Faith or Fear

In my blogs, I love to focus on Women, Love, and Romance. However, there are times when I feel compelled to write about real-life topics that we face in our daily lives. No matter where you turn there is always a decision that you have to make.

What are you choosing to do today? To walk in faith or live in fear?

The decision is yours; however, I want you to know, if you didn’t already, that God did not give us the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Therefore, if God didn’t give it to you, then why would you want it?

I woke up to an interesting post on Instagram a couple weeks that prompted me to write this blog. It was a man standing in front of his closet. He had a choice between a shirt that said Faith and a shirt that said Fear. There were only two shirts in the closet to choose from. I sat up in bed thinking this is a decision we have to make every day.

I choose Faith! I believe in the One who came before me – who wakes me up every day with a plan for my life. By Faith I choose to commit my day to Him, knowing that He knows best and has already gone before me to make a way for my daily assignments. What do you choose?

Living in fear cripples you and doesn’t allow you to move forward when you know you should. How many books haven’t been written due to fear, laws haven’t been changed due to fear, relationships haven’t been restored due to fear, calls haven’t been made due to fear (tomorrow is not promised), forgiveness hasn’t been accepted due to fear, and opportunities have been lost due to fear?

I can go on and on, but the truth of the matter is this – What do you choose today? Is it the shirt that says Faith or the shirt that says Fear?

I will say if you choose fear or just a little fear (this is when you tell yourself you can do it, but not right now…) that you may miss golden opportunities to reap the many blessings that God wants to give to you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want mediocre opportunities. I want the Best! However, in order to receive it, we cannot walk in Fear.

For writers who are shopping their manuscripts around to agents/publishers, do not stop because you have received a rejection letter. You have the gift, so keep moving forward. Do not be afraid to shop your idea around because one person or ten people didn’t like it. It’s your idea not theirs! Keep the faith and press forward. By giving up and surrendering to fear will only ensure that your book is never published!

For entrepreneurs who have the dream to open up their own business, do not lose your faith because a bank said no to your plans or renovations are not going as planned. Keep the faith! James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

For those of you standing in the gap for your love ones – spouse, children, family members, etc. – do not lose the faith because challenges arise. Overcoming challenges is a testament to your faith working!

Please know that trials grow you and build your faith. If you never go through anything, then how would you know that it’s possible (All things are possible with God) to overcome it and be that walking testimony to the next person?

Choose to walk in Faith today. Your Victory is around the corner and remember we always win with Jesus Christ! If you do not know Him, today is the day to ask Him to come into your life. Read the Salvation Prayer if you do not know him.

If you need encouragement or other resources, please feel free to send me a message on my Contact Author Page. Walk in Your Purpose. God bless!

 

Love, Faith, and Restoration

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails – 1 Cor 13:4-8

You have to truly believe – Faith – in this word to exhibit the love that God has placed in our hearts through His Holy Spirit. We are human and are incapable of loving in this way without His help. The verse that comes to mind is John 15:2 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

We need God to help us love one another unconditionally without ceasing. If you have purchased my second novel and I have had the pleasure of signing it for you, then you will know that I always sign it with the words – Love never fails. I truly believe that love covers all wrongs, so today as you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your love ones, remember 1 Cor 13:4-8. It doesn’t matter if you receive a box of chocolates or a diamond ring—what matters the most is how you love one another.

Many relationships (friendships, marriages, parents/children, etc.) have been Restored not by chocolates, but by loving someone that the world deems unworthy of it. If you think about it, this is what Jesus did for us at the cross. John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.

God bless and enjoy this special day!
Ayesha L. Shoulders

Summer Reading from my Bookshelf!

It seems as if this summer has gone by in a blur. Though there are still some weeks left in this season to enjoy, I have to admit that I haven’t been able to get through my Summer Reading List. I am currently working on the sequel to When Love’s Knot Enough as well as other projects in my professional portfolio, which have had to take precedence.

