MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

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



POLICEAs I write this post, I’m without electricity, thankful that I charged my laptop last night before going to bed. And since I also have no Internet connection due to the power outage, I’m just writing this in my Microsoft Office Word to be copied and pasted later into my blog.

My day started off pretty typical. I woke up about 8:25 and laid in bed a few minutes, praying and meditating. Then I got up, turned on the television to listen to a bit of news as I made up the bed. The next thing I knew, our lights started flickering off and on (the television as well) while our cordless phone kept ringing short bursts of rings on and off. It was continuous—every second. It was nothing unusual though because it’s happened many times before whenever the power company was experiencing some sort of problem.

My daughter and I were the only ones at home. Of course, it was frustrating for both of us. Besides having no power, the constant flickering of lights and the telephone ringing was a nuisance. Also, she had been in the middle of something on her iPad. And as soon as I finished making the bed, I was going to bathe and get my grocery shopping done early.

So she and I were enduring—that is, until we started hearing an on again, off again noise outside the front of the house. I opened the storm door a few times in an effort to see what it was but could never see anything. But the noise continued, on and off—like someone or something brushing up against something either outside or underneath the house.

My in-laws live next door, and before I started hearing the noise outside, I was about to call them to see if they were having similar problems at their house (which has been the case several times in the past when our power company was experiencing electrical problems.) Well, I (being who I am), immediately panicked and called 911.

Several minutes later just before the police officer arrived, the power completely shut down. He checked out everything outside and told me that things appeared fine. He advised that the problem was more than likely power related. I agreed to a certain extent but asked him what would the noise outside have to do with the power. Then he began to ask me a series of questions, like: What rooms are on that end of the house? Where is the furnace?

When I told him that our furnace is also near that part of the house, he said that the noise could have been the furnace’s ductwork underneath the house—every time the power went off and on, it caused the ductwork to make a rustling noise. That’s when I realized that’s exactly what the noise I heard had sounded like! I apologized but could not help but to laugh at myself. He told me it was okay and was just glad nothing was seriously wrong. After he left, I called the power company and reported the outage (even though they were already aware of it.)

So that’s how my day began today. As I’m finishing up this post, we still have no power, but at least it gave me another opportunity to share with you another one of my many crazy, comical moments. I simply love writing, and even though I try to touch on real-life issues in my stories, I also enjoy adding touches of humor. Life is extremely difficult at times (2 Timothy 3:1-5); therefore, I need all the help I can get to assist me in keeping what little bit of sanity I still have left.

Hope you all have a great Saturday and an awesome weekend, and HAPPY READING!

As always, this is from my heart to yours,


P.S. Just took a quick second to check a text message I received. Had left my cell phone charging and was trying to figure out why it had stopped in the middle of charging—then remembered, WE HAVE NO POWER! Also, every time I go into a room, I’ve been turning on the light switch (that’s a whole other blog!) Have you ever done that when you know you have no power—but force of habit has you going for that switch anyway? Be honest—I know you have.  🙂  Okay, that’s really it for now. Bye.

P.S. I know—I’ve said good-bye twice already. But I just thought of one more thing I just have to share with you. Have you ever noticed how when your house is quiet, you hear all kinds of spooky noises? As I’m proofing this post, every few seconds, I keep hearing these sounds throughout the house—you know, creaking, rustling, etc. (that’s a whole other blog, too!) Okay, this time, I really mean it. Bye—unless something else comes to mind as I’m finishing up proofing this post. Just kidding. Or am I?

P.S. I know what you’re saying—you again! Just wanted to let you know that this will definitely be my last one. POWER’S BACK ON!!!!! YIPPEE!!!!! HOORAY!!!!!




CRYING BABYRecently, my sister’s husband, their six-year-old son, and I were at my mama’s house.  My nephew wanted his dad to fix him something to eat (what in particular it was, I don’t know.)  I was sitting at the kitchen table while my brother-in-law prepared whatever it was.  When he was done and gave it to his son, he abruptly cried out, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.”  As his father tried to appease him, he kept repeating over and over, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.”  Finally, my brother-in-law politely replied, “I’m not Nah-Nah.”  I did not say a word during the entire ordeal, but inside, I was crumbling with laughter.

Anyway, it made me think about how even some of us adults (me being one of them) are creatures of habit, and anything that is not within our normal routine simply throws us off course–like a runaway train that ends up reeling off the tracks.  Sometimes it seems as though I’m on auto-pilot; some things become so routine that I do them without even thinking about them.  In the past, I had my comfort zones, and that was where I wanted to stay.  And If anyone so much as came within an inch of me, I would immediately want to start crying like a baby and warn them to get out of my way and leave me alone!

AMOFOne of the things that has helped me to be more adventurous and outgoing is my writing.  In 1999, I began writing my first manuscript.  By 2000, it was complete.  Thereby began my search for a publisher, and all the while, I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve never been on an airplane in my life, and I know that at some point, my publisher will expect me to get on one and travel to a book signing.”  But I wanted to write so badly that I did not let it stop me from pursuing my goal.  In April of 2004, my first novel, A MEASURE OF FAITH, was released.

