My Plan Versus God’s Direction by Jennifer Hallmark

Happy Tuesday, friends. I’m thrilled to welcome Jennifer Hallmark to Fiction Faith & Foodies today. Jennifer is one of those dear friends who always has an encouraging word and lights up the Internet with her smile. Pour another cup of coffee and prepare to be blessed. 🙂

Photo Credit: Pixabay
I’m a planner. Give me lists, charts, and organization and I leap for joy. Spontaneous is not in my vocabulary. I like to make my plan and see it through. Think Hannibal Smith on “The A Team” when he says, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
However, God’s Word doesn’t line up with my way of thinking.
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV).
I plan. God directs. Sometimes my plan lines up with His direction but sometimes they don’t. At this point, I must make a choice.
My plans or His direction. Often, I want to march when He wants to dance.
In a crowd of people.
With me.
Not really my comfort zone but so rewarding when I let go of my plan to follow His lead. Early in my marriage, I was faced with a dilemma that I share in the book compilation, Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. I needed healing from a large cyst and a troubled pregnancy. I wanted both. I received a healing from the cyst. Then I miscarried.
I don’t know. I had a choice to make. Be angry at God for not following my plan or take his extended hand, be healed, and dance again. I chose to dance. Will you?
There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand (Proverbs 19:21 NKJV).
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3 NLT).
Have you had an experience when your plans and God’s didn’t line up? What did you choose? What was the outcome?

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines, and been part of four book compilations: A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She is currently shopping her contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide.

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Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage

Our society understands how terrible the loss of a child is when that child is out of the womb, but what about when a child dies before birth? Or what about the emptiness that comes when a very-much-wanted child is never even conceived?

These quiet, private losses are hard for those who have not experienced them to understand. And these losses leave those who have suffered them feeling alone in their grief.

Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage is a resource both for those who have suffered through these experiences and for their friends and relatives, who want to understand what their loved ones are going through.

This collection contains true stories that are:

  • sensitive, and yet honest 
  • angry and raw, but not despairing 
  • unique, and yet relatable 

The contributors to this book are male and female, old and young, some who eventually had children and some who never did, and yet despite their differences, they share a common grief and a common faith.

No experience of miscarriage, infant loss, or infertility is like any other, yet by reading these painful and hope-filled stories, you’ll be comforted by knowing there are others who understand the journey you’re on, the loss you’ve suffered, and you will find that even though your loss is uniquely yours, you are not alone.

A Little Recipe Love and Sweet Freedom a la Mode by Jennifer Hallmark

Don’t you just love recipes passed down through the generations? I do, and I’m thrilled that Jennifer Hallmark was willing to share this recipe today. Check out…Halupki or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

One of my favorite dishes Mom makes for the family is halupki. It was passed down from her mother. When Mom was a child, her mother, Lena, would rise early, cooking for a houseful of children. She would go to the slaughterhouse for fresh ground beef. As Grandma mixed the ground beef and rice, Grandpa would sneak bites of the raw beef mixture, certainly not recommended today. Grandma harvested cabbage from her garden across the road from the house. Enjoy!

Halupki or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Yield: Serves 8

2 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound bacon, cut small
1 pound cooked rice
Salt, pepper, Nature Seasoning, to taste

1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
Wash rice, cook only ten minutes. Drain excess water, rinse, then set aside. Fry bacon and onion until golden brown. Drain excess oil.

Put rice in large mixing bowl. Mix in ground beef, bacon and onions and mix well; add seasonings. Set aside.

Cut cabbage, core out about two inches deep and place head of cabbage in boiling water to steam until leaves can be removed easily. Repeat until you remove all cabbage leaves that are big enough to roll. Line the bottom of a large pot with leaves you don’t use.

Scoop filling and place in leave, tucking in ends and rolling. Pack stuffed cabbage in pot, then fill with sauce, adding hot water until barely covered. Place a plate on top, weighted down to keep stuffed cabbage from floating. Cook on medium low for an hour. Good served with hot sauce or ketchup.
Sweet Freedom a la mode
Sweet Freedom a La Mode
For some, the fourth of July is a celebration of freedom; for others it is a reminder of bondage. Of pain. Of fear. Of hopelessness. But there is a hope that is deeper, a love that is truer, and a freedom that no one can ever snatch away. 

These pages contain numerous stories: a woman longing to start again but bound by the failures of her past; a young man who, upon reaching adulthood, must face his fears of death; a woman offered a chance of true love but held back by crippling insecurities. 

Is God even there? Does He care…enough to reach down and pull these men and women from the messes they’ve landed in, some of them by their own hand? 

Freedom. Peace-saturated, joy-infusing freedom. 

Jennifer Hallmark
Meet Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes. Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.