However, I did have the opportunity to finish one book that I would love to tell you about. The book is titled The Practice Wife by Marissa Monteilh. I absolutely enjoyed this book! If you have read my previous blog post on Book Covers, you know that I buy books based upon the cover. The cover has to grab my attention in order for me to open the inside flap to give it a chance. Marissa’s book did just that! I met the author at the Romance Slam Jam Convention in Los Angeles, CA this past March, and The Practice Wife immediately caught my attention during one of her seminars. Needless to say, I had to purchase a copy and get it signed by the author.

 

You can tell by the slightly bent edge that it’s a page-turner. Readers you know what I’m talking about! The more worn out the better in my opinion. 🙂

The characters in the The Practice Wife were relatable and really sparked a conversation for me…women who are considered “practice” for men who string them along until the “right one” comes along. Personally, I have never heard the term “Practice Wife” used before (though aware of the act of course), so I was definitely intrigued to read more of Misha London’s (main character) story.

I don’t want to spoil what that happened in the book, but I will tell you that I highly recommend that you go to your Kindle or Nook and download a copy, or purchase a paperback from your favorite bookseller because this book is more than just a pretty cover. Misha’s story may hit close to home for some readers, but the story does reveal what I firmly believe, “When we worry about running out of time to experience those “special moments” in our lives, it’s always best to remember who holds the clock in the palm of His hands. God is always on time and what He has for you is for you.

Check out my book review here on Amazon

If you’ve read a good book that you would like to share from your summer reading list, please post it on my Facebook and/or Twitter pages and I’ll add it to my bookshelf.

In the meantime, Stay Calm and Keep Reading!

The Life of a Writer

I am back in Northern Virginia after traveling to the beautiful city of Los Angeles for the Romance Slam Jam (RSJ) Convention last weekend.  I was an RSJ virgin until now! I would definitely add this convention to my list of conferences to attend again. I truly enjoyed the workshops that were offered, sharing my experience in the Writer Beware workshop that I co-presented, the opportunity to network with other authors, readers, and aspiring authors, and the chance to visit the following additional cities over the course of three days – Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Inglewood (for Sweetie Pies Restaurant).

I met this group of ladies, while at the conference:

(From left to right) Moi (me 🙂 ), Rina Gray, LaQuette, Siera London, and Xyla Turner.

If you love reading romance, these women will have you covered.  They all write different romance genres that are intriguing and worth picking up. I highly recommend you find their books online or in your bookstore. Get to know a new author, if you haven’t already read one of their books!

(RSJ Book signing with Rina Gray)

I also met this great group of gals from South Africa and Mexico, while on a California tour…

(Picture taken at the Farmer’s Market)

It’s amazing how you can link up with people from around the world and enjoy an experience together in a short period of time. Who said you can’t travel on a tour by yourself? I did and had a marvelous time!

Yes, this was an enjoyable trip!

If you’re an aspiring author or already published, definitely plan to attend a writer conference.  It’s a great way to learn about the industry (the publishing industry is always changing) and hear real-life experiences from other authors, agents, publishers, and even readers. Yes, readers have a say as well because they are ultimately going to be the ones who buy your book.  As I’ve said in a previous post, learning what not to do can be just as important as what to do, due to the time and money it could save you in the long run.

As always, happy reading, and I look forward to sharing “what’s on my bookshelf” shortly with you!

Do Authors Get Tired?

Do Authors Get Tired?

YES! Simple as that – especially if being a writer is not your full-time job.  I rarely write about myself, if you review my past blog posts. It’s time for you to know the woman behind my two books. I’m a mom of a busy seven-year-old boy, full-time technical instructor during the day for a demanding program, a supervisor, and when I’m not at my day job I’m thinking about marketing ideas for my books, my next storyline, what to blog about, and the time to set aside to do it all…yes, authors do get tired.

Sometimes I’m not motivated to write because I’ve had a long day, or I miss the opportunity to write due to a hectic schedule. And let’s not get started on social media posts…it’s imperative to maintain a good social media presence due to the times we’re living in now…if you’re not on the World Wide Web your business doesn’t exist!

