Imposter

I started reading the book, Imposter today, written by Davis Bunn; published by WestBow Press; Nashville, TN and copyrighted in 2006. The title grabbed me. Then I read the fly leaf summary and felt compelled to read it.

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I like reading suspense novels that deal with politics and people’s motives. It’s a fast moving story with lots of interesting twists.

My husband got invited to a men’s retreat this weekend with our youngest son, and I invited myself to visit my daughter and her family for the weekend. Other times I’ve stayed at home. I felt a need to see my loved ones and to take a break and rejuvenate for a bit. I brought the book with me and am actually taking time to read it. Often times, I’ll bring a book and some writing and not touch them once. I get involved with the kids and the rest of the family and it feels as if immediately the time is gone.

Ephesians 5:15-17, (ASV) says “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I’ve written these verses before, but I don’t apologize for it because I feel as if in the background, I have a clock ticking, almost like the crocodile with the clock in his belly in “Peter Pan.” My clock is not so loud or insistent, but on occasion I wake up to it and realize it’s still there. Reminding me that time is not standing still.

We have a full weekend planned and I arrived here early, so it occurs to me that I ought to take advantage of the quiet and go to bed. The children arise with the sun and then everyone else is awake whether they are ready or not. 🙂

God bless!

Mindset

 

I’ve been so impressed with the brain and its capabilities to impact its owner.

 

I come from the perspective that there is a loving God, an incredible Creator. He gave us a brain that supersedes any computer.

 

“Computers are good at storage and speed, but brains maintain the efficiency lead” is the title of an article by

Mark Fischetti on November 1, 2011, found at www.scientificamerican.com/article/computers-vs-brains/

 

Our brain can work for us or against us. If we firmly believe we can do something within our range of possibilities, e.g. give up alcohol, eat healthier, put stuff away after each use, stop compulsive behaviors, etc., we are able to do it.

 

It’s called mindset. If we really want to finish our homework on a timely manner, for instance, we’ll look for resources to help us. If there are constant distractions at home, we’ll go somewhere quiet to study or get up earlier in the day when everyone else is sleeping. If need be, we’ll ask for help from those in the position to help us.

 

If we’ll take time to think about an outcome we desire, if we’ll consider the steps needed to get there, we can do things we previously thought impossible.

 

If we immediately decide things will never change, I can’t do this, then the brain will act on those thoughts as well. Proverbs_23:7a says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” (KJV).

 

If significant people in your life have spoken negative words over you – “You’re stupid,” or “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “You don’t deserve anything nice,” you can take steps to overcome these lies or any others.

 

The Tree of Life version of the Bible in Romans 12: 2, 3 says,   “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith.”

 

We are to renew our mind through reading the Scripture and through prayer and through fellowship with other people. We are not to think too highly of ourselves. Using sound judgment, we will look at ourselves as realistically as we can and thus not put ourselves down and think harsh thoughts about ourselves. Where we fall short, we can pray for forgiveness and for help to make necessary improvements. Where we see abilities we’ve ignored or downplayed we may now offer our services to those without those capabilities.

 

I ran into a young mom in the local grocery store and she said she hates to cook. She’d rather clean the yuckiest thing in the building than put together a meal.

 

I thought back to when I was a young mom. I liked trying new recipes and I studied soup making because it was economical and it was a comfort food in my mind.

 

I pictured an outreach at church with people that love to cook with those who don’t: ladies sharing ideas, and then possibly sharing chores. “I’ll clean your refrigerator if you’ll make a meal for my family.”

 

Or, ladies exchanging recipes for easy nutritious meals that kids like, possibly cooking them for a taste test and instruction at the same time. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually do that?

 

Have you been thinking of ways to help others?

 

May God bless you.

 

 

 

Willing to Change?

Have you ever tried to make a significant change and think, oh, this isn’t going to be hard? By day two, you find that you’re behind by half the amount expected or even more than half?

When I was young, I found a system to help me clean my house well. It worked and my husband and I liked the results. It’s not that I don’t like cleaning. It’s that I like a lot of things and I think I’ll get back to cleaning the dishes and suddenly I’m washing mirrors thinking I’ll just let the dishes soak a few minutes. Two hours later, the dishes are still soaking, the water is cold and I end up fishing the stopper out of the sink and replenishing the water.

So two days ago I decided to re-set up this system devised by Pam Young and Peggy Jones and I broke the “3 x 5” file box I’ve had for many years now. 

So, I went to about eight different stores trying to find a file box. The stores don’t carry them anymore. Lots of 3” x 5” index cards for sale. It occurred to me, people don’t use paper like they used to.

