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 29, 2015

Last July Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Just a reminder there will not be any Hodgepodge next week (August 4/5). Joyce and her family will be wrapping up some travel here and then making their way south, aka moving, so I'll need a break.  The HP will be back the week after (August 11/12) so check back then for a new set of questions. We're here today though, so let's get started.  Once you answer the questions and want to get them posted hop over to Joyce's blog and link up.

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-
Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?  I struggle the most with facing my fears head on.  Sometimes I have to get a do over when it comes to that.  
  2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?
I am with Joyce....a manicure perhaps....or a nice hot cup of coffee from Starbucks for both my husband and me. 
3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.
I would have to say round trip.  We have taken two short mini vacays; one in June to Tennessee and one in July, to South Carolina.  We will be leaving for one more tonight after revival and we are heading South.
 4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?  I would love to learn to play the mandolin and banjo.  I would use that skill in my performances.  I think they would add a nice sound.  When I retire that is one of the 26 items I have down to accomplish.  I also want to learn to scroll saw.
  5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?  I have not been swimming so far this summer which is so sad, but I am taking my swimsuit when we head south tonight. I hear a pool calling my name.  I have not eaten an ice cream cone.  I am a diabetic and those are not on my list of good eats.  Frank
 and I saw Pitch Perfect 2.  It was good, at least the music was, and the ending.  I have not camped, nor have I stayed at a Motel ....which is my idea of camping.  I have eaten corn on the cob.  I have deliberately unplugged.  I watched a bit of a ball game, I have picked some fruit off the vine....and eaten it....we are juicing fruit is important.  I have read several books since I do reviews on my blog, and we have taken a road trip to Knoxville, Greenville so far and since school starts in a week we are plugging in a trip to the beach starting tonight after revival.  We should arrive at our hotel around 1AM.  
6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?
Here are a few things I'd like to hear every candidate address, both sides of the fence or no side of the fence- (I am using a few of Joyce's questions because I have the same ones.)
  • What are the two biggest issues facing America today?
  • Tell me why I should believe you're going to do what you say you're going to do. 
  • Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegals currently living in the US? 
  • What about illegals brought here as minors? Do you support in-state college tuition for illegals brought here as minors?
  • In a few short sentences tell me what America means to you.
  • How do you feel about limiting Senator and Representative terms to just two?
  • What will you do to help our veterans?
  • What are your feelings on OBAMA Care and socialized medicine? 
7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?  I love this song!

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.  Does your town, state, have tax free school shopping days?  Do you ever utilize them?  As a teacher who can only claim around 250.00 or the 1500.00+ I spend on my class each year I definitely do.  I don't usually buy high ticket items.  I get things I need for my class to begin school with....things for some reason students don't bring to class with them....I buy pencils and pens (I went through over 500 last year), paper, notebooks, notebook paper, construction paper, Kleenex(it amazes me how many of them my students use to blow their nose one time), paper towel, etc.



Monday, July 27, 2015

How Big Is A Christian?

I asked the children: "who do you think is the biggest Christian in this sanctuary today?" They kept saying that I was.  I was not quite sure how to take that because I am fluffy.  One of them finally told me it was because I was the preacher.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud.  I then suggested that the tallest person present (Rayford or Rex) come forward, as he could be the biggest Christian around. I took out my tape measure and ran it out a good distance and asked the kids, "is this really how we can measure the Christianity of a person? (they all shouted "NO!")  I then asked them what were some good Christian values and could they think of any? What makes us good and big Christians? How about having love? Can you measure love with a tape measure?  The kids all laughed and shook their heads, no.  So I went on to explain to them how we must all grow up--our bodies as well as our Christian spirit. We must grow in inches as well as in love. How do we grow in love to God and our neighbors? There suggestions to the questions were prayer, going to church, worship, reading bible, listening, learning from each other.  I have a special group of children at Rock Mills.  They make my heart sing each Sunday and I know they make God smile.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What Is Your Dream?

