Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Singing

The Christmas Singing
By: Cindy Woodsmall
Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group 
Copyright 2011

What would you say if the one you loved, the one you intended to marry, suddenly became distant, cold and broke off the relationship with you?  Hurt, betrayed, angry even?  That's what happened to Mattie in the new book called The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall.  When Mattie learns from Gideon that he no longer loves her, and in fact has betrayed her with other women, her life is shattered and she moves as far away from her Amish community as she can.  She builds a new life for herself in the same town as her brother and his family, setting up a prosperous bakery where her creativity is appreciated and earns a good living.  She even develops a new relationship with Sol, an Amish man who loves to hunt.  Mattie and Sol have the kind of relationship where they do not get into each others' business.  It's a comfortable relationship, a relationship where boundaries and distance is understood, but no deep, passionate love is found.  However, that's exactly the way Mattie wants the relationship to be.  It is understood that she and Sol will one day marry, but neither is in any hurry.

Through an accident possibly brought about by Mattie's absentmindedness, Mattie returns home to live with  her family for a few months.  There she cannot help but run into Gideon, to whom she gives a cold shoulder and does her best to ignore.  Mattie has to learn to let go of hurt and to truly forgive.  And what happens when she does, and when she learns the truth about what happened between herself and Gideon, changes her life forever.

This is a story of forgiveness; of learning to look beyond our own personal ideas and understanding the hearts of others.  Once we look beyond ourselves we often see things much differently, and in the truest light.  By the end of The Christmas Singing my tears were flowing so freely I could hardly read!  I will definitely encourage anyone to read this book and take to heart the lessons taught by Cindy Woodsmall.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we are wishing you a joyous and very merry Christmas!

Don’t forget the REASON we celebrate...
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: For Women Only in the Workplace

For Women Only in the Workplace
By: Shaunti Feldhahn
Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group 
Copyright 2011

For Women Only in the Workplace by Shaunti Feldhahn is an in-depth, statistics laden look at how men and women relate at work.  There are so many points that Mrs. Feldhahn brings out, so many differences in how men and women look at work differently. For instance, men think in boxes which they can conveniently close so they can  work out of another box.  Whereas women tend to think out of several boxes at the same time.  These differences can cause strain on the working relationship.  Men are able to open the "work" box after having closed the "personal" box and be all business.  They take nothing personally, or rather their personal relationships are generally not affected by their work relationships.  Which is why, according to Mrs. Feldhahn, men can have a problem working with someone but then can go out and play golf with the same person  (not happening with us women)! However, and this is pretty big, we women do not separate our lives.  What happens in one box can be tossed into another, so that what happens at work gets carried over into our personal life and vice versa.

You will not find For Women Only in the Workplace to be an easy, quick read.  But it is filled with statistics and first hand examples from the man's point of view, all geared to let women know why men act as they do and what they think when we women act as we do. I must admit that my flaws were pointed out to me numerous times while reading this book (take a sneak peek at For Women Only in the Workplace), and there are things I found I can change in my own work life.  If you want to know what's going on in the work world, what you might be doing "wrong" according to men and how to correct it, I would recommend this book.  

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Night of the Living Dead Christian

Night of the Living Dead Christian 
By: Matt Mikalatos
Copyright 2011

Do you like monsters?  Vampires, zombies and werewolves?  Then you really have to read Matt Mikalatos' (check out the author interview here) new book called Night of the Living Dead Christian.  This a light hearted, whacky, not-so-way out there telling of a person's search for Christ.  How do we get rid of sin?  How do we truly become a Christian?  In fact, what really is a Christian anyway?

Mr. Mikalatos uses portraits of himself and his family throughout the book.  In fact, he is the narrator and the at-first enemy, soon-to-be friend of the main character Luther Anne Martin (Martin Luther, anyone?), his neighbor.  Mr. Mikalatos, along with a mad scientist and a robot/android, seeks to find the way to rid Luther of his base werewolf ways, all the while fighting off and trying to keep from becoming monsters themselves!!  They run into vampires, a werewolf hunter, a horde of zombies who think of themselves as Christians but are really just puppets of their leader, a half zombie who isn't sure he wants to follow said leader, and eventually face Luther's estranged father who shares a secret about his own past. 

What will happen?  Will Luther ever get rid of his madness?  Will he understand what Christianity is really about?  Will Mr. Mikalatos learn how to share his Christianity so that others can understand and make decisions for themselves?  Will they outsmart the werewolf hunter? 

Check out Matt's website for a link to the first chapter, along with more information on this book and his previous book entitled Imaginary Jesus.  Hope you enjoy the book!  In fact, post a comment for a chance for your own free copy of this very interesting book.  Make sure to check back with me so I can get your mailing information, or you can shoot an e-mail to reesewalley@yahoo.com.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Tyndale House Publishers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Singing, by Cindy Woodsmall

If you like reading great stories of Amish life like I do, you can get a sneak peak of the new book by Cindy Woodsmall called The Christmas Singing.  You can read the first chapter and decide for yourself if this is a book you would like to pick up for yourself or for Christmas gift giving.  If you are interested in purchasing the book, you can go directly to http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/; when you are ready to check out you can request free shipping on this title or any other by using code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout.  By the way, the code also gives you a 30% discount on the book.  Can't beat that deal!  The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, also by Cindy Woodsmall, is coming out soon.  Check the Waterbrook site frequently for release dates.

Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Merry CHRISTmas!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life Application Study Bible Giveaway!

Good morning, everyone!  I don't normally promote giveaways, but I just heard about a great one going on for the new Life Application Study Bible on Face Book.  "Like" them and immediately receive a free copy of their Life Application Bible Study on the Book of Luke.  Hurry on over!  Sign up every day for great prizes, including the Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (one random winner daily) and an Apple iPad2 (weekly drawing)!

