Saturday, December 29, 2007

From the Stench of the Pile

I had no idea that there was so much info out there on shoveling manure. Sure my sister used the phrase metaphorically, but there are several benefits of physical labor. Here are just a few notes for your amusement.
(Cindy's note: LOL...leave it to you to google horse hockey. I'm laughing my butt off.)

Here's a good book for all you city folk."How to Shovel Manure and Other Life Lessons for the Country Woman" by Gwen Petersen (Author) Ran across this at Annie's Country Journal.
(Cindy's note: You have GOT to be kidding!)


An old article in the Chicago Sun-Times shares how shoveling manure will raise one's GPA. Additional info from Yahoo News 07-15-2001 "Pastor Charlie Sharpe of heartland acknowledges that the manure shoveling was smelly, dirty work, but said none of the children had to do it for longer than 40 minutes. ‘If shoveling manure is abuse, then I was abused and every kid raised on a farm with livestock was abused. No…they are absolutely wrong. This is about discipline,’ said Sharpe.” Discipline, now that's one way manure can change lives.
(Cindy's note: Will pass this on to my sheriff friend.)

And one blogger has written; "There is just no end to the manure you have to shovel in this world. I swear, this is the one and only truth. I sometimes imagine there are invisible critters I never see, but ... they enter my rooms, stories, or poems, or any other place I thought I'd polished, cleaned, perfected, and they start crapping." Author's note: you can find this writer through google, I just didn't want to endorse him with a link.
(Cindy's note: Knows all about those little critters and their droppings.)

There is even a site called Manureshovel.com where you can find all the manure removal and applicator equipment you'll ever need. I have heard of spreading manure but I didn't know that there were tools made just for the job.
(Cindy's note: I don't think you need any, you're spreading it just fine. LOLOLOL.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Novel Update--Writer's Block on Rose Hill




Although I’ve never seen it showcased on “Dirty Jobs,” a fiction writer’s world is filled with less than palatable experiences and gradients of muck. Some characters cannot be approached with the white glove test. They require bare man handling and rough manipulation. If written properly, even their very auras will leave grime beneath the nails and a certain sickening of the stomach. It cannot be avoided, glossed over, side stepped, or approached from a cleaner angle.

If a character is the epitome of evil, then he is that. He may have human frailties and emotions. He may even cry when his dog dies. But if you write, “Eldon grieved for his faithful Bassett hound” and leave out “which died in the house fire Eldon set to murder his wife and unborn child,” then you have, by omission, failed to paint Eldon for who he actually is—more than a cold-blooded killer—but a cold-blooded baby killer. See how the scenario changes after we introduce the fire, the wife, and the baby to the picture?

Eldon is not your run of the mill husband. He may have your typical middle-income, middle class way of life. He may be of average height and weight, wear the common fad in clothing, and see the barber every 2 weeks, but Eldon is far from average. Eldon has dark secrets. Eldon curses and goes into murderous rages over situations you and I would consider mere annoyances. Eldon has a problem. And it is up to me, the writer, to make you see, make you understand—that Eldon is more than average. More than eccentric. More than nerdy. Eldon is dangerous.

Can Eldon be approached with Southern belle hoity-toity grammar and beautiful prolific prose? Are there proper and upstanding words to describe what Eldon fantasizes about at night when the rest of the world is blissfully unaware? If I tell you Eldon has nightmares—without telling you he dreams of dismembering his mother-in-law, what would you think? That he dreams, like you do, of falling and never hitting the ground? Eldon is not like you. Eldon is obsessed with inflicting horrors upon the innocent. Sad, sadistic, twisted horrors. But how will you know if I only say, Eldon is a murderer. Do you see where this is going?

In my current work in progress, there are a few characters with less than undesirable traits. For months now, I have sat on my fingers and wondered how to paint the scenes without offending the market, which I have and perhaps wrongly assumed to be readers of Christian fiction. I have wondered about the fine line one must walk in choosing the proper words. And I have come to the conclusion that if I am to paint the thing properly, I am going to have to get a bit of Southern muck on my hands. Not roll in it, mind you. But it ain’t gonna be all roses, either.

No, I am afraid little sister is going to have to leave the rose garden and head to the stable to shovel a little barnyard fertilizer on her novel to help it grow. I have my boots on. And for a brief moment in time, I’ve traded my Sunday frock for flannel and denim. Sure I could shovel manure in my Sunday best, but when it’s all said and done, no euphemisms are going to adequately convey the stink. It is what it is. And “it” happens.

So I’ve decided to let the buffalo chips land where they may. Maybe that’s why they call the first draft the “rough” draft. All I know is that the more I try to stifle the smell, the more it permeates me. I have to get it out in the open so we all can breathe. Then at the end of this long journey, when From the Dust of Rose Hill finally is put to bed, then and only then may the beauty of her roses shine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Worship Wednesday

With all the festivities and punching the clock too, I failed to post Worship Wednesday for you. Merry Christmas is what I would like to say, even though most folks celebrated on yesterday.

I might be running late with today's post, but I didn't forget to worship this morning. Actually, I awoke with a praise in my heart and a song on my lips. Now, that's something out of the ordinary for me. I am generally a grump in the mornings. Been known to fling the clock across the room on the worst of days. Rather than dwell on the negative, I would like to share this morning's song with you. Click here for an audio version offered by a very close friend of mine. It will take about a minute to download. I'm just learning how to do some of that kind of stuff. Actually, I could use some input on some audio hosting services.

Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Thank you, Lord. I just want to thank you, Lord.
You've been so good. You've been so good. You've been so good. I just want to thank you, Lord.
You made a way. You made a way. You made a way. I just want to thank you, Lord.
You've been my friend. You've been my friend. You've been my friend. I just want to thank you, Lord.
Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. I just want to thank you, Lord.

From there, I went into an old tune. Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making my whole. Thank you Lord, for giving to me, so great a salvation so rich and so free.

Just thought I would share my morning worship moments with you this evening. I trust that you have been worshipful today. Truly, He is worthy to be adored.

Monday, December 24, 2007

God With Us

Small manger
And so it's Christmas Eve. Time to put away all past hurts, disappointments, and bitterness and drag out the Christmas cheer. Peace on Earth, good will to men, I believe it is. Welcome the black sheep, hug the in-laws, smile and spread the Christmas cheer. Time to take off the boxing gloves and share a toast. Lay down the arms and shake hands. Let bygones be bygones. After all, it's Christmas.

