MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

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


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HEALING PHOTO ART

Scientific studies indicate that art heals by changing a person’s physiology and attitude. Physiology changes from one of stress to one of deep relaxation. Perceptions of the world are immediately changed from darkness and despair to hope and jubilation.

The Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals is an organization founded by Elaine Poggi. I recently had the wonderful pleasure of meeting her via the Internet during my research of children’s hospitals to whom I was seeking to donate some of my nature art. I e-mailed her, and right away, she responded back. Well, to give you the short version, I am now one of the Foundation’s contributing photographers!!! ūüôā Below is a picture of my “Regal Camellia” which has been added to their website. This image is also available on various products in my VIDA, Fine Art America, Pixels, and Zazzle online stores.

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Please visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about its founder Ms. Poggi and her extremely worthy cause. You can also show support for her organization through Amazon when you make purchases. If you buy items on amazon.com, please consider using smile.amazon.com/ch/76-0720368 which is the same as Amazon, except that it donates 0.5% of the price of your purchases to The Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals! Just click on the link and choose the Foundation. Then shop always from smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com. The Foundation is receiving more than $200.00 a year from Amazon, and if more people do this, they will be able to fund a whole photo project in a hospital very soon. Please help spread the word about this among your friends and family.

As always, this is from my heart ‚̧ to yours ‚̧ !

Maxine ūüôā

http://www.maxinebillings.com

http://www.naturesartblog.wordpress.com

http://www.askeevie.wordpress.com

http://www.pearlspearlsofwisdom.wordpress.com

 


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LOSS OF LIFE’S MOISTURE

desertRomans 2:15 helps us to appreciate that God gave us the gift of a conscience in order to guide us.¬† When our conscience is troubled, it can wear us down and torment us.¬† King David experienced this after taking another man’s wife.¬† In Psalm 32:1-5, he said that his strength had evaporated from him like water in the dry summer heat.¬† In other words, his attempted repression of¬†a guilty conscience wore him out and reduced his vigor like a tree that loses life-giving moisture in a drought or in the intense dry heat of summer.¬† Only when he confessed his sins did he finally gain much-needed relief.

I recently shared a blog that I had finally finished my manuscript to my soon-to-be released novel, DESPERATE HEARTS.¬† This story will begin nearly two years after where¬†ONE OF A KIND¬†ended.¬†¬†OOAKI am now in the editing process and also recently made a few minor revisions to the cover which I designed and created myself.¬† Although in our age of modern technology where many people are now reading books on their electronic devices, I realize that there are still some¬†who really prefer to hold the actual paper copy of a book in their hands–including myself :).¬† Therefore, I am happy to announce that my current plan is to release DESPERATE HEARTS in both Kindle and paperback edition.¬† I have included¬†at the bottom of¬†this post a copy of the revised cover so that you can see it as well as read the back cover for a more detailed description of what the story is about.¬† If you are interested in reading a sneak preview of the first chapter, please click here.

Now, to the title of this blog.  I chose it because I wanted to write about one of the themes that is central to the story in DESPERATE HEARTS which pertains to the conscience.  Since our heart is the center of what motivates us, it only makes sense that the conscience affects it.  When under stress, our heart can become desperate.  As one dictionary defines the word desperate, when in this state, the heart can become reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency.  Hence, the title of my new novel, DESPERATE HEARTS.  And it is during these moments that we can feel like King David as mentioned above.

Since I am so fascinated by the way that we imperfect humans interact with one another (especially when under stress), I love writing stories about family and relationships dealing with real-life issues.  So as many of you probably already know, my stories contain some drama but also include a little humor and flecks of tasteful romance.

Oh, and by the way, my ONE OF A KIND contest is still ongoing.  The prize is a Walmart gift card valued at $25.00.  For more details, please visit my website BOOKS page.  Plus, upon the release of DESPERATE HEARTS, I will be running another contest.

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

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

(Moroccan Sand Dunes Photo-Courtesy Office.com Clip Art)

 

 

DH BookCoverPreview 3

 

 


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COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

PRAYERAs I’m getting ready to wind down my day, I wanted to write a brief post about counting our blessings.¬† My day started out on a pretty good foot.¬† Later as I was on my way to pick up Mama from dialysis, I was listening to the radio and heard 97.5’s Radio Host Carol Blackmon say something that I had no idea would echo in my head again before the day was over.¬† What she said was simple yet so profound:¬† “Count your blessings, not your problems.”¬† Being the sentimental person that I am, I was deeply touched by her words.

As the afternoon progressed, things started going downhill.¬† Series after series of problems started occurring, and as a result, my stress level went from 0 to 10.¬† Anyway, to make a long story short, when I finally got back home around nine o’clock tonight, as I uttered a blessing to thank God for¬†the food I was about to eat, Carol’s words popped into my head.¬† I briefly went over with¬†God some of the things that had gone wrong throughout the afternoon when I suddenly¬†realized that the end result could have turned out a whole lot worse than it had.¬† After all, my family and I are still alive, we have everything we need to sustain us in life, and there are so many other people in the world who are suffering far worse than I.

I know now that God had me hear Carol’s words for a reason.¬† He knew that something was going to happen that would have me so consumed with anxiety that I would need to remember to count my blessings, not my problems.¬† He always gives us exactly what we need when we need it.¬† No, He doesn’t always act when and how we want Him to–but as my mama taught her children, “He may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time.

