Rachael Hartman

In which I give #WordPress advice



(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be…

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Love: an active noun, like struggle

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” -Fred Rogers

I Love YouWhat does it mean to love? How do you feel love? How do you show love? Do you feel loved? And possibly more importantly, do the people you love feel your love?

I am afraid to ask the people in my life if they feel my love. I am afraid of the answer. What if they said no?

Too often love feels more like a struggle than it feels like love. “To strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” isn’t always easy.

What does it mean to withhold love? In my mind it is avoiding another person, refusing to speak, putting them down, not spending time with them, ignoring their cries for help. Maybe these behaviors go beyond “unloving” and fall into the realm of emotional abuse.

Love, to me, is emotional support. I may not be able to fix my loved one’s problems, give them finances, a new job, take away their emotional or physical pain… But I can be there with them through the pain. I can give them emotional support. I can empathize. I can show concern. Express condolences. Bring flowers. Spend time with them. I can accept them right where they are, amidst the struggle, and unselfishly acknowledge life with them.

Today, I will take the time to love someone. I hope you will too.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman, owner of Our Written Lives editing and publishing services for independent authors.

My first glimpse of NYC

I took my first glimpse of New York City today. Thirty-five minutes ago my train arrived at Penn Station and I stepped onto a dimly lit, underground train platform. (Not the subway, that will come next week!)

My friend Amanda met me at the station. We were going to do lunch since I had a two hour layover, but my train was an hour and a half late, so we only had a few minutes to chat. She hugged me,  passed me a pack of Oreo cookies and I was on my way to my next train, bound for Boston.

My first two train rides I was in coach seating, this time (the only portion of my trip) I’m in business class. What a difference. The seats are bigger and somewhat more comfortable, but there isn’t quite as much leg room as in coach, and I am not about to put on my warm fuzzy slippers with all these business peeps!

All of the trains have been pretty cold actually. I brought an extra pair of socks, slippers, a blanket, and neck pillow. All very much needed for the overnight trip from Fayetteville to New York.

New York! Back to the city I’m so excited to visit! Once on the train to Boston, I actually did get to see a few great views of the city from a distance. It was beautiful.


I took these pictures from the Dining Car on the 2160 Acela train from Penn Station to Boston. I beat the crowd and ordered lunch almost as soon as I got on the train. Penne Pasta salad ($4.75) and Oreos (thank you, Amanda).



I ate my lunch while we zoomed past the city.

Here’s a picture of the Assistant Conductor. He was so typical of what I would expect. Super nice.


Got to love the accents up here, that is for sure. Wow, I’m listening to the “chap” ordering right now. Lovely suit and he sounds like he’s from England… He’s probably from Boston.

We’re at our first stop on this four hour trip: Standford, CT (I think… It kind of sounds like they are saying Stamford). I’m actually quite drawn here – the townhomes we passed were just lovely, and all of the trees 🙂

Trains… great travel for creativity :)


I’m on a train headed to Fayetteville, North Carolina–my first stop on a two week trip up the East Coast. Halfway to my destination, I’ve already made an acquaintance, taken a nap, and checked out the cafe car where I picked up a fruit and yogurt parfait.

When I started planning my trip, my first two concerns were seeing as many friends as possible and keeping the price reasonable. I booked my ticket so early I was able to schedule three train stops and two additional stops traveling with friends. My main stops include Fayetteville, North Carolina; Boston; New Hampshire; Rhode Island; and New York City!

I’ll be blogging about my trip and posting photos, so stop in and check out my adventures!


So, here’s why train travel is great for creative types like me:
1. Free access to WiFi
2. Electric plugs at each seat
3. Freedom to walk around
4. Quite to sleep, write, or whatever
5. Fresh air stops
6. Interesting people
7. No need to focus on driving
8. Watching America the Beautiful roll by
9. No limits on using the phone or electronic devices
10. The comforting sound of the train and rumbling of the car


I’ve got my tunes playing in my hears and my creative energy is starting up. As soon as I make a couple of phone calls, I’ll be finishing up some work for Link247.

Contentment – We are ENOUGH.

174725660513273199_EOC6NDey_fFor the past few weeks, I’ve been writing a four-part Bible study on contentment.As I dug deeper into the Word of God, I was honestly surprised at the depth of what the Word said about contentment. Contentment is one of those concepts I’ve heard all my life, but struggled to obtain.

One of the most striking points I learned in my study on contentment was the original meaning of the word. One Greek word that translates into “contentment” in the King James Version is “Arkeo.” Arkeo is the word found in Luke 3:14, 1 Timothy 6:8, and Hebrews 13:5.

The original definition is very close to our definition of contentment: “to be satisfied or contented with.” But it also takes the meaning of the word to the new depth of: “to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing.”

imagesI often find myself and other people I meet feel inadequate when it comes to facing difficulties in life. We feel we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, rich enough, or you-name-it enough.

Finding contentment in who God has made us to be isn’t always an easy task. We think a new look, a new car, a new high, a new friend, a new ‘something’ will fill the void and make us “enough.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are strong enough for the task God has called us to. God has given us enough strengths and wisdom in His Word to make the right choices for our lives. We are ENOUGH for the day.


Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

An Independence Day Bible Study

Independence Day! Freedom & Liberty in Power of the Holy Ghost!