But what happens when it is over? Do we pack away Christmas in all of its neat, tidy containers and shove it back in the cold attic for another year? Or do we split the ornaments in half? I want this one. You take that one. These are mine. Those are yours. And you can shove that tree up your blankety-blank-blank sideways angel and all.


What happens in January when your loved ones just barely out of their teens head overseas to defend their country, their way of life, and themselves by any means necessary? When they are surrounded by a sandbox of bloodthirsty marauders and good will is nowhere to be found? What then?

What happens when that credit card statement comes in the mail, along with the house note and electric bill, and little Johnny takes ill with the sniffles and needs an $80 prescription to clear his ears? Will you remember carols sung by the fire and folks dressed up like Eskimos? Or will you think more of chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

Will you still be remember the warm feeling the wassail gave you when tragedy strikes and a love one is taken? Will shiny presents and high-tech toys comfort you in your grief? Will Jingle Bells soothe that ache within or dry your tears? Can Jimmy Stewart really make it a wonderful life for you then? I think not.


Why then, have Christmas at all? If things are so bad. If we have no hope of tomorrow. If when all the sparkle and shine has faded, we are still the same dark, cold, bitter beings inside, then what is the point? There has to be more to it than a fat man and 8 tiny reindeer. "Happy holidays" is a hollow greeting without Christ isn't it?

If not for Jesus, then Christmas might as well be just another day. Whoever "they" is might just be right. Jesus might not have been born on December 25th. But the point is, He WAS BORN. He did come to Earth. He did die for us. He does live again. He came to seek and save those who were lost. He came to give us life and life more abundantly. He came to bear our sins and guilt, to send us a Comforter, to heal our broken hearts. To heal our sick bodies. He came, not in the pomp and circumstance and glory of the King he was. But he met us, he met Mary and Joseph, the shepherd, the wise men, the Sadducees, the Pharisees—He met the woman at the well, all right where they were. He ate with sinners. He washed the feet of his brothers. He loved to the point of torture and death.


It is for this reason I can celebrate even though it appears through our circumstances that life is crumbling at my feet. Dare I pack Him away for another year, only to take Him and put Him on display like a common yard ornament the next? Or will I keep His light shining in my heart year round? This and only this Light will keep me sane, will get me through, will comfort me, hold me, love me through it all. God is with me. He is the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Emmanuel, Name above all names, the Lion of Judah, the Rose of Sharon,and the Bright Morning Star. He is, indeed, the Christ in Christmas.



"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" Matt 16:16



"And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matt. 1:20-21

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Park in Benton, Ky Drive-Thru









Craving Praise?

Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. It is something that comes standard with the package of our humanity. Some folks become praise junkies. They go about doing things just to be recognized and rewarded. Others while they relish the compliments, prefer to remain anonymous in their well doing.


Proverbs 27:21 sheds some light upon the power and purpose of praise. The Message states it this way: "The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame."


Praise can incite pride or it can work perfection. Pride is the automatic response of the flesh. Perfection is the result of yielding to the Spirit of God. Remember, everything He created is good. The Word says so. Yet there is no goodness about the flesh. It is merely an earthen housing for the Spirit of God. So the Apostle Paul adds that we must keep the flesh under the control of the Spirit. Yet, we crave praise because we are made in the image and likeness of God.


In the Word we are told to give thanks and praise to God for everything. He desires our praise. Praise is no test for him. He does not get puffed up when we praise Him. He takes great delight in it. Praise is a catalyst in His plan to bless us.

It is good to think on things that are praise worthy, how much more to praise the One who is worthy of all praise. Glory to God in the Highest.......

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Too Cute

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Worship Wednesday

You may have noticed that WW was a bit later than usual today. I just didn't feel like posting last night. Some sort of stomach bug got the best of me. They may be microscopic in size, but they can sure do a number on the body. Anyway, this morning, I awoke feeling much better. I said "Thank you, Lord." So grateful that through my illness, He was with me.


Sometimes it is difficult to see God at work when we are in pain, discomfort, or grief. Then when it is all over, we look back and realize that He was there all along. Scripture teaches us that Christ was chosen before the foundation of the world to be our Savior. Not only our Savior, but all that He is. These hymn writers of old penned it well.

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past by Isaac Watts and William Croft

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!

Under the shadow of Thy throne still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame,
From Everlasting Thous art God, to endless years the same.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come;
Be thou my guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Question for the Day

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThere are a lot of things bumping around in my brain this morning that I am finding hard to get organized because of the clutter I've allowed to take up residence there. It's just like the breakfast table where I dump odds and ends when I come in. All the little odds and ends I have not categorized are popping up and keeping me from finding the room to get on with my daily life.

But when I take a closer look, these things are my daily life. Thrown haphazardly in a pile in front me. I have not been taking care of business. I've been letting it take care of itself. And we all know what happens when you do that. It does not get done.

There are some things in that pile that need discarding. Others need to be put in their place. Some of them need to be given back. Some are queries that need responding to--if I only had the answers. Others are statements--tallies of things spent. The piper has to be paid. There are pictures that need to be filed away--images from former days--images of happy times, laughter, smiles. These I treasure. I flip through them and wonder where the time has gone.

So much clutter. How long has it been building? How did it get this way? I am overwhelmed. Depressed. Longing to walk away from the mess but knowing it has to be dealt with--that it will not go away on its own. Going back to bed is not the answer. The mountain will still be there when I awake tomorrow--when I sit down with my coffee, it will greet me once again. Nagging at me. Do something. Do something. Please do something.

In frustration, some days I just want to take my arm and sweep the entire load into the floor. Good and bad. But where does that leave you? No room to walk. At a dead standstill. You can sit at the table and have your coffee, but not in peace. Your mind may be blank, but it still knows the mess is lying at your feet. Denial gets you nowhere.

Acceptance will get you nowhere either. Nothing will get done until a conscious effort is made to DO SOMETHING. It might take a while before things begin to change. It may take baby steps--small, wobbly, frightening steps. Because it's frightening to change. But you will change, one way or another. If you don't take action, things will get worse.

And is that what you really want?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mama's Christmas Fudge

Here's a recipe for you that we make every year. Make sure you have a heavy stewer to cook it in. I have many fond memories of making this with my mom every year for teachers and friends. She also has a chocolate recipe. But that's for another day. And I might have to charge you for it, it is so divine. My sisters and I decided to continue this tradition after Mom's death. The first year we were all tears and memories, but as the years go by, it has become a great day of fellowship. We save some for our Christmas Day get-together.

