Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge Last of July

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, our last one for the month of July. If you've answered the questions this week, add your link at the end of Joyce's post and then run see what the neighbors are saying. If you didn't answer the questions, don't link. But do still go see what the neighbors are saying...here we go-


1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon." Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.
I agree.  Summer has always held wonderful memories for me.  We would go outside as soon as it was light enough to see and stay until the street lights came on.  Summer time was when my  mom and Carol's mom would take us to the beach for the day.  We went to summer camps at the local Parks and Rec.  I played tennis, we traveled...summer rocked.  Even today summer rocks.  It is a time to get outside, go to the beach, travel.  I love all the summer activities. 

 2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this? Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?  I am not a fan. I don't dislike racing, but I don't go out of my way to see it either. I have been to the Talladega 500 twice, to the Atlanta races, and to Daytona a few times....usually with whoever I was dating and trying to impress. I did love Demolition Derby's as a child, dirt track racing, and Funny Car Racing.  My father would take me to these often.  I want to be just like Shirley Muldowney when I was a kid.  I am glad that phase passed.  I did a little street racing as a teenager.  Fortunately I never was caught and lived to walk away from that stupid fancy.

 3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or is anything and everything fair game?  I agree with Joyce.  I hate it when people joke about the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill. My daughter was a Special Ed teacher and she would have throttled me.  I am also the grandmother of two with Down's Syndrome.  Nope...definitely not funny.  

 4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?
I love lasagna. I have a great recipe given to me in strictest confidence by my cousin's Italian wife.  It was an old family recipe.  I also make it Mexican style but the Italian is my favorite.  I love Spaghetti too.  I love Italian food.  True Italian food (the kind you eat in Italy) is my all time favorite.  I could not believe the difference in food made here...and food made there. 
 
5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?
My morning prayer time.  I love the time I get when I get up before anyone else and have my prayer time. 

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?
Again I have to agree with Joyce.  I would love to be the CEO of a company like World Vision or Samaritan's Purse. Habitat for Humanity would be up there too.   I appreciate their heart and would love to see how they operate behind the scenes. 

7. August is just around the bend...bid farewell to July in exactly seven words.
Just unusually lazy, yet enjoyed the time!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I got to experience picking corn this week using a pick bag and putting it in the freezer.  I also picked green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash.  Some of it I picked only enough to eat....some of it I saved through freezing or canning.  I learned how to freeze tomatoes whole and cannot wait to use them.  I have several bags of beautifully whole tomatoes in my freezer and will be putting some more up today.  I made pickles...they are called refrigerator pickles.  So easy and smell so good.  Now if I can keep Frank out of them.  I have not made pickles in over 30 years.  Last time they were nasty and my BIL brought his back hoe to my house and actually buried them in the yard.  I can image what will be said in 40 years when they are dug up....image what an archaeologist and his group will say.  LOL. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

After 25 Years

Back in May I applied for a teaching position here in Randolph County.  I prayed for God's guidance...but as usual I put parameters on Him.  I prayed that I would hear something before July 1.  July 1 is when my current system does not have to let you out of your contract.....I also told God that if I did not hear by then I would know I was supposed to retire at the end of the school year.  On July 17th I got a phone call from Randolph County wanting to set up an interview.  I told them I was sorry and hung up the phone.  Frank looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  I explained....I told God...by July 1.  It is the 17th....nuff said.  He asked me when I decided to put time limitations on God....and I realized I may have made a mistake....so I called Mrs. Kelly back and set up an appointment for Monday at 12:30.  Monday went like blazes.  I felt so comfortable as I sat and answered their questions.  After the interview Mr. Anglin  asked me to see if I could be released.  So, on my way home from the interview I called Dr. Cooper.  I explained my situation and he asked me if he could post my job....I agreed but told him it would still be mine until the Board here met.  I waited.  Frank told everyone I had the job.....but I said nothing until it was official.  Last night the Randolph Co. Bd. of Ed met and I was offered the job.  Now here I sit.  I am have called the people I need to call.  I am sad because 25 years of comfort is over.  I have to move a 25 years of collection room, attend New Employee Orientation, have revival at my church, sing for the Senior Citizens in Wedowee, and move out and move in.....by Monday.  Today is Tuesday night.  Frank and I have our work cut out for us.  I am sad.....to the point of tears because I have so many wonderful memories at BRHS and so many wonderful friends and co-workers.  I am thrilled because I will not be making the 59 mile drive every day.  I am excited to be starting something new.  My cheese has been moved and I am a bit nervous about that part of the process.  Pray that everything goes smoothly and that I accomplish all I have to do in the next few days. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss


About The Book:  Four best-­selling romance novelists bring tales of feisty heroines, stubborn heroes, and unlikely love in the Wild West. Get lost in Four Weddings & a Kiss today.

