Devotional, Perspective, Creativity, Learning, Solutions to Problems

A New Perspective

I recently heard an interesting story about a department store in the Brazilian town where we live. I’ve been buying household items such as towels in this store for many years and had often wondered about the name.

A realtor who’s lived in this town since childhood told us the background to the store’s name. It struck a chord with me, having It has to do with words, which piques my interest. The curious thing is that the name didn’t seem tied to or significant anything concrete in relation to the business or the town. As the story goes, this store had been open for several years when another store by the same name moved into town. The new store was a bigger, more established chain store. According to our friend, the owner of the local store which was originally called Modelar (lar means home in Portuguese), reversed the letters of the store name. He created a new name by spelling the old name backwards: Modelar was changed to Raledom. Voilà, problem solved! Maybe you or I have been reading something in our lives backwards! Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem, but just need to be reordered. I think the owner found an original and creative solution to his problem.
In college (many years ago) I learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy. In Bloom’s hierarchy of learning, creativity tops the pyramid as the highest level of learning. With this in mind, consider in which areas you might find more creative solutions to those “unsolvable” problems. Working with students through the years, I learned that often my idea of the solution to a problem was far inferior to the ways my students would solve the same problem. Writer’s often work and rework the same plot from different angles until they get it just right. Let’s strive to get it right!

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” –Chuck Swindoll

Solutions often come to those who readjust their perspective. My daughter had been working on the perspective of a window juxtaposed to a door and a table in one of her recent paintings. The whole family inspected it and considered whether she had the right perspective, or not. Sometimes we need to take that second look or find another opinion to help us. Many times in my life, I’ve gotten a better perspective by talking to someone more experienced than myself. What was most interesting about the history of Raledom’s name was not in the arrangement of the letters. My interest lie in how a challenging predicament was successfully resolved by using creativity and allowing freedom to change, which resulted in a new name for a popular store that withstood the test of time. Instead of throwing in the towel, (on his store that sold towels) the owner renamed the store. Turning the letters around gave this business owner a fresh start!

One thing I look forward to in Heaven is learning what my new name will be! Wouldn’t it be ironic if it was just my old name spelled backwards! God can take the backward, crooked, and twisted things in life and make them straight. He gives sense to the confusion. In our tech savvy world today, we can load a reverse text generator to our devices that can reverse text, spell backwards, and even flip words. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, reverse can mean : opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition. Don’t be so stuck in forward moving rut on a wrong path that you can’t reverse course when you need new solutions to your challenges or when you need a fresh start! Be creative. Be willing to make the necessary changes if a better solution arises. It may feel like your world is turning upside down, but the Bible says,

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 King James Version (KJV)

Aligning our vision with God’s perspective helps us to flourish.

If you turn things around and view them in the right perspective, the solutions make more sense. Remember the history of this store owner and the decision he made. When you are faced with life altering decisions, choose the right way instead of living in defeat or quitting. You’ll be successful, even if it looks backwards to the ones on the outside looking in. If you are in need of change, there’s nothing that God cannot turn around! Like the store owner, God can take your life and change it to fit His purposes. No situation is beyond His control.

Fabulous Friday Friends, Author, Beekeeper, Artist, Overcomer, Encourager

Fabulous Friday Friend #2: Angela Arndt

God Lover, Jesus Follower and Writer of Inspirational Christion Fiction

*2016 Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence (Georgia RWA) in the Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
*2016 Orange County Chapter Romance Writers of America’s Orange Rose Contest, Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
*2016 Beacon Contest finalist, First Coast Romance Writers (Jacksonville, FL), Inspirational Romance category, 2nd place
*2017 Fab Five contest finalist, Wisconsin Romance Writers of American, Inspirational category, Honorable Mention

Today I would like to introduce you to a fellow author and my friend, Angela Arndt. As it is so often between friends, we share many things in common. That isn’t the reason I want you to meet her though. I’d like you to meet her, because I know what an encourager she is! While coping with a chronic illness for the past eight years, she hasn’t let it steal away her joy. Chronic illness is any condition that lasts for a year or longer. Illnesses like these can disrupt life and cause drastic changes in anyone’s life. However, individuals dealing with problems that seem to overshadow their lifestyle don’t have to let the challenges rule their lives. Angela’s focus is on helping others to go forward on whatever detour they may be facing whether it be in a relationship, with health issues, or with any other debilitating obstacle that is threatening to steal their joy. She is an inspiring example of how to respond to and overcome difficult challenges.

