Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mind on the Manger

As Christmas Day quickly approaches, I am amazed at not only how fast 2012 has zipped by, but also how this month is moving at a rapid pace. I've mentioned before that I love the month of December---primarily because that's when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I also enjoy the crisp, chilly air, the colorful lights, and the beautiful Christmas music. ~ Sadly, this December has had a huge tragedy with the horrible shootings in Connecticut. Bad news abounds if I turn on my television or radio. But this morning as I looked out at the gorgeous sunshine streaming across my backyard, and glanced up at the beautiful blue sky, I am reminded of WHO is always in control. Yes, it's terrible when we hear bad news (especially involving innocent children). It's heart-breaking even when you don't personally know the people affected. So I have prayed (and continue to pray) for all those directly affected by tragedies, and then turn my mind to the manger. To that precious Baby born so many, many years ago....Who was sent by God to save the world. There have always been terrible events happening in the world and my heart goes out to anyone who experiences tragedy.  What can I do, and what should I do? I pray, and then must turn my focus to my Savior. And as we celebrate His birth this month, may I keep my mind on the manger and that Holy Babe, and on giving Him the honor and service He deserves. ~ ~ And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:16

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Delightful December

December is such a delightful month! Sadly, many folks might argue that statement--insisting that the month is too hectic, too commercialized, etc.etc. ~ But because December is the month when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, it should be a time of great joy and celebration! Now I'll admit when my children were younger there were quite a few Decembers when I felt frazzled and exhausted--yet I still loved Christmas AND the month of December. There just wasn't enough time in the month for me to accomplish everything AND focus on The Reason for the Season. But now that my children are older (*sigh*) and my life isn't nearly as busy as it used to be, I can really focus more on the TRUE meaning of Christmas. And when I really stop and think about that most wondrous event of Jesus being born so many years ago, it is such an amazing thought! A little baby born in such a lowly setting would be the GREATEST person who ever walked the earth. And just as amazing is the fact that HE lives today!!! ~ ~ May we all take delight in that thought--not only in December, but all year long. ~ ~ For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.   Luke 2:11

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Always Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! Lately I've been reading blog posts and articles about being thankful, and some friends have even been writing down something they're thankful for each day of November. I think this is a wonderful idea---but it got me thinking...Wouldn't it be great if I took the time to do that each day of the year? My list of blessings is endless---the Lord has blessed me so much, and I'll be the first to admit I've done nothing to deserve these blessings. But that's how much my Lord loves me! So I could easily think of something every day to be thankful for. And even though the Thanksgiving season is a wonderful, special time of year, how nice it would be to practice being thankful ALL year, in every season. ~ May I be always thankful, no matter the time of year or how I'm feeling on a particular day. Because even if it's a day when I'm feeling lots of physical pain, then counting my blessings and having a thankful heart is bound to make me feel better! But most importantly, it would please the Lord. ~ ~ My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.
                                                                 Psalm 145:21

Friday, November 16, 2012

To Whisper Her Name

I recently finished reading a wonderful historical romance novel by Christian Author Tamera Alexander. To Whisper Her Name is set at Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation in the 1860s, and although the main characters are fictional, the story features some actual people and history woven in.  ~ Tamera Alexander has a gift with words, and this book transported me back in time as I read. The characters "came alive" and I felt I was viewing the scenes through their eyes. Reading To Whisper Her Name was another reminder of why Tamera Alexander remains one of my "Top 2" favorite authors---her books never disappoint me! ~ If you're a fan of historical romance, be sure and read Tamera Alexander's latest wonderful book, To Whisper Her Name. I feel certain you'll enjoy it just as I did.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Amazing Autumn Views

