Monthly Archives: February 2022

God Can Use Anything He Chooses

Years ago I attended a church whose minister didn’t think people should read novels and short stories because they weren’t true. Since I loved reading short stories and novels, I was surprised; I saw nothing wrong with them!

While there are particular genres of novels I’m not interested in reading, I don’t see anything wrong in reading fictional pieces. I believe God can use fiction to reveal truth. For me, it’s often easier to accept a truth when it’s presented in fiction; I discover it for myself. I experienced this afresh not long ago after I finished reading a mystery.

One of the characters in the mystery, a model wanting to get rid of competition, reaped what she sowed. She made lipstick and poisoned a tube, intending it to be used by another model. Instead, in an ironic twist, the makeup artist inadvertently used the poisoned tube on her, and she collapsed and died on the runway.

After I finished the book I realized that particular part of the plot illustrated verses in the Bible which speak of wicked people falling on their swords. “The wicked draw the sword…to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts,…” Psalm 37:14, 15 (NIV) Since the novel was not sold as a Christian novel, I’m guessing (although I have no way of knowing for sure) the author didn’t realize the Biblical lesson underlying it, but it was there.

Yes, the novel was the result of the author’s imagination, and was not true. It didn’t happen in real life. But it did reveal a portion of God’s truth. The people who plot to do harm to others end up paying for it, one way or another.

To me this shows God can use anything He wants to, whether it is “Christian” or not, to broadcast truth He wants people to know. He is not limited by labels.

©P. Booher

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Filed under Country Ripples, Creativity, Faith Matters, Writing

Friday “Walks”–Everybody Is A Somebody to God

Photo Credit: P. Booher

The world loves “somebodies”. People aspire to be “somebody”. Somebodies have money, good looks, power, influence. Somebodies are looked up to, sought after, recognized. If you are a somebody, you’re important. You are worth knowing. If you are not a somebody–well, you’re not important. So says the world.

Guess Who says differently? God does, that’s Who. 

The world and God look at things in two different ways. One arena where this is evident is in the importance of the individual. The world thinks individuals are important if they have money, if they perform well and have a lot of achievements. If they have good looks, so much the better. God thinks individuals are important because He loves them. They are made in His image.

God loves not just the strong, the healthy, the athletic, the president of a company. God loves the 40-year-old woman or man with the mind of an 18-month-old who requires 24/7 care. God loves the baby aborted. God loves the once productive person who is now in the tangled web of drug addiction. God loves the elderly woman or man who can’t hear well, can’t get the right words out, and whose days of being productive on a job are only memories. God loves the woman or man putting in long hours on a production line, serving food in a restaurant, or stocking shelves in a store. The person works hard, but still struggles to make ends meet.

I am thankful a person doesn’t have to do anything to be important and valuable in God’s eyes. The things which make a person important in the world’s eyes can change quickly. Those things—money, performance, achievements, and looks—are only temporary, anyway. But what makes a person important to God will never change.

Consider some Scriptures: Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:7, 21, Psalm 139:13-18, Matthew 3:17 (Note: God said this about Jesus before Jesus began His ministry.)

©P. Booher



Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

God, Chronic Pain, and Me

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) (This verse restates the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 31:6)

Several years ago a physical therapist, following an examination, told me I could have spinal stenosis. About three years ago my left knee complained loudly, and after a couple doctor’s visits I was diagnosed with poly-arthritis in multiple sites. Depression jumped on the bandwagon, as I wrote about here.

When I first read the above Scripture, it sounded like marriage vows. The difference is that although a husband or wife may leave the spouse, God says He will never leave. While I’ve never been married, the above verse gives me comfort in my struggles with chronic pain. I am limited in what pain-killers I can use. When my back starts hurting, or my knee or my wrist start complaining, it’s not long before I get grumpy, irritable, anxious, and depressed. When you throw in that some days my pain is all I can think of, and other days I hardly notice it, and I can’t predict when days will be good or not good—well, that would put stress on any marriage. But God stands by me, nevertheless. I may not be as sensitive to His Presence as I should be, but all I have to do is read the above verse to realize He isn’t going anywhere. He is not going to leave me, even if I am so grumpy I could bite my own head off, let alone anyone else’s! 🙂