Fast facts about Angela:

-She’s an apiarist( a beekeeper).
-She lives in the South..
-She’s an artist.
-She has a special talent for writing stories that help women overcome their obstacles and find joy in the Lord.

Angela and her husband, Charles, live on a bee farm. She uses what the Lord has put in her to be a blessing to others through her writing and artwork. The focus of her website is to find joy in the journey even if you have to take the backroads or a detour from the original road you were traveling on. You can check out her website at There you’ll find helpful articles on her Joy on the Backroads Blog and a free download of Devotions for Detours at

Her favorite form of art is pen and ink drawing

Angela likes to share information to help others who face problems such as a chronic illness like hers. She says,

“Perseverance is more than just a word. If you hang in there long enough, things will change. As a Christian, I have to believe that all things work for His good, according to His will. When I was in high school, I dedicated my life to His work. I thought that meant going into full-time ministry, but He had another plan. I’m a small-town girl who moved to another small-town. My parents worked in a mill and after graduation, I became an administrative assistant. It seemed like a let-down, but it introduced me to the world of computers and I’ve been very blessed to have had one job after another that taught me more and more about programs and the Internet.”

God used those things in her future.

“Years before I had to stop working, I felt led to go to a writers conference. Then God put a story in my heart about bees and since my hubby is the real beekeeper in the family, I had a ready resource for all my questions. I also have an amazing writing mentor/great friend, Beth Vogt, who pulled me along when I thought I was in over my head. The Lord was there, leading me along. That’s the key: pray for wisdom, look for His leading, look for encouragers He puts in your path, never miss a chance to encourage others, and most of all: hang in there.”

Tips for Coping with a Chronic Illness:

*Eat a healthy diet.

*Learn to accept your illness and adjust your life to make the best of it.

*Seek support from family, friends, or a support group.

*Have faith in God on your physical and spiritual journey.

*Practice showing gratitude in all things.

Angela says, “You’ve got to have a support group to get through it all.” That leads me to her favorite verse:

Psalms 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” King James Version

Art by Angela Arndt
Pictured here is a one of Angela’s beautiful drawings.

Finding something that inspires you helps cope with stress in life.

Angela’s Pets

Studies show that pets are proven to be helpful to patients dealing with chronic pain.

She and her husband, Charles, live in the middle of a big wood with their furbabies: Beau, Harley, Buddy, and Poppet. Pictured above is Beau.
Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency, Angela has a Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina and continues learning the craft of writing fiction through the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and Novel Academy (former My Book Therapy).

Here’s a video of Angela’s bees:

If you are interested in connecting with Angela, I am sure she’ll be as much of an encouragement to you as she is to me.  Check out her website where you can also read find author interviews, book reviews, and the lastest releases from ACFW at:

Or follower her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.

Devotional Thought, Coffee, Jesus, Brazil, Bible Study

What’s Perking?

Sharing a cup of coffee is often associated with hospitality. Coffee is also useful for keeping alert or waking up. Donna A. Favors goes as far as to say, “It’s amazing how the world begins to change through the eyes of a cup of coffee.” What’s in your cup? How would the world be changed if life could be seen through your eyes?

I live in what many consider one of the best coffee growing areas of the world…the Serra Da Canastra Mountain Region. I’ve met many interesting friends and learned a lot about how coffee beans are grown, harvested, and processed to make a delicous cup of coffee.

When I first arrived in Brazil it took me a while to learn how to even make a good cup of coffee. Back then and for many Brazilian people still today, the normal way to make coffee is to boil the finely ground coffee in a pot of water and then strain it into a thermos. In those early days my younger children were small and close in age, so I didn’t always get to go visiting as much as my husband and the older boys. It was my son who taught me the correct Brazilian way to brew coffee. He had watched the ladies brew their coffee during visits to people’s homes.

Once we were out visiting a family who were the caretakers of a large farm. The wife asked me what sounded to me like, “Po po pó?” I was clueless until I saw her lift a tiny coffee cup. They do love their cafezinhos! What I learned afterward is that it was a common expression of cut down words, as we all do with quick phrases in our different languages. What she meant was, “Posso por pó?” Pó is a word for dust, because the coffee is so finely ground it is more like dust than the normal American blends. So, she was saying,”May I fix you a cup of coffee?” Listening closely is important to understanding.