I love the Autumn season. Even though the Lord has done a remarkable job creating all four seasons, Autumn is my very favorite. The cooler weather, the pumpkins, and especially the oh-so-beautiful leaves!  I absolutely LOVE seeing the gorgeous shades of color that so many of our trees have for a while during Autumn. Even years when I don't manage a trip to our north Georgia mountains to view the lovely leaves, I still have beauty right outside in my own backyard. As I write this post I'm glancing out and seeing some of the trees behind my house in their peak of color---breathtaking shades of gold, orange, and crimson. I always take photos of those trees each year, but the pictures don't do them justice. They're SO much prettier in person. ~ Something pretty amazing to me is how the leaves appear even more colorful today--on a rainy, "dreary" day--than they did the past few days, when the sun was shining and the weather was about perfect. I couldn't help but think this is a good comparison to how it is in my life sometimes. I might not notice beauty in a certain situation until there are some "dreary" days---and then it's as if my eyes are opened---and I see the beauty right in front of me. ~ As a Christian, I strive to see the beauty in each day and in every situation the Lord gives me--although I sometimes fall short. But today I am SO thankful He has given me these beautiful trees in my backyard, and has painted them as only He could do. ~ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas

Yes, I realize it's only October, but I want to recommend a delightful book by Author Anita Higman. A Merry Little Christmas is a sweet story of love and healing set in the early 1960s. Anita does a great job with this time period, and her characters are very believeable as the story moves along. The ending was especially satisfying for me (although I'll admit I wasn't ready to say "good-bye" to these characters!). The cover is so lovely, and the inside of this book will not disappoint you. ~ Since I enjoy Christmas-related stories, I was eager to read A Merry Little Christmas, and am so glad I did. Highly recommended!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Author Sandra Orchard

I am thrilled to welcome Christian Author and dear friend, Sandra Orchard, to CatMom's Corner today. Sandra's newest release is Critical Condition from the Harlequin Love Inspired line. I cannot wait to read it! ~ Sandra graciously answered some questions for me---Thank you Sandra!
1. Do you write only suspense novels? What do you like about writing suspense?
Sandra: At this time, I write romantic suspense for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense, and I'm working on a mystery/romantic suspense series called PORT ASTER SECRETS for Revell Publishing. I love writing strong hooks at the end of chapters to keep readers turning pages, and I love to keep the reader guessing as to who the real bad guy, or girl, is.
2. What do you like most about being a published author?
Two things. Being able to sell books on spec. so I no longer have to write the whole manuscript before I find out if the publisher will want to buy it. And receiving letters from readers.
3.Have you always lived in Canada?
Born and raised.
4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you like to visit? Why?
I'm not much of a traveller, but I'd like to visit Hawaii, because I've never been any place tropical, and it has beaches and mountains and gorgeous vistas and seems so romantic---a perfect place to set a book.
5. What is your favorite food? favorite drink? favorite color?
Pizza. I don't have a favorite drink. I usually just drink water. Boring, I know. Purple is my favorite color.
     Sandra, thank you SO much for visiting my Corner today, and I enjoyed discovering a little more about one of my fave authors!  (Although you do put me to shame with your answer about only drinking water, LOL---I NEED to drink more water, and less coffee*sigh*). ~ Readers, please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exactly What I Need

We all go through times in our lives when we feel we're trudging uphill and growing tireder by the day. Not that we're feeling sorry for ourselves, but rather just growing weary. Perhaps it's illness, financial concerns, or just having days when "nothing seems to go right." Of course, we know--as the old saying goes--That's life. ~ For me personally, I've found it's so vital to read my Bible every day, because so often I'll come across the exact verse I needed at that particular time. This happened to me yesterday, as I was feeling tired and more than a little concerned about a loved one's illness. I've been praying and doing all I can to help this person, but was having a day when I felt weary and didn't know what else to do. After I read my daily Bible verses I began flipping through various books of the Bible, reading different verses I've highlighted over the years. Suddenly a verse seemed to "jump out" at me, so I read it again. It's part of a verse in 1 Samuel: ...for the battle is the Lord's... I paused, then read it again and again. A thought came to me that I had been overlooking, and the Lord used this particular verse to remind me of this all-important truth. I need to continue doing the best I can, pray, and then TURN MY CONCERNS OVER TO THE LORD. After all, it is HIS battle and HE is much better equipped to handle it than I am! I suppose that's part of our human nature---WE try to handle problems, rather than doing all we can do and giving them to our Lord. I'm thankful the Lord gently nudged me with the words that I needed at this time.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Friends, Old Friends

As a young child, I can remember my precious mother telling me this little rhyme that she had learned as a child: 
                                      Make new friends
                                      But keep the old.
                                      One's worth silver,
                                   And the other gold.

