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...