Mama's Christmas Fudge

1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp. salt

Cook this over medium heat until it begins to boil. Boil until it reaches the softball stage. For those of you who are newbies to cooking, this means to put a little bit in a bowl of cold water. Drain the water and see if the residue forms a soft ball between your fingers. This is the only tricky part of the recipe. It is very important that the candy has reached the proper stage. If you cook it too fast, it will become crumbly when set.

Remove from heat. Put in 3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Use your electric mixer to beat this while still in the pan. As soon as it begins to thicken, pour into a buttered small rectangular pan. (I know that is vague, but I use a glass casserole dish that is one size smaller than a sheet cake pan.)

This recipe makes 3 lbs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Come on & Ring Those Bells

Sleigh bells, silver bells, dinner bells, golden bells, jingle bells and bells of Christmas day, they all have their own rings and each their own message. Each have their appointed times, but the bells of Christmas day should be heard year 'round.

Seems like the bells of evil are ringing louder than ever. Every day the news is filled with stories of violence and crime. The whole world seems to be possessed or depressed. The feel good stories are few and far between…..in the news, that is. Thank God for the Good News of the Gospel. It is news that never fades. The news that brings hope to the hopeless, health to the ailing, strength to the weak, finances to the broke, and life to the dead. I’m so glad the bells of the Gospel drown out the sirens of the world. And I'm thankful for the one who penned the words of this Christmas song.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men. I thought as now this day had come. The belfries of all Christendom had run so long, the unbroken song of peace on Earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head; there is no peace on Earth, I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on Earth good will to men. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail. The right prevail, with peace on Earth, good will to men.

Don't forget to ring those golden bells......

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Baby Got Book???

Thanks Vicki!

Wondering what's going on with me? Yeah, me too. I've been over at Vicki Gaines' blog, Windows To My Soul. She has some deep and inspiring thoughts that really spoke to me today. I believe the post is dated December 3, which was yesterday. But you know how God is...He gives us what we need, when we need it. Thanks Vicki. Hugs. I hope all of you are enjoying this blessed Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday? Nah...Just Short & Sweet





Sometimes silence is golden. You know how Mary pondered all those things in her heart...well, I'm a ponderin'. One of these days maybe I'll share. But if not, know that I'm still here. Just wishin' for Spring. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

WW: Combat Ready

This kid thinks he's ready for anything. He's got his camo clothes and hat. He has got his rifle and ammo ready. He even has his face painted to conceal his identity from the enemy. He may look the part of a combat ready soldier, but can he stand in the face of a real battle?

Many Christians today look the part on the outside but lack the inner strength to do warfare with the devil. Though some have strength, many lack the courage to launch an attack on the dark forces that seemingly rule the world. Just like 'Uncle Sam', God is looking for a few good men and women. Folks who will not tuck tail and run at the first sound of gunfire. People who are strong, courageous, trained, equipped and ready to rumble. Soldiers that know when to get into the foxhole and when to open fire.

The Bible is our handbook. It explains how we are to dress for battle and gives instructions for the use of our weapons. In it we read of winning strategies and costly mistakes. God's Word gives a clear description of the enemy and his legions. And provides a no-fail procedure for putting them on the rout.


Look again at the boy in the picture. See that gap between the end of his pants and his feet? It is a place that is exposed to the elements. Nothing serious for a kid doing dress up, but could allow for a injury to someone working their way through a jungle or desert. One more thing; he's not wearing boots. He has on a pair of those rubber slides called crocs. They are camo alright enough, but provide very little protection from the environment.

It is just not enough to look the part!

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. IThessalonians 5:8

...be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God,... take unto you the whole armour of God...loins girt about with truth, the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; ....the shield of faith, ... the helmet of salvation....and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;...Then...Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:10-18

P.S. That tough guy in the picture is my nephew. If he can't wrestle you down, he'll just wrestle 'til he wears you out. (smile)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WW: Short Term Trouble

As I prepared to write WW last week, it dawned on me that I had missed posting on the previous Wednesday. That was a tough time for me. I had two different health problems going on and had three appointments that week. The days just all ran together with me barely knowing when one ended and a new one began.

My family checked on me and did for me all that I would allow. Church folk called and prayed. My co-workers called, but their only concern was when I would be coming back to work. You would have thought that I would have had plenty of time to write a post of two. Time I had, energy I did not.

There were even times when I did not have a prayer or a praise upon my lips. Yet, God was still with me. He heard the silent cry of my heart. He saw the tears that filled my pillow. He helped me. He brought me through it all. Just as He always has and always will.

My faith in the Healer and His Word remained strong despite the onslaught of pain and sickness. Scriptures I had learned as a child encouraged me to be faithful in the midst of my trials. One passage that repeatedly came to mind is II Corinthians 4:7-10; quoted here from the KJV. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

I really like how the New International Reader's version translates verses 16-18 of that same chapter.We don't give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day. Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.
So we don't spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can't see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can't be seen will last forever.

II Corinthians 4:14-18


This Thanksgiving Day, look past the and look to the One who has given you life. The One who supplies every need. The Savior, Healer, Deliverer, and soon coming King. When you take time to look unto Him, everything else will be seen in proper perspective.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Review of A Shadow of Treason--Welcome Blog Tourists!

The 2nd in the trilogy chronicling the Spanish Civil War is out, and Tricia Goyer has done it again. If you enjoyed Valley of Betrayal, then you are sure to love A Shadow of Treason.


Sophie's saga continues in this second work, the story of an American painter with a big heart and big dreams. But Michael's behavior has left her with questions about his loyalties. The stakes are high as the conflict continues and the espionage and treason heightens their dangerous quest. Sophie's heart is challenged to stretch beyond its boundaries in forgiveness, compassion, and love. She is forced with the choice of saving herself or saving Spain.




"I need God more than ever, but have I sought to fulfill the need? Have I prayed about Spain's pain? About Michael? About the gold?"

We find ourselves hovering in a breathless suspense wondering if letters from her treasured Bible will help her decide. And what if Sophie fails her mission? Will an entire people be doomed?

You will love to read Tricia's new book to findout. It is well written, well researched, and well done, my friend. Well done, Tricia Goyer!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Gift

Eight years ago on Nov. 18th, I lay in a hospital bed with a fetal monitor strapped to my belly, an IV in my arm pushing Pitocin, a blood pressure cuff strapped to my other arm, and a nurse's hand up my vagina saying, "Poop a watermelon." I know, I know that part sounds hilarious now. But all I could think of at that moment was if giving birth was like pooping, I was severely constipated.

