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 30, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge Last of July

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, our last one for the month of July. If you've answered the questions this week, add your link at the end of Joyce's post and then run see what the neighbors are saying. If you didn't answer the questions, don't link. But do still go see what the neighbors are we go-

1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon." Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.
I agree.  Summer has always held wonderful memories for me.  We would go outside as soon as it was light enough to see and stay until the street lights came on.  Summer time was when my  mom and Carol's mom would take us to the beach for the day.  We went to summer camps at the local Parks and Rec.  I played tennis, we traveled...summer rocked.  Even today summer rocks.  It is a time to get outside, go to the beach, travel.  I love all the summer activities. 

 2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this? Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?  I am not a fan. I don't dislike racing, but I don't go out of my way to see it either. I have been to the Talladega 500 twice, to the Atlanta races, and to Daytona a few times....usually with whoever I was dating and trying to impress. I did love Demolition Derby's as a child, dirt track racing, and Funny Car Racing.  My father would take me to these often.  I want to be just like Shirley Muldowney when I was a kid.  I am glad that phase passed.  I did a little street racing as a teenager.  Fortunately I never was caught and lived to walk away from that stupid fancy.

 3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or is anything and everything fair game?  I agree with Joyce.  I hate it when people joke about the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill. My daughter was a Special Ed teacher and she would have throttled me.  I am also the grandmother of two with Down's Syndrome.  Nope...definitely not funny.  

 4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?
I love lasagna. I have a great recipe given to me in strictest confidence by my cousin's Italian wife.  It was an old family recipe.  I also make it Mexican style but the Italian is my favorite.  I love Spaghetti too.  I love Italian food.  True Italian food (the kind you eat in Italy) is my all time favorite.  I could not believe the difference in food made here...and food made there. 
5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?
My morning prayer time.  I love the time I get when I get up before anyone else and have my prayer time. 

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?
Again I have to agree with Joyce.  I would love to be the CEO of a company like World Vision or Samaritan's Purse. Habitat for Humanity would be up there too.   I appreciate their heart and would love to see how they operate behind the scenes. 

7. August is just around the farewell to July in exactly seven words.
Just unusually lazy, yet enjoyed the time!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I got to experience picking corn this week using a pick bag and putting it in the freezer.  I also picked green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash.  Some of it I picked only enough to eat....some of it I saved through freezing or canning.  I learned how to freeze tomatoes whole and cannot wait to use them.  I have several bags of beautifully whole tomatoes in my freezer and will be putting some more up today.  I made pickles...they are called refrigerator pickles.  So easy and smell so good.  Now if I can keep Frank out of them.  I have not made pickles in over 30 years.  Last time they were nasty and my BIL brought his back hoe to my house and actually buried them in the yard.  I can image what will be said in 40 years when they are dug up....image what an archaeologist and his group will say.  LOL. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

After 25 Years

Back in May I applied for a teaching position here in Randolph County.  I prayed for God's guidance...but as usual I put parameters on Him.  I prayed that I would hear something before July 1.  July 1 is when my current system does not have to let you out of your contract.....I also told God that if I did not hear by then I would know I was supposed to retire at the end of the school year.  On July 17th I got a phone call from Randolph County wanting to set up an interview.  I told them I was sorry and hung up the phone.  Frank looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  I explained....I told July 1.  It is the 17th....nuff said.  He asked me when I decided to put time limitations on God....and I realized I may have made a I called Mrs. Kelly back and set up an appointment for Monday at 12:30.  Monday went like blazes.  I felt so comfortable as I sat and answered their questions.  After the interview Mr. Anglin  asked me to see if I could be released.  So, on my way home from the interview I called Dr. Cooper.  I explained my situation and he asked me if he could post my job....I agreed but told him it would still be mine until the Board here met.  I waited.  Frank told everyone I had the job.....but I said nothing until it was official.  Last night the Randolph Co. Bd. of Ed met and I was offered the job.  Now here I sit.  I am have called the people I need to call.  I am sad because 25 years of comfort is over.  I have to move a 25 years of collection room, attend New Employee Orientation, have revival at my church, sing for the Senior Citizens in Wedowee, and move out and move Monday.  Today is Tuesday night.  Frank and I have our work cut out for us.  I am the point of tears because I have so many wonderful memories at BRHS and so many wonderful friends and co-workers.  I am thrilled because I will not be making the 59 mile drive every day.  I am excited to be starting something new.  My cheese has been moved and I am a bit nervous about that part of the process.  Pray that everything goes smoothly and that I accomplish all I have to do in the next few days. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss

About The Book:  Four best-­selling romance novelists bring tales of feisty heroines, stubborn heroes, and unlikely love in the Wild West. Get lost in Four Weddings & a Kiss today.