Don't wait, check it out today.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." II Timothy 2:15

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Christmas Means to Me…

One of my earliest memories of Christmas happened when we were living in Indiana. One evening my parents went into their room to wrap our Christmas gifts and we kids, all six of us, clustered as close to their door as we could without getting into too much trouble. One or two of us climbed into the rocking armchair, leaning dangerously over the back, and in our excitement it tipped over. There were just so many exciting sounds coming from our parents’ room we could hardly stand it!

Needless to say Mama and Daddy didn’t get much peace on Christmas morning with six kids trying to get them up so we could unwrap our gifts. Finally they came up with the brilliant idea of allowing us to open one, and only one, gift Christmas Eve. That placated us for a while… Eventually even that turned into opening ALL our gifts on Christmas Eve, and we would have a party. Soon certain foods were expected each year. Foods such as Cheerios Nuggets (yes, it was the 70s). Or Christmas cookies with slopped on icing; just how well do you think kids under 12 decorate cookies? Ummm…one year someone got a spanking because I counted the cookies and there weren’t as many as we thought there should be, but I don’t want to talk about that right now. We had ginger ale and lime sherbet punch. No presents could be opened until we were ALL finished eating. Now that was really rotten because the food was great, but the anticipation of opening those presents was almost greater.

There were always loads of presents under the tree! One year my parents bought each of my brothers a tool box -- yep, a REAL tool box -- and filled them with Legos. That was back when you had to use your imagination to create things from Legos. Then one year they bought us Hungry, Hungry Hippo! I don’t know what possessed them to buy that game, it was soooo loud. Back to those Legos. I’ll admit it, I was jealous. I wanted some, too!

Living up North it was expected that there would be snow on the ground, and a lot of it, for Christmas. This meant sledding. There were too many of us to have our own sled, so Daddy made sleds out of paneling and we’d put the slick side down and race around. Boy, was it ever fun to go flying down hills! Dare I tell you the hills I’m talking about were the clover leafs on the highway? We weren’t the only ones using them for sledding, I promise you! We would come home soaked clear through our socks and long johns.

Now that we are grown things aren’t much different, unless you count that there is no snow here in the South for Christmas. We still celebrate on Christmas Eve. Instead of six of us kids, we have grown to twenty-something of us plus whatever extended family might be visiting. There is always fun in the chaos, and believe me there’s a lot of chaos when we all get together!

But in the midst of all our frivolity we remember the most important part of Christmas, the true reason we celebrate. The birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Can you imagine what it might have been like to be around when Jesus was born? What about if you could have been one of the shepherds or one of the wise men, or if you could have been like Anna or Simeon who both waited in the temple until they were able to see the Messiah? What if I could have been one of His younger brothers or sisters? Would I have realized Who He is? Would I have chosen to follow Him? Would I have followed Him just because of His miracles, or because I believed He was the Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb, the only One Who could forgive me of my sins? John 3:16 is a verse we all know, “For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I also remember Romans 2:8-9 which says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the GIFT OF GOD, not of works lest any man should boast.” Christmas means…Jesus!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Restless in Carolina

Restless in Carolina 
By: Tamara Leigh
Published by Multnomah Books
Copyright 2011

A blond with dreads, dirt under her nails and an attitude.  What an image!  But the family thinks that image must be changed to make a presentable, professional front to impress the environmentally friendly developer who is needed to save the family home and acreage from development into tract homes, or worse still a shopping center or industrial park!  How far will heroine Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan go to entice just the right buyer, and why is it her job, anyway?  In the process can she give up mourning her husband who has been dead for four years?  Can she move on with her life?   What about her presently non-existent relationship to God?  As far as Bridget is concerned, that relationship can stay just as it is, non-existent. 

But now there is not only one developer vying for the family lands, but two! One presents the front of wishing to purchase the property to make into his personal estate, which would be the perfect place to raise his family (by the way, he does not yet have a family...).  The other, the original developer Bridget was after, doesn't quite meet her expectations for the property with his development plan.

Combined with the hassle and headaches involved with finding just the right buyer, mix in family illness, family SCANDALS, a really smartalecky five year old twin niece and nephew, and WIDOW SNIFFERS!  Are these men out to get her money, what little is left of the scandalous family name, the property, or are they sincerely concerned about Bridget herself?

This book makes for a great read (check out the preview here).  I loved Ms. Leigh's use of terminology of the South.  Including the whole droppin' the Gs from word endin's.  Get the book and enjoy the fun!  Although this is the third book by Ms. Leigh on characters in this seemingly disfunctional family (I am just itchin' to get my hands on those first two books), Restless in Carolina is a great read on it's own.  Enjoy! 

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Foggy ...

Fog rising in the woods at my parents' place.  Photo courtesy of my mother.

Ever try driving down a foggy road, where you can't see very far into the distance?  You drive with a good deal of caution tempered with dogged trust and determination.  That's what happened to me yesterday morning.  The Alabama River snakes it's way back and forth through the hills and valleys of Autauga and Elmore Counties, and alongside Interstate 65 heading south into the city of Montgomery.  I live in Prattville, whose elevation is considerably higher than that of Montgomery.  As soon as I got in the car I knew the drive to work would be anything but fun.  I was right!  Coming down out of the hills and onto the Interstate, I could see maybe three or four cars ahead of me.  I gripped the steering wheel, watched my speed and the speed of others, and headed for town.  What's really tricky is that at one point in the ten miles between Prattville and Montgomery, traffic merges onto the Interstate from the Millbrook area.  And when it does, it generally congests and even stops the three lanes of traffic heading south.  Thankfullyschool is out this week and a lot of folks stayed home yesterday.  Otherwise this merging traffic, combined with the low visibility, could have caused some serious problems.

