This is me in our local paper! I left out a very important thing. The books are available from Amazon and in ebook format from Barnes and Noble and the Apple Book Store. Thanks so much for all the support!
This accompanied the picture:
Sheila Hollinghead lives in Covington County with her husband of thirty-two years, Carl. She has two grown sons, Ray and Lee Hollinghead, a daughter-in-law, the former Leigh Ann Meadows, and three grandchildren.
Sheila taught science for nineteen years, fourteen of those at Fleeta Junior High.
Both her parents were born and raised in Covington County. Her mother, Esta Hammett Odom of Opp, is eighty-eight. Her father, Ray T. Odom, deceased, was a career soldier. Sheila was born while he was stationed in Nuremburg, Germany. As an army brat, she has lived in Texas, New Jersey, France, Mississippi, and Georgia.
Sheila has two books published, Thundersnow: In the Shadow of the Cedar and Eternal Springs. She is working on the sequel to Thundersnow.
The following are excerpts from Eternal Springs:
When I attended Troy University, music played daily and was broadcast across the quad in the middle of the campus.
One day, as I walked to class, I heard John Denver’s song of Country Roads for the first time. Tears coursed down my cheeks as I longed for the place from my childhood, the farm outside of Opp, Alabama where my grandmother lived.
It was a place where my cousins and I played in the barn, using square bales of hay to build forts, houses, or mazes.
It was a place filled with teasing from aunts and uncles, and the air was thick with laughter.
It was a place of fresh vegetables from the garden, fresh milk from a cow, and fresh meat from hog killings.
It was a place of playing outside all day in the fresh country air.
It was a place of cows and pigs, and the place I learned where baby pigs came from.
It was a place of delight at seeing newborn pigs, all pink and round and not at all like their long-snouted mother.
It was a place of my roots, a place near the farms where, for several generations, my ancestors had lived and struggled to grow crops and raise cows, pigs, and chickens.
It was a place where my family gathered for Thanksgiving and other holidays.
It was a place we ate our fill and then gathered by the fireplace to watch the flickering flames.
It was a place we cracked pecans on the bricks of the hearth while listening to my uncles trying to undo one another in the telling of jokes.
It was the place stories were told of days gone by.
It was the place I loved the most upon this earth.
It was the place I longed for when John Denver sang: Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong.
It is the place I came home to.
Cherish Our Prison
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. ~Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)
Have you ever felt imprisoned in your circumstances, circumstances beyond your ability to control and with no way out?
Many of us have felt this way at one time or another. It could be an illness or a bad job situation or the responsibility of being a caregiver. These and many other situations may feel to us like a prison. Let’s look to this sentence from Genesis 39 as an example of how to handle such times.
Notice this: “The Lord . . . granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” Joseph didn’t do anything special to merit that favor. God did it for him. Even when we are going through tough times, God is giving us favor and we may never open our eyes to see it.
I don’t know the conditions of the prison Joseph was in, but they were probably horrific—little food, filthy conditions, no bed to rest on, and brutal inmates. Even with the favor of the keeper, conditions were probably worse than anything we will ever experience. Yet in the midst of his suffering—for which Joseph was in no way responsible—God helped him.
Notice also that God did not immediately release Joseph from his prison. Yet, during that long night, God “showed him kindness.” Often in our prisons, we feel angry with God because years pass. Our spirits droop when he does not release us and we have no hope of getting out any time soon.
God has his reasons for keeping us imprisoned, reasons we may never understand this side of heaven.
Joseph trusted God and made the best of his circumstances. If he had struck out with anger to those around him, if he had become embittered, if he had sulked in the corner of his cell, he never would have had the opportunity to become second only to Pharaoh, to become one of the great men of the Bible, to save his people.
And to become an example many of us need to follow.
From these verses, I learned:
1. We may be suffering through no fault of our own.
2. God may allow us to spend many years within our “prison” walls.
3. God will grant us unmerited favor in the eyes of others.
4. God’s steadfast love never ceases, even when we’re imprisoned and feel forsaken.
5. We must work on our attitudes while imprisoned and not become bitter, resentful, or unkind.
6. God has a reason to keep us in our prisons. Perhaps, like Joseph, it’s to prepare us to do great things.
Imprisoned? Let go and let God --a clichéd saying, but one that is applicable.
Great things await if we simply trust God!