Thursday, June 28, 2012


By: Jennie Allen
Published by Thomas Nelson
Copyright 2011

Anything.  The word that says so much.  Can you pray that one word, and mean it?  Can you ask God to take anything you have, everything you have, and use it for His honor and glory?  Can you take that one word and let Him DO anything with your life and subsequently the lives of those around you?  Why is it so hard for those of us who profess to be Christians, who profess to have given our hearts to God, give Him anything He asks of us?  Why are we so afraid?

These questions are probed thoroughly in Jennie Allen's book Anything (the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul).  This is a powerful book that really pokes at you and prompts you to make a decision to go all out for God. If God is Who He says He is, what do we have to lose?  If God is Who He says He is, where are we going to spend the most time -- here on this earth, or in eternity?  So what REALLY MATTERS?  What does God want?

As Jennie says:
Are we truly willing to completely and finally forsake this life?  To yield ourselves to God without restraint?
If Anything has "buts," it wouldn't be anything.  When we look at the God of the universe who willingly sent his son to be brutally murdered so that we get to live in his kingdom forever as his own kids. . . saying that you will do anything "but" just doesn't go over well.
Here's a chilling thought from the book:
We don't want to get to heaven and realize we missed it, that God rerouted around us...
We all have to decide -- are we going to spend time living lives that are pleasing to those around us, or are we going to live our lives that are going to be pleasing to God?  Where will we spend the most time?  Here on earth, or in heaven?  What's our perspective going to be?

This subject of surrender has been on my heart for a while, and has grown stronger over the past few months.  My dad and I just discussed it the beginning of this month.  Why am I wrestling with myself?  And that's it exactly, I am concerned about self and getting what I want out of life, not fully wanting to accept that this life is so very short, and that eternity is just that -- never ending.  It's decision time.

I hope that you will find a copy of Jennie's book.  It will change you. It will at least make you think.  I will challenge you to do what God wants you to do.  Are you ready to start the journey to be sold out for Christ?

If you would like to learn more about Jennie Allen, her family, faith and ministry, check out her website:

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Thomas Nelson and Shelton Interactive.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Personal Thoughts on Abusive Situations

I have been feeling like I need to make some personal comments after having read and posted the book review on Break Through. I have kept quiet on my blog about personal abuse in my marriage out of respect for my two teenage sons. However, reading Break Through has prompted me to give you some personal, insider notes without trying to make a big deal or cast blame. I do feel that at some point in time God will ask me to share, and I want to be obedient, ready and willing when that time comes. But for now, here are some comments from the perspective of someone who has been there.

To those in crises situations:

There is no shame in seeking help.

There is never any reason for someone to verbally or physically abuse you.

You did not "make" them do it to you.

Be prepared for denial on the part of the offender.

It will NOT get better, only worse.

To family members of those in crises situations:

Unless a person is ready to get out of the abusive situation, they will go right back to it. It’s easier to deal with what you know than the unknown.

Never, ever minimize the abuse with your loved one.

Do not pretend it did not happen.

The person in the situation needs to be acknowledged and allowed to give voice when the need arises.

Most of the time your loved one just needs to talk.

Yes, it's painful for you to hear.

Yes, you may want to take action against the offending party.

And no, you are not to blame for what happened or for not knowing what was going on.

The important thing is what you do now. Just don't let yourself get into a situation where you are enabling, you need to help your loved one grow.

How do you think God feels:

God loves you.

You are precious in His sight.

He died for us to free us from our sins.

He was ABUSED and MURDERED for us.

He knows what you are going through.

He wants you to be free from abuse.

You know, Christians have been taught that divorce is wrong; that under no circumstance should you consider divorce. I struggled with this issue of divorce for several years before breaking free. However, there are a few instances in the Bible in both the Old and the New Testaments giving permission for divorce. While waiting to make your decision you may need to get help and physically step away from the abusive situation and not return until you are certain the offenses will not happen again (which means that not only the offender needs to change, but you need to change, too). If your life is on the line you need to get out, and the sooner the better. And please, find someone you can trust and talk with.

I am a woman who is now five years free from living this type of life, and my situation was mild considering what I have seen and heard of others. I made a decision to get help (counseling and the help of family members), to change my life, to make good friends (do you really have friends when you are in this type of situation?), to grow into the woman I feel I was always meant to be. You can do it, too!


