MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

Fine Art Photography Inspired By Natural Creation & Wholesome Reading For Your Family's Entertainment


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SOMEONE WHO CARES

I wrote this poem, “Someone Who Cares,” around 2004 to be included in my second published novel by BET Books, “A Test of Faith” (released April, 2005.) I’ve also made it part of my Zazzle greeting card collection. In the book, my main character Andrea finds herself consumed with grief and despair when her beloved husband Clayton is killed by a drunk driver.

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One of her dear friends gives her a card that contains the poem. The poem is also near the front of the book before the story begins. Losing a loved one to death is the most tragic and painful heartache we can ever experience. Yet, not everyone grieves in exactly the same way. During this time, it is important that we have family and friends by our side to help us through the process of bereavement.

Sometimes, however, even in the midst of such support, our sorrow may cause us to feel lost and alone. Even with the support of her devoted family, this is how Andrea feels as she is being tested in so many ways. But with the progression of time, she wrestles with her sadness, anger, and faith–one day at a time.

A Test of Faith” is now out of print. However, you can still order a paperback copy via Amazon. Why not order one for yourself or someone else? Also, if you like it, I would greatly appreciate your writing a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon.

From my heart to yours !

Maxine 🙂

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MY LITTLE HELPER

WASH DISHES 7This is my niece Avery.  She was my little helper today, and WASH DISHES 6she got extremely upset with me when I finally got her down from the sink.  Aren’t children so funny and cute?  I remember when my daughter and son were little–they always wanted to help do cleaning around the house.  Then when they got big enough to really help, I practically had to beg them for their assistance :).

Children bring so much extra joy to our lives.  That’s why I often include them in my stories.  Here are the names of some of the youngest ones you’ll meet in five (5) of my books:

Kayla (5 years old)

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Janae (5 years old)

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Misha (Mee Mee) (1 year old)

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Misha (Mee Mee) (3 years old)

Jaydon (Jay) (1 year old)

Camra (Cammie) (1 year old)

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Name ? (Age ?)

DH COVER 4_8.25.14WASH DISHESPerhaps you noticed that I omitted the name and age of the child from my book DESPERATE HEARTS.  This is because for a limited time, I am offering free, autographed book giveaways of my first five (5) published novels to the first person who correctly answers this two-part question.

But that’s not all.  The giveaway also includes a mass-market paperback copy (a smaller, less expensive version) of A MEASURE OF FAITH, so that’s six (6) free books in all.

Please submit your answers to me at maxinebillings@yahoo.com, and remember to include your mailing address so I’ll know where to ship your books.

And in case you don’t know, I’m still running two (2) book quiz contests on Goodreads.  To participate, please click here to go to my Books page.  Then scroll down until you see CONTESTS (GOODREADS BOOK QUIZZES).

Well, that’s all for now.  HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours!

Maxine 🙂

http://www.maxinebillings.com

http://www.maxinebillings.wordpress.com

http://www.askeevie.wordpress.com

http://www.pearlspearlsofwisdom.wordpress.com


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THE MIRACLE OF LIFE

Ahhhh, babies!  Who doesn’t love them?  Have you ever noticed how whenever we see one, we nearly hurt ourselves trying to get to itBABY SLEEPING?  It’s understandable though–they’re so sweet, cuddly, lovable, and adorable.  Oh, and they also smell soooo good.  The ability to give life to another living, breathing human being is truly a miraculous gift from God as the Scriptures point out.  (Genesis 1:27 & 28; Psalm 127:3)

Consider what an amazingly marvelous process human reproduction is–the remarkable way that God made us!  The woman’s egg cell, no bigger than a pinpoint, is fertilized by the man’s sperm cell which is 1/85,000 the size of the egg cell.  In time, another complete human matures from the union of those two tiny particles, inheriting qualities from both parents according to the composite “blueprint” (DNA) that formed when the cells were united.  WOW!  Isn’t it fascinating!

My baby sister had her second child almost seven months ago–a precious, little girl!  Whenever I’m with her, I can’t help but watch how she is constantly taking in her new surroundings.  As she does so, I wish I could just reach inside her tiny head and grab all of her thoughts so I’d know exactly what is going on in that magnificent brain of hers.  I think back to the time when my own children were babies and how blessed I am to have brought two more human beings into this world!  Think about it–all of us started out as infants, but look at us now!  Because of our wonderful, magnificent Creator, we are all a part of the cycle of human reproduction that is called life.

ATOFI oftentimes include children in my stories because they can be so funny (most of the time, without even trying.)  As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog, they add so much spice to our lives.  They start out as these little, tiny people (some of which you can hold in the palm of your hand) but can grow up to be incredible human beings (not just in our eyes), but more importantly, in the eyes of the One who is the source of all life, our Heavenly Father and Creator!  (Psalm 36:9)ISAIH

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Well, that’s all for now.  HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours,

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

(Sleeping Baby Courtesy Of Office.com Clip Art)

 


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MY FOUR MAMAs

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Without a doubt, mothers are some of the most wonderful creatures God has ever made!  They have an honored role within the family arrangement, and we should find ways everyday to show them our gratitude for their loving care, regardless of how young or old we are.

