Follow by Email

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Thoughts - Part One

The past week or so, my thoughts already have been ruminating over the past year and looking ahead to 2012. I've been praying in regards to the New Year and what and where my focus should be concentrated. It's hard to believe how quickly 2011 has gone by and soon will be coming to a close. I pray God uses me in a mighty way in the New Year. The next couple days will be spent in prayer and reflection as I continue to see His will for 2012. What ways do you hope God will use you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Great Squeeze - A Modern Day Parable


A parable of fruit bearing.

            Two men were eager to produce a batch of wine to send to the stores. The first wine maker bought the latest and greatest wine press. He chaffed, waiting for the grapes to ferment. Finally they were ready. He dumped all the grapes into the wine press, overlooking the stems and some spoiled fruit, figuring it wouldn’t make a difference in the taste. He cranked the press as hard as he could, to make sure not one drop of juice remained in the fruit. When the beverage was bottled, he took a glass and sipped on his accomplishment. The man grimaced, surprised at the bitter taste.
            The second man pulled out an old wine press that had been passed down through his family for generations. As the grapes fermented he picked through them with care, removing stems, dirt, and rotten fruit. Only the best remained. He poured the succulent berries into the basket press, and manually applied pressure to the fruit, being careful not to crush the seeds. Once the process was completed, he poured a glass of the wine and took a sip. He smiled at the delightful flavor.

"Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:44-45

What words and actions have been overflowing from your heart (and mouth), especially when you are stressed or under pressure?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

For I Will Yet Praise Him!.....Food For Thought

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God. 
Psalm 43:5
This topic continues to be on my heart...praising God. It's easy to praise God when things are going the way we desire. But what about when we face those rough times - the death of a loved one, a child who chooses to go in ways opposite of our faith, an accident, health problems, etc. 

Over the weekend my husband and I were discussing this truth. So often we breathe a prayer of "Thank you Lord for a green traffic light, thank you for allowing me this promotion...." But sometimes I can't help but wonder if the things we count as the Lord working, is more so our own selfish thinking. What if we're praising God for a green light, when another Christian is coming from the opposite direction and they have the red light? Do they grumble and complain about having to stop, or do they too choose to thank the Lord.

Ephesians 5:20 instructs us, "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Today during our Sunday School class a couple received word that there house was on fire. They left in a hurry, and we all started praying. It turned out to be a false alarm, their chimney was pouring excessive smoke from their wood stove, but everything was all right. One our way home from church we stopped to check on them. We all commented about "Praise God it wasn't anything other than having to deal with a broken window from where the firemen had to break in to check on things." Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful they didn't have any issues. But it made me think. How often do we praise God in the good times, and forget to also praise Him in the bad times? It's often those struggles which draw us closer to God.

So, how are you doing on the journey of praising God in all circumstances?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Discerning God's Voice

I lead a ladies Bible study group and we are currently working our way through Lysa TerKeurst's What Happens When Women Say Yes to God book and DVD. Last night's session included Lysa's story of God prompting her to adopt two boys from Africa. One of the topics of discussion was, "How do you hear from God?" and "Does God speak like He did to Lysa or is that just for the real spiritual people?"

These questions got my thoughts percolating. As we are actively seeking God, He speaks to us in so many ways - while we are reading His Word, in prayer and meditation, that still small voice prompts us to drop a note to someone, to offer a smile, or word of encouragement... The list could go on and on. I think God is constantly speaking to us throughout our day, our problem could be whether or not we are taking the time to listen, or is His voice being drowned out by our 'to do' list, the TV, busyness, etc. The more we obey these inner promptings, the more likely we'll 'catch' it when God speaks into our lives about the bigger things we are facing.

It's kind of like a conversation I had with a church choir member on Sunday. She was asking how my eyes are doing since my laser procedures this summer, and whether or not the pressure has reduced. At this point I don't know the answer to those questions, and won't find out until late January. This woman shared the scripture, " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil 4:6) She mentioned how our lives should be an act of continual thankfulness. Not necessarily, "Thank God for this cancer, or thank God for these struggles, but more so living a life of thankfulness." I can't help but believe this plays a part in our hearing from God. The more we are noticing those blessings, and thanking Him, and turning our eyes and hearts toward Him, the more we'll hear His voice.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snow and Paint

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7

My friend and I spent the past week or so working on painting my oldest son's former bedroom. Before we started painting, the walls were filled with scuffs, blemishes and spackling patches. The walls were in pretty sad shape. But all it took was a coat of primer to cover all those blemishes and make the wall sparkling new again. As we painted that day, adding color to the walls after the primer dried, I was reminded again of how Christ washes our sins away when we give them to Him.

Then this past weekend when we had 10-12 inches of fresh snowfall, this image again came to mind. I'm so thankful for a God who forgives us, turning our sinful hearts into ones washed cleaned.

Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan

Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan is a delightful read about a mail order bride, Catharine Olsen, from Amsterdam, Holland. She arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming to marry the man she's been exchanging letters with, Peter Andersen. Catharine hopes he won't mind she brought along her two younger sisters, her mother's Blue Willow tea set, and a past full of heartbreak.

Struggling whether or not to share her past, Catharine also must contend with Peter's mother who seems intent on sabotaging their marriage. She lives in fear that Peter or his mother will discover her secrets before she's ready to share them. Will Peter love her when he finds out the truth?

I enjoyed reading this book with a new twist on the mail order bride era of American history.

This book was provided free for review by Revell.

Christmas at Barncastle Inn

Christmas at Barncastle Inn is a collection of four stories that take place at a Victorian bed and breakfast set in Vermont. The first story, Love Comes to the Castle by Susan Page Davis follows Jayne Barncastle as she wavers on the decision to purchase the inn from her parents and provide specialized Christmas celebrations for families. The Dillards are her first opportunity to test whether or not her entrepreneurial idea will work.