After 14 hours of labor, 6 hours of that pushing and straining to get my "watermelon" out, the kind doctor suggested forceps. I was adamently opposed. I did not want my poor baby's face to be all smashed and bruised. But the doctor won out. And still, my "watermelon" refused to budge. He tried the suction thingie with no better results.

Finally, in desperation I screamed. "Get him out, now!" which seemed to garner much better results. Within twenty minutes I was prepped and in surgery. Within 15 more minutes, my bundle of joy had arrived. He was no watermelon. He was my gorgeous 8 lb. 2 oz. baby boy. I got to kiss his little forehead before they put me out to staple me up. My husband got to carry him to the nursery and give him his first bottle. To this day when my husband and I argue, guess who is on his side? That's right. My baby bonded first with his Daddy. The one with the formula always wins.

Later on after arriving home I finally got to review the video. I got to see the parts I missed while I was in the Twilight Zone. There never was a Papa more proud. And that child sucked down 2 oz. before you could blink an eye. Yep, no doubt about who is father and mother are.

I got to see everyone's reaction on the tape. I'm still a little jealous that everyone was gone by the time I got to my room at 10:30 that night. But I'm so glad someone had the forethought to tape it. My grandmother held my tiny son in her arms. She looked at him so sweetly. And she prayed over this blessed new life.
My husbands' family took turns burping and cradling. My sister sucked the mucous out of his mouth with a bulb like a pro. And finally, my mom got to hold him. She had been ever so patient, knowing she would be at the hospital when everyone else had left. I never will forget how proud she was. She had waited a long time to become a grandma. Both my sisters had been married 9 years and produced no offspring. I felt justified that this was payback for both of them marrying the same year, leaving me at home and single. There is a God. Laugh.

When I got back to my room, they let me hold him. I never knew what joy a baby could bring. True, I felt like I had been through combat. My body was bruised and sore and exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep for hours on end--and watch this little bundle of joy. I would keep waking up and saying, "Ain't he pretty, Mama."


He had the most beautiful head of hair. That was the biggest surprise. Was it worth all that laboring and pain and nine months of throwing up, losing 40 lbs, having 27 staples, and breaking out from the anesthesia? You bet it was.

You know what? Even though 8 years have passed and my beautiful boy is now in 2nd Grade, I feel as if I were back in that room, marvelling at God's blessed creation all over again. It's his birthday today. But I got the best gift. Happy Birthday, Son. May God Bless your life in countless ways. I love you with all my heart.





Thursday, November 15, 2007

Unraveling the Issue

The year is fastly drawing to a close, and reflection over the past 11 months is leaving me a bit depressed, for I have not accomplished my writing goals. Sometimes there are more important things to tend to, even though we somehow find time for the things we want. I can't seem to fit it all in, and it's bugging me. It's bugging me bad! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Two outlets I have depended upon throughout the years have kept me going...writing and prayer. I find my very survival dependent upon them. Of course, the obvious priority is my relationship with God. I have always managed to hear His voice the best when alone in prayer with Him. And then the words He whispers to me come flowing out in the things I write. And then, I have to ask myself, is this why the writing has come to a screeching halt? Because my prayer life is suffering? The correlation is obvious to me.

It's not that I don't talk to Him regularly. I think it's because I don't listen. You know how it is when you are afraid of what you are going to hear, don't you? I know. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that whatever He tells me is for my own good and because He loves me. He is not trying to harm me or lead me into heartache. It is just the opposite. He wants me to have a full and abundant life, a life of joy. True, in this world we have trouble. We have crosses to bear. The joy is in the ultimate victory we know we have.

Can you picture Christ in the Garden of Gesthemane? Submitting Himself to His Father's will required giving it all to Him. It required His unfaltering trust in His Father--even though his friends had given up and gone to sleep. They were sleeping! Sometimes you just can't rely on your friends, family, or spouse to see you through. You have to have divine intervention. You have to divine direction. You have to have that peace that comes from Him alone. And that requires shutting everything and everyone else out and shutting yourself IN with Him.

If you do this, then the things you have all bottled up inside that are obscuring the light will come out. You can deal with the issues. You can get a handle on them. There is no shame in asking for help. He knows your heart. He made it. And if you can't trust Him, I ask you, who can you trust?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

365 Days a Year

One would have to be blind to miss all the Christmas decorations that fill the aisles. One would have to be deaf to miss the caroles that fill the air. One would have to be in the deepest rain forest to have no sensation of the season that is upon us. Yet, this world is filled with folks that are in the dark about the reason for this season.

There is hope for all who are blind, deaf, and hardened by sin. The Good News is recorded in the Bible. Originally delivered over 2000 years ago to heal, save, and set free. His birth is the real reason for the season. His name is Jesus and He came to live, love, die, rise, ascend, and return to take believers to live with Him forever. Isaiah 61:1-3 records His purpose as foretold by the prophet. Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of that prophecy is found in Luke 4:16-21.

He is not the Scrooge and he's not Santa Clause. He is the giver of life. And He gives gifts to all who serve Him. His miracle working power is not confined to 34th Street. And with Him, you can have a wonderful life; 365 days a year.

Wishing more than the world's Happy Holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.



Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. Instead of Google Maps, try John 3:16.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tricia Goyer On Veteran's Day





Hello fellow bloggers! Tricia thought that you might be able to use this on your blog today! Permission granted! :) Thanks.






Veteran's Day is a time to remember:


In 2000, I got my idea for what came to be my first historical novel, From Dust and Ashes. Wanting to know more about the 23 men who liberated Mauthausen concentration camp, I contacted the 11th Armored Division who put me in touch with six of the veterans. These men then invited me to attend the 59th reunion of their division. I wasn't expecting that at all. I thought they'd point me to a good research book or allow me to interview them over the phone.


I felt SO unworthy to meet with these men. I knew very little about WWII, and I didn't want my inexperience to show. Not to mention the $1000+ for airfare, hotels, rental car for a book I didn't have a contract to write.

I urged a friend to go with me, and I've been so thankful we went. The men were caring and opened their hearts to me. They shared stories with me that they hadn't shared with anyone before. They laughed. They cried. They took my hands and thanked me for caring about their story. They hugged me and kissed my cheeks.

When it came to writing my novel, I wasn't writing about fictional characters. I was writing pieces of Charlie's story, bits of Arthur's experiences. The memories that made LeRoy cry made it into my book. The snapshots that Tarmo carried around in his mind for 60 years transformed into scenes in my novel (and the novels to follow!).

