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, May 31, 2014

A May Bride

About The Book:  She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part.  Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life-a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.  At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray.  When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family?  Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?

About The Author:  Although she has lived more than half my life in other states, she is still a Californian at heart. She loves vintage bungalows, twisted oaks on rolling hills, and the rocky beaches of the Central Coast. A few blocks away from her childhood home stood a Lutheran church where she came to faith, first through Sunday School teachers whose kindness drew her to the kindness of God, and then through confirmation classes. The Bible verses that had been drilled into her head came to life in her heart.  After moving away from home as a teenager, she worked at a variety of jobs, from candle-maker in a tourist town to administrative assistant at a Christian college. She married a wonderful man from Michigan, and they lived north of Detroit for seventeen years. That's where they started homeschooling their three children, an endeavor that they finished in Georgia when their youngest graduated from high school in 2009.  Moseley and her husband live near Atlanta, close to the foothills of the Southern Appalachians. His motorcycle often carries them to the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, or the Carolinas. Sitting on the back of the bike,she can pray, enjoy the beautiful views, and plot new stories. Fiction makes her world go 'round, whether she is writing it or reading it.

My Thoughts On The Book:  This is another in the series "A Year of Weddings"  published by Zondervan - Fiction. Each of these novellas focuses on a wedding and the trials and tribulations leading up to the event. This is a sweet story that is for your pure reading enjoyment.   The story begins with a renegade and this was something that was new to me.
During the renegade wedding Ellie meets Gray and the romance begins. Of all the Year of Weddings books this was not really one of my favorites.  Even with that it was still a great way to spend a few hours.  I cannot wait for the next in the series. 

Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review as part of HarperCollins Publishing Company's BookLook Blogging Program in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you, NetGalley and Zondervan, for the opportunity to read A May Wedding

Return to the Beach House

Return to the Beach House: A Beach House Novel

About The Book(from the back cover):  Over the course of one year, in a charming cottage by the sea, eight people will discover love and remembrance, reconciliation and reunion, beginnings and endings in this unforgettable sequel to Georgia Bockoven's The Beach House and Another Summer.  Alison arrives at the beach house in June to spend a month with her restless grandson before he leaves for his first year of college.  More than a decade earlier, Alison lost her beloved husband, and has faced life alone ever since.  Now she discovers a new life and possible new. love.  August brings together four college friends facing a milestone.  During the summer's final days, they share laughter, tears, and love - revealing long-held secrets and creating new and even more powerful bonds.  World-class wildlife photographer Matthew and award-winning war photographer Lindsey arrive at the beach house in January, each harboring the very real fear that it will mark the end of their decade-long love affair.  Alone in the house's warm peach, they are forced to truly look at who they are and what they want, discovering surprising truths that will change their lives forever.

About The Author:  Georgia Bockoven is an award-winning author who began writing fiction after a successful career as a freelance journalist and photographer.  Her books have sold more than three million copies worldwide.  The mother of two, she resides in Northern California with her husband John.

My Thoughts On The Book:  I took this book to the beach with me last week because of the title. I thought it would be a good beach read that would last several days.  A little sunburn and a good restful day later the book was completed.  I could not put it down.  I even found myself searching for a Bach house where I was.  I imagined the houses we past as the house in the book.  It was a really good read for those who love stories in a beach setting. If you are a regular beach goer you can definitely relate to the power of the setting and the unfolding of the  characters lives as they gather at the Beach House to share their life situations. Each story has same themes threaded through them.   Any beach goer can see themselves at the Brach House.  I would love to find myself there too. 

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from TLC Blog Tours and William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers  in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and 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.”  Thanks guys for allowing me this opportunity.

Seasons of Tomorrow

About The Book:  As love restores Rhoda, a sudden tragedy is the test of faith she never saw coming.
More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.  Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.  When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite Or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?

