Isaiah 6:8

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hodge Podge for The End of My Summer

It is Wednesday and that means another one of Joyce's Hodgepodges.  I look forward to her questions each week and the answers everyone gives.  It is a great way to learn about your fellow bloggers.  Here are my answers to this week's questions...add your link to Joyce's blog and join the party!

1. Share one way you think the world has changed for the better since you were a kid?
I am like Joyce and think the Internet is a pretty amazing thing. There is a negative side...people don't write letters anymore, but I have found and am able to keep up with people I have not seen in a bazillion years thanks to the internet.

2. How 'bout one way it's changed for the worse?
We took God out of the equation.  No more prayer in schools, no posting of religious items in state run buildings.  

 3. Starlight, starfish, starling, Starbucks...your favorite 'star'?
Starlight.  There is nothing like laying flat on your back in the back yard and gazing at the stars or sitting in a planetarium and looking at the stars for that month.    

4. Name a song that's overplayed, but you love it anyway?
Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker.  I love the song but they played it a lot when it first hit the charts.

5. When did you last have home made ice cream? Your latest favorite flavor?
Fourth of July at Amanda's.  Her sister-in-law Debbie makes one of my favorite - Wendy's frosty.  It tastes just like one.  My backyard neighbor, Celia makes Yoo Hoo ice cream and it is wonderful.  Do you think I like chocolate or what.  BTW we are having an ice cream social after the revival service tonight....I can't wait.  There is nothing better than homemade ice cream.

6. What do you think is the best way to inspire or motivate people?
 I know how I am inspired or motivated.  I want to feel appreciated and encouraged.  I can and will do anything with those two elements present.  When someone shares a story with me about how they overcame an obstacle it lights my fire and I want to follow in their footsteps.  

7.  When was the last time you were without power?
Let's see...when did we have our last rain storm.  Our power will go out for a little while (under an hour) when we have a huge rainstorm.  It usually does not stay out.  Our local Alabama Power Co. is on it quickly.  The last time we were without power for an extended period of time was three years ago during a snow/ice storm.  It was off for several hours.  When the power is off like that Frank and I put away our electronic devices and play a board game by candlelight.  I love those moments....until it gets hot.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.  In the Troup County Banner yesterday at lunch I found a Jeff Foxworthy article and one particular item stuck out. Since I go back to school on Monday to begin preparing for the kids return I thought this was a keeper.  "You might be a school employee if you want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to work from 8 to 3:30 and have summers off."  Let me tell you....this is my pet peeve.  I leave my house to go to work at 6.  I have to be there and clocked in by 7 and am not allowed to leave til 4.  I have 22 minutes (not an hour) for lunch....and in that time have to eat and use the bathroom.  I cannot leave my class to go to the I have to bolt between the changes of run to a two stall bathroom....with every other female employee.  We got out the Friday of Memorial Day, and since then I have taken two online classes to earn 30 hours, worked in my room twice, and attended a two day English Dept meeting.  I have worked dances (after 3:30), done the Prom (after 3:30), worked athletic events (required), done bus duty for a month at a time, graded countless papers at home after hours, graded research papers, and last year alone...I had 124 students first semester and 116 second.  That is a lot of papers to grade.  My contract reads that I work for 187 days a year.....period.  That is what I get paid for.  There is no extra pay for the extra things we do.  I chose this job because I felt God called to teach.  I love what I do.  I did not go into it for the money.  I would do it again if I were a younger person.  One of my biggest criticizers...and sayer of the above Jeff Foxworthy quote is a nurse(with a Bachelors degree) who works on seven and off seven.  Do the math....She works 130+ days....and makes way more money than I will ever see with a Masters Degree.  Do you have something that sets you off?  Care to share?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Random Life of Karen