NOTE: I am not a professional counselor. I am not a counselor at all. My thoughts are just that, my personal thoughts. Please seek counseling from a professional if you are in an abusive situation!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Have you ever heard stories of people finding creatures under the hood of their cars, having driven for miles not knowing they were there?  Well, that happened to me personally, although my distance was only from the Walmart parking lot to my house, maybe 5 miles.  I picked up medicine at Walmart, and when I got back to my car I thought I heard a cat.  I looked around but didn't see one, so thought maybe I was hearing things.  Went through a drive through for dinner and heard it again.  By this time I was praying I wasn't killing an animal and that I wouldn't see it bouncing down the road behind me!  When I got home, before I could pop open the hood of the car, a perky little kitten jumped out.  A cute little grey cat with white markings -- and No Tail.  And no, I AM NOT THE ONE WHO CHOPPED OFF IT'S TAIL!  It was already that way -- I promise! 

It's been three days now, and I have found that this is one very loving little kitten.  I haven't told my sons yet, they'll be home Wednesday night.  Maybe I'll let it be a surprise...


Thursday, June 21, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Break Through

By: Tim Clinton and Pat Springle
Copyright 2012
Published by Worthy Publishing

It is sometimes difficult for me to read about negative, destructive relationships, having come from one myself.  I wish I would have had this book a number of years ago, but I was able to get good counseling to help me sort out my own issues.  I was able to realize there was a problem, determine what the problem was, and seek to remedy that problem.  But I had to get away from the circumstances of that problem.  Reading Break Through five years after I stepped away, FREE, from my own personal issues sheds a lot of light on my situation and why I did the things I did.  I imagine I am not alone in personal relationship struggles.  In fact, I would venture to say that most everyone has had a negative relationship in their life, either by being the needy person or being the one who was controlling. And even though these relationships are unhealthy, it is sometimes easier to stay with something we know instead of breaking free into the unknown.  That is what Break Through, by Dr. Tim Clinton and Pat Springle seeks to explain. 

Here is an excerpt from Break Through which seems to sum up these harmful relationships:
"It is incredibly difficult to overcome a lifetime of entrenched habits, fixed and vivid memories, rigid brain patterns, manipulative feedback from a demanding person, and the adrenaline rush of pain and pleasure.  Until a major crisis creates an explosive combination of desperation and true hope that shakes us to the core, we will not change. Until that crisis rocks our world, we will cling to the false hope that the person(s) with whom we share an enmeshed relationship will magically change and everybody will live happily ever after."
Another point made in Break Through is that we all have to realize we cannot change another person.  We can only change ourselves.  And if the other person refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem and continues in the destructive pattern, then we must have the courage to separate ourselves from that relationship.  We ourselves cannot heal until we step back from our destructive behaviours, whether they be controlling others or being controlled by others.  We need to be willing to set things right with other parties, realizing they may not be willing to comply.  We may need to forgive and then move on with our lives, making sure to keep avenues open to accept and work with the ones we have been entrapped with, without allowing the same destructive habits to come back into the relationship.

Let me just take the opportunity to say this:  if you are in a destructive relationship where abuse occurs, find someone to help you!  Do it now, don't wait.  And if one person is not willing to help you, then search until you get the help you need. 
Clinton and Springle liberally use God's word to show how being in a hurtful relationship, whether we are the one hurting or the one doing the hurting, is not what God designed.  And using the same word of God to show how we can make changes in our lives to have better relationships with others.

Something to remember: 
"Crises seem utterly cataclysmic.  The heartache and darkness of a crises can be overwhelming, but God is the master of turning mourning into dancing and darkness into light.  If we step back, we might catch a glimpse of what he sees...God will use even our most difficult moments to produce the qualities of Jesus in us as we trust him.  And he'll replace our shame with hope -- the assurance that our lives matter and God loves us dearly.  We may not like the curriculum God has for us, but the outcome is sweet:  hope and love."
I hope that you will pick up a copy of this book.  Read it yourself, answer the thought provoking questions at the end of the chapter, share this book with a friend.  If you are hurting, take the first step to get help.  If you know someone who is hurting, be there for that person.  Lovingly help them get help to make needed changes.  Share this book and other books with them.  And by all means pray!

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

Friday, June 8, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Through Rushing Water

By: Catherine Richmond
Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright 2012

What happens when your plans change drastically, something you thought was a sure thing turns out very differently than you had expected.  That's the story of Through Rushing Water.  Sophia Makinoff is the French teacher at a girls' college and has plans to marry a US Congressman.  She is positive he is on the verge of proposing.  However, the proposal is not for her!  

Sophia packs her bags and runs off to be a missionary to the Ponca Indians in Nebraska, hoping to leave behind the sting of rejection.  Her first choice was to be a missionary to China after which she could return to her native Russia, but the position with the Ponca Tribe became available first.  Anything to get away from her humiliation!

Unfortunately Sophia does not seek the will of God.  She delves into her prayer book in order to pray.  She is not seeking God on a personal level.  But just because Sophia is not exactly in tune with God does not mean that He is not in tune with her!  And when she thinks she is in the wrong place, she is exactly where God wants her to be.

