Sun peeking through clouds

Beauty for Our Gloomiest Days

by Amy Anguish

Heading out into the rain to run errands is never my idea of a good time. But the weather doesn’t care when the milk and bread are gone. A few weeks ago, I loaded up my five-year-old and started out with a few stops planned. At the third store, though, my van wouldn’t start. Two hours and the cost of a new battery later, we finally finished our trip, soggy and tired and grumpy. It was difficult to see the good in the situation.

Do you find overcast skies to be downers? This time of year, at least in middle Tennessee, we experience plenty of gray days. And I will be honest. They make it hard to get motivated–whether for shopping or anything else.

Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to the Carpenters singing about “Rainy Days and Mondays,” but probably it’s just human nature. There’s something to be said for the Vitamin D sunshine brings to our lives.

And dreary conditions are just that–Dreary. So many of my Facebook memories say something like, “This weather has me wishing I could just stay in with a cup of tea and a good book.”

Are we completely depressed now? I hope not.

Have you ever gotten up at just the right moment to see the sunrise? Or sat still long enough to see it set? The artist in me loves to watch how God colors the horizon differently every night. 

Scripture states, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1, ESV).

Night sky with Psalm 19:1 in text.

God’s been painting for a long time. He’s good at it.

Have you noticed on partly cloudy mornings or evenings, the hues appear more intense? They’re reflected off more surfaces, literally streaking the sky with colors.

The clouds actually make the sunrise or sunset more beautiful.

See where I’m going?

We all have overcast seasons, physically and spiritually. My workload picked up quite a bit this last year, which is a good thing, because it means I’m getting more stories published. But, that also means my editing and marketing increased. And those tasks are … well, draining though necessary.

The extra stress has definitely clouded my attitude. However, after struggling through the rough times, the sun shone through the grays and lit the darkness, shooting colors every which way across my life. Through readers telling me how much they enjoyed a story, or seeing a nice review come through, or having someone ask if I have any other books coming out because they want to read more. It’s encouraging. 

In my earlier story, when my car broke down, a friend came to my rescue. We shared a ton of laughter trying to figure out where to attach the cables on these particular vehicles. Our interaction provided a silver-lining in a potentially rotten situation.

Just like a gorgeous sunset reminds us that clouds aren’t all bad.

Life is full of gloomy moments, but that doesn’t mean it’s only dreary. Even the grayest sky shows color somewhere—in a rainbow or sunrise. God never promised us only sunshine. But He did say He’d be there through everything, including the rain—and edits.

So, I find I can’t completely hate overcast days. Because with the clouds comes a beautiful reminder of His presence and promises. Just like He sent me those sweet comments from  readers. And my friend with jumper cables and laughter.

What ways has God reminded you of His love and faithfulness lately?

Get to Know Amy!

Author of An Unexpected Legacy, Faith and Hope, and Saving Grace

Amy R Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.

Amy Anguish's headshot

Follow her at aBitofAnguish or on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about her books on Pinterest and check out the YouTube channel she does with two other authors, Once Upon a Page.

Check Out Her Latest story, Mistletoe Make-believe, found in Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams:

Charlie Hill’s family thinks his daughter Hailey needs a mom—to the point they won’t get off his back until he finds her one. Desperate to be free from their nagging, he asks a stranger to pretend she’s his girlfriend during the holidays.

Cover image for Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams.

When romance author Samantha Arwine takes a working vacation to St. Simons Island over Christmas, she never dreamed she’d be involved in a real-life romance. Are the sparks between her and Charlie real? Or is it just her imagination?

Find it HERE.

Before you go, make sure to check out the latest Your Daily Bible Verse podcast episodes, hosted by Grace Fox and I.