My last Monday before starting back to work has passed....and this is my last Tuesday.  August 5th the teachers return to prepare for the students arrival on August 19th.  Frank is cutting the grass this morning.  It is very nice outside...not as hot as it has been for a while.  I actually sat outside on the carport and enjoyed my coffee this morning.  We are meeting some dear friends at Katie's Too in LaGrange for lunch today.  I won't be able to do this again for a while.  This is one of my favorite places to eat because of their cucumber, tomato, and onion salad.   It is to die for.  I have some review books to finish reading and tonight we have revival at Midway at 7.  My precious husband, Frank, will be delivering the message there tonight and I am excited.  Our Rock Mills people probably won't be there because it is choir practice night.  We have been averaging around 40 people so far and that makes me very happy.  I am going to be delivering the message in song and am excited about that too.  I love singing....and tonight I am going to sing two of Marcie's (Porch People from Rock Mills) favorite songs:  Midnight Cry and God Saw A Cross.  If I had to pick my favorite power songs it would be these two.  When I sing them I feel the electricity of God pouring through me.  It amazes me to feel the Spirit of the Lord live and in person.  Oh Happy Day(Sister Act version) and Shackles  (Mary-Mary) are two other songs that lift me up when I am singing them.  Many years ago I heard a professional woman singer from Nashville sing from the stage at the Arbor.  She was amazing and very intimidating.  I actually was going to have to sing after her.  I stood on the side of the stage and was physically ill.  One of the wives of our band asked me what was happening...and I told her I was terrified....she was a huge fan of me...and asked me..."what does she have that you don't"....."God" should have been my response....but it wasn't....I squeaked out..."shiny shoes!"  It became a big joke with the band....I usually sang barefoot....or in flip flops, tennis shoes, or loafers.   I went for comfort....still do.  After this Frank and I were at Cato's looking for a blouse I needed and guess what we found....SHINY SHOES!  They were perfect...all my favorite colors, low heels, sparkly....and Frank bought them for me.  I wore them to church that next Sunday....and you know what...singing on stage with those Shiny Shoes was really no big deal because they were not my power item....GOD was!  I kept the shiny shoes for a long time....added bling to my wardrobe for fun.....introduced jewelry to my attire.....still wore no makeup (you know it is hard to dress up without makeup).....and continued to feel alive on stage singing God's word.  Once at the first church in Roanoke for a District meeting I sang from their stage...and when I sang Oh Happy lip touched the mike and it shocked me....when that happened it felt as if there was electricity running through the floor of the stage....but you was not electricity like we know was the power of the Lord....I was plugged in....and I let it fly.  I did not even have my shiny shoes on....I was barefoot!  I feel humbled in bare feet.  I can feel God's power in bare feet.  What plugs you in?  What takes off your shackles?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The End of Summer

Early this morning that stupid alarm clock went off at 5:30.  I dragged myself out of bed, dressed, and headed to BRHS.  Today is the beginning of the end of summer.  Today is the first day of registration.  Mr. Reyes told us to be there at 7:30...which is 15 minutes later than we normally have to report.  I got there, was given my assignment and some bad new about a fellow lunch buddy who fell off a ladder over the weekend and broke her back.  She won't be back for a while and she will be sorely missed.  Please pray for her complete recovery.  My lunch buddy and friend Trina got there and my work assignment changed.  We were the first check point.  The line stopped with us and if they had done their residency check then we let them progress to station number two....past due fees, if not then they went to the main office to clear it up.  It amazes me how people wait til the very last minute to take care of business.  Residency checks began back in APRIL people!!!!!  Why are you just now showing up.  Griefus!  At 8:00 when the parents were let into the building they were almost wrapped around the building.  I was glad to finally see the end of the line round 11.  After 11 the people just kind of dribble in.  Trina and I were cleared to leave at 11:30.  I ran some errands in Alex City and was headed home by 12.  I called Frank to let him know I was headed home and he gave me some MORE bad news.  One of our Rock Mills folks had been taken to Opelika.  When I got home we would need to go check on Mr. L.  A one hour drive home....another hour to Opelika.  We finally got home around 4.  Revival is tonight at Midway and I am so excited.  Dr. Lewis Archer, the Southeast Districts District Superintendent is speaking tonight and I am so excited to hear him.  He is an amazing speaker and when he delivers a know God is in the building.  My dear friend, Dennis Floyd - Minister of Music at Calvary Baptist Church, is bringing the message in song tonight.  I have asked him to sing 3 songs.  I have not heard him sing in probably 20 years so I am excited about this too.  I am hoping for a good crowd tonight.  Pray for our revival if you will.  Our church has been praying for this since before I got there as their pastor.  You know...revival in one small rural church can lead to revival in a county, a state, a nation and believe me....we need some reviving here in America.  Don't you think?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Revive Us O, Lord

I am as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  Midways revival begins tonight.  This is my first revival to first to speak first of many I hope.  Tonight we will kick it off with a covered dish dinner at 5:30.  It will be my first covered dish dinner at the church and because I am not the greatest of cooks....I am a bit nervous.  I have made Mrs. Betty Jean's sugar free pie so that I can have a dessert.  Frank is making his famous fried pork rice dish.  I will be taking a few other little dishes.  I was going to take cantaloupe....but over the course of a few days I have eaten it up.  *sigh*.  The service itself starts at 7:00 pm and I will be bringing the message tonight.  can you hear my knees knocking?  You should because they sound like a jack hammer....but I can barely hear them above my heart beating out of my chest.  Monday night the message will be brought by Dr. Lewis Archer our District Superintendent.  My dear friend and former singing partner, Dennis Floyd, will be bringing the music message.  I can't wait to hear them both.  On Tuesday night my sweet Frank will be preaching and I will be singing....the dynamic duo.  I will close out the Revival on Wednesday and will be singing and preaching.  We will have an ice cream social following the service.  Southern churches are noted for Revivals and Homecomings.  Midway is no different.  We have Homecoming in May, Rock Mills has it at the end of April and Midway has revival the fourth Sunday in July.  Southern churches also are noted for 5th Sunday night singings too.  When I was a child my mom and dad would visit my grandmother and we would go to my great uncles tent revival.  I remember the person bringing the message wringing his hands as he begged the people attending not to leave without being right with the Lord.  I remember him(my great uncle) yelling at the audience.  I remember crying because I was afraid.  You see, I grew up in a First Methodist Church....our pastor never yelled at us like this person would.  Our pastors all spoke in soft tones and I loved hearing them speak.  But, revival is not about being comfortable.  It really is about getting right with the Lord.  "The term Great Awakening, (which is what we now call revival) is a term used to refer to several periods of religious revival in American religious history. Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 19th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations. You know we need revival today.  The Christian nation needs to take a stand and tell the world about God.  There are people within the shadow of our steeple that are unsaved and do not know about the love of Jesus.  We need to quit being so comfortable and get out there and let the people hear the Good News.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Breakfast at Jeff's Place