Photo courtesy of my mother, Glenda Coon.
Life's like that, isn't it?  The fog of life hovers over us and we don't see what we are heading into.  We don't know what good and bad experiences lie ahead.  When I think about it, I consider that a good thing.  How would I live my life if I knew about the bad experiences I would have?  Or how would I live my life if I knew about the good experiences that were ahead?  In either case I certainly wouldn't be thinking of the present, but the future.  And I would miss out on the blessings of the present. 

The Bible talks about the same thing when Jesus said to consider the lilies of the field, or when he talked about the birds of the air.  Neither thought of or worried over the future, just the present.  They were under God's protection.  This certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't plan for our futures.  Jesus also taught a parable of the three servants who were given portions of the master's money.  One refused to invest and buried it in the ground.  The other two were wise and made good returns on their investments.  God honored blessed the two wise servants, while the foolish servant had to suffer the consequences of his inaction.

The key is we should not worry about the future, but we should make wise preparations.  Nothing can happen to us that is not under God's control. Like the fog, go in with the lights on, the hands on the wheel, prepared to make adjustments as dictated by the circumstances, and trust God.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Everybody Loves a Good Deal...

The holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means.  My (extended) family  is very large, so when we all get together lots of food is needed.  I have never been one to use coupons because I have always thought I could get generics or store brands for less.  However, I was recently informed by one of my best friends that I was WRONG!  I don't like to hear that, BUT if it saves money, I can deal with it.  Just show me how to change!! 

Southern Savers is a website for those of us who live in the south, and posted on this site are major food chains and their weekly sales ads, etc.  What I have found interesting about this site is that you can view the weekly ad and see which COUPONS correspond to the sales ad, print coupons directly from the site, print your grocery list and go.  Did you know that some stores allow you to purchase an item that is on sale and apply a manufacturer's coupon plus a store coupon for further discounts?  You all probably already know this.  But as I said, I didn't.  I must have been living in the dark ages... In any case, if you are like I was, this might be some handy information.  Check out the site and start saving! 

Anyone have any savvy savings ideas you would like to share?

NOTE:  I've added the Southern Savers button at the bottom left of the page.  Just click and you'll be there.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Nearing Home

Nearing Home
Life, Faith and Finishing Wells
By:  Billy Graham
Published by Thomas Nelson
Copyright 2011

What is it like to grow old?  Do you even expect to grow old?  Are you thinking about it?  What will you do when and if you retire?  Not just if you plan to retire, but what will you be doing with your time, talent and treasure?  What about your testimony?  How will you relate to those younger than yourself?  How do you prepare for the end of your life?  In his most recent book Nearing Home, Billy Graham asks and answers all these questions and more.  At one point in the book he stated that he had always thought he would die at an early age because of the grueling schedule of the crusades of his youth (he continued with crusades into his 80s!).  He always felt he would precede his beloved Ruth in death, but it was not to be.  It has now been four years since the death of his wife, and he is into his 90s.

Much can be learned from this great man of God who has spent his life preaching the gospel and studying the Word.  Mr. Graham's experience is poured into Nearing Home, which is filled with encouragement and ideas for living your life to the fullest in the golden years, as well as preparing yourself and your family for your home going.  But Nearing Home is not just for those who are nearing the end of their lives.  It is also a handbook on how to prepare for your older years while you are still young.  Appropriately ending the book is a call for salvation to those who have not yet accepted Christ, because death for the believer is truly a home going.  We will finally know God, and see Him face to face!
High recommendations are in order for this book, written to all believers as well as to those who do not yet know Christ as their Savior.  I have the privilege of passing this book on to my grandmother, who just celebrated her 84th birthday.  I hope you will all enjoy this book as much as I have.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of BookSneeze.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: As Silver Refined

As Silver Refined
Answers to Life's Disappointments
By:  Kay Arthur
Published by WaterBrook Press
Copyright 2011

Do you know how we get purified silver?  Silver that we wear or form into beautiful objects for use or decoration?  It doesn't come out of the ground ready for the mass market.  It must be purified, refined.  The more heat, the right amount of heat, makes more of the dross or impurities come to the surface so they can be skimmed off.  The process is repeated until all that is left is purified silver.  Once the silver is purified it must be heated and poured or beaten into it's finished shape.

In her book As Silver Refined, author and well loved and respected Bible teacher Kay Arthur uses the analogy of refining silver in comparison to the trials and hardships that come into every Christian's life.  Yes, God does allow bad things to happen to His children.  And yes, God does bring those trials to His children.  He uses them to mold us, to refine us, to be more like Him.  It is up to each of us to choose whether or not to allow God to shape us more like His image.   Yes, trials and hard times hurt.  When do you find you pray the most?  When do you study God's Word more diligently?  More than likely when you are hurting the most.  God not only uses these times to draw us back to or closer to Him, but also to make us more like Him.  When we first become a Christian, we are like the raw silver.  When we finally see Christ, hopefully through the refining process we will come out purified (not as in salvation, but as in a closer picture of Christ).

As Silver Refined is encouragement for the believer.  Through the use of hundreds Biblical passages, Biblical illustrations and modern day life stories, as well as the stories of her own life, Kay Arthur teaches us how to be more like Christ. This book consists of fifteen chapters preceded by the story of "The Refiner and His Fire".  At the conclusion of the book is a thirteen lesson study guide.

I hope you will enjoy and learn from this book as much as I have, both as an encouragement and as a guide to Christian living.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Blogging for Books, a division of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Will Rejoice in the God of My Salvation

No matter what we are going through, whether it be personal struggles or worries about things going on around us, as Christians we can and should put our faith and trust in the Lord.  He is the One Who made us, the One Who created the universe.  Why shouldn't we trust in Him?  Doesn't He ask us to do just that?

Here's what the prophet Habakkuk had to say:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail,
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold,
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The LORD GOD is my strength.