I'm thinking there's even a little tune that goes along with this rhyme---that would be easy for children to learn. It's a fun little rhyme, but so, so TRUE.
My friends are very important in my life, and I consider them among my greatest blessings. But as blessed as I feel with the friends I have, I still enjoy making new friends too!
That's exactly what happened this past weekend when I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, Texas. I met some precious ladies (and a few guys too) from all over the United States (and Canada)---and already have been in touch with a few of them (thanks to the wonders of modern technology and computers!).
Although I always learn so much about the craft of writing at these conferences, the friendships made are just as important to me. So I'm sharing one of my photos from this year's conference---showing myself with some of my precious Oregon friends.  These ladies are such a blessing in my life---even though we live on opposite sides of the country!
A man that hath friends must shew himself  friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.   Proverbs 18:24

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sentimental September

The month of September has always been a favorite of mine. As a young child I eagerly anticipated my birthday, counting down the days and looking forward to a yummy cake! My precious Mama also had a September birthday (only a few days after mine) so that made the month even more special for our family. Now two of my three children have September birthdays, so I've joked over the years and commented that the month of September is "like Christmas in our family!" ~ Of course now that my children are all in their 20s, I find that I become sentimental during this month. I tend to "relive" memories in my mind--the excitement of their births, the fun birthday parties when they were very young, and all the happiness the month of September always seemed to bring. ~ Even though life is different now that I'm not planning childrens' parties or shopping for toys, September can still be a happy month as we celebrate each birthday with thankfulness. ~ And who knows....maybe one day I'll have a grandchild with a September birthday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Love and Cherish

Christian fiction authors Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson have written a book series that I highly recommend--especially for those who enjoy historical romance! "Bridal Veil Island" is the series title, with the first book titled: To Have and To Hold and the second book is: To Love and Cherish. I highly recommend both books, but have to say the second one is my very favorite.
Set on the Georgia coast in the late 1800s, To Love and Cherish features believable characters, romance, adventure, and even a hint of mystery---it's wonderful! ~ Being a Georgia native myself and frequent visitor to our lovely coast, I was especially pleased with the job these ladies did on this book, and now I'm eagerly looking forward to the third book in this series: To Honor and Trust.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Leaning on the Lord with Little Things

With all the medical "adventures" I've had, one might think that an appointment at the dentist office would be nothing. Not so! For some reason, going to the dentist causes more apprehension for me than the times I faced major surgeries. ~ So after scheduling a routine appointment last week (check-up/cleaning) I was filled with dread. I kept telling myself it was silly for me to feel so nervous; even my oldest daughter reassured me the appointment would be fine. But I knew I didn't want to walk into the dental office shaking like a leaf, so I prayed. And prayed. Sure enough, a sense of calm and well-being actually came over me that morning--even as I sat in the dentist office chair! Thankfully my appointment went well, and although I do have to return for some *little* cavities, it's nothing major. ~ I was thinking about all of this today, and was again reminded of how we should pray and lean on the Lord for ALL things in life---not only the "big deals" but the little things too---even things we might feel embarrassed about bringing before our Lord! I'm convinced that He cares about ALL aspects of our life, and wants us to call out to Him. And that's the "tooth"!
     I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Staying Immersed

As a Christian, I've often read/heard how very important it is to stay "immersed in Scripture". As I grow older and hopefully a little bit wiser(?) I see just how super important that is! Many folks would agree that our world today seems more evil than ever. Even supposedly "good" people are led astray, and of course the news is filled with reports of crime, violence, and rampant sin. Yep, our enemy the devil is doing his best to gain a stronger hold on our world. But as Christians we must continue fighting this---EVERY day. One way is to stay focused on WHO we serve---and since I serve my Lord and Savior Jesus I have to keep focused on HIM. For me personally one of the best ways to do that is to keep myself immersed in Scripture. Everyday I read my Bible, but I've realized I need even more help. So I've written some verses of Scripture and placed them in various places around my house. I've found this really helps me, because I have constant reminders of WHO I'm serving and how I'm supposed to live. Does this make me a wonderful, sinless person? NO! But....I'm striving to serve the Lord and stay immersed in His word---and I realize I need all the help I can get! May we Christians always stay immersed so we can help shine His light to a hurting world. ~ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.   Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Trivia