I decided to get online and order a cleaning product that none of the stores carried either, and found a box online. The problem is, there were so many choices and some were vintage and I’m wondering if I want to spend more and possibly have a collectible I can sell years down the line and I look at the clock and two hours are gone. Arrrgh!

I went with a cheaper variety with free shipping and got back on track with less energy and less enthusiasm. I didn’t even blog last night, or write either. Bummer!

Tonight when I’m done here, I am going to re-organize the cards and take advantage of the skip function for those I didn’t get to, and start fresh in the morning. I recognized that I’ve failed at the follow through on this system in the past. I made up my mind that I’m not going to quit this time. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil. 4:13, (KJV).

Anyhow, my husband has been invited to a men’s retreat with our youngest son for the weekend. The last time they went, I stayed home. This time, I called my daughter. She lives near the drop off point and I asked if she’d like company. She said they’d love to have me over for the weekend.

Sometimes when I overdo things, my productivity goes down. I need a mini vacation. So when I set the cards up for the month, I left those few days blank. I’m looking forward to enjoying family and pitching in around her house and relaxing.

I hope this finds you well! God bless!

Thoughts Derived After Reading The River Between Us

The River Between Us

I read Richard Peck’s award winning novel, The River Between Us last week. It got copyrighted in 2003, published as a Puffin book by The Penguin Group, New York, NY.

His books tend to be humorous, and this one may have had a few places that brought out a smile, but the subject matter lent to a serious tone.

He said in an afterword that to research the Civil War could take years. So, he limited the aspects of the war to a small slice of it.

This book was my least favorite of his, maybe because the families grieved over their dying sons. I’ve been grieving over a lady that passed away. Slavery and racism came up for consideration. So, even though the topics in the story need to have light shed on them, the timing could have been better for me.

The Christians in the novel didn’t represent the love Jesus wants us to share with others. The Apostle John being inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote in 1 John 4:7-11:

1John 4:7, (ESV)  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and  whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1Jn 4:8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1Jn 4:9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

1Jn 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 

Sometimes Christians fall short. Sometimes people say they’re Christian, but they don’t read the Bible or try to live in a manner that pleases God.

That’s unfortunate.

To change the subject, I got a book of Davis Bunn’s from the library last week entitled The Imposter.  It sounds intriguing.

God bless!

Talk Already

This week I read Sarah Dessen’s book, Saint Anything, copyrighted in 2015 and published by Viking, The Penguin Group; New York, NY.

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The main characters show up on the first few pages right in the middle of a life changing event.

As the family and friendship dynamics play out, occasionally I want to take hold of these fictional characters and say, “talk already!”

In real life, people don’t always talk things out. I’ve definitely waited for the right time to approach my husband with a question or bad news when I saw he was completely worn out. Proverbs_25:11, (KJV) says: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Anyway, reading Sarah Dessens’ books points out a fatal flaw in my fiction writing.

In the past, I’ve told what was going on and didn’t leave enough mystery. With no intrigue, the reader is not going to want to bother reading on.

Additionally, writing instructors often say, “Show more than tell,” so I’ve worked on that.

A tell is: “the boy likes the girl so he shows off for her.”

The show is: Sonya ran outside to get the mail and then she noticed Peter’s slow grin widen and his eyes light up as he jumped off his bicycle by her mailbox. “Hey, Sonya I want to show you something.”

She looked up at the sky almost as if she was checking the sun’s position to estimate the time of day. “I’ve been practicing stunts on my bike.”

“My mom told me not to dawdle.”

He leaped back on the bike. “I’ll just show you one, okay, or two at the most.”

She smiled and he yelled out, “just watch this” and he sped down the incline and took one hand off the handle. Faster now on the bumpy street with occasional rocks from the Ottinger boys appearing like shapes in the fog – suddenly.

Now two hands off the handle bar. As he turned his head to see if she was watching, Sonya ran down the hill with her hands clenched and with sweat forming at the back of her neck. “Peter, hey Peter, wow! Why don’t you come back before…”

Cars started honking, a man hollered. “Are you out of your mind?”

A lady screamed.

 

Well, you get the idea.

I got to go to Letchworth Park once again with my husband and friends today. I took pictures of flowers and gourds placed in interesting arrangements. I planned on downloading them to my computer tonight and then blogging about our time there. Hopefully I’ll do that on Monday, since I forgot tonight. We got home and put things away and then my daughter and her husband stopped in for a quick visit.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you.

Sacrifice of Praise

 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it, (KJV).

 

Philippians 4:4  May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice!

Php 4:5  Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon.

Php 4:6  Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.

Php 4:7  And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8  In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.

Php 4:9  Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you, (GNB).

