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, February 29, 2012

Leaping Into Hodge Podge - Volume 68

If this is Wednesday then it must be Hodge Podge.  Jump over to Joyce's blog and check out all the answers, join in by jumping over there too.  It is fun and you get to know a good bit about everyone.  Here are my answers for the week: 
1. This Hodgepodge falls on the last day of the year this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?  Teaching at BRHS today and Rock Mills Youth tonight.  I will also spend it sick.  I have a nasty cold and right now am miserable.  Hoping that once the medicine I just took kicks in I will be able to survive the day.
2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?  Probating my parents estate.  People....make a will.  This has been a hard year for me.
3. We're one week into the season of Lent...are you marking these forty days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How's it going so far?  I gave up french fries and am writing personal notes to people who have touched my life.  I chose a twofer this round.
4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?
April last year when we had Randy's celebration party.  We sat around a fire, played guitars, and sang,  It does not get much better than that.
5. Surf and turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak) or a menu so you can select another option?  I love surf and bring that bad boy on.
6. If you could have any television show back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?   I am like Joyce and will have to say the Andy Griffith Show.  It was the epitome of feel good shows.

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?  Somewhere between the two.  My memory is dulling but it is still there.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  Nothing stinks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong. I don't like to argue and this is why. If and when I do argue it is over something that is life really does not matter to me that I am right.....but one night a group of us were talking about Disney World and when it opened.  I said it opened in 1972 and I was there....everyone in the car agreed with me....except Frank.  He was adamant that it opened somewhere around '75.  I chose not to argue because I knew once I got home and to my computer I would show him the error of his thoughts.  Just as we got to where we were going he said sweetly, "you know guys I think it was 1972." have got to love him....or take him home and strangle him.  I just smiled.  Frank loves to be right.....but when he isn't....he is man enough to own up.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I spoke Sunday at Waverly United Methodist.  I love speaking and I love speaking there because that was Frank's first charge.  My lesson was called "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I started out by singing the Judy Garland song acapella.  I love singing that reminds me of my mom.  My scripture text came from 1 Peter 3:18-22 and my speech went something like this:  "I remember a summer day that began bright and sunny, but muggy and uncomfortable. The weatherman predicted storms, but when one looked outside, it was hard to believe it would happen. But that was the way weather was in South Florida…..glorious one minute and storming the next.  By 3o’clock in the afternoon things had changed drastically. The air was so humid you felt you would drown just walking through it. The sky in the West was turning ugly. Huge dark clouds were rolling in and soon the sun was totally obliterated. It was almost as dark as night, but it was late afternoon. Suddenly the clouds burst and huge drops of rain began to fall. Lightening flashed through the heavens and the house seemed to vibrate with each crash of thunder. The rain was so heavy you couldn’t see the house across the road. Rivers of water ran down our driveway into the street causing the storm drains to back up. There was a loud crack and our power went off. Oh well, no more electricity for awhile. We sat in darkness waiting for the storm to pass over. Little by little the rain began to let up, the clouds lightened and the sun came out, it’s rays glistening in the light rain that still fell. “Look! Over the house across the street. Do you see it?” Sure enough, there it was…a rainbow. We went outside, standing in the drizzle to see it better. As we watched the colors became brighter and brighter. It was beautiful. Then just as we thought it couldn’t get any better, a second rainbow appeared over the first gradually darkening in color like the first. I remember a sense of well being flooding over me. Everything was going to be alright now. We had God’s promise and it was good.  I am sure each of them probably had a similar story somewhere in their memories....just as I am sure each of you does. To this day I look for a rainbow whenever it is raining and the sun is shining. There is a sense of comfort just in seeing it. I get so excited when there it is, that beautiful arch across the sky. It seems to have no beginning, no end. It just is. I know for a fact that if you try to go find the end of the rainbow, no matter how far you travel, you will have to keep going. The end will never appear.  The rainbow for me will forever be a sign of hope. We see them everywhere and always in conjunction with a promise. That’s what the rainbow is, a promise, a reminder between God and man forever!  You know, if anyone needed a promise or two, it was Noah! Can you imagine being told by God to build an ark, gather your family and two of every kind of living creature, get in and close the doors and wait. Then it starts to rain and it keeps it up for 40 days and 40 nights. That would be like if it started to rain on March 5th and didn’t stop until April 15. You think tax day is bad!! That’s a long time to never see the sun shine. But that’s exactly what Noah endured. He obeyed God’s commands. He built the ark(even when everyone thought he had lost his mind), he gathered his family and all the creatures and he floated around aimlessly over the waters as they rose high above the earth. You have to wonder if he ever gave it a thought that he might die on this boat.  Can't you just hear him?  God is a god of promises. We know that because we have the Bible to tell us. Noah learned that by living it. That rain did stop and the sun did reappear and the water subsided so that eventually the doors of the ark could be opened and Noah, his family, and all the creatures could step out on solid ground. If that were the end of the story, man would forever live in fear that God would do this again to get rid of all the evil in the world. Considering the state our world is in today, this would be a good time for a flood don’t you think? But that’s not what will happen. I am not a predictor of the future. I am a reader of the Word of God and in it I find this promise: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come; I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” How many more ways does God have to say it? That rainbow in the sky that we see today is a sign of God’s promise to us never to destroy all of life again. BUT, there is more. There is yet another reason why the rainbow is a sign of God’s grace to us.  Look at I Peter 3:18-22. Peter sums it all up rather nicely as he talks about Noah and his family being SAVED from a sure death. You and I too have been SAVED from a sure death in this way: Christ died for our sins. He did it once and he did it for ALL mankind. That’s each of us there today. Christ is the perfect one, the perfect sacrifice. Only an exchange of the righteous for the unrighteous would suffice. So Jesus did what he had to do. He went to the cross in his perfection to pay for us in our imperfection. Peter explains it further this way:   “[…in the days of Noah], only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” 
That rainbow in the sky is more than a promise that God will never send a flood again. More importantly, it is the reminder of our baptism through water, our salvation in Jesus Christ, AND our promise of eternal life.  Oh, and one more thing about a rainbow! Have you ever seen one on a bright sunny day picture perfect day? No? You haven’t and you won’t either. Do you know why? It’s because a rainbow appears in the sky at the end of a storm. It’s after the thunder and the lightening are all over and the rain is beginning to subside and the sun comes out. That’s when you see a rainbow. You have to weather the storm first. It’s not much different in our walk with Christ. We see the greatest riches of our God after we have weathered the storms of life. When things are going good and life is easy, the rainbows just don’t appear. BUT, when we go through difficult times, when our faith is tested and we keep our trust in God, that’s when we really see the full effect of his grace, mercy, and love. That’s when we see and experience the riches of living a life founded in him. That’s when we see our rainbow.What’s at the end of the rainbow? When I was a child I always believed that there was a real black pot with gold coins in it…..and that there was always a leprechaun looking for this pot of gold….and you may laugh…..but at the end of the rainbow there really is a pot of gold.  Not the black cauldron I imagined as a child…but yes, it exists all the same and is symbolized in the riches we have in Jesus Christ! The only flood you and I will ever see is the flood of God’s grace and the riches of his kingdom bestowed upon us forever! You may never look at a rainbow in quite the same way again! I know I didn’t.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh No Not Again!

