At the end of January, just before my youngest daughter got married, I received my first award ever for writing, the Versatile Blogger Award, sent to me by therealliferealtalk.com blogger, Chanel. Thank you, I really enjoy your blog!
I’d like to nominate fifteen others. I hope they’ll be blessed as I was. 🙂
Sometimes I write a blog and I don’t send it out because it doesn’t seem right, which I’ve done more than once lately. So, last night I left one behind, picked up my pen and legal pad and started over again.
I went to the library last evening to get a book I asked the librarian to buy, and it came and got processed in less than a week! I asked for two. “The second one is from another warehouse,” she said, “so it’ll be delivered later.”
I called to thank her because at first, I didn’t realize it was new. I took out a book some years ago on cleaning and organizing. It was a brand-new hard cover edition and six months later I decided to reference it. By then, the tome was smelly, dirty and food stuck the pages together. This too is a book on organizing, so I was a little disappointed to receive a used book-until I checked which library owned it. It looked too good to be used. It belonged to our library, yay!
The second non-fiction book I requested was written by Gordon MacDonald, Mid-Course Correction: Re-Ordering Your Private World for the Next Part of Your Journey, copyright 2000, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN,because author/agent David E. Fessenden recommends it in his book, Writing the Christian Non-Fiction Book: Concept to Contract, published by Sonfire Media, Galax, VA, copyright 2011.
I ordered A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What by Gordon MacDonald, copyright 2004, and published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN from another library. I thought if David Fessenden says authors will learn from studying Gordon MacDonald’s style for certain kinds of writing, any of his books in our library system may help.
At the very beginning of this tome, I realized being a year into a global pandemic, it’ll help to read about persevering during tough times. Pastor Gordon MacDonald learned many life lessons from his track coach, Marvin W. Goldberg at Stony Brook School, a college preparatory school on the north shore of Long Island, New York. At the time, he thought he was learning about running techniques and conditioning the body for success. Over the years, when facing difficult situations, he tells the reader he learned many life skills that he applied to his relationships, business decisions, and to pastoring people from advice from Coach Marvin W. Goldberg.
If you like sports, encouragement, and some good insights perhaps you’d like to read A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What. When I read books, I’m often surprised at how they speak to me. Not as deeply as the Word of God speaks, but I’m enjoying this hardback that entertains and tells of hard-earned wisdom. Gordon MacDonald learned to stick to difficult tasks.
Even if you must start over again, as I have over the years, there is a learning curve that comes from experience that helps you stay the course in trying times, and that brings satisfaction.
As I listened to a pastor on our local Christian radio station speak on James 1:2 I had an aha moment. The New King James Version of the Bible states James 1:2-4 this way: “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
It’s my understanding that as trials make us “perfect,” it means “mature.” The whole book of James is full of wisdom, akin to the book of Proverbs, but with four chapters instead of thirty-one.
I knew a lady in her late 80’s or early 90’s. She came to our Bible study. One day she said, “I’ve been reading James 1. It says to count it all joy when going through various trials and temptations. Imagine that! We’re to count it all joy!”
I believe she was having a Rhema Word, when God highlights a Scripture to you, giving you a deeper insight. I’ve been reading Deuteronomy lately. Oh, the tremendous promises of God for those willing to love Him first and foremost and to obey His commands.
Then there are the curses that come upon people when they serve the false gods of the land the Israelites were about to enter. Sacrificing children to Baal by fire, worshiping gods made of wood, silver, or gold; and bowing down to the sun, moon and stars infuriated the God they could hear but not see. The God Who said He created everything, in Genesis 1 and elsewhere in the Bible.
And so, I hope you can count it all joy because of Jesus and the hope He gives if you’ll look to Him. During these times of quarantining and missing others who’ve chosen to stay away even when they’re healthy, with political upheaval, and civil unrest I hope you’ll seek Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He promises never to leave nor forsake us!
I was reminded by the radio show’s pastor to count it all joy when going through hard times. I needed to remember that and to ask God to help me not to lose peace and joy, for my sake and for the sake of those around me.
I got a letter from a ministry concerned about the education of American children. Changing history, skewing the amount of racism prevalent at the founding of our country. I come from Upstate New York-part of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. People helping people despite the risks.
