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!”

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Aloha Rose: From the Quilts of Love Series

 
About the book: When Laney Carrigan's adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he's come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He's spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness. Laney's painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.
Purchase a copy:
http://ow.ly/qKmVW

Meet the author: Lisa Carter has been published in MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Lisa is currently teaching music at a preschool and enjoying the enthusiasm and joy for life for which preschoolers are famous. She and David have two beautiful daughters.  Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

My Thoughts About The Book:  I loved the characters in this book.  My most favorite were Kai and Laney. Both of them had dark childhood issues and I found myself hoping the two would find peace with their pasts and learn to accept love. Carter is a master with character development and I found I was hooked from the very first chapter. This book is more than a love story, it is a story of hope, love, and finding keys to the past. 

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publishing Group  in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Lisa Jo Baker's "The Tired Mother's Holiday Creed"

Repeat after me:
  1. I shall not wait for my house or my life to be perfect before inviting someone in.
  2. I shall remember that big hospitality has nothing to do with the size of my house.
  3. I shall not judge my house, my Holidays or my gift wrapping skills by Pinterest’s standards.
  4. I shall tell myself that no one ever did actually die of embarrassment from a small or messy space. And that missing out on community is a much worse kind of dying.
  5. I shall not compare myself to others’ traditions, decor or gifts, but find my identity in the God who came to *be* the gift to me.
  6. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly off key carols.
  7. I shall accept that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
  8. I shall remember that guests will only feel as comfortable in my home as I feel in my own skin.
  9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.
  10. I shall remember that there’s no shame in paper plates if they’re heaped high with delight in each others’ company.
  11. I shall give my friends the gift of comparison-free friendship.
  12. I shall pause between preparations to savor the celebrations.
  13. I shall remember that hospitality is about opening the door, not about how fancy the furniture, decor or dishes. 
  14. I shall treat my family with the same grace I offer my guests.
  15. I shall treat myself with the same grace I offer everyone else.
  16. I shall leave the dishes and lean into the conversations.
  17. I shall not focus on fear of appearances but on fully opening my arms to my friends and family.
  18. I shall not be intimidated by how the holidays, the turkey, the tree or the memories “should” be celebrated but love the people I’m celebrating with instead.
  19. I shall welcome my kids into the decorations, preparations, and celebrations.
  20. I shall remember that I want you here. Whether I’m perfectly ready or not. Just the way you are. Which will likely mean most days, I must open the door just the way I am too.
~ with love from one tired, happy mother to another.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Once Upon A Time on Thanksgiving

I have always loved Thanksgiving.  I love the family, the food, the fun.  As a child my father would always tell me a story very much like the one below.  I remember being wildly in love with Myles Standish.  I always envisioned him as tall, blonde, and handsome.  The perfect man of my dreams.  As an adult I know that the first Thanksgiving was not nearly as romantic as I believed it to be.  The Indians brought food to keep the new American's from starving, plain and simple.  Anyways my story goes like this, "Nearly four hundred years ago, a great many of the people in England were very unhappy because their king would not let them pray to God as they liked. The king said they must use the same prayers that he did; and if they would not do this, they were often thrown into prison, or perhaps driven away from home.  "Let us go away from this country," said the unhappy Englishmen to each other; and so they left their homes, and went far off to a country called Holland. It was about this time that they began to call themselves "Pilgrims." Pilgrims, you know, are people who are always traveling to find something they love, or to find a land where they can be happier; and these English men and women were journeying, they said, "from place to place, toward heaven, their dearest country."  In Holland, the Pilgrims were quiet and happy for a while, but they were very poor; and when the children began to grow up, they were not like English children, but talked Dutch, like the little ones of Holland, and some grew naughty and did not want to go to church any more.  "This will never do," said the Pilgrim fathers and mothers; so after much talking and thinking and writing they made up their minds to come here to America. They hired two vessels, called the Mayflower and the Speedwell, to take them across the sea; but the Speedwell was not a strong ship, and the captain had to take her home again before she had gone very far.  The Mayflower went back, too. Part of the Speedwell's passengers were given to her, and then she started alone across the great ocean.  There were one hundred people on board - mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and little children. They were very crowded; it was cold and uncomfortable; the sea was rough, and pitched the Mayflower about, and they were two months sailing over the water. The children cried many times on the journey, and wished they had never come on the tiresome ship that rocked them so hard, and would not let them keep still a minute.  But they had one pretty plaything to amuse them, for in the middle of the great ocean a Pilgrim baby was born, and they called him "Oceanus," for his birthplace. When the children grew so tired that they were cross and fretful, Oceanus' mother let them come and play with him, and that always brought smiles and happy faces back again.  At last the Mayflower came in sight of land; but if the children had been thinking of grass and flowers and birds, they must have been very much disappointed, for the month was cold November, and there was nothing to be seen but rocks and sand and hard bare ground.  Some of the Pilgrim fathers, with brave Captain Myles Standish at their head, went on shore to see if they could find any houses or white people. But they only saw some Indians, who ran away from them, and found some Indian huts and some corn buried in holes in the ground. They went to and fro from the ship three times, till by and by they found a pretty place to live, where there were "fields and little running brooks."  Then at last all the tired Pilgrims landed from the ship on a spot now called Plymouth Rock, and the first house was begun on Christmas Day. But when I tell you how sick they were and how much they suffered that first winter, you will be very sad and sorry for them. The weather was cold, the snow fell fast and thick, the wind was icy, and the Pilgrim fathers had no one to help them cut down the trees and build their church and their houses.  The Pilgrim mothers helped all they could; but they were tired with the long journey, and cold, and hungry too, for no one had the right kind of food to eat, nor even enough of it.  So first one was taken sick, and then another, till half of them were in bed at the same time, Brave Myles Standish and the other soldiers nursed them as well as they knew how; but before spring came half of the people died and had gone at last to "heaven, their dearest country."  But by and by the sun shone more brightly, the snow melted, the leaves began to grow, and sweet spring had come again.  Some friendly Indians had visited the Pilgrims during the winter, and Captain Myles Standish, with several of his men, had returned the visit.  One of the kind Indians was called Squanto, and he came to stay with the Pilgrims, and showed them how to plant their corn, and their pease and wheat and barley.  When the summer came and the days were long and bright, the Pilgrim children were very happy, and they thought Plymouth a lovely place indeed. All kinds of beautiful wild flowers grew at their doors, there were hundreds of birds and butterflies, and the great pine woods were always cool and shady when the sun was too bright.  When it was autumn the fathers gathered the barley and wheat and corn that they had planted, and found that it had grown so well that they would have quite enough for the long winter that was coming.  "Let us thank God for it all," they said. "It is He who has made the sun shine and the rain fall and the corn grow." So they thanked God in their homes and in their little church; the fathers and the mothers and the children thanked Him.  "Then," said the Pilgrim mothers, "let us have a great Thanksgiving party, and invite the friendly Indians, and all rejoice together."  So they had the first Thanksgiving party, and a grand one it was! Four men went out shooting one whole day, and brought back so many wild ducks and geese and great wild turkeys that there was enough for almost a week. There was deer meat also, of course, for there were plenty of fine deer in the forest. Then the Pilgrim mothers made the corn and wheat into bread and cakes, and they had fish and clams from the sea besides.  The friendly Indians all came with their chief Massasoit. Every one came that was invited, and more, I dare say, for there were ninety of them altogether.  They brought five deer with them, that they gave to the Pilgrims; and they must have liked the party very much, for they stayed three days.  Kind as the Indians were, you would have been very much frightened if you had seen them; and the baby Oceanus, who was a year old then, began to cry at first whenever they came near him.  They were dressed in deerskins, and some of them had the furry coat of a wild cat hanging on their arms. Their long black hair fell loose on their shoulders, and was trimmed with feathers or fox-tails. They had their faces painted in all kinds of strange ways, some with black stripes as broad as your finger all up and down them. But whatever they wore, it was their very best, and they had put it on for the Thanksgiving party.  Each meal, before they ate anything, the Pilgrims and the Indians thanked God together for all his goodness. The Indians sang and danced in the evenings, and every day they ran races and played all kinds of games with the children.  Then sometimes the Pilgrims with their guns, and the Indians with their bows and arrows, would see who could shoot farthest and best. So they were glad and merry and thankful for three whole days.  The Pilgrim mothers and fathers had been sick and sad many times since they landed from the Mayflower; they had worked very hard, often had not had enough to eat, and were mournful indeed when their friends died and left them. But now they tried to forget all this, and think only of how good God had been to them; and so they all were happy together at the first Thanksgiving party.  All this happened nearly four hundred years ago, and ever since that time Thanksgiving has been kept in our country.  Every year our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have "rejoiced together" like the Pilgrims, and have had something to be thankful for each time.  Every year some father has told the story of the brave Pilgrims to his little sons and daughters, and has taught them to be very glad and proud that the Mayflower came sailing to our country so many years ago."  Whatever you think of Thanksgiving Day, however you celebrate it, I hope you have a day filled with love, family, friends, hope, and much thanks to God for all that he has provided us with. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Night Before Thanksgiving Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge! My rendition is coming to you live from Panama City Beach, FL!  I am here celebrating with my family.  If you want to play along, then copy the questions, answer them, and then go and hook up over at Joyce's site by clicking here.


