Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Buttons for ALL

Friday is the New Year, so I want to celebrate by giving blog awards. Jeanette, gave this one away to her readers, and I would like to do the same. If you are one of my readers and haven't been given this button, please take it and put it on your blog. We all seem to write to and for each other, and ya'll are an inspiration to me.

This next one, Parlsey gave out on the condition you say five things you love. Soooo, if you want this one, you must list those five things. I'll be watching!

Okay, here goes. Besides the most important and obvious, which are God, family, friends, health; I'm listing some minor ones that I love, in no particular order.

1. The smell of something sweet in the oven baking.

2. My dog laying his head on my lap. (He's a Golden, so only that fits..)

3. The salt-tinged air on the beach with a slight breeze in my hair. (We live about 5 miles from the beach.)

4. A new book waiting to be explored. And when good writing thoughts come to mind.

5. My gardenias in full bloom, and fresh cut grass. (Even tho' both make me sneeze...sigh...)

I could go on, but that would be boring. So what do you love? And that word may be loosely used. Wishing all,

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Too Big Gift-Children Christmas Truth

For Christmas my two-year-old son, wanted anything football, oh, and the Hot Wheels, three wheeler you see behind him. He repeatedly asked for a "hemit" and football so we gave in. But the helmet was a tad big, and he wasn't sure how to place it on his head. But he loved it! He wanted to wear it everywhere. However, there were times that was not appropriate. Say, like church... But he did grow into it.

"For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Luke 2:11, 40

In this last post of Children's Christmas Truth, we see Jesus grows and matures as a child. The Savior yes, but much maturing had to occur before that awful, amazing day of grace and mercy.

Sometimes the Lord's gifts require time to fulfill.

I'm learning to believe one gift the Lord gave me, is writing. I went to a writers conference 3 years ago with a written devotional. They told me the idea had merit, but too niche and too short. There I met wonderful Christian sisters who have encouraged me and helped me grow into this craft of writing. What I wrote then, yaouza was awful! Now the book is completely changed. I was not "big" enough (maturity wise..snicker) for what I wanted to do then. The Lord gave me the desire, but I didn't even know how to "wear" it either. I had and still have much maturing to do with the gift and in God's grace to grow.

What gift has God given you that's a bit too big?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drive By Jesus-Children Christmas Truth

Mallory, my friend's three year old granddaughter, excitedly sat in her car seat to see the live nativity. She squealed when she saw the live animals.

Her mother explained the story as they drove through. They stopped the car beside the manger with a real baby portraying the Christ child. Mallory wanted to get out of her seat and go play with him. Of course her mother would not let her.

The next day Mallory could be heard in her room, "No, no, you can't get out, no!"

Her mom went and peeked in the doorway. Mallory's little toy people were piled high in cars leaving only the baby Jesus in the manger. Mallory would push the cars by and not let any of the toy people get out to play with Jesus. Her mom smiled, sat down with Mallory and let all the people out to play.

"And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her way secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.'" Matthew 1:19-21

Joseph, wanted to wed Mary, but then this. His plan was to hide her away, until the angel spoke to his heart. He understood this was to be a public event.

This Christmas season, we openly confess Jesus to be the Lord, the One who came to earth to save us. Yet when the season is over, what then? Do I celebrate Christmas, then the rest of the year, drive on by? Where is my Jesus, or rather where am I--in the car passing by? Or will I invite others to come play and enjoy Him, too?

Have a Blessed Christmas with Full of Love and Joy for You All!

Photo: Bing images

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Run for Joy-Children Christmas Truth

Running with excitement on Christmas morn. What makes these pictures so endearing to me and makes me smile with my heart? Well, it sure isn't my curly-perm hair-do that was popular then...

Is it waiting to see if my children liked what was brought by Santa Claus? All the work my hubbie and I did to gather their special requests, and sometimes work to put together those "easy to assemble" items? No....

For me, the gifts didn't matter. It's watching the undisguised joy in seeing what they dreamed for come true.