My oldest daughter said, “How can America be racist now and vote in an African American president not that long ago? Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I’m racist.”
Another thing this ministry letter said, “A majority of college students are for Socialism and Communism.”
I recently read a book copyrighted in 1992 by T. Davis Bunn, entitled The Amber Room, published by Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN. I’ve read Mr. Bunn’s books for years and met him at a writers’ conference in Montrose, PA where he spoke to prospective authors.
He researches his fiction through historical documents, books, internet, interviewing experts and visiting the locale of the literature’s setting.
The Amber Room delves into the history of valuable antiques in Europe and Russia. Also, some of the detrimental effects of living under a Communist regime in East Berlin before and after the Wall came down. The lives of the people and their perspectives came through the story startlingly clear.
The Amber Room is the sequel to Florian’s Gate and the second tome begins with romance and an introduction to an antique collector looking for clues professionally and personally.
When I got done, I thought every college student who thinks Socialism and Communism is better than our American system of government-a Republic-well, they should read this book. I have neighbors who moved here from Russia and I met them a few years back when they purchased their house near us.
When I mentioned a historical document concerning their leader, Stalin, the father hung his head. “That was not the best time for our country.”
Last year, I read online that the richest group of immigrants in the United States are from Russia. Perhaps because of their lack of hope in the past. My neighbors put in a vegetable garden, planted fruit trees and then flowers for beauty. They worked hard.
The Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that those who will not work, neither should they eat. I don’t know if Americans think the government can take better care of themselves than they can. Perhaps they’re not checking out history books and science fiction, like George Orwell’s book, 1984, copyrighted in 1949 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Our forefathers fought the American Revolution in bare feet in the winter and had days of starvation because of the lack of supplies. They fought for freedom we seem to be willing to give away.
I keep praying to God to wake us up and to help us before we find ourselves under dictators who took power because American citizens are fighting each other. Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Communist countries have rich rulers; middle level managers and spies and prison wardens and enforcers, and the lower tier are oppressed people working hard to support the system. If you don’t believe it, ask refugees that stole out of Cuba or find people who made it out of Eastern European countries and Russia once Communism fell. The transition out of Communism isn’t easy, either.
The Amber Room is a story showing reality and possibilities, and the bad and good in history. As Tiny Tim said in the movie “Scrooge,” “God bless us, every one!”
Jesus came to set mankind free, no matter the government over them. I love being a Christian. I also appreciate living in “the land of the free…”.
As I see America’s freedoms slipping away, my prayer is people will wake up before their choices get stripped away under a totalitarian government.
I wonder why I’m having a hard time blogging lately. I love to write. I love people. Sometimes, that’s the rub. Also, my computer is driving me crazy, not acting like it should.
My daughter and her fifteenth-month-old daughter began staying here about two weeks ago. Her husband and other workers are rebuilding and replacing portions of their house. Lots of sawdust in the air, primers, paint and polyurethane fumes in the atmosphere to irritate skin and lungs. This caused her husband to ask her to vacate the premises for safety sake.
So, we told her it’s okay to come and stay for a week or so. During week two my daughter’s been saying, “I think I’ll be going home soon.”
My life is not my own, but I live in a delusional state where I think I have control. My granddaughter doesn’t like to sleep. She’s bright and interested in taking in as much as she can in any given day.
She’s practicing walking with joy and purpose. She doesn’t like to fall so she holds onto one adult finger and tries to direct the parent or grandparent or aunt her way with such a grip that the tip of our fingers turn red and hurts.
If I have another direction in mind, I’ll begin turning her gently and she sets her whole body the other way. So, today we kept going in circles until I stopped us both. I was getting dizzy.
If I’m intent and direct more firmly, she’ll twist quickly with all her strength and down she goes. And then she cries. I pick her up, comfort her and she extends her arm with fingers stretched out to show me she wants my hand. She’s raring to go. On with her mission to explore, to gain balance, to be in charge. Lately, she’s been lowering her head like a bowling ball to her waist to get her way, but then I hoist her up. She’s such a little peanut.
Last week, I lost my favorite and only travel mug that doesn’t leak. I use it every day, first thing in my day.
