Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Blogger: Cathy Bryant, Author of The Way of Grace

In pursuit of justice, in need of grace . . . A justice-seeking perfectionist pursues her dream of a perfect life in her hometown of Miller's Creek, Texas. Sidetracked by her desire to be a prosecuting attorney, Grace Soldano launches into uncharted waters, making herself over to please her boss and mentor. Then a disheveled free spirit turns her perfectly ordered world upside down, challenging the concept of personal goodness. A fall from perfection leaves her teetering between vengeance and grace, caught in a deadly crossfire that leaves her dreams in a heap of ashes. Can she learn to joyfully accept the life God has given her--far from perfect--but one completely immersed in His grace?

By Cathy Bryant, ©2012

I start with such good intentions. I really do. I know that life is only improved when I choose to be grateful. But somehow during the course of each day, it becomes increasingly easy to focus on what I lack—funds, creativity, time, patience—the list could go on and on.

But I don’t want to spend my life that way. I really want to focus on what I have, to be mindful of the gift of life. I want that positive attitude of gratitude. So I’ve come up with a plan. Each day I take one minute as my day begins to write down at least one thing for which I’m thankful. So far the plan is working well, and I’ve discovered that when I try to think of only one thing, a host of other things crowd my mind, all elbowing and shoving to garner my attention, so many things that I don’t have time or space to write them all down.

Some of them seem so mundane and common—indoor plumbing, fresh water, a tooth brush. But where would I be without these things I so often take for granted?

Other items of gratitude center around the people in my life—the comfort of my husband’s presence, the way he makes me feel so treasured in the way he cares for me, my mom’s laugh, my siblings’ ability to make me smile when no one else can, seeing the world afresh through the eyes of my three-year-old grandson.

Most of my “grateful for” lists drive me to a place of thankfulness to the One who created me and sustains me and unfolds His plans for my life in miraculous ways.

The truth is that in spite of living in a world of change and troubles and turmoil, we are all incredibly blessed. We all have the gift of this moment, a moment where our hearts are beating. Each day brings touches of beauty capable of making us catch our breath in awe and wonder if we will but still ourselves to notice. Even the poorest among us have something for which to express thanks.

This process has led to discovery. When I choose to focus a grateful heart on the abundance in my life, what I think I lack seems to lessen in significance and pale in comparison. Gratitude builds on itself, until life becomes one prayer of thanksgiving after another. “Thank You for the brilliant colors of fall. And the blue sky. And the wind that rustles the leaves and scatters them to the ground. And the gift of sight and hearing…”

As I draw this post to a conclusion, I am reminded of a post I recently saw circling around on Facebook. I think it bears repeating because it creates a gratitude barometer which forces us to be mindful of all that we have to be grateful for.

“What if what we were given tomorrow depended on us being grateful for it today?”

BIO: Cathy’s desire is to write heart-stirring stories about God’s life-changing grace. Her first novel, Texas Roads, was a 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis finalist. Her second novel, A Path Less Traveled, was published in 2010. The Way of Grace, the third book in the Miller’s Creek novels was released in 2012. She is currently at work on book four in the series, Pilgrimage of Promise. A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas with her husband of thirty years, and near the world’s cutest grandson. You can find out more about Cathy and her books at http://www.CatBryant.com.



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