For quite a while we have eaten Saturday morning breakfast with Beth and Ron at the Farmhouse Restaurant.  It was a charming little restaurant with country décor, good food, great service, and fellowship.  Last Saturday we heard that she would be closing soon due to progress.  Hwy 22 runs through Roanoke downtown and the beautification board has put little islands throughout the downtown area.....the semi trucks are running over they are changing the route of Hwy 22 to accommodate the trucks and keep the islands from being destroyed.  The Farmhouse Restaurant is right in the way of where the turn lane is going to several of the buildings next to the Farmhouse are leaving us.  Mary Messer's Florist has relocated in a shopping center on the corner of Hwy 22 and Hwy 431.  The Farmhouse could not find a than we thought...she has closed.  Beth, Ron, Frank, and I talked about it and decided we would try Jeff's Place out by the Stockyards.  I don't do change well....and we don't have a lot of breakfast places in Roanoke that are not fast food.  Huddle House would have been our only other option....and non of us were too thrilled with that choice....til we found Jeff's.  When Frank and I walked in I was pleasantly surprised.  One of my favorite waitresses from T.J. Rockers was there, the décor was cute, and the food was excellent and reasonably priced.  Their toast is actually fried bread.  This is something my momma used to make on the weekends.  She would either do fried toast....or on Sunday after we had biscuits on Saturday morning....she would fry the left overs. Jeff's is open from 7 in the morning til 9 at night.  The Farmhouse had weird hours.  I think we have found our home away from the Farmhouse home.  Looks like Saturday breakfast has changed locations.  I will miss the Farmhouse and all the sweet people who worked there...but I am glad we have found a new breakfast home.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Broken

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here to Lisa Jo's blog 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 me your best five minutes on:::



In the corner of my bedroom was a child's toy baby bed....filled with memories of my childhood.....broken dolls.  My Shirley Temple doll was there with clouded eyes from being exposed to too much heat.  My Madam Alexander Doll was there because she had a broken arm.  Mastectomy Midge was there because her right breast had been removed after I played with her....and my bike....using it as a ferris wheel.  She went through the spokes and she was broken.  On my dresser was a broken poodle statue that my dad had lovingly glued back.  My precious Ethel had given it to me when I moved to El Prado.  My chest of drawers had a broken handle that fell lopsided and so the drawer was never entirely shut.  Inside the walls of my house was a broken little family because of the death of my baby brother. 

I was never a girly-girly....but I have had a broken heart.  I used to draw pictures of them when I was younger.  They would always have a shattered line and I would put a Band-Aid on them.  I thought that I was extremely artistic with this little venture.  I actually won a ribbon in high school after doing one in water color.  Broken hearts are devastating.  I was a student at Belvedere Elementary when I had my first one.  I think I was in second grade.  I liked a little boy and he did not like me.  I was broken.  I remember crying in my momma's arms while she tried to make the hurt go away.  I did not know that little boys were not into girls, like girls were into little boys.  Throughout my life there have been many broken hearts due to unrequited love.  Their names were Doug, Steve, Harold, Jim....and many of them are just faded memories.....I cannot even remember their faces.  Even though I was broken for a time....I survived.  I moved on to the next love....was broken again....and survived again.  It is amazing how one can survive growing up and the broken hearts that go with it.

Many times as a mother my heart has been broken by my children.  It does not mean that I don't love them any just means that for a brief feelings were hurt.  Kat's leg was broken because of a Water Slide in Pigeon Forge, TN one Labor Day weekend.  I was broken too....I felt as if I had let my daughter down.  I felt as if it were my fault that she had to experience this.  I wanted to fix her broken bone...I needed fix my own brokenness. 