And no, I’m still not feeling on top of the world, but no longer do I feel as though I’m down under it.¬† Tomorrow’s another day, and hopefully, a better day.¬† But as I’ve learned, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.¬† I have enough to deal with already without worrying about what tomorrow and the next day(s) will bring.¬† So instead of worrying about all the problems that might occur, with God’s help, I’ll handle each problem as it arises.¬† (Matthew 6:34)

Good night, and as always, this is from my heart to yours!¬† ūüôā

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

(Woman Praying Courtesy Of Office.com Clip Art)

 


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FIT FOR A QUEEN

SPA TREATMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, I had one of the most fantastic voyages of my life! My hair stylist, Michelle Patton, owner of All About Hair,¬†recently moved her hair salon business to Keighley’s Salon, Boutique & Day Spa. She had already told her clients that we would like her new location, but I had no idea how awesome this place would be until I walked through the door!

FRONT ENTRANCE

ENTRANCE SIGN

Keighley’s is located at 8849 Highway 5, Suite H, Douglasville, GA 30134. The owner, Sonia P. Moore, opened her business the latter part of last year. Her shop is so well laid out and organized. And to think, I had no idea that something this wonderful is so close to where I live. It’s not in an extremely busy area of town which led me to wondering if a lot of people know about it. If they don’t, they certainly should! I mean, this place is so awesome! I know–I already said that, but I just had to say it again.

Her slogan is:¬† Come for the service. Enjoy the ambiance. When you enter her salon, you’ll see why she chose this trademark. There is this ambiance that totally pulls you into a romantic atmosphere of a candlelight dinner, wine, and soft music. Even though that is not what you are there for, her d√©cor takes you there. If you are in a bad mood when you come in, it will quickly dissipate into a state of sheer euphoria. Everywhere you look and walk, you are surrounded by sheer elegance, beauty, and serenity. There is even a sauna, a kitchen, a boutique, and areas for massages. Ms. Moore really did her homework when opening her business!

TABLE (ENTRANCE)SITTING AREACHEST & MIRROR

FIREPLACESAUNAKITCHEN

MASSAGE 1BOUTIQUE

I was so excited that I could hardly contain myself¬†before and during the¬†writing of¬†this post! It also got me to thinking about the use of spa treatments in Bible times. Since water was scarce in some parts of the world, scented oils were a part of the people’s hygiene routine. Before being presented to King Ahasuerus, the Jewish maiden Esther (who was later chosen as queen), along with many other young and beautiful women, underwent a 12-month spa treatment that consisted of a six-month massage with oil of myrrh and another six-month treatment with balsam oil. (Esther 2:12) Even though this special treatment was at the order of the King, it seems that since the earliest of times, women have been extremely interested in making themselves beautiful. Many archaeological finds have been discovered throughout Israel that testify to the extent of the use of cosmetics by women of that time.

During these busy and stressful times we live in, many women are prone to neglecting themselves in order to help provide for their families. Let’s admit it–we lead extremely busy lives. We wear many hats within our own families–doctor, cook, chauffeur, lawyer, teacher, adviser, and on, and on, and . . . . To our families and others who know us well, we are SUPERWOMEN, but the truth of the matter is, we are not indestructible. We’re fragile at times. Although we usually hold up well under pressure, we can break. So not only do we need, but we dTFHeserve, some rest and relaxation. This is not said in order to promote laziness on anyone’s part for we should be industrious, but God also recognizes that all of us need a relief of tension. (Proverbs 6:6-11; Ecclesiastes 4:6) The key, however,¬†is to be balanced, and this is something Hope has to learn to do in TIME FOR HOPE.

As I said, I was so excited about this discovery that I just had to share it with you! When you have an opportunity, I hope you’ll check out Keighley’s. You won’t be disappointed–it is¬†fit for a queen. By the way,¬†Ms. Moore is¬†now hiring for certain positions in her salon. If you’re interested, why not give her a call! Her number is (404) 482-7349.

One more thing–let’s all please¬†help spread the word about¬†this wonderful business.¬† Not only do we need one another’s support, but when we find something that we enjoy, aren’t we just bubbling over like a fountain to share it with others?

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve taken up enough of your time. Enjoy your day, and HAPPY READING!

As always, this is from my heart to yours,

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com

P.S.,  My stylist Michelle is also pretty awesome at what she does.  For an appointment, please call her at (678) 886-7855.

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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
ATOF
ISAIH


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MONEY SICKNESS SYNDROME

In my short story and first eBook, ONE OF A KIND, Paula Copeland is my high-maintenance character who is suffering from money sickness syndrome.

Money sickness syndrome is a condition that reportedly affects a large percentage of the world’s population. According to one mental health researcher, the term is used to describe the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by people who are stressed with money worries. We all need money in order to make it in this world, and there’s nothing wrong with having money nor being financially stable. But whether we have a little or a lot and whether we worry about it or not, what is our attitude regarding money?

There is also nothing wrong with having money concerns. It’s common, and understandably so, especially during hard economic times, but again, what is our attitude regarding this necessary commodity? Some people who have just a little materially are just as happy as some who have a lot. The bottom line is: wherever we are on the money leader board (whether at the bottom, the top, or somewhere in between), we should keep in mind that our Creator knows exactly what we need. And as long as we keep Him first in our lives, just as He promises, He will make sure that we have everything we need.

Maxine

http://www.maxinebillings.com