1. Are you settling for something?  I looked at Joyce's meanings of the word settle, and the phrases  make-do, and put up with seemed to grab my attention. I sat and thought a long time over this and I have to be honest and say yes,  I suppose I am settling for a certain amount in my life. I don't get to live in the same city as my daughter and come June will not live in the same country, and just like Joyce  I would absolutely love, but I'll settle for, and make the best of, whatever time we do get to spend together. Hubs and I would love to be  to do but instead I will stay where I am and settle for the time I get to spend with her.  And yes, Joyce, it is true that life isn't always perfect, but less than perfect can be pretty okay too. 

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?  NO!  I posted a blog about this last week.  I realize that there are people who NEED to work on Thanksgiving.... nurses will be working and for that I am glad....soldiers will be working....and for that I am glad.....and last year we went to see Frank's sister for Thanksgiving and ate at a restaurant that was open until 3....but I will not be hanging out at Wal-Mart and I am not a Black Friday Fan so I won't be out at midnight to get a 100.00 TV.
 
3. Speaking of shopping...I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul. Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?  I have shopped in only a few of these and I loved shopping in New York, London(Covent Gardens was my favorite), Milan, and Paris.  But then I also loved shopping in Venice and Florence too.
  4. When did you last dine by candlelight?  Every time we eat at Pizza Villa in LaGrange, GA.

5. What do you have too much of?  Stuff would have to be my answer as long as I am still dealing with my mother's hoarding things.  Maybe one day it will all be gone.  I am shooting for Christmas next year.

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan? Did you read the book(s)? Will you/have you see the movie? Will you/have you seen Catching FireDefinitely a fan! I loved the books, and enjoyed the first movie. The second book was my favorite of the three, so I'm looking forward to seeing Catching Fire
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7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what..especially the what! As in what's for dinner? If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!) then still tell us your plans for Thursday.
I am in Panama City Beach with my family and we have been here since late Monday night.  I am going to get up first thing and try and watch my school band - The BRHS Pride marching in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade on WGN Chicago.  We will be cooking and then we will sit down and say grace and chow down on a roasted turkey (Amanda is working on it right now), ham, green beans, pumpkin pie, deviled eggs, a relish tray, caramel cake, red velvet cake, greens, sweet potatoe soufflé (Ruth Chris Steakhouse version), dressing and two casseroles.  There will be about 25 to 30 of us for the meal.  After eating we will sit around and sing.  I cannot wait!  Thanksgiving is always a special time in my family.8.  Share Your Random Thought - What a great time to be celebrating National Family Week.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Enjoy your meal and your friends and family.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Memories From Out of the Dark

Yesterday at church one of my members told a story about his first bicycle.  I love stories like this and so I hung on every word he said as his story unfolded.  The storytellers family was large and they only had one bike that they all had to share.  Two of the brothers found a bike frame, the sprockets, the gears and some tires and built a second bike.  They ran out of money before they could get tubes for the tires.  My storyteller came up with the ingenious idea to stuff the tires with socks.  It did not make the tires as tight as tubes would have....but it was better than nothing.  Several days later the two brothers rode down to a friend's house.  They played until nearly dark and on their way home the good bike of course moved a little ahead of the bike with the tires stuffed with socks....and then it happened.....a scary noise came from behind the youngest rider and he began to peddle faster and faster...so fast that he actually past and left the brother riding the bike with tubes.  I found myself chuckling out loud as the story came to a close. 
It reminded me of a funny moment in my life....which also involved wheels....you see one night, very late, my first husband and I headed home from his brothers.  The road we chose to take was a dirt road, one that always scared me.  Just after getting on the road the car died and we could not get it cranked again.  The only think left to do was push it about mile down the road to a house.  The road was slick and muddy and since I had never steered a car that was in neutral my husband told me to get in the back and push while he pushed and steered.  It was hard pushing in the mud....and my husband thought to himself that he wished I would help him push.  About that time, he slipped down into the mud and the car passed him by.  I did not even see him laying there in the mud.  You see, I had been pushing....I was terrified.  I heard noises I never want to hear again.  We made it to the house and were able to crank the car and head home.  It was not funny while it was happening, but it has grown funny over the years.  Have you got a story like this that you would care to share with me in a comment?  I would love to hear about it. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Dawn of Christmas