Here we go again.  I am a teacher.  I have a Master's Degree and I work full time.  To dispell the misconception about my pay, I chose to have my salary for 187 days broken down over a nine month period so as to not interrupt my insurance.  This morning when I came in I had an email from a teacher buddy of mine who wanted me to read a news article done by David White.  The title of the article was "Alabama legislators will get $1,608 raises if they don't decline them in writingMONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Each state lawmaker will get a pay raise of $1,608 per year starting in April unless he or she declines it in writing".  The article goes on to say that Senate secretary Pat Harris and House of Representatives clerk Greg Pappas said. House and Senate records show that 45 of Alabama's 140 state lawmakers now make $53,438 in legislative pay in a typical year(I don't know about you but this is danged good money for a part-time job), during which no special legislative session is held. Other legislators have refused previous pay raises and make less now. The automatic cost-of-living increase that would be implemented in April would push the annual pay for those 45 to $55,046, a raise of 3 percent. Two of those legislators, Birmingham Democrats Sen. Rodger Smitherman and Rep. John Rogers, said they intend to accept the raise because of the rising costs of gasoline, lodging in Montgomery and other work-related expenses. ''If the cost of living didn't increase, we wouldn't get it," Rogers said. Smitherman said, ''I'm going to accept it because of the increased expenditures." He said he stopped for gas recently and premium gasoline was $4 per gallon (yeah...well I drive an hour twice a day...with gas at that price and I have not had a raise since 2007). House and Senate records also show that 73 lawmakers now make $52,646 in legislative pay in a typical year. An increase of $1,608 would be a 3.1 percent increase. Those 73 legislators declined last year's automatic cost-of-living increase of $66 a month. Some legislators voluntarily have cut their pay to levels at or below $30,710 in a typical year, the amount a typical lawmaker made before the Legislature passed a 61 percent legislative pay raise in 2007. The resolution approving the raise included a provision to annually boost a lawmaker's monthly expense allowance to reflect increases in a federal consumer price index. That monthly allowance makes up most of the pay for serving in the Legislature. Lawmakers also get a salary and another expense allowance when they're in session. Lawmakers could change or replace the pay-raise resolution, but have not. Legislators who make $30,710 a year or less in a typical year include: Sens. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road; Ben Brooks, R-Mobile; Del Marsh, R-Anniston; Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville; and Reps. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, and Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, House and Senate records show. Some other legislators have volunteered to make less than most of their peers but more than those six. A few lawmakers, such as Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, the House leader, make more than most legislators because of their leadership positions. Hubbard's legislative pay is $70,856 in a typical year, House records show. Brewbaker and DeMarco in interviews said they would decline the scheduled cost-of-living adjustment. ''It just doesn't seem right for legislators to take COLAs, or certainly take a big pay increase, when state employees certainly aren't getting them," Brewbaker said. State agency employees last got a cost-of-living salary increase, of 3.5 percent, in October 2008. Public school teachers last got a COLA, of 7 percent, in October 2007. DeMarco said he wanted nothing to do with the 2007 pay raise, including its automatic cost-of-living adjustment. ''I think it hurt the credibility of the Legislature," he said (Ya think????)  The 2007 pay raise resolution raised a typical lawmaker's annual legislative pay from $30,710 to $49,550. Opponents in 2007 said the raise was way too big. Supporters said lawmakers hadn't had a raise since 1991. Many lawmakers hold jobs other than their legislative positions. Many own their own businesses, and many are lawyers, for instance. The median annual household income in Alabama in 2006 through 2010 was $42,081, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Half of state households had more and half had less."  So, if you want to get rich quick...come to the state with no lottery, who lets any business come in and not pay taxes, who continues to take from the children's education fund, and become a politician.  We can't even fund the programs we have now...and they are getting a raise????  I guess it will come from the Education Trust Fund too....and we will be forced to lay off, or fire more teachers.  Sigh!  It is another beautiful day in the political world.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Cab Ride

