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Review of Lumen5 by Mary C. Findley

Lumen5 is an online video creation package we are currently subscribing to. For many years we hoped that we could quickly and easily create videos based on our blog and our books. We have purchased equipment and programs and tried free and paid services to do our video work. People often pay more attention to videos than the printed word. We wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible.

The problem was that “quickly and easily” part. We tried voice recordings. We tried live capture “talking head” videos. We tried greenscreening. (Yes, one wall of our garage is painted green.) We tried just capturing cooking adventures, backyard hummingbirds, and learning 3D programs. Every step of the way we hit snags and things took longer and longer while the message still wasn’t getting out.

That’s what we have always wanted, you see. To get the message of the truth of God’s Word out to as many people as possible. We have blog views from all over the world. People in maybe 20 countries have bought our books. But we want to get the message to more people, always.

Enter Lumen5. It’s a website where you can plug in the URL of a blog post or a few paragraphs of text, and the program will attempt to sort them into a maximum of about 40 screens of about 140 characters (roughly a 5 minute limit) each and pick out appropriate video and images. Its choices are sometimes downright weird but doing your own searches among their hefty collection of images and footage is easy and modifying the text position and style is also simple.

You can’t really create a video of substance in 5 minutes but you sure can in about an hour. All the visuals are public domain or Creative Commons licensed. You can add in your own visuals as long as they meet the specs.

Videos:
– filetypes: mp4, mov, gif
– maximum duration: 20 seconds
– maximum filesize: 50 MB
– minimum resolution: 480px by 480px
– framerate: 24-30fps (we don’t currently support 60fps)
– preferred MP4 video codec: H.264
– preferred MP4 audio codec: AAC

Our system may support other codecs, but we recommend H.264 and AAC. H.264 supports 8bit color depth. We don’t support alpha channels, green screens/chromakey, or masks.

Images:
1920 x 1080px.
– filetypes: jpg, png, bmp, webp
– maximum filesize: 50 MB
– minimum resolution: 480px by 480px

Right now there are limits, like only about 5 fonts. But they have a facebook community page where they are very responsive to questions, complaints, and kudos. They are working to add more options.

The free version has reduced size videos but everything else seems to work. There is a $50 monthly subscription option for larger video dimensions that can be put up into subscription services.

I see this as a way to teach all kinds of skills, to create book trailers, to advertise pretty much anything. At this point we are happily seeing what we can do with the program. It looks good. Many people are already selling promos, including major companies. Others create cat advice videos, corporate training, and a little of everything. And people are paying for these videos. It’s exciting to think that soon they might be paying for ours.

 

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Love Is … 2015 Blog Hop for Christian Indie authors

cia hop

We are sharing in a blog hop for fellow Christian Indie authors in honor of Valentine’s Day. Coming Valentines Day Feb 13-15.  Click the images at the top or bottom of this post to visit the main hop page.

My book is Carrie’s Hired Hand, a Civil War novella with a mystery and a romance., priced at only 99 cents.