About the Book:  The Amish community of Apple Ridge is a place to discover anew that even though life doesn’t always look the way you might expect and pain can’t help but color our actions…love may just be around the corner, just in time for Christmas!  Sadie Yoder enjoys her freedom away from home but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?  Read an exerpt from Chapter One
 
About the Author: Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis. - See more about Cindy Woodsmall and her books by clicking here

My Thoughts On The Book:  I have loved every book I have read by Cindy Woodsmall and the The Dawn of Christmas is no exception.  It is such a wonderfully written story about second chances and learning to trust again. Woodsmall is a master wordsmith and in this story she develops her characters so well that I felt as if I knew Levi and Sadie and their families. I found myself grieving for Levi and Sadie as Daniel stepped in and tore them apart.  This book is a must read if you are a fan of Woodsmall and/or Amish Fiction. 
Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Psalm 100 Commandments

 
Today is our Thanksgiving service.  Advent starts Dec 1st.  I decided to use Psalm 100 as my scripture reference.  Psalm 100 is one of my favorite psalms.  It is a Psalm of Thanks, but that is not all it is.  Within it's five verses it contains five simple commands.  The first commands is found in verse one.  It is an easy one.  It tells us to SHOUT to the Lord.....not whisper....SHOUT! 

"1Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!  2 Serve the Lord with celebration!  Come before him with shouts of joy!  3. Know that the Lord is God—he made us; we belong to him.  [a]We are his people,  the sheep of his own pasture.  4 Enter his gates with thanks;  enter his courtyards with praise!  Thank him! Bless his name!  5 Because the Lord is good,  his loyal love lasts forever;  his faithfulness lasts generation after generation."
The first commands is found in verse one. It is an easy one. It tells us to SHOUT to the Lord.....not whisper....SHOUT!  The second command tells us to Serve the Lord with Gladness.  It does not say serve the church, the preacher, the neighbors....it says, "serve the Lord."  The third command is, "Come before Him with joyful songs."   Command #4 is, "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture."  You know what I find amazing is that God took every bone, every joint, and He welded them together with sinews & muscles & covered them with skin and gave us eyes that see, brains that think, and fingers that can pick things up. God made us, inside and out. He made you the way He wanted you to be. And He made me the way He wanted me to be.  Command #5 is this, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, & His courts with praise; give thanks to Him & praise His name. For the Lord is good & His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations."  God is everywhere. You know that. He is with you as you drive on the highway. He is with you when you work. He is with you as you care for your children. He is with you every moment of your life.  That is the source of our thanksgiving, isn’t it? But I’m worried. What if God began to treat us like we so often treat Him? What if God met our needs to the same extent that we give Him our lives?
What if we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when God sent the rain? What if God stopped loving & caring for us because we failed to love & care for others? What if God took away His message because we wouldn’t listen to His messenger?  What if He wouldn’t bless us today because we didn’t thank Him yesterday? What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call for service? What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we did not follow Him today?
O Lord, help us to be thankful that you do "not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities" [Psalm 103:10].  In this season of Thanksgiving remember to be thankful for all that we have and love our neighbors. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Porch People Thanksgiving

I am sure at some time in your life you have seen the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie.  I used to look forward to it....and somewhere along the way I grew up.  It was my kickoff for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Today we went to Aunt Doris' house for the Burgess family Thanksgiving.  These are some of my favorite folks, these are my people, these are Porch People.  I looked forward all day to being at this gathering.  I knew there would be hugs, food, fellowship, more food, and if you left hungry it was your own fault!  This family has some amazing cooks in it!  Marcie has Jett for the time being (Magen and Keaton are in Birmingham with the girls) and so I volunteered to cook the dressing she normally cooks.  WHAT WAS I THINKING!  I love to cook, but I have never in my 59 years on this earth made dressing.  Remember....I grew up in South Florida....and my mom cooked STUFFING!  I am a Stove Top addict today because eating it gives me a feeling of home.  I asked Marcie for her recipe because I did not want anyone to be shocked with stuffing.  She wrote it out, as we do here in the South, on an envelope and talked me through it. The closer the weekend came....the more nervous I became.  Who am I kidding?  I was past nervous.  Friday night I made a pone of cornbread in my largest skillet.  Saturday morning at 5 a.m. I was making pone number two.  We went to breakfast with Beth, visited Jessica at Awbrey's Open House, ran to Russell Do-It, and Walmart, before coming home so I could complete this dressing.  Two huge onions, four stalks of celery, some soup, broth, salt, pepper later I had a massive amount of dressing in a pan, on my shirt, and on my face and arms.  I did not know how long to cook it.  So I decided to put it on at 12:30 and cook it for 30 mins and check it continuously.  Marcie gave me explicit instructions to  not cook it throughout....but to make sure when I stuck the toothpick in it came out with a few crumbs on it.  I thought....Hey....I make bread....I can do this......WRONG!  I should have had a trial run.  It was beautiful to look at.  There were crumbs on the toothpick.   It had a good taste.  It just was not what Marcie's tastes like...NOT EVEN CLOSE!  Kim brought another pan and HER's was just like Marcie.  When we went home Kim's was almost gone.  Mine was still hanging out...about 2/3rds full.  Marcie's teacher critique was well received....she said I needed another onion AND more broth when I make it for the Christmas gathering.  I laughed at that one.  I have been assigned chicken fingers so I am off dressing duty til next Thanksgiving.  Believe me I will have practiced between now and then.  For a first time...it was not terrible.  It was edible (better with gravy and cranberry sauce on it) and I can now say I have made dressing. Thanks Marcie for the guidance.  As we sat and talked about all that we were thankful for I noticed Marcie getting kind of quiet.  I gave her a questioning look and she told me this was a bittersweet day for her.  Magen and Keaton joined us for the meal.  They were going to borrow their son for the day....and here this precious fractured little family was.  Everyone was here....but the girls....and right now they are not even together.  Kash is at Children's awaiting surgery and Kruze is still in the UAB NICU.  Sitting there looking at the family....made me miss mine....a lot.  The more I sat there, the more I wanted to cry.  As I looked into each face, saw the love and hope in their eyes, and heard the conversations going on all at once I felt at peace, I felt loved, I felt a strong sense of belonging.  It doesn't matter if you are blood related through your earthly parents, or blood related through your heavenly Father....we family and have so many things to be Thankful for.  God spoke to me during that still small window and told me...."now that is what I want your sermon on tomorrow. "" Did you hear me?"  He really spoke so loud I could not understand why everyone else was not looking up.  When Frank walked into the room a little later I told him we needed to go home.  We packed up what food we had left.....except for the dressing...we left it!  Once we got home (we live a pasture away) I sat down and threw my original sermon in the trash.  I am always amazed when God speaks(It amazes me even more when I listen).  What a blessed day I have had!  Good food, good friends, good family, and a good time was had by all!  Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fly

