Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome to a New Year!

Happy New Year!! Just minutes ago, we moved into a brand-new year here on the east coast. I'm still amazed at how quickly 2016 flew by, and that inspires me to make the most of each day in 2017, since the days won't be moving any slower *grin*.
For many years, I'd make a list of goals for the coming year. On December 31 I'd sit down and write out my "New Year's Resolutions" and feel determined that I'd keep them. Year after year I seemed to be listing the same basic goals: Exercise more; Worry less; etc. etc. But several years ago I read that some people decided to have a special word for the year, rather than a list of goals. Since then, I've been doing that too, and I really like that idea. I try to pray about what the Lord would have me to focus on for the upcoming year, and that's my "one word" for that year. Several years ago my word was TRUST, another year it was SERVE. Lately I've been praying but just couldn't seem to feel strongly about one word in particular. Until tonight - - right around midnight, the Lord gave me my word: PROCLAIM. I knew that's what I need to focus on this year. Whether it's in my speaking, writing, or actions - - I want to PROCLAIM the love of Christ in my daily life. Of course I can only do this with God's help, so I am trusting Him to guide me throughout this new year. And I know He will!
    And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.  Colossians 3:17

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Remembering the Reason

I'm not sure what happened to the month of November! I thought I'd written a blog post, but when I looked apparently I had not - - and whoosh! Now it's almost mid-December. We're in the midst of the Christmas season - - the most wonderful time of year, with lots going on and so many people rushing around in a frenzy as they shop, attend special events, do holiday baking, etc. But I'm hoping that ALL of us will take time to really and truly remember WHY we are celebrating. The real REASON for this SEASON - - the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Giving gifts is wonderful. Decorating and baking can make special memories for families. But we all need to focus most of all on that special Baby born in a stable so many years ago - - the Baby who came into the world for each of us. Even though I've read and heard the Christmas story numerous times---and even played the part of Mary many years ago!---the story of Jesus's birth never ceases to amaze me. Such humble beginnings for a King. So as we all go about our busy days and prepare for another Christmas, may we remember the true Reason for this wonderful Season - - and may I remember to say "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" And to thank Him for loving me.
     And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke 2:7

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October's Bright Blue Weather

October is my very favorite month. I love the cooler Fall days and the beautiful leaves in shades of red, gold, and orange. However (haha!!) this October we've had very few days with cooler temperatures, and I've so far counted only three trees in my area that are just beginning to change colors! But that's okay, because I know the cooler weather WILL arrive, and the leaves will eventually wear Fall colors. But one thing I have noticed about this October that I notice each year is the brilliant blue sky. We've had many days this month when the sky has been a gorgeous shade of blue - - and I love it!  Which brings to mind an old poem that I learned many years ago in elementary school: "October's Bright Blue Weather"~ for some reason that poem has remained special to me all these years.
I'm so thankful the Lord created such colorful beauty in the world - - the blue sky, the golden leaves, the red-feathered cardinals who visit my deck and the yellow butterflies who flit past my windows on their way to Florida are just a few examples of His handiwork. So as I try not to be overwhelmed listening to/reading awful news each day, I will focus instead on the colorful blessings all around me - - including October's bright blue weather.
   The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.  Psalms 19:1

Friday, August 12, 2016

Guide Me Home

Author Kim Vogel Sawyer has been my favorite Christian Author for quite a while, and each time I read another of her books I'm reminded of why I love her writing style so much. Kim's latest historical fiction is Guide Me Home, set in Kentucky in 1907.
Rebekah Hardin wants to help her parents and six younger siblings honor her late brother's memory, so she decides to earn money to purchase a special grave marker. Working as a guide in Mammoth Cave would be profitable, but those jobs were only for men. So Rebekah decides to present herself as "Reb" - - a male.
"Reb" learns from Tolly, an experienced guide (he was my favorite character!) and they are joined by Devlin, a university student who has come to map tunnels.
I don't want to give anything away, but will say that as I read this story I was captivated by the characters and the setting, and the events kept me turning pages until the very satisfying ending.
If you've never read a book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, I highly recommend any of her books. But I must say that now my very favorite is Guide Me Home.  :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Treasure the Time

Many of us have heard the saying "The older you get, the faster time goes." But in recent years I've heard even young people commenting about how quickly the days and weeks (and months!) are zipping by. I believe one reason is due to the hectic, fast-paced schedules so many people have now. Whether young, middle-aged, or older - - it seems so many folks are just plain BUSY! Not to mention being bombarded by all the news reports of tragic happenings, politics, and extreme weather. Keeping up with our day-to-day lives AND keeping up with the news can be overwhelming.
That is why I feel it is necessary (and wise) to have our priorities ordered so we are doing the most important things, making the most of each day, and letting unimportant things wait---or ignore them altogether. For me personally, if I don't spend enough time with the Lord it takes a toll. I *need* that time with Him: reading my Bible, praying, and taking time to really think about what He wants me to do. When I begin the day with the Lord, it truly helps my entire day!
I've struggled with time management in the past, but as I grow older I realize how vital it is to make the best use of my time--spending my days wisely and seeking the Lord's guidance. I want to treasure each day as I strive to walk closely with the Lord and serve Him by serving others.
     So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.   Psalm 90:12