It may be that part of God’s faithfulness is realizing blessings hidden in chronic pain. “Blessings???” you say. “How can there be blessings in something so painful, so unpredictable?” Consider these:

  1. Chronic pain forces me to look at Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me as the source of my feelings of self-worth. I sure can’t get it from the amount of work I get done, because there are days when I can’t do much!
  2. I am gaining empathy for other people, who are in pain, depressed, or anxious. I know what it’s like, and it’s hard.
  3. It forces me to be glad for the small amount I can get done—if my right wrist is bothering me (I’m right-handed), instead of a complete letter to a friend, maybe I get three paragraphs written. Instead of an hour or two on the computer, maybe I can get fifteen or twenty minutes in.
  4. This goes along with #1 and #3: it’s an effective way of wearing down perfectionism: I’m hurting too much physically to beat myself up emotionally or mentally.

So, yes, there are blessings even in something so unwanted as chronic pain. I think the greatest blessing of all is simply knowing God’s faithfulness in the middle of it all.

Another Scripture to consider is: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35, 37, 38

©P. Booher


Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

The Good and the Bad of Judgment

The word “judgment” often carries negative connotations, but being judged can be useful.

Consider a writer sitting in a critique group. The writer gives a piece to the members. Suppose the writer hears a comment such as, “Your main character is too bland for readers to care about. He needs to take a stand or risk something.” The member who made that comment is making a judgment, giving criticism with an eye to improvement. The writer may not like that comment, but wants the piece to be as good as possible before submitting it for possible publication, so the judgment is helpful.

Now think of someone who hears from a person who is an authority figure—whether parent, teacher, or boss—”You’re lazy. You’ll never get anywhere in this world.” Judgment is wielded in this instance as a put-down. No guidance is given for improvement. This example doesn’t even provide motivation for improvement. This is judgment gone bad. I would go so far as to say it’s cruel.

What’s the difference between the two? To me, it’s the motive behind the words. In the first example, the motive is a desire to help another see what can be improved. In the second, the motive is to make the authority figure feel better at the expense of the person being judged.

All this makes me wonder: what kind of judgments do I give? Are they helpful—the kind I want to receive? Or are they cruel—the kind that would make me cringe if I was on the receiving end?

©P. Booher


Filed under Country Ripples, Life Lessons

Cottage Pudding

I’m not sure why this is called “pudding”; it sure looks like cake to me! 🙂 Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about baking can tell me the reason. Anyway, this batter is what I used this afternoon to make upside-down apple cake. There was a bag of McIntosh apples in the refrigerator, and I thought I ought to start using them up. So I sliced up 3 cups of apples, put 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon on top of the apples, and then used this recipe:

Set the oven at 400°F, or 204°C. Butter a shallow cake pan, 8″by 8″, a small angel cake pan, or cupcake tins.

Sift together:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

Mix in a separate bowl:

1 egg, well beaten

1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

1/2 cup butter, melted (I used oleo)

Stir gently into the flour mixture. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Pour mixture into the pan. Bake until brown and crusty approximately 25 minutes.

Note: This cake makes a tasty dessert as an upside-down cake, or topped with fresh or canned fruit, or pie filling. It doesn’t go well with regular, buttercream cake icing.


P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–In All Things, Give Thanks

Photo Credit: P. Booher

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

I believe when I do this, there is a benefit on the other side—perhaps material, but for sure spiritual. I am obeying God, and obedience always brings blessing.

If I can give thanks to God in the circumstance, it hasn’t overpowered me, and it won’t, because I am giving it to God. God has the answer figured out; I just need to trust Him for it.

©P. Booher


Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

A Victory Over Perfectionism

Since childhood I’ve had a perfectionistic mindset. I regret the day I picked that up. It provokes much needless anxiety.

But one day last summer I came across a technique to use against my enemy. Oddly enough it occurred when arthritis flared up during a humid, rainy spell, and I didn’t feel strong enough to fight against anything, let alone a dug-in mindset. My right hand and left knee complained loudly. A couple other body parts, in sympathy, felt tender/achy too. This, plus other concerns, upped my stress levels.

In search of something to take my mind off my achiness, I fell back on the childhood activity of coloring. The day before I’d bought an 8-pack of jumbo crayons, which are easier to handle when arthritis bothers my fingers. I took the crayons and a coloring book of nature scenes, put a bag of ice on my cranky knee, and settled back on the couch. I prayed to God about my anxiety and started coloring.

