Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inspiring Poems to Encourage You: Introducing Poet Raphael Stillings

© God's Writer Girl: God has taken me on an interesting journey throughout my life. One of the best parts of that journey has been the amazing and inspiring people He has allowed to cross my path. Today's guest, Raphael Stillings, is one of those special people. Raphael and I met my junior year at Florence Township Memorial High School in Florence, NJ. Raphael, the star quarterback of our football team always impressed me because he had depth and integrity. Recently, Raphael self-published his first book, All at Once...Be Ye Connected, which is a compilation of his inspirational poetry. It is my honor and delight to introduce you to my dear friend and brother in Christ: Raphael Stillings.

Who is Raphael Stillings? Raphael is a humble man of GOD who has finally learned the importance and virtue of accepting what the LORD allows while trusting the process along the way.  It has been a long time coming, so glad to be in HIS will and out of my own way.  Glory be to GOD for using a sinner like me!!!  

God's Writer Girl: Amen! What a joy it is to be within God's will and sharing His love with others!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  In my free time, I enjoy giving GOD the glory, listening for His voice to further my days with benefits, and other simple, every day things that put a smile on my face.  Reading, writing, exercising, traveling, family, friends, but really find myself alone now a days. 

Where do you draw inspiration from for your poems?  I draw my inspiration from the word of GOD and real life experiences.

Of all the poems you’ve crafted, which one do you identify with the most and why?
I identify with all of them.  I feel that GOD used me to do HIS will; as a result, each one has its own meaning with no respect of position.

What are the major themes of your poems? The major themes of my poems are to inspire, motivate, support, encourage, move, convince, and maybe convict you into being the best person that you can possibly be for your GOD and yourself.  I want people to think, think, and think!!!

What is your newest release?  My newest release is All at Once … Be Ye Connected.  The book is a compilation of inspirational/spiritual poems, short stories, and positive affirmations.  All at Once pertains to all of the choices and decisions that we all have to make every day and all day from: family, finances, friends, work, health, etc.  Be Ye Connected pertains to knowing your source of strength and enlightenment while realizing the connections that will help you make the correct choices and decisions to allow you to be the best you possible.

What are your favorite books to read and why? My favorite books are Purpose Driven Life, Free at Last, The Quotable Teacher and they all have added to my life and inspired me in some way.  I enjoy and appreciate all authors who inspire people through the spirit of who they are and what they do.

How did you get involved in writing? Writing is something that I have always enjoyed and loved to do.  From the dates on some pieces, I have been writing for a long time…smile.  This should actually be my second book…disobedience.  I actually shelved myself because of doubt, fear, worry, and concern.

God's Writer Girl: Yes, I remember you having a gift for writing when we were in high school together...Mrs. Keyes' English class...smiles.

What do you enjoy most and least about the writing process? The writing process, to me, is very liberating and it allows you to go places spiritually that you physically cannot get to.  On the other hand, what I don’t like about it, is not having the ability to do it more often because of life’s demands.

What advice would you offer an aspiring author or poet? I would advise any aspiring author or poet to follow your own hearts.  Don’t look to the left or right, just focus.  But, most importantly, don’t look for validation from man!

What are you currently writing? I am currently working on my next book Troubled by the Waters.  So excited!!!

What has God been teaching you lately?  God has been teaching me to remain low and watch HIM work.  Patience has always been a struggle for me, so of course HE is testing me in that area majorly with this project….lol.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book? Readers can go to to learn more about me and the book.

Where can readers purchase your book? Readers can also purchase the book on the website as well as send a check or money order to the address that is also on the website.  Because I am self publishing at this time, you can make all checks and money orders payable to Raphael Stillings.  Thanks in advance for your support, God bless you, and be encouraged always!!!

God's Writer Girl: Thank you, Raphael, for allowing us to get to know you better and for sharing your encouraging spirit. Tomorrow, I will review Raphael's compilation of poems, All at Once...Be Ye Connected, and sharing one of his poems with you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

God Inspired Images: Introducing AKH Photography

It is my honor to introduce my dear friend, Angie Johnson Hack, and her amazing photography. I have known Angie since we waited for the bus together on our first day of kindergarten all those years ago. Angie has a heart for God and her artist's eye captures His beauty in the world around us through landscape and wildlife photographs. Angie also has an eye for capturing the Amish in their natural environment as they attend to their daily chores. Grab a cool glass of lemonade to refresh you on this hot summer day and sit down to visit with Angie and I. 

Who is the artist behind AKH Photography? The Artist behind AKH Photography is the Lord. Then, the Lord inspires me, Angie Hack. He points my camera at His creations and I just capture what the Lord provides me…A beautiful image made by our FATHER but captured by my camera.  

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Photography, fixing computers, matting and framing my photography and meeting new people my photography directs me too. Also, enjoying time with my children and husband. I also love to Facebook with family and friends. I enjoy spending time at my family’s cabin along the Susquehanna River near Montgomery, PA as well.