God: The Master Lemonade Maker (Genesis 50:20) Your Daily Bible Verse

Want to listen without the ads? Become a PLUS Member today: Meet Our Hosts: JENNIFER SLATTERY is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at Follow Jennifer: GRACE FOX has published hundreds of articles and authored 10 books including the award-winning devotional, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos. She’s a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus. Grace lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, she and her husband celebrate three grown kids and eleven grandchildren. Check out Grace’s newest book, Keeping Hope Alive: Subscribe to her weekly devotional blog and monthly update on her website: Follow Grace:Facebook:  Pinterest: JOSHUA LILLIE is a passionate follower of Jesus, spreadsheet enthusiast, and lover of all kinds of art and music. Joshua has almost a decade of experience in music ministry, and has served both in house church and megachurch environments in pastoral and administrative roles, eager to see every man, woman, and child increasingly surrender their lives to King Jesus. He currently serves on staff with Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE, and as an ordained minister with the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a global denomination of Jesus-followers making Him known among the nations.See for privacy information.
  1. God: The Master Lemonade Maker (Genesis 50:20)
  2. Standing Firm in Freedom (Galatians 5:1)
  3. Love, Trust, Rejoice (1 Peter 1:8)
  4. Christ's Heart for the Helpless and Hopeless (Matthew 9:36)
  5. Why Was Jesus Baptized? (John 1:32-34)

And the latest episode of the Faith Over Fear podcast:

When You Fear You've Blown Your Calling (Genesis 20) Faith Over Fear

Have your sins and failures ever seemed greater than God's grace? Have you ever feared that you've done something to forfeit your calling? In this episode, Carol shares a story about a Christ-follower who, in fear, killed someone. But God's grace reached deep into that prison and revealed a calling greater than a murder conviction.  (Scroll down for discussion/reflective questions.)  Find Carol McCracken: On her website  On Facebook On Instagram Find Jennifer Slattery: On her website Instagram Facebook Find Wholly Loved: On their website Join the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group  Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Facebook Group Discussion/Reflection Questions: What resonated with you most in this episode? Have you ever feared you did something to forfeit God's call on your life? If so, how?  What did Jason Kent's story reveal regarding God's heart? What did Jason's story reveal regarding God's power? What thoughts or emotions arose when Jennifer said that God uses us for His perfect purposes despite our imperfections? What did God's response to Abraham's sin reveal regarding His heart? What is the significance of God referring to Abraham as a prophet? Why might God have had Abraham pray for Abimelech?  What is one step God might be asking you to take after having listened to this episode? See for privacy information.
  1. When You Fear You've Blown Your Calling (Genesis 20)
  2. Faith and Fear (Genesis 18)
  3. Trusting God to be All-Sufficient (Genesis 17)
  4. Courage to Wait on God (Genesis 16)
  5. Trusting in Our Good God (Genesis 15:2-21)

One aptly spoken accolade can go a long way toward motivating positive change, giving strength to the weary, and perseverance to those trudging through the mundane. And to the contrary–silence can sap a friend, ministry team member, child, or spouse’s strength. Consider the following: My daughter loves art, and I believe she’s quite good at it. But… she didn’t start out good. No one does. Everyone begins with scribbles which progress to stick figures. Sure, some will show more aptitude than others, but aptitude alone doesn’t necessarily lead to growth. There’s a key ingredient, I believe, in growth and that is encouragement. Hearing someone say, “You’re good at that,” often motivates one to try harder and be better.

In Hebrews 10:24 Paul encourages us to be one another’s cheerleaders when he says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). Today my sweet friend and coffee buddy, LoRee Peery takes a deeper look at this important word, sharing tangible ways we can stand behind and walk beside our brothers and sisters in Christ. As you read her fun devotion, I encourage you to pause to take time to look up and read each verse, asking God to help you put it into practice.

But first, I wanted to announce the winner of last week’s give-away! Sheila Hall, congrats! You won a copy of Shannon Taylor Vannatter’s novel, Rodeo Family! I’ll contact you shortly! 

And speaking of give-aways, Amazon is practically giving away my debut novel, Beyond I Do! They’ve marked it down, print and kindle copy, to two bucks and change! If you haven’t read it and were wanting to, now’s a great time to grab a copy. You can get it here. Might want to stock up for all those upcoming birthdays as well. 🙂


Writers are all about words. Some words jump off the page with meaning. Consider the word encourage. The motivation for encouragement is LOVE. Love abounds in God’s people when we are open to opportunities to encourage one another.

After all, we are continually encouraged through the Holy Spirit as we dig into what God has written to us through the Bible. As the children of God, we have a responsibility to pass on encouragement.

