Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Celebrating Weakness

Celebrating Weakness, Prizing Emptiness
Adapted from Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

“I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9-10).

My weakness is my greatest asset in the Kingdom. My weakness is where God meets me. My weakness is where Christ’s power is most clearly displayed in me. Only when I am confronted with my own helplessness can I experience the power of Christ in me.

"Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness." (O. Hallesby, Prayer)

I recently had the tiniest glimpse of how powerfully helplessness speaks. A few years ago, I lost my husband to brain cancer. During the final months of his illness, he became utterly helpless. The man I had leaned on for 26 years, whose strength I counted on, was now dependent upon me for his every need. During those weeks, my ear was tuned to his every sigh, his every restless movement, every change in his breathing pattern. If I had to be out of his room for even a few minutes, I had a monitor with me so I could hear him if he needed me.

When he was strong, I was not so attentive. His needs did not fill my waking moments, when he could meet them himself. His helplessness spoke louder than any word he might have spoken. Because of his helplessness—because I knew he could do nothing on his own—I was on watch day and night.

My experience is but a pale shadow of the reality of the Kingdom, but still it helps me understand how my weakness is the opening for His strength. The fact of my helplessness is the only prayer I need. It speaks louder than eloquence.

Let your helplessness and your weakness be the offering you bring to Him. He is not waiting for you to be strong. He is waiting for you to recognize that you are weak.

Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive director of The Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. She is the author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation. Jennifer’s most recent book release is Set Apart: A 6-Week Study of the Beatitudes. Her book Heart’s Cry has been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book. You’ll find articles and daily quotes from Jennifer at the National Day of Prayer website. Live a Praying Life, has been called a flagship work on prayer. Jennifer was widowed in 2005 after 26 years of marriage to Wayne Dean, her partner both in life and ministry. They are the parents of three grown sons. Jennifer makes her home in Marion, KY. Media can learn more about Jennifer at: http://jenniferkennedydean.net/media/index.htm/.



Kathy Carlton Willis Communications 1324 S. 10th Street Raymondville, TX 78580
956-642-6319 WillisWay@aol.com or KCWComm@rgv.rr.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Between You and Me



by Jenny B. Jones

About the author:

I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and the upcoming book Just Between You and Me. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Some facts that are true include:

A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American  Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!
B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.
C. I’m a former drama teacher.
D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…
E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.
F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory.

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook. ~ Jenny B. Jones

The Blurb:

A novel of losing fear and finding God.

Maggie lives life on the edge, seemingly unafraid of anything. But the image she so carefully constructed is coming undone.


Her job as a videographer takes her around the world. She tells people’s stories, especially those of impoverished children. That’s when she feels most alive, like she’s making the world better.

But when a secret from her past resurfaces, Maggie gets a call that sends her home. Her dad desperately needs her help. Her estranged sister has run off, leaving 8-year-old Riley in his care. She returns reluctantly, hoping to help her niece. There she reconnects with Cooper–a once awkward and shy, now handsome, veterinarian. Her feelings skyrocket when she’s with him, but she’s afraid if she shows him her true self, he’ll reject her.

An honest, hilarious journey that will transform Maggie–if she just learns to trust more and fear less.

What Others Say:

"Just Between You and Me is a perfect example of what women's fiction is supposed to be--moving, meaningful, and freaking hilarious. 

From the get-go, I was in love with the author's style, her stellar one-liners, the expertly woven threads of tension, and the sizzling romance. 

Maggie Montgomery is a cinematographer who's not afraid of anything--except going home. But when a family crisis has her cooling her heels in her hometown of Ivy, Texas, Maggie must face her demons and the reality behind her own fa├žade. 

I especially loved Maggie's fight or flight tendencies and how they played out as the author unfolds the story. Readers are allowed to see through Maggie's responses to the hidden depths they come from, and the result is a three-dimensional character you can't help rooting for. 

The secondary characters in this novel are expertly drawn as well. Particularly, Riley, Maggie's neglected ten-year-old niece. I could see her hardened little face and hear her angry words. And, as in the real world, there are no pat solutions for wounded people, but that doesn't mean there's no hope. 