25

There were times, however, when Robbie “asked” for permission to go away from the farm. He went off for a part of a day, or a whole day once or twice. Carrie wondered greatly where he went but knew it was none of her business.
Robbie had been gone overnight this time. Carrie tried not to be worried, but she missed Robbie and his cheerful “dumb show” of eating breakfast with the family and going out to work in the morning. She was teaching Bethany to roll piecrust in the kitchen when she heard a commotion out in the yard.
“Mama!” Matthew’s voice screamed. He had gone out to get water. “Some men are comin’, an’ they’re chasin’ Robbie!”
She looked out and was horrified to find a group of confederate soldiers riding into the barnyard, and Robbie running madly ahead of them like a rabbit from a dog pack. Before she could get out to them they had caught him by the chicken yard and torn his shirt from his back. They lashed him to the fence and began to beat him with a horsewhip. Matthew stood by, crying and begging them to stop. Bethany, who had followed Carrie out, burst into tears also.
“Stop that! What are you doing?” Carrie screamed at the men.
“This fellow’s a spy, ma’am,” snarled one of the soldiers.
“You’re crazy! That’s my hired man,” Carrie stormed. “He’s just a poor deaf and dumb boy. How could he be a spy?”
“Deaf an’ dumb?” another man, in a sergeant’s uniform, repeated. “You sure about that?”
“Of course I’m sure. Look what you’ve done to him.” Carrie put herself between Robbie and the soldiers. Robbie hung there, shuddering but not making a sound.
“We – we’ve been hearin’ rumors of a spy in this area,” one of the men said uncertainly. “Information’s gettin’ out to the Yankees, that’s for sure. An’ we saw this fellah hangin’ around our camp over the hill, an’ we thought when he headed back here – ”
“You mean to a northern woman’s farm?” Carrie demanded. “I suppose you think I and my two children are spies too. My husband fought and died in the Confederate army! You should be ashamed. Get out of here.”
“We’re sorry, ma’am,” the sergeant said. “Can we do anything to help?”
Carrie glanced at Robbie and saw the terror in his face. “Just go,” she ordered, and bent down to free Robbie as they rode off. Robbie could barely walk and she had a terrible time getting him onto his feet and into the house. The children’s attempts to help only made it worse. She made him lie down on her bed and sent Matthew and Bethany to heat water and get clean rags.
When she removed what was left of Robbie’s shirt she found a small, thin book tucked into the back waistband of his trousers. Curious, she opened it, and found it crammed with tiny, close writing. She couldn’t begin to read it. Putting the book aside, she returned to caring for Robbie. It was eerie how he never made a sound, though he must have been in terrible pain. What a dreadful, silent world he lived in. Did he know how to cry, or laugh, ever show what he felt? His eyes were tightly shut and he scarcely moved, just flinched once or twice, while she washed the whip cuts. She left his back uncovered when she had finished, putting some soothing salve on but knowing bandages would only rub and irritate.
Are you going to be all right?” she asked loudly, seeing that his eyes were open now. Robbie nodded his head jerkily and tried to get up. Carrie shook her head.
“Stay there and rest,” she ordered. She checked on him later and found him asleep, but noticed that the little book had disappeared. His face was lined with pain and weariness, and scratched and bruised too, as were his hands. Carrie assumed the soldiers must have chased Robbie through the woods, maybe hunted him all night. He couldn’t seem to eat anything at lunchtime, and was wakeful and obviously in distress in the afternoon. Carrie gave him a dose of willow bark powder and that seemed to ease the pain and let him sleep another hour or two. At supper Carrie was surprised to see him come into the kitchen and join the family.
“What’s a spy, mama?” Matthew asked timidly, while Robbie sat gingerly on the edge of his chair and nibbled on a biscuit and some ham. Carrie glanced at Robbie and saw that he was absorbed in his own thoughts.
“A spy is a bad person who tells bad soldiers about secret things that good soldiers are doing,” Carrie said.
“Why did the soldiers think that about Robbie?” Bethany asked. “He can’t even talk! He don’t even know what nobody’s sayin’.”
“It was right fool-headed of them, wasn’t it?” Carrie said. It would have seemed almost funny, if it hadn’t been for the way Robbie had suffered. She glanced at him and was startled to see the haunted, deeply troubled expression on his face.

Please have a look at our offerings and see what tickles your fancy, whether you are a romantic or just have a heart for God-honoring books.  Click the images at the top or bottom of this post to visit the main hop page.

from our heart to yours

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Guest Post by Vicki Tiede — Interview and Her Latest Book: When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Interview with Vicki Tiede

Today, we welcome author Vicki Tiede and we’re talking about her latest book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.

Welcome, Vicki. This book is set up like a Bible Study. What led you to set this book into sections of time?

In When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, I lead women down the healing path of Emmaus. Emmaus means “warm springs,” which have long been heralded as a place of healing. I set my book up to create an opportunity for guided discovery, much like the two men on the road to Emmaus experienced.

  • I ask her to slow down and fix her thoughts on Him. Christ will catch up to her in the pages of the book that are saturated with His Word. (I assure her that He walks with her whether she acknowledges Him or not.)
  • I ask her to listen to what He’s telling her through His Word– even the gentle rebukes.
  • I remind her that when the destination/healing seems to be near, she’s going to want more time with him, so she should invite Him to stay.
  • Finally, when He reveals Himself to her anew, I encourage her to bask in His presence and acknowledge His care for her.

My hope is that by breaking the book into day and week sections, it will encourage the reader to slow down and really consider what Christ is saying to her.