I was raised in church.  My parents went and took me.  I learned many valuable lessons while there....had a few more broken hearts....and I learned that there was beauty in brokenness.  I learned that lesson young.  There have been many times in my life when out of the ashes of the broken I have risen again like a Phoenix.  How have I survived this?  I have a special super power....called Jesus.  Whenever I feel as if I am so broken that I cannot go on....I remember His crucifixion.  He was broken and spilled out because He loved me so much.  It is because of His  great love that I find myself....broken....and humbled before Him.  When I read Isaiah broke me.  I knew what I should be doing and I knew what I was not doing....and that was not following His will.  Once I  was broken....I turned to Him and submitted to His Will.  Will I ever experience being broken again?  Oh, I am sure of it....but I have the assurance....His assurance....that this too will pass.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Through The Eyes Of A Scroll Saw Artist

I love gifts made from the heart.  Frank did a sign for The Robinson's this week with a boat, anchor, and skier on it.  It was gorgeous.  After seeing it completed I told him I wanted a sign for the house when he had the time.  I wanted crosses on it.  This is what he did for me and I LOVE it.  There is nothing I like more than something someone made.  This looks really pretty as you pull up into the carport.  I am so proud of his artistic eye.
My Favorite of the religious pieces is this one, "In The Garden."
The "Crown of Thorns" is another favorite.

The flaming eagle is a real eye catcher.

This one is humbling.

The patriotic eagle is gorgeous.

Yep, it is John Deere green.

The flaming wolf.  He also does a flaming buck and horse.

Monogram letters are real popular now and he does them according to your personality.  Not every one is all about curly ques.
Here is The Robinson's sign.  Is it not precious.
The ascension cross is really detailed.  He made one and sold it via facebook immediately.

Monograms he made for a wreath.  They are really pretty.

The flaming tiger is really powerful. 

A sign he designed from a business card for our backyard neighbor.
Yep, I think he is very talented....but then I am not prejudiced one little bit.  Have a wonderful Thursday.  I am going visiting folks from Midway today.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Royal Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge! So glad you joined the fun today...add your link at the end of Joyce's post if you want to participate and I hope you do.  It is time to get this party started-


1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day.  Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you've recently accomplished solo?
It has been a quiet summer and there is nothing I have accomplished solo.  

 2. What's a product you use that never ever fails?
I have to agree with Joyce on the Sharpie permanent markers, Pilot G-2 pens (I love them). bleach as long as I use it like it is supposed to be used.....and not spill it on my clothes. 

3. Have you found your place in this world?  Where is it?
My place in this world is wherever Frank is.  We live in a small rural town called Rock Mills and if I had to pick one special place to call my home and be perfectly content living this would be it.  I love this town, I love the people.  Ireland would be my far-far away place.  I love the lay of the land, the people, the quaintness.  My personal happy place is Mrs. Betty Jean's back yard when all her flowers are blooming.

 4. Worst movie you ever saw?
Out of Africa or Gods and Generals would be my two choices.  Talk about snoozers.  They are both loaded with tons of cinemagraphics and not so much on the plot and dialogue.  Frank loved Gods and Generals.  We went to see it with two other couples and all of us but Frank and Ricky slept through the entire movie.  I am not good at movies that are over 2 hours long.  My interest disappears quickly.

 5. What's the last fun thing you did?
Taught music to children at VBS last week.  Baked this week.  I have bread going right now and made all kinds of goodies this week.  I love it when it rains and I feel the urge to bake.

 6. The month of July is named for Roman emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome?  What's your favorite Italian dish?
Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. I took students there a few years ago and loved every minute of being there...with some dear friends and my daughter, Kat.  I loved the fountains.  My favorite dishes were pizza margherita, gelato, and limoncello.  To be honest we ate nothing I did not like.  The food was amazing.  The fresh fruits from the market in Venice were awesome.  Nothing here even compares to the food there.


 7. What is one piece of advice you'd give new mom Kate Middleton?
Spend time enjoying your child. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  While in Bangor with Mary several years ago we ate Blueberry Corn Muffins that were heavenly.  The second food item is from Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, FL.  These are Corn Fritters that will melt in your mouth.  I live 10 hours away from this place and would actually consider taking a day trip there just to eat one.  What is a dish you remember well from a trip or location? 
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
1 c blueberries
2 T flour
1 egg
½ c packed brown sugar
2 T Canola oil
½ c skim milk
½ t vanilla
1 c yellow cornmeal
2 T baking powder
1 c all-purpose flour
Makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 400.  Spray muffin tins with non-stick oil.  Toss blueberries in 2 T flour to coat.  In a mixing bowl, beat egg, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla.  With a few swift strokes, mix in remaining ingredients.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm.
Dixie Crossroads Corn Fritters
* 2 cups flour
 * 2 eggs – beaten
 * 1 Tblsp. baking powder
 * 1 cup milk
 * ½ Tsp. salt
 * 4 Tblsp. Liquid butter blend
 * 4 Tblsp. Sugar
 * 1 cup whole corn – drained
 Heat the cooking oil to approximately 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together. Combine eggs, milk, and butter blend. Fold the egg mixture into dry ingredients. Add corn last. Drop by tablespoon into hot oil – deep fry about 5 minutes, turning periodically – or until they’re golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. If you don’t want to bother with cooking fritters from scratch, we have fritter mix available. All you have to do is add water and corn and fry them.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday With Karen In The Kitchen

