Friday, October 30, 2015

Keeping Christmas Book Review: You'll always want to keep a Christmas book by Dan Walsh handy.

What a great combination of a Christmas story and a Florida story from author Dan Walsh. Dan's books always keep me turning the pages, want to get to the end yet hating for the book to end, also.
Dan always researches his locations thoroughly and now Mount Dora is on my list as a place I want to visit. Especially near Christmas time if it is as he described. Snow and hills in Florida is something I've never experienced, well a little snow years ago that melted instantly, but it wasn't at Christmas.

The empty nest pulls on our heartstrings and a mother with no children home at Christmas is one of the worst case scenarios possible for most moms. Life happens and sometimes it's not as we hoped for or dreamed about. What can Judith's husband who obviously isn't taking the empty nest as hard as she is, do to bring back the joy to his wife's life? Dan gets into the head of a woman very well and also shows us how a man's brain works, as Stan does his best to "fix" his wife's situation.

I could feel the depression moving in to Judith's soul and longed for her husband to wake up and see what she needed from him. We do find the classic Dan Walsh happy ending that we've come to expect from him; I wouldn't have it any other way, in fact. The added touches for life in the "meantime" were very believable in a small town such as Mount Dora. I loved the "Christmas snob" addition to the middle of the story and what it took to change that in a man.

I could picture this as a Hallmark holiday movie quite easily.

Baker Publishing Group Revell's division has a wonderful author in Dan Walsh. He never disappoints. Keep writing, Dan!

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review

Friday, October 16, 2015

Show Me How To Live

Show me how to live is a phrase I'm borrowing from one of my daughters. When I first saw a post she signed that way I thought how perfect it was for my life, too.

SHOW. ME. HOW. TO. LIVE. Some days that is my plea to the Lord. Some days I know that I fail Him because I fail and disappoint myself so royally. Sometimes, me, the queen of self-control, loses control of my mouth and it really devastates me. I guess at times, it helps those I live with to know that I can't always maintain, stay strong or fix situations. I'm old. Tired. I need a break.

Unmet expectations that we read about in chapters of Dan Walsh's book "Perfect Peace in Imperfect Times" just reach out to me and I dwell on them instead of dwelling on the power of the living God, the perfect Savior, Jesus, my Lord. The Bible says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)

"Disappointment With God" a title of a book written by Philip Yancey, rings in my ears over and over again as I admit I'm disappointed at times. Disappointed that my plans for my life didn't take the road I thought they should take and the phrase, "my way or the highway," isn't happening.

Of course when I decide to ponder the people of God such as Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego who said in the book of Daniel, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty,that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

I personally have to come back to, "but if not, I will still serve the Lord." Another thing we talked about at our small book study group is without a test, there is no testimony and I'll add to that one without a mess, there is no message. The new phrase I think is a hot mess and that's what I ended up being last night. Yes, y'all after a time of a good message and focusing on the words of scripture and Dan’s book, I ended up becoming a human being behaving badly. But you know it drove me to my knees, actually it drove both Bill and me to our knees this morning as he sensed how hopeless I felt about myself and my plans for my children and grandchildren.

For those prayers I'm thankful as they did help to show me how to live. We press on and live by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. May mine ever be that Jesus always and forever shows me how to live.

A verse I turned to this morning was Psalm 105:1-2 (The Message)
Thank God! Pray to him by name!
    Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
    translate his wonders into music!
TGIF, people! I want to write a song for the Lord and so the verse above was cool to read but for now I'll focus on the words to this song:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back, I know you are near

I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear

OH no You never let go through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me
(Verse 2)

And I can see the light that is comin' for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be *AN* end to the struggles
But until that day comes, we'll live to know You here on *THE* Earth

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear

*You keep on loving and you never let go*

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
and there will be and end to the struggles
but until that day comes

Buy Dan's book here:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book review for Hot Mama by KATHY LIPP and ERIN MACPHERSON

