Fear Fast Results

Normally, I’d post something about Appalachia today, but I thought you might be interested in how my flights went since I posted earlier this week.

Bethany House

Amy Green, authors Dani Pettrey and Victoria Bylin, me, Dave Long.

Here’s the funny thing–I anticipated God replacing any fears with confidence and excitement. But he didn’t. Instead, I just felt–normal. I wasn’t scared, but I also wasn’t what you would call thrilled or delighted. I just tolerated each flight, put up with the general discomfort of flying (swoopy tummy, pressure in my ears, jaw ache), kept both feet on the floor during takeoff and landing (helps keep the plane level) and waited for the next step.

What God DID do that I DIDN’T expect, was give me the best seat mates ever.

Leg #1 – Deborah and I chatted about growing up in the mountains of Appalachia for the full flight. When I used my body to help the pilot keep the plane level, she gave me a knowing smile.

Leg #2 – Peg was on her way home for her father’s funeral. Eunice was headed back home to Minnesota. Lovely ladies who helped the time pass quickly.

Leg #3 – Hal and Anna both happened to be heading east from the North Dakota oil fields (they hadn’t met before). Somehow the three of us talked non-stop for more than two hours. And we’re all Jesus fans. And Hal is a former counselor who specializes in anxiety (just in case, God?). And Anna had only flown once or twice before and was nervous, though I couldn’t tell. We’d both prayed over that flight and God put us next to each other. I got to help her find her connection (we were both scrambling!) and I’d venture to say all three of us blessed each other.

Leg #4 – My one delay happened on the last flight home. But it was just a delay and I had an empty seat next to me. God knew I needed a moment of rest.

So here’s the thing, my answer to prayer was tailor-made for ME. It was better than I imagined. And while I don’t see myself ever being excited about flying, I know God will escort me wherever I go. And he just might introduce me to someone special along the way.

Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

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Lenten Fear Fast–Flying High

AirplaneA while back I pretty much decided that I wouldn’t go anywhere that required air travel. It didn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice. I’ve flown before–been to California, Las Vegas, New York and a few places in between. I just couldn’t think of anything I wanted to get at bad enough to climb aboard an airplane to reach it.

My fear isn’t as simple as being afraid of something going wrong. It’s more of an issue with giving a stranger such utter control over my very self. And then this writing thing started to happen. And there are conferences and events and places I might need to go. Far away places.

I finally decided that if God wanted me to get on an airplane, then by golly he’d put me on one. And so he is. Tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis. Oh, I checked driving directions and Greyhound and Amtrak, but it just wasn’t practical to do anything but get on an airplane. So I will. So I am.

Which is what gave me the idea of giving up fear for Lent. I’ve been living with this idea of NOT being afraid since Ash Wednesday. And I think it’s taking hold. God has yet to ask me to do anything by myself. I trust he’ll be right there with me tomorrow.

And the funny thing? I’m kind of excited. The idea of doing something not by my own strength but through the Holy Spirit is thrilling. And peaceful. When God says, “Go,” the only thing to do is start moving. And if God says, “Go,” how can I possible go wrong?

Proverbs 3:5-7 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.

Tune in to Facebook–I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Appalachian Thursday–Ramps!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s April in Appalachia. That means it’s time to go dig some ramps. I know where there’s a patch up in the national forest near our house. Okay, so maybe it’s on a neighbor’s property right on the edge of the national forest. Technically off-limits.

So, a few years ago, I borrowed two. Dug them up and transplanted them in the woods behind our house. Now, my husband would be quick to tell you I’m more of a theoretical gardener. I have wonderful ideas, but I’m not much on follow through. I plant things and then trust the ongoing care to nature. And sometimes nature comes through. Which is why I have a baby ramp coming up in the woods.

I’m certainly not going to eat it, but I like knowing it’s there. And maybe one day this little guy will naturalize and I’ll have a whole crop. Feels like home.

If you want to try this stinky cross between garlic and a leek, you can order them at www.wildwestvirginiaramps.com. Seriously!

RAMP HASH
-Fry 3 or 4 strips of bacon in a cast iron skillet.
-Remove bacon and drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.
-Cut up 3 decent-sized red potatoes into bite size pieces and fry in the hot fat.
-Once the potatoes are almost cooked through and getting brown.
-Add a handful of chopped up ramps–white and light green parts–more or less depending on whether you plan to be around people who haven’t eaten ramps.
-Saute until the ramps are wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Add crumbled bacon over the lot and serve warm.

Some folks like a splash of vinegar.

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Lenten Fear Fast–Nearing Easter

CrossThis coming week we’ll celebrate Palm Sunday and then Holy Week leading up to Easter. At which point I can start being afraid again. Right? I mean, that’s how fasts work. You abstain for a time and then you resume.