Jenny B. Jones weaves a poignant tale full of delectable dialogue, believable situations, and toe-curling romantic tension. I highly recommend this book for lovers of women's fiction. You will not be disappointed." ~ Evangeline

"Jenny B. Jones debut into women's fiction, Just Between You and Me, has been chosen as a 2009 WOMEN OF FAITH novel. In a departure from her quirky, action-filled Young Adult books, Jenny brings the same fun style to an adult audience. 

Ivy, Texas is the last place Maggie Montgomery wants to go, but at the urgent request of her dad, she returns to her hometown. She'd rather be skydiving or rappelling or any number of other things in her adventurous life as a photojournalist. Once Maggie returns to Ivy, getting away is not as easy as she'd hoped. Neither is facing the fears from her past and the people she's hurt growing up in Small Town, America. 

The story is one fraught with hilarious mishaps and filled with tenderness. Maggie's niece, Riley, has experienced more than any ten year old should, and it is only to save her that Maggie agrees to stay. A budding romance with the local vet, a sister (Riley's mom) with a drug addiction, and a haunting memory give Maggie's story layers that kept me guessing and reading until the last page. The author packs a lot of humor into the pathos for a light, faith-filled book with a message for young and old alike. Only by reliance on God can we embrace and conquer our deepest fears. 

Highly recommended for a summertime read . . . or anytime you need a pick-me-up! " ~Clarla Stewart


My Take:

I like to read a book about family relationships. So I followed the growth of the relationship between Maggie and her estranged niece Riley. Hidden secrets come to light as the story progresses. And I love a puzzle. Maggie's Christian growth is very much a part of the story. Living down her teenaged past is another thread. This story is a message of hope and grace. No wonder it was given the stamp of a "Woman of Faith Fiction."

A Contest: We will have a drawing at the end of the week. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win a copy of Jenny B. Jones book Just Between You and Me

Friday, September 25, 2009

Faith Comes by Hearing the Word of God

Faith Comes by Hearing the Word of God – the Implications

Author: Denny Smith

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV) On its surface this proclamation by Paul is very simple and easy to understand and yet the failure to grasp its implications has brought much division and strife among those who believe Jesus is the Son of God. Faith and opinion are mixed and it seems no one is able to separate the two. It appears to the casual observer that one man’s faith is another man’s opinion and that it is nearly hopeless to find objective truth. This confusion comes not from God but from man. God’s word is quite clear.

Faith is that which comes from hearing God’s word thus the direct and necessary implication is that if there is no word from God on a religious matter there can be no faith but only opinion. Faith and opinion are not equal in God’s sight. A man is saved by faith, not by opinion. A man is to walk (live his daily life) by faith (Rom. 1:17, 2 Cor. 5:7). The Christian religion is based on faith but it is an objective faith in that it is based on direct testimony as found in the word of God, testimony given by God himself.

Where God has spoken on a matter I can take his word to the bank, as the old saying goes. I need not doubt. His word is not just as good as gold, it is better, more valuable, perfect in purity and truth. “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much find gold.” (Psalms 19:9-10 NKJV) Faith based on word from God is faith put on a sure and solid foundation that cannot fail.

But, some examples are needed to show the difference between faith based on God’s word and opinion that is mistaken for faith by so many. I start with examples of things based on biblically defined faith (that which comes from hearing) as per Rom. 10:17.

I can have faith that a man must repent of sins because God’s word says, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30 NKJV) My faith is based on hearing the word of God. It is not a matter of opinion whether a man ought to repent. It is a matter of the revealed word of God. If I believe it it is because my faith came by hearing the word of God.
I can have faith that as a Christian I should sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:18-19 NKJV) There is direct word from God on the subject. My faith on singing comes from hearing God’s word. It is objective, not subjective. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV)

I can have faith that as a Christian I should never speak evil of anyone for God’s word says “speak evil of no one.” (Titus 3:2 NKJV) “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV) I think you get the idea. When you have the word of God that you can quote on a subject and you believe what the word says it can be said of your faith that it came by hearing the word of God. It is scriptural faith defined as that which came from hearing God’s word.