A Bible Study by Rachael Hartman

Below is the Teacher’s Version of this Bible study. If you would like the student notes page (with fill in the blanks) and the answer page, please email me at Rachael.K.Hartman@owlofhope.com and I’d be happy to email you all of the documents.

Today is July 3rd. Tomorrow we celebrate our nation’s independence, but today and everyday you can DECLARE your INDEPENDENCE through the Power of the Holy Ghost!

2 Corinthians 3:12-18… Focus on verse 17

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

  1. When you hear the words “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit” what do you think of?

Play Holy Ghost (3 minute official trailer – see link on this blog)


  1. Many people who hear the words “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit” think of the titles “Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” but they don’t really know what that means.

The Holy Ghost, also called the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God, is how we refer to the way God interacts with us in a personal way, as well as how He works in the world today. The first mention of the Holy Ghost was in the Old Testament when God created the world.

Read Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

  1. In the Old Testament, once people were living under the law, the Spirit of God remained behind a thick veil in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Later, read Exodus 25, the whole chapter (and surrounding chapters). Read verses 20-22 now.

God interacted with His people through an established set of laws, sacrifices, and special leaders called High Priests. Once a year the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies where God dwelled and put the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat as atonement for the sins of the people. The people’s sins weren’t forgiven – they were pushed forward one year.

Read Leviticus 16:14-16, “And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.”

Read Hebrews 9:1-3, 6-9, 11-15, 22 & 10:4, 12-23 

Jesus was the fulfillment of the law. (Matthew 5:17-20 & Galatians 3:24)


4. When Jesus died on the cross the veil in the Temple was torn in two, signifying that all people (not just the High Priest once a year) had access to the Spirit of God. Read Matthew 27:50-51 

Because Jesus died for our sins, we can have a personal relationship with God and be filled with the Holy Ghost!


3. Read Luke 24:34-40, 44-49… When Jesus ascended to Heaven he told his followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Promise of Father. They did… the story picks up in the book of Acts.

Read Acts 1:1-9. This is a repeat of what happened in Luke 24.

They obeyed and we read that part of the story in Acts 2:1-4. This is the first time we see the gift of the Holy Ghost – power from on High – being given to the believers. Just as Jesus promised (and as the Old Testament prophecy said), they received Power.


4. The first day the Holy Ghost filled Believers happened to be a holiday for the Jewish people. The holiday was called Pentecost and it was a huge celebration. Jews from all over the world were gathered together in Jerusalem. This was all apart of God’s plan. Because so many different people who spoke different languages were together in one place, the disciples were able to do just as Jesus said and be a witness unto all the nations—beginning at Jerusalem.

We see all the names of the countries and people listed in Acts 2:5-13. They didn’t know what was happening, so they assumed the disciples were drunk! Peter (who had the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven… the key to unlocking the door of heaven… the instructions on how to go to Heaven…) came and explained!


5. Read Acts 2:14-18. Read the verses Peter is referring to in Joel 2:28-29. In Acts 2:19-36 you can read the rest of Peter’s sermon. The people were so moved by how Peter explained who Jesus was and how He poured out His Spirit, they asked what they needed to do.


6. In Acts 2:38-41, Peter tells them exactly what they need to do to be saved. 3000 people were saved that day!


7. As you read through the book of Acts (which is named Acts because it is the actions of the Apostles) and through the rest of the New Testament, which are letters to the church (how to grow in God and continue in the faith), you will see the same pouring out of the Holy Ghost on people throughout the remainder of the Bible.

Just like Peter said in Acts 2:39, the Promise is unto all of us!


8. The day of receiving the Holy Ghost is a day of independence! When you are filled with the power of the Holy Ghost you have the power to overcome sin and to be a witness for Jesus!

Read Acts 19:1-6. Many believers today love the Lord, but they haven’t received this gift of the Holy Ghost yet. Are you ready to receive the Holy Ghost?

Play The Promise is Yours! video (10 minutes – see link on this blog)


9. If you want to receive the Holy Ghost, all you have to do is obey the Word of God and ask for this free gift!


10. Here are some steps that can help you receive the Holy Ghost:

1. Believe in Jesus – Place your trust in Him

2. Repent of your sin – it’s more than saying you are sorry, it’s turning away from sin

3. Forgive others who’ve hurt you – God will forgive your sins when you forgive others (Matthew 6:14)

4. Worship God – Spend time with God, pray and read your Bible. Enter into a time of praise and worship. Play worship music and spend time loving Jesus! Grow close to Him and release control of your life to Him! He will do the rest.


*Note: Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a powerful experience. You will feel different physically, emotionally and spiritually as the Power of God fills you. You may cry because the Spirit is so strong. Begin to speak out your praise and love to God. Soon your lips and tongue will start to shake under the power of God. You will know you are filled with the Spirit as you start to speak in a Heavenly language by the power of God, just as the book of Acts believers in Acts 2:4.


A word for women experiencing marital rejection

While working on my new book Plastic Reality: Processing Cosmetic Surgery, I was so moved by a story I read about a woman who was dealing with rejection from her husband. She sought out plastic surgery as a way to be “re-born” after her husband left her for a younger woman. My heart broke for the woman and many others like her. I had to stop to bring a word of encouragement for women experiencing the grief of marital rejection.