Today it is pouring rain and I do not want to set foot outside of this house so I am going to bake/cook.  I have a number of tomatoes that are getting too ripe so I am going to put them on and stew them for spaghetti sauce.  I have a multitude of cucumbers given to me so I am going to made cucumber and onion salad (in vinegar).  THEN....I am putting on the dough to make crusty bread.  Frank loves it and I love baking it.  It is so easy and is NOT made in a bread machine.  After the bread is on and rising I am making caramel cookies.  This was a big flop.  The caramel was too hard to the cookies went out into the yard.  I am so disappointed.  I made 48 cookies....and threw all but the one Frank and I tried to eat out.  Sigh....So now I am making molasses(ginger) cookies.  I love these.  I love the taste of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.  These cookies were awesome.  I even sent some by Frank to choir practice tonight.  I also made Blueberry Corn Muffins.  It is a recipe I got when Mary and I spent a week with her sister, Noel, in Bangor, ME.  They were awesome too.  I sent some of them to choir practice as well.  This week I also made a sugar free pie thanks to Mrs. Betty Jean.  I sent Beth a piece to try out.  It is amazing!  I think I have found my new favorite dessert for church socials.  I thought I would share the successful recipes with you.

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
1 c blueberries
2 T flour
1 egg
½ c packed brown sugar
2 T Canola oil
½ c skim milk
½ t vanilla
1 c yellow cornmeal
2 T baking powder
1 c all-purpose flour
Makes 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray muffin tins with non-stick oil.  Toss blueberries in 2 T flour to coat.  In a mixing bowl, beat egg, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla.  With a few swift strokes, mix in remaining ingredients.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm.
Molasses Cookies
3/4 c shortening
1 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c molasses
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
Cream together shortening and brown sugar.  Stir in egg and molasses and mix well.  Fold in dry ingredients and stir.  Cover and chill until firm(1-2 hours).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar (I leave this last step out).  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Back 9-10 minutes.  Leave on cookie sheet for one minute or until set. 
Sugar Free Pie
2 boxes of Instant Vanilla Pudding (small and sugar free)
2 c 2% milk
Crystal light lemonade powder (1 tub) - you can use any flavor
1 16 oz sugar free cool whip
2 graham cracker pie crusts
Mix pudding, crystal light and milk.  Beat until smooth.  Mixture must be mixed quickly or it will lump.  Fold in Cool Whip and mix well.  Pour mixture into crusts and chill several hours before serving.
Bon Appetit.  I am off to check on my bread.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Revival Is Coming!

Well the countdown is on.  In one week my church, Midway (Wedowee) is having a revival.  It will be my first as their pastor and it will be a first for me to speak at one.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  The event begins next Sunday night with a covered dish dinner at 5:30 followed by the service at 7.  I will be speaking the first night and my message is coming from 2 Chronicles 7:14 - 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Monday night our District Superintendent, Dr. Lewis Archer will be speaking.  He is new to the district and everyone is excited about hearing his message.  Tuesday night my darling Frank will be speaking and I cannot wait to hear what he has in store for us.  On Wednesday night, the final night, I will be speaking again.  So, as you can see next week is going to be a busy week for me with lots of sermons.  This week I am going to go and visit some of the Midway community people  with Ms. Judy to invite them to church.  To say the least I am so very excited.  If you live in the area we would love to have you at least for one night.

One of our littlest members was airlifted to Children's in Birmingham on Saturday.  She was having seizures.  When I got the call I prayed with the person on the other end immediately and began trying to reach the young parents to pray with them too. I got the mom at the ER in Wedowee and found out what was going on.  Having a sick child is a frightening thing.  I have walked in those shoes before and it is not somewhere any parent ever wants to be.

We had Men's Fellowship Breakfast at Midway yesterday morning.  Mr. Jerry and Mr. Rayford are amazing cooks.  Breakfast was delicious.  After breakfast Allen gave a short devotional and we were dismissed.  Our numbers were a little thin at Midway yesterday.  One of my largest families had a reunion, my piano player had a reunion too, and between that and the family with the child in B'ham my numbers were way down.   Yesterday was the one man Karen show.  I played for us to sing with my guitar(so we did old standards without weird chords), played the roll of Sunday School Superintendent, and preached.  I felt like I was walking through a revolving door.It did not matter though.  I was a happy camper to be serving God.  My sermon was on Mary and Martha and I preached to my 25 as if I were preaching to 250.  God really laid a good message on my heart. Last night after we got home from church and visiting one of the Rock Mills youth and her family (she had surgery on Thursday)Frank and I talked about our sermons.  It is really neat to be able to have this conversation and I really look forward to gleaning information from his experience. 