But things are often said to be matters of faith which clearly are only matters of opinion. Many years ago I knew a man that wanted to build - expand the physical building where local Christians met for worship (whether the church needed it was the big question). To objectors he would say where is your faith? His assumption was that God would be with this work for it would please God and thus God would see to it that the bills were paid and the work would prosper and the church would grow in numbers.

But here was the problem – God’s word does not one time speak of building a house to worship in. One will read the pages of the New Testament until old age dims his eyes and never read one time of a church building such as you see on nearly every corner today. There is no word from God on building a material brick and mortar building to worship God in. It is not a matter of faith that God wants us to build or add on to a building but pure opinion, the subjective opinion of man. If “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17) then where there is no word there is opinion only.

True we are commanded to assemble together (Heb. 10:25) but that does not necessarily require a building owned by the brethren. The church could rent, they could meet in a shelter house at a local park, they could meet at the home or property a brother might own sufficiently large to accommodate them. In New Testament times we do not read even once of the brethren investing in and building a structure to worship in.

Am I saying it is wrong to build a building? No, not at all. Why not? Because we have a command from God to assemble together (Heb. 10:25), necessitating a location, a place to do this. Thus a place is required. We could build or we could rent or maybe come up with some other option to fulfill the command to assemble but my point is that one cannot say a specific way of meeting this obligation is a matter of faith. There is no word from God.

When we exercise our best judgment, as we must in this case, it still remains a matter of opinion as to whether it would be best to rent or build. We ought not to go around laying guilt trips on people about their so called lack of faith when in reality we are dealing with matters of opinion.

One sees this error over and over again. Someone comes up with something that seems good or right, but lacks direct word from God on it, often even lacking generic authority (which is what we had above – generic authority to build or rent in order to keep a commandment), and then if you do not go along with it or embrace it wholeheartedly it is said “where is your faith.” My response is “I know where your opinion is.”

But, I want to give some other examples of things that people say they have faith in but the word of God is lacking. They cannot point to book, chapter, and verse nor can they appeal to generic authority. What they have is an opinion being passed off as faith whether they realize it or not.

Earlier in this piece I spoke of how one can have complete faith in singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God for we have word from God saying we should (Eph. 5:18-19). Where is the word of God saying we should play musical instruments in worship? We cannot find it in the pages of the New Testament, not one word. If we go back to the Old Testament we find it there under Judaism, under the law of Moses, but we live today under Christianity and the law of Christ. I am sure you know there is a reason why our bibles are divided into an Old Testament and a New Testament. Do we want to try and be justified under the law of Moses? Read Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.

What we have is opinion that instrumental music is pleasing to God under Christianity, under the law of Christ, under the New Testament, and something we should use to worship God. There is no word from God on using them so we do not have and cannot have the faith that comes by hearing the word of God. (Rom. 10:17) For about five to six hundred years after the church was established there were no instruments of music used in Christian worship. When it is used today it is based on opinion, assumption that it is okay. It was not always so assumed.

David said, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.” (Psalms 19:13 NKJV) Albert Barnes, the well know commentator, said of the word presumptuous in this passage, “The prevailing thought is that of pride, and the reference is particularly to sins which proceed from self-confidence; from reliance on one’s own strength. The word does not mean open sins, or flagrant sins, so much as those which spring from self-reliance or pride.” If we dare presume we may well find we have assumed wrong.

That is where we are at today with so many practices that have evolved in the Christian life and worship. Things are just assumed, presumed, and all based on man’s opinion without word from God. It is said we have faith that this or that is okay but there is no word from God. It is but man’s opinion but it is called by man faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV)

Visit Denny Smith’s web site to read more of his articles and also listen to over 110 audio sermons on many different subjects from “Where Are the Dead?” to “The Weaver’s Shuttle,” to “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” The audio sermons are by a good friend of his, Waymon Swain. Why not visit his site now dennysmith.net? You are sure to find a sermon topic or article of interest.

About the Author: Denny Smith is a writer of Christian related articles who posts on several article directories. http://www.dennysmith.net

Monday, September 21, 2009

Breach of Trust







Yvonne Lehman ~ Sharon~ DiAnne Mills at the BlueRidge Writers Conference

About the author:
Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than 1.5 million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.

Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

The Blurb:

Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a small-town librarian. But when Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won't ruin his bid for office. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.

What Others Say:


"Breach of Trust is an intriguing story of a woman who was trying to protect those she loved by living a life that she didn't love. Paige loved being a CIA agent but was forced to give it all up and become a small town librarian with a new identity. She came to appreciate the people in her town but knew she could never let them get too close to her, especially a certain football coach.

But as her former CIA leader, Daniel Keary, gets further into politics and puts the pressure on her to join him, Paige is torn between protecting everyone around her or making right the wrongs in her past. Also, since she became a Christian after leaving the CIA she is unsure how to put the two together and make it work.

This story has so many twists and turns. I connected with the characters easily and was drawn into their lives. Just when things start to come together new details are revealed and maybe Paige is not the only one in town connected to Keary. I had a hard time putting this one down and I can't wait for the next book in the series!"~~Sunny

Breach of Trust is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It is an excellent, pulse-pounding suspense novel with interesting characters.

The pacing and tension levels were excellent, drawing me to read on when I really should have been turning off the light to go to sleep. While there was tension from several fronts (like her growing relationship with Miles, the local high school football coach, and the conflicts he had to deal with), the main tension was between Paige and Keary.

The characters were all interesting, varied, and engaging. They acted in realistic ways. To me, the heroine felt distant at times. While it was in-character for her to hold people at arm's length, it also meant I didn't bond to her struggles--mainly the romantic ones--as much as I might have. But this may have just been me.

Both Paige and Miles are Christians who live out their faith. In this book, Paige struggles with how to reconcile her Christian principles with the deception required in her current circumstances.

Paige's reasons for not immediately dating Miles were valid and came from past betrayals as well as the constraints of her current circumstances. However, I was never really in doubt about their future together considering how the hero was introduced.

The world-building details were good. There was no sex. I don't recall any cussing. Overall, it was good, clean fun.""  ~~Debbie http://genrereviews.blogspot.com/


My Take:


I have taken writing classes from DiAnn Mills and this book is a testimony to her great teaching. She practices what she preaches.

The story deals with a dilemma many Christians face. Sometimes you have to do things you've been taught Christians don't do. If you can do a greater good by acting and a greater harm by not acting, what do you do? Do you allow more people to be hurt? Possibly murdered? Paige Rogers faces just such a dilemma. I could feel  her inner turmoil.  This book fulfills DiAnne's promise "Expect an Adventure."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Faithfulness - Christian Responsibility

Author: Gloria Copeland

The end of the age is coming quickly. This is not an hour of gloom-it is the hour of God's glory! The Body of Christ is writing the final pages of the history of the Church. We are about to witness the most impressive demonstration of God's power the earth has ever seen. God told Moses, "As really as I live, all the earth shall be stuffed with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14:21).

Every generation has had its role to play in God's final plan. When Moses led the Israelites out of bondage, they were truly regarded as God's folks due to the unquestionable demonstration of His mystical power.

Gloria Copeland believe our generation will experience that same high privilege. This Church will command the status of the Earth as it has the supernormal power of God in manifestation with signs and wonders! The Church will show forth the glory of God.
His job was to stretch out his hand in the earth and command the will of God to be done. God had to have someone that was faithful and would dare to act on His Word.

He performed whatever signs and wonders were required to bring them out of the bondage of Egypt. God required Moses-they worked together. God was in a position to use Moses because Moses knew His ways. Moses' heart was loyal toward God, and he made himself available to God. "He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel" ( Psalm 103:7 ). Had Moses not been unswerving to know God's tactics, the children of Israel would never have seen God's acts.
Today, the essence of God is dealing with us in much the same way He dealt with Moses. We have experienced a move in the Body of Christ in which God has taught us His ways. We've been taught to walk by faith and not by sight, because God needs a body of people that have a solid base in His Word. He wishes people who will not be blown to and fro by each wind of doctrine and who have made God's Word the final authority in their lives.