This was not the blog post I had planned to write today but, when I read this email I knew it was somethintg I needed to share.  You see, Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and it is a time of giving up...sacrificing in preparation for Easter.  I actually did two things....I gave up french fries....and believe me I love the things.....and I decided to write 40 days of letters to people who have touched my life in some way.  The story is called the cab ride and it goes something like this:
"I arrived at the   address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked..   'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for   years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.  'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the  woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.' 'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?' 'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have verylong.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.  For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were   newlyweds.  She had me pull up in front of a
furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.  As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. 'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse. 'Nothing,' I said 'You have to make a   living,' she answered. 'There are other passengers,' I responded. Almost without thinking, I   bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said 'Thank you.' I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a   door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more   passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life."  You know we are conditioned to think that our lives revolve around moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what   others may consider a small one. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might  as well dance.  Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Project 365 - Week 8

We have just completed our eighth week of Project 365.  This week I was at an Emmaus Walk so my pictures are all woodsy.  Hope you enjoy them.  Hop over to Sara's blog and check out the other pictures.

Sunday, February 19th

The Peppermint Camelia was a gift at church this morning from Mr. Laurice.  He is the cutest little guy.  I just love his sense of humor and his smile.    The baby booties were made by Mary Beth, also one of our church members....and yes...we are going to be grandparents.  Our daughter, Amy is having a baby in July.  They are naming her Amelia Maeve.  I am so in love with the name and the fact that they are going to have a baby.  I could just bust.

Monday, February 20th
Down a country dirt road off Hwy 22 between Daviston and New Site.

Tuesday, February 21st
Next day there I found another one between Daviston and Wadley.  I had never realized there were so many dirt roads off Hwy 22.

Wednesday, February 22nd

I arrived at Camp Alimisco today to begin the Emmaus Walk I was working.  Camp Alimisco is a Seventh-Day Adventist Camp outside of Dadeville, AL.  I will be here for the next 72 hours.

Thursday, February 23rd

One of my favorite things about Camp Alimisco are the Burma Shave type signs along the road in.  There are about 15 of them so I picked two of my favorite to share with you.  Ok....maybe three!

Friday, February 24th

Inside the gate at Alimisco.  I thought the little bears and the well were too cute.

Saturday, February 25th
Today was my last day at camp and I will be headed home soon.  I figured that since I had spent most of my week on Alimisco photos I would share my favorite place in the world there.
The ampitheater chapel at Camp Alimisco
Leaving Camp and heading back to Rock Mills.  The sun was hitting the road so beautifully and I had to smile because it was like God was shining down on me.  I knew this was a good Emmaus walk.  God Bless You all and I will see you next week.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Road To Emmaus

I am part of an Emmaus Walk this week. I arrived at Camp Alimisco Weds. Night and will go home late Saturday afternoon. I was so excited about this when Sharon called and asked me to be part of the music team.....and then the devil and life got in the way and the closer the time came....the more reasons I could think of not to be here. Mt first reason was because I was going to miss the Ash Wednesday service.(As an Easter is an important part of the preparation for Easter). I was sick was my second attempt....didn't work either. I was exhausted...and you don't come to one of these to rest. I would not be able to blog....well here I am....IPad and all. Wednesday I was still wanting to go home......and then I watched the movie about the Road to Emmaus and I knew this was the devil and I wrestling and I was supposed to be here. Thursday I did get sick....yep that old devil is working hard....and this morning it is storming. Everywhere you go in the walk....Thanks devil....usually after a rain there is a rainbow. Bet he didn't think of that. I have so much more to tell you all and will when I get home. Have an awesome is Friday right? God bless and pray this storm does not blow us away.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Beautiful Wife Blog Tour

About the Book:  The Beautiful Wife uses these inspiring stories along with biblical principles to guide and encourage any wife looking for God's best in her marriage. The Beautiful Wife answers serious questions women have about their roles as wives. Discussing everything from romance and money to beauty, communication, and sex, Sandy challenges women to open up and share their journeys so that together they can see God's plan for their marriages. "It is my passion to help women discover God's heart for their marriage, just as the other women helped me," writes Sandy. "When women share with each other the details of their journeys with God as wives, it's a beautiful thing indeed." The Beautiful Wife has two companion resources - Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide.

About the Author:  Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren.  Visit her site at

Want to buy the book?  Click here.