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy-Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher-Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton-Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley-Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.

About The Authors: 
Mary Connealy - writes romantic comedy...with cowboys.
She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita and Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.  She is the author of bestselling Kincaid Brides Series: Out of Control, In Too Deep, Over the Edge. Her work also includes Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy.  She also wrote Ten Plagues--a romantic thriller, and The Historical Society Murders--three cozy mysteries, under the name Mary Nealy.  Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren.
Robin Lee Hatcher - Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader's Choice, and many other industry awards, Robin is also a recipient of the prestigious RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of 70+ novels and novellas with over five million copies in print.Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. Her main hobby (when time allows) is knitting, and she has a special love for making prayer shawls. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet, the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).  Robin is active on her Facebook Author Page where she loves to interact with readers. Please join her there: For more information, please visit her web site at  Please note: Robin's faith-based fiction has been published from 1999 to present. She no longer recommends her older mass market fiction.
Debra Clopton- a bestselling author who has sold over 2.5 million books and her holiday story, OPERATION: MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS has been optioned for an ABC Family Movie staring LeAnn Rimes. Debra writes cowboy romances, inspirational, Christian romance, contemporary and western romances set in Texas. She is known for her snappy dialogue, cowboy heroes and spunky heroines. Her awards include: The Book Sellers Best, Romantic Times Magazine's Book of the Year. She's also a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, and a triple finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award.  A sixth generation Texan, Debra lives on a ranch in central Texas with her husband Chuck. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She is the author of the much loved Mule Hollow Matchmakers series where you never know what the Matchmaking "Posse" is going to do next! She writes for Harlequin Love Inspired and Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian. She is currently working on her 30th novel surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.
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Margaret Brownley -   Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this--except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter at the time. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."  Margaret is now a New York Times bestselling author and a past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 30 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

My Thoughts On The Book: I loved the beginning of the book as four seasoned ministers sit and listen to a young pastor talk about being in love with his exact opposite.   Each of the four ministers then shares a story from their lives of opposites attracting.  Each story is written by a different author so each story has its own flair. Each of the brides were all head strong and independent women in a male dominated world and time.  I could not put the book down.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and each one of the stories told.  This is just the book for readers who like a good easy read. 

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson and their Book Look Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Parable of the Mustard Seed and Yeast

Today I want to talk to you about The Parables of Mustard Seed and Yeast

My Scripture Text is from Matthew 13.31-35

‘Great oaks from little acorns grow.’ I am sure you have heard that saying before and I am also pretty sure many, if not all, of you fully understand what it means. From humble, small, insignificant beginnings great things can grow and materialize in this world – hence great oak trees many hundreds of years old and reaching to the skies began life like this, an acorn. An acorn which dropped from an oak tree and was buried in the ground, hidden and unseen by human eyes until one day a small shoot sprang up and over many years a tall, strong, majestic oak has grown.

Remember the context in which Christ is speaking and remember the context into which Matthew is writing his gospel of Christ. For Christ there are a small band of genuine followers. He has just been rejected by the religious leaders of the day and has begun his public teaching ministry out in the open air. He has begun to turn his back on Galilee and to turn towards Jerusalem where he will be crucified and rise again. Matthew is writing his gospel of Christ to a small persecuted fledgling church, mainly of Jewish believers. To this small, insignificant at least to the Roman world around, Matthew recounts these words of Christ as a means of encouragement.

Let’s talk first about the tiny Mustard Seed

At the time of Christ to say something was the size of a mustard seed was to say it was no great significance, that it was very small indeed. It was a common proverbial saying of the day. No doubt to the followers of Christ the church did indeed seem small and insignificant – certainly if you measured it against the might of the Roman Empire or the edifices of Judaism or some of the pagan cults of the day. In answer to the question: Why is the kingdom of God so insignificant? Matthew reminds his hearers of these two sayings or parables of Christ.