Summer vacation is almost over for me.  I have to admit I look forward to going back because I need the structure.  School will be starting back for me in a couple of weeks (August 5th).  I am hoping that between school (with three preps and a new class I have not taught in over 10 years) and churches that life will be manageable.  It will definitely be a time to keep a calendar so I don't spread myself too thin between teacher, preacher/pastor, and pastor's wife.  Can't you just picture me with three hats on.  If you see me on Highways 22 and 431 I will be the little silver HHR with the three hat boxes in the back.  I hope I remember which one I am supposed to be wearing at that moment.  Hope you have a blessed week.  I know I am going to.  I serve a mighty God.  Rain is in the forecast for today....and for much of the week.  Whatever I do today will probably be an inside job.  Rain = good reading weather.  Don't you think!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Hopeful Heart

About The Book:  In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.  Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.  A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.

About The Author:  Amy Clipston is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She works full-time for the City of Charlotte. Her home includes husband, Joe; two sons, Zac and Matt; mother, Lola; and four spoiled rotten cats, Molly, Rico, Jet, and Lilly.  She is an advocate for organ and blood donation. She donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through her donation, her husband received a second kidney transplant. Her husband and Clipston herself matched another couple and they swapped kidneys with them. She gave a kidney to her husband's donor's wife. Feel free to check out her website:

My Thoughts About The Book:  I love Amish fiction and was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book for Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze Blogging Program.  Because it was an Amish story I devoured the book and read this book all the way through in one day.  Once I started it I could not put it down.  The resolution was a bit hard to swallow.  Trey and Hannah fell in love too quickly, after just one brief conversation.   I haven't read an Amish fiction book where things were resolved in that way, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.  Clifton does not  portray the Amish as perfect people like most  Amish fiction does.  This particular Order of Amish seemed to be terribly judgmental and gossipy.  Although many of them were kind and gentle, they were human and things around her were not perfect.   Personally I don't believe this would happen where two people – one Amish and one Englisher would act on feelings of this magnitude so fast. I knew from the moment they met that Hannah would end up leaving her Order and marrying Trey.  I also knew that her decision would eventually affect her whole family. I was very frustrated with Hannah, Trey, Barbie, and Josh because of their actions yet the characters and the storyline and characters came across as real. This could really happen today.  I believe the story was one that portrayed the struggles that Amish widows face.  It was a good story about the Amish way of life and the struggles Amish women may face. I would love to read a follow up of the main characters. I really liked Hannah; her character was really likeable. I really thought Trey, and two of Hannah's children were likeable too. I can understand the struggles the other child was probably going through though. I felt all the characters were well-rounded and very thought out. This book was a gem.  Even though I was not entirely sold on the book I would still like to read the entire set of stories from the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series.

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Belong

It is Friday and that means it is time for 5 Minute Friday.  I love this day and look forward to it every week because it is a time when I sit for five minutes and just write about whatever comes to my mind about a given word.  The rules are easy and if you would like to participate this is what you do:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here to Lisa Jo's blog 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 the word:::

I belong to a big family.  I have 96 first cousins.  Belonging is important to me.  I love the sense of being a piece of a whole.  I began belonging to this family on April 15th, 1954.  I have children, grandchildren, and one precious little great grandchild.  I tell you what belonging to a family rocks.  I am blessed with a loving family.
I belong to Frank.  I love being his other (sometimes better) half.  I can exist without him but existing with him is so much more fun.  I love being part of his life and having him as part of mine.  He is so supportive and I hope that I am the same in return.
I belonged to the First United Methodist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida when I was growing up.  I loved my church.  It was a safe haven full of familiars.  I loved belonging to the choirs there, the Sunday School classes there, the Youth program there.  I belonged and to be honest was happier at church than I was anywhere else.  I have belonged to several churches since then.  I love belonging to a church.  Belonging to the Family of God is amazing no matter where you worship.
I belong to the Porch People.  This is a special group of folks we became a part of when we moved to Rock Mills.  I love each and every single one of them.  They took us in and made us feel like family.  They are like relatives from another mother.  Young and old they are an amazing group of people and I love them dearly.

I belong to the Class of 1972.  We graduated from Forest Hill High School together.  Some of us started Kindergarten together and went all the way to the Junior College together....belonging to each other....we were friends.  I love belonging to a group called friends.  Whether they are old friends from childhood or new friends right now.  Belonging to friends is a blessing.

I could be here for days sharing what belonging means to me, but I was only given five minutes.  I and now...and I love life.  Thank you God for letting me belong and having such a blessed life.  Can I get an amen?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rosemary Cottage

About The Book:  Water can be calming and healing, but it can also be dangerous, as Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland both found out. Both lost their siblings to the sea, and they hope to find healing on Hope Island. But will they find it, or will their quest to find answers set them at odds with each other and with those who have secrets that need to stay hidden?  Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island…. The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.  Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.  Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden? 