About The Author:  Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today 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 has been featured on ABC Nightline and on 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.  She's a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.  She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.  Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.  As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.  If you'd like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website:
or Facebook

My Thoughts On The Book:  This fourth book in the series centers with the Amish families who moved to Orchard Bend, Maine and I loved it!  Cindy Woodsmall is quite the wordsmith and storyteller.  It seems that each new season seems to bring new trials and tribulations.  In this book I found that Rhoda seemed to be more settled and her love for Samuel grows stronger every day. The question is will Jacob drive a wedge between the two of them.  Samuel's baby sister,Leah is battling with a life choice of remaining Amish or leaving the church and attending an Englisher church.  This choice is working against Landon and her and their budding love.   Jacob finally sees that Rhoda is not the one for him, but he has to find a path to follow that will lead him to true love.  The family works together, struggles, divides, and finally the  family comes together when Phoebe becomes very ill and has to be in the hospital for a long time.   I have read all three of the other books in this series and loved them all. While you can enjoy this book as a stand-alone book it makes it much more enjoyable and easier to understand if you read the series in order. Once you start this book you will not want to put it down.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Press as a member of the blogging for books program in exchange for an honest opinion.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Nothing

This is the place where once a week we take the chance to just write, and not worry if it’s just right or not.  For five minutes flat.  Here’s how the game works: you simply stop, drop and write. Set your words free. Don’t edit them, don’t fret over them, don’t try to make them perfect. That’s how Five Minute Friday was born. Want to play? It’s fun. And it’s never too late to link up. Also? The awesome Karen whipped up a Facebook page where we can connect and talk all things writing beyond just Fridays! Click here to join us.  Then come take the Five Minute Friday challenge.
1. Write for only five minutes.
2. Link back to Lisa Jo's blog and invite others to play along.
3. Go high five the word artist who linked up before you with an awesome comment.
It’s liberating; give it a a try and see.  OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt: 


I have sat here staring at the computer screen and felt nothing coming.  I have not had a day like this in a long time.  Nothing fills my heart, my soul, my thoughts.  By definition the word nothing means the following:  
  1. 1.
    not anything; no single thing.
    "I said nothing"
    synonyms:not a thing, not anything, nil, zero, naught/nought; More
    "all my efforts add up to nothing"
    • something of no importance or concern.
      "“What are you laughing at?” “Oh, nothing, sir.”"
      synonyms:a trifling matter, a trifle; More
      neither here nor there;
      informalno big deal
      "forget it—it's nothing"
    • (in calculations) no amount; zero.
      synonyms:zero, naught/nought, 0; More
      "the share value fell to nothing"
adjective: nothing
  1. 1.
    having no prospect of progress; of no value.
    "he had a series of nothing jobs"

So with the definition in mind I begin thinking back to times when nothing was part of my vocabulary.  I began at the time before Kat was born when I was married to her dad and thought about my feelings on the day of our wedding.  It was snowing lightly and I felt nothing but joy.  Nothing could defeat us.....or so I thought.  I realized early on that my opinions in the marriage counted for nothing.  Nothing I wanted mattered.  When Kat was young there was a feeling of nothingness that began to invade my heart.  I kept trying to overcome this darkness but in the end.....after an almost 25 year won.  There was nothing left.  I was empty.   I had nothing left to give.  So in 1998, after Kat graduated from high school, I walked out.  For many days I sat in the floor in my non-furnished apartment and let nothing overtake me.  I wanted him to realize he could not live without me....come and get me.....but all I got was nothing.  One day I was invited to a bible study called Letting Go by Beth Moore.  Let go I did....all the nothing emptied from my heart and I began to be filled with God.  I opened my heart up to people, I searched my Bible for God's answers to the millions of questions I had.....and found peace, love, and fulfillment.  Gone were the nothing days.  That was the beginning of my growth from Bible Study to Pulpit.  It is amazing how God can take nothing....and make it into something beautiful....Me.  No longer am I nothing.  I am something.  I am a child of the King.  I am heir to the throne.  I am far from nothing.  Thank God!

