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Remember, I have moved my book reviews to their own blog. Tracy's Book Nook is now active.

Wednesday, April 30

The Story of Our Life

In the beginning… Once upon a time… It all started when…

The three statements above are all the first part of what you know is going to be a story. Is it going to be a good story? A happy story? A sad story? We all have a story to tell. It’s the story of our life. We all know the beginning of our own personal story, and we know the content of our story up to this point. However, we do have a ‘rest of the story’ that has yet to be told.

The end of the story is much more important than the beginning. The beginning and the middle of our story aren’t irrelevant though. To the contrary, they put our lives up till now, in context. We can’t change the past, what we did, or what was done to us (for good or for bad). But we can use our experiences to help others to get through their own. The Bible assures us of this. In Romans 8:28 it reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” And in Genesis 50:20 it reads, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

We also can’t live in the past, either with longing or regret. The only way to live, moving into our future, is by looking forward. Imagine for a moment, that you are driving a car. You wouldn’t get very far by looking only in the rear-view mirror. In fact, it would be disastrous to try. Of course we are aware of what is past, but our emphasis is in what lies ahead. The Bible speaks of this as well. In Philippians 3:12-14 it reads, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

God doesn’t care where we began as much as He cares where we end. He isn’t limited by where we started out in life, or by the mistakes we made along the way. He knows the end from the beginning, and He created us with a specific purpose in mind, to achieve that end. He loves us enough to accept us where we are. And then He gently, patiently, and lovingly, helps us to grow into the person He created us to be.

So how does our story end? That’s up to us. We have been given the gift of choice. We get to choose whether or not we accept the salvation that is freely offered to us. We get to choose how we live our life. We get to choose our attitudes and reactions to the twists and turns of the journey of life. And we get to choose whether we allow God to be in control of our life and trust that His plans for us are best, or whether we stubbornly hold on to our own way of doing things and end up with much less than the best that He has for us.

As I reflect on my own life, attitudes and actions, it is easy to see that God still has some work to do. As a daughter of the King, I’m not yet where I want to be, but I thank God that I am no longer where I was. When I turned my life over to Him, nearly ten years ago, he began changing me from the inside out. I'm no longer the person I used to be, but I really and truly like who I’ve become, and am becoming. To God alone, belongs the glory!

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~ Philippians 1:6

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Monday, April 28

Tough Times

Tough times. They're all around us. We see them in the world at large. We see them in our nation. We see them in our state and our city. We see them in our neighborhood and worse yet, we see them in our own lives. Tough times.

I’m a bit of a news junkie. That’s both good and bad. It’s good because I’m often well informed of what’s going on in the world and am aware of the many issues that face us all – particularly us Americans and Christians. And a nice little perk to being well informed, is that I’m usually pretty good at trivia (Millionaire, here I come…)! Sometimes there are nice, feel-good stories that make the news, but unfortunately that’s fairly rare. Which leads to the bad. There is so much bad news that happens. Watching one newscast does a pretty good job of reminding us that we do indeed live in a fallen world. There is so much tragedy, and horror and repulsion out there. So often I find myself watching or reading a news story and find myself crying out, “Why God, why?” All too often, there are no answers.

The American economy and mortgage crisis has hit many, and hit hard. The skyrocketing price of food and fuel has struck at the perceived security many of us believed we had. Sadly, that in turn means that charitable giving is down and food is scarce for those who have to rely on others, both at home and abroad. Anger, tension and tempers are up, as people lash out at one another for little, inconsequential things because their stress levels are way too high.

Crimes against humanity have always been around. (Anyone remember hearing about Cain and Abel?) Looking at history it seems that there have always been cycles of light and darkness, better and worse, charity and greed, freedom and oppression. With all the horrendous crimes that are committed every day, it seems that we have reached a low-point for respecting human life.

Yes, times are tough, all around. Jesus himself confirmed this was true, but he didn’t stop there. He also gave us a promise. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He has overcome the world! For us! We can look at the obvious signs of our times, grab hold of them and be in despair, or we can choose to see the signs, turn them over to Him and receive the peace that He has for us. While we are yet in this world, we will observe and experience tough times. But the good news is we will never have to experience them alone.