I know this blog may not sound encouraging to aspiring writers, and trust me I would never want to discourage anyone. I wrote this blog to educate readers on what life may be like for their favorite author or even yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if this happens. You’re not alone. I’ve had plenty of chats with my author friends, and we’ve all experienced this at some point. The key is to find your groove and stick with it. If I have a class I have to teach during the week, then I’ll work on marketing plans the weekend before or prepare social media posts ahead of time. Authors do not have to be creative in just their writing, but also in how they market their work too.

Before I even allow time for procrastination to set in, I think about the fact that I’ve been blessed to have had two books published, so I make sure that I set aside the time to market my work. This is what keeps me going! If I get off track for a couple days, I hop right back on the bandwagon and keep it moving.  It’s called Life! Things are going to come up that takes precedence, but the key is to find your groove and stick with it. Ultimately, I have to be honest, the amount of work you put in your writing will determine the amount success you receive back, so keep this in mind.

What makes it all worthwhile for me is to read an honest review from a new reader. To read a review that says the reader enjoyed my book and would love to read a sequel! This speaks in volumes to me and gives me the extra boost I need to keep on writing when I’m tired!

Until next time…Happy Reading!

~Ayesha

SPECIAL OFFER FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY – Download “When it’s Time to Walk Away” for FREE on Kindle! Click here and ENJOYhttp://amzn.to/2mVfRk5

Please don’t forget to leave a review to let me know what you think about the book!

Love At All Stops

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a short story that I wrote some time ago that’s a reminder that sometimes spending time with a person is all that they need. Love can be expressed in many different ways…

Love At All Stops

Laura looked down at her watch… the line in Starbucks was extremely long this morning with everyone trying to satisfy their coffee craves before work. Laura tapped her feet gently against the ceramic tile, debating whether she should forgo her latte. As much as she hated to walk away, she couldn’t afford to miss her bus. Luckily, to her amazement, another register opened up. The person in front of her stepped up to place their order.

This brought a smile to Laura’s face. She was one step away from getting out of here.

“Good morning. May I help you, ma’am?”

Laura walked up to the counter. “Yes, may I have a French Vanilla Latte and an Almond Roasted Coffee, please,” she said, handing over her credit card. She looked down at her watch. She had three minutes to spare.

The cashier swiped her card and handed it back to her. Laura stepped to the side as she attempted to wait patiently for her order. She looked out the window at the bus stop. There was still a small crowd waiting. She exhaled nervously as she fixed her scarf around her neck. She couldn’t miss her ride.

“Here’s your latte and coffee, ma’am.”

Laura turned around to retrieve her coffee holder. She excused her way towards the front door. The cold air sliced her face with a vengeance as she stepped outside. She ran across the street to the bus stop. She could see it in clear sight now – only one block away!

Laura took her place in line as the bus cruised up to the curb. She stepped onto the plank and inserted her bus pass.

“Good morning, my dear friend,” Samson, the bus driver greeted her.

“How are you doing, Samson?” she asked, removing his bag from the seat behind him. Samson always saved her seat.

“Oh, you know this old fellow can’t complain… I’m just happy to be in the land of the living – one more day,” he said, waving to the boarding passengers.

Laura looked around. The bus was full this morning. She removed her leather gloves and placed them in her left pocket.

“This bus ride wouldn’t be the same without you,” she responded, adding creamer to Samson’s Almond Roasted Coffee.

“Oh, they’d just find someone else to do the job. People have to get to work you know…the person just wouldn’t look as good as me,” he added, giving her a GQ pose in the mirror.

Laura chuckled. Samson was meant to be a comedian in another life; she was sure of it.

“Just the way you like it,” Laura said, handing him his cup of coffee.

“Oh thank you. You know just how to take care of this old man. Should we continue from Friday?”

“Yes, I’ve been eager to hear about the ending all weekend…”

Laura snuggled in her little corner with her head rested against the window. She loved to hear Samson speak about his childhood memories in England. It truly made her day. He spoke with such authority that made her feel like she was living the experience with him all over again. She closed her eyes slowly as she envisioned every word that he spoke. Even though there were other passengers on the bus, she felt like they were alone, sharing one heartbeat, as he told her a story about his childhood friend Gert… the troublemaker that led Samson down an adventurous path that luckily didn’t land him in juvie.