Video Links:
1.  Sandy’s Testimony. This is directed primarily at wives. Sandy speaks to the mentors for a few seconds near the end, but her testimony will be one that resonates with wives as well.

2.  About BEAUTIFUL WOMANHOOD Ministry. This uses Sandy’s experience to speak directly to the marriage mentor to encourage and equip her role as a mentor.

If you want to read what other reviewers have written then check out the blog tour link and click here.

Want to be part of the giveaway?  Check out the sidebar on my blog for the details.

My Thoughts:   As the wife of a pastor I truly strive to be a godly wife, beautiful to God, my co-workers, my church family, but more importantly to my husband.  More often than not,  I fail yet, the  small successes keep me going. If  you are like me and you need a little encouragement then you must read and own Sandy Ralya’s Beautiful Wife.  It is one of those books that are a must in your library.  This book is very helpful in finding your way to becoming the kind of wife you should be....a beautiful one. I cannot wait to lead a bible study with our women's group.  They will love this as much as I do.

Disclaimer:  I was given this book by Litfuse Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.  My opinions of this book are 100% my own.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hodge Podge - Vol 67

It has been a crazy week and I am so tired and the week is only half over.  Today I am attending an ESL (English as a Second Language) workshop at our Central Office.  I knew I would not have time to play with my computer today....or tomorrow through Saturday either.  It is going to be all I can do to take pictures for the week.  Anyways, here are Joyce’s  questions to this week's Hodgepodge...come on over to her blog and link answers and see what the neighbors are saying-
1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?  My family makes me proud.  My Lord keeps me humble.  But you know...I love the song...."Oh Lord It's Hard to Be Humble When You are Perfect in Everyway.  Glad that is not my theme song.
2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?  For me it is on the cabinet right inside the door…but I also take it out from there the next morning.  For Frank it is the little kitchen table.  He keeps it pretty piled up.
3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?  I have a National Park Passport.  Is that gay or what?  Frank and I got his on our honeymoon.  I love parks.  My favorite is in the Smokey Mtns and called Cades Cove.  It is my favorite place in the world.
4. How would you define honor?  The act of showing someone or something high respect.
5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?  To be honest….neither.  I really prefer pie.
6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?  Last car trip was to the Smokey Mtns.  We were in the road for about 6 hours.  We do both.  If there is something Frank and I want to see….we stop…if not…we go.  I love leisure winding roads…and we took the Dragon’s Tale on our trip to the mountains and wandered aimlessly on the way up.  It was the perfect day.  Snack of choice is pretzels.
7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes. The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?  Oh come on!  I had to keep a diet chart when I was in school.  I actually failed mine because I had cold pizza for breakfast.  My mom went and challenged the teacher….I ended up with an A because I ate all the meals I was supposed to.  I mean come on…what is the difference between pancakes….and cake?  What is in them….flour, eggs, sugar….I rest my case.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Do you know what a mondegreen is?  Have you ever used one?  I would almost bet you have.   A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song. My favorite example are the lyrics to the Jimi Hendrix song, "Purple Haze."  Most people hear  'scuse me while I kiss this guy."  which is the mondegreen.  The real lyrics are "'scuse me while I kiss the sky."  And then there is the Creedence song lyrics, "there's a bathroom on the right" ("there's a bad moon on the risin'".  Mondegreens are great fun.

Embraced By God Blog Tour

ISBN - 139781426741340
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Price:  18.95
About the Book:  “Have you ever wondered, “Does God really love me?  Do I really matter to Him?”  Rest assured that each and every question you have is of great concern to God.  He is not far away or unconcerned.  He has not forgotten about you.  He is concerned about what’s going on in your life, and He is as close to you as your very next breath.  He loves you.  As a matter of fact, God loves you just as much as He loves His own Son.   In the pages of this heartwarming, thoughtful, and life-affirming 21-day journey, award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, and teacher Babbie Mason reminds you, when you know you are loved by God and that you are in His eternal plan, you’ll never again wonder if your life matters.  You can start off heading in the wrong direction and still end up in the right place because you are embraced by God!
About the Author:  Babbie Mason is a Dove Award-winning and Grammy nominated gospel singer, songwriter, author, creator of the Embrace: A Worship Event for Women ministry, professor of songwriting at Atlanta Christian College and Lee University, and a television talk-show host. She was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs. Babbie has been honored perform for Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Steve Forbes among many others. Babbie performs a holiday special at Carnegie Hall every year. Babbie lives near Atlanta on a farm with her husband Charles.

Click here for more information.
Click here to buy the book!