It is that time again.  Time to clear my head, limber up my fingers, and just write.  I look so forward to Five Minute Friday.  It is my one day of the week when I can just free my soul and write.  If you want to learn more about it click here and head over to Lisa Jo's blog.   Now, set your timer friends, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right. These are your people. The poets, the mothers, the bloggers, the writers, the pencil and paper artists. Let’s do this. 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.. OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:

Fly

The word fly brings many memories flooding to my brain.  The first would involve my youngest child.  My daughter thought she should fly.  When she was just a toddler she would drag a chair to the counter and climb up.  She would stand there and see if someone was looking then squeal and say, "Look!  I am flying!" as she dove off the counter.  I had many terrifying moments with this....but she had great faith that we would catch her and she was right....she never once hit the ground. 
The second one involved sweet childhood memories of flying kites with my kids.  We lived in the country and they loved seeing the kites take off and soar in the breeze. One of our favorite places to fly the kites was at Horseshoe Bend Military Park.  We would lay on the ground once they were airborne and just enjoy their dance.  The kids could not wait to get a kite and make the tail for it.  They would have contests to see who could make the longest one.

My third memory of flying was my first trip on a plane.  I was 8 and flew to my grandparents in Alabama.  I flew alone and actually earned a set of wings for being a good traveler.  My grandparents picked me up in Montgomery.  It was great fun.  Then came the big flight the night after seeing the movie Airport.  My seat mate was a young hippie with a duffle bag he kept nervously between his legs.  I just knew I was going to die when the bomb in his bag exploded.  Weather was bad on this flight and we flew out in the direction of the Bermuda Triangle.  I could see lightening and a bolt actually struck the wing of the plane.  I did not fly after that for a long while.

Hang gliding in the Chattanooga area was next.  As you can tell I am like my daughter and think maybe I should fly too.  I had just signed my divorce papers and was headed home from being with my friends Chuck and Sue in Knoxville.  I stopped, paid my money, and as I ran toward the edge of the mountain had a sobering thought and came to a screeching halt.  The instructor and I switched places and off we went. (I honestly drug my toes on the ground all the way to the air).  I remember making all kinds of deals and bargains with God those first few minutes.  I eventually opened my eyes and thought I was in heaven.  I actually paid for two rounds....but one was enough.  I figured if I made it to the ground once...why test fate. 
I also para sailed off the coast of Acapulco.  I was terrified of that one when I saw sharks swimming below me.  I offered the boat driver an extra 50.00 to bring me in without me hitting the water.
Flying has always appealed to me.  I love the feel of the air on me.  I love the peace that comes from the sky.
When I was a child I wanted to join the Navy and be a Blue Angel.  When I was young I don't think we missed any airshows where they were performing.  I get the love of flying honestly.  My mom wanted to be a pilot all her life.  One her 65 birthday I arranged for her to fly in a helicopter.  She was like a child at Christmas.  I don't think she could have had a better gift...oh wait...there was one...but that is for another day.  My dad was in the Naval Air Corp and never logged ANY time in a plane.  He did other peoples duties and they did his plane time.  My dad was a staunch follower of the Bible and in Matthew 28:20 we are told, "Lo, I am with you always."  That is a passage he followed until the day he died.  Both of my parents are in heaven and it thrills me to think my dad is flying with the angels and I cannot wait to join them both one day.  Yep, "Some glad morning when this day is o'er, I'll fly away!  Happy Friday and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stubborn Sweetness

 
About The Book:  "A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season is a collection of modern-day short stories by Katherine Paterson, award-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins- both loved by children and adults for over twenty years. This compilation includes stories of real-life people such as a shopping mall's night watchman, a lonely widower, a pregnant teenage runaway, a political prisoner in China, a grieving mother, and a privileged American, who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of loss, pain, greed or circumstances. Through unexpected and uplifting ways, each is reminded of the first Christmas story and the vision of hope and peace it offers the world. They realize that even in the darkness, the light and song of Christmas can be seen and heard. This heart-warming gift book, filled with stories of real people finding hope, courage, and faith amidst life's circumstances, radiates the spirit of the season and reminds each of us what Christmas truly means. Originally written to be read during her church's Christmas Eve service, this collection of holiday stories is perfect for individuals, families, and churches to read and share during the season. [The song of Christmas] is not louder. It is swallowed up quickly in the cry of anger or the clack of greed. No, the song is not louder, but it persists. It comes, as it had come to me beside my [dying] father's bed, a melody of the most stubborn sweetness, for which we are never prepared. And we turn away from it again and again and again. 'But oh, my child,' I said to the empty night, `even though the song is not louder, it is stronger. And someday it will find you--out there alone in the darkness.'"- From the story A Stubborn Sweetness

About The Author: Katherine Paterson has twice won both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. She received the 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Medal as well as the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for the body of her work. An active promoter of reading and literacy, she lives with her husband, John, in Barre, Vermont. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Visit Katherine Paterson on her web site at www.terabithia.com

My Thoughts About The Book: This collection of short Christmas season stories is a book that could be read year round even though it is about Christmas. I am usually not a huge fan of collections because in them you find you really like some and others not so much. This collection was no exception.  There were several stories I could not wait to finish and others I did not want to end.  "On The Night of His Birth;  Mary's Story" and "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night" were two I really enjoyed.  If you love reading Christmas themed stories then you will enjoy this one.  There is a little something for everyone, just pick a story and enjoy it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of these books from Westsminister and John Knight Press and Net Galley Publicity Group. 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.” 

God's "Weigh"

 
About The Book:  As a believer, living at your ideal body weight is your birthright. This is God’s will for you. You are called to glorify God in your body. The Bible is the greatest health and weight loss book ever written. God has a call to every believer to walk holy in the area of diet (dietary holiness). What you eat matters to God. That is what God’s "Weigh" to Your Ideal Body Weight is all about.

About The Author:  Michael Scott Lowery is first and foremost a Believer in Jesus Christ. Secondly, his spiritual gifting is prophecy. This simply means that he is called to discern areas in which the Church has deviated from God’s Word and then work to communicate corrective Biblical truth. That is what God’s Weigh Ministry and the book God’s Weigh to Your Ideal Body Weight is all about.  Michael Lowery has pursued the study of health and weight loss, and what the Bible has to say about it, for over thirty years. Through the founding of God’s Weigh Ministry, and God’s Weigh to Your Ideal Body Weight, he is working to lead the Church to the body weight, health, and lifespan that God has always intended for His People.  Lowery lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and five children. He enjoys watching his kids play a variety of sports, joining in as often as possible. He also enjoys studying the Bible to discover practical solutions to the problems and struggles facing God’s people in this modern world.

