Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mom's Homecoming

On July 5th, 2012 our mom finally ended her battle with dementia and went home to be with the Lord. It was her true desire and focus to be with her Savior and her family in Heaven. The last few days were very difficult, but God gave us some very special moments with Mom that we will treasure always.

We live with the hope and faith of knowing that she is now at complete peace. She is healed and whole. Her brain no longer suffers from the brutal symptoms of the dementia that caused her to slowly slip away from us every day.

Where does this hope come from? My Christian faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up all his deity in Heaven to come here and live out life as a man. Yes, He was God and man, but He suffered all of the trials, temptations, pain, sadness, etc. that we experience in this life. Why? So He could restore our relationship with God and become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Not just the sins we committed in the past, but the sins we will commit in the future. He died for those who haven't even been born yet. It is in that gift of salvation that I place my hope and my future. Mom's life just ended here on earth, but her eternity has just begun and it will never end. So when she slipped away from us here we mourned her passing, but we celebrated her new home in Heaven.

This is our temporary home. Heaven is our permanent home. I love the song by Building 429 that says, "All I know is I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong."

Mom was so ready for her permanent home. It's amazing how God starts preparing your spirit to go home. As we watched her in her last moments, she seemed to be at complete peace. She did open her eyes for a short period and we were able to tell her how much we loved her and that we would be fine here. We didn't want her holding on for our sakes. We watched her try to communicate with us by moving her eyebrows up and down. There were lots of tears, but also lots of joy. We felt like we had helped Mom feel like she could let go and run into His arms. That's the way I always pictured her homecoming. She would just take off running free, with no obstacles holding her back. Jesus would be standing there with His arms wide open, waiting to embrace her with a love that only He could give.

We miss Mom more than I can say, but when I worship in church I always picture her worshipping right along with us, free and happy. She was unable to attend church during her last few years. Yet now I feel like she is able to worship with us. That is a powerful vision for me.

I have felt nothing but peace since our mom's passing. That's a peace that only comes from our hope and faith in Jesus Christ. This peace is a gift that we just have to reach out and accept. There are no strings attached. There is nothing you must do to earn it. It's a pure gift. To receive it you just need to say, "Jesus, I ask your forgiveness for my sins, past, present and future. I want to serve you with the rest of my life. Thank you for your gift of salvation. I accept it now. I am a Christian. Christ now lives in me. Amen." It's that simple. You will look the same and maybe even feel the same at first. But the same power that resurrected Christ from the grave will now live inside of you. That's a lot of power. And believe me, to walk out life here on earth, you will need every bit of that power every day.

It's such a simple thing to do in order to receive that same hope and faith that brings peace beyond your own understanding. I pray you accept that gift today. I pray everyone finds this kind of peace and hope. It is possible for everyone to receive this gift. Reach out and grab it while you can.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Create a Clickable Table of Contents

In preparing my newest mystery novel, “Chasing Angels” for publishing on Kindle one of the most difficult things for me to figure out was how to make a clickable table of contents. I was able to find lots of instructions on the internet for setting up a table of contents in Word (I was using Word 2008), but no clear instructions for making the table of contents clickable for the Kindle. It seemed all of the instructions I found made it appear way more difficult than was necessary. Once I finally figured out how to link my chapters and make them clickable on the Kindle, I decided I should share this information in simple terms for others to use. It is really quite simple once you understand it.

Here is how I managed to make my table of contents clickable for Kindle (using Word 2008):

After you establish your Table of Contents in your book. Go to each of your chapter headings in your book. Highlight each heading and click Insert from your menu: it should look like this:
Click on Bookmark and this window will open:

Type in the name of your bookmark. (It can be anything you like as long as you know that identifies this particular bookmark). I chose to use Chapter1 because I’m going to link it to Chapter 1 in my book. Then click “Add.”

Then go to your Table of Contents and highlight Chapter 1 (or whatever your Chapter name is). Then click insert again, but this time you are going to click on “Hyperlink.”

When you click on “Hyperlink” this window will open:

Click on “Document” in the window and then “Locate” to find the name of your bookmark (created earlier) to link your Chapter.  A list of your bookmarks will open. Click the appropriate bookmark for that Chapter heading.

Select Chapter1 then click OK. This links the Chapter 1 in your Table of Contents to the bookmark you created for your Chapter Heading in your book. Do this for each of your Chapter headings and each Chapter listing in your table of contents. You can bookmark all of your Chapters first in your book and then go to your Table of Contents and hyperlink each one to those bookmarks. Or you can create the bookmark and then the hyperlink as you go, whichever works for you. I chose to create all of the bookmarks for my Chapter Headings within the book first and then went back and added the hyperlinks for each Chapter listed in my Table of Contents. When you’re done, your Chapters will be linked to your Chapter headings in your book.

I hope this helps make this process a bit clearer for you. It may be slightly different if you are using a different version of Word, but this will give you an idea of how the process works.