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy-Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher-Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton-Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley-Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.

About The Authors: 
Mary Connealy - writes romantic comedy...with cowboys.  http://www.maryconnealy.com
She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita and Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.  She is the author of bestselling Kincaid Brides Series: Out of Control, In Too Deep, Over the Edge. Her work also includes Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy.  She also wrote Ten Plagues--a romantic thriller, and The Historical Society Murders--three cozy mysteries, under the name Mary Nealy.  Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren.
Robin Lee Hatcher - Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader's Choice, and many other industry awards, Robin is also a recipient of the prestigious RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of 70+ novels and novellas with over five million copies in print.Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. Her main hobby (when time allows) is knitting, and she has a special love for making prayer shawls. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet, the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).  Robin is active on her Facebook Author Page where she loves to interact with readers. Please join her there: http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher For more information, please visit her web site at http://www.robinleehatcher.com  Please note: Robin's faith-based fiction has been published from 1999 to present. She no longer recommends her older mass market fiction.
Debra Clopton- a bestselling author who has sold over 2.5 million books and her holiday story, OPERATION: MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS has been optioned for an ABC Family Movie staring LeAnn Rimes. Debra writes cowboy romances, inspirational, Christian romance, contemporary and western romances set in Texas. She is known for her snappy dialogue, cowboy heroes and spunky heroines. Her awards include: The Book Sellers Best, Romantic Times Magazine's Book of the Year. She's also a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, and a triple finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award.  A sixth generation Texan, Debra lives on a ranch in central Texas with her husband Chuck. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She is the author of the much loved Mule Hollow Matchmakers series where you never know what the Matchmaking "Posse" is going to do next! She writes for Harlequin Love Inspired and Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian. She is currently working on her 30th novel surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.
Visit Debra's website at http://www.debraclopton.com
Check out her Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debra.clopton.5
Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/debraclopton
Contact her at Debraclopton@yamil.com
Sign up for Debra's newsletter and contests at http://debraclopton.com/contest

Margaret Brownley - www.margaret-brownley.com   Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this--except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter at the time. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."  Margaret is now a New York Times bestselling author and a past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 30 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.


My Thoughts On The Book: I loved the beginning of the book as four seasoned ministers sit and listen to a young pastor talk about being in love with his exact opposite.   Each of the four ministers then shares a story from their lives of opposites attracting.  Each story is written by a different author so each story has its own flair. Each of the brides were all head strong and independent women in a male dominated world and time.  I could not put the book down.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and each one of the stories told.  This is just the book for readers who like a good easy read. 

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson and their Book Look Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Parable of the Mustard Seed and Yeast


Today I want to talk to you about The Parables of Mustard Seed and Yeast

My Scripture Text is from Matthew 13.31-35

‘Great oaks from little acorns grow.’ I am sure you have heard that saying before and I am also pretty sure many, if not all, of you fully understand what it means. From humble, small, insignificant beginnings great things can grow and materialize in this world – hence great oak trees many hundreds of years old and reaching to the skies began life like this, an acorn. An acorn which dropped from an oak tree and was buried in the ground, hidden and unseen by human eyes until one day a small shoot sprang up and over many years a tall, strong, majestic oak has grown.

Remember the context in which Christ is speaking and remember the context into which Matthew is writing his gospel of Christ. For Christ there are a small band of genuine followers. He has just been rejected by the religious leaders of the day and has begun his public teaching ministry out in the open air. He has begun to turn his back on Galilee and to turn towards Jerusalem where he will be crucified and rise again. Matthew is writing his gospel of Christ to a small persecuted fledgling church, mainly of Jewish believers. To this small, insignificant at least to the Roman world around, Matthew recounts these words of Christ as a means of encouragement.

Let’s talk first about the tiny Mustard Seed

At the time of Christ to say something was the size of a mustard seed was to say it was no great significance, that it was very small indeed. It was a common proverbial saying of the day. No doubt to the followers of Christ the church did indeed seem small and insignificant – certainly if you measured it against the might of the Roman Empire or the edifices of Judaism or some of the pagan cults of the day. In answer to the question: Why is the kingdom of God so insignificant? Matthew reminds his hearers of these two sayings or parables of Christ.