It is very common to be offered coffee in Minas Gerais. It is available in tiny portions in doctor’s offices, grocery stores, and just about anywhere you have a waiting room. I didn’t even drink coffee before moving to Brazil. I had to learn to like it real quick; and now, I enjoy it a little too much!

Some current trends have turned coffee into a social phonomenon, but it has been around a long time, even in literature.

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Whether you could care less about it or whether you measure your day by how much of it you have consumed, coffee has its place. Just the smell of a fresh pot of coffee wakes up the senses for many. The different aspects of coffee can be compared to our lives.

There are different strengths: weak, medium, and strong.

There are different flavors: bitter, sweet, and a plethora of new taste-bud tickling blends.

There are different temperatures: hot, cold, iced, room temperature.

Likewise, we as Christians have our different strengths, personalities, attitudes, and perferences. Do you have a certain blend or flavor of coffee that hits the spot on your palette? I like mine sweet with milk, and I enjoy trying all the newest creamer flavors. Some seasonal flavors keep me waiting for them to hit the shelves again. Hint: Peppermint Mocha!! What’s your favorite? Not everyone has the same taste. That’s okay! We are not all the same. Some would rather wake up to tea or some other beverage. Let’s still strive to keep the right blend of qualities in our character to shine the light of Jesus. I’d guess that would be strong, sweet, and brimming hot on fire for the Lord! Maybe bitter coffee suits the tastes of some coffee connoisseurs, but in life not many people like to be around the bitter or cold types of personalities. If I were a coffee blend I’d probably choose to be something like pumpkin spice! Of all the different options that today’s market offers to customers, it all boils back down to one thing…the coffee.

At the root of all that we do as believers, we should make Jesus the main thing. You can add in all kinds of different worship styles, Bible versions or translations, or church memberships in your attempt to become a follower of Jesus, but you have to know Jesus first for the rest to make sense and add flavor to your life.

The way you brew your coffee might be different, but the end result is still a cup of coffee.

Here’s a link to a video about the old time way of making a cup of coffee in Minas Gerais.

Let’s face each moment of our day refreshed as if we’ve just had our morning cup of coffee and see what a difference it makes!

Romans-15:32 (KJV)

“So that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.”

Let others know what’s perking in your cup, by sharing God’s love. ❤

happy life, special needs, cerebral microcephaly, inspiration, mother's love, Zika, encouragement, physical therapy, surfing, overcomer

Fabulous Friday Friends: Noah Kai

I would like to set aside every other Friday for a special feature called Fabulous Friday Friends. Each Friday I would like to highlight people who are an inspiration to me.
In today’s feature I’d like to introduce you to a little Brazilian guy who has a big smile and is an even bigger inspiration! His name is Noah Kai. In his short life of three and a half years, Noah has been a blessing to many. His attitude encourages the hearts of those all around him. Kelly (Noah Kai’s mom) says, “Life can be more colorful. It depends on your attitude. Be happy.” Noah’s life is an example of that winning attitude!

Noah teaches me to take it one step at a time! To trust God’s timing is best even when it is not the same as our timing! Love is all my son needs.” -Kelly, Noah’s mother

Noah’s parents had dreams of becoming professional surfers but have retired from the surfing life. However, it seems that their son has inherited their passion for the sport! He doesn’t let obstacles hold him back whether it be a painful therapy session, learning to ride a horse, or just giving his grandparents a hug. What obstacles are you facing today? When I look at the determination of this little boy, my own obstacles don’t seem as big or impossible to overcome.

Kelly and Noah show gratitude both for the blessings that God has provided them with and for everyone involved in his therapy and medical treatment. Recently, a change in government funding forced them to stop part of his therapy and his mom has noticed some regression. Even so, Kelly is strong in her faith and says that she knows that God is in control. Being a mom of a child with medical needs is challenging, but Kelly trusts in scripture verses like Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” and Job 42:2 “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee”.