(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Everything Habakkuk is talking about in these verses would affect his livelihood.  If the fruit trees and vines and fields did not blossom, then they would yield no food -- what would he eat or sell for essentials?  If something happened to the animals -- what would he eat or drink or sell?  If something did happen to his livelihood, he was willing to trust in, rejoice in and exult in the Lord.  He knew where to turn for strength.

Since all scripture was inspired by God, we can also look at this scripture as God giving reassurance to Christians. Yes, we can rely on Him.  He will be our strength.  We can put our faith and trust in Him. Nothing is going to happen that is not allowed by God.  See how Jesus Himself addresses this issue in Matthew 6:25-34. Our God is in control! 
Take comfort...


Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts and Burdens on My Heart...

"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."  Joel 2:12-13

God is asking the Israelites to return to Him.  The reason for their great punishment -- famine, locusts, captivity -- was because they had turned away from Him (see Joel chpt. 1).  They had ceased to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord.  They had refused to worship God.  Instead, they chose to do things their own way.

How many times do we do that today?  We choose not to worship God.  Or, as in Joel 2:12-13, we worship Him with our outward appearance (by going to church, quoting Bible verses, saying "the words"), but refuse to give Him our heart.  God wants more than just the actions.  He wants actions coming from a right heart. 

In Romans 12:1-2 God leads Paul to say, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  Paul is BEGGING Christians, through God's mercies, to stand for Him.  It is only REASONABLE that after what God did for us, through the sacrifice of His sinless Son, that we cheerfully, wholeheartedly, give ourselves to Him for His service. 

There are things going on in our country right now that should greatly disturb Christians.  Things such as abortion.  Homosexuality (to the point that it is being taught in our schools and paraded around in public, daring people to confront them), did you EVER think it would be legal here in the United States of America for a man to marry another man, or a woman to marry another woman?!?  And that we are to accept such practices? Please know that God calls us to hate the sin, but to love the sinner.  These things should be driving Christians to their knees, begging God to work a change in the hearts of the people of our country.  Do you think that God is going to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the sins we are committing?  And yes, if we don't take a stand against what is wrong, we are just as guilty as those committing these sins. 

Our country has become one of serving only self.  We no longer care what will affect someone else, only our own selves.  What can I get that will make me happier?  What can I do that will bring me the most pleasure?  What I do won't affect those around me (oh yes, it will!), and if it does, I really don't care.  We have become the "me" generation.  We don't want to offend anyone.  Everyone has the "right" to do as they think best.  We do not have the "right" to protest what GOD says is wrong.  Where does that leave us?  What are we to do? 

God calls Christians to seek Him and pray.  And not just one time.  God gives a promise in II Chronicles 7:14, "IF my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  God was giving king Solomon a promise in this verse, but it also applies today.

We can start taking a stand.  We don't necessarily have to become activists, but we can certainly vote.  We can pray.  We can help and support those who follow after God's laws (I'm not talking about televangelists here).  How do YOU accomplish these things?  Share your ideas...

No, I am not a pastor or a preacher or a teacher.  I am not qualified in any way.  I am just a very concerned woman. 

From the thoughts and burdens of my heart...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come Take a Walk in My Garden...

This past Sunday afternoon I spent an hour or so walking through my yard, enjoying the beautiful  shapes, textures and colors of the fall garden.  Want to see what I found?  Wish you could have been there.  The weather was great!  Here in the South (middle Alabama) the weather is just starting to cool off -- to the upper 70s and lower 80s.

We have a large sycamore tree in the back yard that gives cool shade during the summer.  The leaves have just started to fall.  When the tree is bare of leaves, and if we haven't raked up to that point, the leaves are several inches deep.  Of course that's understandable if you know that each leaf is nearly as large as my two hands put together!

These zinnias have really taken off since the temperatures have tapered off.  During the middle of the summer the were leggy and drying out.  Now they are so perky.  I understand why they are one of my friend's favorite flowers.  As you can see, they grow up through everything!

This tiny plant is called a tickseed and comes back every year.  It's resting beneath the celosia's and cannas.  And that's one of those giant sycamore leaves beside it.

Celosia or cockscomb.  This plant and all it's sisters living in my garden, came from sees given to me by one of our clients at work.  Really, he brought me the flower heads (they're soft and velvety in texture) and these teeny tiny black seeds kept falling off.  When the flower heads started drying out I put them in a bag and shook out the seeds.  That was about four years ago, and now I have so many of the things they've become almost like weeds! This year I let them grow up where they wanted, then moved them. Some of these plants have grown as tall as me this year.  As you'll see later, the bees love them.

Some more zinnias. I thought these had died!

This little plant can be a real pest.  I am constantly pulling it up but this vine spreads like crazy.  It's even climbing my roses and some of my bushes.  My Papa used to call it hummingbird vine.  But it's pretty, and for some reason it reminds me of Christmas.

Here are a couple of pictures of my roses.  These are knockouts.  There's nothing to growing them, except pruning.  One of them is nearly as tall as my outbuilding -- it grew several feet this year.  I'm going to hate pruning it, but if I do the blooms will be all over the place next year.  I have had these four years now, and no problems at all.  One of my favorite things is to go outside and get cuttings for around the house.  Unfortunately these knockouts don't have a fragrance.

I couldn't leave out these three beauties!  These are all vinca, and come back every year.  This year I did with them what I did with the celosia, and transplanted them when they were large enough. They have just about taken over my garden, but the color is wonderful!

This year I planted some dahlias.  They make beautiful cut flowers, especially since the flowers are very large and full.  Several in a vase make a stunning arrangement.  I have some on my dinner table right now!

See the bees?  They were humming something fierce Sunday.  They didn't like it when I started cutting some of this celosia for drying.  I was amazed to feel the breeze from their wings when they passed.  I've always thought of bees as being a spring and summer insect, but the mid October weather wasn't holding them back.  There were hundreds of them in the yard.