About The Author:  Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.  Find out more about Colleen at
My Thoughts About The Book:  I’ve read Colleen Coble before, so I knew Rosemary Cottage would be nothing short of wonderful and it did not let me down. Rosemary Cottage is the second in a series. Tidewater Inn is the first and you do not need to read the first one to enjoy this one. If you love mystery, suspense, and romance you will love this book! This is story contains a mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance.  Coble’s characters are nicely developed and I found myself caught up in what was happening in their lives almost from the beginning. I love being so caught up in a story that when it ends you are sad to see your new friends leave. The two main characters, Amy and Curtis, are tied together from the beginning when  Amy comes back to the cottage to find answers to her brother’s mysterious death and reunites with Curtis who has secrets he doesn’t want uncovered about his own sister’s death and her daughter, Raine. If you love twists, turns, and surprises you will love this book.  Just when you think you have figured out the “who done it” another lead and more danger will arise.  The key theme I found was that no matter what is in your past, God will forgive you. I hope there is going to be a third book in this series and I can’t wait to read it.  This is definitely a must read. 
Disclaimer:  I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity’s blogging program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hodge Podge Mania

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Add your link at the end of Joyce's blog post by clicking here.  Then you are free to run off and visit your with the others.  Here are my answers to Joyce's questions of the week.~

1. Picture postcards were first printed back in the mid 1800's and deltiology is the official name for postcard collecting. When did you last send a postcard? Receive one? Do you save postcards sent to you?  Do you collect and/or send postcards when you travel?  I think the last time I sent a postcard was in 2004 when I went to Ireland for the first time.  I do however pick up postcards whenever I'm somewhere that sells them just in case the pictures I took were bad.  At least I have the post card picture for my scrapbook of the trip.  The last time I received a postcard was yesterday inviting me to a pastor's luncheon on August 10th.

 2. What treat do you most like to indulge in while on vacation?  Room service is my favorite one.  If the hotel I am staying in has it...I usually order it at least once(if I am traveling solo.  Frank and I always stay somewhere that serves breakfast.  My other favorite thing is trying out local places to eat.  I usually ask locals and see what they recommend and have eaten at some really great places (most of them hole in the walls or dives)....with amazing food.
 3. Are you good at hiding your feelings?  My face tells it all.  I try so hard....but you know by looking at me if I am scared, hurt, disappointed, happy, sad. 

 4. Does your town/city/county still deliver phone books to your home?  Do you check the yellow pages when searching for a local business number or has the Internet replaced the phone book in your house?  We live in a small town...with a tiny directory that is delivered by mail.  If I can't find a local number in the book I will Google it.  I Google out of town information.

5. Would you rather be first or last?  First. Especially if it is a competitive thing.  Second is just the first loser.  If it is a scary thing...then perhaps second is not so bad.

6. July is National Park and Recreation Month (in America, but everyone can still play along)...where and when were you last in a park? Did you participate in any recreational activities while you were there?  Frank and I love Parks....we spent part of our honeymoon at Chickamagua National Military Park in Tennessee.  We live close to a number of parks since we live close to Lake West Point and Lake Martin.  Monday we rode through Horseshoe Bend Military Park.  In October we were in the Smokey Mountains and last August Susan and I went to the Jupiter Lighthouse Park in Florida.  I have a passport for lighthouses.  I get a stamp when I visit one.  Frank and I have National Park passports which we get stamps and stamped when we visit them. In my lifetime I have seen some amazing parks.  We do not camp....but we have....mostly we take in the exhibits, the sights, any programs they are offering, and picnic.

 7. What was one of your worst ideas?  This week is VBS at Rock Mills and I volunteered to do brick wall for one area that is over 9 feet high.  Each wall would require 3 sheets each x 13 ' to cover the entire wall.  It took me over an hour to do one.  Needless to say....we have wainscoting brick walls with cute little patches where it looks like the bricks are peeking out of the stucco.  It turned out good...but not before many tears and Frank feeling sorry for me and helping me do it.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here. Does your church have a choir?  Do you participate in it?  My church, does not even have one because no one will participate.  It does not bother me because we just sing an extra song so there is music and everyone participates.  When I want to add in a solo....I can.  Several churches in our area have dropped their choirs.  The reason....lack of participation.  Rock Mills is struggling with a choir...some weeks there are four at choir practice...other weeks there are nine. Summer choir is very hard because of vacation plans.  The Bible tells us to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord...all ye lands."  But does that mean sing in a choir....or just sing?  I am voting for the latter.  What is your take on this?  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Daughter of Jerusalem

About The Book:  In Daughter of Jerusalem, readers will quickly identify with Mary Magdalene – a woman of deep faith who used her wealth and influence to serve Jesus.
This fictionalized story of Mary Magdalene is, in the truest sense of the word, an inspirational novel for modern people who are looking to renew in themselves the message of Christ. It’s the greatest story ever lived, told by one of the most famous women who ever lived, and it’s a page-turner. Joan Wolf’s years of success as a novelist enable her to combine storytelling and a faith plot in this beautifully written biblical fiction.

About The Author:  Joan Wolf has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Milford, Connecticut, where she raised two children and an assortment of horses, dogs and cats. Along the way she also managed to write forty-six published novels, the writing of which profoundly enriched her life.