A mustard seed is indeed microscopic and yet when it is fully grown it grows into a plant that is some 4 meters in height. Compared to the seed from which it grew that is phenomenal growth. Yes to the world around the figure of Christ and his followers might indeed seem small and insignificant – they appear as a mustard seed, the weak things of this world. Zechariah 4.10 says we are not to despise the days of small things. And it may well be that the followers to whom Matthew writes were indeed like the lambs described in Isaiah 40.11 – that needed to be carried around close the heart of the shepherd for protection and warmth because of their frailty at that moment. Yet, despite of all of this there is growth going on and in time the growth would be phenomenal. Even though the mustard seed is small, it is still a seed. A seed full of potential to grow into a 4 meter tall plant to which the birds of the air would flock to roost in the shade of its branches. To those listening to Christ or hearing the reading of Matthew’s gospel this picture of birds coming to roost in the branches of this tree would have jarred with them. Birds in the OT, especially in Ezekiel 17.23 and Daniel 4.20-22, spoke of the Gentile nations. Jesus is hinting that not only will this little seed grow to a remarkable size but that its branches will spread beyond the narrow confines of Judaism and provide a home for the Gentiles. Here Christ speaks of the spread of the kingdom of God beyond the Jewish people to the Gentile nations. Please note they come to the tree to roost – that is they come to Christ and in him alone they find salvation and rest.

It is a seed whose purpose and disposition is to grow and given the right conditions it will grow into the greatest of all garden herbs. It will grow and it will mature and it will amaze with its strength – beyond all expectations of what was thought possible when that little mustard seed was in their hands. At present the seed looks small and insignificant, just as the kingdom of God looks small and insignificant. But it will not stay that way. Remember…..Significance is not measured in numbers or size.

Now let’s talk about The Yeast.

Leaven had a bad press in Judaism. All leaven had to be scrupulously removed from a house before the Passover could be celebrated. So Jesus’ hearers would have been surprised to hear him liken the kingdom of God to leaven. Maybe, just maybe, that is how the followers of Christ were viewed by the Jewish religious leaders and people of the day – like leaven that had to be removed from the house. After all his disciples were uneducated fishermen, tax collectors, etc. and he freely associated in their eyes with drunkards and sinners, not to mention prostitutes whom he allowed to wash his feet, and worst of all he had women amongst his disciples, something no self-respecting rabbi would have done. So maybe leaven wasn’t really such a surprise after all. Christ tells them that a woman took the leaven and mixed it into a large amount of flour. In the original it says into three measures of flour – that would be the equivalent of 40 kg of flour, enough to feed around 100 people. This is no ordinary amount of flour but industrial amounts of flour. The amount of flour is in contrast to the amount of yeast. Yet without the yeast the making of the bread would not happen. The small amount of yeast is hidden or kneaded into the flour and it permeates right through the lot. It transforms the whole dough. It is this transforming act that Christ wishes to emphasize to his hearers – hence he says the ‘woman hid the yeast in the dough.’ It works unseen to the human eye and out of all proportion to its size, especially in relation to the amount of flour into which it is hidden. Jesus here reminds them that the work of the kingdom of God in their lives and the life of their community often goes on unseen by human eyes and that God, since the start of creation, has been work his yeast into the dough of this world. One day it will become apparent in my life, your life and the life of this community.

You know if you put yeast into un-ground wheat it has no effect at all – there must be flour, water and yeast for the transformation to take place. The gospel (yeast) similarly will have no spiritual affect whatsoever in the life of one whose heart has not been broken or humbled by and before God. Also the dough needs to be kneaded, moistened and the yeast worked into every area of the dough to have the maximum affect. The same is true if the kingdom of God is to come to full fruition in your life and mine. The word of God must be worked into every area of our lives so that the leaven of the gospel can have affect in every area and not be limited to a few areas. When the woman hides the leaven in the heart of the flour it is with intention – that it might transform the dough. The same is true of the gospel – we hide it in our hearts with intention – not for secrecy but for transformation purposes. Thus when the gospel comes into our hearts it works a change, not in the substance of the heart, the dough remains the same, but in the quality - it makes us to savor things we would have before rejected or ignored. It works throughout all areas of our life and transforms that which it touches. The change is such that it makes the soul partake of the word just as the dough partakes of the leaven. Just as the leaven transforms the dough unseen, secretly but with lasting affect so the gospel by grace does the same to our lives. It changes, transforms us to take on the likeness of Christ just as the flour is transformed by the yeast.

So in each of these, the mustard seed and the yeast, Jesus wants his hearers to understand the significance of that which the world views as insignificant. He wants them to understand the paradox of the insignificant or hidden beginnings and a triumphant climax. Jesus is impressing on them that the mustard seed has been planted and the yeast mixed into the dough and the transformation is going on, even if they and the world fail to see it. No matter how unpromising it looks and despite the opposition it will face the transformation will come to pass. Little is great where God is at work.

The greatest thing is that For us the lessons are simple.

Do not despise the day of small things. We should not despise the small things in our lives or in the lives of others. Numbers are no measure of success in the kingdom of God. You know on the night that Charles Spurgeon was converted, probably one of the greatest preachers ever to live, there were only 10 people in the church. Christ only had 12 disciples but they grew to 120, who all fitted in one room on the Day of Pentecost – but from these the gospel has reached around the globe.