A mustard seed is indeed microscopic and yet when it is fully grown it grows into a plant that is some 4 meters in height. Compared to the seed from which it grew that is phenomenal growth. Yes to the world around the figure of Christ and his followers might indeed seem small and insignificant – they appear as a mustard seed, the weak things of this world. Zechariah 4.10 says we are not to despise the days of small things. And it may well be that the followers to whom Matthew writes were indeed like the lambs described in Isaiah 40.11 – that needed to be carried around close the heart of the shepherd for protection and warmth because of their frailty at that moment. Yet, despite of all of this there is growth going on and in time the growth would be phenomenal. Even though the mustard seed is small, it is still a seed. A seed full of potential to grow into a 4 meter tall plant to which the birds of the air would flock to roost in the shade of its branches. To those listening to Christ or hearing the reading of Matthew’s gospel this picture of birds coming to roost in the branches of this tree would have jarred with them. Birds in the OT, especially in Ezekiel 17.23 and Daniel 4.20-22, spoke of the Gentile nations. Jesus is hinting that not only will this little seed grow to a remarkable size but that its branches will spread beyond the narrow confines of Judaism and provide a home for the Gentiles. Here Christ speaks of the spread of the kingdom of God beyond the Jewish people to the Gentile nations. Please note they come to the tree to roost – that is they come to Christ and in him alone they find salvation and rest.

It is a seed whose purpose and disposition is to grow and given the right conditions it will grow into the greatest of all garden herbs. It will grow and it will mature and it will amaze with its strength – beyond all expectations of what was thought possible when that little mustard seed was in their hands. At present the seed looks small and insignificant, just as the kingdom of God looks small and insignificant. But it will not stay that way. Remember…..Significance is not measured in numbers or size.

Now let’s talk about The Yeast.

Leaven had a bad press in Judaism. All leaven had to be scrupulously removed from a house before the Passover could be celebrated. So Jesus’ hearers would have been surprised to hear him liken the kingdom of God to leaven. Maybe, just maybe, that is how the followers of Christ were viewed by the Jewish religious leaders and people of the day – like leaven that had to be removed from the house. After all his disciples were uneducated fishermen, tax collectors, etc. and he freely associated in their eyes with drunkards and sinners, not to mention prostitutes whom he allowed to wash his feet, and worst of all he had women amongst his disciples, something no self-respecting rabbi would have done. So maybe leaven wasn’t really such a surprise after all. Christ tells them that a woman took the leaven and mixed it into a large amount of flour. In the original it says into three measures of flour – that would be the equivalent of 40 kg of flour, enough to feed around 100 people. This is no ordinary amount of flour but industrial amounts of flour. The amount of flour is in contrast to the amount of yeast. Yet without the yeast the making of the bread would not happen. The small amount of yeast is hidden or kneaded into the flour and it permeates right through the lot. It transforms the whole dough. It is this transforming act that Christ wishes to emphasize to his hearers – hence he says the ‘woman hid the yeast in the dough.’ It works unseen to the human eye and out of all proportion to its size, especially in relation to the amount of flour into which it is hidden. Jesus here reminds them that the work of the kingdom of God in their lives and the life of their community often goes on unseen by human eyes and that God, since the start of creation, has been work his yeast into the dough of this world. One day it will become apparent in my life, your life and the life of this community.

You know if you put yeast into un-ground wheat it has no effect at all – there must be flour, water and yeast for the transformation to take place. The gospel (yeast) similarly will have no spiritual affect whatsoever in the life of one whose heart has not been broken or humbled by and before God. Also the dough needs to be kneaded, moistened and the yeast worked into every area of the dough to have the maximum affect. The same is true if the kingdom of God is to come to full fruition in your life and mine. The word of God must be worked into every area of our lives so that the leaven of the gospel can have affect in every area and not be limited to a few areas. When the woman hides the leaven in the heart of the flour it is with intention – that it might transform the dough. The same is true of the gospel – we hide it in our hearts with intention – not for secrecy but for transformation purposes. Thus when the gospel comes into our hearts it works a change, not in the substance of the heart, the dough remains the same, but in the quality - it makes us to savor things we would have before rejected or ignored. It works throughout all areas of our life and transforms that which it touches. The change is such that it makes the soul partake of the word just as the dough partakes of the leaven. Just as the leaven transforms the dough unseen, secretly but with lasting affect so the gospel by grace does the same to our lives. It changes, transforms us to take on the likeness of Christ just as the flour is transformed by the yeast.

So in each of these, the mustard seed and the yeast, Jesus wants his hearers to understand the significance of that which the world views as insignificant. He wants them to understand the paradox of the insignificant or hidden beginnings and a triumphant climax. Jesus is impressing on them that the mustard seed has been planted and the yeast mixed into the dough and the transformation is going on, even if they and the world fail to see it. No matter how unpromising it looks and despite the opposition it will face the transformation will come to pass. Little is great where God is at work.

The greatest thing is that For us the lessons are simple.