My Thoughts About the Book:  As someone who has struggled with weight most of my life I was excited when I saw this book up for review.  As a Christian I feel everything I do should glorify God but never could get a handle on controlling the weight issue...until I read this book.  I discovered in reading this book that what I eat did matter to God.  When I was struggling and looked to food I found that I had been looking in all the wrong places all the time. God's "Weigh" showed me something I really should have known all along, the Bible had the plan I needed and it was right there staring me in the face.  This book instilled in me the desire to eat and live a life that glorifies God.  I know that there are others out there just like me and if you are struggling with your weight then this might be just the  book  you need to read.

Statement of Disclosure: I received this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishing Group's Book Sneeze Blogging Program and Zondervan for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stones For Bread

 

 
About The Book:  What do you do when the gift you thought was bread turns out to be stones?  Liesl McNamara’s Wild Rise is not only a popular bakehouse and café in Vermont, it’s an extension of herself. Liesl is an artisan bread maker, like her mother and grandmother before her. Even though she lost her mother to suicide when she was eleven, she keeps this maternal bond alive as she bakes.  Liesl prides herself on living an uncomplicated, unattached life. But that changes when Seamus walks through the door of Wild Rise, lugging the large bags of whole wheat flour from the local food co-op. He and his daughter Cecelia have recently moved to the country seeking simplicity. Despite her best effort, Liesl becomes attracted to this teddy bear of a man who laughs easily and eats strange sandwich concoctions—on her bread, much to her dismay.  Her simple life is further complicated when a popular cooking show features her bakery. The publicity increases her business and brings several offers from larger businesses, all of which she turns down. But it also brings a completely unexpected phone call, one from a woman claiming to be her half-sister.  Liesl’s sense of identity dissolves as everything about her relationship with her mother—and the bread that held them together—comes into question. Has she been given stones rather than bread? And how can she ever take these crumbs and make them whole again?

About The Author:   Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of four novels and founder of Breaking the Sea Ministries. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, pastor and writer Chris Coppernoll, and they have four children in their blended family. When not writing, she is creative director of Concentric, a contemporary "arts-based" worship service, co-leads her church's youth ministry, and produces a weekly radio show. She's at work on her fifth novel, and is now also slightly obsessed with baking wild yeast bread.
 
My Thoughts On The Book:  This is a wonderfully well-written book about life, making bread, love, childhood stories, and love. I have been working with bread dough a lot the last 2 weeks, so I could easily relate to this story. As someone who began baking bread and experimenting with different flours and flavors for the first time last year I was drawn immediately to the book.   I was delighted to get all the recipes for Leisl's breads.   Leisl's life with bread was both a heartbreaking and a happy story. I loved the way the book skipped back and forth, from Liesl's "current" story to her history to the history of bread -- Parrish definitely keeps your mind engaged while you read. From the moment I began the story I was hooked and felt as if I knew the characters personally.   I  definitely enjoyed the book and would recommend this book!  This book would be a great gift and great for your own personal library.   

Statement of Disclosure: I received an ebook copy of this title from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. Thanks guys for letting me read this and participate!

Hodge Podge Vol 151

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge courtesy of our hostess with the most-ess, Joyce.  .  I hope you will join us.  The rules are simple.  Copy the questions and then answer them on your own blog, then jump back over to Joyce's and add your link to the party.  See you there!


1. What lesson has failure taught you?  I have actually learned two.  The first is that this may not be the road you were meant to travel and the second is always trust God to know what is best for you.
 
2. What decision are you glad you made?  I am glad I decided to have a child. I would not take anything for my daughter.  She is my best friend, confidant, prayer warrior, encourager, and she is my biggest fan.  I love her dearly.  I am also glad I decided to get my Master's Degree.  I never knew when I went after it I would be supporting myself.

 3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?  My tree is definietely not up.  It will NOT be up until after we have shared Thanksgiving.  Yesterday I got all up in arms about Thanksgiving so if you want to see me at my finest (NOT) click here.  I may decorate it sometime over Thanksgiving weekend....like when Frank is watching football.  I may wait until the next weekend.  I have no set time....except....NOT before Thanksgiving.
4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join?  My mom played Solitaire all the time after my brother died.  I really hate to see anyone sitting at a table continuously playing.  I play Solitaire sometimes.....online only.  I would have to say Rummy.  I love Shanghai and Gin.
5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type? I am ashamed to say that I snack more when I am stressed.
6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable? I review books all the time and have had favorable ones and ones that were not.  I always feel a bit guilty when the review is negative.  I have even had several local authors bring me their books to review.  I guess they like what I have done so far. 
 
7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday?   I actually had two.  Frank and I had a great one on the skipping of Thanksgiving and stores being opened on Thanksgiving day.  We are both staunch believers that this is WRONG!  The first one was yesterday morning and had to do with the cheeky little commercials that are coming out.  Yes...the Axe ball cleaner and the three K-mart commercials made me laugh at first.  But, after thinking about it....I thought....kids will be seeing this...and although they may not grasp all the sexual innuendos....it is being put out there for them to see.  I am a Christian....is this the kind of message I want sent on Christmas????  One of the holiest of holy days???
 
8.  Insert your own random thought here. What is your opinion of stores staying open all day on Thanksgiving?  Sorry...I just can't let it go!  I will say this....Longhorn's in Auburn/Opelika will be closed we saw last night.  The sign read, "We will be closed on Thanksgiving so we can be home with our families."  I loved it!  The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday.....NOT Black Thursday.  If stores are going to be open on Thursday....then let them close early...say noon...so people can go home and be with their special ones.  I have preached enough...sorry for my blowing off steam.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Thoughts On Shopping on Thanksgiving Day!