Christmas Duets by Lynette Sowell tells the story of two sisters who are trying to recreate the World War II era with hopes of bringing their grandparents back together after an estrangement. Marcella Gordeau and Amity Carruthers decide to perform songs from White Christmas. What they didn't count on was their grandfather bringing along Sean McSweeney, the man they feel is partially responsible for their grandparents split-up.

Where Your Heart Is by Janelle Mowery weaves the tale of Stephanie Minter, nanny to the Tolliver siblings. She hopes to recreate a swashbuckling Christmas for the children. Stephanie wasn't anticipating Matthew Raynor to be part of the Barncastle Inn staff, the man she walked out on years ago.

First Christmas by Darlene Franklin follows unwed mother Waverly Coe, veterinary assistant to Alec Ross as they work together as animal specialists at Barncastle Inn for their production of the first Christmas. Waverly's long time crush on the veterinarian still burns, although she feel unworthy of love.

I found this collection of four different Christmas mini-novels a delightful read, and highly encourage others to pick up a copy. Snuggle up with this book as you prepare for the holidays. You won't be disappointed.

This book was provided free for review by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seasons and Changes

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. 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Ever feel like you're stuck in a rut and you can't get out of it, no matter how hard you try? Perhaps you made your way a foot or two higher in the hole, only to slide back down, maybe deeper than you already were.

I love this scripture from Ecclesiastes which describes the different seasons of life we experience. As I read through the verses, so many of them depict the season of life I see set before me. I find myself excited about the future and what God has in store for me and my family. It's time to move on to a new season.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Start

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

I realize it's been quite a while since I've regularly posted on my blog. This fall has been a blur for me. Things have been exceptionally busy with being my son's senior year of homeschooling. Then throw in there finalizing editing my novel, dealing with laser procedures on my eyes, working on preparing a bedroom for cleaning, painting, and turned into a different use, a mini-vacation to the Poconos and the struggle of an ongoing stomach virus, and you have the formula for what the past two months have looked like. I'm thankful for each new day and how we can forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. This is where I am right now - straining toward what is ahead. I think it has a nice ring. No pressure from the past, but instead the chance to start fresh and new.

At times it's tempting to look back and lament at missed opportunities, etc. But for now I'm thankful for the chance to have my gaze forward, anticipating what God has in store around the corner.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Winner of Captive Trail

Congratulations to Janice. You are the winner of Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis. I'll make sure you get it. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Footsteps

"This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:9

I read this verse in my devotions yesterday and it has stuck with me ever since then. I particularly was interested that Noah was a just man and that he walked with God. Wow! What a role model to his generation and to ours too. Dictionary.com defines just as 'guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness.' What a compliment was paid to Noah.


I like the fact that it says he walked with God. That reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden - walking and talking with God each day. We each have this ability for communion with God too, as long as we choose to access that line of communication. The line is always open and available, never busy.


As I think about Noah, it also causes me to pause and wonder what footsteps am I leaving behind for my children and others I relate to to follow. I pray I can walk like Noah - to be a just woman who walks with God and others know it by my life. My heart's desire is to follow my Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Prayer and Praises

I can't believe September is almost 3/4 over already. My days seem to be a whirl lately. The first half of the month was spent finalizing my manuscript. Whew! I breathed a sigh of relief when I officially called it completed....at least for now and mailed it off. The past week or so has been a flurry of trying to get caught up with everything else that has been on hold the past few months - definitely not something accomplished in a short period of time.

Last week I had a laser procedure on my right eye, trying to reduce the pressure. Tomorrow I'll be having the same procedure on my left eye. Hopefully it will help. I found it much more painful this time. I had the same thing performed last year too. I also have experienced a bit more blurriness too. So I pray it will make a difference.

I praise God for His strength and help even when we are weary and burdened. I admit to being nervous at times, especially if they can't come up with a way to reduce my eye pressure, it could very well lead to glaucoma. But through it all, I'm learning more about relying upon God. He's always there for us. I'm so thankful....I'd be lost without him.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis

It's been a long time since I've read a historical fiction book describing the life of white hostages in an Indian camp. I found Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis to be a delightful read. It tells the story of Taabe Waipu who was taken captive as a young child. She lived in a Comanche village for over twelve years, but had never fully forgotten her former life. When the opportunity arises, Taabe escapes, trying to find her family. A fall from her horse causes grave injuries. Her life begins a whirlwind of changes when stagecoach driver Ned Bright discovers her, along with nuns from the Ursuline Mission. They work together to for clues to her families whereabouts - only problem is Taabe doesn't remember English.

This was a wonderful book in the Texas Trails series about the Morgan Family. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to reading the others in this series.

This book was provided free for review by Moody Publishers.

*** Don't forget, if you are interested in reading this book I have an extra copy to give away. Just leave a comment on any post in September and you'll be entered into the drawing. Winner will be announced on October 1st.

Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White

I had the distinct pleasure of reading Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White. This author is an expert story-weaver. Her novel is set during the time of Esther in the Bible, and a little before Esther becomes queen. It follows Esther and her dear friend Kasia.

I love the way Roseanna wove fictional and historical characters in her tale, telling what it would have been like to be married to a king. I highly recommend this book.

This book was provided free for review by White Fire Publishing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chance to Win a Free Book

I'm half way through reading Susan Page Davis' new book entitled Captive Trail. It's set in Texas in 1857. I'll be writing a book review once I've finished it. Would you like to win a copy? I've been given an extra book as a giveaway.

Leave a comment on any blog post in between now and September 30th for your chance to win a copy. I'll announce the winner on October 1st. The more you comment, the more opportunities to win. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you. :)

Blessing Upon Blessing

"Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence." Psalm 21:6


It's been a week of blessings in so many ways. Last Saturday we had a wonderful time visiting with my husband's family. It had been almost fourteen years since I had the opportunity to visit with his aunts. We had a great time catching up with each other. We also were able to spend time with my in-laws and my husband's grandmother. I was reminded of the blessing of family. We came home from our visit with our hearts full.