Isaiah 43:1-3, “ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Monday, April 21

Baby Food

Sweet Pea is now seven months old. Since she’s been born, her diet has consisted of milk, then milk mixed with rice cereal, and in the last month we’ve added fruit or vegetable puree. In other words – baby food. That’s to be expected, after all, she is a baby. What has happened and what will continue to happen, is that her digestive system will grow and mature, thus allowing her to advance in what she eats. (The teeth that are now coming in will help too!)

Like any of us, she has things that she likes to eat, and things that she doesn’t like to eat. And she’s gotten good at expressing her likes/dislikes. I’ve discovered that she likes sweet potatoes, carrots are okay, applesauce and bananas are favorites, and green beans – well, green beans not so much. When forced to eat something she dislikes, she gets the most offended look on her face. To avoid them or show her displeasure, she won’t open her mouth, or she’ll open her mouth enough to stick her tongue out, or my own personal favorite, she’ll open her mouth and take it in just long enough to spit them back out again. All over her face, her bib, her chair, and when she’s really good, she gets them all over me!

It’s really quite humorous. I’m trying to learn to be stern, but she’s just so funny! The thing is though, I’m her mom, I’m older, and wiser (don’t laugh!), and I know that she has to eat the green beans. They’re good for her. Sure, they’re not as tasty as the bananas, but they’re just as important.

It’s the same thing with us, and spiritual food. The Bible is chock full of nutrients for the soul and spirit. Every bit of it is essential to us according to 2 Tim. 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” There is not one bit of it that is wasted or unnecessary. And it’s certainly not junk food!

Just like the food we eat for out bodies, the food in the Bible is varied. Some of it is smooth and sweet and pleasing, and it goes down quite easily; some of it is course and bitter and unpleasant and it can be hard to swallow. For instance, when we hear of God’s love and forgiveness of our sins, we can readily accept that and gratefully receive. However, when we hear judge not lest you be judged and forgive as you have been forgiven, that is usually harder to take, after all we usually feel that way when we’ve been wronged. But when we’ve sinned against God, He could turn His back on us because He’d been wronged. He doesn’t though. If we come to him with a repentant heart, He forgives us again and again and again.

God is our Father and He knows what is good for us. And He’s given it to us. He hasn’t left us alone to figure it out by ourselves. No, He left us His word, the Bible, and He left us a Comforter, His Holy Spirit. When we first come to Him and read the Bible, we digest that which is easy to do so – milk. As we grow and become more mature as His children, the food we digest is heartier – more solid. And eventually we mature enough that we can eat the heartiest – meat. Not only can we digest the meat, it becomes essential to our spiritual well being that we do.

It says in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. It’s just as important that we fill up on food for our spirit every day, as it is that we fill up on food for our body. Really, it is more important. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I think the most important meal of the day is the one that fills us up on God. Let us not stand before God one day and hear, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” ~ 1 Cor. 3:1-3

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Wednesday, April 16

The Maze of our Lives

With the constant influx of people coming from all over the U.S., the city of Phoenix and the surrounding areas have grown rapidly. As the urban sprawl has spread further and further into the land that was once filled with farms, dairies and orchards, a way of life that has been around for generations is rapidly disappearing. For those of us who remember seeing all the cotton and cornfields, citrus groves and dairy farms, this is hardly the place we remember from years past. This is to be expected, I suppose, however it is still somewhat sad. There is a large family farm though, not too far from where I live, that has managed to remain, and even thrive, throughout all the change.

The family who owns and runs the farm looked ahead, and saw what was coming. They knew they couldn’t stop the growth and the progress from encroaching on their lives and livelihood, so instead they embraced it. While it is still a large working farm, the focus is on “agri-tourism” and it is now considered to be an “entertainment farm”. Throughout the seasons, this farm does things to bring people in and give them the opportunity to experience the land. Among the things they offer are dining, tours, various citrus and holiday festivals, a pumpkin and chili party, a petting zoo, and they even hold weddings and receptions. There is one event though, that they do every year that gains national media attention – the celebrity corn maze.

