Song of Springhill, a love story & labor of love

Check out the blog I posted on my writing website about my new novel, Song of Springhill: a love story. It’s a story that comes from my family, and includes the mining disaster my grandfather survived and a God who showed up and allowed for some of the most miraculous rescues.

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

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I feel like I’ve been living in the 1950s for the past little while, so enjoying looking up details about cars, Christmas decorations, clothes, popular music and dances, and other styles of the time period. That’s one of the many joys of being a writer…being able to dive into another world, setting, time period. (I’ve been listening to this great 1950s music mix!) I was even tempted to buy a poodle skirt and a hula hoop. What an era that must have been to grow up in.

It feels like I’ve been working on this project for a long time because…well, I have. My dad had told me for years (in the 90s) that I should try to find a story to tell centering on the Springhill coal mining disasters, including the big one my grandfather survived. It took me a while to listen to him. (Sorry…

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Is How You Think Causing Fear?

Think GraphicDo you have anxiety disorder or struggle with fear? Have you ever paid attention to those words that stream through your mind before, during, or after a panic attack? I’m willing to bet a lot of those are lies. Are you willing to look up, to God, for His truth instead?

When we experience fear, why do we tell ourselves we’re weak, worthless, and abnormal? Can we possibly find some new adjectives? (There are dictionaries full of them!)

Do all of those defeatist words build up your self-image? Do they help you? Of course not! Most importantly, they are lies. If I don’t put up with listening to lies from other people, why on earth would I put up with them from myself? And why should you?

When I was in the heat of battling my anxiety disorder, as fear would overtake me, I’d listen to lies. It became such a habit that I believed every word.

How can we rise above anxiety and fear when we don’t believe we can?

Are you a victim of the lies your mind feeds you? Does your fear grow because of the thoughts you are dwelling on? Our minds need to be retrained so we won’t fall victim to the power of our thoughts. This is an important skill to master. It was key to my recovery.

ASSIGNMENT:

Make a list of all the lies you tell yourself when you are experiencing fear or panic. 

Refute the Lies with God’s Word.

Now take the time to look at the lies that stream through your mind, and search the Bible for the truth about the situation. It’s best to rewrite these lies while you are NOT in the middle of an anxiety attack. You can put them on note cards and have them on hand to use in the heat of a battle with fear instead.

I will show you two examples below; I have many more in my book Finally Fearless.

 LIE: Everything I tell myself, in my mind, is truth.

TRUTH: Many lies that stream through our minds are from the devil himself, who wants us to be defeated. He is the author of lies.

John 8:44b: “[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

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LIE: Anxiety lives in me, and I can’t get rid of it.

TRUTH: We may feel like anxiety lives in us because it takes over our whole body. But it doesn’t need to stay there. If we’ve asked Him to, we have a Savior who has taken up residence in our hearts.

Galatians 2:20a (kjv): “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (kjv): “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

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If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

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Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Fear or Faith?

Fear in Bible

Considering the volume of material in the Bible devoted to such commands as “fear not” and “trust God,” this must have been something people struggled with a lot. We are not a unique generation. Clearly, God knew this would be an ongoing issue for generations. Recognize that you are not alone. People in the Bible panicked or allowed fears or a lack of faith in God to drive their actions as well.

Think of Adam and Eve, who, as soon as they sinned for the first time, hid from God. That was the beginning of fear in the Bible (Genesis 3).

Think of Abraham and Sarah, who feared they would never have an heir. Their lack of trust in God drove them to take action into their own hands, which resulted in Ishmael’s conception (Genesis 16).

Think of Moses, who kept asking, “Who am I,” citing his many personal inadequacies to lead the Israelites. When God turned Moses’s rod into a snake, Moses ran in fear (Exodus 4:3). Moses feared public speaking (Exodus 4:10). Moses begged God to use someone else, letting his insecurities overpower him (Exodus 4:13). Doesn’t Moses sound like a man with an anxiety disorder?

Think of Gideon, who feared his limits and doubted his abilities. He questioned if God was going to help him. He was afraid God had abandoned him and the Israelites (Judges 6:13). God counseled Gideon with the words, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” (Judges 6:23). Then Gideon built an altar and named it “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). Gideon had the right reaction and became a man of faith. God’s counsel sunk into Gideon’s heart.

Think of David, who attempted to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by arranging the murder of her husband Uriah. David feared the consequences he’d have to face if his sin came to light. It drove him deeper into sinful behavior (2 Samuel 11).

Think of Elijah, who after working so closely with God to take down Baal and his prophets, ran, fearing for his life after Jezebel threatened him (1 Kings 18–19).

Think of Jeremiah, who cried out to God, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” when God told him He’d appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5–6). He was afraid of the work God had for him.

Think of Peter, when he stepped out of the boat; he was fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. Then, he saw the waves around him and panicked (Matthew 14:22–33). And let’s not forget when Peter feared for his life and denied Christ three times, running away from the courtyard (Matthew 26:69–75).

Some of these illustrations of people from the Bible were legitimate situations to feel fear or panic (unlike most anxiety disorder situations). However, they still illustrate that big reactions to fear have been around for a long time. Our loving God cared enough to leave us these stories about people we can relate to, along with hundreds of verses encouraging us to trust God, not to live in fear. Our fear must be replaced with faith.

And thankfully, many of those people represented here who experienced moments of fear also moved on to have some amazing moments of faith. Some are even listed in Hebrews in the look back at the “Faith Hall of Fame.”

