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"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

Friday, December 27, 2013

W is for Write - Blog Hop Friday

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Can you believe we only have a few more weeks of blog hop Friday? When I signed up to be a part of it I wondered how hard it would be to post regularly and whether or not I'd be able to keep up with the schedule. The more I consistently wrote, the easier I found it to be. In fact I signed up for an additional blog hop that focused on the Christmas season too.

Now as we near the end I find that I want to keep writing blog posts. I don't know how much my posts always mean to my readers, but I find they are often therapeutic for me. Perhaps that's partly why I write - to not only get words down on paper but also to be able to work through things I may be going through at the time.

For me... writing is something I thoroughly enjoy. So on this blog hop Friday, W is for write. :)

When was the last time that you sat down and wrote something?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Unwrappings

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog HopIt's the day after Christmas and many experience a let down after the holiday is over. The presents are unwrapped and perhaps strewn around the living room floor. For some they are back to the regular grind again.

I typically don't face these emotions since my husband and I were married the day after Christmas - 26 years ago. While others are returning gifts they didn't want, some are out shopping for those post-season discounts, my husband and I typically have a quiet day together. Often we go to a movie and go out for a nice dinner together.

How about you? Do you have a let down after Christmas is over? How do you spend December 26th?

Thanks for being a part of the Holly Jolly Blog Hop. Praying you have a blessed 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013

V is for Valley

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

I have to admit - I've been in the midst of a valley lately. Ever have one of those seasons where you're hit with too many things at once and all you want to do is go to bed and wake up to find it was all a dream?

Yeah. 

That's where I am right now. I see glimpses of sunshine from time to time only to be overwhelmed by another storm again. I have to admit - it's not a fun place to be. I'd much rather be on that mountain top, experiencing life at it's finest. But we can't always stay on the mountains. It's often only through the desert and darkest valleys that God can teach us valuable lessons.

He promises to be with us... through the valleys, through the trials of life, through the good times. He promised in Hebrews 13:5b, "...or He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you." I take comfort in that.

So where are you today - on the mountain top or in the valley? Can you praise Him despite your circumstances?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Adoration

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog HopO come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

(Words to O Come All Ye Faithful)


When was the last time you stopped and adored Him?

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Friday, December 13, 2013

U is for Uplifted - Blog Hop Friday

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Nehemiah 8:5-6

When's the last time you uplifted your hands in praise, or bowed and worshiped Him? Christmas is a great time to start again. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

HOPE

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog HopI put my hope in You, Lord - Psalm 38:15a

Now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You. - Psalm 39:7


Israel, put your hope in the Lord.
For there is faithful love with the Lord,
and with Him is redemption in abundance.
And He will redeem Israel
from all its sins. - Psalm 130:7-8


For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. - Jeremiah 29: 11-12

Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,

for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
24 I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him. - Lamentations 3:22-24



OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD. HE IS THE REASON WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS.


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Friday, December 6, 2013

T is for Today - Blog Hop Friday

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. Hebrews 3:13

A simple question or two for this blog hop Friday.

Who needs your encouragement today? 

What can you do to show that encouragement?

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Christmas Countdown

ADVENTure

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog HopAs we begin the Advent season, I thought it would be fun to start the month with an ADVENTure as we tune our hearts toward the true reason why we celebrate the season.

Adoration
Two groups of people came to adore and worship the baby Jesus.

The shepherds, after hearing this proclamation from the angels:
I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and peace on earth to people He favors! (Luke 2:10-14)
They did this:
They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.(Luke 2:16-18)

The wise men also came to adore the new child:

Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him.Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

When was the last time you stopped and adored Christ?

Devotion
Here is the protection of the Most High when we choose to devote our lives to Him.

Because he is lovingly devoted to Me,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows My name.
15 When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.(Psalm 91:14-15)


Are you fully devoted to the Lord?

Victorious
Jesus Christ is victorious. He will defeat Satan.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah,the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll. (Revelation 5:5)

You have nothing to fear because the Lord is victorious.

Encourage
Many people are hurting, particularly around the holidays.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Who can you encourage this Christmas season?