 

What advice can you give to pastors who might want to use this book as a resource? How would you recommend using this with women in their church?

So many pastors are well-intentioned, but truly do not know how to help women in this situation. First, reading my book himself will certainly expand his understanding of the issue and its implications for the wife of a husband addicted to pornography. I would encourage pastors to have a few copies of the book on hand, so that when she comes in, after counseling and praying with her, he can give her the book to begin working through. There are many options after that.

  • If you have a number of women in your church who you are aware would benefit from this book, then perhaps someone could lead a small group.
  • The pastor or someone else in the church who does pastoral counseling could meet with her periodically to hear how she is processing through the book.
  • I also encourage pastors to be aware of support groups that may already be in existence in their area. It’s not news that women are highly relational and having a support group can be a tremendous blessing to them.

When a woman’s heart is healed, regardless of her husband’s daily choices, she will be in a better position to help promote a healing environment for her husband as well.

I want to mention that I’ve written an article about this for pastors, which is available here on my website. It helps pastors know what to say (and what not to say) when a woman comes to see him and her husband is addicted to pornography.

http://www.vickitiede.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Pastors-Guide-for-When-Her-Husband-is-Addicted-to-Pornography.pdf

I love the phrase (page35) “but you also need to get off your duff and fight for your marriage.” What do you mean by this? Does this go against the grain for many women?

The first person a woman needs to be talking to is God. She needs to pray like she’s never prayed before, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to do. You can’t change your husband, but you can work vehemently with God to change your heart. That’s why you have to embrace your hope in Christ. If you don’t, then you lay in the middle of the battlefield whining, “It’s hopeless.” Whatever! Get up! I want my readers to experience a hope that can’t be shaken regardless of the enemy’s efforts. In Christ she is able to claim joy that can’t be taken despite the pain of her present circumstances. If my reader wants to DO something, she’d better claiming hope and trusting God with her marriage. That is doing something productive. That is how you fight for your marriage.

Does it go against the grain? Sure it does. She wants to cling to the lie that if this is HIS addiction, she shouldn’t have to do anything.  She needs to get over that. She made a sacred covenant when she married this man and she needs to do her part to live up to God’s standard of marriage. That means trusting Him and dealing with her heart.

More about Vicki: I am an author and speaker who has a passion for opening the Scriptures and pointing women to their true source of grace and faithfulness. For the past ten years, I have been honored to speak for numerous women at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. I am the author of three books including When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography (2012), Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009), and Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years (coming January 2013). I live in Rochester, Minnesota, with my husband Mike, daughter, and two sons. Visit her on the web.

For Your Readers: Sample Chapters from When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Links to buy the book:


Vicki Tiede
 

NGP 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (BN’s processing times are lagging, but it will eventually be available here too)

Nook

CBD  

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A Slave of God Guest Post by Sophie Dawson

I am a slave of God. We shy away from the concept, and understandably so, given the history of slavery here is the US. I am one, however, and proud to declare it. As a believer in Christ, I have been paid for by Jesus’ death as payment for my wrong doing. Thus, He owns me and I am His slave. Paul, Timothy and James, the brother of Christ, all claimed it.

Phil 1:1 “Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.”

James 1:1 “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings.”

We, as Gentiles who trust in Christ as our Savior, become Israelites through adoption by God. It is not that we take anything from Jews who have accepted Jesus as savior or have replaced Israel as God’s chosen nation. Israel will never be abandoned by God.

Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to stand up against you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Rather we have become part of His chosen people.

Hos. 2:23 “I will say to Not My People: You are My people, and he will say: You are My God.

We have become His chosen people and so are His slaves. God, Himself, declared that we, as Israelites are His slaves.

Lev. 25:42 “They are not to be sold as slaves,  because they are My slaves I brought out of the land of Egypt.”

Lev. 25:55 “For the Israelites are My slaves. They are My slaves I brought out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”

In other translations the word ‘servant’ is used.  Looking at the Hebrew Strong’s number 5650 and NIV G/K 6269, the translation includes “bond-servant” and “slave”. This indicates ownership by God Himself.

This brings a truth of God’s consistency in both the Old and New Testaments.  In Leviticus God states that His chosen people are His slaves.  He claims perpetual ownership of His people. In the New Testament, in Philippians and James, Paul claims bondage to God through Christ for himself and Timothy as does James in his greeting.