Monday evening I had a great time out with my Bible study ladies. We ate dinner together and had fun sharing our hearts. They always cause me to laugh and come away feeling blessed. These women are precious to me.

Tuesday was a harder day for me, with having a laser procedure on my right eye. I had the same thing a year ago, but it was much more painful this time. I have several risk factors for glaucoma - high pressure in my eyes, am extremely near sighted, have thin corneas and also a high amount of pigment in my eyes. The one positive thing from this day was my dear friend drove my to the appointment and kept me company as we waited in the waiting room. She's such a blessing to me.

Wednesday I was able to finalize my submission for a writing contest. What a blessing to see my year of writing and researching come to full culmination. God blessed me in so many ways through lots of different people in this long process.

Today I spent most of the time with my dear friend who took me to the eye doctor earlier this week. We went to a local food discount store and then returned to her house for lunch and a time of visiting together. She is such a special woman to me.

This evening I prepared a special candlelit dinner for me and my husband. Then we sat down to enjoy popcorn and a movie in our living room. He is my very best friend.

I can't help but reflect on the many blessings God bestows upon us each day, even in the midst of difficult times. If you look hard enough, you'll find those blessings.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Flurry of Activity

I can tell its getting closer to fall. There's been a flurry of activity at my two bird feeders lately. It's to the point where I'm having to fill them both almost every day. This is the time of year when the birds begin to eat more in preparation for the long winter ahead. It brings me hope of cooler temperatures on their way, and snow ahead. Love those winter days of sitting inside, watching the snowfall and the birds congregating on the feeders. What a blessing the change of seasons are.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Communion and Communication

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. The past several weeks have been pretty intense with edits of my historical novel I've written - over 87,000 words and 335 pages. Whew! There still is more needing accomplished, but decided to take a short break from it.

My brain has been mulling over some ideas lately. Several times when I've been out with my husband I've noticed people constantly on their cell phones, or some sort of electronic devise. I can't help but feel God designed us to seek and need communication with others. I personally feel the person to person is what God had in mind. But lately people seem to be content with communication via technology. I'm not saying they are wrong or evil, but often take place of the importance of face to fave conversations.

In the midst of all this technology, I wonder whether people have become so consumed with this form of communication that they don't allow room for communion with God. To me, it's a reminder of the need to set alone some quiet time to hear God's voice. So turn off all of your electronic devices for an hour, and spend some time with your heavenly Father. He's waiting to hear from you. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Taking a Break

It's been a hot summer in PA. I'm not a summer person. My favorite season is winter, and yes, I love the snow. I don't do well with heat and humidity. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, or what. But, there is one thing about summer that I do enjoy - extended time with my husband.

For the past several years our sons have helped with a local Christian camp, and have been gone for about six weeks during the summer months. Although we miss them, it also is a great time to reconnect with my spouse. It allows us to see a small glimpse of life in the empty nest, and it looks pretty fine! :) We never seem to lack something to do, or somewhere to go, and also enjoy hanging out together at home.

I also enjoy the alone time throughout the day, while my husband is at work. I'm able to concentrate on projects that I don't have as much freedom to work on during the school year, especially since we are a homeschooling family. (One year left to go!) I never get bored being home. It's my favorite place to be.

The past weeks have been spent editing my novel. I'm almost half way through it. It's a long, tedious process, requiring a lot of time and concentration. Today I'm taking a break from it...not because I desire to, but other things are more pressing - like a writing lesson due tomorrow and a homeschool article due on Monday.

Some breaks are needed because other things need to be addressed. Other times, it's healthy to take a break and just relax. When's the last time you took a needed break?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trading Friends

The other day I was at the park with my friend, her granddaughter and great niece. The girls are five and six years old and were playing in the splash ground area with a bunch of other local children. My friend and I chatted until her great niece stood beside us.

"She traded me for another friend," she complained, referring to the granddaughter.

I couldn't help but laugh at the expression. It's not often you year 'trading friends' as if you were a baseball player, or perhaps exchanging sports cards.

She was frustrated that the girl had gone off to play with other children. She could only see things from her perspective. She didn't realize they would soon both go home and have time together. Their friendship hadn't changed in any way, just a new element had been introduced.

I'm thankful that my God and my friends are faithful. They won't trade me when I do something stupid. Instead they come alongside me and love me anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting to Know You

I had the pleasure of going out for lunch today with two sisters. It was quite experience for me to see these two in action. Although they both are very different from each other, they have a common bond that draws them together. As we rode in the car, it tickled me to hear them finishing each other's sentences. I've never experienced something like this, since I grew up with two older brothers.

They shared that when they were younger they were as different as night and day, but now it's clear to see they are best friends. They still have their different personalities, but share a closeness they didn't have in childhood. In some ways it reminded me of the marriage relationship. The longer I've been married to my husband, the more we think alike. I know how he'll respond in a certain situation.

One of my favorite old movies, is My Fair Lady. I especially think of the song about 'Getting to Know You.' The more we get to know Christ, the more we desire to be like Him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fine-Toothed Comb

I'm in the process of editing/rewriting my historical novel which I completed in early February. Even though the initial story is down on paper, I'm now using a fine-toothed comb to go through each word to polish and perfect it. At times I can edit a sentence at a glance, but others require word by word study and perusal. I'm finding it takes intense concentration and may seem tedious to some. The process is slow, but I'm enjoying it.

This verse came to mind this afternoon while I was working. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18  I'm thankful that God's Word remains unchangeable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm a Member of BA - Bookaholics Annonymous

All right, there is no such thing as Bookaholics Anonymous, at least as far as I know. And if there was, I guess I likely wouldn't be a member of it, since I can't seem to get away from my enjoyment of books. :) There is something about each book that is different - the color, size, shape, thickness of the pages, scent, and of course topics. I find myself quite taken with books. Ask anyone who has been to my home, and they will attest to the number of bookcases we have overloaded with books.