I get many letters from readers who say that my novels come to life on the pages--that's because the men's experiences came to life to me as I looked into their eyes and saw glimpses of young heroes. Also, the following year I went to Europe and walked the streets of the SS housing with a man who'd been nine-years-old when the camp opened near his home. Again, I "saw" the story in his eyes as he shared--this time from someone on the outside.

There was an added benefit to this diligent research that I didn't expect. After my second novel Night Song came out I received a letter from a veteran. He made a list of twenty minor research points that I'd gotten right, and then he asked, "One thing I didn't understand was the faith element of this story. Can you tell me more about your faith in God?"

YES!

Because I had done the research, I'd was able to share about my Jesus with a veteran who has since passed away.

One more fun thing I didn't expect. One of the men I met at the reunion was Pete. Pete was a medic--the one medic I met. Years later I received a letter from a reader who had read From Dust and Ashes. She was a survivor of Mauthausen--actually, she was born there. When she was 3-weeks-old she was close to death. When the gates were open a medic spent a full day lancing and cleaning infected boils on her skin, saving her life. She asked me if I knew any medics. I knew one, and I passed on his phone number. It turns out Pete was the one who saved her life! They have since met on numerous occasions.

If I hadn't gone to that reunion I wouldn't have met Pete, and I wouldn't have been able to connect him with Hana--what a God thing!

Of course, I do have regrets concerning research, too. In my most recent series on the Spanish Civil War I received a letter from a SCW veteran who said he was willing to help me with research. The letter got put into my "very important" pile on my desk and weeks and months passed. I pulled it out again, and I planned on calling him when I heard from someone else that this man had passed away. That has happened more than once with men who offered to be interviewed, and I'm always regretful of the "one more story" I missed. After all, once gone they are gone for good.


If you have a veteran in your life ... today is the perfect day to reach out--to listen to his or her story. Don't let the stories die, when you have a chance to make a difference.



Above are photos of a few of the men I've interviewed.


To read some of their stories, go to:


http://www.triciagoyer.com/ww2stories/

To see more photos (including real photos from the liberation of Mauthausen) go to:

http://www.triciagoyer.com/dustandashes/

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Red Sweater Day


Today I wore my new red sweater. Today I hit a snag. Not wanting to break the threads and cause a hole, I stopped immediately. If I went forward, the threads tightened against the nail. If I went backward, the thread tightened against the nail. So I stood still and began to loosen the thread by hand until I had freed it from its snare. Now I am left with an ugly ball of thread—unbroken, but flawed. The thought occurred to me at this moment that, yes, this is exactly where I am. Sometimes when we encounter a snag in life, the best thing we can do is just stop and reevaluate the situation.

Clothes are meant to be worn. And no matter how we try, they are affected by the environment we place them in. Do we throw out the garment at once because of this? No, we attempt to mend it, patch it, or clean it or find a new purpose for it. Only after every attempt has failed do we give up and leave it for the trash heap.

Fortunately for us, we have a Savior who says, “Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” Does this mean we purposely choose to wallow in the mud in our new garment or expose it to heat or thorns that could burn it or rip it to shreds? No. We go out of our way to protect it. We strive to keep it clean and beautiful. The nail could have ripped the flesh and scarred. Things could have been much worse.

It is not the nail’s fault. It merely existed. An innocuous tiny finishing nail. Nothing evil in and of itself. Its purpose to make complete, to finish, to help make beautiful. And yet, I am the one who wandered into its path. I am the one who did not see it, note it for what it was, and hammer it back into its rightful place.

You see everything has a place and purpose. I love my red sweater. It is still beautiful. It still keeps me warm. It still serves a purpose. Today it served more than one. It served as a lesson. I am not broken today. I have my flaws. I have some stains that need laundering. I have some work that needs to be done. But I have a purpose, perhaps more than one. And so do you. Let’s not get blindsided by the snags and forget what it is that we were created and meant to do.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Birthdays, Who needs them?

Remember Lucy Ricardo, she could never tell the truth about 2 things. One was her true hair color and the other was her age. Then there is that expression, "thirty nine and holding": holding back the tears/laughter, trying to hold up all that's sagging, and holding out on telling one's true age. But none of that really matters here, for I'm about to give you the scoop.

My sister & author of this blog will celebrate her 42nd birthday on Sunday 11/5/2007. I wanted all of you to know so you could stop by and wish her well. If you are over 40, you know all about those sagging parts and nagging aches/pains. You know the relentless hormonal changes and endless needs of spouse and kids. You know what you don't need but are uncertain of what you do. Don't send presents, a few comments will do.

So, join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday. Pray too that she receive a birthday blessing from the Lord. He knows exactly what she needs. Thanks.

Happy Birthday, Sis

Friday, November 02, 2007

In Awe of a Phenomenal Woman

Today on Martha Stewart I happened to notice the guest was the phenomenal Dr. Maya Angelou, the "People's Poet." She not only shared her caramel cake recipe but the story behind it. She also spoke of her writing work habits. This I found most interesting. She rises at 5:30 and goes to a local hotel room which has been stripped of all decor. There is a bed, a desk, and a chair, her Roget's Thesaurus, and a dictionary. There she works until around noon writing in long hand upon yellow legal pads, being careful not to dispose of any writings in the wastebasket. (Imagine where they might turn up.)

I found myself longing for that kind of "work." I say "work," but I'm sure to Dr. Angelou it is a joy and privilege to do something you love so much and be able to do it so well. It is a dream we should all have and aspire to achieve.

I learned other things about Dr. Angelou that I did not know, including the fact that she was a volunteer mute from the ages of 7 to 13. She had been molested and her molester later killed. She felt as if the person died because of her words, and therefore she refused to speak. I am glad that she conquered that fear and began using her words for beauty. She shared a poem she wrote and delivered for Pres. Clinton's inauguration January 19, 1993. I want to share it with you. It's called :

On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

--Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NO TRESPASSING

It has been said, "birds of a feather; flock together." No wonder the devil just makes himself at home in our heart-houses. Why wouldn't he want to move in? We put up window treatments. You know; shades of deceit. We provide couches of slothfulness and recliners/seats of scorn. We cook up his favorite meals of gossip, back-biting, and 'white-lies'. We even have left-over grudges. Why! that's his favorite dessert. And what about the jacuzzi with 24 jets of pride to keep him feeling fit? Ahhhh, but we keep the front room bright and shining.....

Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27

place: any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space 1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district 1b) a place (passage) in a book 2) metaph. 2a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly 2b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

If we want to root the devil out, we are going to have to clean up our heart-houses. We will have to replace his favorites with the things he hates. We will have to fill our place with all that is godly and righteous. And we will have to make and enforce a policy of "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY". Satan is a trespasser and must be treated as such.