As many of you are already aware, I love writing stories about family.  In all of my books, I focus on family relationships.  Yet, I don’t always reflect on the good things that families share because that is simply not reality.  I also touch on their faults and imperfections because as much as we love our family, if we’re honest, we have to admit that there are times when we get on each other’s nerves and rub each other the wrong way.  However, because we truly love one another, we continue putting up with one another in love.  (Eph. 4:2)

I am blessed to have four Mamas in my life.  Four! you say.  Yes, four!  First, there is my biological mother who will soon be 79.  Second, I have my mother-in-law who is 77.  Next is a spiritual sister in my congregation who just turned 92!  And last is another spiritual sister who recently turned 90!  This post would be quite lengthy if I wrote of the many ways in which they are a blessing to me.  Therefore, I’ll simply say that they help me to better appreciate why God tells us to treat the older women as mothers.  (1 Tim. 5:2)

Whether we have our biological mother in our life or not, there is, more than likely, someone in our life who fills that role.  Perhaps it’s a grandmother, an aunt, or someone else.  Whatever area we are lacking in, God always comes up with a beautiful way to make up for it.

To place your order for copies of any of my books, please click on the appropriate cover(s) below. HAPPY READING!

And as always, this is from my heart to yours,

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

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TFH

ISAIH

OOAK

LAM


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COMFORT FOR THE DEPRESSED

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)

We need our power, strength, and energy in order to keep going in this troubled world we live in. We all struggle with negative feelings from time to time. But prolonged negative emotions can zap us not just mentally and emotionally but physically and spiritually. They can also cause us to do and say things that we ordinarily might not. In my first published novel, A MEASURE OF FAITH, this is what happens to Lynnette. Initially, she cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and is so wrapped up in herself and what she’s going through that she spends the majority of her time wallowing in self-pity. Have you ever had a friend who was plagued by a personal trial to the point of constantly whining and complaining so much that you just wanted to shake them–not in a bad way–but in a good way because you love them and hate to see them suffering?

As imperfect humans, all of us can become overwhelmed at times from feelings of discouragement. However, some of us are more prone to a higher level. Stress coupled with prolonged negative emotions can affect the body and contribute to a chemical imbalance in the brain of some people, thus producing depression. This is the case with Andrea in A TEST OF FAITH. Darryl of IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH experienced a temporary bout with depression.

Whether or not a depressed individual decides to accept medical treatment is up to them. But what are some practical things we can do to help them? The Bible encourages us to comfort them. (1 Thessalonians 5:14) They need to know that they are cared about. They also need an empathetic person in whom they can confide, someone who is a good listener and very patient. They don’t want to be lectured to or judged. And even if it is not possible to completely win the battle with depression, there is still hope–God’s promise of a time when depression and everything else that causes us pain, heartache, and suffering will be things of the past. (Revelation 21:4)

From my heart to yours,

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

AMOF
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ISAIH


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CHILDREN–THE SPICE OF LIFE

Yesterday, I went with my five-year-old nephew and my sister (his mom) on a school field trip to the Atlanta Children’s Museum. It brought back so many wonderful memories of me and my own children when they were younger when I used to go on field trips with them and the tons of other things my husband and I did with them. Well, my children are grown now, but I still love spending time with them (that is, when they can find time for me). My husband and I don’t have any grandchildren yet. Years ago, I used to think that I would feel depressed seeing everyone else playing with their grandchildren while we have none. Now, however, while I appreciate that my husband and I now have more time for each other, we also have many nieces and nephews we can help spoil and spend time with.

In three of my books, A TEST OF FAITH, A HEALING OF THE HEARTS (of the THICKER THAN WATER anthology), and IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, my little, young characters help to add spice to the lives of their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others. The Bible even calls our children an inheritance from God and a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

God’s own son, Jesus Christ, was such a warmhearted individual that people (even children) were comfortable around him. His loving and compassionate personality drew them to him. Jesus even went so far as to help us to appreciate that we should imitate the humility of young ones. Have you ever taken notice of how most children are so humble and teachable? That’s food for thought. Also, Jesus loved children so much that he did not hesitate to take them into his arms, even blessing them. (Mark 10:13-16)

I recall a time when my daughter and son were young and we were shopping in the grocery store. I had always taught them that it was rude to tell people to shut up. Well, this particular day, the two of them continued bickering back and forth at each other, and I had continually told them to stop. After telling them to quit for the umpteenth time, I finally said, “Shut up.” My son suddenly covered his mouth with his hand and said, “Ooh, Mama, you said, ‘shut up.’ ” In his mind, since I had trained them not to use those words, I had said what amounted to some very bad words. Thereafter, while still young, he would often ask me, “Mama, do you remember the time you told me and Tasha to shut up?” To this day, I smile inwardly whenever I think about it. He will soon be 27, and my daughter is almost 35.

Enjoy your kids while you can because they grow up much too fast. No, they’re not always sugar, spice, and everything nice, but to our lives, they add a whole lot of spice.

From my heart to yours,
Maxine
http://www.maxinebillings.com

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ISAIH