Now, through Christ, I am in perpetual slavery to God.  I have been “bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:20)

I thank God that He loves me enough to purchase me forever.  Are you glad to be a slave of God?

All verses are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Healing Love (Cottonwood)


http://www.sophie-dawson.com/little-bits-blog.html

Page with links to buy my book. http://www.sophie-dawson.com/purchase-books.html

Twitter@sophiedawson76

facebook https://www.facebook.com/Sophiedawsonnovels?ref=hl

Sophie Dawson has been making up stories in her head ever since she was a child. She lives with her husband on the family farm in Illinois. Two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter round out her immediate family.

Sophie does all kinds of needlework and was a professional machine quilter in the past. She loves to travel, read, garden, snuggle with her cat and now write.

In her books, Sophie shares the wisdom God has taught her in stories of faithful living. Her hope is to demonstrate how acting and reacting the way the Bible teaches can bring a positive impact on her readers.

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The Great Pinterest Contest Experiment

This month a group of author friends discovered Pinterest. If you don’t know, it’s a way to share pictures, basically, a digital scrapbook. I have steampunk stuff, cool scenery, Mesopotamian ancient stuff, and books by my husband and I and our author friends. Sometimes people also post links to products you might be interested in buying. It’s kind of like word of mouth in pictures. These are links to sales sites. People can click on my book pictures on Pinterest and go straight to Amazon, and other sales sites, and buy the books.

So an author group I belong to decided to see if we could generate some book sales through Pinterest. Shawn Lamb has a fantasy book series, Allon. We have a whole Pinterest board devoted to Shawn Lamb stuff. Book trailers, banners, dishes made with lamb (I especially recommend the Haggis) , and even a few extras like Princess Bride pins for fun. Please visit the board, if you’re on Pinterest, repin something that catches your eye. Then, leave a comment on the board. At the end of the month we’ll collect the names of the pinner/commentors and Shawn Lamb will have  a random drawing for a free copy of Allon 1.

Back to Books Online has "Allon" listed at number 1. http://www.backtothebooks.net/top-10-list You have a chance to win it here. Repin and leave a comment. http://www.allonbooks.com

http://pinterest.com/gtargirl/win-a-book/

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E-Book versus Print Book Curriculum

Before America was even founded, Benjamin Franklin published the same 3 categories of print material we still have to today. First there is what I call “public domain.” This is stuff that has been around for awhile: The Bible, Plato’s Republic, Isaac Newton’s books on Physics and Mathematics, etc. Next is stuff we have to have, even if do not want it: Textbooks, dictionaries, repair manuals, warning labels, directions, instructions, etc. Though these might be expensive books, the last category is the real money category, stuff we want to read. While a few people might enjoy technical journals, most people read fiction or the news. Since Poor Richard’s Almanac, these were printed in vast quantities that made them highly profitable.

After centuries of enormous success, it is no secret that traditional book publishers are going out of business. While there are many reasons, such as poor marketing strategies, the major reason is competition from e-books. The year 2011 witnessed the sale of e-books surpassing the sale of print books at Amazon. There are many reasons for this, but three stand out. First is availability. A book we had not heard of was highly recommended to my wife and I and within a matter of minutes we had downloaded it onto our Kindle and begun to read it. This is possible to anyone anywhere in the world that has access to the Internet.

Second is security. We have lost or destroyed some very expensive books in our lifetimes. Kindle books are backed up by Amazon. Though it is not an automatic process, it is possible to recover books lost on a damaged Kindle, as we have just learned when our Kindle screen went to Kindle Heaven. Also, many authors find the security of a Kindle superior to the security of paper books. Every year thousands of printed books are stolen. While electronic theft is possible, every purchase is tracked and is traceable. At this time theft of printed books is more common that the theft of Kindle books.

Third is cost. Cost will eventually drive print books into a niche market. They will never disappear completely, but a generation raised on electronic books will fail to understand the mass appeal of print.

Cost is the reason we are developing an e-book curriculum. At this time, a high quality homeschool curriculum in print is at least $750, often over $1000 per student per year. For those who are unable or unwilling to afford these costs, an entire ebook curriculum is much less, about 10% not counting the counting the cost of the ebook reader.