While I am not a whole-hearted supporter of the Message version, this passage makes a nice wrap for today's post. Ephesians 4:23-32

29Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.30Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Deb @ another unfinished symphony, adds her insights on creating a climate for spiritual growth. Stop by leave her a comment or two.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Growing Up

As you might have guessed from some of my posts, I have deep seated issues I am working to resolve in my life, the details of which are hard to speak. Giving up and giving it to God is a daily process for me. And sometimes I fail at letting go. Sometimes I hold it close to my heart and say, "God, I am fearful, because I do not know what You are going to do with it." And He whispers back to me, "Daughter. Let me help you. Please just let me help you."

And He and I have these conversations regularly. I know that He does not want me to be a miserable, grieving ball of anger and resentment. I know He wants to take this brokenness and make it into something beautiful. In my finite mind I sit and try to figure out what exactly He is doing, and it still is not clear to me. And I admit, it is scarey and uncomfortable to think that I might emerge from the fire a different person. But how can that be so bad? I do not even like the person I am now. So why am I holding onto that part of me so desperately as if it validates me in some way?

And then I say, "God, what am I supposed to do? I've tried over and over. And it's not working." And God says back, "I can handle this. Have I not brought you this far? Has your faith not kept you for 40+ years? Do you think I will leave you now? Do you think I do not see, do not know, do not care that you are hurting? Child, I know every tear that falls. I know every longing of your heart. I am near. In your sorrow. In your trouble. In your fear. In your storm. I am near. What do I do during storms? I rest and wait them out. What did my disciples do? They worried and fretted and wrung their hands in fear. And so I intervened for them. But what they did not realize was that as long as I was in the boat, no harm would come to them. They were with me. You must learn to trust me."

And so .. there it is . the issue I cannot seem to avoid. Trust. As a mother of a young child I tend to go around cleaning up messes my child has made and wonder if he ever hears and understands the benefit to him of following my instructions. Eventually if I keep working with him, he will cultivate the good habits that I desire in him. Eventually he will learn the easy way or the hard way that Mama is right. He will grow up. He will mature. And that is ultimately what I must do, stop kidding myself and accept the fact that Father knows best.

Lord help me stop being the stubborn spoiled brat. Help me do the right thing. And help me let go of anything that keeps me from doing the right thing. Whatever and whoever that might be.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Other Baby

Rev Girls Friday Five

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child? We wore costumes and mom drove us around a 8-mile loop of relatives. They were spread out in the community, but we only went trick-or-treating to people we knew.

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do? The last few years we have taken CWGIII to the church's Trunk-Or-Treat event. He gets plenty of candy and fun. And it's not the headache of going door-to-door.

2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?Caramel apples, definitely.

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?So far we have carved one every year. I'm kind of late with it this year. Just not into it. I let him paint faces on small punkins when he was younger, because he wanted to do it himself, and he couldn't use a knife yet.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures. Nothing decorated whatsoever this year. Going to my baby sis' house Sat. night for a party.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality? I have enough alternates without the costumes, thank you. LOLOLOL.

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones. I like pumpkin bread and apple crisp. Don't know how to make either. Someone help me out.. :(

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Worship Wednesday

Want to Trade?

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Who doesn't like this verse? I'm sure it is the favorite of countless millions. It has a nice ring to it, it is easy to memorize, and it has such a positive message. But it is not always so easy for us to do.

Check out the immediate context of this little gem. 6)Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:7)Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8)Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Verse 6 speaks of submission to God and verse 7 is a direct order to stay focused as you come under attack.

Being sober is the opposite of being intoxicated. When one is drunk all of his senses are dulled and his thinking is impaired. He may also have a false sense of power or control. Sober also means serious minded and rational. String these attributes together with humility and submission to God and it becomes an easy thing to exchange self-reliance for dependence on Him.

Did you like the way I slipped that one in on you? When we cast our cares on Him, we surrender our perceived control over our difficulties and concerns. The same God who cares for us has all power and authority to meet our every need. He is both able and willing.

There is an old song that simply says, "take your burden to the Lord and leave it there". Your burden may be physical, mental, emotional, financial, or even spiritual. Whatever it is, I encourage you today to release it to Him. Then you will be free to serve Him with gladness and enter His courts with joy. You will find rest for your soul.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prayer Request

Passing on a request brought to me by Granny B. Please stop to pray for this man and family:


We are needing prayer for a young man named Ryan. He was in an accident, he is burnt pretty bad. Docs have told his family that he might live 2 or 3 days.

If you could help me get the word out for prayer, I would be so grateful.

Thanks
Donna

***UPDATE***Thanks to any that lifted this young man up in prayer.
Last night, he went home to be with the Lord.
Please keep up prayers for this family.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Are You Faster Than a Second Grader

Ok, it's not funny...but oh, who am I kidding, it's hilarious.

There was a little excitement at my son's school last week. One of his classmates (who shall remain unnamed) caused quite a stir. Apparently, the 7 year-old boy shoved a classmate and was punished by sitting out recess for 3 days. And while that may not seem a very harsh punishment, to this little boy it must have been unbearable to sit on the sidelines while his playmates frollicked.

According to my son, the little boy kept trying to sneak off his time-out bench and out into the playground. He was recaptured once, but broke free and took off running again. The teachers evidently carried walkie talkies and radioed for backup to the Principal and Vice Principal who came to help corral him.

He first headed towards the ball field, then towards the tennis court, and finally headed toward greener pastures and the woods nearby, with teachers in tow. I think the tally on teachers chasing him was up to 7. But that could be exaggerated, though I doubt it. My son named off 7 right off the bat. He said they all went different directions, fanning out to cover all avenues of escape.

"Mom, Ms. So-and-So couldn't even catch him, and she was in the war," my son laughingly told me. To which I replied, "So what were you guys doing, cheering him on?" "No, mom, we were shouting, "Go Ms._______ and Go Mr. ________." Smart boy, my son. No detention for him.

Finally, the PE coach (who trains for long marathons and runs on a regular basis) was the one to win the prize and stop the shenanigans. The 2nd grader got 10 days in school suspension to which my son's response was, "He's in solitaire (his word) just like Cool Hand Luke. He has to follow the librarian around all day." His best friend said the whole thing was better than watching wrestling. I tend to agree. I just wish I had been there with a video camera. I would be $10,000 richer now and on America's Funniest Videos. Maybe they should revamp that Jeff Foxworthy show and call it, "Are You Faster Than a Second Grader?"