Sophia lasts longer at the Ponca reservation than any previous teacher.  And in the course of her year at the reservation she falls in love with the people not just as a whole, but as individuals. And is her heart opening to the Agency carpenter, Will Dunn?

Not only does Through Rushing Water tell the story of Sophia, it also tells the story of the Ponca Indians during a time of deep trouble and sorrow.  Information on the tribe and one of their leaders, Standing Bear (who is a character in our story) is readily available online.  

This is a very moving story.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Building Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter

By: Dave Stone
Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright 2012

Raising a family in today's world is a challenge.  And that's if you are not a Christian.  How much more difficult is is to raise a Christian family in a, and I'm going to say it, wicked world?  How do you teach good Christian values when your kids' friends and acquaintances might not have the same family values as you and your family?

That's where Building Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter by Dave Stone comes into play.  Although building a strong family should begin early in the life of the family, there is always hope.  I am a mother of two teenage boys (15 & 16) and was able to garner a lot of wisdom (and ideas!) from Mr. Stone's book to apply to our family.  I always try to have fun with my guys and say "I love you" constantly, but there are a lot of other INTENTIONAL ways that our family of three can become what God wants us to be.  

This book is filled with humor and teaches you to use humor in your home. Take for instance this quote from page 55 regarding Jesus and humor:
"Jesus was a master at the technique (exaggeration, hyperbole); the bigger the exaggeration, the funnier the joke.  So when Jesus said 'Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and fail to notice the plank in your own?' (Matthew 7:5 PHILLIPS), people in the crowd weren't reverently murmuring, "Amen."  They were cracking up because of the gross exaggeration. Jesus spoke with vivid, humorous word pictures to drive home His message..."
When lessons are taught with humor, they are more easily remembered. And I can personally attest to the fact that humor can  quickly diffuse an intense situation!

Some of the other topics discussed are family unity (I've got your back), creating and using a family motto, family service (within your family and also in the community at large), family time, etc.  

I hope you will have the time to read Building Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter.  It would be a great addition to your library.  And it's not a hard read at all, or even a lengthy book.  I'll be keeping this book by my side as a reminder for my own family, even though my family is now nearly grown.

This book is part of a series called Faithful Families.

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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fun with the guys

My guys hiking

Okay, if my sons EVER find out that I posted pictures on my blog of our recent trip to Oak Mountain State Park, I AM TOAST!  So please don't tell them! 

It all started when the boys arrived at my house at 7:00 a.m. on the dot.  I LOVE to sleep in, but I was up.  They were hungry so I fixed breakfast.  Then -- they were BORED!  Yeah, I know that's typical for teenagers.  Really, they had their faces buried in their new phones -- don't know what kind they are, but you can certainly download some cool (they think) games on them. 

I asked what they wanted to do for the day -- nothing (heads still buried in their games).  So I went about my business.  About an hour later I asked the question again, and it was the same.  So I said I was going to go out in the yard and putter around.  I had a tent that says it takes two people to put up, and I wanted to see if I could do it myself.  I asked the younger of my two sons to come supervise me (this son is very good with his hands, I guess you would say he is mechanically inclined).  So he supervised by standing there and looking at me with an odd look on his face, and by putting together the support poles, and then using those same poles to torture the dog.  ARRGH!!  Well, I did manage to set the tent up, and even though I sound like a three year old, I did it ALL BY MYSELF.  I was quite proud of myself.  Of course I had to test it out.  And the dog had to test it out.  I think he likes it and would like to go camping with me, which is good since my sons seem to think that camping is not cool.

I also put up the hammock, but I don't think they trust me because neither son would try it out.  But the youngest son took great pleasure in telling the dog to go jump in the hammock with me.  Umph!

After the tent, I decided to finish repairing the swing.  I had already prepped and painted, and all that was left was nailing on the slats.  Yes I am a girl, but I was taught I could do anything I set my hands to, and since I don't have a husband, I do a lot around here.   In any case I finished the swing, but not before my oldest son came outside to see what I was doing.  Reverse psychology here, ignore them and they will come...  Back to the swing.  He helped me hang it, he is taller than I am, but he wouldn't sit in it!  So I did.  

 Along about that time the oldest son said that he would like to go driving.  Mind you I was sitting in the swing, swinging and relaxing.  I didn't want to move.  I didn't want to go anywhere.  And remember that I asked the boys earlier if they would like to do anything during the day?  And there answer was -- no?!?  Well, I hemmed and hawed for a bit, but eventually told them to get ready, let me change, and on the way out the door I grabbed my camera because who knew what we might plan to do.

Again hiking -- when you go up, you have to go back down!  Parts of the trail you could slide down.