Finally, the time came for me to board an airplane from Atlanta to my first book signing in New Orleans.  And would you believe that it was during hurricane season in the pouring rain!  I was thinking, Of all the times for me to go on my first flight, it would have to be during hurricane season!  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when the flight attendant informed us that whoever had an aisle seat near an exit sign would be expected to assist others in the event of an emergency, guess who one of the passengers in that category was!  You guessed it–me!  She then added that if anyone did not feel comfortable being in the position of having that responsibility that we could request to be moved to a different seat.  Now, I was already nervous about flying for the first time, and on top of it, they expected me to help my fellow passengers if the plane crashed!  I came really, really close to raising my hand and asking to be moved.  But I braved it, and both the flight there and back home went good.  I still don’t care for flying, and I haven’t flown again since.  Of course, if I had to, I would do it again, but I’m in no hurry.

Writing has opened up so many doors for me that may not otherwise have been opened.  I have met so many wonderful and interesting people.  I get to share pieces of my many thoughts with people all over the world.  One of the things I asked God when I learned that I had gotten my first two-book contract was to please keep me humble because no matter what I accomplish in life, I never want to feel that I am better than anyone else–because frankly, I’m not.  To this day, I still pray for humility.  I also continue to tell everyone (including my family and close friends) that I am still Maxine and that I’m no better than anyone else.  We are all God’s children, and only He can read our hearts.  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Because of my relationship with God, I have been able to go outside of my comfort zones and accomplish things that I never imagined I would do.  However, I am simply dust, and any little speck of good that may be in me and everything good that I have is because of Him.  Yes, I have grown, but I still have a lot more growing to do–and even if I live forever, I shall never know all there is to know.  But because He has helped me to step into the deep part of the water, my horizons have been broadened.  But more importantly, it has given me the strength, courage, and fortitude to not cry about things that are beyond my control but, instead, to lean upon Him instead of myself.  (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)

HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours.




I’ve had a lot going on this week with my mama.  Earlier, my baby sister had called to tell me she hadLAUGHTER to contact 911 for her.  So I jumped in my car and flew to Mama’s house.  My sister, the fire truck, and the ambulance were already there when I arrived.  The ambulance was parked in the driveway so I pulled up onto the front lawn out of the way of the vehicle.  In doing so, I had forgotten about a small wire garden fence there around Mama’s daylilies.

I suddenly heard a noise underneath the front of my car and realized that I had driven over something.  It was dark (almost eleven o’clock at night.)  I immediately backed up a little, and that’s when I remembered the fence.

But since I did not have time to worry about it at the moment, I rushed into Mama’s house where she was being assisted by the emergency medical technicians.  My husband arrived in his car.  After everything was situated and Mama was taken to the hospital, I stayed behind for a few minutes to tidy up the house while my sister and her family went to the hospital.  I told my husband about the fence.  He then moved my car to the driveway and straightened the fence.

At the hospital as we were waiting for Mama’s test results, I could not help but laugh to myself every time I thought about running over the fence.  I told Mama what happened as she laid there in her hospital bed.  She, my sister, and I got us a good laugh from it.  I still chuckle inwardly when I think about it.  It reminds me of another time when Mama was in the hospital and my kids and I were going one Sunday morning to visit her.

It was raining slightly, and my children (who were much younger then) were on either side of me as I tried to hold my umbrella in one hand and keys in the other.  I had given one of them my pocketbook to carry.  The next thing I knew, I was going down and could not stop.  I went down so fast that neither of them were able to try to help stop my fall.  The umbrella went one way and the keys, another.  I fell flat on my “boom-boom” onto a huge clay pot of begonias that I had recently planted.  The cool part about the fall was that when I went down onto the pot, it was as though I had just plopped down onto a chair–a flower-pot chair!  I never hit the ground.  It looked like someone had just picked me up off the ground and set me onto the flower pot.  Since the only thing that was hurt was my pride (just kidding–only my children saw me), all I could do was laugh at myself.  To this day, I continue to tell others about it as I’m doubled over with laughter.  It was so funny to me that I ended up putting it in one of my stories, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, which is my sequel to THE BREAKING POINTISAIHTBP

I love writing stories, and I love adding humor to them.  Many of us have heard of the age-old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  And although many things in life are certainly no joke, there are times when having a sense of humor about them helps us to cope.  I often ponder God’s and his son Jesus’ sense of humor.

When Jesus was on earth, although he was serious-minded when it came to his ministry and way of life, he was not a tight-lipped disciplinarian.  He was kind, warm, and friendly. The Bible says at Matthew 11:28 that he brought refreshment to others.  At the same time though, many of us might sense a touch of humor in some of the things he said and taught.

Although his teachings were mainly for the purpose of spreading the good news about God’s Kingdom, one might also find amusing the idea of a camel attempting to pass through the eye of a literal sewing needle.  (Matthew 19:23 & 24)  Of course, this was just one example of Jesus’ way of teaching in order to get people to open up their minds and really think.

Since Jesus is the perfect reflection of his Father (John 14:9 ), it goes without saying that God also has a sense of humor.  Let’s look at just one example–his animal creation.  Have you ever stopped to take the time to watch them?  Some of them perform many humorous antics which bring a smile to our lips, laughter bubbling from within us, and extra joy to our lives.

Humor is a delightful gift from God and when used in moderation and with sound judgment, adds flavor, zest, and sparkle to our everyday lives.  So , yes, life will get us down now and then–but sometimes, laughter really is the best medicine!

Good-bye for now.  HAPPY READING!

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