How did you become involved in photography? I gave up on photography for years. I would take the photos but wouldn’t do much with them. I have health issues that put me down for days and special needs children that I need to be a mother to. This year my pain and suffering took me to a Rheumatologist. Then, they referred me to a Psychologist that deals with pain management. She asked me what I like to do. I told her that I enjoy photography. I have loved photography since high school. My first real camera was a pinhole shoebox camera I made myself and the picture was developed in the high school darkroom. She asked why I quit. Also, she asked if there was one thing I have been dreaming of doing. I answered her by saying going to Arizona. She asked me what is stopping you from going.  I said money is a problem and I am AFRAID of flying. Well…after that session, I booked a flight to Arizona to see my family and the photo session began. It was my first time to fly, first time to stay alone in Philly the day before my flight, and the first time I drove 3 hours to Philly. When I returned home, I unloaded the beautiful pictures from my camera. One day, an artist friend stopped by the house and asked me if I wanted to display my pictures in her art gallery. I had an artist reception on June 15th and now my success is all because of God’s will!! God is Good!!

What type of photography services do you provide? I do photography of “God’s subjects with his backdrops provided to me by HIM.” I do nature, landscape, wildlife and architecture photography. My signature trademark style includes photography of the Amish.

Of the moments you’ve captured, which is your favorite and why? I really don’t have a favorite. Everything I look at is a picture to me and that is why I need the camera in my hands at all times.  If I really had to pick a favorite to submit to a photography magazine it would be my photograph entitled “Buying a Slingshot,” a picture of two little Amish boys looking at a vendor’s display wondering if they should use their hard earned money to purchase it. And, the second would be of the one little boy who purchased that slingshot as he was playing with it in the field.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographs? God inspires me …but it’s also where I am at the moment and what happens in that moment that inspires my photographs.

Where can people go to see your photographs on display? AKH Photography can be seen on blogspot at and on my website, and on Facebook under AKH photography.

What is your favorite subject to photograph? Whatever captures my eye…mainly country scenery or items.

How do you handle photographing the Amish with their religious belief about graven images? People overwork this concept in their minds. In this area, the Amish are more liberal. They may have their pictures taken but “CAN’T POSE.”  The Amish in the tourist areas believe more strongly against having their pictures taken. I usually take pictures where the Amish gather in public settings that I am allowed at as well.  In our area, there are Amish consignment sales and that is where I captured a lot of my Amish pictures.  Amish folk were throwing themselves in front of my cameras. I literally had to ask one boy to stop jumping in my shots. He is the one on my slingshot picture at the left. He was also in my “sale day” picture. I also just stop on the road and take a “brief” photo shoot of them doing their daily chores. Also, a lot of my neighbors are Amish and taking pictures of my neighbors is innocent in its own way. Taking pictures of the back of my subjects is another one of my trademarks. I also take the pictures of the backs of people to help my laziness…when I say laziness, I mean paperwork. If you take a picture of anyone, Amish or not, you should always have release papers with you for them to sign saying its okay to photograph them or sell their image I captured.

What has God been teaching you lately? Patience!!!! He has been teaching me patience. When I am behind the camera, you cannot hurry a shot. You will get a blurry image if you hurry. You might spend a day shooting a thousand frames and when you get home to view them, you might have 2 AWESOME shots out of all of them. Also, He is teaching me patience in the selling aspect. It takes awhile to generate a clientele. That is why we are considered “Starving Artists.”

How can people get in contact with you to discuss your services? They can check out my Facebook pages, website or blogger site.  Also, I can be emailed at or by phone (570) 437-2484.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


The 4th of July symbolizes something extremely significant to Americans: FREEDOM. What does freedom mean to you? Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines freedom as “the quality or state of being free [with] the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.” Simply put, you and I have the opportunity to determine our actions without restraint or interference. We have the power to act, to produce change, and to influence others. George Washington stated, “Liberty [or freedom], when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” Being one of our nation’s founding fathers, he understood the importance of freedom, democracy, and justice and how quickly these new principles would be implemented by the people in the hope of succeeding in life, obtaining liberty, and pursuing happiness (Declaration of Independence). Our founding fathers wanted the absolute best for each of us. They wanted a world where we could grow and see our hopes and dreams become reality. Isn’t that what God wants for each one of us as well? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God wants us to succeed and have our hopes become reality. In order to prosper and have hope, we must embrace freedom just as our forefathers did. God offers us the ultimate freedom: freedom from sin. He sent His only son, Jesus, into the world to teach us His ways and to die a horrible death so that we might have eternal hope. John 3:16-17 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” We can obtain freedom from sin and uphold the principles upon which our forefather’s founded this country by revealing the truth, trusting in God, and praying fervently. The Bibles says in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” As we grow closer to God and allow Him to work His miraculous grace in our lives, we will have the power to act, to produce change, and to influence others through God’s love. This freedom we are so mercifully given is something we will want to share with others.  In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” As Christians, our responsibility is to share the truth of God’s word and put our faith into action by helping others experience God’s love and find freedom from sin. The Bible tells us that if we have faith without God’s love, we are nothing and if we give our all for Him but do not share His love, we gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2-3 paraphrased). Next, we must trust God implicitly. Psalm 84:12 states “Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Finally, we must pray fervently. The Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  We need to pray for God’s truth to be revealed and for our nation to stand firm in the Godly principles upon which it was built. Former President Ronald Reagan understood the importance the faith, in God, of our founding fathers was in forming the United States of America as a nation when he said “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” Embrace God’s undeniable truth and experience an exhilarating freedom from sin. Bask in God’s love and peace. Embrace the joy that only a relationship with God can provide. Value the gift of freedom, both from sin and the freedoms of our nation. Speak the truth, take action, produce change, and influence others for God.