Capitalism is one of the many freedoms I happen to enjoy in life. I like living in a country where there isan economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.  I guess that would make me a capitalist. What is doe not make me is a consumerist. Don't get me wrong, I love shopping for special gifts for people but....shopping is not my god. I remember a few years ago when the government gave out a stimulous package and encouraged Americans to go out and spend...spend....spend! The people listened and went out and bought stuff they did not necessarily need....just because they could. Our entire economic system seems to flow that way now....buy stuff. The more you buy....the better it is....just buy. It does not even matter if you can afford it. Don't invest. Don't save. Don't be smart with your money....just run to your nearest retailer and spend your money. Shopping has become the god of all gods. Capitalism is bad.....consumerism is good. So I guess it makes the upcoming holiday, created by my ancestors as occasion to give thanks for what they had, now a consumerist ritual and nightmare where people descend upon shopping malls and other stores to accumulate more things we really don’t need just because for two hours it has a special price. My great grandparents enjoyed a special meal and praised the Lord for the food on the table and the friends and family gathered around it. Food they grew, planted, gathered. We, eat quickly, gather around a television set for a few football games, then rush out to get in line for the sales and trample little children who should be home in bed. Up until K-mart decided to change their policies Black Friday and Thanksgiving coexisted. We thanked God for His blessings on Thursday, and then headed out early on Friday to grab the television set for under a hundred dollars. Thanksgiving for me and my family offers tradition, family and contentment. We socialize, we sing, we eat way to much, we love each other. Some of us will hit some Black Friday sales but most of us will still enjoy the company, watch football, sing, be together. It saddens me that this year Black Friday has taken Thanksgiving too. What has happened to family time? You know that people who work for those companies are having to leave their family so people can go out and fight for things they don't need right after they were thankful for what they did have. It does not make sense. I cannot believe that so many of the big chain retailers will be opening during, or before, dinner time on Thanksgiving. Walmart, Kmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s are some of the ones I have heard named. I remember when Walmart was family oriented. My mom worked their for over 25 years and never missed a Thanksgiving dinner with the family. I was shocked when I found out that Kmart would be open starting at 6 AM on Thanksgiving morning, offering great Black Friday deals for 41 straight hours. Those moms and wives who cook the Thanksgiving meal....will be working....this year. If they are not working....they may be shopping. Why? Is the almighty dollar so important that the family has to be crucified for it? I want to know if the frenzied shoppers will take a little time off from their shopping to spend a little time around a table holding hands and eating with family....or will that be a tradition from the past. Well....I am a purest. I don't want to see Christmas stuff out before Thanksgiving. I also am not loving the crude cheeky word play commercials that have been popping up.  I shop throughout the year and truly want to be finished before the feeding frenzy begins. I am going to be with my family on Thanksgiving Day. We will watch the Macy's Parade, cook together, eat together, sing, play games and enjoy the daylights out of each other. Will I be taking advantage of the bargains? I can assure you I won't be. You see....I’m not going to force some single mom, or grandparent, or dad to ring up my worthless purchases instead of enjoying Thanksgiving with their children. I feel terribly sad for these employees who will be there, in their name tags and their vests, smiling, waiting rude customers while their families eat without them. I am just one person and I cannot make a huge difference....but I will have my say....and I am not shopping on Thanksgiving. Family is important to me....whether it is mine....or someone elses. I know that all these employees choose to work here. Yes, I realize that they should be thankful that at least they have jobs. And some of you will be justifying your Thganksgiving Day shopping spree with that thought. But you COULD also wait until Friday and everyone could celebrate with their families...but then you might miss that 200.00 television at Best Buy. And the next step of losing our family traditions our forefathers worked so hard to protect will be done. I know.....Thanksgiving is just a holiday and counting your blessings is not all it is cracked up to be....right?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times...


Today is one of those days. A day when you look at the gospel reading you have been given in the Lectionary and wish that you weren’t preaching, or that you could roll over in bed, bury your head, and go back to sleep. There is a story I have to share with you this morning that someone special gave me earlier in the month….you see there was a mother went to wake her son for church one Sunday morning. When she knocked on his door, he said, "I'm not going!"  "Why not?" asked his mother.  "I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me. Two, I don't like them."  His mother replied, "I'll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One, you're 47 years old. Two, you're the pastor!"   My scripture lesson today is about the end times. It’s quite frightening stuff really with those images of nation against nation, earthquakes, famines, pestilence, fearful events, persecution.  The lesson came from Luke 21:5-19-  "5 Some people were talking about the temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and ornaments dedicated to God. Jesus said, 6 “As for the things you are admiring, the time is coming when not even one stone will be left upon another. All will be demolished.”  7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? What sign will show that these things are about to happen?”  8 Jesus said, “Watch out that you aren’t deceived. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I’m the one!’ and ‘It’s time!’ Don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end won’t happen immediately.”  10 Then Jesus said to them, “Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes and wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. There will also be terrifying sights and great signs in the sky. 12 But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will provide you with an opportunity to testify. 14 Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. 15 I’ll give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed by your parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and friends. They will execute some of you. 17 Everyone will hate you because of my name. 18 Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. 19 By holding fast, you will gain your lives."
You know there have always been prophets of doom. I can well remember going to see the Braves or Expos play during their Spring Training in West Palm Beach with my dad and laughing at a man who walked up and down in the stadium wearing a sandwich board with phrases on it like ’prepare to meet your doom’ and ’the end is nigh.’ As a child I was never sure exactly what his boards meant.  I just thought he was funny looking with that silly board strapped on him.  My mom’s first cousin used to drive through Walmarts parking lot with a speaker system hooked up to his car telling the shoppers that the world was coming to an end.  I remember as a child and teenager how embarrassed I was by this action.  My mom, on the other hand, would always stop him and give him a huge hug.  There is nothing new in predictions of great catastrophe. From way before the time of Jesus right up to the present day predictions of the end of the world have come and gone and have often left people with egg on their faces. Our latest was the Mayan calendar fiasco which told that the world would end in December of 2012.  If I’m honest I have to say that today these kinds of predictions don’t get me excited at all – whether they are the prophecies of Isaiah about a new heaven and a new earth from our first reading; or the words of Jesus about the passing of the old earth in our gospel reading; or predicted dates of the end that come today.  No one knows when it will happen.  I see Jesus sitting beside God and one day God looking at Jesus and telling Him to "go get your bride."  Perhaps what is more important to us today is not the end of the world as we know it, but endings in our own lives, times when our world collapses and seems to end, times when our world is shaken to its foundation and almost falls apart.

It may well be that your world has collapsed; it could possibly be you who is suffering and sees no hope for the future.  You may have lost a loved one – husband, wife, brother, sister, parent, child, friend. The well-loved voice is silent, the house empty, an aching heart and a hollowness within, your world seems to have ended.  You might be involved in the breakdown of a relationship, facing a divorce, going through a messy break up. What seemed like a great future suddenly disappears as your world seems to fall apart.  Hardly a week goes by without news of job losses; it may be you that has found yourself unemployed, as some companies with long traditions move their jobs elsewhere chasing after cheap labor but leaving behind broken lives and people with no job and seemingly little hope for the future. Your world seemingly has collapsed.  You may have received bad news of an illness and be struggling to come to terms with it and to cope with what is happening and may happen in the future. This may seem like the end of your world.  Whenever these kinds of things happen, our world falls apart. Those people we have relied on; those things we have trusted; those events we have put faith in, have gone. These can be times of great testing – testing of our faith, testing of our belief in God, wondering whether there is a God. Times like this can shake our faith to its core.  My mom used to tell me that these times God uses to build character in us.  After the death of both of my parents and some other much loved family members in a 15 month period I remember crying out to God asking him how much more character he needed from me and to pick on someone else.  One of my dearest friends told me repeatedly that God never put more on us than we could handle….when she died six months later it was the straw that broke my spiritual back and God and I sat down and had a “come to Jesus” talk.
In the reading from Luke’s gospel when Jesus was talking about the shaking and collapse that will take place at the end of the world he gave his listeners some hope. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. At the end of the passage Jesus told people to stand firm and not to give in. He said that not a hair on your head will perish. By standing firm you will receive life.  Stand firm, hold on. God has not deserted them. And the same is true for us. In the midst of the turmoil of our lives, when our world seems to have collapsed, God who has been with us is still there. God who has been faithful in the past remains faithful today. God who has lavished his love on us hasn’t deserted us now in the time of need.  The times when we feel our faith tested, the times when we feel we are crawling along the valley floor, crushed by life, are the very times when God is closest to us, even though we often don’t realize it. When our world seems to be collapsing around us God stands firmly in the midst of the rubble.

