so much more..."

              To enter to win one of these prizes, all you have to do to is sign in with the rafflecopter and perform one of the tasks to earn entries. (Several of the sharing options can be preformed once daily) This giveaway is open starting December 9th and ends at 12:00AM on the 17th. (EST)

            In other news, I'm pleased to announce that  Zeal Aspiring  will be (hopefully) free on Kindle  December 10th (tomorrow, 'cause I had technical difficulties...) through the 14th! (If you don't have a kindle, Amazon has a free downloadable app for the computer. ) Currently it's on sale for 99 cents. :)

            Thank you for your time! Hope you're having a good Christmas. :D

                                 (Note: Due to shipping cost, the book giveaway is open to USA participants only.)

                                                            ~Ophelia - Marie Flowers

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Always - Shared Post

           Theodora Ashcraft is a young writer and a dear friend of mine. She has published a book of short stories and poetry, "Of Whispers And Wanderings " and next week I will be sharing how you can enter a drawing for a signed copy of her book, as well as a few others.  (USA participants only, sorry. ) 

    I'd like to share with you today a short story Theodora wrote back in September. It was partly inspired by a poem I wrote,  Still Will He Hold, and really captures the reminder that God loves us, even when we fail.

       The rain falls in the dusk, a whispering cascade of droplets cold against my face.

      I huddle in the corner; against a boulder. Tears stream down my face, and I tremble.

      I can hear Him approaching. My heart pounds in my head. I’m all too aware that He knows where I am; He always does. But I hold onto the vain hope that perhaps He doesn’t this time.

                                                   Click to continue reading...