We climbed in the car and when the oldest said where to, I said take Highway 31 and go north.  I tossed the map into the backseat for the younger son.  I have officially appointed him as navigator of family trips (of course I know where we're going).  First thing he pointed out was that there are two state parks up Highway 31.  I said that I knew.  I let a little time pass, then said we would be visiting Oak Mountain State Park, which has a bird sanctuary, a wild life sanctuary, hiking and biking trails, camping, boating, swimming, golfing... the list goes on.  But all we had time for was the bird sanctuary (the wildlife sanctuary was closed for the day) and a little hiking.  We had to make it back home by seven. 

The oldest was thrilled that he got to drive (it takes an hour and a half from our home to the park) and the youngest and I settled in for the trip.  Which always includes directions (unwanted by the elder) from the back seat and lots of "slow down" warnings from the front passenger seat.  We cruised through the small towns along the way and in each we asked whether or not our high school soccer team, on which the oldest is a member, played that particular school.  It was great for the guys to see places they have heard of, to be able to place them on the map.

Oak Mountain State Park was great!  Okay, except for the horrible mountains we had to climb.  The boys did great.  It was just me, their mother, huffing and puffing, or better yet PANTING, bringing up the rear, who is so out of shape she had the tiniest problem.  It was a good thing I was there too, because I was the one who said which trail actually did lead back to the Wildlife Center.  It was fun, though! 

Youngest son -- by the way, that fence does not go up the mountain.

I allowed the oldest to drive back home down I-65. I think we made it home faster than you are supposed to, but not by much.  The oldest did stay with traffic -- pretty much.  Once we returned home, it was back to being bored again!  What else would you expect from teenagers?!?

By the way, today was my first day of walking nearly normal.  Those mountains nearly killed my calves!  And to think that I wanted to making hiking a fairly regular thing.  Well, I still want to!

Ferns growing in the creek bed

BOOK REVIEW: Wildflowers from Winter

Wildflowers from Winter
By: Katie Ganshert
Published by WaterBrook Press
Copyright 2012

Architect Bethany Quinn has it all.  She has a job in a prestigious law firm in Chicago and a great boyfriend.  And she has successfully put behind her the life before her success.  Before she became a confident, driven career woman.  Until she receives news from home that her beloved grandfather (whom she has made no attempt to see in the past ten years) has suffered a heart attack. 

Bethany rushes home to Iowa for a short visit and immediately meets farmhand Evan Price.  Who is this man, anyway.  And what is he doing LIVING in her grandfather's home? 

Bethany also reluctantly renews her friendship with her once best friend (again, someone she has been out of contact with for the past ten years) and helps her deal with the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband, who also happened to be the brother of Evan Price.

As quickly as possible Bethany wraps up her business in Iowa and returns to Chicago, where a chain of events which could only be brought about by the Lord drives her back to Iowa and a wealth of what she considers problems resulting from her grandfather's death.

Author Katie Ganshert skillfully weaves a tale of returning home, facing your past and renewing your faith in the Lord into a beautiful story of love.  Wildflowers from Winter is now one of my new favorites -- who would believe this is her debut novel?  I will definitely be looking forward to more from Mrs. Ganshert.

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

BOOK REVIEW: Subversive Kingdom

Subversive Kingdom
By: Ed Stetzer
Published by B & H Publishing Group
Copyright 2012

Do you ever wonder what life as a child of God is REALLY supposed to be like?  Is life in Christ stale and ho-hum?  Should it really be all about becoming a Christian, going to church, and that's it?  In his new book Subversive Kingdom, Mr. Ed Stetzer takes a look at what Christians are really supposed to be doing with their lives.  And that's not living with a get out of hell free card and doing nothing else.

Subversive Kingdom is divided into three sections: Part I - A Subversive Way of Thinking, Part II - A Subversive Way of Life, and Part III - A Subversive Plan of Action.  As Christians, we are supposed to be representatives (ambassadors) of Christ. We are supposed to go out and share the gospel, the good news of salvation.  We are supposed to help those who need help, give of our time, talents, etc.  However, we are supposed to do those things BECAUSE we are Christians, not in order to BECOME Christians.  Our lifestyles should reflect our great joy and thankfulness of what the Savior has done for us.  We should be attracting others to Christ with the way we live -- not just on Sundays!  Can a person tell you are really a Christian by your actions?

Mr. Stetzer puts forth his answers in a very interesting, thought provoking format.  It is not a deeply theological book, in other words, everyone can read and understand this book.  And yes, I was convicted.  Now, what am I going to do about it?

I recommend this book to ALL Christians, whether or not we want to follow what this book teaches.  It may help us change our minds about our lives in Christ, our ambassadorship here on earth, and our outreach for souls.

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