Do not despise the day of small things. We should not despise the small things in our lives or in the lives of others. Numbers are no measure of success in the kingdom of God. You know on the night that Charles Spurgeon was converted, probably one of the greatest preachers ever to live, there were only 10 people in the church. Christ only had 12 disciples but they grew to 120, who all fitted in one room on the Day of Pentecost – but from these the gospel has reached around the globe.

The gospel begins small in all our lives. It may be an invitation to a church service or event. It may just be an act of kindness that has brought us this far. Each of us should remember that and also remember the potential significance in the lives of others of the small things done for the sake of the gospel. Plant the mustard seeds and watch the phenomenal growth occur.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

It is Lisa Jo Baker's last couple of weeks hosting us on Five Minute Friday so I guess Finish is a good word to end with.  Kate Motaung will be taking up the torch officially on August 8th.  The rules have not changed.  Write for 5 minutes without editing, rethinking, or rewriting.  Write what is in your heart.  Link up here and then comment on the person's post that comes before your post. It is pretty simple.  Today's word is Finish....Ready, Set, GO!

My summer vacation as a teacher is finished.  In two weeks I will head back to school and welcome in another school year.  This year will be different than any others, because this year I will finish twenty-five years of teacher and retiring.....but there is more.  July 29th the Board of Education in Randolph County will be deciding if they want me to teach for the system for the county I live I will finish up my time at Benjamin Russell.  Finishes are sad sometimes.  When you are ending a race or a project you have worked hard on they can be fun and exciting.....but in this case it will me mean leaving special peers I have grown to know and love.  I always think of the word finish at the end of every school year as the seniors get ready to walk across the field and finish something they began in kindergarten.  Sometimes I am sad because I feel as if they are moving on....and I am stagnant.  Other times I beam with pride when I see what they have overcome or accomplished in their four years with me.  The result is the same....they finish....and now I will be finishing.  I am reminded of the words of Christ upon the cross.  In John 19:30 we find the end of Christ's life near and "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."  I believe that is why the word finished has such a sad connotation to me.  It means time is done.  Yet, as I sit here today and think about the word I find myself smiling.  I will be finished with teaching.....and beginning a new life as a retiree.  I guess that is the good thing about the word usually implies that something else will be beginning.  For that I am grateful!  How about you?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I Wish You'd Told Me

About The Book:  Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) and Indie Finalist Kaylee’s Ghost (Amazon and Nook) presents What I Wish You’d Told Me, a collection of three stories of women of various ages grappling with the wacky and the tragic in their lives. “Secrets,” set in the ’60s, is the gripping story of a teenage girl whose illusions about her best friend’s family are blasted along with her faith in Kennedy’s Camelot. “A Sympathetic Listener” is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of a 24-year-old woman with cancer who, on her healing odyssey, finds connection and support from a most surprising source. In “Great-aunt Mariah and the Gigolo,” a 70-something widow rocks the family when she brings home her young beau. This is a short e-book published by Shebooks--high quality fiction, memoir, and journalism for women, by women. For more information, visit

About The Author:  Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s first novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster), was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. Her novel Kaylee’s Ghost (Amazon and Nook) is an Indie Finalist. She’s published essays in the New York Times and Newsweek and in many anthologies. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in the Coe Review, Compass Rose, the Griffin, Inkwell Magazine, the Iowa Review, the Los Angeles Review, the MacGuffin, Memoir And, Moment, Negative Capability, Pennsylvania English, the Carolina Review, and more. She won the Brandon Memorial Literary Award from Negative Capability. Shapiro is a professional psychic who currently teaches writing at UCLA Extension. Find out more about her at
My Thoughts About The Book:  I enjoyed all three of the stories in different ways.  Shapiro is really good at adding twists and turns to a story especially when you think you have figured out the plot.  I enjoyed A Sympathetic Listener the most.  I found the story one I related too.  I read the book in one sitting and it was an easy, pleasurable read. 
 Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Shebooks and Net Galley to review in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Out Of Dublin

About The Book:  Out of Dublin, a survivor’s captivating story of loss, abuse, and resilience, is a stunning short memoir told with startling honesty and vulnerability. Perhaps what’s most arresting about this work, above its unique voice, above its call to end silence, is the depth of its author’s capacity for compassion, love, and forgiveness.    This is a short e-book published by Shebooks--high quality fiction, memoir, and journalism for women, by women. For more information, visit
About The Author:  ETHEL ROHAN was born and raised in Ireland and now lives in San Francisco. She is the author of a short e-memoir, Out of Dublin, and two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. Winner of Ireland's 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, her work has or will appear in The New York Times, PEN America, World Literature Today, BREVITY Magazine, Tin House Online, and The Rumpus, among many others. Visit her at
My Thoughts About The Book:  This was one of the saddest reads I have reviewed in a while.  The story is heartbreaking.  It was very short and I really felt there needed to be more.  Not one of my favorites.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday and Hodge Podge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Grab your coffee or your tea or your ice water with a slice of lemon and settle in for a chat.  Be sure to add the link to your own answers at the end of Joyce's post.  Here we go-

1. When I look at the sky I feel ______________________________________. a child.  I love to lay out in the grass and see what I can find in the clouds.