I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed trivia! Maybe it's because in this day and age when we're bombarded with so much bad news, it's fun to focus on information that is totally random (even if you don't think you'll ever actually need that information, haha). ~ So below I've listed some assorted trivia "facts"---I have not actually checked to determine if these are indeed accurate, but I did locate them from reliable sources.  :)
                                          TUESDAY   TRIVIA
     52% of Americans drink coffee. (*okay, I'm surprised this number isn't higher!)
     A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but monkeys can't. (*so don't bother buying your favorite monkey a mirror for his/her next birthday!)
     A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
     Berry College (in Rome, Georgia) has the world's largest college campus. (Wow!)
     American and Russian space flights have always included chocolate.
    One plain milk chocolate candy bar has more protein than a banana.
    A sneeze can exceed the speed of 100 mph. (*hmmmm...don't let your sneezes get any traffic tickets!)  
~ ~ ~ Hope you enjoyed this bit of trivia today! ~ ~ A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.  Proverbs 15:13

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kudos for Keli!

Christian author Keli Gwyn has written a novel that I am loving! A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California is Keli's first book, but I feel certain this author will have many, many more published books in her writing future. ~ I'm not quite finished reading it yet (*confession--I'm a slow reader*) but am thoroughly enjoying this fun story. ~ Set in California's Sierra Foothills in 1870, this charming romance is keeping me turning pages to see what happens next....In fact, I interrupted my reading to post this quick blog, but am about to dive back into the story! ~ And just for fun, I've posted a photo of my cat Delilah as she "PAWSed" to take a look at Keli's book---and yep! Delilah thinks it's a PURR-fect book to read.
    Also, THANKS to everyone who visited the other day when I posted my interview with sweet Keli. A special THANK YOU to Keli Gwyn for taking time to answer my questions, and CONGRATULATIONS to Amy Campbell, who won the drawing for a copy of Keli's book!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Interview with Author Keli Gwyn

I am thrilled to feature award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn on my blog, and she's graciously answered some questions below. But first, here's a little background info. on sweet Keli, my "California friend"!
   Author Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life with colorful characters and a hint of humor. ~ Keli lives with her husband and their 2 skittish but beautiful kitties (pictured below) in her native California. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California releases July 2012 from Barbour Publishing. ~ To learn more about Keli, visit her website at
   1. Welcome Keli! Please tell us a little about your book and how you chose the setting.
 KELI: Widow Elenora Watkins is determined to provide for herself and her daughter without relying on anyone else. Can she run a successful business after falling for the competition? Miles Rutledge finds himself willing to do anything to keep Elenora in town. But can he win her heart while putting her out of business? ~ I'm a California native and love the historic Gold Country where I live. I wanted to bring the area to life in my stories. While El Dorado is a sleepy suburb now, it was a thriving town in its heyday. When I read about the town's leading merchant, a mercantile owner named James B. Wetherwax, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about him. However, I couldn't find much information, but being a writer, I could imagine such a man--and I created the hero of my story. ~ Widower Miles Rutledge has the most successful business in town, the most impressive building, and is well liked, but he doesn't have a woman in his life. Along comes Elenora Watkins and her shop across the street.
   2. Where do you do most of your writing? (Office, coffee shop, etc.?)
KELI: I write in the privacy of my own home. Since I often speak lines of dialogue out loud, make faces to make sure I'm getting my gestures right, and act out scenes while I work, I would be afraid to write in public. People think I'm goofy enough as it is when my characters and I chat while I'm on my walks. :)
   3. Have you always wanted to be an author?
KELI: Pretty much. My dream of being a published author was born when I was seven. Forty years passed before I dusted off that dream and began writing my first story. Six and a half years later, I'm holding my book in my hand, proving dreams really can come true.
   4. Have you always lived in California?
KELI: I was born and raised in California and have spent most of my life here, but I did live two other places. I spent a couple of years in Washington State in my twenties. Gwynly and I lived in Germany four and a half years early in our marriage, where he was a teacher in an American military high school. We were there from 1989-1993 and got to witness the end of the Cold War, fall of the Wall, and reunification of Germany up close and personal. Upon returning to the states, we settled in Placerville and have lived here ever since.
   5. What are your favorite foods?
KELI: If we're talking sit-down restaurants, Mexican tops the list and Italian comes next. When it comes to fast food, I like Taco Bell, Panda Express, and Wendy's.
   6. Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
KELI: I'm a real homebody who is happiest right here in our cozy house. I do enjoy day trips to Lake Tahoe, which is just an hour away, and to other historic towns in the Gold Country. ~ Since I've gotten to see much of Europe, I think my travel bug has been satisfied, but if we were to take a trip there again, I'd start by visiting Nurnberg, Germany, where we lived. I'd like to return to my favorite spots: Garmish, at the base of the German Alps; Salzburg, Austria; and Grindlewald, Switzerland. The Lord outdid Himself when He created those places.
   7. Do you have any pets?
KELI: We have two skittish cat brothers. They were feral cats, and even though we took them in when they were just a few weeks old, they don't trust other people. When people come to visit, all they see is a flash of orange and white as the boys make a break for the bedroom. ~ Dandy, the mellow one of the two, is partial to Gwynly. Sandy and I are more high maintenance, so we understand one another. Both cats are good company and keep our Empty Nest from feeling quite as empty as it could otherwise. ~ ~ Thanks so much for hosting me here on your lovely blog, Patti Jo. What fun to spend time with you and your blog's visitors. I have a question for them. What historical events have you witnessed firsthand? If you haven't witnessed any, what historical event has impacted you the most?

