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A Story Of How God Changed My Life

As some of my readers are aware I’m a Christian. I have been since October 26th 2004 at approximately 9:50pm. I go to church almost every Sunday and often both the morning and evening service. Over the last eight and a half years I’ve seen some pretty amazing things happen. There have been healings, encounters with the holy spirit, visions and all sorts of other miracles. A whole bunch of stuff that just isn’t explainable in any other way than, God showed up.

Most of the time my personal experiences of God are very much that; personal. Someone I know refers to them as kisses from heaven. Little things that God does that only really mean something to me, but recently I had a big something happen. It’s not the first and I really hope it won’t be the last, but it was bigger than I’m used to and I wanted to tell this one, after all it is my occupation, telling stories. This one just happens to be true.

As many of my blog readers have been aware I’ve been going to hospital and doctors appointments a lot lately. I’ve never come out and said what was wrong but it was quite major so I’m going to finally explain.

A little under two years ago I started to notice, for no reason I could pin down, my body would reject food occasionally. I’d eat something, think I was totally okay and then about 1-2 hours later I’d get a lot of stomach pains and find myself having to rush to the loo. It wasn’t pleasant.

Originally I thought this might be some kind of allergy. I tried cutting out all sorts of foods, one by one. Caffeine, dairy, spicy foods, wheat, gluten. None of it helped and the problem slowly got worse and worse until, not only was this happening upwards of once per week, but I was also finding a really black substance coming out with everything else (I later learnt this was what digested blood looked like).

I also started to grow really really tired. It started to get difficult to go for the usual walks I went for. I couldn’t walk back up the Bath hills home after shopping in the city centre and I could barely cope with a few minutes standing at the sink to do the washing up. I felt tired, almost constantly. Getting out of bed took effort and sometimes I would feel like I’d walked 10 miles when all I’d done is showered.

For the first little while I went back and forth to the doctors, trying to get them to take me seriously and understand something more than stress was wrong with me. I grew quite depressed at finding every day was a constant process of decisions between the many things I wanted to do. Things I never used to have to choose between. If I worked for a few hours I wouldn’t be able to do the chores and if I walked to town to run this errand I would either have to stay there till I got a lift back or spend money on the bus. If I spent time with friends it would mean I couldn’t write as much. Every day was full of painful choices.

There was a week when I had family visiting and I had to take about a week off, both before and after they came, to rest because spending time with them and trying to have fun tired me out that much. Shopping and trying on clothes was exhausting, and on top of that I couldn’t eat a whole bunch of things and was on pills that had to be taken 20 minutes before I ate. No caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, no insoluble fibre (bran, wholegrain, seeds, raw vegetables, fruit skins, coconut etc), no sweeteners and not too much carbonated drinks.

On top of all of that, timing taking those pesky pills to be close enough to twenty minutes before eating, when going out to eat was a nightmare! Not to mention the times my husband would start cooking a meal at home (I was often far too tired by then to help cook) it would get to about five minutes before it would be ready and one of us would remember I hadn’t taken a pill. The amount of times I’ve had a plate of food in front of me that was starting to get cold and I couldn’t eat it yet are too numerous to count.

And even after all that there was more. About half the time I had some kind of stomach pain, often dull aches but occasionally the pain would get so bad I’d be doubled up in agony. Pretty much the rest of the time everything would feel unsettled, tense and uncomfortable. The few times I felt okay for some reason I would usually notice and comment in surprise to my husband that I actually felt comfortable for once.

I had hospital test after hospital test (and lots of those were rather unpleasant too) and nothing showed up. All they seemed to know was my bowels were really not happy and I was bleeding somewhere as yet undiscovered.

Needlesss to say by the end of 2012 I had pretty much retreated into myself. I wrote when I could, spent most of my time on the sofa, except for Sundays were I went to church and tried to get my tired self through the service and encounter God in some way. Often I would have to fight my feelings to even get to church but it really was the highlight of my week. I mean it. I enjoyed church the whole way through. I know that’s a foreign idea to many people, but I loved going to church, I have ever since that moment in 2004.

