MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

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

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PRIDENo, this isn’t a post about Jane Austen’s popular novelPREJUDICE Pride and Prejudice.  Have you ever accomplished something you were so proud of that you wanted to share it with the world?  Or perhaps you only wanted to share it with your family, close friends, or maybe even your best friend?

When God looked and saw everything He had made, it was very good(Genesis 1:31)  Yet, He did not selfishly keep it to Himself but humbly shared it with mankind.  (Genesis 2:7 & 8)  Being made in His awesome image, we humans have the capacity to accomplish all sorts of wonderful, marvelous, and beautiful things just as He did.  And naturally, when we do so, one of our greatest joys is sharing them with other fellow human beings.  No, by no means are we God!  Therefore, nothing we can ever do can compare to His holy, righteous, and wonderful acts.  However, does it not warm our hearts when others share our joy when we accomplish something we’re proud of?

Sometimes, however, it seems that the emotion some of them feel is the exact opposite of joy, and the result can be painful.  What causes some to react this way?  Could jealousy be a cause?  It’s possible.  Now, we know that not all jealousy is bad.  For example, even God is jealous in that He does not want us to give our worship to any other god besides Him.  And spouses usually do not desire that their spouses attribute affections meant only for them to someone else.  Some people are more prone toward jealousy than others, and sad to say, because we are all imperfect, all of us may at some point in our lives have felt jealousy or envy toward another individual.  That is why our Creator gives us so many loving reminders in His Word for us to continue striving to fight these bitter, contentious feelings that can divide us like the parting of the Red Sea.

All of us, myself included, have many reasons to be proud (not in a haughty way but joyfully, humbly proud.)  First and foremost, I have my relationship with God.  Next, I have a beautiful family whom I love and adore.  There are also many other people in my life whom I consider as my true friends.  The list could go on and on and on.  Outside of these most important blessings, the day I learned that I was going to be a published author was one of the happiest days of my life.  And one of my constant and specific prayers was that I always remain humble regardless of whatever I accomplish in life for none of us should ever feel that we are superior to anyone, no matter what our or their stature is.

Yes, I was happy, and I modestly shared my joy (but never in a boastful way) just as some of them had shared with me things they were rightfully proud of.  But when I did, to my shock and surprise, some of these same ones were the ones who acted toward me as though they were angry with me even though I had been happy for them and cheered them on in their endeavors and accomplishments.  Needless to say, it was excruciatingly painful, and it took me a long time to get over it.

I was so hurt that a dear friend and relative shared something very insightful with me that has helped me throughout the years.  The powerful words that Marianne Williamson expressed in Our Deepest Fear, in addition to my reliance on God, gave me the strength, courage, and fortitude to press on in my writing despite the negative ways I seemed to have been perceived by some.

I chose to write this post because we live in a world where selfishness abounds.  Life is not all about any one particular person.  As long as we are not doing anything to displease God, what is wrong with us as individuals to, as Ms. Williamson puts it, manifest the glory of God that is within us?  I am quite sure that I am not the only person out there who has experienced this sort of pain or any other sort.  Whatever it is that you are striving to endure, you are not alone.  There is no hurt or fear that God cannot and will not see you through!

From my heart to yours,

Maxine 🙂

(Photo Credits: Pride Courtesy of; Triangle and Circle Courtesy of

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An awesome reminder of the counsel at Romans 12:3 to help us deal with others’ successes.

How Do You Handle the Success of Others?

Maxine 🙂

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lImage The family is God’s arrangement.  He instituted it in the Garden of Eden when he gave the first woman Eve to the first man Adam (Genesis 2:22-24).   Although  a man and a woman’s union is to last forever, sometimes due to different circumstances, that is not the case.  Therefore, one or both may decide to remarry.  Being part of a stepfamily is all too common nowadays.  Although it can be stressful for the grown-ups involved, it can be especially upsetting for the children.

Being a teenager is one of the happiest and most exciting times of one’s life, but it can also be a time of emotional ups and downs.  And one of the things that can contribute to the low moments is the remarriage of one or both parents.  While some teens may be ecstatic at the thought of having a stepparent, others may feel jealous, betrayed, and insecure.  In LIFE AFTER MOMMA, Kiara feels the latter, and her loyalty to her deceased mother causes her to lash out at her father and his fiancée.  She resolves in her mind and heart that she will never come to like the woman and spends a great deal of time letting both adults know exactly that.  However, in doing so, she vents her emotional pain in some very destructive ways.

Are you part of a stepfamily?  If so, what are some things that can help you to cope, even if you have legitimate grounds for complaint?  First, recognize that your feelings are normal.  Second, remember that no family is perfect.  Third, keep in mind that meaningful, respectful communication is key in any relationship. 

And one last thing–be patient (with yourself and your stepfamily).  In time, the stepfamily you can’t stand today may just be the one you’ll eventually grow to love.

From my heart to yours,