Laura didn’t notice the bus stopping or passengers getting on or off. She just knew she was in Samson’s head, enjoying the stories he loved to share with her every weekday morning. Since retiring from her family business, Laura found herself getting up in the morning with nowhere to go and no one to spend her time with throughout the day. That is, until she decided to ride the bus to the local library a year ago. It happened to be Samson’s route. His kindness won her over in their first encounter, as he saw right through her lonely state and offered up a friendly conversation that touched the heart of this sixty-year-old woman. Everyone else was getting on the bus to go to work, but she was enjoying a wonderful ride with a beloved friend. A friendship that she has grown to cherish and wouldn’t want to live without…

Hours later, Samson’s voice began to slow down. Laura knew what time it was. She reluctantly opened her eyes, dreading the moment that awaited her every morning. The bus was empty, back at the stop where she had originally boarded two hours ago. Instead of going straight to the office, Samson always brought her back home first.

“Samson, I wish I could have been there with you. You know how to tell a good story,” Laura said.

“Yeah, it was a sight to see. I’ll have another one for you tomorrow. Will I see you then?” he asked, turning around to give her a wink.

“You know I wouldn’t miss it. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow,” she said with a smile. She gathered her things, touched the arm of his coat, and got off the bus.

He waved goodbye and waited like a gentleman for her to walk a few feet away from the bus before pulling away from the curb. Laura turned on her heels to start the one block walk to her apartment.

The sun was shining bright now, but it did nothing for her heart like the words of her dear friend, Samson.

There’s No Better Time Than The Present

I wish you a Merry Christmas on this special day – the day we celebrate the birth of our savior. I hope you have a joyous, peaceful day with your loved ones. As you pass around presents and prepare to open your home to guests for Christmas dinner, please be open to a visit from a family member or friend who may have hurt you in the past. Let this be a season for forgiveness and second chances, remembering that each of us has had to ask for forgiveness for something we’ve said or done.

There’s no better time than the present to give the gift of forgiveness. You never know…this may be the only gift that someone prayed for that you didn’t have to stand in a long line at the mall to purchase. Sure it takes courage and effort on your end to let go of past hurts; however, instead of getting mad at a family member today for bringing someone to the house that you’ve had a spat with for one month or 10 years, consider releasing yourself from the energy it takes to stay angry and decide today is the day to let it go.

Today was not promised and neither is tomorrow, but the love you share while you’re here on earth will last a lifetime. This is what people remember – not necessarily the Michael Kors handbag.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you have a blessed day.

 

In All Things Give Thanks!

A lot has happened since my last blog post. I turned one year older in the month of October, and I made a change in my writing career that I’m extremely excited about. I even have a new cover for my latest book – When Love’s Knot Enough.

no-101201606-when-loves-knot-enough_kindle

Yes – change is good!

This is why fall is one of my favorite seasons. The leaves start to change to an array of beautiful colors, and the weather starts to taper off to that midpoint in your closet where it’s not too cold for your UGG boots just yet, but definitely time to put up those open-back shoes. Some of you may have even noticed, while you were out shopping for fall decorations, that the stores immediately jumped to Christmas decorations before Halloween had ended. This has always baffled me. November is such a special month.

Though we should give thanks all year, November has always been that symbolic month that people get together with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks over a wholesome dinner. Unfortunately, it’s also a time where many people fall into depression. Sometimes we get caught up in our valley experiences (trials in our lives) that we forget to be thankful for what we do have.

Two years ago, I wrote my first short story that I’m about to share with you. It serves as a reminder that even when we’re going through a tough time in our lives, there’s always something we can be thankful for…whether it’s the memories that we shared with a loved one or our faith that keeps us hoping for something greater.