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?
Right now I am very frustrated with most of the politicians in office.  I truly do believe term limits are a must because it seems the longer they seem to forget why they are there and who they represent.  I would run for State School Board.  I would like to believe that I could make a difference in the lives of our children.
3. What scent makes you think of home?
Freshly cleaned linen (especially when it was dried outside on a sunny day) and the spice smell associated with apple pie and pumpkin pie.

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?
I self-reflect for sure every year as the new year begins. I also self-reflect at the end of every school year. I always ask myself these three questions:  Did I accomplish what I wanted to?  Did I make a difference?  Am I doing the right thing?
5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?
Apple pie..  

6. What might your autobiography be called?
I am actually working on one and it is going to be called...right now that is.... "Have I Got A Story For You."

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?
My least favorite mode is a plane.  Even though you can get where you are going cannot enjoy the trip along the way.  My favorite is a Car - so I can stop, get out and enjoy the scenery when I want to.   Have camera will travel is my motto and in a car I can pull over at any time and drink in the beauty.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Kat and Brian made it to Moldova and hit the ground running.  Keep up with them on their blog.  I know they would love the visits from home.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

To My Precious Daughter and Son In Law On Leaving For Moldova

When Kat left for college I wrote a poem for her called To My Daugher on Leaving For College.  I actually submitted it to Blue Mountain Arts and they bought it from me for a whopping 50.00.  Many years have gone by and I found myself struggling with words for Kat and Brian as they embarked on their new mission - missionaries to orphans in Moldova with Philip Cameron Ministries.  So I sat down and wrote To My Precious Daughter and Son-In-Law On Leaving For Moldova.  I gave it to Kat last Thursday night at the prayer service with instructions not to open it until the wheels of the plane were up.  They are in Moldova.  They are eight hours ahead of me right now.  I won't see them for a long time.....but my heart is with them. 

Today is Sunday, July 20th and I know the day will be dawning bright and glorious for you.

Yet, there will be a storm brewing in my heart

You and Brian have loaded the last of your life in the suitcases

And will be heading to Atlanta to begin the next journey in your life. A journey that has been three years in the making.

It is one that the two of you will go on with God.

I have watched you both grow from children to adults and am one proud momma

The mother of missionaries is a new role for me, but I know God will train me in it well.

I have done all I was supposed to do as a parent.

To quote you, “Moms are great, moms are grand, moms are everything but a man”.

So here I am now, giving you to God and setting you free again.

Just like when you went to college I was sad.

Today I find myself sad again, but for me.I am glad for you.

I am bursting with pride at the life choice you both have made.

You have amazing life partners in each other.

But then I think I knew that when “B” was just in the 9th grade.

Your new journey is on the other side of the world from me.

You both are destined to do great works in the Lord.

And although you have not lived in my house for a long time

I find myself missing you already.

You are embarking on a spiritual journey of a lifetime.serving God.
A thousand thoughts flood my mind as I sit here writing this for you guys.

Have I told you this? Have I taught you that?

Moldova will love you both.  Stella’s Voice is lucky to have you.  Hug those babies(and teens) real  good.

On my way to do MY calling I know my eyes will fill with tears.

But I promise you they will be happy tears.

You know, the day you were born I knew I was beginning the process of letting you go.

The fact that I am letting you go with God as your pilot is an awesome feeling.

Know that you will always, be in my heart, and will only be as far away as Skype, Facebook , and email.

I want to be part of your be sure you keep your blog updated.

Enjoy this experience, grow with this experience.  Know that I am praying for you both.

With much love and God’s many blessings,
Remember Isaiah 6:8.  It was the verse I thought God had given me about you.that turned out to be specifically for me. 