~ ~ Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a copy of Keli's book. ~ Thanks again for visiting my Corner today, Keli, and I cannot wait to read your book!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Doctor's Devotion

Christian author Cheryl Wyatt has a contemporary romance book available right now, and I highly recommend it. Her latest book from the LOVE INSPIRED line is The Doctor's Devotion, which is set in a small Illinois town and follows the story of two medical workers overcoming past losses. ~ I really enjoy Cheryl's style of writing, because she keeps the story moving, her characters are very believable, and I never know what's coming next! Most importantly, the story is a great example of how the Lord works in lives and turns hopeless situations into hopeful ones! ~ The Doctor's Devotion is available only for the month of July, so hurry and get your copy right away if you enjoy contemporary romance.
   KEY VERSE from the story: May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.  Numbers 6:26

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today I was in a major Atlanta hospital, undergoing the first two of four spinal surgeries that would change my life for the better. My neurosurgeon had planned on completing the work on my spine in "only" three surgeries, but due to complications during the third surgery, he had to bring me out of the anesthesia and let me rest for five days. Thankfully the fourth surgery went well and was a success, so after that it was a matter of recovering and rehab. ~ My stay in the hospital was about three weeks, and there were some extremely rough, painful times. However, I have NO regrets at all about having the surgeries done, and my severe spinal conditions have been greatly improved as a result. There were also an abundance of blessings that came from that time in my life---and for those I am truly humbled. People I didn't even know were praying for me, and the acts of kindness shown to me still boggle my mind today. ~ The day before I went into the hospital I was filled with a mixture of emotions. Although I had an idea of what was to be done to me, there was still the anxiety of "fear of the unknown" and the dread because I knew there was the chance I could even end up paralyzed. So as I read my Bible that day, I re-read a verse in Isaiah that I clung to, and still do. This verse has give me (and continues to do so) great comfort and peace, and I've included it below. ~ May I always cling to The Only One who can truly give comfort and peace that we all need. ~ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's About Time

Time management has been something I've been working on for many years--in fact, I have a collection of books and articles advising me how to make better use of my time! Often I'll think I'm improving; other times I feel frustrated because I want to accomplish more. ~ Now that my children are older and I'm no longer teaching school, my schedule is completely different than it was even a few years ago. I still stay busy (somedays I'm convinced someone has sped up my clock because the hours zip by!) but don't have the constant rushing and hectic pace I once did. ~ Lately the Lord has placed thoughts on my heart that I'm taking very seriously: As a Christian woman, am I making the best use of my time? Am I spending my time as the Lord would have me spend it? It's really dawned on me that time management isn't just about "getting more things done in a certain amount of time" but rather accomplishing what the Lord wants me to accomplish--and meeting His standards rather than the world's. ~ Although I make sure to spend time daily in my Bible and prayer, could I spend more time? Are there other ways I can serve Him? For me personally, the answer is YES! So that's what I'm focusing on these days, and with the Lord's help--I'll be a faithful steward of the time He so graciously gives. ~ Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Another Day in Paradise!