A Stitch and A Prayer

A Stitch and a Prayer

About The Book:  A quilt becomes a labor of love for a lonely wife mysteriously separated from her young husband.  After her fiancĂ© returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage—even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life.  But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will’s spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby’s birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will’s promise to return to her. Will her labor of love-and faith in God—sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?
Eva Gibson
About The Author:  Eva Gibson is the author of twenty books, including "The Gift of Forgiveness" and "The Three Marys." She currently teaches "writing your life story" classes for Portland Community College and is an active member of Oregon Christian Writers. She has lived most of her life on the family farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is the setting for "A Stitch and a Prayer."

My Thoughts On The Book:  I have read several of the Quilts of Love series and have loved them all so far.  This one was not one of my favorites.  The setting was interesting - I love days of old settings and this one was Oregon in the days of the pioneers. The story line had potential to be interesting as well- a new bride whose husband mysteriously leaves with the promise he will return but no details about where he has gone. The author is from Oregon, and the story feels like the a historical telling of her ancestors experience as newcomers to the wild wild West. The story line was very hard to figure out and it made me wonder if I had missed something somewhere. This was not a sequel, it was a stand alone book.  So I was just left wondering and I plodded through the book.  I did not feel a connection with any of the characters like I have in the other Quilts of Love books. Their actions and conversations were very stilted and abrupt. I just couldn't get into this story. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

End of May Hodge Podge

Welcome to the last Hodgepodge in the merry month of May. I am a bit late because I was at the beach.  Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of Joyce's post by clicking here. I understand how tempting it is to add links here for other wonderful things you've written, but please link only if you're joining the Hodgepodge. Thank you! And be sure to leave a comment for your neighbor, because that's how we roll round here.

1. What news story are you following right now?  I am too am following several.  One has to do with a local doctor who has been putting in stents that were unnecessary, to the tune of 450,000.00 worth..  Since my daughter and SIL are moving to Moldova in July to be missionaries at an orphanage I am watching stories about the Ukraine and I too am following  the story of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls, and also the story of the  Sudanese doctor (married to an American citizen) imprisoned and sentenced to death, charged with apostasy. She gave birth this week and has her newborn and her 20 month old son with her in prison. We Americans don't always realize and take for granted the freedoms we have.

 2. What's the last thing you wanted but didn't get?  A job within the county I currently live. There was two English positions in the city system and numerous jobs in the county.  I have decided that however God moves I know God always me right where He wants me to be. Whether it is driving an hour each way for another year  and retiring at the end of the year or driving five minutes and not retiring next year.
3. May 28th is National Hamburger Day...when did you last have a hamburger? Other than your own kitchen or BBQ grill, where is your favorite place to go for a hamburger? And for all you non-meat eaters out there...when you're invited to a cookout what is one side dish you hope is on the menu?
We had hamburgers Monday evening, hot off the grill at the Driftwood Lodge in Panama City Beach, FL.  We fed a good many of the motel guest and staff.   I like mine with lettuce and tomato, no cheese.  We had potato salad, chips, baked beans and numerous desserts.  I made the beans and two of the desserts.  I made "the stuff" - for the diabetics in the group and a pound cake with strawberries.  There was a ton of food and no one should have left hungry.  I love Red Robin, 5 Guys, and Whataburger if I am out and hungry.

 4. How have your priorities changed over time?  My priorities have not changed much at all.  Faith is first, then family, then friends.  My children are all grown now so getting to spend time with them is precious.  I am planning to retire at the end of the school year next year so I am sure there will be some restructuring occurring then.

 5. What's a favorite memory with your grandparents?  Playing guitar with my grandfather and listening to him and his friends play late at night while we were "asleep" on pallets in the other room.  My little tiny grandmother throwing pots and cast iron skillets at my grandfather.  He always managed to shut the door just in time.  My grandfather giving us all nickels to get drinks from the drink box located at his shop.  Celebrating my grandfather....and his twin brother's birthdays on Father's Day weekend.  

6. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being fantastic!), how good are you at multitasking? Share an example.
I would say at least a nine.  I can read, work on my computer, listen to music, answer the phone, and eat at one time. 
7. How would you summarize your highs and lows for the month of May?  May is always a bit of a mixed bag around here. The end of the year and graduation are always a high/low experience.  We lost our principal and assistant principal.  Some of my dear friends retired.  We are out of school.  I have spent a week at the beach with some wonderful friends I think of as family.  

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.  As a teacher we don't usually get graduation invitations from students but I had four this year who were not just students, they were friends children or special students I have known a long time.  How many invitations do you usually get?  How about summer wedding invites?  We are attending a wedding tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What Memorial Day Means to Me

This is a touching day for me.  My great grandfather was a Civil War vet.  My grandfather a WWI vet.  My dad and two of his brothers were WWII vets.  I have numerous family members who fought in WWI and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and a Son-in Law, nephew, and numerous friends who are currently serving.  My father taught me the importance of this day.  Today is a day to honor those who have died.  It has somehow been forgotten and now all it is is a day when people hold big BBQ's, drink to much, go shopping, etc.  I remember when you used to get poppies to wear on this day.  I have not seen them in years.  Anyways, for a brief shining moment...I want to honor the day for what it is.

Andersonville, GA - Civil War Cemetery
The laying on of the wreath at the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will leave a lasting impact on your life.

 WWII Memorial - Washington D.C.  My father never got to go.  He died before I could take him to see this.  I have been there.  I have sat and heard the whisper of the voices from the men who died defending our country,
Korean War Memorial.  My friend, Marian's dad died in Korea.  She was two.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit this with her and felt her pain as we stood among the soldiers.  Very touching.
Vietnam Memorial.  I wear a bracelet for a name on this wall.  The emotions I have felt every time I have been here and touched this wall are overwhelming. 
Today, if you see a vet....thank him.  If you lost one....then say a prayer today for them and honor them as they should be.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Leaving A Legacy

Today was Homecoming at Midway.  It is not your traditional Homecoming it is really a memorial service for all of the saints who has gone on in the last year.  The candle lighting ceremony absolutely did me in.  One of our members lost her grandson this year and his dad and son came and lit the candle in memory of Clay.  It broke my heart to watch the father of the man and the son of the man do this.  Parents are not supposed to bury their children and children are not supposed to lose their parents when they are young....but life happens.  I wrestled with my message for a couple of weeks and then decided because of the impact some of these saints had had on me I would talk about legacies and what kind of legacy we should leave behind.  My scripture text for today was from
Proverbs 13:22-“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children:  and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”
A legacy is defined as (1) money or property bequeathed to another by will or (2) something handed down for an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.  Legacies are rare and special gifts, from one person to another, from one generation to the next.  As Christians we should seek to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who come behind us.

Three conditions for leaving a lasting legacy are:
1.  We must maintain Godly Character and Conduct
Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name (literally “character”) is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

In our day we live in an age of moral vacuum.  It seems like character doesn’t count.  To put it candidly, you can cheat on your spouse and still be a good surgeon.  Apparently, it is no problem to stay in politics and plagiarize.  You can be a successful salesperson and cheat on your income tax.  Seeing this we have allowed this attitude to permeate throughout Christianity.  The perception is that you can do these things and still be a good Christian.  But the reality is you cannot do those things as a Christian and continue enjoying the Lord’s blessing.