Perhaps this topic comes to mind, since I donated over eleven grocery bags full of educational books to a local used bookstore over the weekend. I had to clear off some shelves to make room for having another bookcase upstairs. My arms still feel the affects from carrying said books up and downstairs in our home. I laugh as I write this and look at a Willow Tree figurine I recently won in a contest with Martha Rogers blog. It's a figure of a girl, hugging a book to her chest and its called 'Love of Learning.'

Then in today's mail, a box of books arrived from Amazon. One book is a school book for my son for this fall. Likely the last school book I will need to buy for him since he will be a senior. Two of the books are writing books, and one is true stories of mail-order brides.

But of all the books I've read through the years, and there have been many, the one that I continue to read and always return to each day is God's word. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105  Only God's word provides daily nourishment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Keeping Fears In Check

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy1:7

This verse has been playing through my mind the past couple days, as I remind myself to not give into the fears that can so easily ensnare us and pull us down. Satan is quick to plant those ideas and concerns into our thoughts when we least expect it. Jesus often admonished his disciples and those who listened to his words, to not fear, but instead trust Him.

He knows what we are going through, and desires for us to grow in our trust of Him. He desires what is best for us, even if we don't always understand the struggles we face. Do you need to step out in faith today, trusting God will catch you and provide a way?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

Spring for Susannah, Catherine Richmond's debut book is an insightful glimpse into the heart of God in His unconditional love and pursuit for us. I found it to be a delightful reminder of the confidence we find only through Jesus Christ.

Susannah Underhill arrives in Dakota territory, a mail-order bride married by proxy to Jesse Mason. She is shy and fearful that Jesse will send her back to Detroit if she isn't a dutiful wife. Susannah struggles with unworthiness of her husband's love, and God's and can't understand her husband's love and patience.

Despite the trials and troubles they face with life on a land wrought with struggles, will Jesse's love and God's shine through and break through the barriers Susannah has built around her heart?


For more information about the blog tour, kindle giveaway and Facebook party, follow this link:
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13347248

This book was provided free for review by Thomas Nelson.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cabin on Pinto Creek by A.J. Hawke

Cabin on Pinto Creek by A.J. Hawke tells the story of twenty-five year old cowboy Elisha Evans who's always dreamed of owning a ranch of his own. Down on his luck, and forced to beg for food makes his goal seem unreachable in the near future. When he agreed to be a line rider with the J Bar C Ranch, he didn't realize what opportunities lay ahead of him.

Susana Jamison is traveling with her grandfather when they run into problems with their wagon. Her future looks uncertain until a certain cowboy comes to their aid. Can Susana follow her grandfather's instructions and marry a complete stranger?

I found this book to be a fun story and recommend it.


This book was provided for review by Mountain Quest Publishing.

A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley

I recently finished reading Margaret Brownley's newest book entitled A Vision of Lucy. This third and final book in the Rocky Creek series was a fun read. It tells the story of Lucy Fairbanks dream of becoming a photographer for the local newspaper, but trouble seems to find her as she looks for the perfect shot with her camera.

I love the way Margaret uses wit and wisdom with each chapter, from The Trials and Travails of a Woman Photographer by Miss Gertrude Hasslebrink, 1878. It's a delight to see what each chapter will bring in this saga of a young woman bent on making a mark with her photographs, and trying to win the approval of her father.

The book also explored topics dealing with the acceptance of being equal in God's eyes as David Wolf is introduced to the readers. This rustic man who lives outside of town is an enigma to Lucy, especially after he saves her from a hold-up and run-away stagecoach. She's determined to learn more about him. Will she open her eyes and camera lens to see what God has for her?


This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Choosing to Trust

It's been a challenge to keep up with my writing/blogging as of late due to health issues. It's been almost two months since I had surgery on my left shoulder. I feel I can safely say things are starting to progress with its recovery. My range of motion seems to increase bit by bit each week. The pain has subsided to more of a dull ache instead of sharp. Strength still remains an issue, but it will come with time and exercise.

My biggest concern as of late has been plaguing issues with my sciatic nerve. It's an issue I've had for the past 13-17 years, but usually can be avoided by not lying on the affected side. Unfortunately with having shoulder surgery, the only way for me to sleep at night is to be on the leg with sciatic history.

Then in the midst of all my health issues, my husband has been dealing with some of his own. Yesterday he found a deer tick on his leg, so we are praying it won't develop into Lyme disease. At times, the struggles we face can seem so overwhelming. But I have to remind myself not to focus on the circumstances, but choose to look to my Heavenly Father and trust Him. Some days I do pretty well with this...other days not so. I pray I will continue to grow in the area of trusting God and drawing closer to Him.

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

I recently read To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer and was gripped with the story she wove about a blacksmith and librarian. The book focused on the forgiveness and redemption we find through Christ. Despite the hurts and trials of our past, God is still able to reach beyond this, and provide healing.

Levi Grant comes to Spencer, Texas to fill the position as blacksmith. He is hesitant to reveal his recent release from time served in prison for an unintentional crime. Levi is a big man with a gentle heart. God has forgiven his past, but will the townspeople when they learn of his history?

Eden Spencer has shared her own sets of pain and disappointments from her earlier life. She buries herself in running the town lending library. Eden has no intention of being attracted to any man. Will she be able to let go of the hurts and learn to trust again?

I enjoyed this tale of an unlikely duo. I was often moved to tears throughout the book as the author portrayed God's redemption and healing. I highly recommend this new saga from Karen Witemeyer.

This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birthday Ponderings

Today I celebrate my 46th birthday. It seems hard to believe how quickly the years have passed. 41 years ago, I asked Jesus into my heart to rule. He has led me on an incredible journey since then. I've never regretted this decision for one moment. God is my strength and my shield. Never has that been more evident in my life, than the past several months. Don't get me wrong, He is always these things, but I've experienced it on a much deeper level recently. I'm so thankful that He never leaves me or abandons me. Christ is here with me, always.

