Salve for Souls

Monday, February 29, 2016


Imagine waking to find a velvet jewelry box on your nightstand. A gift tag bears your name. But this jewelry box is different. Maybe it is purple or red. You don't know what to make of it. Perhaps it is a joke or your eyes are playing tricks. You scratch your head and give a dubious look. Still, your curious hand reaches out and you open the box to discover dazzling jewels.

This can be compared to the many expressions of God's voice. They sometimes come in unexpected ways.

Just ask the Biblical Balaam, on his way to meet with King Balak of Moab about cursing the encroaching Israelites (see Numbers 22). Instead, God granted Balaam's donkey human speech and it brought about a change of heart. Balaam wound up blessing the Israelites.

God "speaks" to my friend, Nancy, through the songs of birds.

She explains. "It first happened during a difficult time, with no sign of progress or relief. Unable to sleep one night, I got up to read my Bible. After a while, a bird began to sing. Thinking that unusual for this hour, I prayed, Lord, birds don't normally sing at night. Could this mean something?"

His "still small voice"[1] whispered into my thoughts. Just as birds sing in the darkness of night, so shall you sing in the darkness of your trouble.

That hope echoed in Nancy's heart, until her situation was resolved.

Photo by David Reigada
For me, an important message came during a recent Sunday service, when I heard a schoolteacher's bell ring. No one else appeared to have heard, but it got my attention. So did my pastor's words.

"Are you the type of Christian who promotes another's freedom or restricts it? Thinking we know better is judging."

I suspect the divine teacher rang that bell in my heart, so I could ponder those words. I later realized they addressed a problem with a relative whom I believed was making poor decisions. Knowing these would impact her life, I repeatedly offered my advice, then stewed when it was ignored. The relational walls went up.

One day, my husband said something key. "By giving advice, you're saying you know better."

My pastor's words applied. I was judging and needed to promote my relative's freedom by respecting her right to make her own decisions. As I do this, the relational walls come down.

This teaches me anew, that having a willing spirit to hear God's voice in its many expressions, is a gift that changes our lives.

Pearl to Ponder: Have you heard God "speak" in an unconventional manner?

Love Nugget: There are purple and red "jewelry boxes" with your name. Believe and find treasure.

[1] See 1 Kings 19:12

God's voice in its many expressions, such as the Bible, music, the words of a friend, even or dreams, is explored in Flora Reigada's devotional, "Where Your Heart Meets God's," published by Helping Hands Press.
In Flora's romance novel, Liz encounters a mother bear with cubs. How could this dangerous situation possibly lead to a hidden locket, a mysterious love letter, a dream Florida vacation--and romance? It all unfolds in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," published by Helping Hands Press.
Flora invites you to visit her blog:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


"You've got a fat butt," Liz's husband, Steve, tells her
before he leaves with a twenty-something plaything.

Liz had put on a few pounds since giving birth to twins and her husband, Steve, would not let her forget. Before taking off with a twenty-something plaything, he rips Liz apart with his words.
"I wasted my youth on you. You've let yourself go. Look at you! I don't even want you anymore." Although an accomplished artist, it has been far too long since Liz has picked up her paintbrush. She feels stifled and unattractive.
Spanish actor and musician, Edu
Del Prado. He could be Carlos' twin.
The discovery of a hidden locket filled with secrets, leads Liz to Carlos, a handsome and accomplished Presidential aide who has dined in the White House and flown aboard Air Force One. He pursues Liz and wants their relationship to move forward. He finds her attractive and desirable just as she is.
"You've got it in all the right places," he tells her.
But Carlos has wined and dined beautiful, bejeweled women at embassies and conciliates around the world. He has earned his reputation as a womanizer. Can Liz trust him? 
Answers unfold in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," Book 1 in the Castle in the Sun series, and Book 2, "Love's Sweetest Obsession.

Book 1, "Love' s Sweetest Revenge." 
Join Liz and Rosa as they travel 
from New York States'spine-scented forests, 
to Florida's sun-kissed shores.
E-book ONLY 99 cents.
Paperback also available.
Book 2, "Love's Sweetest Obsession."
It's kisses and "war" on Florida's sun-denched shores.


Saturday, February 20, 2016


We never know when a minor change in our daily routine will alter the course of our lives. Thirty-something Liz Bertelli had other things on her mind that fateful day she ventured from her usual walking path into New York State's lush forest. Her husband had left for a plaything in her twenties and it had been far too long since the award-winning artist had picked up a paintbrush.

