Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Halloween, but Tomorrow is Scarier!

Today, with all the little and big monsters roaming around, doesn't scare me nearly as much as November 1st. Oh, the terror! Okay, Sunday starts the worldwide event of National Novel Write Month, affectionately known as Nano.

This wild and crazy group, headed up by Chris Baty at Nanowrimo, wants everyone to join up and write an unedited novel in one month! Yes, you heard me right, ONE month, 50,000 words. Now that's scary!

I tried last year and actually did finish with 50,000+ words. Can you believe it? I have a book, terribly unfinished and unedited, but the story is there for me to work on. The story line just came as I wrote. Crazy! But actually fun, once I got started. You can sign up to write even today or anytime in the month of November. The writing group I'm with, Kindred Heart Writers, decided we would all try this year! Three of us will be writing fiction, and the other two, non-fiction. See, they even give you a choice.

Should you desire to accept this mission, you will have 30 days to complete your task. After that your computer will self-destruct. Oh, not really. But you do get a neat award to put on your blog or web and meet some really neat folks in the process.

Now what verse can I use for this wild and crazy idea?

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all the the glory of God."
I Corinthians 10:31

So if you do try to write a novel, which I hope you will-or just for fun, write as much as you can. If you don't make the goal, at least you will have written alot more than if you had not. :)

You won't know, unless you try.

On your mark, get set, Goooooooo!

Photo by Melissa Evans

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Doggone It!

Yesterday, on my way to work the cars on the other side of the boulevard were slowing almost to a stop. I frowned and looked to see if an accident had occurred. Nope. Then I spotted a white and tan dog, similar to this one but bigger, dodging cars in this four lane traffic.

Aloud, I said,"Oh nooo." I started to slow, but the cars traveling behind me inched toward my bumper, all headed to work at the 8:30 hour. I continued to look in my rear view mirror until I couldn't see anymore. None of the cars stopped. That scenario tugged at my heart all the way to work.

Why didn't I turn around and stop? I'm a dog lover, and knew this apparently well-cared for dog's people would be hunting him. Well, my boss loves dogs, but may not understand me being late for the patients at his office. And then this fast road is too dangerous to stop on the side, much less try to corral a dog. And last, what if I did all that and the dog was vicious? Those are my excuses.

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.... Romans 12:6

What other things have tugged at my heart and I refused to follow through? Knowing someone who needs that phone call and I put it off until it was too late, bringing food, or companionship to that person the Lord has put on my heart, helping at church when that tug comes, encouraging a neighbor, or mending fences, and so on. Why do I shove aside those thoughts, like a runaway dog?

Because, I don't want to put out the effort, usually. I don't want to use the gifts and grace the Lord gives me. I don't want to offend or I don't want to get hurt if the situation doesn't work out, and so on.

Did you catch that? My sentences all use the letter "I." No sharing, no caring. The letter "I" is the word of the day. I want to keep all my gifts to myself, the Lord gave them to me and they are mine. Ooops, there's the letter, "M."

Lord, take out the letter "I" from my thoughts and replace with the letter, "O" for others. May I act on the next tug You send.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Your Intercultural Marriage by Marla Alupoaicei

This book is an eye opener, and a question and info guide to most everything concerning intercultural marriages. Marla Alupoaicei writes from personal experience as her husband is from Romania. She met him while on a mission trip there. Marla discusses many topics I never thought about, from foods to beliefs about grief and death. She even writes about the different cultures of "time." That one got me.

Marla also lists other books to read, websites, and scriptures in each chapter and a new one for me, movies to watch and discuss. How cool is that? The questions she asks will prompt much discussion. This book is a good reference for counseling, couples and as a resource. It helped me to see intercultural marriages in a new light and the work involved to keep it strong.

Marla Alupoaicei
Author and speaker Marla Alupoaicei serves as the Director for Leap of Faith Ministries, an intercultural marriage support ministry in Frisco, Texas. Marla has authored or co-authored Bible study guides, including Taking the Intercultural Leap, Generation Hex: Understanding the Subtle Dangers of Wicca, and In the Flow: Spiritual Insights for Living a More Creative Life, as well as numerous nonfiction articles and poems. Currently she works as a staff writer for East-West Ministries, a grace-based church planting organization in Addison, Texas.Marla and her husband, Catalin have been married for 7 years and currently reside in Texas.