As the name suggests, the celebrity corn maze is a 10-acre cornfield that is carved into the image of a celebrity. Past celebrities include Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, Luis Gonzales of the AZ Diamondbacks (at that time), Larry King, Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey. It is a wonder to be seen - from the air. From the ground it looks like, well, like a cornfield. Thousands of people traipse through the maze every year. It can be both fun and scary at the same time. It’s easy to get lost within the maze. Fortunately, they hand out maps of the maze as you enter, to help you find your way. To my knowledge, no one has been permanently lost! J

Often times our lives are like a maze. You start in one direction that you think is the correct way to go, only to find yourself at a dead end. There can be multiple turns to choose from, but only one of those turns is the right one. Sometimes you can choose to follow someone who looks like they know where they’re going, like they’re experts at this, but in the end you both get lost. Sometimes you are the leader and when you find you’ve gone the wrong way, you have to turn around and look at those you’ve led astray. Sometimes you are all alone and you get lost and you don’t know which way to turn. However you end up lost, it can be frightening and lonely. It can even seem hopeless. But it’s not.

Just like there is a map for the celebrity maze of corn, there is a map for the maze of our lives – the Bible. Within the pages of the Bible we find wisdom, instruction, comfort, and hope for the way we live our lives. We are introduced to people who are flawed and damaged, much like we are. We also see that many of these people rise above their circumstances in life to become mighty men and women who have an impact on those around them and even entire nations. The Bible shows us how to live and how to love. It is a source of strength when we are weak, and a beacon of light when we are surrounded by darkness. The Bible is God’s word to us. It holds His promises, His guidance, His comfort and His love. The Bible is alive; it breathes life into us and speaks to us today the same way that it did 200 years ago, and even nearly 2000 years ago. It is real and it is relevant.

When we are lost, overwhelmed and confused in the maze of our lives, we don’t have to stay that way. It’s natural to feel fear during those times, but it’s not natural to stay in fear. Our faith in God and His perfect love casts out fear. All we have to do is look at and follow the map. It’s there for us, but we have to choose to use it. And when we do, we see that by not giving up, we can find our way with confidence and peace, and maybe even with a little fun along the way.

“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.” ~ Psalm 25:4-7

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Friday, April 11

Spring Has Sprung

So, it's Spring. I know this, because that's what the calendar shows. I live in the Phoenix area, so we don't get a lot of obvious seasonal signs. In fact, we can really break them down to two - hot or not hot. Don't get me wrong, not having to shovel snow is a good thing, but I do kind of miss having seasons.

The funny thing is, if we look closely enough there are more signs than what is obvious. Like in our yard. We have grass year round. Only now it is a combination of our winter grass (rye) dying off and our summer grass (bermuda) coming back. But, it's all still grass. In addition, our trees pretty much keep their leaves all year. In the winter there may be less leaves and in the spring there may be new leaves, but the trees always have their leaves.

It's kind of like that in our lives too. We are continually going through seasons. Sometimes though, the seasons are less obvious and sometimes they are more obvious. I'm a new mom. That is a big change in the seasons of my life and it's a pretty obvious one too! A less obvious one is this, that I'm taking my writing to a new level. And to go even further out, my relationship with Father God can go through different seasons, but no one except me, and maybe those I'm extremely close to, will ever see it.

The seasons of our lives come and go. Sometimes they are calm, pleasant and even predictable. Sometimes they are turbulent, dark and uncertain. There are two things we can be sure of in this. The first is, whatever season we're in, this too shall pass, for good or for bad. The second is, whatever season we're in, God is with us. He has promised us in His word that He would never leave us or forsake us. Whatever season you're in, I hope you take comfort in this promise. Join me now in welcoming Spring!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." ~ Ecc. 3:1-8

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Wednesday, April 9

Cracked Heels

As I was walking through my home today I felt a pain in my heel. Not a sharp pain or a serious pain, but a familiar pain. I've had this pain before. Immediately I knew what it was. A quick look confirmed it. I had a dry, deeply cracked heel. At once I started chastising myself for going so long without a pedicure. But I'm a new mom, I reasoned, I have other more important priorities right now. True enough, but honestly I've been intending to give myself a mini-pedi for a couple of weeks now. Somehow I just never got to it. So tonight, after getting my wee one down for the night I began. As I sat there soaking my feet in the warm, soapy water, I couldn't imagine what would actually keep me from doing something as nice as this little personal care act. Actually, I knew what it was - neglect and procrastination.

I began pondering this thought and I saw that this little incident of a cracked heel could really be a metaphor for so many other things in life. In what other ways can neglect and procrastination become cracks that hurt us? In relationships? Certainly. In responsibilities? Absolutely. In not being the best us that we can be? Without a doubt.

