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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, 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?