Nevertheless, as you gather with your loved ones during this holiday season, I hope you will choose to reflect on your many blessings and remember those who may have less than you, but are thankful for the little things they do have…

Thanksgiving during a time of despair…

I woke up in the middle of the night. For the third night in a row I was having difficulty sleeping. The alarm clock on my nightstand said 3:00 a.m. I looked over to the place where my husband used to sleep, and a surge of great sadness started to overtake my body. I began to cry; my vision became blurry as I was engulfed in a pool of my own tears. The hair along the sides of my face was now soaked and was matted to my pillowcase. I immediately sat up in bed and looked to the heavens. My soul began to cry out as I tried to figure out how I was going to get through this depressing time in my life. “How can I get through this without you, Jim?!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.

I reached over and picked up his pillow and tossed it across the room. “You said you would never leave me! How dare you leave me like this?!” I yelled.

It was days before Thanksgiving and instead of preparing a wholesome family dinner for two, to kick off my favorite time of the year, I had to prepare for a funeral. My husband of twenty-five years is now gone – taken from this world at a blink of an eye. Our only son is away in Afghanistan trying to get orders to come home. I have no family in the area. They all live on the west coast while I reside on the east coast, because Jim wanted us to move here.

We did everything to make each other happy in our marriage. But my decision to move to the other side of the country has put me in a place to grieve the loss of my husband alone. I feel like I can’t go on without Jim. It’s as if someone cut my heart open, gouged out my eyes, and left me to wander around in this world in a state of despair!  I can’t see tomorrow without eyes, and I definitely can’t live without a heart. What am I going to do? I thought as I got up to pick up Jim’s pillow and place it back beside me in bed. Jim’s gone and I’m now alone.

Instead of lying on my wet pillow, I pressed my head against Jim’s. I could still smell his scent on the pillowcase. The times I took for granted that he would always be by my side have now left me remembering him through his scent, yearning to have one more day to yell at him for falling asleep with the television on. The thought made me smile. My smile turned to laughter as I thought about our last conversation in bed. He made a joke about my pajama pants because I had holes in the leg. I didn’t care. Jim always said I held onto things longer than I should. I simply swatted at him playfully and kissed both sides of his cheek – reminding him that he married me this way. He said he did and he wouldn’t change it for the world.

For the first time in the three nights since I received the news that Jim was killed in a car accident, I felt so thankful. As my head embraced his pillow, it was as if it was feeding my intellect all the wonderful times we shared together. Knowing what I know now, how Jim’s life would end so suddenly, I wouldn’t give up marrying him again. I hugged his pillow and held it tight around my face. Sealing it shut where the only air I was receiving was from the little opening at the bottom. I just wanted Jim to kiss me again as he did the last night we were together in bed. We never kissed just one cheek, but both every time. That was our thing…

As I released my hold to his pillow, I knew without a doubt that I was not alone. Jim was still here with me, although not physically. His pillow could still kiss both sides of my cheeks and lie with me in bed at night. I will always be thankful for the times we shared. I closed my eyes and fell asleep peacefully…with Jim and God by my side.

~Ayesha L. Shoulders

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s on my bookshelf

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to read anything. When I’m working on a new book, I’m strictly focused on my writing and that’s it.

Recently, I’ve been home recovering from foot surgery. This gave me the opportunity to get back to my first love – Reading. I was given Lies by Vanessa D. Werts to read from a coworker.  It came highly recommended and I can see why…

book

Vanessa Werts didn’t hold anything back in her sophomore novel. The experiences that her character Bobbi Farqua encountered were REAL let me tell you.  Women will be able to relate to Bobbi’s pain, relationship issues, and victories. I truly enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t put it down.  My fingers would race through the pages faster than my eyes could keep up as I was eager to find out what happened next!

This was my first time reading a book from Ms. Werts. I’m definitely interested in reading more from her in the near future. I recommend that you add Lies by Vanessa D. Werts to your bookshelf.

To check out my book review, please click on the links below:

Amazon http://amzn.to/2c2Budz

Goodreads http://bit.ly/2ceIKq4

The next books that I’ll be grabbing from my bookshelf are:

  • By Invitation Only by Jodi Della Femina & Sheri McInnis
  • In Exchange for Jackie by Tracy Gilmore

Happy Reading!