I discovered not only was I losing the stress but I was also gaining over perfectionism. In prior times, perfectionism would have demanded I use the “proper” colors, color within the lines, and generally destroyed my peace of mind. What was different that day last summer? I was able to keep my main objective in mind. What was that? To reduce stress and get my mind off my sore knee. As long as I did that, I was happy. I accomplished my objective and perfectionism took a back seat and shut up.

©P. Booher

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Filed under Country Ripples, Creativity, Tips to Manage Stress

List of Writing Resources I’ve Found Helpful

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn-Baker

Here’s a list of writing resources I’ve found helpful, either in matters of craft, the writing life, a look into the viewpoints of editors and agents, or for prompts.


Build Your Best Writing Life by Kristen Kieffer (among other things, offers help for many common writing obstacles, such as procrastination)

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont

The Forest for the Trees–An Editor’s Advice To Writers by Betsy Lerner

The Soul Tells A Story by Vinita Hampton Wright

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen M. Story

Edit Your Novel For Less by Sue A. Fairchild

Blogs: (Kristen Kieffer’s website)

Books and Such Blog

Steve Laube Literary Agency Blog

Writers Write–Write to Communicate

The Christian Freelance Writing Network

Inspire Christian Writers

JPC Allen Writes

Golden May Editing

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Life Is Lived One Day At a Time

Photo Credit: P. Booher

For some time I’ve had fearful thoughts running around in my head. You know, the kind which start out, “What if…? What if this happens? What are you going to do when…?” Since I don’t know the answers to those questions, the thoughts provoked a lot of anxiety.

Recently I’ve been spending more time reading the Bible. The verses which seem to jump out at me are those which speak of God’s sovereignty, and His character—His goodness. I’ve also spent time reflecting on the fact that life is lived one day at a time. I can’t “hurry” tomorrow along so I can see what I have to deal with. God has hidden tomorrow from me. I believe this is a type of discipline, so I’ll walk by faith in Him.

Tomorrow will bring challenges, but by God’s grace it will also bring provision for those challenges. I don’t see the provision for tomorrow because I’m not there yet. I don’t need tomorrow’s provision for today. God does not waste His provision. God’s help will be there when I need it. 

These reflections bring me peace. They are the answers to the questions which put my mind in turmoil. 

Some Scripture verses to think about: Matthew 6:34; Exodus 16:17-21; Philippians 4:6,7,19; Psalm 27:13,14; Psalm 145:3-10.

©P. Booher




Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

Writing Resource–Review of Edit Your Novel For Less

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker

In Edit Your Novel For Less, editor, writing coach, speaker and writer Sue A. Fairchild gives information and tips on the editing process. She shares basic information, which is fine with me. Right now, I feel better dealing with the basics. I want to know the basics before going on to more advanced matters. 

Sue describes the different types of editing—content (or substantive), line, copy, and proofreading. She tells what each does, and what it doesn’t do. She also tells what to look for in an editor.

She has chapters on spelling, punctuation issues, and the most common errors she’s seen in the manuscripts she edits. Some of the material may seem mundane, but errors are bound to crop up, and the more a writer can catch, the less money the writer pays an editor.

I particularly appreciated her information on P-O-V (Point-Of-View). I’ve read other descriptions of it, but it was still on the murky side. I got a clearer understanding after reading her explanation.

Sue gives information on critique groups, along with suggestions for finding or starting one. She tells what beta readers are and gives suggestions for finding people willing to be beta readers. 

In the chapters about working with an editor, critique groups and beta readers, the author points out these are relationships with people wanting to help you with your book—so handle with respect, and courtesy. 

The author makes a good case for spending some money on having a professional edit your book, if you want your work to reach as many readers as possible.

Sue includes a list of further resources, a beta read/critique sample sheet as well as a critique checklist you can use when critiquing someone’s work.

Although Edit Your Novel For Less is brief (53 pages, including acknowledgements), it is packed with information written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style. I expect it will be on my reference shelf for quite awhile, especially as I want to try my hand at writing fiction.

Edit Your Novel For Less is available on Amazon.

©P. Booher


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