"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship Him." Matthew 2:2

"And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel...and he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus...he took Him into his arms, and blessed God." Luke 2:25, 27-28

"And there was a prophetess, Anna...and at that very moment, she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2:36, 38

All of these waited and hoped to see the miracle of the Messiah. God granted them their dream and filled them with joy.

I wonder if the Lord smiles in His heart when we run to see Him, or when we find what we've longed and hoped for? I think He does. (He probably laughed at my hair-do, too.)

Keep me running Lord, filled with the expectation of seeing You.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Rudolf!-Children's Christmas Truth

Homemade decorations. Can you tell what this is, the one on the left? ...snicker.... My hubbie and son worked together and made reindeer for the front of the house. My son is five here, and just old enough to start soccer. (Notice the brand new chin guards; he wanted to wear them all the time.)

Because my son helped craft the creature, I saw it through a mom's rose-colored-artist eyes. It was the most beautiful Rudolf of all. And yes, we put them (two) out in the front yard for all the world to see. Nothing made me prouder than to show off my child's work. (And I still think it's the cutest one around.)

"And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14

It pleased God to place Jesus in among us unruly, uncouth people, putting Him into our world for all to see. God knew the taunting and laughter that would eventually turn to rage against His Son. Even so, He sent a sky full of angels to sing His pleasure and pride at the birth of His Son, advancing the work of eternity. God crafted salvation.

I am proud of all my homemade decorations.

Do you have a favorite decoration?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Don't Eat the Manger-Children Christmas Truths

This is my darling daughter when she was two. We spent Christmas at my Aunt's house, and Shelly was fascinated with her Nativity scene. The characters were almost as big as her dolls.

See how she is lovingly touching and pointing out each one? My cousin is there on the couch behind her, so she knows to be careful. After all, I warned her, too.

Here, she has been allowed to pick up one, but carefully, I remind her.

Now with no one looking, or so she thought, she decided to taste one. We snapped this picture, catching her in the act, before quickly retrieving the sodden character. (Luckily, no characters were harmed in the taking of these pictures.)

"And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.... And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem, than and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." Luke 2:8, 15

This busy time with all our Christmas "jobs," let us stop, like my daughter and the shepherds, and run to the manger to see and taste the goodness of God. Come let us adore Him.

But please do not eat the characters.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bunched Ornaments-Children Christmas Truth

When my kids were young, our tree started out looking like this, with all their favorite and personal ornaments bunched in a group on their side of the tree. (Who knew trees had sides?) Once all the ornaments hung on the tree, I tried to discretely move some of them up higher or around to make a more balanced looking tree.

But you can guess what happened when they caught me. Oh, the whining and personal affront! You would have thought I'd eaten the last Halloween candy, or kicked the dog out in the cold.

I tried to reason with them, you know, I wanted a beautifully decked out tree and with company coming-so it would look nice.... Well, we came to a compromise, and I'd move the ornaments a bit closer to where they were put, and they would stop whining. After all, it was Christmas and I did not want to be Mrs. Scrooge, bah-hum-burger. So my tree was a bit "decorative-challenged" at Christmas.

"And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

Did God care that Jesus was born with out mid-wives or clean cloths or a nice pallet? Yes, I think He did care, but to reach us, He chose to limit His creativeness and come to our level.

Thank you Father, for making Your Son accessible to all.

Long live the unbalanced tree.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jesus' Star-Children and Christmas Truth

"I found it," two -year-old Jeremy said, "it's Jesus' star!" Held in his grandfather's arms, Jeremy pointed to the brightest star in the December's eastern sky and wiggled with excitement.

His grandfather told him throughout the day about Jesus and the events surrounding His birth. He talked about all the things that a two-year-old could understand, and that they might get to see the star.

"Before you go to bed, we'll look for the Christmas star, okay?" his grandfather said.

Nighttime came and Jeremy picked out the star, just as his mom did when she was a toddler.

"He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: 'I tell you unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'" Matthew 18:2-3

During this Christmas season, I want to be like Jeremy and see wonder anew in each part of the Christmas story. I want to wiggle with excitement and point others to the bright star of Jesus.