Friday 5 late late edition

Lately I have not had time to blog or read blogs. Sista Cala came over tonight and suggested I play even though it is nearly 2 days late.

If you were a food, what would you be? a hot chili pepper; steaming, hot, smoking red, and occasionally green.....

What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where? Christmas 2005 @ my granny's. Chicken & Dressing, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, brown beans, fruit salad, chocolate pie, coconut cake, cheese ball, and more.....

What is your favorite comfort food from childhood? chocolate anything

When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit? corn casserole (my family can't get enough corn)

What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate? alligator tail; and it didn't taste like chicken.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal? sweet tea

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WW Lessons in Song

I have been feeling kind of nostalgic lately. Feeling my age and looking back over my life. Some of my fondest memories are of my days in Children's Church and VBS. Singing songs and quoting Bible verses were the main ingredients of such services. The tunes were primarily biblical and most were action songs that were a lot of fun. The following were two of my favorites.

Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord to see. As the Saviour passed that way, He looked up in the tree. And He said, "Zacchaeus, you come down from there; for I'm going to your house for tea."

The story is referenced in Luke 19:1-10. I thought it was so neat how a short little man would climb a tree just to see Jesus. And I wondered why he just didn't run around the crowd and wait ahead of it for Jesus to pass. More fascinating than that is the fact that Jesus would stop the parade to talk to someone that no one else liked.

Sometimes it takes some effort on our part in order to see Jesus. Often times we have to distance ourselves from those around us, in order to see clearly. Secondly, He will always make Himself known to those who truly seek Him. Thirdly, obedience is the key to a lasting relationship with Him.

Naaman went down, to the river to dip. Naaman went down, to the river to dip. Naaman went down to the river to dip, and he dipped and he dipped and he dipped and he dipped. All his sins were washed away, washed away.

This little ditty finds its roots in II Kings 5:1-15. Yet another song about obedience. Guess they were teaching that principle without us even knowing it. (smile) I remember getting out of breath trying to do all 7 of those dips. Probably would have been much easier to do them in the river. Ahhhh I digress.

There were several things working for Naaman. First, his wife had a maid that knew of a prophet. Secondly, he had another servant that didn't mind telling him what was being discussed in his wife's chambers. Thirdly, he knew of the king of Israel and felt that it was worthwhile to contact him regarding a cure for his leprosy.

Funny how he was willing to take a chance on the King, but unwilling to go to the Jordan. And what about his pride? Certainly that stood in the way of his miracle and he didn't even know it. But at the humble urging of his servant, he followed the prophet's instructions. Not only was he healed, but he became a believer that day. He publicly acknowledged that there was no other god but the God of Israel.

I'm not sure I learned all of that just from singing the songs. But the songs were seeds planted in my soul. Seeds that sprouted as I heard the stories in Sunday School. Seedlings that grew as I listened to the sermons about Zacchaeus and Naaman. Trees that developed as I studied the scriptures for myself. Timbers selected for the foundation of my life and ministry.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, Taste and See

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalms 34:8

Pleasant conversation is like honey. It is sweet and it is good for you. Kind words turn frowns upsidedown. Good preaching edifies the soul. Solid biblical teaching equips believers for battle. John the Baptist ate wild honey and we know what a powerhouse preacher he was. That's why I want to advertise the conference that I will be attending this weekend.

It originated as the "Eat Thou Honey" conference. Now it is billed as the Honey Conference. The host church is Cathedral of Praise Assembly of God in Cordova, TN. I have known the pastors for over 20 years. They are rock solid soldiers in the Lord's army. I have attended their annual conference for the past 4 years and each one has been awesome.

You can watch the conference live on the internet. cathedralofpraiseag.com On the right side of the website should be a link that says something like Live....or view from streamingfaith.com.
All services will be aired live. CeCe Winans will open the conference 10/11/07 @2pm. Pastor Darlene Bishop will be the evening speaker. Friday morning the speaker will be host pastor, Darlene McCarty. Dr. Yvonne Capehart will be featured on Friday night. Saturday morning service will be filled with praise, worship, and preaching led by Judy Jacobs.

You can read testimonies from previous conferences here. The last one on the page is mine. Just scout around her site for more testimonies and pictures from previous conferences. It will be easy for you to see honey dripping off of each face. Truly the Word of God is sweet as it nourishes the soul.

9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalms 19:9-11

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Of Faith and Friends

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFor a great part of my life I have been misunderstood. I do not know if it was the writer in me that made me "weird" and "shy" or the things I went through in my childhood. But I always had trouble communicating and forging relationships with people. Still do to a degree. But I am managing to overcome that little by little. It does require a measure of faith, though.

People have asked me, "How can you put your life out there online for the world to see?" How can you trust that the weirdos aren't going to come knocking on your door or steal your identity? And the answer is, I don't know that. But I do know that it can happen just as easily offline. People are not always what they seem to be offline either. Some find it just as easily to lie and deceive to your face. You really can't know another until you have been around them for a long time. You have to choose to put yourself out there where people are. You have to be willing to be a friend to have friends. And just as there are goofballs online...there are goofballs off. You have to be smart. You have to use a little common sense. And sometimes you have to take a chance. Otherwise, you spend your entire life in your own little cocoon and miss out on some really special people.

I would be lying to you if I said that I never get intimidated or worried about these things. But the truth is, I worry just as much about walking down the streets of my own hometown. It's the world we live in. And so we make the best of it. It helps to know that I have a few connections higher up. And that He watches out for me when I may be stepping off into the unknown. Sometimes He gently nudges me back into line. And sometimes He lets me walk down a path because I have a free will. How many times, I wonder, has He sent angels my way to keep me from harm? How many times have I come face to face with evil and His light blinded them from attacking? I may never know. I do know that walking through this life requires faith.

As Christians we are taught to walk by faith and not by sight. And so at times we find ourselves facing the unknown and yet believing that someday, somehow, the puzzle will all come together into one giant, glorious landscape--and that we will have come through it all with everything in place and intact. Without this hope, we might as well give up. If Christ is not who He says He is, and does not live and reign on the throne, then what is left? If ever there were a person that you could trust and put your faith in, it would be Him, the only perfect one to have walked the earth.