Embraced by God is a 21-day encounter that shares the unconditional love of God. "If you watch what the media says as to where we should find our identity--" says Babbie, "--money, beauty, power and technology--you'll just be confused about who you are and what your purpose is. As a culture we are trying to buy or sell what can only be administered to the soul by Jesus."
Celebrate with Babbie by entering her Nook Tablet Giveaway!
One beloved winner will receive:
A Brand new Nook Tablet with Wi-Fi
Embraced by God by Babbie Mason
Babbie's Embraced by God Music CD
Babbie's Embraced by God Notecards
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/5/12. Winner will be announced at Babbie's "Embraced" Facebook Party on 3/6. Babbie will be hosting an evening of chat, music, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, Embraced by God music CDs and Notecards, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club.)
So grab your copy of Embraced by God and join Babbie and friends on the evening of March 6th for an evening of fun.
Want to check out what other readers are saying?  Visit the blog tour dates by clicking here.
My Thoughts:   I love a good bible study for my personal use, but I don't like do use them  for review on my blog, mostly because I have so little time and read non-fiction books regularyly dealing with my class.  When I do get the chance to read I want something that is light and mindless.   But when this invitation to join this tour I knew I had to join this tour.  I love Babbie Mason.  I have seen her in concert.  I have been touched by her powerful witness.  I was all in on this one.  I just prayed that they would choose me to be a participant, and they did. I did not get the book in enough time to do the 21-day challenge, but I becgan as soon as it arrived and I have loved every minute I have spent in it.  I am really looking forward to finishing this book and applying it to my life. It was so very encouraging to me to be told that I am an heir and loved by God, just like He loved Jesus. Then, to EMBRACE those words–that was so very humbling!!  I want to warn the readers that this excellent book is not a mere short devotional book.  It is a 15-20 page study.  It is not something that can be done lightly at all.  It is a powerful book and very well-written.  Thank you Babbie Mason for enlightening me....and allowing me to be Embraced by God.

Disclaimer:  I received Babbie Mason's Embraced by God for free from Abingdon Press to give an honest opinion of what I read.  The opinions I stated were 100% my own.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She Is My Friend!

Short post today....I have struggled with what to post all week....and then last night it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I would talk about what I know best.  When you are a pastor's wife and active in the church your husband is serving you are usually known as Mrs. Preacher, Sister Preacher, my Pastor's wife(and believe me I don't mind that title.  I love my husband and role of his helpmate).  At school I am me....and Frank is Mrs. Korb's husband....but at is his world and I am just along for the ride. all know I am never along for the ride.  ANYWAYS....let's herd the cats and move on.  Last night we went to buy a used sewing machine and some lamps and I met a lovely young woman there.  She works with the woman who was selling the stuff.  when M did not introduce me....I introduced myself....and since I am so accustomed to saying it....said, "I am Karen Korb....M's pastor's wife".  The lady shook my hand...introduced herself....and told me she had heard a lot of good things about me....but never that I was M's pastor's wife.  M always talked about me....and said, "She is my friend."    I have to admit that one statement took my breath away and I nearly cried.  I love my church family.  They really and so near to my hear and rock my world....and if I could have found my voice last night....I would have told M that she "is my friend too!"  I am truly blessed!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

To Tax or Not to Tax

This morning I was sent an email of an article by David White from the Birmingham News that saddened me.  I have always known that at one point or another children's education was going to be martyred for the sake of big business.  I really hoped I would not see this day....but I have. "The Alabama House of Representatives today voted 65-22 for a plan to rewrite the state constitution to protect from legal challenge proposed tax incentives that the governor could approve for companies opening or expanding industrial, research and other facilities in Alabama. The proposed constitutional rewrite, House Bill 159 by Rep. Barry Mask, R-Wetumpka, now goes to the Senate for debate. If approved by the Senate, the proposed amendment would take effect only if approved by voters in a statewide referendum. The proposed amendment would extend immunity from lawsuits based on the state constitution or other laws the tax breaks proposed for companies outlined by another bill, House Bill 160 by Mask, which already has passed the House. Under that bill, the governor at his or her discretion could let a company, in return for building a new or expanded facility in Alabama, keep from 50 percent to 90 percent of the state income tax withheld from the pay of people working at the facility."  The result of this....1400+ MORE teachers will be let go, more students will be in classroom.  I already have 30+ and I am the only foreign language teacher left at our school.  I feel like we are perfectly content to sacrifice the Walmart, Target, car manufacturers, etc....can build and be tax free.  The Education Trust fund continues to be attacked....the last one was so we could spend more money on prisoners....and we actually now spend more on them than our students per diem.  Alabama....what are you thinking????

Project 365 - Week 7

We are seven weeks into 2012.  Time flies when you are having fun.  I had a good time taking pictures this week.  Hope you will hop over and check out everyone else's offerings at Sara's blog....and if you like what you is never to late to join in.....just pick up your camera and shoot.  Enjoy my week in photos.

Sunday, February 12th
I almost forgot a shot today and went out to my car to get something and there this amazing sky was.

Monday, February 13th

 I took my camera to work today to show off my new 50mm lens.  I was sitting at my desk during my planning period and thought I would play with it a bit.  The cascarones(top) were done by my Spanish I classes and the Aflac ducks I just thought were too cute.

Tuesday, February 14th
Valentines Day

Frank and I went out to eat on Tuesday night.  Sunny's is not romantic or high priced.  I didn't want Frank to have to cook and we were not in the mood for anything in particular.  You see we don't celebrate Valentine's Day.  Actually Valentine's Day urks me a bit.  I don't need a special day to tell Frank I love him, buy him a stuffed animal, chocolates, or flowers.  I love this man every in our case....everyday is Valentine's day....we just don't call it that.  I love that man of mine.