 

I am choosing to praise God today after hearing some bad news. A lady that mentored me a little, with a love for God and for her husband and for her family and for her friends had two brain surgeries. The first seemed to go well and then lately they decided something was wrong and so they went in again. Last night my husband told me she was in Palliative care and not expected to live. I prayed for her and midway through I got the distinct impression that her time here on earth was over.

So, I prayed more in case I was mistaken. I prayed more for us than for her. Heaven is a wonderful place from what I’ve read in the Scriptures. There are more warnings about hell than there are descriptions about heaven in the Word of God. I’m thinking if God put too much about heaven in there, we may get so homesick we could hardly function down here. He wants us to be joyful even in the midst of hard times.

 

Jer_33:11  The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD, (KJV).

 

Jeremiah was a prophet to Israel warning them of the upcoming takeover of their land and their people by the Babylonians. They didn’t believe him and they persecuted him. In the years to come, he turned out to have preached the true Word of God. Israel got punished for turning to the gods of the other nations that practiced things that God hated: Offering their babies to a false god by putting them through the fire, enjoying the temple prostitutes of these other faiths, and telling God they would release their Israeli slaves and soon after putting them back into slavery, etc.

The verse of Jeremiah 33:11 tells the Israelites that they will be returned to their homeland. My husband is teaching the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings. Daniel prayed near the end of the seventieth year of their captivity because it was prophesied that they would return after seventy years. Daniel prayed humbly and beautifully to remind God of His promise. Indeed, God rose up a king that wanted to bless the Israelites and help them be restored to their land, as Jeremiah had said.

Our God is a God of justice and a God of hope. Those who may think God is too kind to punish someone have not taken the time to read the whole Bible. He rewards those who obey Him and love Him; He punishes those who disregard the sacrifice of His Son for our sins and live selfish lives.

I’m so glad my friend knew Jesus, God the Son. I plan on seeing her again.

Be blessed.

Mysteries

 

What is it about mysteries that intrigue us? I firmly believe we’re made in the image of God. Yet, God, Who knows all doesn’t get to solve mysteries.

Jesus spoke to people in parables. When the disciples asked Him what the parables meant, He explained them.

Tonight at our Bible study, we got talking about 1 Chronicles 28:9 telling us to “Seek Him and He will be found by you.”

God knows we like to play Hide and Seek as children. We like stories. Babies like to play Peek-A-Boo.

I like watching mysteries with my husband because we’re doing something together and we both like to try and figure them out.

When I read books that the Apostle Paul wrote, he talks about discovering the mysteries of God, which is available at a deeper level since Jesus came to earth. 1 Corinthians_4:1: This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, (ESV).

After Jesus died, the Temple veil separating everyone from the Holy of Holies got torn in two. I’m not talking about a couple of layers of fabric. Some teach that the veil was as thick as the length of a man’s hand. Others teach that it was as thick as the palm of a man’s hand, either way, not able to be torn by one person.

Here are the Scriptures: Matthew 27:50, (ESV) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Mat 27:51  And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

Mat 27:52  The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,

Mat 27:53  and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Mat 27:54  When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

So, if you like to search out mysteries and you’re not convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died for our sins so we could be washed clean of the errors of our ways so we could enter God’s presence, I invite you to search out the claims of the Bible.

I encourage you to seek for God with an open mind and ask Him to show you if the Bible is true or not. Josephus was a secular historian. His writings will say if Jesus was even alive at the time of Pontius Pilate as he ruled in Jerusalem, from what I understand.

I was brought up with a belief in Jesus Christ, but not with a biblical foundation, so I tested the Bible as an adult. I didn’t seek out secular assurances because after I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior, something happened inside. Nature became more vivid to me. I felt a love and compassion for people that I never experienced before. I hungered to read the Word of God. I shared my new found discoveries with my family, sometimes too ardently. I truly became a new person inside but as a human I had bad habits to overcome and wrong thinking and behaviors to overcome with the help of God. I’m not perfect but I see some changes.

To God be the glory, great things He has done.

May God bless you.

Is Time Short?

Mat 16:1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
Mat 16:3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

I spent some time on the front porch reading a Bible study and then getting into the Word with a warm breeze blowing and a black crow caw-cawing.

Our trees are just beginning to change color. It doesn’t seem real that the year is three quarters done already. When I try to hear God’s still small voice lately, it seems as if He’s urging me not to be complacent, that time is short.

My husband has told me in the past that we are a lot closer to Jesus’s return now than we were 2,000 years ago.

Imagine that, He’s impacting the world even today.

 

God bless you!