What is Your Dream? is the title of my sermon today.  My scripture today is from Ephesians 3: 20-21

As we enter into a time of revival I searched the scriptures to find something that would get that revival spirit burning.  In my short time of standing in a pulpit I have preached several messages on the subject of dreams.  Dreams fascinate me and always have.  This morning I would like to address the subject of dreams … with this question, “What is Your Dream?”  The question this morning is not can we dream, everyone can dream, but do we have the courage to act upon it.  This morning….I am dreaming of revival.  Not just for Midway United Methodist Church….but for Randolph County, Alabama, and the United States of America.
I am going to focus on verses 20 – 21.  20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,   21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

So let’s look first at The Process of a Dream.  One of the definitions for the word Process is this – A series of continuous actions that lead us to a particular result.  We must remember that dreams are a process. There are no instant Dreams unless you ate spicy food late at night, and then it is not a dream, it is a nightmare.  God will not lift you up out of your dream and set you down in the center of its fulfillment.  In 1983 a young man named Michael Dell graduated from High School. He had a passion for computers and would take them apart and rebuild them. He discovered that he could build them for one forth of the price even adding more memory, bigger monitors, and faster modems, he would be able to sell them cheaper with a handsome profit. His dream was to build and sell computers.  That fall, under a lot of pressure from his parents he enrolled at UT. After his freshman year, he dropped out of school and started Dell Computer Company with only $1,000 start up money.  Three years later, the company did a private placement offering stock to a small group of investors. At that time, Michael Dell was 22 years Old and Dell Computers had 150 million if annual sales.  Today, Dell Computers is a 57 Billion dollar company, with the leading market Share in the US.  Michael Dell said, I followed my dream. I learned by doing and by making mistakes, and I go smart people to help.  The Children of Israel dreamed of living in the Promised Land, but the only way to get there was through the wilderness.  You see, you will not be able to trust God for the fruition of your Dream, until you see His faithfulness in the process.  Do not despise the process, for that is where we learn to trust God.

• We discover His power in Red Sea situations.

• When we are led by Him, there are no sign posts.

• When we get up every morning with our eyes on our destiny and steadily move towards it.

• When we refuse to become like the children of Israel who murmured and complained in the wilderness.

The lyrics to an awesome love song are:

At times the load is heavy, at times the road is long,

when circumstances come your way and you think you can’t go on,

When your feeling at your weakest, Jesus will be strong,

He’ll provide an answer when you’ve found all hope is gone, He’ll find a way.

At times your heart is breaking with a pain that’s so intense, and all you hold are broken pieces to a life that makes no sense,

He wants to lift you up and hold you, and mend each torn event,

He’ll pick up the pieces that you thought had all been spent, He’ll find a way.

For I know that if He can paint a sunset, and put the stars in place,

if He can raise up mountains and calm the storm tossed waves,

and if He can conquer death forever to open Heavens gates,

I know for you, He’ll find a way.

If you are in a situation and you can’t find heads from tails,

remember you are in a process.

The process can be difficult, the road can be rough,

the land can be like a wilderness,

but you will never taste of the milk and honey without completing the process.

So now we need to look at The Progress of a Dream.  Your dream will never progress unless it is pursued.  The definition of the word Pursue is – To seek to attain. To apply ones energy towards as a chief interest. To follow after persistently.  With that definition in our minds people at Midway we need to pursue the dream God has given us no matter how far-fetched it may seem.

• Your dreams are like your children; they are your offspring.

• Your dreams are the joy of your present and the hope of your future.

• Protect them, feed them, encourage them to grow, for as long as you have a dream you will never be old.

I can hear the voice of Caleb today, “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."  I love the Caleb Spirit. This became possible because of the process.  People and life’s struggles attempted to steal his dream.

• Israel refusing to go into the Promised Land.

• Wandering around for 40 years in the wilderness.

• The murmuring of the people.

• The peoples attempt to bring in other Gods.

• Driving the inhabitants out of the Land.

• His dream included defeating the Anakites. (Giants)

Caleb stayed true to his dream, he stayed focused on his dream, and he pursued after his dream.

Look at the life of Joseph.

• The betrayal of his family

• The attempted seduction by Potiphar’s wife.

• The false imprisonment.

Joseph’s dream carried him all the way to his destiny as the ruler of Egypt.  We are talking about God given dreams that lead to God honoring results, not self ambition.

Now let’s look at  The Promise of a Dream.  The definition of Promise is – An assurance given by one person to another to perform a specified act.  Joel 2:28:  And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams,  your young men will see visions. God has a dream for you, and as you seek Him, He will reveal it to you. When He reveals His dream for you, you must remember three things:  1. Dreams are specific, not general; personal, not public.  God will not give someone else your dream, He will give it to you.  I have had people come to me and ask me, what do you think God want me to do?  God can confirm it through others, but He will reveal it to you.  When He does, be careful of who you share it with.  (Remember the story of Joseph?  Well, Joseph’s brothers could not handle his dream, so they tried to abort it.)  2. Dreams are usually outside the realm of the expected.  Often your dream will cause others to say, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  I know my friends did when I told them I was going to school to be a teacher.  They laughed.  Even at my 20 year high school reunion.  My former teachers were shocked when I told them what I did.  But….Remember, that is their opinion, not God’s.  Philippians for 13 tells us:  With God, all things are possible.  3. Dreams can separate you from others.  Dreamers are risk-takers and are always in the minority.  Dreams will separate the risk-takers, from the caretakers and the undertakers.  Those who walk by sight will always outnumber those who walk by faith.  So let me ask you right now….What do you dream about?  I know that Midway dreams of a great revival.  The kind of revival that fills the pews with people wanting to find out what we have here and what God is all about.  My fellow Christians….remember this….You will never out dream God.  Ephesians 3:20:  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  We have the power for revival….now….go into the world and Catch that Caleb spirit, give me that mountain.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thoughts On My First Wedding

Dear Kat and Jenifer,
     I read a post on Facebook this week and it got me to thinking.  I  have loved watching the popular TLC bridal shows...especially Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta, and I have spent time with my friends who are mother's of the bride and their breathtaking wedding boards on Pinterest, it got me asking questions about my first wedding, when I married your dad. So, I sat down and thought I would tell you both about it.  I hope by the time you finish reading this you will be laughing yourselves silly.  First of all...looking back on it, it was pretty ugly.  No, really, it was. It was a January1976, and that didn’t help.  It snowed that day and was cold as rip.  Thank goodness I did not make my bridesmaids wear rainbow colors, or hats, or any kind of head piece for that matter. colors were a strange shade of peach and pea green. Yeah. They were interesting colors against the green walls of the church and the red colored pews of the church.  Flowers and decorations were limited....ok...sparse.  The bridesmaids wore homemade dresses of whipped cream fabric that could accommodate a wide array of sizes and tallness.  As most brides do I thought the style was perfect and could be cut off to make a church dress later.....yeah right!  Those brides who think that are only fooling themselves.   I’m pretty sure they were burned while I was on my overnight honeymoon.  I had always planned on wearing a long-sleeved white lace Victorian gown. And my mom was thrilled when we found said dress...perfect Jordan Marsh and walked out with it that alterations needed.  I was delighted.  I also got a dutch cap veil.  They were from a truck show and we paid a whopping 80.00.  I think my whole wedding cost around 250.00.  I carried a white bible given to me by Susan Johnson Price and her mom, Francis.  I had a white orchid (grown by Susan's mom) and greenery, strings of pearls, and white ribbons.  I thought it was breathtaking.  The guys wore an array of dark suits.  None of them matched.  No snazzy tuxedo's with black shiny shoes.  My dress was packed up at Jack Sheehans and stored in a box.  It moved with me seven plus times.  I kept hoping one of you would want to wear it when you go married.  I gave it away last year for a costume in the Mock Wedding at RCHS.  The girl who wore it was just my former size and it looked beautiful on her.  The dutch cap veil was amazing....even after so many years.  I can remember when you both were little wanting me to take it out of the treasure box and let you play with it.  I never did.  Sometimes I wish that I had. 
     Now for the took place in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall or Kellyton United Methodist Church. We didn't have dinner or dancing or any satin to cover the pale cream drabness of the room. There was green sherbet punch, a delicious wedding cake, and some mixed nuts(mostly peanuts) and store bought hard pillow mints.  The punch was made by the ladies of the church who also provided the punch.  My parents bought the white cake.  I thought it was delicious.  There weren’t party favors or sparklers for the guests.  No little bags of Jordan almonds even.  There was no monogrammed remember this day gift for the guests to pick up on their way out.   The guests threw birdseed as we ran to the light green, 1969 Chevelle SS, awash with ridiculous writing and a condom on the engine of the car (this was probably one of your Uncle’s contributions). We stopped in Alex City to try and wash the shoe polish off the car, but to no avail, it was frozen to the paint...or lack there of.  When we sold the Chevelle in our fifth year of could still see "Just Married" on the breather of the engine and lightly on the hood of the car. 
     My pictures were not shared on social media and so many people never saw them at all.  Stephens studio took the pictures but they cost to much to buy a large mom and I had small ones made. There wasn’t a dance floor, cute painted Ball jars, fresh orchids, or Pinterest chandeliers hanging from trees in a gorgeous garden.  Weddings weren't done that way back then.  Even though it was not Pinterest worthy....I wouldn’t change a moment of it.  Somehow, even with our less than glamorous wedding photo album and honeymoon on an extreme budget to Franklin, Georgia (which is about 10 miles from where I live now and not your honeymoon mecca), your dad and I were just as married as these multiple thousands of dollar weddings you see on television today.  I am shocked when a bride pays over a thousand dollars for a dress.  Shocked I say. 
     Your dad and I understood that a marriage wasn’t about a wedding.  We started our married life with the understanding that a lifetime of love and commitment trumps an event any day. We learned that starting our new life together debt- and doubt-free was a gift to each other.  Somewhere along the way we lost track of that and could not find our way back.  We gave it  20+ years of effort.  "I read that 70 percent of girls creating wedding boards on Pinterest aren’t even engaged yet. With every other marriage ending, do we have time for all this planning and pinning for one perfect day?  It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only.  I want you to know marriage is more than a venue or a menu. It’s far more than The Perfect Day or Saying Yes to the dress.  I want you to understand your commitment to the man of your dreams is more than a certificate—it’s a covenant to God."  I also want you to know that matter how hard we try....people grow is sad...but it happens.  I hated being a statistic....but I am.  I don't want that for you.  With all that said...."Most of all, I want you to know love" and to know how much you are me....and your dad.. "The kind of love your dad and I had that lasts through heartache and headaches. I want you to know that you are loved. You don’t have to earn or achieve it. It’s not dependent on a good hair day or bad. It’s not something you can lose. Whether you’re swept off your feet or remain a confidant single woman, you are enough."  So, on this regular summer Friday, I want you to know that my wedding wasn’t much.  But too me my marriage was so much more.
Love you to the moon and back,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Married 'Til Monday