I believe we are the generation that will herald in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before He comes, God will manifest Himself more intensely than He did in the time of Moses. He'll pour out His Spirit on all flesh. He has had to be dependent on deception thru this weakness in order to be effective in his work. His power in the when Jesus was quickened-made alive-with eternal life and raised from the dead. Legally, Devil's hold over humankind was forever damaged by the Lord Jesus Christ.
God has exposed Himself to our generation in the spirit. We have learned to hear God in our spirits and to understand Him by His Word. and not by sight.
This has been his only avenue. But now, God, in His mercy and love for man, is going to sweep into the realm of sight and sound by His Spirit with signs and wonders. In this last, great crop of souls, God is going to take over the flesh realm. This is why the Word of God must stay our foundation.

For more than 40 years, Kenneth Copeland has taught Christians worldwide ways to live successful Christian lives-spirit, mind and body. He is the founding father of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, which has six offices around the world, television broadcast and a monthly magazine. Kenneth Copeland is the writer of more than 150 books, CDs and DVD series, including the Healing & Wellness Lifeline Kit, which he co-authored with his wife, Gloria.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today Is A Gift From God






PRAY DAILY FOR THE UNSAVED TO BE SAVED
PRAY FOR THE SAVED TO GLORIFY GOD BY PRAYING DAILY!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Transformation

by Terry Kraus


About the author:
After eleven co-authored books with husband, Jim, Terri Kraus has added her award-winning interior designer’s eye to her world of fiction. She comes to the Project Restoration series naturally, having survived the remodel, renovation, and restoration of three separate personal residences, along with those of her clients. She makes her home in Wheaton, Illinois, USA, with her husband, son, Elliot, miniature schnauzer, Rufus, and Siberian cat, Petey.


Along with her interior design consultation work, Terri has been the director of women's ministries at her church for the past six years and is a perennial room mom. She loves to read, and her Book Club is in its 11th year. Of particular interest to the group is books about women in other cultures. When she's not writing or reading, Terri enjoys photography, quilting and knitting, cooking and baking, and she loves exploring the city of Chicago with her family. Terri has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Favorite places are New Zealand and the British Isles, but, being 100% Italian, she feels most at home in Italy, and is passionate about all things Italian. She has studied the language for many years, and dreams of living in Italy for at least six months—"to get really fluent." Her current work in progress is the story of an Italian-American woman set mainly in Italy during World War 2, which reflects her love of researching and writing historical fiction.


Terri is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.


The Blurb:


Oliver Barnett is a good contractor, a good Christian, and an obedient son, never in trouble, never one to rock the boat until real estate developer Samantha Cohen enters his life.  Samantha, full of life, vitality, and wit, is unlike any woman he has ever known in more ways than one.  Not only is she planning to transform an historic church into a restaurant/nightclub, she is Jewish and has had a  modern moral past, having none of the restrictions that Oliver has had placed upon his own behaviors.  While Oliver needs the work, he struggles with the idea of being involved in such a building project.

 At the same time, an old girlfriend, Paula, rekindles a long-ago relationship with him with the enthusiastic encouragement of Oliver’s domineering mother.  Paula would be the safe choice, and the choice that would appease Mom, yet Oliver is drawn to Samantha because of her beauty and her exotic nature.  Oliver finds himself in a most unsettling dilemma.  Does he do what’s right by the nice girl his mother has chosen for him, or does he do what his heart is telling him to do?

Can a good, Christian boy find happiness with a woman from another faith? asks Kraus.  Can Samantha find salvation through Oliver’s witness?  And can a church ever be anything other than a place of worship?  These are the intriguing questions I pose in The Transformation and I hope readers will enjoy discovering the answers.

What Others Say:


"The Transformation by Terri Kraus is more than meets the eye. Yes, there is the transformation of a beautiful old church. A beautiful young woman who buys real estate and flips them for a profit has her eye on transforming this church into a restaurant/bar. However, the man she chooses to do this is a man of strong faith and conviction.

During the work on the building they begin to learn more about each other. He finds out that she has a colored past and she discovers he has a strong sense of right and wrong. What they both discover through their transformations - not just the buildings - is that they both have more in common than they would have ever thought. What is that common thread from their past that haunts both of them?