My Thoughts About The Book:  I am a huge fan of biblical fiction and every now and then I am so blessed to come across a book where the words and characters seem to come to life before my very eyes. It is one of those books where  every  scene, every character, every emotion, everything is felt by the reader.  The story does not completely follow the story of Mary Magdalene from the Bible but the key word here is that it is fiction.  One of my favorite biblical characters is Mary Magdelene.  Daughter of Jerusalem tells a very sad fictionalized story of Mary Magdalene.  We meet Mary as a young girl who is forced to leave her home because she does not get along with her step-mother.   She endures the trials of an arranged marriage,  which was very common at the time, and finds herself living in the town of Sepphoris.   It is during this period of Mary’s life that she  strays away from the God she has known and loved in the past.   Mary finds herself in the city of Capernaum. It is here that Mary hears of a young man named  John the Baptist who shows her the way to Jesus. The characters are all fictional, yet are they?  Many of us can probably find a little bit of Mary Magdalene in our own walk with Jesus.  Wolf portrays beautifully on the pages of the novel that no matter how far we stray we can be renewed.  The God we know will continue to love us and show us favor.  I would highly recommend the book, especially if you are a fan of Mary Magdalene.  

 Disclaimer:  I was provided Daughter of Jerusalem by Worthy Publishing for a fair and honest review.  Thank you for the chance to take part in this blog tour. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lack of Sleep Will Get You Every Time

Frank has been gone all weekend to Course of Study School and that usually means I don't sleep well.  Last night was no exception.  I went to bed about 11:00 and at 1:00 this morning was awakened by a loud boom and what I thought to be something falling.  I got up and walked through the house in the dark.  I saw nothing out of the ordinary.  I looked out the windows of the house...still in the dark and saw nothing.  I got my gun and went out on the carport....nothing.  Was I dreaming?  Was I really hearing something?  I have no clue.  I was shaken so I sat down at my computer....still in the dark and finished my sermon for Sunday. I actually started over and completed.  I finally laid back down around 3:30.  Frank was supposed to call me around 5:30 so I could get up and get ready to go with the Towler/McCarley girls to Anniston.  I never closed my eyes.  When I was picked up at 6:30 I was running on 2 hours of sleep.  I have to admit...I am too old for this.  Our first stop was the Rock Mills Nazarene Church and I bought Kat three cute necklaces there.  Then we headed to Anniston.  After a breakfast stop at IHOP in Anniston we hit the thrift stores in search of (Sherry) stuff for Wil, (Karen) cookie sheets, (Marcie, Magen, Lyndi) new baby clothes and other stuff for the twins Magen and Keaton are expecting in January and Jett clothes.  Marcie lucked out and loaded up on jackets for Jett this winter all for 99 cents each.  We found a wonderful crib and a ton of clothes (today was 99 cent green tag sale). Lyndi was looking for scrubs (she is in nursing school) and we found a ton of pair of pants. While we were there Mrs. Sherry helped an elderly woman who had an accident.  These ladies are amazing and true Samaritans.  I love them for this.  They open their hearts, their homes, whatever if someone needs something.  By 12 I was sinking fast.  I felt as if I was melting like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.  I grabbed some quick caffeine and managed to get a good second wind.  Sherry and I headed back to Rock Mills and I grabbed a quick nap before Marian brought me some white yarn I needed.  I have four yarn projects to do and am excited now that the yarn is here.  I feel a bit more hour power nap is just what the doctor ordered.  I am going with Renee in a few minutes to see D. J.'s band is going to be another late night....but at least my sermon is ready!  Whoooo Hooooo!  Have a wonderful Saturday.

A Bride For All Seasons: The Mail Order Bride Collection

About The Book:  It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
“And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.
“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.
“Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ e trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .
“Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
My Thoughts On The Book:  If you like reading clean historical romance books and enjoy mail-order bride stories then this book is for you.  It is a sweet collection of four novellas by four different authors:  And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley, An Ever After Summer by Debra Clopton, Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher, and Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy about four women whose lives were irrevocably changed by becoming a mail-order bride – when times were hard out west and women were few.   Each story represents a different season in 1870 I loved them all!  I loved the fact that all four mail-order bride stories are tied together by the common bond of Melvin Hitchcock from The Hitching Post, a mail-order bride catalogue with a high rate of successful marriages.  None of the couples in the four novellas are matched up as they expected to be, when Hitchcock takes it upon himself to play cupid of sorts.  This book is loads of fun and very  entertaining to read. You cannot wait until the next calamity occurs. It is not an epic read but it is good for an afternoon to drift into the life of four mail-order brides.  It is delightful.  There are three discussion questions for each novella in the back. This would be a great Book Club read!

Disclaimer:  I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Groups blogging program, NetGalley Publishers,  and Thomas Nelson for review purposes.  Thank you both for the opportunity to read this book.  It was wonderful!