Wednesday, February 15th

Daviston Church sign on my way down....or up Hwy 22 and at school this week has been crazy with kids pulling some crazy things....I put my change in my little Problem Student piggy and this week it is full to the brim.

Thursday, February 16th
I am working an Emmaus Walk(Spiritual retreat) this coming weekend.  People from all over donate agape which is little gifts of love for the pilgrims.  Before Mary passed away we completed some and I found it the other day. They are glass magnets and so very pretty.  I am going to take it with me this week and share it with the pilgrims.  I know MM would love it.

Frank made this for my classroom.  I really should have shot it with a sold dark background....but you know what they say....."hind sight is twenty-twenty."

Friday, February 17th

Trina, Laura, and Beth.  We are smiling because the kids will only be with us half a day today.  Whoooo hoooo!  We have PD (Professional Development) this afternoon after the kids leave.  We have three modules to watch about English Language Learners.

Satrurday, February 18th

I had too many choices of things I wanted to do today.  Renee and her daughter wanted me to go prom dress shopping at Touch of Class in Wetumpka and there was an auction at Joel Dollars in Standing Rock.  Can you guess which one I did.  She said, "yes to the dress."  Was she not stunning in this gorgeous creation?  I thought she looked like a princess.  I loved the dresss.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Friday Half Day

I am counting down the minutes until that final bell rings.  Today the students are only here until 12:15.  The second half of the day is supposed to be Professional Development.  I guess we are supposed to work on the ESL(English as a Second Language) modules we have to complete BEFORE Spring Break.  I had planning first block, second block was Spanish II (one of three - the other two won't meet today), and third block was/is Spanish I.  We watched Radio in Spanish II and I talked with them about the "real" Radio.  I had the girls in tears.  Loved it.  I have to tell you....I am not a football fan....but my favorite movies are:  Rudy, Radio, Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, Facing the Giants, The Blind Side..." and they all have a common theme....FOOTBALL!  Go figure.  My Spanish I class watched "Friendship Fields" and did a worksheet on stereotyping.  It is a Feature Film for Families film and wonderful!  I was surprised that they liked it....but they did.  Even my boys who don't like anything were quiet and watched.  When the bell rings this place will clear out so quickly.  My lunch bunch has ordered lunch from J.R.'s Wings and Things.  That is kind of a Friday tradition for us.  I look forward to having a special lunch.  Tonight and tomorrow Frank will be gone to school and I will be home alone.  I am going to do some house cleaning tonight....I have this desire to rearrange my house.  We bought a coffee table for the den yesterday at Longleaf and I am going to pick it up on my way home and I can't wait to get stuff done.  I hate it when Frank is gone...cause I miss him so much.....but I love it too...because I work when he is not there.  I hope you have a wonderful Friday night.  See you all tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Day/Week

This week is dedicated to random acts of kindness.  Friday, February 17th is actually Random Acts of Kindness Day and I thought I would help you all get some ideas flowing for thing(s) you can do tomorrow.  I love doing these.  I have paid for the persons McDonald's order behind me in the drive through and several other random things.  I am giving you the top 25 but if you want more you can click here and see the top 70.  You know if you practice random acts of kindness this week it will definitely help you get in the habit of doing kind things all year long.  Don't you think?  So here is my top 25 list.  Some of them don't cost you anything but some effort and time.
1. Open the door for another person.
2. Add some quarters to a parking meter you notice is getting low.
3. When visiting a hospital spend a few moments with someone who doesn’t have any visitors at that time.  You know there are people in the hospital who have no one to visit them.  How sad is that?
4. Make a new friend.
5. Invite a couple of neighborhood kids over for a cooking class.
6. Collect can goods for a food bank.
7. Leave a note in your mailbox letting the mail delivery person know you appreciate them and all their hard work.
8. Clean up litter on a street in your neighborhood.
9. Put together a neighborhood "clean-up" day where everyone gathers to pick-up trash and to do minor clean-up or improvement tasks.
9. Drop off  some home-made baked goods to your local police or fire department.
10. Say something nice to everyone you meet today.
11. Provide a neighborhood child with homework help.
12. Leave a kind note for a family member or friend.
13. Tell you're children/grandchildren why you love them.
14. Clean graffiti off your neighborhood buildings or walls.
15. Organize a sing-a-long at a local senior center or stop by to play the piano for the residents. Just holding someones hand and listening to what they want to talk about or praying with them can mean the world to them.
16. Shovel snow for a neighbor.
17. Cheer up a friend you know who needs it by surprising them with a quiet lunch out and listen to what they need to talk about. Think about what is bothering them and try to offer something to help them with their issue.
18. Donate blood.
19. Hug a family member.
20. Smile and say "Hello" to people you don't know.
21. Offer to babysit for free. Perhaps you know a couple or a single parent who could really use a short break.
22. Offer someone behind you in the grocery check-out line to go in front of you.
23. Pat someone on the back.
24. Volunteer to read to students at a near-by school. Volunteer once a month to provide instruction and guidance in the arts department. Better yet if the school doesn't have an arts department.
25. Pay for the person behind you in lines order.
I have to tell you that the movie Pay It Forward, with Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt, is one of my favorite movies.  I cry everytime I watch it and it always reminds me to do something out of the ordinary and random for someone act of grace.  Have a wonderful day today and pick out one thing to do randomly tomorrow.  I know you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hodge Podge - Vol 66

Yep, it is Wednesday and this is Hodge Podge.  It is one of my favorite days of the week.  Hodge Podge is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers.  Want to play?  Hop over to Joyce's Blog and join in.  We would love to have you.  This weeks questions are: 

1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?  I want to meet all three….but since I have to chose Abraham Lincoln.  I would want to talk to him about the Emancipation Proclamation. 