Finally, one of my favorites, the sage.  This plant came from a cutting from one of my mom's plants a couple of years ago.  Last year we had a couple of dogs running through the yard and I thought they had killed it.  Came back with a vengeance this year.  I have it at the edge of my patio, and when you brush up against it or pinch the leaves, the smell is just heavenly.  And yes, red is one of my favorite colors.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!  Isn't God's design incredible?


Friday, October 7, 2011


Going Deep
Becoming a Person of Influence
By:  Gordon MacDonald
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers

The goal of all Christians should be to pursue a closer relationship with God.  We should seek to emulate Christ.  I was looking forward to reading Going Deep, hoping it would help me "deepen" my own relationship with God. 

In Going Deep, Gordon MacDonald uses fictional characters and settings, along with himself and his wife Gail, to explain how his character was inspired to develop a program in his fictional church to grow young Christians into tomorrow's leaders.  More than half the book is spent looking at the idea of growing these Christians.  How were these Christians to be selected for the program? What would the program involve for these people? The balance of the book takes up the forty weeks of learning these characters went through to become deeper Christians.

The book is quite lengthy, and at points seemed to drag on with information that really didn't seem necessary.  Although I did become inspired to do further research because of some of Mr. MacDonald's very unique ideas of Christ and His followers, the book never stated exactly how to deepen your own personal walk with Christ, for which I was greatly disappointed. 

This was an easy to read book, although I kept looking to see how many pages were left.  I will not be recommending or loaning out Going Deep to my friends and family.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

180 Movie

This 33 minute video is well worth the watch. Make sure you have the time to watch it all the way through. 

Feel free to share this movie with others, as well as pass on the link (http://www.180movie.com/).
Please let me know what you think...


Friday, September 30, 2011

Fast Driving in the Bible?!?

Ever have problems getting your kids/teens to take a real interest in the Bible?  Start reading in the book of II Kings.  Oh, the drama!  Intrigue!  Wild drivers.  Fast cars -- uh, chariots!!  Murder.  Mayhem.  Conspiracy theories. Medical mysteries.  Makeup and hairstyles?!?  Well, it's all condensed in the first few chapters of II Kings and corresponding chapters in II Chronicles.  If all that's in the first few chapters of these books, imagine what's in the rest of the Bible!

I have trouble interesting my teen sons in going to church with me or having anything to do with anything they think might be associated with church, such as youth group.  Although this I don't understand -- they have no problem hanging out with me and my single friends from church during our activities.  The boys' dad is Catholic, which is probably why they want nothing to do with my Baptist faith.  However, when I sit at the table doing my Bible study I can mention things in the Bible such as the fast chariots mentioned earlier, and they will talk with me about it, express their views (which happily line up with the Bible) and opinions, and even pull out their own Bibles and do a little bit of additional reading.  All without me having to give them one word of encouragement!  I am so thankful that both of my sons accepted Christ at young ages and faithfully attended church and Sunday school with me until they became older.

Sometimes you have to try alternative methods to get your kids interested in the things of God.  There are all kinds of Christian resources to help you teach your kids about the Bible, such as Veggie Tales which were really popular at our house, Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey was another favorite, Focus on the Family's Radio Theater DVD presentation of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" series (we had problems getting out of the car when we were listening to that one!), and many other movies, CDs and books.  What's your method of reaching your kids?

Have fun reading and discussing the Bible with your own kids!  And be prepared for some serious, in-depth discussions, possibly even started by the kids themselves!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Felled by a Spider's Web

I was trying to decide what to write about this week, praying and asking God to give me wisdom.  On the way to work this morning the sun struck a spider's web by the side of the road and the drops of dew glistened and made the web shine.  I wished I had time to pull over and get a photo, and decided I would sit outside soon and shoot some pictures of webs in my own yard.

Because of circumstances I was running late going to lunch today.  I was walking at a fast pace down the sidewalk to my car when I unexpectedly came up on a spider's web.  I love to look at them but I really don't like pulling the mess out of my hair, so I dodged to the side.  Sure enough I tripped and hit the asphalt parking lot next door on all fours!  I was annoyed and a bit humiliated (but I don't think anyone saw me -- I hope).  I got up, brushed myself off and went on my way. 

I didn't get far down the road when I started laughing and realized that's exactly what I was supposed to write about!  I had admired the roadside web this morning, with the sun shining through and making it beautiful and enticing.  But later this morning when I came face to face with another web, it wasn't such a good thing. 

Sin can be like that spider's web.  From a distance, when the light hits it just right, it's beautiful and enticing.  But when you get up close and personal it's not that pretty.  Especially when you get stuck in it.  We can resist the big, obvious sins -- we'd never do that!  But you know, sometimes it's those little sins that get us in so much trouble. 

Who would think that the little, pretty sins can trip you up?  Who would have thought a spider's web could teach a lesson?

Funny what God uses sometimes to get a point across. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

God Supplied Her Needs -or- The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time

I am taking a Precepts class by Kay Arthur with some women in my church, and we are studying the book of II Kings.  I am brand new to the Precepts way of study, but am finding it so helpful and rewarding.  If you ever get a chance to do one of these studies, I highly recommend it. 

This evening I was reading in II Kings 8:1-6.  To recap, Elisha the prophet told the Shunamite woman (of II Kings 4:8-37) to pack up her household and go stay temporarily someplace else, because God was going to bring a seven year famine on the land of Israel.  The Shunamite woman heeded the warning of Elisha and went to live in the land of the Philistines.  At the end of the seven years, she and her family came home and she went to the king of Israel (Jehoram) to petition him for the return of her land. 

Now at this time Gehazi, the servant of Elisha (see II Kings 5:20-27), was asked of king Jehoram to tell all of the great things that Elisha had done.  While Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had raised a dead person to life, the very woman whose son's life had been restored came to the king to ask for the return of her land.  Gehazi excitedly told the king this was the woman of whom he had just been speaking!