I knew it would be all to easy to get angry at God, especially as I felt like I was watching my dreams all slip out of reach with every day that went by and I still felt too tired to do anything but sit, but somehow I didn’t. I cried a lot, I asked my husband how life could be so unfair a few times and saw the pained expression as he tried to answer but I never really got angry at God. I focused on all the little things God had done for me, all the little ways my life was still better than it had been before October 26th 2004, and somehow, week after week I kept going, trusting, and making the best of what I had.

At the start of this year though I felt my attitude changing a little. I stopped saying no to everything that required energy. I got angry, but not at God. I suppose angry isn’t quite the right word. It wasn’t really anger so much as defensiveness. I decided I was going to see my dreams come true, even though I didn’t have the energy right now. It wasn’t really as simple as that sounds though. I just knew I had to keep moving forwards. That every day I had to take a step towards something important or I’d end up sliding backwards.

I started looking out for opportunities to do something a bit more challenging. I even abseiled for charity (yes I did this while really sick. In hindsight I really don’t recommend it. I was dizzy while standing at the top and with the adrenaline I got buzzed with coming down, when I reached the bottom I almost went right over and getting down the rockface itself, well let’s just say that’s on my list of things I hope I never ever have to go through again).

I also finally started telling people what was actually wrong with me. I guess I stopped being proud and hiding it, but I think even now there are people that were fairly close to me who don’t know quite how sick I got. I just didn’t want to talk about it, but I think I should have. I also think I probably should have asked for help more often, but I know I got better at being open about it and I think that was a good thing.

As you have probably worked out by now this blog post is all written in past tense. That does mean I’m no longer sick. The first Sunday in March I was absolutely shattered. I remember thinking I was more tired than even I normally felt and I’d been to the morning service, eaten lunch with friends and really didn’t feel very good. I was in pain and only going to the evening service because things had been amazing two weeks before at our Church’s album launch and there was a part of me that really wanted to connect to God like that again. It was a struggle though. I hurt, I was tired and it’s a lot of effort to stand and worship, but I made myself do it.

Part way through the service a bunch of people were encouraged to come to the front if they felt like they had been silenced lately. I went up. I am not even sure if I really felt like I had been silenced. Technically I was still writing, but it was one of those moments where my body started moving and taking me to the front before I could really think about it. I just went up, on instinct or whatever you’d call it.

Oddly enough as I remember it now, as soon as I got up there the pain I was feeling faded. I worshipped and stood side by side by a whole bunch of other people. Then at some point our pastor said to put our hands up if we needed a body healing of some kind. Again my hand shot up, before I could really think about it. I wasn’t exactly opposed to the idea of being prayed for to be healed but I’d not gone out of my way to seek it either. But I remember thinking ‘What have I got to lose? I know God heals. I’ve seen him do it before. Maybe today’s the day he wants to heal me again.’

So a couple of people came up to pray for me and I have to say what happened next is really really hard to explain. I remember finding it hard to breathe. It was like I couldn’t breathe out though, like something kept wanting to come in and fill me up, and fill me up it did. If I hadn’t known it was God I actually think it would have been rather scary. I felt filled with something incomprehensibly powerful. Something not me, but part of me, all at the same time. I’d felt filled up with stuff before in the presence of God. I’d felt loved and a sense of peace but I’d never felt anything quite so full on ‘it could do anything it wanted to’ powerful before. I guess it’s what I imagine superman must have felt the first time he lifted a car or iron man when he walked into that first barrage of bullets and nothing harmed him. I do also remember thinking ‘holy crap’ a few times as well and I almost laughed aloud at the ironicness of swearing at being filled up with God’s power. I also remember feeling like my insides were on fire, especially my face behind my eyes. They tingled and yeah, it was weird. But eventually it was over and I went home. I felt like something had happened, but I didn’t know what. It really could have been anything.

It wasn’t until the Thursday after I noticed I wasn’t in any pain and I actually couldn’t remember if Sunday had been the last time I had been in pain. Over the next few days I just made a note of how my body was behaving and I noticed I could get up in the mornings. I woke up and I felt okay. Not amazing but I was actually waking up when my husband’s work alarm went off and I didn’t have to persuade my body to get up.

By the following Sunday I mentioned it to a few people. I just told them I felt really good and hadn’t been having any problems. I thought there was a chance I’d been healed. By Tuesday I felt sure enough to tell my church small group and Wednesday morning I stopped taking the pills. Thursday I went for a walk. A 4-5 mile long walk. I went with a friend and do you know what, I felt better than he did when we got back to the house. Other than a few achy muscles that weren’t used to being used I didn’t even feel like I’d been for a walk.