May I be still long enough to listen as Jesus whispers His story again in my heart. I might just go out tonight and start to look for that star. (If only it wasn't raining...sigh.) Well, maybe tomorrow.

I'm star gazing!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Children and Christmas Truth

Herod marched down from his throne to a car full of kids and their grandparents. "I am looking for that Christ child. Have you seen him?" he demanded. "I want to know where he is," he said with all the authority given to a volunteer Herod.

The car, full of Christmas viewers visiting a drive-thru Christmas story, had just come from the manger scene and now arrived at Herod's palace. One of the children, a five year old, was near the car window. His eyes grew big and his grandparents could see that Herod frightened him with his gruff questions.

But he raised himself up in his seat and yelled out the window, "Yes, I know where he is, but I'm not going to tell you!"

It was Herod's turn to look surprised.

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when He comes in His glory." Luke 9:26

This little boy, though scared, did not back down when asked about Jesus. He was going to defend him. Of course, he had the security and love of family with him, but wasn't that darling?

Will I yell out the window for Jesus this Christmas? When others say "Happy Holidays," will I say, "Merry Christmas?" Will I invite my friends to Christmas functions or church, knowing that Christ will be proclaimed? The list could go on and on, but will Christ look at me this Christmas and smile and be happy at what I've done?

Say, where is the Christ Child? Will you yell with me?

Side note: I did finish nano, whew!
Photo: Gerard von Honthorst (1620), bing photos

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Slump

No post today, I'm in a slump,
I'm sorry to say,
My fingers are typing the nano way.
10,000 words is all I lack,
To finish before December's back.

My mind is mush, I think I'll hush,
because I don't know how to end this.
Wonder if I'll make it?

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll let you know how I did either Monday or Tuesday.

Blessings to All

Photo: karenevans

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving is Forever

Without going into a litany of all the many blessings I am thankful for, I will try to sum it up in one sentence. I am thankful for the air that I breathe all the way down to my grandchildren's toes. Well, I think that about encompasses everything.

But my soul will never tire to thank the Lord for what He has done for me. I'll use this poem written years ago by a dear family friend to express some of what I feel.

October winds do gently blow
The oak tree stands secure
But, now and then a leaf will fall
To knock on earth's green door.

God made the tree; He stirred the winds
Oh! marvel, man, and cry
For this same God has saved my soul
Dear God, I wonder why?

Why, my Savior? Why choose me?
Oh, I was so unworthy.
Overwhelmed by Thy love,
My heart cries out, "Such mercy!

I love you, Lord, with all my heart
For what you've done for me,
And, like the gallant, stately oak,
I'll stand secure in Thee."

My Strength is Made Perfect in Thee by Bill Magee

Have a Joyous and Happy Thanksgiving All!

Bill Magee on the left accompanied by his pastor, Bill Stowell. Picture taken this year.

Photo: karenevans

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Water Drops

You won't believe this video! You can only see it because the camera takes the pictures at 2,ooo frames a second. Please watch it all the way through. I'm amazed at how much we still have to learn about our world.

Water acts like elastic? When it rains each drop bounces several times before it submerges with the whole puddle? Wonder what a rain storm really looks like to God? Does His ears hear each drop like the sound effects on that video? To me that is soooo cool!

But the shower picture and the comments really hit me. Waters elasticity is what holds the water drops together. Otherwise, how would it behave? Would the water be like a solid wall crashing down on us?

So many questions, but this I know,

"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:16-17

Our God holds each drop and holds each of us. Some of what's invisible to our naked eyes, we can now see with technology. How many more surprises does our Creator have in store for us?

All I gotta' say is: Way to Go God! You are Awesome!

I'm so glad water's soft.

Photo: karenevans

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Clean Up My Act

I can't believe it, another award? Oh, no, I couldn't, really you shouldn't, okay I will, and thank you dearest Melinda! I love her blog and this award is a small look representing her mother/child reality blog. If you haven't visited her, she's witty, charming and digs all the dirt out from her kids antics. Blessings to you, dear friend.