As I type this post, I'm looking out my bedroom/office window at a beautiful blue sky, bright sunshine, lush green trees, and my window box with pink Impatiens growing in it. A truly lovely view! As I was silently saying a prayer of thanks earlier this morning for this gorgeous day and my very nice view, it suddenly occurred to me that I have my "very own paradise" here next to my computer. Now that may sound silly to some folks--as many people would describe "paradise" as somewhere exotic or tropical. Sure, those places are great and can be fun to visit. But for me (okay, I'll admit I'm somewhat of a homebody, haha) being able to gaze out my window and behold the Lord's handiwork in my own yard is wonderful. Yes, a kind of paradise for me. So today I'm thanking the Lord for what some folks would call "simple pleasures": the gift of eyesight, a nice window with a lovely view, and my cats sitting close by as I type. MY kind of paradise! ~ ~ The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Weekend Getaway

This past weekend my husband and I had a weekend getaway to a lovely island on the coast of northern Florida. No meetings or schedule to follow--just sightseeing and exploring a different place! We drove around (yes, got lost a few times, but that's okay!), walked on the beach, explored the Historic District, and ate some wonderful food. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing a place we'd never seen before and not having to rush to be anywhere at a certain time. ~ After we arrived back home I was thinking about how important it is for everyone to take some time now and then to bask in God's creation. Relax and look around at the world the Lord has made for us. That also made me think about a passage in my Bible which tells about Jesus taking some time away from the crowds and busy-ness around Him. Since He was perfect but yet also needed time to be refreshed, we certainly need that time---because we are certainly not even close to perfection! I'm very thankful the Lord blessed my husband and me with that wonderful weekend. And...Lord willing---hope to enjoy more weekends like that one in the future! ~ The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Queen of Clutter

Over the years I've jokingly referred to myself as "The Queen of Clutter" ~ a "title" I'm not proud of! I used to say the reason for my packrat habits was due to the fact I was a school teacher. I'd look at items that others might toss and always say: Hey, maybe my students could make something from that! But since I had to retire from my teaching career (due to health reasons) the packrat habits have continued. Not to an extreme, but enough that it has begun to really bother me. So I've prayed about this (and yes, I've read numerous books on getting organized) and have decided that clutter will NOT control me! Life is too full of opportunities for productive and enjoyable activities to feel that clutter has a hold on us. ~ I realize that many folks don't have this issue---they are organized and have everything in its place, no stacks of papers, etc. I think that's wonderful, and I'd love to have those tendencies. But since my packrat gene is so dominant, I'll have to do the best I can. Many times I've been determined to organize closets and drawers, but this time I'm REALLY determined! ~ Are you an orderly and organized person, or do you struggle with clutter and packrat tendencies? ~ Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A "Lovely" Weekend

This past weekend I traveled with a few family members for a very quick trip to our Georgia coast. While there we stayed at Epworth-by-the-Sea on St. Simon's Island. Such a beautiful place! Although we've visited Epworth before, this was our first time actually staying there, and we definitely want to return. The inn where we stayed was very nice and had a great view of the Frederica River. One of the highlights for me was attending the Sunday morning service at the Lovely Lane Chapel. Oh my! That Chapel has gorgeous stained glass windows and you can just "feel" the history around you. Outside there are numerous large Live Oak trees, draped with Spanish Moss. I LOVE it there! ~ I'm including a photo I snapped on Sunday morning after the Chapel service. The Lovely Lane Chapel is in the background and I was in front of one of the many beautiful Live Oaks on the island. Even though the weather that morning was rainy and dreary, everything on the island looked so green and lush. I cannot wait to visit again! ~ The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Cleaning

When I was growing up, I often heard my mother and other ladies in our community refer to doing "spring cleaning." Since I've been an adult I too have enjoyed continuing this habit. After winter weather, it's refreshing to open windows and thoroughly clean during the springtime. ~ Thinking of doing a thorough cleaning in my home led me to thinking of another kind of spring "cleaning"--cleansing my heart. Am I holding onto emotions I need to release? Since I've always been a "worrier" I seem to have an ongoing battle with that. Yet my Bible tells me I shouldn't worry. Some folks hang onto grudges for years, and those need to be released. Other folks deal with fear, and seem to always be fearful of something negative happening. If you're struggling with worry, fear, holding a grudge, or anything else that you need to let go, then join me in a spring cleaning---let's try to cleanse our hearts and turn these emotions and feelings over to the Lord. You might think that's easier said than done--but with much prayer and searching our Bible, it CAN be done. So as I continue with my spring cleaning, I'm seeking God's help to cleanse my heart and mind--helping me to be worry-free, and instead rely on HIM in all things. Happy Spring! ~ Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Quiet Witness