Since then, I’ve had alcohol, caffeine and re-introduced everything else back into my diet but the dairy (the caffeine was interesting. It turns out I’m now so sensitive to it I kept myself awake all night after having about 250ml of dr pepper one afternoon, so I think I’ll be limiting myself to how much caffeine I have, but not for medical reasons). I’m going to try the dairy as well soon but it had a worse effect than anything else so I’m going to do that one gradually.

I’m now sitting looking at my life with the energy I had before, there’s no pain and no problems. I’m not bleeding and I’ve got more energy than my husband! God changed my life. And I don’t actually think He did it because I did anything or followed some magical formula, or said the right words at the right time. I think He did it, just because He could, because He decided that He wanted, in that moment, to give me my life back.

The biggest thought I’m left with is this. I really hope I don’t forget how much I appreciate having my life back. How amazing it feels to be able to do everything I want to, when I want to. How great it is to have choices that don’t hurt. I really hope I choose the right things to do with all this extra time and energy I’ve got. I hope I put it to good use, because it’s a gift. One that can be taken away, and it wasn’t until it was gone that I realised how valuable it was.

Reality Deconstructed: A New Release

I’ve posted about other releases from my publisher Red Feather Writing before and I’m pleased to say Andrew’s latest book Reality Deconstructed has it’s book launch very soon.

This is another great short story in the fantasy genre. A genre Andrew writes very well in.

Here’s a short blurb:

Ever got the feeling you’re wandering around in a dream? What happens when everyone in the world thinks that exact same thing? When only one person can be the true dreamer how can you prove who is real and who are the figments?

So if you enjoyed his previous ebook, which I reviewed a short while ago, and you think you might enjoy this one come check out his book launch on facebook or pick up the book on August 11th to support him in his career.

It should be a lot of fun and there might even be some extra’s and other fun stuff happening on the day to make it more exciting. If you’re curious you’ll have to head on over to the facebook page to find out what that is.

Also if you don’t have an ereader and you’re thinking that it automatically excludes you from this event please don’t think that any more. Amazon have an app you can download to your computer so you can read ebooks as well. And the best part is that it’s free. So pick up the app and then come join us.

August 11th, miss it and you’ll miss out.

Elsa’s Reality book launch

My publisher Red Feather Writing has just published the first ebook by the amazing author Andrew Bellingham so I wanted to share a little about it. Here’s the cover and nice short blurb.

Elsa grew up listening to her father’s tales of a witch who nearly destroyed her home town. As strange occurrences start happening again, Elsa, Mama and Father are moved to a new home. The Man in Red says Elsa is sick and as she tries to get better she can’t help thinking that Mama’s temper, Father’s fear and their moving are somehow all her fault.

The ebook is so far up on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Hopefully it will also appear on Barnes and Noble, Kobo (WHSmiths ebook provider) and Apple’s ibookstore within the next month or so.

Tomorrow, however, is the official book launch day and the author is asking everyone who would consider buying the book to do so tomorrow, via either of the two links above. The aim is to shoot the book up the hourly calculated rankings on amazon and get the amazon robots to kick in and help market the book.

I’ve had a fair amount of success with this method as well so I’d like to ask anyone interested in the book to also join in the launch plan and buy the book tomorrow.

Why hate can be good.

A fairly newish blog I’ve been checking out posed a brilliant set of questions last week that really got me thinking. The title of the blog was Hate something, Change something to match the Honda advert, you can read their blog here.

The instinctive reaction for a lot of people is that hate is bad. It leads to bad things and makes a lot of wars happen etc. But does it always? I don’t think it does.

I think when we hate evil things it can lead to good things. Hating slavery can lead us to do something about it, like giving money to charities or raising awareness of a particular slavery related issue.

As the blog I’ve linked to says ‘to love good is to hate evil’. With that in mind it helps people find out what they are passionate about so the blog posed three questions. I’m going to answer the same three questions.

What do I hate?