The gospel begins small in all our lives. It may be an invitation to a church service or event. It may just be an act of kindness that has brought us this far. Each of us should remember that and also remember the potential significance in the lives of others of the small things done for the sake of the gospel. Plant the mustard seeds and watch the phenomenal growth occur.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

It is Lisa Jo Baker's last couple of weeks hosting us on Five Minute Friday so I guess Finish is a good word to end with.  Kate Motaung will be taking up the torch officially on August 8th.  The rules have not changed.  Write for 5 minutes without editing, rethinking, or rewriting.  Write what is in your heart.  Link up here and then comment on the person's post that comes before your post. It is pretty simple.  Today's word is Finish....Ready, Set, GO!


My summer vacation as a teacher is finished.  In two weeks I will head back to school and welcome in another school year.  This year will be different than any others, because this year I will finish twenty-five years of teacher and retiring.....but there is more.  July 29th the Board of Education in Randolph County will be deciding if they want me to teach for the system for the county I live in.....so I will finish up my time at Benjamin Russell.  Finishes are sad sometimes.  When you are ending a race or a project you have worked hard on they can be fun and exciting.....but in this case it will me mean leaving special peers I have grown to know and love.  I always think of the word finish at the end of every school year as the seniors get ready to walk across the field and finish something they began in kindergarten.  Sometimes I am sad because I feel as if they are moving on....and I am stagnant.  Other times I beam with pride when I see what they have overcome or accomplished in their four years with me.  The result is the same....they finish....and now I will be finishing.  I am reminded of the words of Christ upon the cross.  In John 19:30 we find the end of Christ's life near and "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."  I believe that is why the word finished has such a sad connotation to me.  It means time is done.  Yet, as I sit here today and think about the word I find myself smiling.  I will be finished with teaching.....and beginning a new life as a retiree.  I guess that is the good thing about the word finish...it usually implies that something else will be beginning.  For that I am grateful!  How about you?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I Wish You'd Told Me

About The Book:  Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) and Indie Finalist Kaylee’s Ghost (Amazon and Nook) presents What I Wish You’d Told Me, a collection of three stories of women of various ages grappling with the wacky and the tragic in their lives. “Secrets,” set in the ’60s, is the gripping story of a teenage girl whose illusions about her best friend’s family are blasted along with her faith in Kennedy’s Camelot. “A Sympathetic Listener” is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of a 24-year-old woman with cancer who, on her healing odyssey, finds connection and support from a most surprising source. In “Great-aunt Mariah and the Gigolo,” a 70-something widow rocks the family when she brings home her young beau. This is a short e-book published by Shebooks--high quality fiction, memoir, and journalism for women, by women. For more information, visit http://shebooks.net.

About The Author:  Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s first novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster), was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. Her novel Kaylee’s Ghost (Amazon and Nook) is an Indie Finalist. She’s published essays in the New York Times and Newsweek and in many anthologies. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in the Coe Review, Compass Rose, the Griffin, Inkwell Magazine, the Iowa Review, the Los Angeles Review, the MacGuffin, Memoir And, Moment, Negative Capability, Pennsylvania English, the Carolina Review, and more. She won the Brandon Memorial Literary Award from Negative Capability. Shapiro is a professional psychic who currently teaches writing at UCLA Extension. Find out more about her at http://www.rochellejewelshapiro.com.
My Thoughts About The Book:  I enjoyed all three of the stories in different ways.  Shapiro is really good at adding twists and turns to a story especially when you think you have figured out the plot.  I enjoyed A Sympathetic Listener the most.  I found the story one I related too.  I read the book in one sitting and it was an easy, pleasurable read. 
 Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Shebooks and Net Galley to review in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Out Of Dublin

About The Book:  Out of Dublin, a survivor’s captivating story of loss, abuse, and resilience, is a stunning short memoir told with startling honesty and vulnerability. Perhaps what’s most arresting about this work, above its unique voice, above its call to end silence, is the depth of its author’s capacity for compassion, love, and forgiveness.    This is a short e-book published by Shebooks--high quality fiction, memoir, and journalism for women, by women. For more information, visit http://shebooks.net.
About The Author:  ETHEL ROHAN was born and raised in Ireland and now lives in San Francisco. She is the author of a short e-memoir, Out of Dublin, and two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. Winner of Ireland's 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, her work has or will appear in The New York Times, PEN America, World Literature Today, BREVITY Magazine, Tin House Online, and The Rumpus, among many others. Visit her at ethelrohan.com.
My Thoughts About The Book:  This was one of the saddest reads I have reviewed in a while.  The story is heartbreaking.  It was very short and I really felt there needed to be more.  Not one of my favorites.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.