E = EDIFY                        love edifies                                                                   1 Corinthians 8:1_LOW7494small

N = NOURISH                constantly nourished on the words of faith          1 Timothy 4:6

C = CARE                         have the same care for one another                       1 Corinthians 12:25

O = ONE ANOTHER     build up one another                                                 1 Thessalonians 5:11

U = URGE                       urged to encourage the fainthearted                      1 Thessalonians 5:14

R = REFRESH                they have refreshed my spirit                                  1 Corinthians 16:18

A = ACCOMPLISH        prayer accomplishes much                                      James 5:16

G = GIVE                         more blessed to give than to receive                      Acts 20:35

E = EXHORT                  spiritual gift to come alongside.                             Romans 12:8

Hebrews 3:13 reads “But ENCOURAGE one another day after day.”

Sometimes encouragement doesn’t require words. How much do you smile when you’re out in public? I try to make eye contact and smile. Sometimes that’s hard if I’m concentrating on my next purchase, especially in the grocery store. If I’m not a woman on a mission, though, I do try to acknowledge others.

Now, my husband is a retired salesman. He smiles and talks to almost everyone he meets. Sometimes those people don’t even have to be looking at him. But I’ve seen him brighten a stranger’s day many times over. On occasion he doesn’t use many words. He may reach for something too high for an older shopper. He opens doors, he’s put packages in trunks, and he’s aided those dedicated spouses struggling with the wheel chairs of their mates. I can’t count the times some woman has said to him, “You’re the first man to ask if I needed help.”

I encourage you to take these thoughts to heart and make someone’s day by a word or act of encouragement. We are in this faith journey together.


Creighton’s Hideaway:

Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn’t expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader. Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God–until he meets Shana. He’s drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime’s accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana’s life is threatened, Creighton must protect her–even if it means letting her in. Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?

Buy it here!




A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith.

You can find her at or the Pelican Book Group site

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! I’ve heard it said, people will rarely remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. We are a tired, discouraged, insecure bunch in desperate need of encouragement. Who can you encourage today, and how? Perhaps make a list. Maybe make a list daily. Your friends, family, and co-workers will love you for it. 🙂

Share your thoughts and ideas here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

For those following my book-launch tour, here’s where I’ve been this past week:

Today I stopped by Angela Meyer’s to talk about the best possible response to a chaotic day. You can read more here.

Yesterday I participated in a book give-away (which is still going on). Give-awa, and talked about how God uses everything–every tear and regret–to bring about His glorious purposes. Knwoing this should bring us great joy and peace, regardless of our circumstances. Read more here.

Yesterday was a busy day, cyber-space speaking. Ginger Solomon interviewed Jacqueline Dunn, the main female character in my sophomore novel, When Dawn Breaks. You can read that here. I also encourage you to read a short story I wrote through the eyes of one of America’s forgotten children. You can read that here.

I also got all mushy and sentimental yesterday on Gail Pallotta’s blog as I talked about what I really wanted this Valentine’s Day. You can read my post here.

Reviewer Sarah Ruut invited me to visit her blog to talk about my novel and passion for writing. You can join our conversation here.

An old writing mentor, Fay Lamb, had me on her blog this past week, starting with a guest post, then a character interview, and finally an author interview. Pop by to learn more about me, my novel, and Jacqueline Dunn.

OLATHE_Slattery signing_JAN15-FBThis weekend I’m heading back to Kansas City (Olatha, KS, actually) to do a signing, and I have to say, my Northland church family has blessed my socks off by their outpouring of encouragement and support. I was touched not only by their actions but by the knowledge that God spurred them to it, which was like a gentle hug from my Savior and a clear reminder that He’s in this writing thing. To my Northland family, I love you guys! Can’t wait to reconnect! 🙂

The following weekend (Feb. 7th) I’ll be speaking at the Art of Marriage conference here in Papillion. I’d love to see you. I cannot recommend this conference enough. It’s one my hubby and I go to annually. It’s that good, and that important! That afternoon, I’ll be signing copies of both my novels at the Bookworm in Omaha (at 4pm). I’d love to see a slew of Christian fiction readers come! I love supporting secular stores that support carry Christian fiction. 🙂

I’ve already shared a little about my daughter, her faith, and her blog. Honestly, she continues to amaze both my husband and I. I’m not sure what happened to the timid, often insecure little girl that used to skip across our yard. In her place emerged a strong, faithful teen ready to stand on her convictions. And today she visits author K Dawn Byrd’s blog to encourage other teens to do the same.  Come stop by and leave a word of encouragement. I know she’d appreciate it!

Ashe Slattery Shares Reaching Out to the Misfits