I hate seeing creative people not creating because the world has stopped them doing so, either by encouraging them into a non-creative job because it’s ‘safer’ financially or because they’ve been put down so many times they don’t believe they are good enough any more. Whatever the reason, it really really makes me angry. I don’t want the world projecting it’s idea of a person on to them so they can no longer be themselves the way they were meant to be, and unfortunately this is often parents who say they want what’s best for their child.

What do I love?

My favourite moments are when I’m in a group of creative people and the ideas are literally flying. When everyone is so secure in who they are as a creative and the ideas all bounce off each other. For me there’s nothing more exciting and fun than sharing a small tiny idea I’ve got with some other people and hearing what it sparks in them, until that idea grows and becomes something it never could if I had kept it to myself. They are some of the most satisfying creative moments in my life.

What do I obsess over?

Probably learning. I love to experience and learn as many new things as possible. New cultures, new ways of thinking. I’m so curious I think I’ve heard the line ‘curiosity killed the cat’ more times than my own name. Of course with me being me I’d come up with several replies to that by the time I was ten, ‘satisfaction brought it back’ is one of my favourites but ‘that’s why the cat has nine lives’ also used to work quite well. I have a desire to understand things on such a deep level it’s like an unquenchable thirst.

Now I already know how these three things lead to what I’m most passionate about and considering I’m doing a lot of it I won’t say much about it here, but for those not quite so sure and for those wanting to check they’re doing the right thing. Why don’t you sit down and think about the answers too. You can even add them to the comments section on the original blog if you’re feeling brave enough to share.

Kony 2012

I know all my avid readers are expecting Sherdan’s Prophecy Chapter 10 in this slot on my blogging schedule but I’ve decided to delibrately interupt to tell you something more important. I’m making you wait because I’d like you all to do something for me.

I would like you all to take 30 minutes out and watch this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

This video is amazing and seriously important and I felt it was my duty to do my bit so I’ve decided to sue the attention I had to help make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

It does seem to be possible to get the support kits in the UK from their website here and I plan on getting one and getting together a team pasting the posters all over cities world wide on April 20th. If people who want to join us and help get posters enough to do so want to contact me then please comment below (it will give me but no one else your email address so I can get in contact with you).

Thank you all for reading this instead of the chapter you were expecting.

Being in an army

I’ve been watching a lot of Sharpe films lately and I’ve been very struck with the structure of the army and all the rules they have. I found myself realising that the way the British army works is actually pretty similar to the way God’s army works or God’s church if you want it in plain terms.

It says very clearly in Ephesians 6 that we’re a group of people fighting spiritual forces for God. There’s a battle and we’re in it. Wouldn’t it help a lot if we knew the rules? If we knew how our own army needed to work to function best?

To start with everyone knew they were being paid. Well in God’s case our promise was a reward in heaven, while this isn’t much like your army today (they get paid monthly like the rest of us) the older armies used to go several months without getting paid and would often have to wait until the war was over and they got home to get their rewards, medals and pay. (Much like Christians waiting until Heaven to get their reward).

You’re going to do things now and wonder if it’s been recognised and you are going to have to wait until the war is over before you will get all the recognition for your hard work. There’s no point moaning that you’ve done lots of hard work and it’s gone unnoticed. God noticed and He’ll be the one making sure you get any pay left over that’s owing to you when you get to heaven. Do you want your reward now or do you want it in heaven?

Secondly being in the army means you have tasks to do. These tasks are whatever you’re skilled at that helps the army plus whatever the army needs someone to do, regardless of skill. There are times when your talents are meant to be used to serve the church and there are times when the church will ask you to do something you like less or are less good at. Do it anyway because you’re helping make God’s army work.

That means we have to do crappy tasks sometimes as well as the things we love. I don’t know many people who would consider themselves talented at cleaning loos or making sandwiches but an armies got to eat, stay clean and be healthy to fight effectively. When the heat of the battle comes we want a fighting fit army. Do you want to sneak out of cleaning duty or win that major battle and the glory that goes with it?

There are rules you have to obey. In slightly older army times if you were caught stealing, plundering or anything else like that (basically anything naughty) while in the army, you were sentenced to death. If you ran away from a battle and the squad you were called to fight in, you were sentenced to death. If you were caught asleep while on guard duty, you were sentenced to death. And if you disobeyed a direct order, you guessed it, you were sentenced to death.