Except, maybe, that’s more to do with food fasts. I’ve given up various foods for Lent in the past, and let me tell you, when you haven’t had a French fry in 40 days, they’re VERY tasty. Or the year I gave up candy–those after Easter sales were an unforeseen boon.

But when I gave up my credit card, I never looked back. Still don’t have one. And if I ever get brave enough to give up gossip, I hope I won’t go back to that, either. Fear is a good thing to give up once and for all.

Oh, not the hard-wired, a-mountain-lion-is-chasing-me, fight-or-flight fear. God programmed us with that for a reason. But the what-will-people-think fear, that’s a good one to say goodbye to forever. Or the, I’m-not-in-control-what-if-I-don’t-like-it fear. Or the I-don’t-like-suffering-even-when-it’s-for-God fear.

Last week I swallowed down that what-will-people-think fear. It was the tail end of Bible study and some ladies I’d never met before came in for Faith and Fitness, which meets right after our study. I was about to say something personal that I was comfortable saying in front of friends who know me pretty well. I swallowed hard and said it in front of the newcomers even though it was something I’m really not proud of. Maybe they were horrified. Maybe they were relieved that I wasn’t pretending to be perfect. Either way, I didn’t let fear stop me.

I’ve got a LONG way to go in conquering this fear business. Next week I’m looking forward to tackling a big one. And that right there is a mighty step for me. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will help me abstain from fear.

I’ll be telling you all about it.

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Appalachian Thursday–Win a Copy of My Book!

Bethany House is running a contest to give away an advanced reader copy of Miracle in a Dry Season. I’m so excited to know I’ll be holding my novel in my hands soon and now someone else can hold it early as well! If you’d like to enter to win a copy, follow this link or click on the image below.

Contest

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What Faith & Fear Have in Common

FatihFor a long time I thought the opposite of fear was courage. It’s not.

Not long ago I was listening to a radio preacher who pointed out that faith and fear share a common denominator. They both believe strongly in something that hasn’t happened yet. My fear is that if I get stung by a bee, I’ll have another allergic reaction. I have faith that if I get stung by a bee, God will see me through it.

Faith is the opposite of fear. The question is, which is stronger?

Will I let my fear that something might happen rule the day? Or will I rest in my faith that God will use whatever happens for His good (which, in turn, is good for everyone).

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Yup–faith is clearly the way to go. The problem with faith is that it doesn’t come with an explanatory outline. You know, if you have faith, this will happen (which you won’t like at the time), but I’ll use it in this way.

Oh right. Because it’s FAITH.

Fear, on the other hand, offers a variety of colorful, creative, easy to imagine options. Not to mention a whole raft of people ready to tell you about how the very thing you fear happened to them, their close friend, or someone they used to know. (Tip: When someone is afraid, stories about that very thing happening don’t help.)

All I can think to do is take the thing I’m afraid of and consider how it would look to have faith instead by applying Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Afraid to tackle that delicate issue at work? What do you hope for? You should have confidence in that. What do you not see that would fit with what you know about God’s plan? You should have assurance about that.

And maybe, just maybe, we can flip the coin from the fear side to faith.

 

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7 Things I Love About Appalachian Springs

fiddleheads1) Snow on daffodils. Tuesday morning we woke to a fluffy dusting of snow that clung to branches and flower petals without making a mess of the roads. It was pretty and soon it was gone. Just the way I like my snow! Growing up, snows like that were called “poor man’s fertilize” and farmers would hurry to plow it under in the garden before it melted.

2) Peepers. I love to wake to the song of the little frogs singing and then walk with them at dusk. It’s the music of spring!

3) Fresh asparagus. I think it’s kind of a shame that you can get just about any produce any time of year these days. I remember how Mom treasured those first asparagus shoots poking up through the warming soil. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets where you can still find the real thing! Of course, my great-grandmother wouldn’t have had such fancy fixins–she would probably have enjoyed poke sallat or dandelion greens.

4) Fiddleheads. There’s just something about those tightly furled fronds that’s gorgeous to me. When hiking with my husband, I love to point out flowers and plants. He prefers to call them all “fiddleheads.”

5) Lambs. When I was a kid, spring was all about the new calves. Dad and would walk out to check on the mothers about to give birth. Now I get to drive past a local farm college’s lambing pasture every morning and evening. And yes, I have pulled over to watch lambs frolic. I mean, how can you not?!?

6) Seed catalogs. I don’t grow many vegetables anymore (even when I try, I don’t grow many!), but I still love flipping through the pages of those colorful catalogs. Giant tomatoes, golden corn, plump strawberries, crookneck squash, new potatoes, baby lettuces . . . Oh, shoot. Maybe I will plant something again this year!

7) Open windows. It’s a bit early yet, but any time the temperature creeps upwards of 65 I sneak a window open at least for a little while. The day I can leave them open all night listening to the peepers will be perfection!

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