Friday, May 20, 2016

Making May Memories

May is such a lovely month, especially in my state of Georgia. Spring is in full bloom and the weather is *usually* pleasant. Celebrating Mother's Day is always nice too, and I'm reminded of how very blessed I am to be the mother to my three precious children (and mother-in-law to two wonderful sons-in-law!). This May has also been extra-special because my son graduated with his Master's degree, and we are SO very proud of him. What a delightful weekend I had with him in Pittsburgh, and even though I really don't like to fly, both the flights went well (Thank the Lord!). An added bonus to our weekend was visiting the beautiful Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. Oh my, what a wonderful place! Since I love flowers and plants, being there was a huge treat for me. Walking through various rooms and areas filled with colorful flowers, water displays, lush tropical plants, and even a butterfly room - - I loved every minute!
With so much trouble in our world today, I feel so very thankful to be making wonderful, happy memories and don't take my blessings for granted. May I always have a thankful heart to the Lord for all my many blessings.
     Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.   Psalm 106:1

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Author Spotlight

Since the month of April is going by entirely too quickly *sigh* I will have to wait and feature author interviews another month. However, I am still going to "spotlight" two of my favorite authors and their most recent books, and will do more later on.
For readers of suspense, Author Sandra Orchard has recently released a fun, entertaining book that I highly recommend. A FOOL & HIS MONET is the first book in the Serena Jones Mystery Series and had me hooked from the first page. With a bit of romance, fun humor, and a good mystery this book is a winner.
Readers of historical romance would enjoy A HOME OF HER OWN by Author Keli Gwyn. This sweet story is set in California in 1871, and features Becky Martin, who longs to remain at the apple farm where she works as a caregiver for James O'Brien's very ill mother. The characters and the setting captured me as I read---another winner from Keli Gwyn. Although this book was released in March with the Love Inspired series books, it can still be ordered from Amazon or Christian Book Distributors.
If you'd like to be put in the drawing for a $15 Starbucks gift card, please leave a comment telling me if you've read either of these authors' books - - they are both talented and amazing writers! (Sorry, but the winner of the gift card must be a US address)
Happy Reading!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Authors in April

This month I plan to spotlight some of my favorite authors and their most recent books. I'll feature some brief but fun interviews, and will also be having drawings for Starbucks gift cards. So if you enjoy reading, whether you like contemporary, historical, or suspense-type books, be sure and stop by this month to learn more about some wonderful books and wonderful (and talented!) authors.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Praying For My Country

Here in our country of the United States it's an election year. In all of my years of observing television debates, political advertisements, and political interviews I don't ever recall seeing such turmoil. Yes, there have been heated debates and comments tossed around in the past, but this year the hostile activity has gone to the extreme. From what I'm reading and hearing, a lot of US citizens are exasperated---with candidates, our political system, and what has happened in our great country. Some people are going so far as to say it's "too late" and there's little---if any---hope for our country's future.
While I do agree that our country has seen a big moral decline among many other problems, I refuse to say it's "too late" - - because I believe our country still has a LOT of Bible-believing Christians who understand the principles our great nation was founded on.
So what can just ONE Christian do? Besides voting and not being afraid to stand up for what is right, we must PRAY. Earnestly and steadfastly. Not just a quick little prayer every now and then, but many, many heartfelt prayers to our mighty God asking Him to guide and help our country. Without the Lord, there's no hope. But WITH HIM, we have great hope!
     If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
                                                         II Chronicles 7:14

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Blessings in Fur

On this day in 2008, my family had a "Leap Day" surprise on our front porch. I'd been feeding a stray kitty who I thought belonged to a neighbor, but apparently the kitty preferred our front porch. After a few weeks, it became obvious she was expecting kittens. Being wintertime, our days were usually cold and sometimes windy, so I placed a cardboard box on our  covered porch in case the kitty needed it.
That particular Leap Day, I left my house late that afternoon to pick up my son at tennis practice. As I went out my front door, I saw the kitty resting on our porch, looking even plumper. About an hour later my son and I returned home, but did not see the kitty. I stepped over to the box, and could not believe my eyes. During the time I was gone to pick up my son, this precious mother cat had given birth to four adorable kittens! She looked up at me proudly, as if to say "Look what I did while you were gone." I remember having tears as I gazed at that mother cat nurturing her newborn kittens. Even in animals, the miracle of birth is truly amazing.
Now eight years later, three of those "kittens" are still part of our family---all large, adult cats who have distinct personalities and coloring. Yes, one is solid white, one is solid black, and one is calico - - yet from the same litter! I'm thankful for these furry blessings that arrived on Leap Day eight years ago, and cannot imagine my life without them.
     And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.   Genesis 1:31

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Joy

The winter season--and especially the month of January--is the least favorite time of year for some people. Not everyone, of course, but I've heard lots of folks say they don't like winter or the month of January, due to the cold weather, often-dreary days, and lack of color in the landscape. Yet sometimes there is beauty in this time of year. For those who live in areas that receive snow, there are peaceful, snow-covered scenes that remind us of Christmas cards. Even though my area seldom ever gets snow, today we had gorgeous weather that seemed spring-like, kind of like a little preview to the next season!
But whatever the weather or the outdoors looks like where we live, we can still have joy. Not something that depends on our circumstances, but the joy that only faith in Jesus can bring. Knowing that whatever we may experience in the days ahead, the Lord is with us each step of the way. If we will remember this, we can feel joy on even the dreariest of winter days.
     Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11