The king had to compare Gehazi's story with that of the woman, and she again made her petition to the king.  The king sent an officer to restore everything that had once belonged to the woman and her family.  Everything including all the profit that had been gained from her land  during her absence.

It struck me how God provided for this woman who along with her family had once taken care of the needs of Elisha, the man of God.  Apparently she had lost her husband because he is not mentioned in this passage.  Elisha warned HER to take her family to safety, and she did so.  Also, when she went to petition king Jehoram, it was just she and her son who went to make the plea to the king. 

And see how God had Gehazi at that very moment in the king's presence, telling of the restoration of life to the Shunamite's son.  And that Gehazi cried out to the king that this woman before him making this petition was the very one whose son's life had been restored by Elisha.

Another thing to consider.  Back in II Kings 5:20-27 Gehazi had committed a sin against God by pursuing Naaman and lying about Elisha's needs and requesting gifts for a non-existent son of the prophets.  When Elisha confronted Gehazi about his sin, he denied he had gone after Naaman and had done nothing wrong.  Because of his sins, Elisha cursed Gehazi and his family forever with leprosy.  Now, several years later, we see Gehazi telling the good deeds of Elisha to king Jehoram!

This is not luck or happenstance.  God placed all these people in the right place at the right time, to do His work and to meet the needs of the people.  Doesn't this remind you of Paul's words in Philipians 4:19 where he says, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"?  The Shunamite woman had a need.  God knew in advance about her need and placed Gehazi before king Jehoram, recounting the tale of this woman at that very moment

God still does the same for us today.  Don't we serve an awesome God?


Monday, September 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Has God Spoken?

Has God Spoken?
Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration
By:  Hank Hanegraaff
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2011

Have you ever wondered whether or not God REALLY spoke the Bible into being?  What types of proofs are there?  Can it really be proven? What about all the evidence to the contrary?  Using the acronym M-A-P-S in his book Has God Spoken?, Mr. Hanegraaff (also known as the Bible Answer Man) puts forth massive amounts of evidence that yes, God really did speak to us through the Bible. 

Here's a sneak peek:  the M in M-A-P-S stands for Manuscript C-O-P-I-E-S, each letter broken down into sub chapters such as Copyist Practices, Oral Culture, Papyrus and Parchment, Internal Evidence, External Evidence and Science of Textual Criticism.  Mr. Hanegraaff goes in depth in all areas, for instance citing under External Evidence the works of Flavius Josephus (the Jewish history), Cornelius Tacitus (born twelve or so years after Christ's death and known as the "greatest historian of the ancient Roman Empire") and Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (chief secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, who covered Roman history) to name a few.  All of the evidence presented in the book is fascinating proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

I accepted Christ as a young child and have never had the problem of accepting as fact that God is real, that He is the author of the Bible.  However, it is so much fun and so very interesting to sit and read a book such as this and find evidences that go beyond blind faith.  If you are a Christian, you will enjoy the evidence presented.  If you are not a Christian and you have a chance to read this book, Mr. Hanegraaff's evidence just might convince you to change your mind!  Why not give it a shot?

This is definitely another book I will keep in my personal library for future reference and also for loaning to friends and family.
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fear Not! For I Am With Thee

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness."  Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 40 and 41 speak of the greatness of God and the weakness of man.  Although God is speaking directly to the Israelites in these passages, these chapters more broadly speak to all mankind.  Since the New Testament, these promises of God apply to everyone who professes Christ as their Lord and Saviour. 

Today, 9/11/11, I am feeling the need of refreshment through God's promises.  But before the promises can be fully realized and appreciated, it is important to know Who God is.  Sometimes I feel that we as a whole try to see God as we would see another man, therefore limiting His infinite power.  We cannot move mountains, so how could God possibly move mountains?  We cannot create the earth, or the universe, or something from nothing.  So we place these same limitations on God.  But we are looking from man's standpoint, not His.  Step back a moment.  Re-think things.  Remember Who God Is.  We did not create Him, He was not even created.  He has been in existence for all eternity.  

God gives an explanation in Isaiah 40:13-14 and 25 where He says, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught Him?  With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." 

Isaiah 40:28-29 challenges us.  "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  there is no searching of His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."

Therefore, as a child of God and knowing He has no limitations and wants only His perfect will for my life, I can take heart in His words of Isaiah 41:10, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness."


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001

A nation attacked.  Stunned silence.  Tears flowing unchecked.  Silent gasps for breath.  Eyes that cannot blink or be torn from the screen, lest something is missed.  Frantic e-mails sent to assure of the safety of family and friends.  Fears that other, closer areas of our nation will be attacked.  We live near a major Air Force base... Waiting.  Watching.  Hoping.  Praying.  Please, God!  Protect us and keep us from further harm! 

Sitting on the couch with my young sons after the work and school day was over.  Having to explain to them what happened.  How do you explain what is going on to your children?  How do you protect them from what is happening to your country?  To the world?  You hold them close as you cry, knowing that you cannot protect them.  Nothing is ever under our own control...

For so long we in America have been shielded from this type of terror, while we have watched it happening in the world.  We live in America!  This isn't supposed to happen here! 

That day, those hours, those moments forever changed my country.  We were given a wake up call. We were made to realize that we were not invincible. Yes, we are Americans.  We live in the greatest country on earth.  But we are not invincible.  We may have grown callous, thinking we were safe.  That's what we always believed.  We live in America!  But that one day changed the way we viewed our lives.

We saw so many unthinkable things happen that day, but we also saw the banding together of our nation.  We saw so many acts of heroism.  People thought not only of themselves, but of others.  Patriotism grew.  Flags were flown.  Flags fly still. 

We have been at war.  Many have willingly, selflessly given their time and sometimes even their lives for what they believe is a just cause.  To protect their country.  To protect their families. 