Kids with enthusiasm like Noah’s reignite my own passion for teaching and for living joyfully. It’s easy to focus on the negatives instead of having the gratitude that helps bring us back to a positive perspective on life when we encounter hardships. Gratitude, like that of our Fabulous Friday Friends, takes us out of ourselves and lets the bigger picture shine through. Gratitude transforms lives. When you feel like quitting, think of little Noah and how resilient he is. Remember that the strength he has inside of him is possible for you to have too! What are five things for which you are grateful? It might help realign your attitude to make a list or record them in a journal. Be positive and happy, like Noah, because every day is a gift from God!

*During pregnancy Kelly was infected with the Zika Virus, and Noah was born with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome which causes Microcephaly & Chronic Epilepsy.

If you want more information about Noah Kai, desire to help him on his journey, or just wish to follow his adventures-you can find him on Instagram at #todospornoah or his mom @mae_do_noah_kai. The hashtag and Kelly’s posts are written in Portuguese, so if you need help making contact feel free to message me and I’ll be happy to translate or direct you to the appropriate channels.

Here is a link to a YouTube conversation Kelly recorded on Canal Da Tia Lu:


Fabulous Friday Friends, Author, Beekeeper, Artist, Overcomer, Encourager

What About Words?

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Words can hurt or heal; they can hinder or help. I have said things that I never meant to say. Sometimes mistakes are accidental, and sometimes we just don’t consider the consequences of the words that leave our mouths. It is one thing to think something, but considerably different to actually say it. The Bible gives us many warnings about words.

* II Timothy 2: 16-18 tells us to shun vain words. There are those who will hurt you with their vain words. Avoid the pitfalls of listening to the wrong people. As a little child must learn to discern about words and their meanings, we must also learn to be discerning about people who speak vain words to us.

*The Bible also instructs us to discern between man’s words and God’s words. We have God’s word written down for us to read and learn from so that we do not apply it wrongly.

*Learn the difference between words that help and words that hurt. Learn to understand how to use your words to build up others instead of tearing them down.

“Some words are wrong, but you can survive; but some words will stop you from living a faithful Christian life. ” – Tim Fleur, Pastor of Victory Baptist Church

It’s easy to say the wrong word, convey the wrong message, or even listen to the wrong advice. Just this week I was trying to say something to a young lady in Portuguese and what came out sounded crazy. I’ve been gone from the mission field for a little while. It is my second week back in Brazil. My language skills got rusty. I was trying to describe a physical therapist that works in the hospital where the young lady is doing an internship. I said that the therapist has long hair…at least I thought that is what I said. My tongue fooled me. I actually said “comprimido” instead of “comprido”. So, I said that her hair is a real pill! I really need to be careful!

Just as easily, we can think we are conveying one message to other people but miss the mark and say the wrong thing. We can also misread someone else’s intentions. Don’t let misunderstandings over misspoken words or even wrong words spoken by hurtful people keep you from living a faithful, Christian life.

Consider the power of words in your converstions, pray that your words are like honey to the hearer, and speak with wisdom. Remember, words have power!

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. -Colossians 4:6

Tell your story so that God gets the glory!

“Because God gave you your makeup and superintended every moment of your past, including all the hardship, pain, and struggles, He wants to use your words in a unique manner. No one else can speak through your vocal cords, and, equally important, no one else has your story.”

-Charles R. Swindoll

Fabulous Friday Friends, Author, Beekeeper, Artist, Overcomer, Encourager

A New Beginning

I started out a little over a year ago with the thought in my mind of trying to publish a Christian novel that I had been writing. I was about to travel home from Brazil where we do mission work to get two more of my children enrolled in college. I ran across the advertisement for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. It seemed like a huge step to take but I registered to attend. I am so glad that I did. I still don’t have that book published. I’m in the editing process but trying to be patient and positive.I met the most amazing people and learned a lot about the whole writing process at that conference. I came home enthusiastic about trying to get a “platform” going. I have children who are great with technology, but I am a little bit challenged. I have tried to pay as I go for the different things that I’ve added to the website and business related areas of getting published. So, I’ve had a few setback and delays. No worries. I am grateful for the things I’ve learned in the process.I am most grateful for the encouraging friendships that I’ve added to the already wonderful group of supportive friends and family in my life. Well, I wrote all that to say that I let the blog go unfinished and really did not know how to get it back off the ground. So, I am posting today to commit to a new start. I hope that I’ll gain a few follwers that will enjoy and participate in the blog. I look forward to what will come to Sweet Bee Writes. Please write or comment if you have any suggestions for ideas to help me make a better author website or blog. Thanks for reading!