I thought I left it at church after I searched my house and any canvas bag I might have used last week. Prayed to find it at least three times a day. I asked my visitors and my husband if they’d seen it. I checked the car. I looked at church four times over the week. Each time, I saw a paper mask under a pew that no one else would see because of our social distancing procedures.
By the fourth time, I told God, “I give up. If I never find my purple mug, I’ll just replace it.”
Then, I thought, pick up the paper mask and throw it away. I laid down on the pew in the empty building to reach the mask and my leg kicked a wooden support of the pew in front of mine. Suddenly, the purple mug flew past me and that little event gave me joy.
So, on Sunday I gave a testimony of God answering prayer and my husband felt sure it would be about the mug. But it wasn’t. It was about God healing my friend after I (and others, I’m sure) prayed for her on a consistent basis. Just a short prayer each morning.
As I was writing this, I pictured myself walking and directing my granddaughter. I’m so much taller. I weigh almost 10 times more than she does. I know she shouldn’t climb light weight items and she is determined to do so, so I’ll pick her up and re-direct her and she’ll squeal in protest until I distract her with a book or a toy.
Is that how I am with God? He’s far bigger and far more knowledgeable than I am. So, I’m praying to find my mug. I know from the Old Testament that He didn’t like it when the Israeli’s spent time and money building their homes while the temple sat idle and neglected. I’m tidying my house from all the company being over. Yet, every time I saw that paper mask on the church floor, I resisted picking it up. I checked under the pew four different times from four different angles. Each time I almost picked up the mask. Was God nudging me? Trying to re-direct the angle of sight? I’ve had people ask, “Do you really think God cares about little things like that?”
I think He cares because He enjoys answering prayers. Do you think God cares about the little things of life? Does He care about bloggers blogging?
A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible. One thing after another kept me from blogging this entry. Sometimes, I think it’s spiritual warfare. Other times, I wonder if God doesn’t want it out there. Today, after a delay, all worked on the computer and on the WordPress site. Maybe I’m supposed to be learning a lesson in perseverence!
Well, anyway, when I read chapter one, it described four teenagers, handsome and intelligent men being trained to work for the king of another nation. They got captured as spoils of war, probably children of the royal family of the nation of Judah, and then neutered. Further on, I found out Daniel and his three friends are required to eat of the kings’ meats and to drink wine.
I don’t know why the guys wanted to eat vegan. Maybe the meats included pig and rabbit, on the unclean animal list for the Jewish youth.
They looked better after their trial run of vegetables and water for 10 days. Apparently, between the favor of the head eunuch and their healthy appearance, they continued on what is now called, “The Daniel Diet.”
After King Nebuchadnezzar talked to Daniel and his three friends, the king found them 10 times wiser and more understanding than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all the realm-a huge kingdom from years of taking over other countries, showing little mercy.
If I had been in Daniel’s and his friends’ shoes, I hope I would have clung to God despite any risks to life, like they did. Over 70 years serving the various kings, Daniel held high positions of authority and influence. What a legacy!
I wish I understood the visions Daniel experienced from God, near the end of the book of Daniel for the latter days. An angel explained, but it’s beyond my level of expertise.
God took care of Daniel in the worst of times. The book of Revelation in the New Testament says that God is, God was, and God will always be. I can rest in His care no matter what because God doesn’t change.
When COVID-19 hit the news in March of 2020, the predictions of two million or more people dying from the disease staggered my imagination. Scary thought. The idea of healthy folks quarantining felt surreal. Acquiring masks became a reality I didn’t look forward to. Some individuals refuse to wear them for their health’s sake or because they don’t want their children to think mask-wearing is the norm.
I remember going into a grocery store early on, and I didn’t have a mask on since it wasn’t required by the governor of NYS yet. Another man didn’t have a mask on either and he looked at me and smiled and then pointed his finger at me as if he were shooting an imaginary gun. We both nodded our heads. Mask wearers usually connotate someone ready to rob a store or a bank. After he smiled again and then left, I felt a little uneasy.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, I wonder if our former reality will return quickly or are we as lambs being led to the slaughter? I remember as a young girl reading a comic square in the back of the newspaper, entitled “Pogo.” In my memory, it repeated itself often and I developed the habit of looking for it. The caption said, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” written by Walt Kelly, a former Disney cartoonist.