We put a great amount of value on reputation but there is a vast difference between Character and Reputation.  I found a wonderful example by William Hershey Davis and I want to share a few of them with you.
*Reputation is what you are supposed to be; Character is what you are.
*Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; Character is what you have when you go away.
*Reputation is made in a moment; Character is built in a lifetime.
*Reputation grows like a mushroom; Character grows like a mighty oak.
*Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
*Your reputation is what men think you are.  Your character is what God knows you to be.
*Your character will impact generations to come.
Our second condition is:
II.  We must Hold Godly Convictions-
Deuteronomy 6:6-7-“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And you shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when you sit in thine house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
2Timothy 1:5 – “When I call to remembrance(take recollection) the unfeigned faith tha is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and they mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
There is a difference between Conviction and Preference = according to the U.S. Supreme Court, a preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength.  You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the of the preference, and you can give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief.  You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme Court may still rule that it is a preference.  A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances such as:  1) peer pressure; 2) family pressure; 3) lawsuits; 4) jail; 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs?  A conviction is a belief that you will not change.  Why?  A man believes that his God requires it of him.  Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution.  Convictions are.  A conviction is not something that you discover it is something that you purpose in your heart. Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle.
2 Timothy 1:12-14 – “I am not ashamed:  for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  Hold fast the form of sound words, which you hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Hold Ghost which dwells in us.
Daddy had a little boy; his soul was white as show.  He never went to Sunday School cause daddy wouldn’t go.  He never heard the Word of God that thrills the childish mind, while other children went to class, this child was left behind.  As he grew from babe to youth, dad saw to his dismay, a soul that once was snowy white, became a dingy grey.  Realizing that his son was lost, dad tried to win him back. But now the soul that once was white had turned an ugly black.  Dad even started back to church, and Bible study to; He begged the preacher, “Isn’t there a thing you can do?”  The preacher tried, failed, and said “We’re just too far behind; I tried to tell you years ago, but you paid me no mind.”  And so another soul was lost, that once was white as snow; Sunday School would have helped, but daddy wouldn’t go.  (from Pulpit Helps)
The third and final condition is
III.  We are called  to demonstrate Godly Compassion
Colossians 3:21 – “Father’s, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged.”
Ephesians 6:4 – “And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
We need parents that demonstrate love.  I am going to take it a step farther….we need church members to mentor and demonstrate love.
Titus 2:4 – “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.”
As I close today I want you to think about Godly people in your lives who made a difference….who made an impact….who helped you become who you are today.  Then….I want you to put on the characteristics of that person….and strive to maintain Godly character and conduct, hold Godly convictions, and demonstrate Godly compassion and leave a lasting legacy for those who are here now and are yet to come.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I AM Special

I found this on facebook yesterday and had to share it with my readers.  You see there was once a time in my life....and it still rears its ugly head from time to time that I did not feel special.  Even as a child my dad would tell me how special I was....but the world told me I was not.  As a teacher I know that there are many students in my classroom year after year who do not thing they are special either.  I wish sometimes I could tell them my story and help them realize just how special they are.  Anyways, enough of my rambling for this morning.  I know you are dying to read the story.
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you - but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air.  "Well," he replied, "what if I do this?" He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.  "My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.  Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you.{You are still priceless to God above all others. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by ...WHO WE ARE.  You are special - don't ever forget it."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Close

It is Five Minute Friday day and today's word could not be more perfect for me.  It is one of those words that English Language Learners struggle over.  Is it close (meaning to shut) or is it close (meaning near)?  I am choosing the shut context of the word.  Being a part of Five Minute Friday is simple. Here are the steps to follow if you want to be part of this circle of writing friends. 
  1. Check what the prompt is on Lisa Jo's blog.
  2. Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog.
  3. {And if you don’t have a blog, no worries! Just leave your comment on her comment section.
  4. Link back to Lisa Jo's blog and invite friends to join in.
  5. Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url but your post url }
  6. Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of her Five Minute Friday post enter your link.
  7. It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky.
  8. Your post will show up in the Five Minute Friday linky.
  9. Be sure and encourage the person who linked up before you!
Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must 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.

The word for today is close:

This morning we had a retirement breakfast to honor the teachers whose teaching careers have come to a close.  Each person was introduced by someone special to them and they came on stage and got a little goody from the system.  While we ate a powerpoint was shared with us and one of the quotes on the slide show was this: "Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? You hadn't realized it. And you notice that the sun has set already, the day gone before you knew it — and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape. That's retirement." ~Stephen Leacock  Dwight B., who teaches with me, is closing his career out with 37 years.  I will never make it that far.  I am just hoping to make 25 next year.  Then I too will sit and be recognized as I close out a chapter in my book of life and begin another one. 
Today also marks the close of the 2014 school year for 258 seniors.  Tonight they will walk across the field, be handed a diploma and life as they have known it thus far will close.  Some of them will go to work, some will head off to college, some will enter the military....whatever they do....their childhood has closed and their adulthood has begun.  As they practice on the field for the close of this chapter of their lives I sit in my classroom and put this year to bed.  While they are on the field practicing I am getting my grades run and grade verification sheets run for our registrar.  I am putting all things on the floor up or in a closet so the janitors can make my floors all shiny for next year.  Right this minute in the stillness and quite of my room I am sitting at my desk thinking about next year at this time when I too will experience the close of my career as a teacher.  As an avid reader, sometimes closing a book makes me sad....other times it fills me with great wonder....and if it is not worth fills me with hope.....hope that the next book will be better.  Here is to life.  Here is to beginnings.  Here is to closings. God Bless You!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Career Do Over

I have taught high school for 27 years and loved every minute of it.  I cannot imagine doing anything else.  I turned 60 this year and all of a sudden there is a desire to do something I thought what if....I could go back in time and choose a different career path for myself....what would I choose?  In order to choose I need to look at some things I would NOT be.....
1.  I am not into make-up and fashion so working at the counter of Clinique would not be for me.  Women would take one look at my plain face and whimsical fashion since and run screaming from the store.
2.  I have no depth perception so artist is definitely out.
3.  I have enjoyed dabbling with the camera Frank bought I would not mind working in photography.
4.  I originally went into Elementary Ed....but fortunately I took some time to substitute and knew after a week that I was not cut out for children touching me.
5.  I loved my own children....but am not into the nasty bodily functions of day care/elder care worker would not be a good match either.
So what should/would I be?????
To be honest.... I love to read and write.  I think I would love to work in publishing and pursue a writing career on the side....and is never too late to try something new.  Who knows when I retire you might just see me at Barnes and Nobles signing my latest release.

This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 2.) You HAVE to go back in time and choose a different career path for yourself. What do you choose?
If you could change careers, what would you be?  Share in the comments or link up at Kat's blog, Mama's Losin' It.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

End Of My School Year Hodge Podge

Joyce's post is called....Hodgepodgeaphobia which would be fear of not answering this week's questions.  I am not afraid.  I am finishing up my last week with students.  This is the longest week ever.  Welcome to your weekly Wednesday happy! Answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back here to add your link to the party (hodgepodge posts only please!)by clicking here. Don't forget to say hi to the blogger who linked before you...or all the party goers if you've got some time today.

Here we go-

1. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?  Mine would be early morning with a cup of coffee, a beautiful sunrise, and silence.

 2. Are you a risk taker? What's one big risk you've taken?  I am not usually a risk taker....but once right after my divorce I jumped off the side of Lookout Mountain and hang-glided.  Not sure that will ever happen again.

 3. Some of the most common phobias according to the Institute for Mental Health are-spiders (arachnaphobia), snakes (ophidiophobia ), heights (acrophobia), fear of spaces from which escape is difficult (agoraphobia), fear of thunder and lightning (astrophobia), fear of dogs (cynophobia), injections (trypanophobia), social situations, flying (pteromerhanophobia), and fear of germs and dirt (mysophobia). True phobias affect only 10% of adults, but of those listed which would you rate as your greatest fear?   Even though it did not make the list it is my kryptonite.  I am a claustrophobic (fear of small spaces) isn't on there, because of being closed in a cedar chest when I was just a child....and left. . I have a small case of cynophobia when it concerns large dogs.  I was attacked as a child.  Obviously my childhood has scarred me forever.  I don't like spiders and snakes....but I would not say I was I was an arachnaphobe or an ophidiophobe....until one crawls on me. 

 4. Are you settled or do you feel you need to move somewhere new?  We definitely will move somewhere in the next couple of years.  That is the way of the Methodist pastor.  We are actually thinking of maybe changing conferences and moving deeper South or further North. 
  5. What is something you find annoying when dining in a restaurant?  I am so with you on this one Joyce.  I cannot tolerate People who allow their little ones to run around the restaurant while you're trying to eat. Unless you're in a fast food restaurant.  I also cannot tolerate people talking loudly on cell phones where I can hear their conversations.