Monday, July 21, 2014


About The Book:  An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?  Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.  As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.
About The Author:  "Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories, that I hope inspire and entertain!"
My Thoughts On The Book:  I love reading Susan May Warren.  This book was no exception.  It is another delightful story of the Christiansen family.  From the moment I began reading until I reached the last page I was hooked.  I was actually sad that the story had ended.  Warren is a wonderful character builder and you feel as if this family lives next door to you.  This is a must read.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Behind The Stage

About The Book:  Follow Christian minister Josh Allen’s harried life as he struggles to rescue his family and his church from the pitfalls of desire and intolerance in Anne Sanders’ new book, Behind the Stage. As his world falls apart, Josh must build a new life in a Southern town where temptation takes hold of his daughter and his congregation. On the church’s stage he leads his flock, but what will happen behind the altar?
About The Author:  Anne Sanders is an author, blogger, teacher and researcher. Her first articles were published in 1992. After working as a research consultant and teacher, she returned to writing in 2002 with the birth of her son. She began by crafting articles for a local newspaper and was picked up as a regular features contributor by the Pensacola News Journal.  She found herself writing features about people who made a difference through their life work or volunteering and wanted to help others see how they could do the same thing, especially Christians.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a pastor and pastor's wife and loved this book.  I understand the moving concept and it is difficult to pick up your life and move somewhere new every few years.  This book is about a year in the life of Pastor Josh.  The former pastor had been at the church for over fifteen years and when Josh comes in there are many congregants who are not happy with his views and his method of doing things.  Most pastor's know that when you are moved to a church it takes a year to learn how things run.  On top of learning the new church in a small town....he finds his own family is falling apart.  This is an easy and good read.  It was raining here and I sat and read the book.  Loved it!  Good job Anne Sanders on this debut book. 
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review as part of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company's BookLook Blogging Program in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

In God's Hands

Rock Mills had a tough week.  We buried three  people, two were rushed to the hospital for serious falls, two were hospitalized for strokes.  One of them was 27 year old Keaton McCarley.  His mother is my dear friend.  Frank and I happened to be at West Georgia when we got the call about the two strokes.  We were on the fifth floor visiting Mrs. Josie.  We rushed downstairs to find both people across the hall from each other.  One turned out to be Bell’s Palsey….the other one was a stroke with a brain bleed in critical condition.  He was going to be airlifted to Emory Midtown.  We waited with the family until the helicopter took off, returned to Rock Mills just in time to do Bible School….we waited…..we prayed.  This young man is the father of Kash, Kruze, and Jett.  They spent over four months in UAB with the babies…..and now this.  Life had thrown Magen a huge curve ball…..and through it all…..she claimed Isaiah 41:10.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I don’t know why life throws us some curve balls, but it does. Why on earth God ever decided to create tornados, hurricanes, gnats, flies or even mosquitoes is beyond me, but He did. Life can hurt some times! I have asked the same questions of God that you have asked; “WHY?” “Why do you allow suffering and pain?” Why don’t you just take it away and help us?” “Where are you God when life doesn’t make sense?”  We believe that God is all powerful – so therefore He could stop all evil and suffering. And we believe that God is all loving – so therefore He would stop all evil and suffering. So we believe God could and should, but don’t, you and I sometimes think that He doesn’t care.

I personally have had a tough time preparing for today when my daughter and son in law would board a plane to move to Moldova and answer God’s call to be missionaries.  So let me ask you….Has your faith been under fire lately because of the trials, struggles and suffering you have experienced? I can’t answer all of the questions of life, but there are some realities that we need to come to grips with regarding the question of suffering.

I. Reality #1 The gift of life allows us the capacity to hurt!

A.  freedom comes with consequences!

1. It is true that sometimes we do suffer because of the sins in our life -the consequences of our actions. The person who has smoked all of his or her life can be saddened by the diagnosis of lung cancer but he/she is not necessarily surprised. The absent husband who pursued his career at the expense of his marriage can be devastated by his wife who is not home when he returns from work one day, but he should not be shocked.

2. God gave humankind freedom. We are not creatures who are void of choice. We do not serve God and live in His created world as robots without free choice and decision making.

3. Jesus is present and He is involved in our lives even when we cannot understand why we do not hear from Him or where He may be as a result of the suffering we are going through.

4. God encourages us to ask the tough questions. He is not insecure – He is God. He is not afraid of our questions. He has the answers. God knows that the hardships and cruelties of life will raise tough questions in our minds and, unlike some of His insecure servants, He does not demand blind, unquestioning obedience.

5. Sometimes we just have to wrestle with what is and hold on to what we know - but that does not mean we have to like it.

How many of you have seen the movie Soul Surfer.  It is one of my favorites.  Bethany Hamilton was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl’s life on the Kauai Coast and competing in national competitions when everything changed in a heartbeat. On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams.  Why did this happen?”