America is in turmoil again.  Ten years after the horrible events of 9/11 we are struggling.  We have been through a recession.  Many have lost their jobs, their homes, life as they know it.  Not only is America changing, so is the world.

Still I am proud, honored even, to be an American!  Thank you Lord for allowing me to be born in the land of the free, the home of the brave.  For the freedoms and privileges that have been given to me, just because I was born in the United States of America! 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Thank Thee

Not too long ago I found this poem in the fly leaf of one of my grandmother's Bibles.  Unfortunately I don't know who the author might be.


I Thank Thee, God, for gifts so free
Unmerited bestowed on me,
Though men not knowing call me poor,
These are the gifts I thank Thee for:
A Mother's love while in my youth,
A Father's honesty and truth,
A faith in Thee whate'er befall,
A trust that seeth good in all,
A hope as long as there is breath,
A life that endeth not with death,
A Friend sincere bound fast by love,
A God of mercy up above;
No man on earth could call me poor
And know the gifts I thank Thee for.

~ Unknown

What have you found in the Bibles of your relatives? 
What are you leaving behind for others to find in your Bible?


Friday, September 2, 2011

Preparing for the Future

Four times in recent days it has been impressed on me from various sources that we are to let go of the past, leave it behind, and press forward.  Once was at the Women of Faith Conference in Atlanta, once was at church, once was through Turning Points Magazine's September issue, and once was through a Christian novel.  To directly quote the novel, "The past is part of who we are. It formed us and shaped us and brought us to this place, but it does not define us. What defines us now, in this moment, is our relationship with God, our desire to serve Him and our pursuit of His will.  We must let go of what was if we are going to embrace what is."1  

I have to admit there are things in my past I am not proud of that have definitely shaped who I am today.  God forgave me and put it behind Him the instant I asked His forgiveness.  But I forgot that and took a long time to forgive myself. 

After I have taken care of my past I can look toward the future.  You know, the future isn't just about tomorrow or the next day or next month, or even a few years down the road.  The future is also today. 

Both of my sons will finish high school in the next four years.  Not only will my sons be graduating, I will be too. I will be  an empty-nester.  And as a single mom the world will open up for me as well.  My sons don't hold me back now, I am just focused mainly on my life with them.  Soon however I will be thinking about my life without them.  I have been thinking about that  a lot lately.  What will I do with my life?  What will I become?  Should I stay in the career I am in?  I could do whatever I dream!  Ummmm, what is it I dream of?  I can move to a new home. I can stay where I am.  If I am wise, I will begin making plans now. Today.  Spiritually and physically.  I can build a strong network of friends. I can build a strong network of professional contacts.  I can begin preparing by taking classes or going back to school or by doing volunteer work.

Whatever I choose to do, the most important thing I can EVER do in my life is serve my Lord.  Through witnessing.  Through lifestyle.  Through taking opportunities given to me by God.  Isn't the ultimate goal of a Christian to live life through Christ?  Paul says something to this effect in Philippians 3:13-15 (HCSB), "Brothers, I do not  consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this to you also."

Pressing towards the mark....


1Running for Cover by Shirlee McCoy

Monday, August 15, 2011

Women of Faith Imagine Conference

It was an honor and a privilege to be able to attend the Women of Faith Imagine Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend.  Hearing these godly women (and man) speak and sing was truly a blessing.  Next year I hope to go again, and take a lot of friends and family with me!  Next year's theme is Celebrate!  based on Joel 2:21 NCV  "…Be happy and full of joy, because the Lord has done a wonderful thing." 

More than 8,000 women attended the Atlanta event, representing Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois (seriously!) and New York City.  It was incredible hearing these women break into spontaneous song on several occasions, rising in the air as a beautiful sound, praising and worshipping our Lord.  Before I leave them out, let me tell you that Women of Faith has an incredible worship team!  Full of life, energy, joy and praise to our Savior.

I would like to share with you some of my personal high points from this year's conference.  I mentioned previously that the theme was Imagine, taken from Ephesians 3:20 NIV  "now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..."

Sheila Walsh (one of my personal all-time favorites) was the first speaker and her theme centered around promises.  Did you know that there are over 3,000 promises in the Bible?  And as Ms. Walsh stated, you can stake your life on each one of them!  She touched on two:  No condemnation found in Romans 8:1-4, and No separation found in Romans 8:38 & 39.  As Christians, we are no longer condemned.  And we will never be separated from the love of God! Ms. Walsh emphasized her testimony with a very moving rendition of "Amazing Grace".  Ms. Walsh spoke a couple of more times during the conference ending each session in song, "You Raise Me Up" and "How Great Thou Art".

Steve Arterburn (the founder of Women of Faith in 1996, over 4,000,000 women have attended over the years!) was our second speaker.  He spoke of being cut off by five walls.  Not boundaries, but walls.  We personalize trials, saying God picked those for us to go through, instead of the fact that evil is in the world.  He focused on the walls of  stubborn resistance, the wall of arrogant entitlement, the wall of justifiable resentment, the wall of disconnected isolation, and the wall of blind ignorance. He went on to explain that we could overcome those walls by willingness, acceptance and gratitude.

Laura Story told of her and her husband Martin's trials with his brain tumor, which was recognized a year or so into their marriage, sharing bits of humor as well as tears.  She is an incredible, personable woman!  She wrote the familiar song "Indescribable".  She sang "Mighty to Save" and "Blessings".  Isn't it incredible how a woman who has gone through so much, and who is still going through trials, can sing such great songs, with fervor and meaning?