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Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

A message to parents and students:

Never, ever, ever read a book, watch a movie, or see or hear a play or story or poem performed without answering these questions:(Don’t read a book to your child or let anyone read a book to you without doing this, either.)

Do “wise” and “good” people in the story believe that spirits inside everything can guide people?

Do they follow a religion that is supposed to be older than Christianity or the Bible and therefore “better”?

Do they live “close to the earth” in simple lives without technology and don’t believe in any kind of killing, even for food or to punish great evil?

Do they believe that tribal people and animals are smarter and nobler than civilized people?

Does the work say to “listen to your heart” or “trust your feelings” because that’s how you’ll know what the right thing to do is?

Does it emphasize separating children from adults and forcing them to trust themselves to make extremely important decisions? (An exception to this is if a child is separated from parents but can rely on the biblical training he received from them, not just his own emotions, abilities and reason.)

Do children go through much of the work relying on other children?

Do children distrust adults in conventional authority positions (parents, teachers, police, community leader)? Is this presented as “the only choice” and at the end of the book “the right thing to do”?

Do children rely on very unconventional people who live outside accepted systems of moral values and mature practices? (Some examples are the uneducated or dropouts, street people, former criminals who are “streetwise” young, inexperienced persons in lower authority positions (like a “cool” teacher in a very strict school)?

Does it say that things are going to happen for reasons that nobody can control (not even God’s overall plan)?Does it imply that whether what someone does is right and wrong is just a matter of opinion?

Does it encourage strong expressions of anger, grief and depression when things don’t go the way a character wants? Does it say having an adventure, joining a secret club, or helping friends can be more important than being with your family or doing what you’ve been told?

Are the men (dads or male principals or bosses) bad, stupid or weak?

Are the women strong and smart and good?

Are any good men unable to help, dead or far away?

Does it make fun of traditional hard work and self-discipline?

Is training for a job or learning to play an instrument boring, stupid or pointless?

Are young people encouraged to cut classes or skip work for something more important?

By contrast, does it glorify martial arts and Eastern religious practices as superior to any western or Christian-based discipline? (This is not to say that unarmed self-defense and fighting skills are wrong or evil in themselves, but they are frequently taught along with Yoga, meditation and eastern religious practices in opposition to Christianity.)

Are people who have a lot of education boring?

Are military people excessively strict, bad-tempered or stupid?

Are people who quote from the Bible or classic Christian-origin works treated as odd or foolish?

Are strong emotions emphasized and encouraged, no matter how extreme or out-of control they may be?

Is self-control de-emphasized and made to seem wrong or unnecessary?

Are manners old-fashioned and respect for adults non-existent?

Is concern for and service to others not as important as “making time for yourself”?

Does it have a good, strong story, or is it just a bunch of exciting, scary, mysterious or funny things with no real purpose or ending?

Does it seem to leave out anything to do with faith or praise people who don’t believe in anything?

If you have to answer yes to more than a couple of these questions, ask yourself if you should have anything to do with this work. It may have won all kinds of awards. The best educational authorities may recommend it. But it may be very wrong and get you thinking wrong.

Everyone seems to know that four things are obvious to avoid: violence, sex, drug abuse and bad language. But examine each of these points and consider whether our perspective on these is even correct.

What about displays of affection and a degree of intimacy between husband and wife? These are almost non-existent but should be common. In most cultures of the world girls marry very young, and marrying an older man is considered normal and desirable. We consider it practically incest. Husbands and wives seek comfort, understanding and fulfillment with friends instead of each other. Husbands are plain, rather stupid, and have no clue about how to treat their wives. They want sex all the time and ask for it boorishly. They are at least mildly incompetent at their jobs. Wives are attractive, smart, make jokes at their husbands’ expense, and keep everything running smoothly, from finances, housework and careers to discipline and child-psychology. These anti-marriage concepts fill the pages and the screens of what we accept as desirable family fare. Movie insiders say actors who are married in real life cannot play a creditable husband and wife in a movie. There is no “chemistry” unless there is an adulterous flavor to the screen romance. These works do everything they can to justify adultery. A person is trapped in a terrible marriage with an abuser or an insane or terminally ill spouse and must seek consolation with a lover. Parents who restrict or forbid dating and young romance are always unreasonably strict, have no good reason for forbidding this young love, and punish supposedly far out of proportion to the action.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things” Philippians 4:8

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