And you know what He said about life, He said: "In this world, you will have trouble. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." That's good enough for me. I just need to be reminded from time to time. Thanks for being here friends. You know who you are.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pink Seasons

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Today I would like to refer you to Sista Cala's place for a beautiful post entitled, "Pink Seasons." You may be tired of the hoopla, but it is a subject very close to our hearts. And yours too! Get those boobies checked!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Don't Forget Our Heroes

We met tonight to celebrate 3 birthdays--my brother-in-law Kenny's, my neice Jennifer's, and her husband, Ryan's. Actually Ryan's birthday was last week, and Jennifer's is in December. But they are leaving Monday to go to New York for more training before deployment in November. We are unsure if we will get to see them again before they ship out. Please remember to pray for them and all of our service men and women. Their's is a sacrifice we can only imagine unless we have been there. It is easy to forget that it is still going on, especially if you do not have someone over there. But don't forget! And the truth is, you DO have someone over there, whether you know them or not. Jennifer and Ryan, we love you and send you off with prayers for your protection, prayers for strength, and courage. You're our heroes!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WW Template Changes

My family laughs when I bring up the latest blogging tricks I have learned. Really, until last year I knew very little about the internet. I'm sure I have only scratched the surface of what is available to learn and do. I enjoy the challenge of trying out short-cuts, widgets, and hacks. Actually, if I had grasped the internet thing when I was younger and carefree, I probably would have become a professional hacker. ;-)

Lately I have been looking into how to customize my blog template. The standard ones are fine. The "add/remove element" thing works great. I just have some ideas of how I would like for my site to look. I'm sure that with some instructions and patience I could make the desired changes. It is just a matter of taking the time to concentrate and get it done. Except, what if I make a big mess out of it? Can I retrieve the old template? If so, will everything still be in its place?

Professional computer people could do the job in a fraction of the time. I'm sure basic changes are somewhat boring for them to do. Three columns instead of two. No sweat. Circles instead of squares. Pleeeease. A recurring top post. If that is what you really want. Custom graphics. You name it, it is done. Endless possibilities. One choice. Do it myself or let the experts handle it.

There will always be things about ourselves that can be improved. Some easily and others that require a great deal of work and perseverance. Basic changes can be made with little or no outside assistance. The bigger the change the more challenging the process. The best option is to call on the Expert who created us. Read the instruction manual that He left us. Depend on the Advisor He sent to us. And get busy beautifying ourselves for the One that is returning to get us.

Jeremiah chapter one gives an example of the Expert working on a man's template. 5)"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." The basic template of Jeremiah's life had already been established. He was unable to grasp how changes could come about, so the Expert enhanced his template. 9)"Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth." Then the Lord gave space for Jeremiah to make some adjustments. 17) "Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them."

The expert then fortified the template with a firewall;18)"For behold I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."and an iron clad guarantee against failure.

Jeremiah met with many difficulties as he performed all that God instructed him to do. He is remembered as the "weeping prophet". But he is an example to all who have wanted to throw in the towel. Scripture tells us that he couldn't quit because there was a fire shut up inside his bones. The Spirit of God pushed him to meet every challenge.

There is nothing wrong with your basic template. God,the Expert designed you. He gave you a new look when you accepted His son as your Savior. You may need to make adjustments to reach your fullest potential. Many of them you can do yourself. The key is patience and perseverance. If you make a mistake, just call the Expert. His helpline is always open.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Review of My Life Unscripted.


Tricia Goyer has a new book out that is an awesome tool for ministering to young teens and adults. It's called My Life Unscripted, and it's nonfiction.
I read the book in one night, but it can be used as an excellent teaching series broken down in chapters. In it, Tricia speaks to the hearts of women young and old alike about the heartaches and pitfalls that come from living a life unscripted--and the difference letting God have control makes.
The chapters are formatted much like a movie script with various scenes from the author's own experience. Fade in to Tricia as a young unwed mother. Fade out. You get my drift. I think it is a novel approach that has a broad appeal.
On a deeper level, her book ministered to me and convicted me. It spoke to me about how I need to take my hold off the reins of my life and let God. I think all of us can identify with the feelings and thoughts in this book, regardless of whether we have had the same exact experiences. Kudos to you, Tricia! May God bless you for sharing. And God bless and minister to all those who are challenged by your book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTA CALA!!!!!!!!! HOPE YOU HAVE MANY MORE. WE LOVE YOU!!

Learning Experiences

It was about a year ago when I first ventured onto the internet by myself. Then in the spring of this year I began to blog. The more I have explored and read the better I have gotten at surfing and working with different components of blogging. I have consulted the help links. I have gone to veteran bloggers for instructions. I have attended a class on basic Word. But the applications that have really stayed with me are the ones I have learned by trial and error. I guess it is because of all the time and work invested to reach the desired result.

Learning spiritual lessons has not been any different, except I have been training since childhood. Early growth came from receiving instruction and discipline from my mother. I listened to my Sunday School teachers and my grandmothers. When I learned to read, Bible story books taught me right from wrong through accounts of the heroes of old. I even attended Bible college. But the lessons that I am reminded of most often are the ones I have learned from my trails and triumphs.

There is a group of ladies called the Chapelaires. They are a gospel singing group from my old home church. One song that captures the essence of this post is called, “That’s just His way”. It goes like this.

He lets me walk down roads of disappointment. He watches and He knows what’s best for me. My greatest strength comes through my darkest trial. And my greatest joy is knowing that He can trust in me.
Chorus: That’s just His way, of telling me He loves me. A love beyond all human understanding. I won’t question trials that bring me to my knees. That’s just His way of telling me He loves me.
If I’m successful walking through this dark valley, I know He’ll give me strength to climb the highest hill. The more I’m tried the better He can mold me. To change my life completely, to fit His perfect will.


Life lessons are not always easy but they can always be profitable. Observe the righteous. Avoid the ungodly. Make note of your mistakes and how they were remedied. Let your failures be the pavement for your road to success. Let your sins be few and your prayers be many. Always remember that God loves you and will be with you through all your ups and downs. And when you are tried, you will come forth as pure gold.

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
I Peter 1:6-9

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What's In Your Back Yard?

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Sometimes life hands you lemons...and sometimes we get them because we planted a lemon tree in our backyard and then seem to be surprised at the fruit that it bears. I've planted my share of lemon trees. Sometimes you cannot even hope for lemonade from the sour mess you've made. You know how lemon juice burns in a cut or when you've gotten it on your hands or rubbed your eyes? I do too. You can bet I will be more careful about the seeds I sow in the future. It is one thing when you live in Florida where citrus is expected and even flourishes. But when you're in cotton country, you're better off knowing how to take a flour sack and make a dress to cover your nakedness when you have shown your behind...