New
You have this promise if you have given your life to the Lord.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Have you made your life new in Him?

Testimony
We each have a testimony or story of how we came to salvation in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said:

When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you... (1 Corinthians 2:1)

When was the last time you shared your testimony with someone?

So are you ready to go on an ADVENTure this Christmas?


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Friday, November 29, 2013

S is for Sailor - Blog Hop Friday

Two weeks ago my husband and I had the distinct privilege of watching our son and 831 other young men and women graduate from boot camp with the United States Navy. So in honor of our son, today is S for Sailor.

Congratulations, Jeremiah!

We are so proud of you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Waiting

Waiting....waiting...waiting for Emmanuel to appear
Always believing the Savior will soon be here.

These were the words to one of songs, in one of the many Christmas cantatas I've participated in over the years.

Many years passed between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Many years of waiting for the promised Messiah to come to earth.

Years with no word from the Lord.

As you think about and anticipate the Christmas season, what are you waiting for?


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Related by Chance, Family by Choice by Deb DeArmond

You may have heard the topic as the brunt of a joke or sitcom situations on TV - the relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Author Deb DeArmond explores the struggles women often face as they transition into these new roles. They have one common bond - a man they both dearly love - one through marriage, and the other through motherhood.

I found this book to be quite insightful as both a daughter-in-law and a fairly recent mother-in-law. Any woman in either of these situations can benefit from reading this insightful book. The reader will find it filled with ways to nurture and improve relationships, while also providing hope and ideas for cultivating restoration from damaged communications too. I highly recommend it.

Book Info
About the book: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships. What does it take to create true family unity between moms and the women who marry their sons?

The caricatures are everywhere, the jokes are inexhaustible, and the stereotypes fill the screens. From Marie Barone (Everyone Loves Raymond) to Viola Fields (Monster-in-Law) to Internet sites and social media pages like ihatemyinlaws.com and a Facebook page for ihatemymotherinlaw there is no shortage of examples of the caustic relationships that can develop between the two women in a man's life.

Deb DeArmond and her three daughters-in-law have conducted their own exhaustive research into the status of the women-in-law relationship. Their research, which incorporated online surveys, interviews, and discussions, included asking about the faith factor in the relationships they studied. Of the respondents, nearly 90 percent claimed they were Christians, and 79 percent said their faith was foundational and guided their actions and decisions. As discouraging as it may be, the numbers of those they surveyed who reported that their women-in-law relationships were "bad" were nearly identical to those in a survey conducted by a popular secular website that recorded no statistics on faith.

Beyond the statistics and their analysis, Deb brings to this book more than thirty years working with adults to improve communications and deal constructively with conflict. Aside from her research and her professional expertise, perhaps the most important asset Deb brings to this work is her own relationship with her three daughters-in-law that is so obviously and unusually positive that she-and they-are often asked to explain the secret of the relationships they share.

This practical and unapologetically scriptural book covers issues of personal perceptions, strained communication, the roles of sons and fathers in the relationship's success, how to begin these relationships on the right foot, and the necessity of trust and love. Deb's one motivating objective is to help women-in-law move from women who are simply related to strong and confident members of a truly spiritual family.

Related By Chance, Family By Choice: Book Trailer Deb DeArmond
Related By Chance, Family By Choice: Book Trailer Deb DeArmond


Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qBcKW

About the author: Deb DeArmond has owned her own leadership training and executive coaching practice for fifteen years. She is an experienced speaker and writer with work appearing in "WHOA" Magazine and "Dallas Family" Magazine and a cofounder of mypurposenow.org-an online community for Christian women 50+. Deb and her husband, Ron, have three married sons and three grandchildren, and live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Find out more at debdearmond.com.

Find out more about Deb at http://debdearmond.com.
Deb DeArmond is celebrating the release of her book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice, with a "Day of Bonding" Spa giveaway!


relatedbychance-400
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 SpaFinder gift card (perfect for a pampering day of bonding)
  • Related by Chance, Family by Choice by Deb DeArmond (2 copies)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. Winner will be announced December 2nd at Deb's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Deb's blog on December 2nd to see if you won.

This book was provided free for review by Kregel Publications

Monday, November 25, 2013

Give Thanks

At this time of year our thoughts align toward things we are thankful for as we look toward Thanksgiving celebrations. This scripture was used in our church service yesterday:

Rejoice always!
17 Pray constantly.
18 Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Each year I ask God for a word He wants me to delve into, research, study, and take to heart in a new and meaningful way. The word He gave me this year was thankfulness or gratitude.

It's easy to give thanks and praise to God during the easy times of our lives - when things are going smoothly or we receive unexpected joys along the way. But it's in those hard moments or seasons when everything seems to be going wrong or against us - those are the times we may struggle with giving thanks the most.

I'm in one of those seasons right now. My list could go on and on of all the difficult situations we've faced in just the past few days alone. I want to wave a flag and say "I've had enough. You can stop anytime now with all the bad things in my life. I'm ready for a new course."

But I look at this scripture and it says to 'give thanks in everything' - not when I feel like it... or when things are going my way... 'in everything'. Even in the midst of water leaks and having to rip out a bathroom...or two, soaked carpeting, mold issues, hacked email accounts, etc. The NIV Bible for this verse says to 'give thanks in all circumstances.'

So today, despite my tears and heartache... I still choose to give thanks. My Lord's faithfulness is not contingent on my circumstances.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rejoice Always - Blog Hop Friday

Rejoice always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Sometimes we are hit hard by life's circumstances. Perhaps everywhere we turn we face problems - physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. The list could go on and on with our troubles and woes. Sometimes we are in a season where things aren't going the way we desire. We may feel out of control. Nothing we do makes the situation better. Life seems overwhelming.

I've been facing a similar scenario where I've been hit with many difficult things at the same time. I have to admit, that it's easy to wallow in the pain and hurt and not move any further. The desire to go back to bed and throw the covers over my head and pretend that things will be better when I awaken is often present.
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

But this verse in the Bible encourages me to do otherwise. The section of scripture says: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Nowhere does it say anything about staying focused on the hard things in our life. Instead we are to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, even when we don't feel like it. Our rejoicing is not based on our circumstances, instead it's based on our Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross. Rejoicing is an active choice and decision.

How are you choosing to rejoice today?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

P for Preparation - Christmas Blog Hop

In just a short time my husband and I will be starting an advent devotional as we prepare for Christmas. I find it hard to believe that it's only one week until Thanksgiving, and Christmas just about a month away. This year has sped by in so many ways.

Typically I prepare for the holiday season by decorating the house and front yard. We bake cookies and prepare special dishes that we only make one time a year. We have special traditions.

I have one thing prepared already - our Christmas tree. Actually it's been in place since last year. :) I did add a new ornament though - a blue ball with the word Navy written across it. My son recently graduated from boot camp with the Navy so it has a special significance to us of his achievement.

I don't know how much decorating I'll be able to do since we may be facing a major renovation project in our home, but I still can be preparing for the holiday. I can ask God to sweep away the cobwebs of doubt that may have accumulated in the recesses of my heart, to scrub away the stain of sin that darkens my steps, wipe away the smudges of ungratefulness.

What are you doing to prepare your heart for the holidays?

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop
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Monday, November 18, 2013

And the Winner Is....

The winner of Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher is ... Pegg Thomas. Congratulations Pegg! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Q is for Quality Time - Blog Hop Friday

It's blog hop Friday again. I can't believe how far we've progressed through the alphabet so far.

No deep thoughts today other than how do you spend your quality time throughout the day?

On your phone?
Social media?
With family?
Watching TV?
Spending time with the Lord?

If a complete stranger came up and asked you that question, how would you respond?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

Orphaned. Abandoned. Betrayed. Trust.

Diana Brennan has faced many trials in her young life. On the eve of finding happiness, her presumed dead husband makes his appearance at her engagement dinner. He's the last person she wants to see after his betrayal and abandonment.

Tyson Applegate is a changed man. No longer does he desire to follow his own selfish pursuits. Instead he longs to woo his wife back into trusting him again. Can he ever convince her to change her mind about him?

I found Beloved to be a delightful read by Robin Lee Hatcher and a fun conclusion to her Where the Heart Lives series. This novel is a stunning reminder of how God views each of us.

This book was provided free for review by Zondervan.


Book Info
About the book: Diana is ready to begin a new chapter in her life-until the husband she believed dead reappears at her engagement party.

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word from him in years, Diana's infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when Tyson returns, claiming to be a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom.

He agrees with one condition---she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qb0G2

Meet the author: Robin is the author of 65+ novels and novellas. Her home is in Idaho, where she spends her time writing stories of faith, courage, and love; pondering the things of God; and loving her family and friends.
Learn more at: http://www.robinleehatcher.com


Robin Lee Hatcher is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Belovedwith an iPad Mini giveaway! 
beloved-rafflecopter
 
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 15th. Winner will be announced November 16th at Robin's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on the 16th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)!

Friday, November 8, 2013

P is for Pray - Blog Hop Friday

Welcome to Blog Hop Friday. Today is P for Pray... continually. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We'll be camping out on these three verses over the next several weeks. But today, let's look at pray continually. I teach a ladies Bible study and I know I've been asked before what this means. Now I know if we were always praying, we wouldn't get anything else accomplished. I believe this verse encourages us to have an attitude of prayerfulness as we go about each day.

How are you doing with keeping a prayerful attitude each day? Are there any prayer requests you'd like to share?

Friday, November 1, 2013

O is for Opportunity - Blog Hop Friday

While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.

Psalm 109:28

It's blog hop Friday and today I'm thinking about the opportunity we have each day to bless or curse. Now I don't mean to literally curse, but sometimes we may think things without actually expressing words of hurt or dislike toward that person. Perhaps we still harbor it in our hearts though. Whether it's said aloud or in our heart and mind, it can still be a curse.

At times this can be extremely difficult, especially if you or a spouse are wrongfully attacked or shamed. I think our natural tendency is to retaliate or to wish ill for that person, but God's Word clearly states we are to do the opposite.

Jesus clearly said:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

How are you doing today? Are you using opportunities to love and bless your enemy (those who rub you the wrong way) instead of harboring ill feelings?

Friday, October 25, 2013

N is for November - Blog Hop Friday

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Welcome to Blog Hop Friday. And yes, I know technically we still have another week until November starts but unfortunately we'll be on a different letter of the alphabet by then. :)

As October soon fades away, often our hearts and minds turn toward the upcoming holidays. We may feel rushed or stressed as we think of all that we'll need to accomplish over the next eight weeks. (Yesterday it was exactly eight weeks until Christmas.)

I encourage each of us, myself included, to take time to rest and think about the reasons why we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year I plan to be more intentional with the activities that surround these holidays.

What special things do you do to prepare for the holidays?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Opportunity

In a couple weeks I'll be reviewing Robin Lee Hatcher's new novel, Beloved. In anticipation of that, I'll be giving away a free copy of this book to one blessed person who leaves a comment. (Within U.S. only please).

Comments left between now and November 16th on any of my posts will be entered into the drawing. If you sign up as a follower of my blog, you'll have an extra chance to win. :) The winner will be announced on Monday, November 18th. Have fun!

Friday, October 18, 2013

M is for Memories - Blog Hop Friday

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Psalm 78:1-8

So often we become wrapped up in our memories - not that this is a bad thing, but it can be when we choose to live in those memories.

I heard a blurb on the radio a couple days ago about living in our backstory. Dictionary.com defines it as: a narrative providing a history or background context, especially for a character or situation in a  literary work, film, or dramatic series.

Now one could argue that this only applies to the movies or fiction stories. But each of us have a backstory, and often they are filled with hurts and sorrows we've experienced through the years. Those memories that we continue to relive and can't move past.

I'm a firm believer that we weren't created to live in our memories or our backstory. We are called to live in the present. Like this scripture says, the things we are to pass on to the next generation is the goodness of God and how He has provided for us.


How are you doing with letting go of those painful memories (backstory) and instead looking toward finding the ways God has provided for you?