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The above was excerpted from my book Finally Fearless. If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Breaking the Silence

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Have you ever had a problem and you didn’t know why or even what it was called? That’s what having a panic disorder was like for me. I found that people were so private about this problem that, even though I had people in my life with the same challenges, I didn’t know it. The problem was so embarrassing, none of us were sharing with each other what we were going through.

When I was twenty-one, almost ten years after my first anxiety attack, I still had never been diagnosed, still hadn’t seen a counselor. So, how did I finally find out I was having panic attacks?

When I was in grad school in 1993 at Regent University, I came across old episodes of a spin-off of The 700 Club. It was called Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. Sheila had Christian music artist, Michael English, on her show. He was discussing his struggles with a panic disorder. When I heard him describe his struggles—the sudden nature of a flood of symptoms coming out of nowhere—I was fascinated with him. His experience sounded so familiar. I looked up articles on him at the library to get more information. I had never heard someone talk about panic before. I thought, Wow! I wonder if this is what I have. The more I read about Michael and his struggles, the more I became convinced that I had some kind of an anxiety disorder.

While I am glad someone like Michael English decided to come forward with his story, it still didn’t encourage me to talk to anyone about it. I finally had a name to my problem, yet I was still silent with most everyone I knew. That drastically slowed down my healing from panic and anxiety.

My encouragement to you, if you have a problem, is start talking about it. Talk to trustsed friends, family members, or a counselor.  If I hadn’t broken my two decades of silence about my challenges, I never would have healed.

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If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Funny Marriage Advice

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How about enjoying some humor today? Naturally, when you solicit marriage advice, you get quite a variety of ideas from novices and veterans alike. Today’s Wisdom Wednesday will focus on some of the funny tidbits we received from others. Hope you enjoy a good laugh:

“Don’t read, or let your husband read, Proverbs 31:10-31.” (CS)

“Fight naked.” (NS and DB and AC, yes three people gave us that one.)

“Don’t eat that one year old cake!”  (CA) (We didn’t! I think it’s still in his sister’s freezer.)

“For the bride: lingerie is your next best friend.” (A)

“Have lots of s*x” – (We got a lot of these notes on note cards)

“Don’t always be right, even though you are.” (VB)

“He’ll put up with our girlie food for a while then declare his need for MEAT.” (SH)

“Earplugs, sleep masks, and tiny reading lights are bliss savers.” (SM)

“The secret is two words: ‘Yes, Ma’am.'” (MP)

“Don’t wear fanny packs.” (LR)

Funny Marriage Advice

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Hope for Singles Waiting to Find Love

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Are you frustrated with being single? Have you been wondering where God is in the midst of your life and its seemingly missing “love story?” So was I. For almost 39 years of my life. I tried to pen what that love life should look like (with my purple pen, in my journals. Ten, twenty. Okay, maybe more like thirty journals worth?) But seriously what I penned was no where near my reality.

So I turned my pen over to another outlet. One in which I vent my frustrations, my questions, prayers, and cries out to God. I turned it into a book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting.  Now, it’s available in audio form.

One of my  most popular blogs has been:

16 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

So I know there are a lot of people out there waiting, searching, wondering what God is up to in this area of life. That blog is excerpted from a chapter of this book. The list is available in the link above.

FinallytheBrideAudio

I was very blessed to find such a delightful voiceover talent, to capture the heart of “me” and all my angst. Her name is Shawna M. Washabaugh. She can be just as snarky as me when moaning to God about “why is this taking so long?” She did a wonderful job, not only voicing the book but producing it as well.

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Shawna M. Washabaugh

(Narrator / Producer)

It’s a great alternative to the print book for those who would rather listen to audiobooks or for book clubs who want to go through the book together. You can listen to chapters during your meeting and then discuss them.

You can listen to a sample on any of the sites where it’s on sale at these following links:

Finally the Bride on Audible.com

Finally the Bride on Amazon (Under Format: Choose Audible Audio Edition):

Also available on Itunes. Search: Finally the Bride in Audiobooks or search by Cheryl McKay

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I pray that my story encourages you in your waiting, and that you will know you are not alone in what you feel. I also recently started a Pinterest board, hoping to collect various quotes, articles and such that could be of encouragement to singles:

Hope for Singles on Pinterest

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If you prefer to read print or kindle versions, visit these links:

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

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Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :


Be Grateful

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This week’s tidbit of marital wisdom is something we heard often from many people, but we don’t have a specific quote. So we’ll take a couple straight out of the Bible, the best book of wisdom out there.

Colossians 3:15b (niv) “…Be thankful.”

Psalms 147:7a (niv) “Sing to the Lord with grateful praise…”

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We sometimes start our prayer times by singing praises with Chris playing the guitar. Admittedly, this is harder to do if we are weathering some difficult circumstances. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have and what isn’t going right. We can forget what is a wonderful blessing right before us. If Chris and I struggle with disappointments about what God isn’t doing right now, we lose sight of what He is doing. We try to make it a practice to remember to be grateful for the many blessings that are in our lives. We know this is good advice, even if it’s not always easy to follow. However, we definitely find that our household is a lot more peaceful when we have an attitude of thankfulness.

Along the lines of gratefulness, we should always remember to thank our spouses for all that they do for us and the wonderful ways in which they contribute to our lives. A “thank you” is so easy; it doesn’t cost us anything. Yet, it can mean so much.

Be grateful

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No we are not just being silly for our blog. These photos were taken by Susan Rohrer during the video shoot we did for our wedding reception (produced by Caroline Way). We took these to make thank you cards for those who came to our wedding.