6. Have you ever asked, “God why did this happen ?” Have you ever questioned God because of the circumstances and situations – the suffering and pain in your life? “It’s a bloody awful mess and that’s all there is to it.”

7. The Bible is full of questions. “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do times of trouble happen? How long will you hide you’re your face from me?

When the communist countries of Eastern Europe were finally liberated the following words were found penned on the wall of a prison cell in one of those countries, “I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent.”

B. Perception is our enemy, not God.

1. We must not assume God’s silence or apparent inactivity is evidence of His disinterest. How we feel about God as a result of our suffering in no way changes who God really is.

2. Loving God and growing in faith with Him does not guarantee a happy, carefree life. Just because someone may be going through tough times and hurting does not mean that God is not at work!

3. In John 16:33 Jesus told his disciples that they should anticipate suffering. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”

4. With God, even when nothing is happening, something is happening. Believe the truth, not what you feel! He has a plan in all things even when we struggle and hurt.  Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.

II. Reality #2 The healing we want for our pain and suffering is not usually easy.

A. Because we can’t always find God in our situation. It is not to say He is absent. It is to say however that sometimes we don’t see Him or feel him.

1. As John the Baptist lay imprisoned for his faith he did what any one of us would have done.  He questioned where he was at and what was going on.  In Matthew 11:3 John sends a message to Jesus from his prison cell and asks, “Are you the one or should we expect someone else?”

2. He had not given up on Jesus by any means, but if you are going to lose you head over something, first check out the questions that are swirling inside of it.

3. In John 9: 6 we read where Jesus spits on the ground and makes clay. Then he applies it to the eyes of the blind man and told him to go wash it off. The mud pack was hardly the healing I would have preferred.   We find ourselves thinking, Just touch my eyes and heal me Jesus - What’s with the spit and mud! Maybe that is why the duration of our suffering is extended - we are looking for another way, another alternative. Maybe we are resisting God’s present interaction because it is not what we expected.

4. Some questions just don’t have the answers we hope for. In the story from John 9:25 when the man was questioned a second time about who Jesus was and how He enabled the man to see, the man responds, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know; One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see!” Talk about Amazing Grace!

5. Pain and suffering doesn’t always have explanations, but they do come with a promise “I am with you! Trust me” In Jeremiah 29:11 we find,  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

6. Those who know the path to God can find it in the dark. And sometimes it takes the rocky hard path with many bumps and bruises, some pain and turmoil in order to meet Jesus.

III. Reality #3 You can’t go through your pain alone. Share it with others

A. The way through suffering to find our healing is to allow others to help us.

1. The man was born blind. He lived as a beggar. Yet after Jesus applied the mud pack to his eyes, He tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Now how do you think a blind man with mud on his eyes could physically move from where he was to where he was told to go - the Pool?  This man had some help! The Christian faith is a helping hand. We are in it together. One of the great truths of the church is that we are all members of one body and if one member hurts, we all hurt.

2.  Tornados and hurricanes have torn apart many cities in the United States and there is much pain and devastation but they are not alone. We hurt for them as well and as Christians, we will stand beside them and help get them back to their feet.

3. I take nothing away from the difficulties they are going through but I must say that there is no worse pain and suffering than when you go through it alone.

B. As difficult times arise, it is sometimes hard for us to accept help isn’t it?

1. Solo suffering may eventually see you through to healing, but just think of how much care, love and help you missed by not sharing with those around you.

2. The person who does not share his/her pain with others, who isolates him or herself often becomes a critical and cynical individual. They soon turn on the world and begin to blame it for all of the hypocrisy they see and much of the pain they experience.

3. If God does not seem to make sense in your life right now because of what you are going through, I would like to invite you to reach out to others and allow them to help you.

Suffering is not God’s way to punish us. Through suffering we can discover God’s love for us in a way we never thought possible.   I don’t think that we have to like suffering and I personally pray that I don’t have to experience it, but this is my hope and my prayer, When it does come, and come it will, “help me God to hold on to you when everything I believe and feel is being questioned.”