2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?   Fast Food is Chik-fil-a.  Not so fast food is Outback.

3. When you look back on your life, do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?  I will look at what all I did accomplish and say it is good!  What I failed to accomplish was probably something I never should have tried anyways.

4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?   Grapefruit take-‘em.  When I was a child we had three Duncan (white) grapefruit trees in our backyard and I would eat them as a snack….could explain why I weighed so little then.  I would have rather had the grapefruit than a cookie.  I love them cut in half and eaten out of the hull and I love it juiced.  I love grapefruits!  I also love Temple oranges.  We grew them as well.  They are a little tart orange…kind of like a Clementine (which I love too).

5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?   There is a closet in my office that needs cleaning out.  I clean out the clothes closets pretty regularly.  My new thing is…something comes in….something goes out.  I have been really good about adhering to this policy.  The closet in the office is full of photos I need to get divided up between family members that were from my mom’s house.  I just can’t seem to get the umph to do it.

6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?   Jesus, Paul, and Joseph.  I have so many questions to ask them about history and their stories.

7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?  8.  I can do it.  I hate to do it.  We don’t have to do it in my town.  Than k goodness.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  Today is National Gumdrop Day.  This holiday honors the popular, gelatin-based candy.  Gumdrops have been a favorite candy for many decades. Nowadays, the "Gummi" candies which are the same gelatin base, are the most popular gumdrop type of sweet.  Do you prefer regular gumdrops or spiced ones?   On National Gumdrop Day, you know what to do... eat Gumdrops to your heart's content!    Do you know what children's board game includes gumdrops?  Drop me a comment with your answer.

Have a great rest of the week.  I hope you will stop by this weekend and check out my photos of the week on Project 365.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shadows On The Sand

About the Book: She serves him breakfast at her cafe every morning … but he never seems to notice her.  Carrie Carter’s small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals … although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.  When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But when Carrie’s own painful past becomes all to present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.  Will the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

About the Author:  Gayle Roper is an award winning author but I wanted you to know about her as a person.  Gayle is married to to Chuck Roper and has been "for more years than seems possible!". Gayle and Chuck live in southeastern Pennsylvania where they enjoy their family of two great sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, and the world's five most wonderful grandchildren.
Gayle is a convinced believer in Jesus as the Son of God and our Savior. This belief informs her world view and is evident in all her stories. She and her husband carried this belief with them years ago as they helped plant a church with seventeen people. That church has now grown to over two thousand. As Chuck says, "next to our family, it's been our greatest adventure."  When she's not writing, or teaching at conferences, Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and eating out every time she can talk Chuck into it.  Want to know more?  Check out her website and learn all about her by clicking here.

My Thoughts:  I have to admit that it was hard to read this book in the beginning, but after the first few chapters I was hooked and could not put it down.  I am not a huge mystery fan and have never read anything by Gayle Roper yet I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and character development of this story.  It was nice to find a mystery novel that tells a story without the use of sex and foul language. In Shadows on the Sand, Gayle Roper does an excellant job of spinning an intriguing, captivating story that keeps the reader guessing and turning pages in anticipation of what is yet to come. Just when I thought I had figured out the story, there would be a twist that would throw me off guard and I would find myself guessing once again.  I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romantic mystery story.

Read An Excerpt:  If you would like to read an except before purchasing this book then click here.

Buy the Book: If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Disclaimer:  I received this complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. All thoughts are 100% my own and I was not required to write a positive review

Monday, February 13, 2012

Highland Crossings

About the Book:  An heirloom brooch unites the lives and loves of four women in historic North Carolina. Seona flees Scotland with the brooch in tow hoping to find peace before her past is revealed. Fiona tries to recover the heirloom but ends up on the whipping block—with her rescuer a man she’s not sure she can trust. Seren sells the brooch but soon regrets giving up something so precious for what could be a hopeless dream. Brynna seeks to reclaim the stolen brooch but risks losing something even more valuable in the process. Will God’s path become clear in a new world? 