So today as I'm celebrating my birthday, I'm also thankful for different things in my life. I'm so thankful for my dear husband. We've been married for over 23 years. Our sons are 20 and 17, and have blessed us in so many ways. I'm thankful for the opportunity to homeschool, having just completed my 15th year, with one remaining. I'm blessed by family and dear friends who have been so precious to me.

I could go on and on with a list of my many blessings. Above everything else in my life, I'm thankful that God chose me and loves me. He is the reason I can celebrate today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot

Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot is the final saga of the Texas Dreams series. This was my first exposure to Amanda's writing and I found the book to be a delightful read. Amanda weaves the story of Harriet Kirk, a school teacher who recently relocated to Ladreville, Texas with her five  siblings. She leaves an unpleasant past, hoping for a new and brighter future in a new setting. Harriet has no thoughts of marriage, but is committed to rearing her younger brothers and sisters.

Former Texas Ranger, Lawrence Wood, returns to the town only planning to fulfill his six-month contract as mayor and sheriff. He has no plans of becoming romantically interested in anyone. The town holds too many memories of his previous foolishness.

I enjoyed this novel and through reading it became interested in reading the first two books of the series to learn the stories of various townspeople.


This book was provided for review by Revell.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Weeks

It seems hard to believe that it's been three weeks since I had shoulder surgery. The procedure turned out to be much more than the surgeon anticipated, which means a slower recovery. I slowly am getting my strength back, but still tire out easily.

Physical therapy three times a week leaves me pretty weary and sore. My pain level remains fairly high. I look forward to being able to do things again....hopefully soon. Right now the pain, limits me of the amount of time I'm able to type on the computer.

I praise God that in the midst of pain, He gives me strength for each day. I'm so thankful for the cards and meals friends have provided. It's been a real blessing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough

Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough is the final book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. This book focuses on Jacqueline "Jack" Davis, now a grown woman eager to leave her home town. She desires to land a job as a reporter in Dallas. Jack begins to question her aspirations to leave, when good-looking Noah Jeffers arrives to temporarily fill the slot of local minister.

The pastor draws Jack's interest, despite her firm decision to never marry. The man seems vaguely familiar but is close-lipped regarding his past.

I enjoyed this book immensely. I loved the way Vickie McDonough used this final saga to tell the story of the tomboy little girl she introduced in her first book, The Anonymous Bride. It was fun reading about grown up 'Jack'. I highly recommend this series, and am sad to see it come to an end.

This book was provided for review by Barbour Publishing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer is the story of Marianna Sommer, a 19-year-old of Amish girl from Indiana. She is ready to join the church and marry Aaron Zook, except for one problem. Her parents plan to move to Montana and desire Marianna to move with them.

She struggles with being a dutiful daughter, but also wanting to soon start a family of her own. Will Aaron wait for her during the months of separation? Upon arrival in Montana, Marianna meets Ben Stone. Even though friendship with an Englischer is frowned upon, Ben draws her heart and also shares his love for God. Marianna begins to question what being in community really means.

This is the first book in Tricia Goyer's Big Sky Amish series. I found this story to be a delightful read. The story interweaves Marianna's struggle to accept the circumstances of her birth, and the weight she has carried since then.

Tricia Goyer is hosting a special giveaway with the release of this book. Check out her website:
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2011/04/beside-still-waters-giveaway.html If you are interested in watching a trailer for this book, follow this link: http://triciagoyer.com/contemporaryfiction.html#BesideStillWaters And finally, here is a link, to purchase Tricia's book: http://triciagoyer.com/contemporaryfiction.html#BesideStillWaters

This book was provided free by B & H Publishing Group for review.

The photos below show Tricia Goyer, the front cover of her new book, as well as Amish salt and pepper shakers which are included in her giveaway.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver

Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver is the final book in the trilogy focusing on the Bible story found in John 11:1-12:11. The first two books in the series discussed Mary and Martha. Weaver goes in depth exploring the availability of God's love for us.

Throughout the book Joanna peels back the layers, like an onion, of our relationship with God. At times God saves us from troubling experiences. Other times He uses them in our life to draw us closer to Him. She shows how to transition from head knowledge to heart realization of God's love.

The author challenged the reader to come out of their tomb of existence, to witness and live out the life Christ desires for us. We have the choice to respond like Lazarus, when Jesus called him from the grave. I found this book to be extremely helpful and insightful. I highly recommend it.

This book was provided for review from Water Brook Press

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Brief Hiatus

I leave for shoulder surgery in a couple hours. I'll be taking a brief hiatus from blogging while I recover. I hope to be back in time for Easter. Blessing to each of you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James

Half the Church - Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James addresses various issues that women face all over the world due to their gender - sex-trafficking, marginalization and oppression. Throughout her book, Carolyn James covers three core issues:
  • What message does the church offer women in the 21st century?
  • What will the church do to address the rampant suffering of women throughout our world?
  • What message are we sending to the world by how we value and mobilize our own daughters?
Genesis 1:26-27 says: "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."(NIV)

In her book, Carolyn James states, "Page one of the Bible shatters every negative value statement the world has ever made about women by offering up the most exalted view of women anyone could imagine." She goes on to discuss the topic of being 'image bearers' of God and what that entails. I found this book to be insightful and thought provoking.

Check out the book's video trailer here: http://zndr.vn/gizvHb

This book was provided for review by Zondervan Publishers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catching Up

I've been wanting to write more blog posts lately, but haven't been able to due to experiencing shoulder pain. I'll keep this short, because of that. On Thursday I'll be going for surgery on my left shoulder to address two bone spurs and possible bicep tendinitis. The doctor will fix whatever else he finds once he gets inside. I'm looking at 2-3 weeks of being in a sling and 2-3 months of physical therapy.

 Before that happens though I need to finish reading a book and blog a review for Zondervan publishers, prepare for my ladies Bible study lesson (which I lead), complete two writing assignments, and a myriad of other odds and ends before heading for surgery. So if you happen to be reading this, I sure would appreciate your prayers. Other than my blog review later this week, I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post in the next few weeks.

I am looking forward to getting back to writing/typing without being in pain. I know I have a long road of recovery ahead of me, but know God will be with me each step of the way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Code of Justice by Liz Johnson

I typically am a reader of Christian historical books, but was recently asked to read and review Liz Johnson's new book, Code of Justice. I found it to be a delightful read, full of mystery and intrigue. I loved the way the author intertwined some romance within the rapidly moving plot.

Heather Sloan, FBI agent, is thrust in the midst of trying to solve why the helicopter crashed that carried her and her sister. Heather is the sole survivor, but trouble seems to find her each step of the way on her road to recovery. She decides to team up with Jeremy Latham, Sheriff's Deputy to try and solve the case and discover the meaning behind her sister's cryptic last words.

I found this book to be fast-moving and hard to put down. I highly recommend it to all readers, especially those who love mystery and suspense...and even historical fiction readers like me. :)

Check out Liz's website: www.lizjohnsonbooks.com

This book was provided for review by Liz Johnson.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Remembering and Thankful

Two years ago today my husband had a skiing accident, fracturing his pelvis. It's been a long road of recovery. The over seven hour surgery required to repair the injury, left him with nerve damage to his right arm and hand. He still experiences pain and numbness in his hand, as well as nerve issues in his leg from the surgery. He continues to deal with the pain each day, but through it all we are thankful for how God provided for our needs, each step of the way.

We've learned many lessons through the process of his healing. One area God has been teaching me lately is the importance of asking God for strength for each day...not a week ahead, or even further....but instead one dat at a time. He always is there and answers our prayers. I praise Him for taking us through difficult times, one step at a time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Win a Free Book

In a few weeks I'll be blogging a review of the book Half the Church - Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James. I was sent two copies of this book, so that I can use one as a giveaway. If you are interested, please leave a comment. For more information about the book, check out this link.
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310325567&QueryStringSite=Zondervan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

He Restores My Soul

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23:1-3a

I've been thinking about these verses lately. Actually lying down in a green pasture beside quiet waters sounds exceptionally comforting right now. Just thinking about it makes me ready for a nap. :) But the part I focused on, is where it says, "he restores my soul." I love the way God works in my life, when I allow Him to move without any hindrances. When He is given free reign to make me into the person He desires for me to be. Those changes don't come without pain and discomfort, but are much needed.

The past weeks have been that for me, the chipping away of areas of my life that aren't godly, and making me more like my Heavenly Father. I have been facing extreme physical pain lately, due to some health issues. But through those times of being weak and excruciating pain, God also has been performing an operation in my heart as well. Perhaps I've been more open to the moving of the Holy Spirit because of the pain. Either way, I'm thankful for the work God is doing. I praise God for His work in restoring my soul. May I continue to learn what it means to be more like Him. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Lump of Clay

I've been thinking a lot lately about the process of making a clay pot. Before the piece is designed under the expertize of the artist, the clay must be first pounded and molded and shaped and beaten. The potter removes blemishes and inconsistencies in the process. Sometimes the pot is completely scraped off the wheel and remolded again and again. Then it goes through the drying process and being placed into a hot furnace continuing the perfecting needed to make the piece into a work of art. 

The pot may say to the potter, "Why are you being so mean to you? Don't you realize how much that hurts?" Or perhaps saying, "Stop, I've had enough. I don't need any more blemishes removed. I'm perfect now." But only the potter knows when the pot is ready. He has the final decision.

So it is with Christ with the process of refining us to be more like Him. At times we may go through difficult experiences, learning what it means to be His follower. We don't like the ugly, exposed sins that God is tearing away from us. It makes us feel open, exposed. We don't want others to see our failures. But at times we need to be open and willing and vulnerable before God can work at refining us into what He desires of us. Only Christ can take this ugly, lump of clay of my life and make it into a beautiful masterpiece.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Are You Using Your Gift?

I'm a firm believer in gifts. I admit, I enjoy receiving them too, but I'm talking about a different kind of gifts. God has bestowed on each of us a particular talent, or bent to use to further His kingdom. For some it could be the gift of encouragement - spurring others on in their race. Some abilities are flashy that all can see. Others may be more behind the scenes. No matter what area God has gifted you in, He expects you to be using it, and not hiding it in the ground.

If someone asked you what gift God has given you, what would your response be? Are you using it? Are you being faithful with the talent He has entrusted to you?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Waiting - Part Two

Alexander Pope wrote an essay in 1709 which stated, “For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.” Waiting is a topic people have struggled with through the centuries. Even those with a personal walk with the Lord are not immune to it.

Almost 130 scriptures in the Bible refer to this subject. Two well known evidences of the value in waiting were the many years before the promised Messiah arrived, and also the disciples waiting for the Holy Spirit’s presence to descend. No matter what the people did, they weren’t able to rush God’s timing.

So why do we grow impatient? Perhaps it’s a by product of the fast-paced society we live, in America. We’ve become accustomed to fast food, instant messages, on demand television, and a myriad of other conveniences that no longer require us to wait.

When my husband and I were newly married, we felt God telling us it was time to start our family. For over two years, we tried unsuccessfully to conceive. Each month I watched for tell-tale signs and became disappointed when I didn’t see them appear. We heard from God, so why were we experiencing difficulties? No matter what we did, we were unable to hurry God’s timing. Our son arrived when God deemed.

Sometimes we pray and feel God leading us in a specific direction. We’re eager to get started and plow ahead, not always seeking confirmation at first. Troubles arise and we become frustrated, wondering why God allowed this to happen. We keep pushing our way, trying to force things to go the way we desire; over confident we are in His will. Or maybe we choose to quit, because things are too difficult.

We shove and demand when God may be saying, “Be still. Wait.” Psalm 33:20 encourages, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”

The Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck had this to say about the final three verses of Psalm 33. “God’s people demonstrate their faith in three ways. First, they wait in hope for deliverance from the Lord as their Help and Shield. Second, they rejoice in Him whom they trust. Third, they pray for His unfailing love to rest on them.”[1]

Instead of bucking when a situation arises, what if instead we chose to wait, rejoice, and pray? Maybe God is allowing the bump in the road to help us see where we’ve taken a side trail, or stumbled off the path completely. Our first response in any circumstance should be to seek God and His timing. Don’t become cocky or over confident. Be open to questioning and seeking clarification of God’s will, checking to make sure you haven’t detoured or misunderstood. Pray and seek confirmation from accountability.

Follow the admonition of Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” His timing is perfect.


[1] The Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck: 1983, page 819.

Friday, February 25, 2011

When All My Dreams Come True by Janelle Mowery

I recently had the privilege of reading Janelle Mowery's book entitled When All My Dreams Come True. I found myself pleasantly surprised with the character of Bobbie McIntyre. My historical reading usually gravitates to the traditional 'women' roles, and not heroines who wear pants and carry a gun. I loved the way Janelle created Bobbie to be a mix of feminine and pure cowgirl. Her sweet and sassy characteristics made it difficult to put this book down. This is a book I highly recommend.

This book was provided for review from Harvest House Publishers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waiting

Alexander Pope wrote an essay in 1709 which stated, "For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread." I realize Christmas is over, but I keep thinking of a song we sang in a previous cantata entitled, "Waiting." It talks about all the years the Israelites waited for the Messiah to come to earth. They waited with anticipation, believing one day it would come true.

With our fast-paced society I think we often overlook the value of waiting upon the Lord. Isaiah 40:30-31 instructs us, "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31

I think at times we are the fools who rush in and demand things from God in our own timing and our own way instead of waiting for Him. When we choose to do this, we miss out on potential blessings that God desires to pour on us. He often has a better way in mind, but we pout and act like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Sometimes He indulges us, allowing us to miss out on something better.

How are you doing with waiting on the Lord for a situation you are facing? Are you the demanding toddler? Or are you persevering in prayer, with patience?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How's Your Thermostat Setting?

I've heard it referenced before that women are the thermostat in their home. Dictionary.com defines a thermostat as "a device that functions to establish and maintain a desired temperature  automatically or signals a change in temperature for manual adjustment." In other words, how we are, often sets the tone for our domain. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's the sole responsibility of the woman to manage it, but I think more often than not we have more control than we realize.

I don't come to you today with a sure fire way to be a healthy thermostat in your home, other than regularly being in your Heavenly Father's presence. Asking Him to chip away the parts and pieces that don't bring glory to him - complaining, arguing, ungratefulness, demanding our own way, impatience, etc. Perhaps the temperature of your home is too cold or hot. Maybe it's time for some self-reflection and prayer, to have God show you areas in your life that need to be molded and shaped into being more like Him. Is it time to stop pointing the finger to someone else and instead see where you need to change?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." 
1 John 4:15-16

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Snapshot of God's Love

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14 


I've been reminded this week of God's unconditional love and forgiveness, no matter what we do, providing we turn to Him. He is the example we need to choose to follow, not harboring grudges or unforgiveness.

At times I think we choose to weigh our sins. "Well, this one isn't as bad as murder." "I only told a white lie, it's not like I hurt somebody." How subtle the evil one can be, deceiving us into justifying our behavior.

The other end of the spectrum is when someone has sinned, and it affects us. Do we choose to respond like Christ, offering unconditional love and forgiveness or do we opt to make them suffer? Do we choose to hold on to the hurts, or choose to let them go?

Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you've been wronged. If God were to take a snapshot of your life right now, would He see a reflection of His love and forgiveness? How would your polaroid look?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Taking a Stand

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Have you taken a stand against the devil and his desire to seek and destroy us and our families? I recently have been reminded of our continual need to stand in the gap, covering our loved ones in prayer. Often when we have a mountain top experience, or a time of God reaffirming His desire for our life, Satan is waiting in the wings, off stage for his opportunity to attack.

I realize how important it is to claim Joshua 24:15 which says, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” How are you doing with praying for your family each day?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Desire to Be Fully Known

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 


The concept of being fully known has been on my mind since I spent some time with a dear friend on Saturday. I can't help but believe that God has built into each of us the desire and need to be fully known and understood, but often we are afraid to reach out. The only person who can fully know us is Jesus Christ.

At times we seek this through relationships here on this earth as well, but often fear gets in our way. Perhaps we have opened up to someone, only to be hurt. So we hide our true thoughts and feelings, only willing to share bits and pieces. I can't help but think that this isn't the way God intended for our lives to be as believers in Christ. I think He wanted for us to have a much deeper fellowship, with Him and also each other.

It's not an easy place to be, allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I'm thankful that I serve a Savior who is faithful and true.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Search was my first book to read by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I found it delightful and riveting. The author wove threads that intertwined the lives of Lainey O'Toole and Bess Reihl. Lainey made a split-second decision fifteen years ago that affected several lives. When she returns to Stoney Ridge her prior choices begin to unravel, threatening to ensnare Bess Reihl, a young Amish girl visiting her grandmother for the summer.

This book kept me spell-bound until the final page. I highly recommend it.


Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Link to buy the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Search-Novel-Lancaster-County-Secrets/dp/0800733878/ref=sprightly-20

This book was provided for review by Litfuse Group.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer tells the story of Edythe Amsel on her first teaching assignment in Walnut Hill, Nebraska, 1882. She's a feisty, headstrong, independent woman who has unusual ideas and methods concerning education. She's determined to make her own way and is enthusiastic to share her modern views with her young pupils, in spite of the town council's opinion of her.

Sparks fly when she encounters Joel Townsend, the uncle of two of her students. Will she be able to stick to her decision to remain single?

I found this book to be quite enjoyable and appreciated the humor included in it. I recommend it to all who enjoy historical fiction.

This book was provided for review from Bethany House Publishers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finally!!!!!

After numerous winter forecasts predicting heavy snows to fall on our area, it finally is happening!! I'm sure we won't end up with anywhere near the 12-36 inches I'd like to see, but I'm happy with the thick covering on the ground and the flakes flying in the air. Have I mentioned that winter is my favorite season of the year? :)

Nothing deep and spiritual today. Joy, thankfulness and reveling in the beauty God created outside my window today.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shelf Life

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I keep thinking about something that happened this week. I joined a dear friend of mine for lunch. We meet each week, and bring our own meal. We spend time sharing our lives and praying together. It's time I look forward to and am always blessed by our time in fellowship.

On this particular day, my friend opened up her yogurt container to find that even though it had been sealed, mold had formed inside. From the outside, it appeared to be fine, but the inside was spoiled.

I realize the verse written above is actually the opposite of what happened, but I still can't help but think of the parallel between these matters. Sometimes we appear like nothing is wrong on the outside, because people can't see how much we are hurting on the inside. This verse mentions us wasting away on the outside, referring to our physical bodies. We waste away, but God is able to renew us day by day.

So my question for you, is how is your shelf life? Are you a pretty package on the outside that is concealing all the hurts and struggles you are facing? Is bitterness and hurt festering inside? Or are you choosing to be renewed each day, taking your problems to God and asking for his help? I pray we can lengthen our shelf life by keeping short accounts, and choosing to be in right relationship with God.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bring On The Snow

  “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
   says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
   they shall be like wool. 
Isaiah 1:18

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 
Psalm 51:7
The forecast this evening is calling for three to four inches of snow. Personally I wish it was more like 12-24 inches, but I'm grateful for any snow that covers the ground. Most people think I'm crazy because of my love of this frozen precipitation. For me, whenever I see snowfall, I am reminded of these verses in scripture. I think of Jesus being the sacrificial lamb, who chose to take on my sins and die in my place. He takes all of the ugliness in my life and makes it as white as snow. Snow is a joyful reminder of God's love for me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slipping Through My Fingers

I just searched the Bible online and plugged in the word 'time'. There are almost 900 entries using this individual word. My first immediate thoughts refer to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which state:

 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 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 from embracing,
 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. 

I find it difficult to believe we are over half way through the first month of 2011 already. I feel time slips through my fingers and before I know it, a new day is dawning, a new week, month, year....

Ephesians 5:15-20 tells us to make the most of our time. 

  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I praise God for each new day and pray I will be productive at following His will for my life. May I not allow the days to slip through my fingers, but instead follow the directives God places in me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Notice Me!"

He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:3-4

It’s been over twenty-three years since I student taught in a second grade classroom. I still remember the unbridled enthusiasm of the children, bouncing in their seats unable to contain their excitement. One arm helped to support the up stretched one, waving in hopes of being acknowledged. Lips pierced tight, to prevent from calling out the desire to “notice me.”

Zacchaeus, in the account in the gospel of Luke, longed to see Jesus. His desperation caused him to climb a tree, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the revered man. His heart cried out for Christ to make a difference, but I doubt he had faith that anything would happen that day Jesus entered his home town. Perhaps Zacchaeus didn’t recognize or identify his need, because it was buried deep within his heart. Hope, fear, and impetuosity characterized Zacchaeus’ decision.

Similarly in the New Testament, a woman who suffered with bleeding for twelve years sought out Jesus. She was driven to elbow her way through a crowd of people, desiring to touch Jesus’s cloak. She knew Jesus could make a difference in her situation and heal her.

I can’t help but notice the correlation of these two stories in the Bible. Both individuals were in need and crying out “notice me” without using words. Even though they were calm on the outside, on the inside they responded the same way the students had in my classroom many years ago. They were bursting with eager anticipation of Jesus seeing them, recognizing and meeting their needs.

I find myself no different than these two Bible individuals. How many times do I get busy, burdened, and overwhelmed by my circumstances and forget to call out to my Heavenly Father, “Notice me.” God knows my heart and situation before I even ask, and is waiting for me to cry out like Zacchaeus and the bleeding woman, “Notice me!”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Diligence

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

I've been thinking about diligence today as I've been busily working on writing my novel. The end is beginning to be in sight, even though I still have about 12-13 chapters remaining. It's one of those things I know in my heart is going to happen at sometime soon in the near future. If all goes according to schedule, by this time next month I will be typing my last words.

I heard a lesson this morning about Abraham as he waited on God to fulfill his promise to give him a son. He waited many years before he saw fruition of that hope, dream and promise fulfilled. He remained steadfast and didn't waver in his trust and belief in God.

My prayer for this year is to remain faithful to the things God has shown me and called me to do, even when the path may seem uncertain at times. May I have the diligence to press on to the goal that God has instilled in me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Choosing Gratitude

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:15-17 

We live in a society with a 'me first' attitude of thinking. Even as Christians, it can be hard to break away from this mentality. With a new year beginning, it's a wonderful time to concentrate on choosing to be grateful. For almost a year now, I've been making a point each day to come up with something for which I'm thankful. Sometimes I think of it as a journal of things that bring me joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages us to "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Not always easy to do, but possible.

I pray I will continue to grow in this area this coming year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time for Everything

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 

I usually try and write down goals when the New Year begins. I don't know I would call them resolutions, but more so the direction I feel God is calling me to go. It's been an off year already, in that I still have been unable to write these out on paper yet. They have been rumbling around in my head, waiting to be inked. I guess it didn't help that we were away for four days, and returned home a little under the weather. I am thankful I decided in advance to take this week off from our homeschool responsibilities. It is allowing me extra time to get caught up with things and not feel pressured.

I guess one of the key items I'd like to learn and implement this year is a healthy balance of the things in my life. This is only attainable when I'm seeking God's face to know the priority He desires for me to take. I love this verse in Ecclesiastes that tells us that there is a time and season for all the activities. Of course the key is getting direction from my Heavenly Father.

As I look at the year ahead of me, I feel the need to be intentional with the areas of study I'd like to pursue. Two that stand out uppermost in my mind right now is craving God and learning more about His unconditional love. I find it helpful to have a course of action. Proverbs 29:18a says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I'm excited about the journey ahead.