Liz doesn't see the mother bear with cubs until it is too late. When the bear charges, she runs in blind panic, falling and striking her head against an old stone wall, knocking herself unconscious.
Bruised, but relieved to awaken in this world with the bear gone, Liz spots something glittering in the wall. She tugs at it, releasing an old silver locket and the saga of forbidden love it contains.
Uncovering the locket's secrets takes Liz and best friend Rosa Ramirez (a young widow) to a castle (the Castillo de San Marcos) in the romantic city of St. Augustine, Florida.
More clues bring the friends to handsome Latino brothers, Carlos and Jack Martín.
Sparks fly between Liz and Carlos, who has worked for the President and flown aboard Air Force One. Jack, a rugged Army hero, roars into Rosa's life on a gleaming Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But can Liz, embittered by her husband's betrayal, and Rosa, grieving her husband's untimely passing, respond to love's overtures?
Answers come on a snowy Christmas day, when an arduous trek through the frigid forest, leads to yet another surprise.

In "Love's Sweetest Revenge," first in the "Castle in the Sun" series published by Helping Hands Press, Join Liz and Rosa on a journey of mystery and love in the Sunshine State
Liz and Carlos in love (not actual cover)
The saga continues in "Love and Obsession" second in the "Castle in the Sun"

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Flora Reigada
As the Great Depression looms, Naomi is born with a mysterious birth veil over her face. In those more superstitious times, some said this was the mark of a prophet. But what would "the veil" really mean to Naomi, then to her daughter and granddaughter--and what does it mean to us today? Join the women as one by one, they discover the secrets of "the veil."
Here, Naomi peeks at us through the curtain of time.

During World War II, two handsome warriors vie for Naomi's heart, but does one really have murder on his mind?
Step inside for warmth, family, a tasty meal and a saga of generations.

The Face Behind the Veil is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Flora invites you to visit her blog:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


When Liz Bertelli's husband leaves for a plaything in her twenties, she thinks life could not get any worse. She is wrong.
Liz seeks to clear her mind in the beauty of New York State's lush forest. Instead, she encounters a bear--and the bear charges! How could this dangerous situation possibly lead to a hidden locket with a mysterious love letter, a dream Florida vacation--and romance?
The saga unfolds in "Love's Sweetest Revenge." Take a look inside the book.
E-book just $2.99. Kindle Unlimited $0.00.

Friday, February 5, 2016


The Jewel of God's Golden Thread
Sample devotion from Where Your Heart Meets God's, available from MillerWords
"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you" (Exodus 23:20, NIV).

Do certain events seem to weave a golden thread through your life? For me, this involves a snowy day in rural Virginia, when I secured my toddler in his car seat and took off for the store. Driving along a country road, we seemed to be the only moving object in a snowy stillness blanketing homes, meadows and woods.
Suddenly, the car began to slide. Panic and prayer came fast. God, help us!
We plowed into a snow bank, shaken but safe. When I tried to back out, the wheels only spun. We were stuck! Frustrated, I rested my head on the steering wheel. Tears burned in my eyes.
How could I have been so irresponsible to bring my baby out on a day like this? What am I going to do, God?
I soon heard a knock at my window, then looked into the face of a grandfatherly, African-American man. I stared in shock.
Where did he come from? Just a moment ago, no one was there.
This man seemed to have walked out of a cloud. He knocked again.
"Let me help you."
Although I would normally be hesitant to let a stranger into my car, I sensed this man was gentle as a lamb. Unlocking the door, I slid over and let him take the wheel. He quickly maneuvered us out of the snow bank.
"Thank you," I said and as quickly as my helper appeared, he was gone. Forgetting about the store, I inched my way back home.
Something similar happened when I was in New York City, running to catch the subway and my card would not register the fare. Trying again and again, I became anxious. My train was approaching and I needed to catch it. No one paid attention until a grandfatherly African-American man suddenly appeared at my side.
"I can help," he said, taking the card I offered and then getting me through so I could catch the train.
I thanked him as he vanished into the multitudes.
Years later, while wandering up and down city streets, searching for the hospital where my mother was a patient, I entered a building that looked like it could be the place. A grandfatherly African-American man was seated behind a desk in the lobby. I gave him my mother's name and asked if she was a patient.
"The place you want is two blocks away," he said.
To make sure I got there, he came out from behind his desk and walked outside to point the way. I was soon enjoying a visit with my mom.
There were more golden threads involving this grandfather figure and I never put them together until my son asked if this helper could be my guardian angel. That is when I realized these seemingly random occurrences might not be so random after all.
You may recall golden threads in your life too. They could be acts of kindness, protection or provision in a moment of need—maybe a mysterious stranger that came at the right time to lend a hand.
Whatever it might be, it is not chance or luck. It is God letting you know you are under His watchful care, and that life's golden threads weave their way to His heart.

PEARL TO PONDER: Do you believe it's possible to see an angel? Have they shown up in your life?
LOVE NUGGET: You are always within the loving reach of God's angels.

New and revised, "Where Your Heart Meets God's" is available from MillerWords. E-book just $1.99.