 6. Daffodil yellow, sunset orange, spring green, or sky blue...your favorite color this time of year?
I'm all about the orange of a sunset and the orangey pink of a sunrise.  

 7. If you were going to take a holiday all by yourself, where would you go?  The UK, Scotland, Wales, Ireland...London.  I would love to be there right now.

 8. Insert your own random thought here.  What are your plans for summer?  Do you do summer vacation or do you take vacations at other time during the year?  Frank and I are headed to the beach as soon as school is out.  Then in June we are headed to Charleston.  It is one of my favorite places too.  What is your ideal vacation? (if money were no object?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit

About The Book:  A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice---or redemption.
Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver's already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared's secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father's fortune. And Jared's in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family---even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort. The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn't theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven't dared voice: What happens next?

Purchase a copy:

About The Author: 

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.

Robin can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter

My Thoughts On The Book:  This was the kind of  book I love!!! I read it in a little over 4 hours and was so disappointed when I realized that the story was  over! Robin Hatcher is a master wordsmith and this was an awesome storyline.  As always her characters were well developed and lifelike.  I felt as if I was part of the action.  Hatcher does an impeccable job of teaching the difference between justice and revenge in this novel.  If you love westerns, historical romances, and just great reading then this is the book for you.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group and their blogging program for the purpose of a fair and honest review. All comments and opinions are my own."

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Miting

About The Book:  Leah is seventeen and Amish. Like many her age, she has lots of questions, but the temporary flight of freedom known as rumspringen is not the answer for her. She does not desire Englisher fashion, all-night parties, movies, or lots of boyfriends. Leah is seeking to understand her relationship with God, to deepen and broaden her faith by joining a Bible study hosted by an ex-Amish couple. She wants to know why Amish life is the only lifestyle her family accepts, why the church has so many rules, and . . . most disturbing, how godly men can allow her best friend to be abused in her own home.  In the pressure-cooker environment of church and family, Leah is not allowed to ask these questions. When finally she reaches the breaking point, she walks away from the Old Order Amish life that is all she has known. Though adapting amiably to the Englisher world, Leah is tormented with homesickness. Returning to the community, however, entails a journey of pain and sorrow Leah could never have imagined.  The miting—shunning—that will now be Leah’s unendurable oppression every day is beyond her most devoted attempts to believe or understand. All the bishop and her family ask is that she abandon her practice of reading the Bible. Is that a price she is willing to pay?
The Miting by Dee Yoder will be available for FREE May 19 and $1.99 May 20-31 on Amazon Kindle, Google Play, and Barnes and Noble Nook

About The Author:  Dee Yoder's fiction is based on the lives of her former-Amish friends.  She is actively involved in the Mission to Amish People ministry as a mentor, volunteer, and author.  In addition to writing over eighty short stories, her coming-of-age novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity, won the Faith Writers Page Turner contest in 2011.  Dee lives in central Ohio,

My Thoughts On The Book:  This book is not like any other Amish book I have ever read.  It is so very real.  I felt as if I was a character in this book. If you are looking for a sweet Amish romance then this book is not for you.  If you are looking for a book that tells about a young Amish girl who struggles with being Old Order Amish once she has accepted Jesus in her life as her Lord and Savior then this is a must read.  Leah finds herself in hot water when the Old Order Amish families and the Bishop believe her conversion is a sin! This young seventeen year old has some very difficult decisions to make about her spiritual life.  I could not put this book down and read the whole book in one sitting because I HAD to know what was going to happen to Leah. This story is captivating! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Amish living and Amish fiction.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from Kregel Publication Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and 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.”  Thanks guys for allowing me this opportunity!