These days you wouldn’t be sentenced to death for any of these but they would lead to what we’d call a court martial, the expulsion from the army and potential other punishments like prison time. Being kicked out of God’s army is to be spiritually dead. So if we sin and let our spirits go to sleep we run the risk of spiritually dying. Thankfully there is forgiveness but it’s always better to not do the wrong thing in the first place and to keep our spirits awake to the dangers around us. Do you want those weeks of comfortable easy going church life where no one asks you to do anything you don’t want to or do you want to live?

Finally the army has ranks. There’s nothing democratic about it. If you’re given an order from someone of a higher rank than you then you were expected to obey it, that instant, without question. In God’s army there are also ranks. Each church has a leader or two who sit at the top of that church’s part of the army. Sometimes they have people above them too if part of a movement but not always, and God sits above everyone.

That Church leader is your main commanding officer. They get all the information. They usually have a team around them who help them gather the information they need, people who specialise in particular important aspects of decision making, information gathering and organisation. The team below the leaders often give out orders too and report to the commanding officer, they’re often the ones that hear complaints as well. Below that there are often smaller groups led by officers and within those smaller groups small companies of people led by another officer or two (much like the small group structure in church). These companies/groups/regiments did as they were told by their officers, who got their orders from the team or commanding officer, usually in separate meetings where information was passed down that isn’t passed to everyone below.

The soldiers in the groups were expected to obey because they didn’t have all the information. Informing everyone of everything is an impossible task and often takes too long. In battle there isn’t time so orders need to be obeyed and it’s far too easy to think a decision or order is wrong without all the facts and experience of leading an army. If orders weren’t obeyed battles were lost or more people were wounded or killed in the mayhem that ensued. The enemy doesn’t stop attacking just because you’ve decided not to follow an order, if anything you’re attacked more because you’re out on your own or a small group and an easy target. If the order was wrong then it was the officer who gave it who was punished not the people who obeyed it. Do you want to act entirely on your own decision making or do you want to fall in line and  help keep yourself and those around you safe during the battles?

If God’s church is God’s army then it’s our responsibility to make sure we act like soldiers who know who their superiors are and get on with the tasks given them by any of the officers above them, including God. Not to question and dither and fuss because we’re not 100% comfortable or happy with the orders being given.

Happy New Year

Hope everyone enjoyed the partying.

Category: Uncategorized  Tags:  One Comment

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. I know most of you will be too busy to see this but for the few people who might log onto the web I hope you have a good Christmas period and to help boost your Christmas I’m going to give away a copy of my latest ebook Innocent Hearts to one commentor (assuming you’re not too busy to comment). I’ll Announce the winner in a few days.

Again Merry Christmas everyone.

Summer Holiday

I’m officially on holiday now for the next 3 weeks. Yes I know 3 weeks. I normally only take 2 but I am going to need 3 this year I think. I’ll be back on September 12th with more lovely blog updates, until then I hope there is plenty of sunshine and everyone gets to enjoy it, not just me.

The Meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything!

42!

 

That is all.

 

 

Well no actually it isn’t, but this is my 42nd blog and I’m afraid I just couldn’t help myself.

I did say I’d talk about my book sales during my promotion period so I think now is a good time to do that.

Well lets start with sales figures before the promotion. I had the book priced at just over £2 and I was getting about 62% of that after vat, amazons cut and download costs. I was getting an average of 5 sales per month and knew that changing the price to 70p at a royalty rate of 30% that I needed to sell approximately 6x more in the same period. So for a half month I needed to sell 15 copies to make it financially sensible.

I’m pleased to say I sold exactly 20 copies in the 16 days it was only 70p. Now that might not seem like a lot to some people but considering I was only getting 5 per month roughly one over 6 days to then get just over 1 per day was a very lovely boost. Also, considering the genre I’m in I seemed to be getting quite close to the genre top 100 on Amazon.co.uk with those sales figures.

Despite all that, however, I have decided to raise the price again for now. I still found that approx 50% of those sales could be traced back to something I did during those two weeks and I think I would have had higher than normal sales anyway. So I’ve raised the price again and will see how it affects the sales going forward. They may well drop off again but at least I know that my own efforts in getting the word out there is paying off. I directly sold at least 10 copies of my book in only two weeks from things I posted, facebook status’ etc.

So overall I’m pleased everything is picking up but I’m going to play with the pricing a bit longer.