I pondered it with my young mind. Does that mean that someday people in our country will turn on each other?
I wonder if I had the beginnings of the gift of prophecy, because I’ve never seen so much division in our country over all of my years. I’ve never seen a president blamed for so many things outside of any human being’s control.
All I can do is pray and try and take care of myself and others in my immediate circle of influence where it’s appropriate to my role in life. I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations in my daily Bible reading lately. Not uplifting books, but they do show a side of God when He finally gets fed up with the lifestyle of His chosen people. He sends judgment with the promise of future redemption, because He loves His children. Their actions and God’s responses are eerily familiar.
God warns the nation of Israel through the prophets and they resist the message and keep acting in ways that upset their Maker. Burning their babies in the fire to false gods. Lots of flagrant sin. Finally, Babylon comes along, as prophesied and captures them, kills some, robs them, blinds the king, etc. Awful stuff. And at the end, God promises that after 70 years, the nation will come back to Israel and He will be their God and they will be His people.
God is not a respecter of persons. He loves to bless people, especially those that commit their lives to Him. With all the unrest in America, I’m doing fairly well, only because I hold on to the promises of God in His Word. And I’m praying and seeing answers to prayer!
In the confusion of life, I’ve lost some of my zest for writing and talking on the telephone until just lately because I’ve been spending more time in the Word of God in the last week or so. Holding on to the promises in Psalm 91.
May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His loving and protective right hand, despite the odds.
I read a Christian book by prolific writer, Gilbert Morris called Charade last week. It was copyrighted in 2005, published by Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI. Once I started, it seemed this wasn’t the first time I perused this fictional tome.
Maybe because it wasn’t new to me, I found myself getting into the mindset of the morbidly obese main character, Ollie Benson. He weighed over 400 pounds and most people treated him like a freak. An intelligent, sensitive man about to become a millionaire.
I don’t want to spoil the story, but I began to notice some health tips interspersed where it made sense to the plot. With COVID 19, I’ve heard many individuals gained 35 pounds as the norm.
I’ve not put on much, but after finishing a diet competition ending in July of this year, my weight’s set point went up a few pounds a month or so afterwards. I’m trying to find my way back to a previous lower weight where I felt better.
I liked Charade because of the interesting characters and because I know Gilbert Morris researches the factional information. The twists in the action kept me turning the pages.
Gilbert Morris doesn’t usually write this kind of book. It’s more suspenseful than his historical novels with sweet romance included.
If you’re reading more than usual during this pandemic and in America, during the political processes going on, perhaps you’ll discover Charade, and enter a world outside of the ordinary.
My husband and I got married many years ago. Sometimes, I’ll hear couples say, “We never fight.”
I always wonder about that statement. Do they avoid areas where they might disagree? Is one partner so compliant they never voice their opinion? Are they afraid to hear what the other might say?
After all these years, at times I know what my husband is going to say, so it might be tempting to speak for him.
Which I’ve done, but I decided quickly to cut it out. That’s a surefire way to stifle communication.
Before we got married, the man set to perform the ceremony said we’d need pre-marital counseling sessions with him.
I remember the advice, “Don’t hit below the belt.” In other words, be kind.
Also, “Stay on the topic you’re fighting about. Don’t drag up offenses from months or years ago, which fuels the fire.”
The Bible says to not let the sun go down on your wrath. Get things resolved.
The Bible also says to speak the truth in love. If something is bothering me and my husband comes home looking tired and he tells me he’s had a rough day, I wait for a better time to bring up a complaint. I try not to blame.
We talk things out, respecting each other.
If we have an argument, we don’t pout for days. We don’t punish the other person for speaking up. We discuss things. If an apology is needed, we say we’re sorry. We try to stop doing what’s disturbing the other spouse. We’re not perfect!
We offer grace when the other person is struggling with something that is hard to live with, within limits. If something is dangerous, demeaning, illegal, immoral it’s not allowed in our family. Each of us has the right and responsibility to say, “No. This is a safe place for us and our guests.”
We agree. That’s why we are still married after all these years. We don’t fight as often as we used to, and neither of us like to get into disagreements.
Sometimes, it’s unavoidable and pandemics don’t help. We talk, we say we’re sorry for our part in it, we hug and we move on.