Last week my precious father-in-law (Papaw) passed away, and it's been an emotionally and physically draining time for us. Although we will miss him so much (and already do) we have NO doubt at all that he is in Heaven. Papaw was one of the most Godly men I've ever known, and even though he was usually quiet and reserved, he always made certain other folks knew about Jesus. Papaw witnessed to others about salvation, but he did it in a quiet way--never wanting attention for himself or any fanfare. He only wanted others to know that Jesus is our only hope, and if we want to go to Heaven we must believe on Him. ~ As I feel saddened over our loss of Papaw here on earth, I feel a great peace and JOY at knowing he's in Heaven and we'll all be together again one day. What a comforting thought!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Song of My Heart

Christian author Kim Vogel Sawyer continues to be my favorite author because her books are such a pleasure to read (not to mention the fact she's a wonderful person and a cat-lover too!). Her recent release Song of My Heart is a delightful story set in Kansas in 1895. The story follows Sadie Wagner as she uses her God-given talent of singing to help her family, and there's never a dull moment. The story features romance, adventure, bits of humor, and even some mystery that kept me wanting to see what happened next. The characters really came alive for me, and I must admit I did NOT want this story to end! ~ I've read AND enjoyed all of Kim Vogel Sawyer's books, but have to say I think Song of My Heart is now my new favorite of this talented author's work!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's the TRUTH!

A thought occurred to me yet again this evening---not a new thought, but one that I wanted to share. It's really very simple: My entire day seems to go more smoothly when I begin the day by spending time with the Lord---especially reading my Bible. This isn't to say that any of us ever has a day without problems---oh no! That's just part of being alive--we encounter some kind of problem or difficulty or hassle (or whatever you want to call it) every day. BUT, for me personally, I can HANDLE those pesky problems much better when I've begun my day with the Lord. ~ I'm sorry to say that some days I'm in such a "rush" to get things done, and I wait and read my Bible later in the day. From now on, I'm going to make a serious effort to begin every day by spending time with God first---after all, the Bible is the TRUTH, so if I want a guidebook for my day it's right there in a book on my desk. And that's the truth!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Lasting Impression

Recently I finished reading another book by one of my all-time favorite Christian authors, Tamera Alexander. As always when I read her books, I was again reminded of why she is one of my VERY favorite authors! A Lasting Impression is a wonderfully written historical novel set in a real place: The Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee. The story takes place after the Civil War, as the nation is still healing amidst reminders of the terrible war. Tamera Alexander has an amazing writing talent that makes the reader feel as if you're really there---walking among the characters of the story, and viewing the gorgeous Belmont Mansion with your very own eyes! ~ I don't want to give any details away, but if you're a fan of historical fiction, be sure and read A Lasting Impression. Now I'm eager to read the other books coming out in this series!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year---and a New Word

It's already January 9th---this New Year needs to slow down! At the beginning of each new year, I used to write out a list of "My New Year Resolutions"---basically I was re-writing the same ones each year *sigh*. But several years ago I noticed that some folks had chosen a word (or the Lord had placed that specific word on their heart)---and that was their WORD for the year. So I decided to try that rather than a list of repeated resolutions. ~ Last year my word was PERSEVERANCE. And....overall that's what I did: I persevered with my physical therapy, home projects, etc. (not that I completed everything, though!). This year I honestly felt that the Lord has been nudging me towards SELF-DISCIPLINE. Because if I want to improve on my writing, I absolutely HAVE to be disciplined and WRITE!! Not just when I feel like writing, but times even when I'd rather be doing something else (such as playing with my cats---or being entertained by them *smile*). ~ Do you have a word or goal(s) for the New Year? I pray that this new year will be safe and healthy for us all. ~ Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Psalm 25:4