 In Jesus, God came into the world. He came to share in all the joys and sorrows of life, he came to know what life is like and to show us what God was like. And because he came , because he lived, because he died and rose again, he stands firmly and squarely with us in this life and reaches out to us, to you and to me when our world seems to be collapsing and falling apart. His love comes close where stands an open door, his peace comes to those caught in a storm; his joy comes where faith encounters fear; his grace comes to those whose grace is spent. Stand firm, don’t lose hope. God is with you. I can promise you this….because He was there for me. 

 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our God Comes

 
About The CD:  Antioch Live’s second all-original release, Our God Comes, carries the heart of the church and movement that is Antioch. Recorded live in Texas, the music is seasoned with flavors of progressive rock and pop with strains of folk. Specializing in anthems of the solid character of God (Wonderful Counselor, God and King, One Hundred Three and the title track, Our God Comes) as well as vulnerable admissions of personal humanity (I Will Raise, How Much More and Savior Forever), Antioch Live delivers a breathtaking follow-up to their first all-original release, Forever Sound. Other songs of note are Come and God Who Saves.

About Anitoch Church:  Straight from Antioch's website I found that they "are a people on mission, with a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the earth.  That means from the local coffee shop to the remotest edge of southeast India, we are to proclaim the word of God in truth and in love. As a people on mission for Christ, we share the passions of God’s heart for one another, for our city, for our nation and for the nations of the earth.
We will empower each person in the church to live a Kingdom lifestyle.We follow Jesus by encountering and obeying Him in our daily lives.
We will be part of transforming Waco, Texas.We will serve and reach out, both through specific church ministries and in each of our lives.
We will seek to make the Church a voice of love and truth in the United States.We will continue to plant churches and raise up church partners throughout the country.
We will partner with God to see the Church change the world.We will send short-term and long-term teams throughout the earth to reach as many people as we can with the love of God."

My Thoughts About The CD:  One of my favorite things to do is sing in church and so when I have a chance to preview music for church I am delighted.  I did not know what to expect from Antioch and all I can say is WOW!!! I cannot remember a time that music had that kind of effect on me.  It literally blew me away.  love worship music and Our God Comes blew me away!  I spend an hour each way in my car five days a week and this CD has just made that hour a time of worship and prayer. This would be a great gift for someone, or for yourself.  I am definitely going to check out some of Antioch's other music. 

Disclaimer:  Thanks to B&B Media for a complimentary copy of this CD in exchange for my review. All opinions are mine alone and I was not paid for a favorable response.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Tree

 
I look forward to Fridays here in blog world.  Why?  Because on Friday’s I silence the inner critic. The loudest of all my naysayers. And on Fridays I remind myself that what I write is for me and loves me and welcomes me and I hope it turn does the same for you.  Lisa Jo's Blog has given me a place where my words are safe and all is at peace in bloggerdom.  So come and write with us. Together. On one word for five minutes. And then link up your post up on Lisa Jo's blog by clicking here, or leave it in the comments. But remember, the one must rule here is that you visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their writing.  That’s it. The gift of encouragement – pass it on.  All the back story and details for how to play along are over here.
Today the word is the one that Lisa Jo heard in the echo of her dad’s voice all the way from South Africa yesterday afternoon.  Today the word is TREE.

Go:
I grew up in South Florida.  There were trees and I loved them.  The melalueca was fun to play with a child.  The palm trees were fun to climb. Our next door neighbor, Mr. Gunnell had glorious palm trees and other fruit bearing trees in his yard.  It was a child's paradise.   But even as a child I missed the color I read about in books and heard others talk about. 
It is fall here in Alabama and my favorite time of the year because the trees put on their colorful finest and invite me to their party.  I drive an hour each way to work and the road I drive is a rural road....filled with the wonder of trees, barns, pastures, color, beauty.  I love my ride.  Right now just outside of Daviston there is a gorgeous sugar maple in full bloom.  In the morning the sun rising makes this tree appear to be on fire.  It is gorgeous.  Just down the road is a red maple that is splendid.  I LOVE fall trees! 

Trees - another tree I love is a Christmas Tree.  My kids got a special ornament each year when they were young.  I did too.  Each ornament on my tree has a story.  I love to decorate with someone so I can share those stories as we put the ornaments on the tree.  My favorite thing to do is, after decorating, cut all the house lights off, sit and listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate after all the work is done and just bask in the beauty of the tree.  I love a real tree but have had to settle for a fake one due to allergies.

Trees - Easter is one of my favorite times of the year and one tree that makes makes Easter possible is the tree that was used for the death of Christ.  Scholars don't know what kind of tree it was, yet legend says it was the dogwood.  The blooms on the dogwood are shaped like the cross.  I love the few weeks in spring when dogwoods bloom. 
Trees - The last tree that is important to me is a family tree.  I love dabbling in family history.  My favorite part is searching cemetaries, gathering pictures, noting stories.  My cousins are all into the tree structure too.  Together we build the root system of our family. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