Novel Beginnings

 

I spent a few hours purchasing and setting up a notebook according to the suggestions by Phyllis A. Whitney from her book I purchased many years ago. Guide to Fiction Writing was published in 1982 by The Writer Inc. Publishers, Boston, MA; and copyrighted in 1982 as well.

She groups information together in her notebook that helps keep the novel on track without limiting the ability to add characters later on or to inhibit creativity. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve read this book, but I’ve set up more than one novel in working notebooks that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.

The Young Adult novel I’ve been working on forever and finished it, per say, lacks tension and one editor suggested I change the main character to a male instead of having a female lead. I felt like I wanted to curl into a ball and roll down a slight incline until I blended with the horizon.

Last week I read Davis Bunn’s advice to new writers on Goodreads’ site. He said the first novel is wonderful and you may even get it published, but it’s pretty rare. Put it aside and start a second novel. He suggested the future may allow an author to re-write the first novel, but usually they are a learning experience. Maybe that’s why after all this time I couldn’t seem to muster up the strength to re-write again. It’s changed so much from the original I can hardly recognize it.

I got so excited at the library over an idea that I think the Lord planted in my heart. My husband is not thrilled about it for me because it’s going to be a difficult book to write. So, I asked him to pray for me. I called a few others and asked for prayer. Should God allow this novel to grow and get published, I am writing without a publisher pushing for a deadline. Yet this is the first time I noticed how Phyllis A. Whitney used her notebook to keep herself on a deadline.

She says that if you notice in the chronology section that day after day you are jotting down an excuse for not working on your novel then you should ask yourself if you really want to write. This is my paraphrase of her advice. She’s got a list of books written and published. Quite a few of her mysteries are out there.

Friends gave me a framed and matted calligraphy of encouraging words when I found myself as a pastor’s wife at age 50. It says: “The Grace of God will enable you to be what He made you to be and do what He has called you to do.”

Then there’s a photocopy of a perfectly symmetrical leaf and under that in smaller print is, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

It’s a beautiful reminder to me that whatever I set my hand to according to His wishes, God promises to help with it.

May God bless you!

Jesus Doesn’t Say or Do Things for Popularity

 

Jesus spent three years in the public eye doing ministry and early on He called men to follow after Him as disciples. He cared about these men, but He certainly didn’t sugar coat things. When Peter speaks out, Jesus corrects him.

Matthew 16:20,(ESV)  Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Mat 16:21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Mat 16:22  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

Mat 16:23  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Mat 16:24  Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mat 16:25  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mat 16:26  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Mat 16:27  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

I remember many years ago when my husband worked for a company, we attended a conference. We met up with someone who used to work for the company, but now they hired out to help someone with the same business many states away. When they finished helping the owner of the business he was going to give them their own business as a thank you for getting his enterprise on the right track.

I felt as if the Holy Spirit spoke to my inner most being: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”

I got very quiet. I didn’t pray, I thought about it. Then I prayed, “Lord, am I supposed to tell them that or is that for me?”

I didn’t get a leading either way. So, I let it go. After that I prayed for them. I still pray for them, because I have no idea what their relationship with God is. I pray when they come to mind. It’s not often, but I trust God to remind me if they need a current prayer and I count on Him answering prayers that I’ve forgotten about.

I’ve seen Him do that in my life. The town I live in has some nice features that I heard about in the 1990’s. I prayed that if we should ever move, I’d like to live here. I totally forgot about it. Then ten years or more later, we got the opportunity to pastor a church here. I only remembered my prayer a few years ago. God amazes me.

Sometimes I wonder if I pray something because He wants that for me, or if I pray and then He graciously answers. I’ve had so many wonderful blessings from God over all these years. I’ve found He’s incredibly trustworthy, even if I don’t see it at first. In other words, I don’t always get my way. I praise God for that. I’ve thanked Him for not answering certain prayers with a yes when at the time I was sure I wanted that yes. Then something would come to my attention and I’d understand that a yes would have been painful.

He’s a perfect Father.

I’ve been asking God for wisdom because Proverbs three talks about all the benefits of wisdom. Solomon wrote much of Proverbs and he was supposed to have been the wisest man ever. As God answers that prayer, which He tells us in James  1:5, (ESV):  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him,” I  know that He wants to answer it because it tells me to ask in the Word.

The next verse does remind the readers to ask in faith and without doubt.

I’ve been thinking if God supplies me with His wisdom, then I’ll know whether the Scripture about being careful not to lose my soul because of gaining the world is for me alone or for me to share with my friends.

Jesus spoke the truth in love. Even when He spoke forcefully to the Pharisees about not being hypocrites, He was livid that they were taking their positions of authority and hurting people that lived under their rules. Some of them became His followers.

God is love!

Be blessed.