I reviewed and received this book with the Blog Tour Spot. I recommend this one. To check other reviews click here. You can find this book on Amazon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Major, A Sometimes-Retriever

English Golden Retrievers are bred to run through fields, waters and grasses to retrieve birds for their masters. A long history of ruggedness and obedience follows these gentle dogs. This is my dog, Major. In my yard we have sand, grasses, and wild ferns, which shouldn't be a problem for this hardy dog.

Well, guess again. It's not his white coat that's the problem. He has allergies to certain foods, so he eats Science Diet Sensitive Stomach food. And he is prone to skin allergies which I treat almost daily. He is one of the best dogs my hubbie and I have owned, but high maintenance.

And no, he's not too spoiled. Hey, he's my empty-nest dog, so give me a break.

Anyway, Major chases rabbits and even catches the small ones, ferrets out snakes, yuk, and today even caught a bird. Yes, one of it's wings was hurt, and it couldn't fly. But man, could it run. However, he didn't bite it, but put his paw on it until hubbie rescued the bird. As soon as hubbie pulled Major off, the bird ran away under the fence.

Major's breeding automatically insures certain actions. But, my dog will not retrieve, he likes to go get and not "bring back." Sometimes he won't even go get the object at all. He lacks the training to do work at that level.

"So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10

As a child of God I possess the spiritual history that Jesus gives. But without His instruction, I run helter-skelter chasing "rabbits, birds and sometimes snakes." God in his love for me and His creation, must grab a'hold and make me release until I am ready and trained to work the right way. I have been known to chase a grudge or gripe and not only hold onto it, but step on it to grind it into the ground. I'll not go into the snakes...... Is my skin sensitive? Am I high maintenance for Him?

This post was written at a request from a new blogger friend, Parsley who loves dogs. :)

May I chase only the things God directs me toward and learn to release when commanded. I want to do the work He's saved me to do.

Photos: first and last one by Brenda Knoll the rest by karenevans

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spirit Convincer

This little orange tree lives in my neighbor's yard across the street. Small, but produces oranges. We live a block from the Middle School, so youth pass our street every day. Last week my husband and I noticed there were green oranges in our front yard. Hummmm?

The next day I sat by the window, no not like a crazy old lady, but because our computer is in the front room by the window and I was writing. (just for clarification.) I wanted to see if my suspicions were correct. The cars lined up for the kids and then came the kids. Throwing oranges happens all the time around here with all our fruit trees. I wanted to take up for my neighbor's baby tree.

Sure enough about 4 middle school boys gathered around our corner and pulled oranges off the tree to toss them into our yard, or so it seemed. One of the boys even went and talked to a mom sitting in her van waiting for her child. I thought she told them to stop. Nope. The boys picked up more to throw. So I sent (teehee, like how I did that?) my hubbie out to tell them to leave the little tree alone. (My neighbor treasures his yard-but works in the afternoons.)

To our shock, one of the boys jumped in the van with the mom and they took
off. That was a biggest surprise of all.

The kids picked oranges only to throw into the old culvert, that tempting dark hole in front of our house. But what did that mom do? What did she teach?

"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5

Then before night came, the Spirit Convincer spoke in my heart. Don't you do the same? Do you speak critically of others and laugh when others do too? Don't you get annoyed when others irritate you? Don't you turn the other way to avoid a confrontation, to wrong a right? Do you practice everything you want others to do?

I can no longer "judge" that mom. Excuse me, I have something in my eye.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spirit Walker

My son and grandson walk down the hall. Caden can't walk by himself. (Well, he could for a few steps if he let go.) But his dad, David, is there, and that's all that matters. Caden may not know where they are going , but readily walks. David may be taking him to change his diaper, get a bath, change into pajamas, or just to stroll about. Caden's just happy to be with Dad.

David, walking "along side," will not let Caden go. Even if Caden wants to go to a spot different than his Dad, he will not go far. Safe and protected, Caden doesn't fear what's ahead.

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever." John 14:16

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples before His crucifixion. Helper, meaning Paraclete, is translated several ways. In it's passive form it means "called to one's side." Someone who helps and aids, and comforts.

Jesus knew that we, that I, would need someone to hold my hand, my life, my soul. At times I go my own way, and become fearful. My soul cries, and I look around and wonder where I am. Then the soft words of the Spirit Walker call to me, and I see I'm the one who let go. When I extend my hand, He grabs it and off we go, safe and protected.

May I remember to stay close to the Spirit who walks beside me, and not fear the future.

Photo by M Evans - of course I had to show off my family.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Results May Vary!

Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of Hersey's Cocoa
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean and top springs back to the touch. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans to wire racks, until completely cooled.

Also included at end of recipe. *Results may vary.

What! I want mine to look just like that picture and taste just as good. What's up with that?

They mean of course, altitudes, oven temps and one which I also figured out, the kind of milk you use. All these things must be adjusted to produce the desired product. But everything you need to make this cake is here. (It also said to: "Enjoy in moderation as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle." That part I'm just ignoring.)

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

Through God I have all the ingredients for a wonderful life. When the "heat of the Spirit" warms my soul, the results may vary. If I sit and delay before acting on His word, my actions or attitudes may become dry and brittle. The taste is there, but not as effective. Or if I act ahead of time my results may be gooey and all over the place. Same taste, but not ready for serving. Only when the ingredients of His knowledge and proper time come together, do I produce a actions/cake ready to eat and serve.

May I be attentive to the working of the Spirit in my life.

Oh, if you want the recipe for the icing let me know.

Recipe and picture from Hershey's Holiday Favorites, naturally.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bonus Book Bonanza!

Books and books and more books. The Kindred Heart Writer's blog, of which I belong, is holding a Bonus Book Bonanza contest. We are giving away books! All you need to do to enter, is answer the question and share which book interests you.

That's all!

So go for it, you ALL may win a free book!

Now, go, go on, click on the Kindred Heart Writers site.

Have fun**

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What the Heck is That Smell?

This native Floridian bush nestled between my two oak trees has grown to over six feet tall. We planted this bush about five years ago. Don't ask me the name, I can't remember. Anyway, it blooms several times a year, starting with small yellow buds then a flourish of tiny pastel blue flowers cascade down on each branch. It's strong roots are resistant to our hot, humid climate and weathered our storms.

I love the old southern look among the trees and wild ferns. But this summer something strange happened. I'd walk by with my dog, as he sniffed and dodged bees when a whiff of something yucky hit my nose! I looked all around and couldn't find the owner of the odor. I thought maybe a squirrel died, or something. It became worse in the following days. I decided my beautiful bush needed pruning, to see what was under there. There's the hole where I started.

As I trimmed the wonderful bottom bushes, the light poured in to expose the awful smell. There nestled, hidden under the pretty flowers was the most ugly mushroom, I have ever seen. This one, I kid you not, was at least a foot wide and it was rotting.

The picture below, is not that one because I was too grossed out with the flies, smell and look to think about taking a picture. But this is the same type mushroom in the same place and I got it before it grew ugly. The pruned branches allowed me to see this quickly and remove it. Especially before my dog tried to eat it. (As he has done before and became very sick.)

"But all things become visible when they are exposed to the light." Ephesians 5:13

How many times do I walk around with all my beautiful branches waving in the wind, my faith, my works, my smile, my "holy assurance" only to have God whiff something rotten underneath?

I hated to cut those beautiful flowers, but it was the only way. God knows this odor owner and prunes away what is necessary. He's my soul's odor eater. His Spirit reveals my hidden sins, then takes them away. Does it hurt? Oh yes. But it's the only way. And I want Him to "odor eat" all my bad stuff, before it affects others.

May deep breaths reveal no stink.
Click on pictures to enlarge-photos by kevans