Because this is a clean award, I guess I must tell something dirty and come clean. Here it is. When I was a child I hated taking baths. I thought what a waste of good playing time. If I wasn't too dirty, I would swish and splash the water around like I was in the bath, but never get in. You know, all that time soaping and drying and stuff. Unless I was actually "looking" dirty, I did not bathe. (This was before I needed deodorant--I'm almost positive.)

"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true; they are righteousness altogether." Psalms 19:9

This reminds me of how I act toward the Lord sometimes. I wait until I can see the dirt and then I go and confess what stares me in the face. And what about the grime I don't see, or think about? I believe I need to confess anything that might hinder my relationship with Him-even asking forgiveness for unconscious sins. And you know what? He then usually shows them to me. I'm sure He would rather not walk with a "stinky" child. But, hey, you know what, He does.

Lord, clean me down to my toe nails.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanks to All the Players

"I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16

Thanks to all who wanted to play. I hope you had a bit 'o fun. Others who played the game are:

Amy, author of several romance books.

Laura, mother of five boys and all of'em red heads, whose book is being edited for release next year.

Jeanie, writer and speaker extraordinaire, and spiritual guru.

Johnnie, who is finishing up with her new exciting historical spy novel.

And check the post below for a few more players, if you have not already visited their sites.

Thanks, luv ya.

photo by Melissa Evans

Saturday, November 14, 2009

5 Word Game

Hey, hey, hey,

Karyn, has already written her five words.

Parsley drank coffee and her fingers flew over the keyboard! BTW, she is offering a chocolate giveaway on her blog. Whoo Hoo! (Sign up by Nov. 20.)

Come on ya'll, this is fun reading what others wrote. I'll check back and post other blogs as they let me know. (See post below for instructions.)

The Five Word Game

Diane gave me five words to use in a story or post. This one is true. So here goes!

Puppies, puppies everywhere! In among those is our Major. We took this picture at the breeder's, Hidden Meadows, where different colored ribbons are tied around the puppies necks to distinguish them for prospective buyers. We held different ones to see if we could tell their temperament. Not.

This is the one we chose. Mr. Orange ribbon. Here is Major at four weeks.

We didn't hold him long before he started to whine for his mom and get back in the box. Before some had even finished eating, little yellow spots appeared in the box or wading pool where they stayed. (Hey, this is Florida, what do you expect.) That's why the breeders had plenty of blankets around.

Once we got Major home, he had to taste all the flavors and textures around him. (I found Granny's Bitter Apple spray worked wonders.)

And finally, when that darling pup slept, I wanted to just squeeze that cute little fur ball to death.

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should bear much fruit." John 15:16

Okay you knew I had to add a scripture, right? Just as we picked Major, the Lord picked us to be His children. How many times do I whine and fuss like a baby when I am taken out of my "box?" How many times does He get my hands and feet out of trouble? But the whole time I know He loves me, and even watches over me as I sleep. Who could ask for more?

Okay, here's the deal. If anyone wants to play, I'm changing the game up a bit. Uh oh?! Well anyway,I will list the five words below. Then whoever wants to use them in a post let me know in the comments, then I will list all the participants in the next post on Monday. That way we can hop over to all the blogs and see the different stories, real or made up-you decide.

And the words are:

Zone, Ring, Dust, Pineapple, Elephant.

Have fun! Can't wait to read them.

Photos by karenevans

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Bless Veterans

My son, David served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I love those who serve or have served giving of their lives, time and effort for us and our country. This is just to say:


I want to leave you with this scripture of encouragement.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable, He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31

God bless each and every one of you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Am SOOO Thankful!

If this is what happens when I go out of town, I might need to leave more often. No, really, I found two, wow, two awards this past week just waiting for me. The first one is this Humane award, graciously given by Diane. She explained that this award is for showing compassion, kindness and I guess, take in strays. :) Truly I am honored and I thank you Diane. So I must pay this forward to others.

Parlsey, who loves animals and family and God.

Kathy, whose family children are both biological and adopted and has plans to adopt more.