Lemonade Revealed

About The Book: In his debut novel, Chluho spins a cerebral coming-of-age tale set on a faraway, fictional island in the Pacific.  A young boy washes ashore on the island of Ahio with no idea how he came to be there and no recollection of his name. The only thing he recalls is a now-missing bag with a few possessions in it. He is discovered by three men, the most powerful people on the island: Father Rene, the priest; Barnett, the sugar plantation owner; and Ahiga, the warrior. These three men become father figures to the amnesiac boy.  He is nicknamed "Lemonade" by the sugar plantation owners daughter, Chloe.  The three men don’t exactly see eye to eye, which causes some distress on the island since they are the ones who’ve been left to care for the island’s people after the king and all of his family are lost at sea. It is up to Lemonade to unearth the secrets of his past. 

About The Author: A spiritual romantic, of sorts, Will Chluho had lived 4 years in a Franciscan friary, majoring in philosophy and theology. An urban pragmatist, he'd served—as a creative director—several multinational brands in Southeast Asia, such as BlackBerry, Mercedes-Benz, and Singapore Airlines. "Lemonade Revealed," his debut title, had taken him two years to put together. He's 44, married, and advancing his philosophical studies with the University of London.   
My Thoughts About The Book:  I love odd books with odd stories and I really wanted to love this book, but to be honest it just left me feeling dry and empty.  I found the book extremely confusing with the switches from past to present.  I had a most difficult time getting past the first half of the book and getting into the story.  By the time the novel picked up in the second half of the book I had already lost interest in the strange little story. 

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from TLC Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and 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.”  Thanks guys for allowing me this opportunity.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kathryn's Lyrics to Live By.

Today Kat and Brian came and talked to my church about their mission.  I cannot tell you how proud I was sitting there listening to them.  I wanted to jump up and yell, "Yep...that is my girl."  After church the three of us went to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant in Wedowee and then went back to the house so I could help them with some blog stuff.  It is good to be needed.  The mom is the digital native and the child is the digital emigrant....I love it!  I enjoyed my time with them and Kat shared their new and improved blog.  After they left I read this post and cried for about an hour.  It was so power that I had to share it with you.  There are many things about to tomorrow that I do not know...but I will say that I do know who holds mine....and holds my hands too.    I hope you will begin to pray for the two of them as they ready for this gianormous God calling.  You can keep up with their work by clicking here.  "Things are changing in our life ever so quickly.  Really.  I mean it is crazy.  At any other point in our faith journey, Brian and I would not have been able to make it through the day to day with the amount of uncertainty that lies ahead of us.  But, right in this moment, we both feel more calm about our future than we ever have....and we have NO IDEA what it holds or should hold.  In case you don't know, the ONLY way we are peaceful about the future is because we know WHO holds it.  Brian said it best (recently in an article our church did about our love for Moldova-You can read it here.)  What he said was, he (Brian) first went to Moldova to protect me (if protecting people and keeping them safe was a love language-it would be his y'all-seriously)....but somewhere along the way he realized...he wasn't the one protecting me....HE was.  The Great I am...the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  When you realize, truly understand in the depths of your soul, who holds the future....the future seems to not be quite as scary as it once was.  I'm not saying all fear is gone...Im saying the fear doesn't cripple you...Knowing Who holds the future means that you know WHO to call on when things get crazy...when the waters are rising.....Anyway, I say all that to lead into a song.  I am sure you have heard it.  They play it on K-LOVE and WAYFM and all the cool Christian stations.  This song has been in my heart for almost a year now.  Of course, the first time I truly listened to the song was in every single time I hear it...I "hear" it being sung in heartfelt worship with beautiful Moldovan accents....what a beautiful way God lets me connect with my family and friends in Moldova...Now this song ALWAYS brings Moldova to mind for both of us-for so many reasons.  The song is "Oceans" by Hillsong United.  You can listen to it here.  Let me tell you what the lyrics mean to us...and how God is using this song to offer us peace for our journey...God uses this song to calm us and confirm us.  This song washes over peaceful waves....and it helps us truly focus on resting in His embrace and finding Him in the chaos and the storms of life.  He is calling us to places that are unknown, where we may fail miserably...but we know He is there....waiting for us to step out of the boat.      Listen to it...but truly read the words...these are lyrics to live by:)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine"