Thursday, December 15, 2011

Becoming An Author

My writing life has took a turn for the very busy, so that's why the long silence.

My happy news is I have true stories in two book anthologies: "Love Is A Verb Devotional: 365 Inspirations To Bring Love Alive," by Gary Chapman, and "Celebrating Christmas With . . . Memories, Poetry, and Good Food," by Editor Donna Clark Goodrich.

Just this morning, I did a two minute interview with our local Christian radio station about the book signings. I didn't say, ummm, well, or any other nonsense thing.

Yesterday, I asked my writer's group about what to do instead of ummm and well. I like what Illustrator Siri had to say, "Pause for a moment to think, but not too long."

Half way into the interview, the announcer asked me, "What is your favorite recipe in the Christmas book?" He chuckled, probably realizing I hadn't the time to try the recipes yet.

I paused, looked down at my notes and my eyes fell on: Lisa's Fruit Cake recipe. I told him I don't like fruit cake, but Lisa [Harris] made it sound delicious and the recipe has some yummy ingredients. I said I planned to make that for Christmas.

Whew! I pulled that off, but did I? I prayed before I went on the air and asked God for his full armor upon me and to give me a peace that passes understanding. God did, and I had just warmed up to talk some more, when the announcer said my time was up.


What's next for the two books? Right now, I am preparing for my first ever book signing at our local Christian book store this Sat, Dec. 17 from 1-3 p.m. at Evangel Family Book Store in Grants Pass, Oregon. There's a lot of work that goes into one of these events. I've made bookmarks, new business cards, and a hand out sheet that gives suggestions for helping folks get through the holidays after a loss.

I've already mailed posters to family and friends announcing the book signing. I'm sure I'll be fortunate to get a small crowd for the book signing. That's okay. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how to market and promote my work.

Let's go back several months to when the editors contacted me about accepting my true stories for the book anthologies. I felt elated. It's the snowball effect, don't ya know, because after that I found more opportunities to write for anthologies. That's kept me writing, writing.

To top that off, my "Year Of Firsts" article that's been published in two online magazines, will now be in an E-book soon to be published by Open To Hope. Open To Hope is under the umbrella of Compassionate Friends International.

When I received the E-mail from the Open To Hope editor, I sat there pretty much stunned. Me, oh, my, how grateful am I!!!

The other projects I'm working on is the book proposal for YEAR OF FIRSTS DEVOTIONAL: GOD'S MERCIES OF A BROKEN MOTHER'S HEART. And a picture book for children about Goatee, the surfing goat. If you're curious about seeing Goatee surf, click the link above and watch the short clip on UTube. The young man, Dana, that owns Goatee was Joshua's best friend.

This has been a productive few months of writing, and it all began in early spring as my grieving mind, over my loss of Joshua, was beginning to unscramble.

Thank you, Lord!

Until next time . . . I write the stories that God gives to me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Year Of Firsts Devotional

I thought I'd wait to start my story about our loss of Joshua, but God had other plans.

A dear friend of mine gave me a suggestion, as I thought and wrestled with how to write my book. She said, "Why don't you write a devotional about your loss of Joshua? That way, you can do it a bit at a time."

Well, I thought, why not?

I loved her idea, and I had not even considered it. The thought of writing one daily devotional a day made it seem doable. I knew sometimes I'd be sobbing through the writing process, and so this way I could meet the 150 words a day easily enough.

Now, I am at day four of the devotional and am glad to have begun. I've included a prayer at the end and will later add the scriptures for each beginning.

So dear friend, Pat, thank you for giving me an idea that I could manage. God bless you!

Until next time . . . listen, because God can and does speak through others.

Photo: Joshua on the right (age 16) and his daddy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comforting Someone Who Has Lost A Loved One To Suicide

Unfortunately, I comforted my sister today, who lost her husband yesterday to suicide. I say unfortunately because of her loss. I do want to be instant in season and out of season for those who are left behind after such horrific losses.

I made a point to listen to my sister. It didn't matter that at times I couldn't understand her when the sobs grew louder than her words. It did matter that she knew I understood.

I shared a few details about the morning we lost Joshua. She wanted to know more, and she asked many questions.

We prayed together, and our conversation ended with her feeling not as alone. She even said she'd call me first if she felt too overwhelmed.

I did one more important step, though. I gave my sister the name of a grief counselor in her area. How did I find that? On The Compassionate Friends Website.

Thank you, Lord, for helping us!

Let me back up and say that before I spoke to my sister, I asked many Prayer Warriors to pray for her. They did, and will continue to do so. They got me through my loss, they'll be diligent and get my sister through hers.

God bless you dear ones who are praying for our family during this sad time.

God is Love!

Until next time . . . be ready to pray.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

After My Loss: How I learned To Sleep Again

When I lost my son, Joshua,  to suicide, taking care of my body was the last thing on my mind. The stress lowered my immune system in the worst way. Lack of sleep hit me hard. I could have taken pills for that, but I knew it's not nice on the body because of side effects.

At the onset of our son's death, I wished someone would have told me about Ionic Magnesium by Trace Minerals. When I thought I would lose my mind from so little sleep, I asked the nice lady at the health food store for help. I explained I hadn't slept more than three hours a night for six months.

She held up a finger, and said, "I've got just the thing."

I'll be forever grateful to that sweet woman.

Another plus came when I took my second bone density test a year after the first one. It show I had regained some of my bone loss. So there's two good reasons for me to take Ionic Magnesium.

I still take my Ionic Magnesium, but now in lower doses. I combine it with Calcium before bed to help me relax and sleep.

Now that we live a long way from town, I order my Ionic Magnesium online, which is convenient.

Until next time . . . rest.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Love Is A Verb Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations to Bring Love Alive

I'm excited to announce my first contribution to a book anthology, Love Is A Verb Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations to Bring Love Alive. The book project, by Gary Chapman & James Stuart Bell, is published by Bethany House.

You can order the book at, which is available October 1, 2011. You can take a quick look at the jacket cover by scrolling down this site.

As I write my own novels, I'll continue to write short stories and devotionals for other anthologies. I'm learning anthologies are a great way to gain writing experience and to get your name out in the public. Did you know you can even do book signings for anthologies? Wow! How neat is that?

In the next month or so, I'll announce my upcoming contribution in another anthology due out in December, 2011.

Until next time . . . let us give God the glory.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Count Our Blessings And Rid Life of Fearfulness

Since I've struggled with unholy fear all my life, I knew God was showing me enough was enough, when a caring person said this about my fearfulness, "Don't even mention you are fearful, get rid of it. It is sin."

At that moment, I prayed that God would show me HOW to rid my life of fear. When I am tempted to fear, how do I overcome and be NOT carried away by it? What do I replace fear with?

God's answer to my first question came soon after when I reread 1 John 4:15-19. My eyes opened to how I could apply the verses to my life. Notice verses 16 & 18.

". . . God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."


"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

Do we see? After understanding these verses, if I continue to hold onto fearfulness, I am in danger of calling God a liar.

God answered my second question by way of a song, "When Upon Life's Billows," by Johnson Oatman.

First Stanza:
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Am I still tempted to fear? Yes. When the beginnings of fearfulness rise inside me, I quote from the verse above, ". . . perfect love cast out fear . . ." Right after, I name the blessings God has given to me, and fear is replaced with a sense of calm and peace.

I understand God's perfect love casts out our fears. It is so simple, but it took me being weary of my fears and someone that cared enough to point out my fault.

How does this apply to the loss of a child, especially to suicide? Fearfulness escalated in my life after Joshua died. Now, it's my job to work at staying free from the bondage of fear.

My prayer today: Thank you, Lord, for a love so great, that you sent your son, Jesus, to die on the cross and free us from our sins. In Jesus name, Amen.

Until next time . . . Being thankful is for things God gives to us; but a heart of praise is giving thanks for who he is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attitude-inize by Jan Coates

Attitude-inize: 10 Secrets To A Positive You by Jan Coates is a practical, easy to read book backed by scriptures about how to change our attitudes. Jan explains how she overcame obstacles in her life, and she teaches the reader how they can do the same. Jan made me feel I'm not alone with my personal struggles.

At the end of each chapter, Jan offers questions for the reader to consider and a place for them to write out their thoughts. That allowed me to delve deeper and be honest about the concerns and issues I face each day.

Jan Coates is a speaker and if you wish to contact her you may E-mail her at You may also visit her Web.

I want to add that after losing our son to suicide, I needed this book at this perfect time. When one loses a child in such a horrendous way, our attitudes may become negative as mine did. Thank you, Jan, for the labor of love in each page you wrote of Attitude-inize.

God bless you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Mother's Day Gift From God

I have always been stumped as to how to answer this question, "How many children do you have?"

Should I say, "Um, I have three, but one died?" No, no, who wants to hear that? "Well, I have two children," and in my mind, I think, no I gave birth to three. How about, "I have three, altogether." Then they look at you like what are you not saying?

After a seven-year-long sigh, I can now breathe normal. Here's why.

As my husband and I drove to worship on Mother's Day, the answer came to me as if I had opened a box and there lay the perfect gift from God. He let me know I have three children, but the youngest went on to Paradise.

Now that really surprised me, because I believe no one can know this for sure. We can hope it. We can be pretty certain, when our loved one who has become a Christian, that he will be in heaven one day. But we're not God, and we can't know for a fact.

Only God knows the heart of men. 1 Kings 8:39

So, in faith, that's what I plan to say. "I have three children, but the youngest went on to Paradise."

I continue on the path of loss where the Lord carries me, and when I look down, there is one set of footprints in the sand.

On my next post, I will delve deeper into why Joshua died, which I've not wrote about before. Please check back soon.

Until next time . . . hold tight to Jesus.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Deeper and Deeper

Into the heart of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go,
Seeking to know the reason why He should love me so,
Why He should stoop to lift me up from the miry clay,
Saving my soul, making me whole, Tho’ I had wandered a way.

The title of the song above is “Into the Heart of Jesus (Deeper and Deeper)” and this is the first stanza.

I identify with these words.

At one point in my first few years of grieving the loss of my son from suicide, I lost tracked of my own soul. Crushed and mangled, I lost my way. My need for God to stop the pain was so intense; I got only silence at God’s end. Was He waiting for my spiritual self to arrive at a certain place? Yes, for that is the way He could help me, once I lay the grief, sorrow, and pain at His perfect feet.

When I came to that place, I once more could hear His shepherd’s voice. I also sensed His angel’s comforting me, as His angels comforted Jesus. Though I felt solemn for several weeks after, I also experienced a peace that can only come from God.

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)

We need patience, for God’s timing is not always ours. I needed to go through the struggles, so that my faith in God would increase. Remember, as children of God, we agree to take up His cross and follow Him—in everything. We don’t have the authority to pick and choose. God decides how best we are to suffer for our spiritual growth. Remember that word pruning? And, He always wants us to know spiritual joy afterward.

I still miss my son, Joshua. That will never stop. I must look for joy in other areas of my life, though. The utmost important being, God sent His Son to die on a cross so we may live with Him forever in heaven.

On that path, deeper and deeper we go.

Until next time . . . seek Him.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Old Cherokee Saying.


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. "One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is God - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (KJV)

Hi, readers,

I wondered about the sorrow evil, and I think that means if you self-destruct because of sorrow. Sorrow that lessens to a bearable, and we keep living, is different.

Until next time . . . which Wolf will we choose?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's Really On Our Minds: Caution Radioactive

This topic may seem off the theme of my blog about suicide, but bear with me. My intent is to honor my son, Joshua. These trying times we're going through in the world is one of the reasons Joshua took his life. He lived in intense fear of the mistakes of man. He warned his father and I of just this very thing that happened in Japan. Joshua even prepared us for it before he took his life.

Yes, it is true, people may say Joshua should have been stronger and held on, but the fact remains he did not. And in honor of his boldness to seek the truth and to help others, I write this article.

Everyone should be taking iodine in some form. That should have happened, especially countries east of Japan, on the day Japan announced problems with their reactors. Now, with three of the six reactors in bad shape, we must consider what it is we will do now, not later, if these reactors meltdown.

Below, I share links of information of what is happening and how to help yourself, your families, and friends.

We found the Health Ranger, as Mike Adams calls himself, at Natural His blog keeps the people up to date on the radioactive problem. He's honest. He doesn't pull punches. The Health Ranger is blunt. You can also get his newsletter delivered to your E-mail each day.

Another site that I've found helpful is Oasis Health & Wellness Blog by Dr. Loretta Lanphier. Dr. Loretta has an informative article Fighting Radiation Exposure - Naturally. I quote Dr. Steven R. Schechter from within Dr. Loretta's article, "These foods and food substances will enhance the immune system and protect against the dangerous side effects of radiation."

We must not delay, though, because Dr. Loretta says this, "The time to implement these foods is now in order to build up the body as well as the immune system. Most of the foods and vitamins/minerals are "protective" meaning that they should be implemented before a radiation event occurs."

This makes perfect sense to me. Even though small levels of radiation are being detected in the U.S., there is still time to read Dr. Loretta's article and protect our health.

I hope you find this information helpful and timely.

Please, post a comment or question. If I don't have the answer, I will research and see if I can find it.

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grieving With Help

We were not left alone after our son, Joshua, died by suicide. People from across the states took the time to listen and some cried with us. It would take pages to mention them name-by-name, but because of who he was to Joshua, I'll choose one.

After Joshua’s memorial, when the hall emptied out and the doors locked, Dana, Joshua's childhood friend, stood with my husband and I and asked questions. “Why do you think Joshua did this? What was his frame of mind like before it happened?” And other such inquiries.

What Dana did from then on was stay in contact. Even though Dana took extended trips to other countries as a missionary, when he came home he called. If we were gone, he’d leave messages on our machine in his best Irish brogue, “It’s Dana McGregor. I’m in town for two weeks and wondered if we could meet this Sunday.”

At the time, I didn’t consider how hard that might have been for Dana to visit us, knowing he would never see Joshua again. I’m sure it was especially hard with me sobbing on his shoulder at our greeting. He helped us when he attended our church, not his normal place of worship, even though he had not seen his own church group for months. We witnessed his love for our son the day he sobbed with grief in my husband’s arms.

Around a year after Joshua's death, Dana came to our home for a grandchild's birthday party. Dana played the same outdoor game with our grandchildren that he played with Joshua: hacky sack. For our three granddaughters it helped them with their grief process to interact with Uncle Joshy’s best friend.

At one point at the party I was preparing food at the picnic table, when my husband and Dana stooped over Joshua’s dog, Heinrich. They examined the dog’s head for a possible tick. Concern showed on Dana’s face, and I turned away with tears in my eyes. I thought, How sweet. Like a photo in my mind, I enjoy pulling out that memory and gazing at it with love in my heart.

Now we live in another state, but we’ll call Dana to make appointments to meet with him. It’s a yearly thing for us to go back home to see family and friends, and visit Joshua’s stone. We'll join Dana at a restaurant and catch up, talk Bible, and eat a meal. Last year was extra special when he introduced us to his girlfriend. We were instantly drawn to her and so happy for Dana.

It says in the scriptures the Lord brings us comfort in times of trials. God brought us people like Dana and other folks, who have helped us through their love and support.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Days of New Normal

My newest story is up at Open to Hope.

Click on the search bar that's to the right of the OTH column. Enter my name, Jean Williams, and my story title, "The Days of New Normal" will pop up. Click on that link to read the story.

Is it possible to begin living a life in a New Normal after you've lost a loved one? I began living the Days New Normal without Joshua when God used one of his feathered creatures to show me how.

If you wish, leave a comment, and if you want prayer, please let me know.

Until next time . . . keep your heart open to God.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Compassionate Friends

Recently, God has blessed me with wonderful news. I've been accepted to submit articles to the Open to Hope column within The Compassionate Friends E-Newsletter. To gain access to my articles, click on OpentoHope and enter my name Jean Williams in the search box. You'll see my photo above the articles.

This is one more step forward. My goal is to build a platform, as I work toward writing a book about our loss of Joshua through suicide. I hope to help those parents who've suffered as we have. To encourage them it's not the end; even though it feels like we've dropped off the end of the world. I do believe it's true that nothing hurts more than losing your child.


Many friends and family members have supported me on this seven-year journey, and I want to say, "Thank you and I love you. You know who you are."

Now for more news: Open to Hope Foundation is hosting a free Webinar on Valentine's Day.

Below is their advertisement for the Webinar.

Until next time . . . breathe.

Valentine's Day After the Death of a Child; Brought to You by The Compassionate Friends and The Open to Hope Foundation

Monday, February 14, 2011
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM PST

Join us for a Webinar on February 14

Join us for a free Webinar!!

Dr.Bob Baugher joins Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi on Valentine's Day. Dr. Bob Baugher is a psychologist and certified death educator who teaches at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington. Bob has co-authored a number of books and has given hundreds of workshops on coping with grief and loss, and is a trainer for the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer
Reserve your Webinar seat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To Whom Shall We Go?

Within minutes after we found Joshua, I was propelled to make several choices. I did two things first: I called the ambulance and then Joshua's siblings and close family.

The third and most important choice I made that morning was spiritual. Believe it or not, my terror and sorrow was so great that I sensed a screaming call to choose between Satan and Lord God.

My response to this choice came immediate and without doubt. In John 6:68, Peter says it much better than me, ". . . Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."


I hope this helps to know that even in time of immense trouble, we can and should rely upon our Lord God. Many blessings will follow, including the spiritual safety we enjoy within God's presence.

Until next time . . . choose him daily.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who Needs Jesus When We Have TV?

After Joshua died, my husband and I didn't turn on the TV for two weeks.

I remember the first time we did sit down to watch a program. I told my husband I couldn't watch stuff that had nothing to do with my life without Joshua. He turned it off.

In time we thought we needed to rest our minds because of our loss, and we watched TV. Feeling odd about it, I viewed selected programs with my husband. Still, that didn't seem right. I prayed about my struggle, and I stopped watching Television altogether.

I studied my Bible with my concordance when I would have normally watched TV. I found more time for Jesus, and the oppression TV had on me disappeared. I needed more of God, and TV had served to distract. For me, Television had been an idol. I didn't want anything to replace even a moment of Jesus in my life, especially when I needed His strength to rise out of bed each morning.

We watched movies on our screen, though, and we got a few classics like Lucille Ball and Shirley Temple. They made me laugh and smile. It was more wholesome entertainment, not like TV sitcoms and the commercials.

When my husband and I moved to Oregon, we banned the TV. The quiet our home now experiences is amazing. Sometimes in the winter, we view wholesome biblical movies, and we watch documentaries on the men who suffered and died for translating the word of God to English.

If you're thinking of banning your Television, you'll be amazed at the calming transformation to your spirit.

Worried about getting the news? Use your Internet for that.

Let me know if you stopped watching your TV to allow more time for Spiritual matters, and tell us how that has affected your lives.

Until next time . . . share Jesus with others.

Author Note: The photo above is of Joshua playing Twister with his friends. Joshua wore the peach-colored western shirt I made for him.