Johnnie, whose tender heart and skilled writing encourages this stray to keep on writing.

Jeanie for her spiritual wisdom and kindness to others.

Clella who not only uses her wisdom and teaching skills to help me, but has promised to help me work on my wardrobe, to be classy like her. ;)

Thank you, Bina for the Honest Scrap award. I'm not sure what all that is, but according to the picture, looks like hard work and down to earth writing. I couldn't write "fancy" if I tried, which I did once and believe me, it didn't work. Again thank you. And this award must go to the following.

Kathryn, who speaks exactly what's on her mind, and is now a proud grandma!

Karyn, whose blog is beautiful and gives such yummy recipes and where I want to relax with a cup of tea.

Janna and her honesty about life and her wonderful thoughts.

Laura for her truth in raising boys, or any children for that matter, with tips for all situations.

Stephanie for her total honesty about the trials and experiences in life.

So all ya'll come on by and pick up your award. Thanks again to Bina and Diane.

Sorry I am late posting this and reading your blogs, but, I was visiting my grandkids, oh, and of course their mom and dad last week in VA. Just had to show off a pic or two. My other thankful things.

You see why I'm thankful!

My blog runneth over!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Snails Eye View

"One cold February day a snail started climbing an apple tree. As he inched slowly upward, a worm stuck its head from a crevice in the bark to offer some advice. "You're wasting your energy. There isn't a single apple up there."

"There will be when I get there," he said.


As I work on my no-telling-where-my-story-will-end-up Nano novel, it's at this first week that I slow down. My first thoughts are on paper and I feel like a snail, now what? I just keep writing forward and try to reach that shiny 50,000 word apple.

"Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

God prompts me to "keep on" even if my tree is knotty or scratchy or tall. I need to look toward and upward, He says, to the prize and not look down. He never told us our journey would be easy, but His companionship, strength and help is there for me. So if something slimy tries to tempt and discourage me, I must be like the snail, and ask God to help me remember His reward will be there, when I arrive.

Keep your eye on the apple.

Photo by istockphoto

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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Slow Burn by Mary Demuth

A Slow Burn is the second in DeMuth's fiction Defiance Texas Trilogy. Mary digs out the dirt in lives broken without love and forgiveness. Her characters will make you cry and scream at the injustice in the world, and make you sing when they find their way. They will stay with you long after finishing the book.


"So when Hap says I'm good for nothing but sex and cleaning the house, I have two choices. I can either internalize his words as the gospel truth, or I can remember that to God I'm precious."

"Leaves blustered while his feet plodded steadily along, his breath white in the winter day. Truth was he was blustered too. When it came to Missy, he was a dried out leaf, scattering, skittering here and there, unanchored to limb, to trunk, to roots. She was the tree, he knew. And her fingers let him loose to crunch under boot, to fly on the wind, to decompose in the dirt. God must've been in the wind, hearing Hixon's plea...."

"It's not really life that does the doing, Em. It's when my heart is settled inside me, all quiet like. Then I'm happy.
I take something to help me along."

A Slow Burn is crafted to give the reader insight into abused hearts who need God's love. It's message will help those in need. I recommend the series and I can't wait for the next one.

Get a glimpse of this powerful story in this trailer of the book.

Mary helps Christian parents break fresh spiritual ground, especially those with destructive family patterns. Her message guides parents who don’t want to duplicate the home where they were raised or didn’t have positive parenting role models.

An accomplished writer, Mary’s parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Her real-to-life novels inspire people to turn trials into triumphs: Watching the Tree Limbs (2007 Christy Award finalist, ACFW Book of the Year 2nd Place) and Wishing on Dandelions (2007 Retailer’s Choice Award finalist).

Mary speaks at women’s retreats and parenting seminars, addressing audiences in both Europe and the United States. She also has articles published in Marriage Partnership, In Touch, and HomeLife.

Mary and her husband Patrick live in Texas with their three children. Check out Mary's website.

I received this book as a participant in the Blog Book Tour. Check out what other readers think about this book.

This one is good, folks.