If I neglect my husband or my daughter, our relationship would definitely suffer. It would cause pain and anger and we could become just another statistic. It would be a sad situation all the way around, and that is not okay. If I neglect my relationship with God, it would be flat and one-sided. He will always love me and be there for me, but I would be detached, I would suffer. That is not okay. If I neglect my 86 year old grandmother, whom I love very much, and procrastinate the long drive to go see her, I may not see her again. And that is not okay.

If I neglect my responsibilities, others will find me to be irresponsible, untrustworthy and lazy. And that is not okay. If I neglect myself (heels included), I will live a life that is substandard, I will cause myself pain. And that is not okay. It is imperative that I choose to love and take care of myself, eat well, always continue to learn and grow, and to be the absolute best me that I can be.

Life happens, it's true. But life is going to happen with or without our participation. It is up to us to choose whether or not we are going to be active participants. It is up to us to determine if we live a life filled with neglect and procrastination or care and action.

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." ~ Deut. 30:15,19

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Tuesday, April 1


Christian Sites ~

Bible Gateway
Christian Women Online
Christianity Today
Family Life
Focus On The Family
His Princess

Writing Sites ~

A Life in Pages
American Christian Fiction Writers
Books and Such Literary Agency
Brandilyn Collins' Forensics and Faith
Camy Tang's Story Sensei
Christian Authors Network
Christian Love Stories
Jennifer Hudson Taylor's Writing Tips
Mary DeMuth's So You Wanna Be Published
My Book Therapy
Novel Journey
Sally Stuart's Blog
Susan May Warren
Terri Tiffany's Blog
Terry Whalin The Writing Life
The Seekers
Vonda Skelton's Writing Blog
Writing Fundamentals

Political / News Sites ~

Alliance Defense Fund
American Center for Law & Justice
Ann Coulter
Bill O'Reilly
Christian Political View
Conservative Strong A.A.R.M
Fox News
Life News
Michelle Malkin
Rebuild the Party
Sean Hannity
Town Hall Conservative News
World Magazine
World Net Daily

About Me

My name is Tracy Keck. I am a Christian stay-at-home-mom and aspiring writer. I am blessed to be married to an amazing man, and we have a beautiful daughter who is the joy of our lives. In addition, we have 3 feline family members, who keep us warm at night and very entertained.

I'm passionate about God's word and the way it transforms us, if we choose to allow it to. I have gone from broken to beautiful, from victim to victor and from a survivor to an overcomer, and I know that it's only by the power and grace of God that I’ve done so.

I enjoy many things. I’ve always loved reading and writing. Some of my favorite places are the mountains, the ocean/beach and the great American West. When I have down time, I like spending time with my family and watching movies. I enjoy going out to eat (especially for steak or Mexican food), listening to a vast array of music, laughing, church activities and pedicures. I love the Lord, animals, chocolate and cheesecake, rainy days and America.

Writing is something I’m passionate about and have been writing publicly for over a year now. Seed Thoughts is my blog and the place I hang out most. In November, 2009, I competed in NaNoWriMo and completed my first novel, called A Little Rain Must Fall. My goal is to complete at least two more novels this year. Writers groups I belong to are FaithWriters, American Christian Fiction Writers Association (ACFW) and the local chapter Christian Writers of the West (CWOW). In addition, you can find me at Facebook, and Twitter.

It is my desire to write what God leads me to write and go where God leads me to go. The material that I write may be encouraging, funny, informative, fiction or non-fiction. I hope you enjoy what you find and pass it along to others. In any good that I do, I give the glory to God.


Quotes I Love ~

"Remember, ordinary people make excuses, extraordinary people make a way." ~ Tracy Keck

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." ~ Helen Keller

"The success of my day is determined not by the harvest that I reap, but by the seeds that I sow." ~ John Maxwell

"God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it." ~ Daniel Webster

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." ~ Ronald Reagan

"Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

"A room without books is like a body without a soul" ~ Cicero

"The true meaning of America, you ask? It's in a Texas rodeo, in a policeman's badge, in the sound of laughing children, in a political rally, in a newspaper... In all these things, and many more, you'll find America. In all these things, you'll find freedom. And freedom is what America means to the world." ~ Audie Murphy

"Complacency is a tool formed in the pit of hell, used by the enemy to render us ineffective for the Kingdom of God." ~ Tracy Keck

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you are saying." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


100 Things I Love ~

100 Scripture Verses
100 Songs