My Thoughts:  All four of the novellas were wonderful.  I loved traveling with the heirloom brooch down amongst several generations.  I loved the the Gaelic flair and the Scottish and Early American charm of each story.
In the novella Healer of My Heart by Pamela Griffin - we meet Seona, accused of being a thief.  Our first heroine is a medical healer and vows to protect a priceless family heirloom and she stowaway about the "Thistle" enroute to America.  It is there that she encounters Colin Campbell. When they reach the colonies, Colin and Evan's cousin Isabel invites Seona to stay with them and Isabel quickly feels a bonding with her. Seona who is on run for her life feels she cannot trust anyone. But can she trust Colin with her life and her heart?  You be the judge of that.
The second novella Printed on My Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes  is about Fiona, who has been unable to secure her keep. She finds herself an indentured servent to kindhearted town printer and his family.  Owain and his sister, Bronwen offer Fiona a job to save her from further punishment. Fiona is in search of the brooch and her sister Murday.  Will God help her find the brooch and her sister?
My favorite of the four novellas, if I had to chose one would be Sugarplum Hearts by Gina Welborn.  Our heroine here is  Seren Cardew, who is trying to sell her candies and confections. Finley Sinclair, a broker, is looking for clients and hoping for a position with Overton Shippers.  Seren Cardew, creator of luscious candies and confectionaries is searching for a way to market them. Finley offers her a business proposal that will benefit the both of them. When someone sabotages her wares they are left with little clues. In wake of the discovery the community comes together before. But what is lost can it be found again?
The last book is Hearts Inheritance by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.  This novella introduces us to Bynna Sinclair lover, of historical things and a lady who does not take to change lightly. Niall Cameron has come upon an inheritance left to him by his uncle, and is insistant upon change for the better. The two always seem to share a difference of opinion. Sometimes misunderstandings bring about bitterness. Even in the most desparate of lives the Lord can bring repair and healing to any situation of the heart.
Each author added her own personal touch to four well woven progressive story lines. These can be read in one sitting or broken up into more. I personally did not want to put the book down.   I found the overall message inspiring and would recommend this book to others
Disclaimer:  I received this book as part of a blogger review program.  The opinions are 100% my own and I was not paid to read or review this book.  I would love to than Barbour Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to do this.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm Already Taken

When you were a child was there someone in your life you swore you were going to grow up and marry?  There was in mine.  My parents had some dear friends, Jimmy and Judy and he looked just like Jim Reeves(country balladeer) to me.  I loved this man.  He would play guitar and sing to me....and let me sing with him and when I was 7 I swore my love to Jimmy and told him that when I grew up I was going to marry him.  He hugged me and told me that he was already taken.  He and Judy had been married nearly 20 years at that time.  By the time I was dating age I had lost track of Jimmy and his wife Judy had passed away.  I never even gave my pledge a second thought.  I dated boys near my age and married when I was nearly 21.  At the age of 40 I found out that Jimmy lived in Murphy, NC and the knowledge of his whereabouts brought back some really tender memories....but my life was so busy at the time that I just could not manage the 8 hour drive to see him again.  My parents did.  They drove to Murphy on a clear Saturday and had a wonderful time reliving old memories with a man I adored as a child. I got his address when they returned and wrote him a letter telling him about my life.  I never heard back from him.   He died shortly after that.  On Saturday, when Frank and I were enroute to Montgomery for my class I had turned the radio to the Country station and the first song to come on was one called, "I'm Already Taken" by Steve Warniner  There on the interstate between Auburn and Montgomery I felt my heart tighten as the sweet memory of Jimmy came flooding from out of nowhere.  I cried quietly to myself where I was sitting and when the song was over and my tears had dried I told Frank about this man.  My first and only childhood crush.  It was a sweet memory.  Have you ever experienced a time when you felt something special for someone like this?  I would love to hear your story.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project 365 - Week 6

Well it is Saturday night and week 6 is under my belt.  My 50mm lens arrived today and I am excited about trying it out next week.  I tried some different shots this week and used some different ISO's.  Several have already posted over at Sara's blog so head on over there and check out everyone's offerings.  Here is my weeks presentation and I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, February 5th

I had class at Calloway today.  The first three pictures are from the Sibbley Center.  The frog shot is practicing blurring the background in a portrait.  I didn't want to take a picture of a person at the moment...I was loving on the little frog.  The stained glass window and cross were from the chapel.
  After class I headed back to Rock Mills and went to a baby shower for one of the young ladies from our church.  She got a lot of nice things and I got a new dip recipe.  I box of confetti cake mix (dry) to 1 large cool whip.  Setve with vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or animal crackers.  It was delish.

Monday, February 6th

Full moon on a hazy night with some clouds rolling by.  It won't be as good as Dr. M on Bug's blog I can assure you.

Tuesday, February 7th

Today, I visited Mrs. Jean's yard and took some shots of her lovely flowers.  Tonight there was a harvest moon and it was gorgeous but all the power lines kept getting in my way.  Oh well!

Wednesday, January 8th
Sing a song of sixpence, pocket full of rye.  There were at least four and twenty blackbirds in the tree out in my yard.  When I took the camera out the birds began to fly so there were just a couple left to make a blackbird pie.

Thursday, February 9th
I found a hidden chimney today on my way home from work.  It was hidden back in an area several hundred yards from the main road on some posted land where they had been doing some burning so it was hazy.
Friday, February 10th
I followed this almost all the way home.  Stuff was dropping off and the smell of diesel fuel was nauseating.  I snapped it out the window of my car.  Do you think my window needs cleaning?

Saturday, February 11th
One of the horses in the pasture next to my house.  The glow on his belly and around his neck are actually hairs that were being hit by the sun that was setting.  This has been a painful process that I actually started on Saturday night but did not finish up until this morning.  The internet is not being my friend.  Uploading was a pain....and to be honest I am glad I am finally finished.  Have a great week and happy shooting!