There is an array of characters and each will go through transformations of their own. If you like surprise endings, then you don't want to miss this one." ~~D. J. Malone

"The entire theme of this novel is redemption from beginning to end. Nearly all the characters have some need for it. I think that is very reflective of our world today. I liked the way the author treated the issues of past sins and how the church and people in general react to them. Some are too afraid to go there at all, some are very critical, and some let those sins determine the path for the rest of their lives. I think God's mercy is a lot more extensive than many people are willing to extend--even to themselves. I also appreciated the way the author treated the Jewish culture and traditions with respect while still holding fast to the truth.

Samantha, Paula, Oliver, Taller and even Robert the dog, became very real to me as I stepped into these pages and watched not just a building transform--but their lives as well. It's a beautiful reminder of what God can and does do each and every day. " ~~ P. Smith

My Take:


In Ellensburg, Washington where some of my family live there is the cutest little restaurant called "The Yellow Church." It is a pleasure to eat in the peaceful atmosphere. Because of eating in "The Yellow Church" I was fascinated by the transformation of the Blue Church.

Terri's characters are well rounded and as it was interesting to see the influence the Blue church had on the people who worked to transform her. I followed the transformation of each character. The individual healing that came to each one. Reconciliation between siblings, between Mother and sons. Relationships given another chance. This love story truly shows the love of God for those who call on Him.

Read this book and expect a transformation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

WHAT ARE YOU MISSING?


author unbknown

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning. (January 12th, 2007)

A man with a violin plays six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time approx. one thousand people passed through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing.

He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
T
he violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.

The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.

Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.

Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.

About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.

The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over.

No one noticed.

No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin valued at $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the price of seats averaged $100.

This is a true story.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

  • In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
  • Do we stop to appreciate it?
  • Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made...what else are we missing?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When Christ Leads You To Share Your Story…


Guest Blogger:
Alyice Edrich

Have you ever opened your mouth and told a complete stranger something very personal, only to excuse yourself from the room to ask yourself, “What on earth did I tell her that for? She’s got to think I am a complete nut.” I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me, and each time I beat myself up over sounding so pathetic I later discover that my “story” helped heal someone else.

Once, I was sitting at my cousin’s kitchen counter and met her best-friend for the very first time. We did the normal impersonal chit-chat, when they asked how I was doing—since my daughter’s death. The next thing I knew, I was telling them about all the deep emotions I went through, all the “personal” thoughts that ran through my mind (which by they way made me sound like an utter basket-case), and how hard it was to see so many so-called friends disappear out of my life because they couldn’t handle the lashing I gave them due to my grief.

And inter-woven in this story, I shared all the little insights that God gave me―to show me that He was still around; that He cared. I told them about the strangers that came up to my husband and I to tell us how our staying together and fighting for our marriage has helped them fight for their marriage, or the cards and letters from complete strangers who simply wanted to pray for us, or the women who came with food so that we didn’t have to prepare one single meal―for an entire month. I left that visit feeling like a complete and utter fool. Why did I spill my guts so deeply? Weren’t they just asking out of courtesy; and yet I shared so much depth!

Several weeks later, my cousin called to tell me how she deeply appreciated my sharing with them. She said that when I left, they continued to talk about how they just felt God speaking through me to them and how much of a difference it made in their lives.

Another time, I met a woman at a Christian Women’s Writing Conference. She spoke about how hard it was on her family with the downward spiral of the economy and I felt led to tell her about my life. I told her how I grew up in the projects; how my husband and I worked our way up to a $90,000 a year career; and how we gave it all up to move back east—so he could return to college. I then told her about my personal issues with money. I told her how even when we had $90K a year, I would stress over our finances―constantly looking at our bills of the month sheet to see what we paid off, what was left to pay, and how much money I could estimate as “blowing” money.

Then I told her how we gave up that great job and in our innocence, thought that our living standards would remain the same if we moved back east; where the cost of living was less. But due to many unforeseen incidents, we had to move three states within a seven month period. In the first state, the home we rented fell through and we couldn’t find another place to rent. In the second state, the transfer of the college scholarship fell through, my husband was declared legally dead, and we could only find a job paying $5 per hour―a far cry from the $26 an hour, plus overtime he was used to. And in the third state (in which we presently reside), all three job offers fell through and we spent three months out of work only to find a great job, be laid off, and spend nearly seven months out of work. Talk about stress!

Yet, I didn’t once obsess about looking at our monthly bill sheet. Truth be told, I didn’t dare look for fear the depression and stress I was feeling would intensify to a point that I couldn’t move forward. I told her that “I didn’t know how my bills were being paid, how food was being put on the table, or how we were able to keep a roof over our heads. I refused to over analyze the situation. I knew we were doing our best, and I knew God was providing for us. For once in my life, I was released of my obsession with worrying about how we’ll meet our monthly bills.”

After I finished my story, I excused myself and went to the restroom where I looked in the mirror and thought, “Alyice, what on earth was that all about? Why did you spend an hour talking about you? Where did that come from? Oh well, it’s too late to do anything about it now. Go back in there and don’t utter another word!”

A few weeks later, I received a letter from this woman who thanked me for sharing my story. She said that she had a problem with constantly looking at her bills―not once a week, or even once a month, but several times a day. She said her issues with money put a lot of stress on her marriage and that sharing my story was a blessing. She said that it gave her new insight and a new direction. (She’ll never know how much of a comfort those words were to me.)

All this to say: When God leads you to share your story, don’t hide your testimony under a bushel, let it shine brightly to be seen and heard by the ones God intended; for you never know when your story will lead a person to Christ, heal a broken heart, or set a captive free.

I could have very well quoted scripture, such as Philippians 3:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” But sometimes, what God has done in our lives can speak multitudes over a scripture that may be taken as preaching and not compassion or understanding. God knows when scriptures will heal and he knows when your story will heal; and he’ll lead you to choose the correct display of his affection every time!

You don’t have to be a speaker, someone famous, a leader in your church, or even an outgoing person to influence the life of another―in a positive light. You simply need to open your heart, set aside your fear, and allow God to work through you; through your words, and/or your actions.

Byline
Alyice Edrich is an inspiring artist who enjoys turning her personal photographs into beautiful cards, mugs, and magnets. Check out her new line at http://alyiceedrich.net/artist/prints.htm or visit her art blog at http://alyiceedrich.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Menu For Romance

About the author:

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and editor who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. But her greatest joy comes from mentoring new writers through her blog http://kayedacus.com/ and seeing them experience those “aha” moments when a tricky concept becomes clear.
Menu for Romance is her second novel published with several others in the pipe line.

The Blurb:
he Chef and the Party Planner Each Seek the Kind of Love that Requires No Reservations
After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry decides it’s time to move on, to try to find someone who’ll love her in return. So she makes a prayerful New Year’s resolution to meet someone new and end her single status by year’s end. And when the handsome contractor she hires to finish remodeling her house asks her out, it looks like her prayer may have been answered. But dating the handsome contractor doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen Meredith’s feelings toward a certain chef she works with every day.

Executive Chef Major O’Hara has foresworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. When he’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to open his own restaurant—he must weigh his family responsibilities and feelings for Meredith with the desire to move forward in his career. Should he leave his comfortable job—and Meredith—for this once in a lifetime chance? And can he create a menu for romance to win Meredith back before he loses her forever? Will God serve up a solution before it’s too late?

What Others Say:
"I started reading this book over lunch and when I looked up it was three in the afternoon. I don't mean that it was particularly suspenseful, but it has characters weird enough to be interesting but sturdy enough that I felt like I knew them. The characters that will be in the next book seem so (outwardly) perfect that I'll probably be getting that one too.

Meredith, the heroine, struggles with detaching--and distinguishing--herself from her large family. Usually in books families are either perfect or emotionally abusive. But a family that's just nosy and demanding of your time? That I can relate to.

But where Dacus really shines is in her world-building. Bonneterre seems like a real place. C.S. Lewis wrote about how he read as much for the fun of "living in another world" as anything else, and Menu For Romance achieves this. I love that Bonneterre is a mid-sized city. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little sick of incestuously small towns in fiction.

This was a sweet, surprisingly compelling romance" ~~Jessica Purser

Kaye Dacus has done it again! I had such fun revisiting the fictional town of Bonneterre, Louisiana and spending time with her great cast of characters. The biggest thrill was that party planner Meredith Guidry and executive chef Major O'hara, whom readers met briefly in Dacus's delightful debut novel, Stand-in Groom, get a story all their own.

Meredith has been secretly in love with Major for eight l-o-n-g years. Both work for her parents' mega firm, which puts them in the other's path on a daily basis. She's his boss, so she has to keep things professional and accept the fact that they're just friends. Her heart protests regularly, making for an intense struggle. In an act borne of desperation, she asks God to help her get over Major and find the man of her dreams.

Unbeknownst to Meredith, Major is crazy about her and wishes he could make her his wife. However, he harbors a secret he's afraid would ruin everything. Not only that, but he's been offered the chance to open his own restaurant and feels it would be unfair to ask her to be his when he'd be working more hours than ever. When Mere meets a handsome contractor who's not only remodeling her house but building a relationship with the woman Major loves, he's forced to make a choice. Will he fulfill his lifelong dream, or will he take a risk, trust Mere with the truth and concoct a Menu for Romance? Dacus tells a wonderful story, one I thoroughly enjoyed from first page to last. Her characters are captivating. I fell hard for Major and admired Meredith's dedication and determination. And yet I hurt for these two who so obviously want to be together but are kept apart by circumstances they must overcome. Only when they deal with their difficulties and look to God for the answer to their dilemma, can they find peace in His plan for their lives. I heartily recommend Menu for Romance, the second in the Bride of Bonneterre Series, as a story that is sure to satisfy your appetite for a good read. " ~~Keli Gwyn

My Take:
A Sweet Love Story. To those of us looking on it takes some people a long time to make up their minds. I can't imagine waiting for a man to notice me for eight years. But there were many circumstances that interfered with the romance. I found myself rooting for Meredith and Major. I liked Meredith's ability to do most things for herself. I enjoyed reading about the remodeling. Author Kaye Dacus has a smooth writing style and took me on a delightful journey in her book Menu For Romance.

A Contest:
We will have a drawing at the end of the week. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win a copy of Kaye Dacus's book Menu for Romance.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our Trip to Idaho

So I walk out to the plane. And climb in.
Thanks, but it's less embarrassing if you don't try to help.
You can look now.
I'm in and I straddle the yoke on Charley's right side.
In a few days we reach the Bonners Ferry Airport.
Husband could make it in one day but he is good to me and we stop.

We pass the horse barn and turn in the lane . . .
And arrive at Springs of Hope Ranch


Sis and husband live in a beautiful country.
And we enjoy the sites.


Husband helps catch a horse.
And Brother-in-love makes sure everything stays fastened.
And pulls up to the ranch house.
Husband and I take a ride.
And see the beautiful area where Sis lives.
Sis wears the extra full skirted dress I made her.
Sis and her daughter enjoy a ride.
They leave us in the dust.

But we'll be back!




Thursday, September 3, 2009

PAYBACK TIME!

author unknown

Payback is fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WRITE IT ON THE BACK OF YOUR ENVELOPES
or front

WE THINK THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. WE'LL START WRITING IT ON THE
FRONT OF OUR ENVELOPES, TOO! ----------Including Bills

You may have heard in the news that a couple of Post Offices in Texas
have been forced to take down small posters that say

'IN GOD
WE TRUST ,'
The law, they say, is being violated.


Anyway, we heard proposed on a radio station show, that we should all write


'
IN GOD WE TRUST'
on the back of all our mail.


After all, that's our National Motto, and -----
all the money we use to buy stamps.
We think it's a wonderful idea.


We must take back our nation from all the people who
think that anything that offends them should be removed.

If you like this idea, DO IT. The idea of writing or stamping.........

'IN
GOD WE TRUST '
on our envelopes sounds good to us .


SOME PEOPLE ARE HAVING A STAMP MADE TOO........
lets use it as our signature on e-mails, too!

It's been reported that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, we have a very hard time understanding why there's such a mess about having '
In
God We Trust!'
on our money and havingGod in the pledge of Allegiance.


Could it be that WE just need to take action and tell the 14% to 'sit down and be quiet'?


IN GOD WE TRUST