I've decided at age 64 I was probably a little too old to be reviewing a book called "Hot Mama."
But KATHY LIPP and ERIN MACPHERSON did a great job on a book that may be needed today as in our culture the truth about sex has been distorted. The full title is Hot MAMA 12 SECRETS TO A SIZZLING HOT MARRIAGE; do I have anyone's attention yet?
There is a Hot Mama pledge, Hot Mama Ideas and Hot Mama bucket ideas interspersed throughout the book. Good points about preconceived ideas are in one paragraph written by Erin which says, "...I've (obviously) worked past that (thank you, good Christian counselors), but my preconceived notions about sex were really damaging to our early relationship. And I'd venture to guess that the preconceived notions of many women---weather they were learned from parents, movies, magazines, books or friend---have been damaging to the their marriages.
    You can't change the way you were taught about sex, and you certainly can't change the stigmas that come with the "thou shalts" or the "you shoulds" that you've heard about sex, but you can start to look at sex differently and in the way God see it."
I was already a fan of Kathi Lipp, ( as I've heard her on some radio programs before and I subscribe to several of her newsletters. She and Erin Macpherson ( make a great writing team.
Some added bonuses were "Ask Our Sexperts" and "Girlfriend to Girlfriend Q & A." I loved that the book ended with tips from real-life "hot mamas" the kind that the authors say they trust as opposed to those online or in magazines and other resources to continue on your "Hot Mama" journey. Who knows, even at age 64 there may still be hope for some sizzle in our house and that doesn't mean I'm frying bacon again.
I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This and That

I've mentioned before I want to honor some women in my life on this blog here and there; I'm thinking about my oldest daughter today.
Live ready, I always say to my kids and grandkids. None of us know what a day may bring. We plan our days or our weeks and then sometimes see those plans crumble before our eyes, as a shortbread cookie often does.
Yesterday part of the plan for my day was attending a banquet honoring those who do prison ministry which my oldest daughter, Regina is involved with. I'm so proud that she is paying forward the help she received throughout the years before her recovery walk.
But early morning her sweet mother-in-law, Helen had an appointment to meet Jesus in person, so we canceled the banquet plans. I would've loved to have seen Regina be honored with a certificate for her work, but this was not the right timing as the Lord was ready to spare Helen from the pain of living on this earth. She rests in His Father arms.
But I still would like to say a big, "You go, girl," to Regina. I know that there are a lot of people that she has helped along the way and that will only increase in time.
Sometimes, when we have a "past" ( I do, don't you?) people don't want to acknowledge that good can come out it, yet isn't that what the Bible teaches? Sometimes many do not even want to acknowledge the person who has "paid their dues," in this case seven years of the hard work of recovery.
The Message calls this passage, The Rescue and I'm sure we all can relate:

"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5The Message (MSG)

Years ago a Bible verse and prayer the Lord gave me for her was:

Psalms 126

When the Lord brought back Regina,
Captive from the world
I was like
A Mother who dreamed.

My mouth was filled with laughter,
My tongue with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for
This mother who dreams."

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are filled with joy.

Restore our family, O Lord,
Like streams overflowing.
Those who sow in tears
Will reap with songs of joy.
She who goes out weeping,
Carrying seed to sow,
Will return with songs of joy,
Carrying sheaves with her,
To share with the world

Psalms 126 (paraphrased)
(from the Holy Spirit to Donna) 11/15/02

I pray the Lord be your helper and protect you from harm. 
I pray the Lord save up from your affliction and have mercy on your lowliness
I pray the Lord raise you up from where you had fallen
I pray the Lord come to your neediness
Heal what needs to be healed
Restore where you have wandered from Him
Feed your spirit
Ransom what has been lost
Help you to rise up from the sickbed of the past and walk
Straight, firmly and with His strength
So that you may teach the weak and faint-hearted about the
True comfort of His love for you. (As you take words of hope to the jail, this has come true in your life.)
(My version of a prayer written by Clement of Rome 1st Century)

Once when we played the "Ungame" the question was "What princess do you relate to?" I was so sad when my daughter said she didn’t have a fairy tale princess that she could relate to. In my heart she will always be my princess.
As a young girl I always read Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and so I guess I would say she reminds me of the princess from Hans Christian Anderson’s story, "The Princess and the Pea."
Here's a recap: The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife. Something is always wrong with those he meets, and he cannot be certain they are real princesses. One stormy night (always a harbinger of either a life-threatening situation or the opportunity for a romantic alliance in Andersen's stories),[1] a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince's castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince's mother decides to test their unexpected guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night, covered by 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds. In the morning the guest tells her hosts that she endured a sleepless night, kept awake by something hard in the bed; which she is certain has bruised her. The prince rejoices. Only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel a pea through such a quantity of bedding. The two are married, and the pea is placed in the Royal Museum. From Wikipedia
So, although we don't always look like a princess to the world, our Father (and mother) always sees the little girl within. You are loved, honey. Maybe next year we will make that banquet.