How about you? Have you wondered where God has been in your life lately? Have your hurts and sufferings separated you from the God you know and love, and put your belief system in question?  Let Go….and Let God.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Home Sweet Anywhere

About The Book:  An enchanting account of how one couple sold everything to fulfill a dream of living abroad-one country at a time.  Reunited in love after 35 years and suffering from a serious case of preretirement wanderlust, Lynne and Tim Martin made a life-altering decision: they sold their house and possessions and hit the road to live internationally full-time. Now tethered to nothing but their suitcases, each other, and their next exotic location, they've never looked back. From sky-high pyramids in Mexico to monkeys in Marrakech, this delightful, inspiring memoir is a romantic tale of derring-do for grown-ups and a road map for anyone who dreams of turning the idea of life abroad into a reality.
About The Author:  In 2011, Lynne and Tim sold theirr charming house in Central California’s wine country, gave away the furniture, and stuffed art, clothes and small treasures into a 10 x 15 storage unit. They said goodbye to their surprised children and quizzical friends and now they live in rented apartments and houses internationally, putting down new roots one country at a time. They have no property taxes, roof repairs or home insurance, so all of their spendable income is used to fund their new way of life. They do have small suitcases, an appetite for new experiences, good computers, and the savvy and flexibility to make ourselves at home in almost any situation.  They have lived in Mexico, Argentina. Turkey, France, Italy, England, Germany, Portugal, and Morocco and are currently living in a wonderful apartment near the famous Staten Island Ferry, a twenty-minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan,  while they promote Home Sweet Anywhere, Lynne's book about their adventures.  Thanks so much for looking in on their website.   They love to hear other peoples’ stories!!!
My Thoughts On The Book:  I will agree that Home Sweet Anywhere was enchanting.  This lengthy travel memoir was a little tedious from the beginning.  I was expecting more colorful tales and they just never came about.  Most of the book involved travel, living, grocery shopping, going out to eat.  I was impressed with the concept of what they did.   Not many people could sell everything they owned and country/continent hop for an extended period of time, but they did.  Lynne's husband Tim had quite a knack for details.  Yet, even with his intricate planning they still made mistakes and they handled them without throwing in the towel and returning home.  They lived their life to the fullest.  The epilogue of the book was entitled Postpone Nothing and they go on to say that the only thing they have postponed is feeling old.  The last few pages of the book give you some things that you won't find in a guidebook.  They were very helpful suggestions.  If someone is planning to live free then this is a good book to read to get a rough idea of what to expect.  It definitely is not something you do without a lot of thought and planning.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to review by Net Galley Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts are entirely my own.  Thank you for this opportunity.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Bloom

Five Minute Friday

I have been a participating member of Five Minute Friday for almost two years.  I had reached a point where I was drawing a blank every time I sat down to blog and then one morning there was Lisa Jo Baker and her Five Minute Friday.  There are a few rules to participate and none to just read what everyone else wrote.  The rules are simple"
1.  We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here starting at 10pm EST on Thursday night and all through Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party).
2.  There is no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. It started because Lisa Jo had been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And so she figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying -
See more at:
if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. You can meet them over here on our Five Minute Friday Facebook page. Your words. This shared feast. It’s easy to join in, just:
1.  Check what the prompt is on my blog.
2.  Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog. {And if you don’t have a blog, no worries! Just leave your writing as a comment on my post}
3.  Link over here and invite friends to join in.
4.  Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url but your post url } Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of her Five Minute Friday post enter your link. It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky. Your post will show up in our Five Minute Friday linky. 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.
So, if you are ready....the word for today is BLOOM

I love flowers.  One of my favorite things to do is photograph them so I can look back and enjoy the bloom that is present in my picture long after it has faded from the plant.  Mrs. Betty Jean, Mrs. Shirley, and Mrs. Jean's houses give me constant blooming pleasure.  I have plants in my own yard now from all of them.  I am thrilled when that first bloom opens up and shows it's face. 

I am a pastor's wife and I have learned in following my husband's ministry to bloom where I am planted.  I am one of those people who has roots that run deep and so wherever we go I become part of the community, the church.  Blooming takes on many forms in my life.  When I was expecting my daughter people would tell me I was positively blooming.  I laughed because I thought they were talking about the baby bump I was growing....but I found out later they were talking about me....I was blooming.  When I held that precious bundle I watched as she bloomed and went from being a scrunchy faced little bundle to a beautifully soft open-eyed bundle.  I watched her bloom right before my eyes.  Throughout her whole life she has bloomed....and now she and her precious husband are going to bloom where they are planted.

  She and Brian will be leaving Sunday to go to Moldova.  There they will serve as full-time missionaries for Stella's Voice and work in orphanages there.  They have been doing this in the summer for the past three years.  Now....Now....they will plant themselves and begin blooming.  Growing the love of God and showing children how to bloom too.  Moldova is a depressed third world country.  The countryside is gorgeous....but it has a sad story for children....and their parents.  There is no joy blooming there.  I know that once Kat and Brian begin blooming where they are will be blooming abundantly.   Can I get an AMEN?