Angie Smith (wife to Tom Smith, lead singer of the group Selah) shared a heartbreaking story of the loss of her third child, a daughter, shortly after birth.  How upon finding out there was little hope for this new child, she and her family determined to spend as much time as possible with their daughter before and after her birth, making memories to be cherished.  Bring the Rain is her blog site.  Check it out.  Angie's testimony brought back vivid memories to me of the birth and death of my first son seventeen years ago, and I sat there and cried.  Angie shared how when you go through devastating trials, you can either reach back to what you know, or you can reach forward to God.  What a wonderful testimony!  One word I did want to share with you from Angie is the word Kyrios (Greek), meaning Son of God, the One to Whom I belong, my Lord and Master.  What a way to think of Jesus.  Not just our Teacher, but our Lord and Master.

Nicole Johnson, dramatist extraordinaire! She shared her personal story about what do you do about your anger?  Even when you don't think you are angry.  She made a statement that stuck with me, God says I won't get you out of your trials, but I will sit here with you. I will go through them with you.  God in His mercy takes what has been broken and restores it.  He can make something incredibly beautiful out of the broken pieces.  If you allow Him to.  Something more beautiful than can be imagined. 

Of course Luci Swindoll, sister of famous pastor Chuck Swindoll, spoke.  Learn to be happy where you are.  I Timothy 6:6-9, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."  We were given all things to enjoy.  We should use for God's glory what we have been given.  The Gospel of Salvation was presented, an invitation was given, and hopefully those who were not already believers made the decision to follow Christ, or will do so soon.

Natalie Grant sang with fervor and a good beat.  Songs such as "I Will Not Be Moved", "Your Great Name", and "What it Means to Be Held" (which I really liked!). 

One other speaker who I really enjoyed was Lisa Harper.  She has an awesome sense of humor and is able to present the Bible in today's culture.  Lisa spoke of the amazing, miraculous healing power of God's grace.  How He takes us out of the inner circle of guilt, such as the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus to be stoned, and out of the outer rock throwing circle, and loves and accepts us as we are.  The only One Who could condemn the adulteress was the One Who gave her mercy.  Lisa spoke of how we need to accept that mercy for ourselves, and give it as well.

Wow!  Mary Mary really pumped up that crowd! Mary Mary is two sisters, Erica Campbell and Lisa Campbell, wives and mothers, who share their love of God through song.  "Never Wave My Flag" and "Shackles" were a couple of the crowd favorites.  Although this type of music has never been high on my love list, these two women were incredible!  I think I'm going to have to get some of their music!

All of the speakers at Women of Faith Imagine were engaging, humorous and spell binding.  I sat on the edge of my seat with my notebook and pen, scribbling in the dark because I didn't want to miss anything (now I have to decipher my handwriting!).  The singers were upbeat, but also knew how to bring an aura of worship, preparing us for the words of the speakers.  I laughed, I cried, I learned and I was lifted up. 

Thank you, Women of Faith.  Thank you, Father!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Women of Faith Imagine Conference -- What a Blessing!

I arrived at the Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta, Georgia this morning, without a ticket to the event I intended to attend -- the Women of Faith Imagine conference.  As a blogger and as a member of Booksneeze and sponsored by Thomas Nelson Publishers (which is the organization that produces Women of Faith), I was invited to attend the conference and blog about my experience.  Since I had been to a Women of Faith conference about ten years ago, I was more than happy to attend.

The tickets were supposed to be mailed one to two weeks prior to the conference, but they never showed up!  I kept checking my mailbox, and the closer it got to the date of the conference the more anxious I got.  Finally, yesterday afternoon I could stand it no more.  I e-mailed my contact from Thomas Nelson Live Events and was graciously assured there was a place for me at the conference, and that I could pick up my tickets at the Will Call office at the arena.  I was excited, but also had a little bit of trepidation when I heard this news!  You'll have to understand that I was beginning to think that maybe Women of Faith decided my blog wasn't what they were looking for to represent them, and therefore they would cancel their offer.  That's some stinking thinking, though!

A little after 5:00 this morning I was on the road!  From Prattville, Alabama, Atlanta is approximately a three hour drive, not including the hour you lose when you get to Georgia.  Since the conference started at 10:00 and the ticket windows opened at 9:00, I was determined to be on my way early, even though I am not an early riser.  Armed with my e-mail from Thomas Nelson, I approached the Will Call ticket window for my tickets.  Of course they weren't under my name!  With women lined up behind me, I stood patiently as the ticket agent took my e-mail and returned saying they would be right up.  A couple of minutes later another ticket agent brought the ticket (I only needed one) and wished me a good time.  Yea!  I was in!  Sounds almost like I was SNEAKING in, doesn't it?  However, I had given the matter over to the Lord and was trusting Him to work it out. 

Speaking of giving matters over to the Lord, my a/c broke down this past weekend -- the capacitor went out, and the tech said that if it wasn't caught soon enough, it could tear up the motor, and that I should pray that hadn't happened.  Although he was using the term "pray" loosely, I wasn't!  I was praying!  I had intended to take my sons and go to my parents that day, but instead chose to work in the yard.  When I went into the house it seemed a little warm, and then I smelled something burning (NOT a good sign), yelled at my guys to get out of the house and ran to turn off the breaker to the house.  That's probably what saved us, because the blower, as of last night, was still working.  Actually, what saved us was God's grace and mercy.  You know He is concerned about the little (or not so little) things in our lives.

Sometimes Satan gets in there and tries to discourage us.  Even though he cannot touch us and is not omniscient (all knowing), he does know human nature and will throw things out there, baiting the trap, to see how we will react (this was mentioned by one of the speakers today, don't you like the way they put it?).  I could have let the a/c problem and the "problem" with the tickets, plus my own self doubt over my blog, get me down.  However, I chose to turn the problems over to the Lord.  Doesn't Satan try to get to us, especially when a great blessing is coming up?  And coming full circle, that is exactly what this Women of Faith Imagine conference has been for me so far -- a great blessing.  Thank you Women of Faith, Booksneeze and Thomas Nelson!

Wish you were here!