About The Book:  With a big anniversary party in the works for her parents, Ryan will pretend to be Abby's husband for just one last weekend.  Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He's sulked, he's gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive 2-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.  Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she's finally succumbed to her mom's pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.
Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as devastatingly handsome as ever. When he insists he's going to Seabrook, with or without her, Abby knows she can't say no. Her parents still think they're married and now Ryan knows it too. Besides, he only wants to check in with his best friend from college-her cousin Beau, who just lost his dad. It's just a one-week road-trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong?
About the Author:  Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including "Dancing with Fireflies" and "The Convenient Groom". She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.  Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the experience of falling in love vicariously through her characters and can expect a happily-ever-after sigh as they close the pages of her books.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I did not read the other books in the series, but after reading this one I wish I had. This  book can be read as a standalone.  Characters from the other book are present but do not stand in the way of keeping up with the story line.  This is a Christian romance one of my favorite genres to read.   I did not want the story to end and read it in one night.   This is a definite must read!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers  as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Horse in the Wilderness

About The Book:  A missing horse. A missing boy. A vandal with an unexplained grievance against a local farmer. A young woman who drives as though pursued by demons.
An impulsive offer to help locate the missing horse draws Brent Travis unwillingly into the affairs of the Parker family. Are they the gracious, God-fearing Christians they appear to be, or are they the hypocrites of Brent’s past experience? Autumn Parker’s friendly jibe—quitter—cuts closer than she knows to the heart of the man who has lost his faith in God, in honor, and in loyalty. Caught in a battle between the forces of depression telling him he has nothing to live for and the opportunity to build a new life for himself in rural Orchard Springs, Arkansas, Brent is forced to re-examine everything he believes.  When the vandal strikes again, Brent takes the harshest blow yet—and this time he may not recover.
About The Author:  Debbie Eckles teaches kindergarten in Arkansas, where she lives with a rescue horse, three cats, a Lab mix that likes to sing, and a German Shepherd whose puppy antics provided the inspiration for the wall-eating Jimmy.
My Thoughts On The Book: This was my first book by Debbie Eckles and I can promise you it will not be my last.   The story is great!  The chapters were a bit long.  The characters are real life and personable.  I knew and related to these people!  The end is great.  The plot is relatable to the readers life.  LOVED IT!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers and Westbow Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Bride At Last

About The Book:  Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.  Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony-until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.  Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?  Purchase a copy:
About The Author:  Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.  Find Melissa online: website, Facebook
My Thoughts On The Book:  This was my first book by author Melissa Jagears and I have to say it was an awesome read.  I enjoyed reading the book from start to finish.  The main characters are well developed and the relationship between Silas and Kate, filled with mistrust, passion, tension,  and fear makes the readers feel like they are experiencing these extreme emotions right along with the two.  The story line is well developed even though the location changes about halfway through the book and new challenges arise.   I highly recommend this book.  I cannot wait to get my hands on another book by Jagears.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse Publishing Company and Bethany House as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!