18 Things Everyone Should Start Making Time For Again

 I found this on facebook the other day and just had to share it with everyone.  Why?  Because I believe that Ms. Wiest has hit the nail on the head.  We are all too caught up in electronic media and we miss things....well at least I do.  "Brianna Wiest is a professional list-maker, unwarranted advice giver and admirer of all things beautiful..."
Nov. 11, 2013
1. Writing things by hand. Letters to friends, lists for the store, goals for the week, notes for lovers, thank you cards and memos to coworkers. Digital communication is easy and convenient but ask anybody: there’s a huge difference between texting someone to say that you love them and hope they have a great day and writing it on a note and leaving it next to their bed.  (I love getting hand written mail with complete words not text dialogue.  I love to send them too.  The  saddest thing is that we don't even send Thank You notes anymore.  It is a dying art).
2. Savoring time to do nothing. Taking a cue from pre-industrialized society and cultures that enjoy siestas and long, drawn-out, sit-down teas that serve no other purpose than to spend time enjoying the time you have.  (I spent most of my day off on Monday just reading....a real book....you know one of those with pages. and believe me....it was heavenly.)
3. Thinking before responding. We’ve become too conditioned to require things immediately. Someone asks a question, and we have to respond that second. Such was not the case before instant messaging and comment threads. A sign of true intelligence and confidence, I think, is someone who takes time to consider the question at hand in a little more depth, and then offers a response. (I am surprised these days when people actually don't answer immediately but say...let me pray about that.  I think we jump on an answer  way too quickly and regret our response down the road.)
4. Cooking a nice meal just for the sake of doing so. It really trains you to defy your need for instant gratification and of course puts you in touch with something that’s very human and can be lovely if done right. (I don't cook during the week, my husband does....but every so often I feel the urge to get flour out and create something.  It is very theraputic for me.  I am reading Stones for Bread and it is making me want to bake like a wild woman.)
5. Getting really dressed up for no other reason than just wanting to.  (I am not a fancy shmancy kind of girl....but sometimes I just want to get dressed up....it makes me happy to see my husband smile.  He loves me in jeans and a tshirt...but seems to swell a bit with pride when I put on my black dress and pearls.)
6. Books. Actual hard copy books that you can scribble notes in and mark off sections of and smell ink through and hear the sound of turning pages and bending spines while you read.  ( I own ebooks....I review books for companies and often choose the ebook to get it instantly.  I prefer real books....the ones that smell and you can turn the pages in.  I especially love old ones....they have the best smell.  I am notorious for taking notes in the margins.  My Bible is filled with notes, dates, thoughts.  I love reading back and seeing what I thought or felt when I read a particular thing.)
7. Making phone calls to relatives for no other reason than to just say hi, and to ask how they’re doing. ( I love to get these.  I love making them too.  There is nothing better than hearing the sound of someone special's voice.  Sometimes I call my daughter (when I know she is not going to answer the phone) just to hear her voice.  I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I hear her say, "Hi!  This is Kathryn...."
8. Disconnecting from technology frequently enough that we won’t be anxious and feeling like we’re missing something when we try to do so for an extended period of time.  (Tough call.  I remember a few weeks ago at school when we were without technology for a day due to a line being cut.  The kids were nuts.  It was a weird kind of feeling knowing we were cut off from the outside world. )
9. Celebrating things with long, multiple course dinners that we hold for people as opposed to just drinking ourselves into an oblivion and being belligerent (that has it’s time and place, of course, but having thoughtful, celebratory dinners is a dying art). (I am not a drinker and love long fun dinners where people get together and celebrate, share, sing, talk. I love planning them, hosting them, being at them.  Love it!)
10. Cleaning because it’s satisfying and doing things like painting walls or getting fresh flowers just because it’s therapeutic.  (Cleaning is therapeutic.  I don't like having to do it.  I love doing it because I want to.  My favorite therapeutic cleaning project is washing dishes by hand and looking out at the Towlers pasture.  I feel so at peace with my hands up to my elbows in hot soapy water....cleaning!  I especially love this when I am  baking and need something quickly.)
11. Spending time with kids, and doing kid things with them. They just know what’s up.  (Picking blackberries with my kids when they were small was one of my favorite things to do.  Hiking Horseshoe Bend Military Park, going to the Smokeys, family game night...with Kat it would be watching Disney's Robin Hood - singing every song and knowing the movie backwards and forwards.  I still love crafting with kids.  It is fun!)
12. Answering things in a timely fashion, not putting off invitations and requests just because we can. (I have fallen short on this one lately.  I put invitations on the fridge and mean to RSVP....and sometimes just forget.  This is an area I definitely need to work on.  As a catering person I know how important that RSVP can be.)
13. Making sure relationships are actually based on time spent with one another. People seem to be sustaining them through only digital means with increasing frequency and I can understand how that’s important if it’s temporarily long distance but in general, physically being with people is the only thing that will give you that sense of human connectedness.  (This morning on The Message they were telling of a coffee shop that has a sign that says, "NO!  We do not have Wi-Fi!  Talk to each other and I thought what a thought.  Lately it seems like every time I go to restaurant...few people are talking...most of the clients are on their phones.  How sad.    Frank and I love to talk to each other.  We will be listening to music and singing....and turn the radio down to converse.)
14. Just sitting and listening to music. We’ve made music background noise in our everyday lives, but now and again we should just sit and enjoy it like people used to.  (I love music.  I listen to it....I sing it....I share it....it rocks my world...I dance to it....I sing in the rain to it.  Music makes the world a pleasant place to be.) 
15. Traveling by train, or if that’s not possible, at least exploring places that you pass everyday. Especially if you live in a big city, there are always little hidden gems around that you won’t believe you lived without seeing while they were a block away from you all along.  (I have taken train trips, I prefer taking a car over a plane so I can see things I have never seen before. I love the history of places.   I like to stop and smell the roses, I investigate things near where I am.  Frank and I have a National Park passport that we got on our honeymoon.  We both love historical places.  I am a product of parents who believed you should know all you could about your state and where you live.  My motto is..."I am not lost, I am exploring.")
16. Putting personal health and well-being first, as it often falls to the wayside in importance. This means, aside from the obvious, taking those personal days and using them to just relax. We’ve made such a quirky commodity out of enjoying napping and relaxing, as though doing so makes us boring and old. It doesn’t, it’s healthy. (I love to take a Sunday pastoral nap.  I used to poke fun at my preachers about taking one.... but believe me....it is a treat to get one.  Call me old.)
17. Planning something, especially with someone else, as simple as dinner or as grandiose as a long vacation next year. You always need something to look forward to.  (Frank and I are spontaneous most of the time.  If we have free time we find something exciting to do.  We also plan a couple of trips a year....during Spring Break and the summer.  We love talking about them, planning them, saving for them, and I love packing for them!)
18. Stopping to talk to people throughout the day. Connecting with them genuinely, as such interaction is really important but is becoming increasingly less common. Turning our phones off when out to dinner (who even turns them off anymore?) and learning to not spend all of our time documenting whatever we’re doing for social media. It often takes away from the experience itself. TC Mark(There are a bunch of us who get together in Trina's room each morning for coffee.  We spend about 20 minutes sharing our lives with each other.  We also eat lunch together and continue our morning thoughts.  We share classroom antics, home antics, family antics.  It is a wonderfully warm fuzzy way to start the day.  I love conversation.)
As I read throiugh this I found that there were a lot of areas that I need to work on.  I really do wish we could shut off the phones and enjoy each other....face to face.  I think that would be a wonderful thing.  What is your take on this?