Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Family forever

Family forever is a thought that's been running through my mind for some days. It especially got there with the holidays. Looking at parts of the family that are still fractured can be painful. One thing I thought as I visited my brother Dale and his wife Jayne is how much I treasure my brothers and sisters. We definitely don't qualify as a close family. We all pretty much scattered away as teenagers, me marrying young, (the first time) Charles, Dale and Jeannine all working very young and doing their own thing. Charles was very young to be a husband and father at age 18 but he's done it well, all and all. My thought is, that there could never be anything that my family does or doesn't do that I wouldn't at least say, "Hi, how are you doing? I love you."
That may not mean that we'll hang together or do much else, but at least they know that they are loved.
Family forever is really something you can't get away from because it's in the blood and DNA. Of course, we know since I had my DNA test that not everyone got everything that everybody else got. LOL! I am truly EVERYWOMAN! And that being said, one of my main prayers for myself is that I can live well, and be the very best me, that the Lord created me to be. And I have to come back to what Peggy always said, "You can pick your friends but not your family," and that's cool too. Because the Lord God Almighty gave us the family He intended for some strange reason, I guess. And for our destiny, I believe.
 I've picked some pretty awesome friends along the way and a few have even told me they chose me upon seeing me for the very first time. How cool is that? Truly I don't understand why but I have always felt very honored by that statement and you know who you are girlfriend.
I have all the hope in the world for all of my family. I may not live to see some of my prayers for them answered but every day, I pray, "Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come for the destiny of the ones I love." Bill and I were talking to Pastor John recently and he said, basically that in some cases, family comes together finally but it may be at someone's funeral, and why wait until then to make it right? He's a very wise man, I must say.
But it's out of my hands and into the Lord's. I'm praying very hard for a new start for many of us.
So to complete this blog and I hope the pictures post at some point, I took the night off last night as Ryan did such a great job taking Aryel and Isaiah for the day I gave him the night shift, too. Actually I was exhausted from the holidays and just needed to chill. At some point I heard hilarious laughter drifting up the stairs. Bill and I came down to find Ryan looking like a sick calf at the table, and everyone laughing their heads off. They were playing Bean Boozled with jelly beans that tasted like, among other things: stinky socks, barf, lawn clippings, dead fish, rotten eggs... and well you get the picture. They had jelly beans the same color and it would either be the good flavor, chocolate pudding or the bad like canned dog food and you pick one and eat it. Well Ryan always picked the bad ones and Aryel always picked the good ones. It was hilarious.
Christmas is officially over and we can get back to "normal" life. Oh yes, normal is just a setting on the dryer in our family. So, heading to a new year fills with the Love, and never-ending kindness of the Lord.

Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4

Thursday, December 22, 2016

She’s Canceling Christmas

Merry Christmas and I’m posting early for those who follow my blog. If you  don’t please go to http://thornrose7.blogspot.com/ and sign up.  It may help me out one day if I ever submit a book proposal.

I just finished the Angels Walking Series by Karen Kingsbury. It has made me think more about angels and the roles they play on earth. I’m hoping that there are many guardian angels about us to help us in ways that we may not realize. I also included in this poem a phrase borrowed from a Jim Raley sermon; battered worship. To those whose worship is worthy of the Lord’s ear.  He is pleased.

She’s Canceling Christmas

The angels were alarmed, “There’s another mom on the edge.
She’s ready to leave everything and everyone.
What can we do?
Lord, is it really true?
She’s canceling Christmas this year!”
Somebody’s mom:
I’m canceling Christmas this year!
Why have it
When there’s so many tears?
Why try to pretend
It will be good at the end?
I’m canceling Christmas this year.

Makes me sadder
Than sad ever was
It’s Christmas but not the night that Twas.

If you knew all the pain,
You’d cancel it too,
Looking for light and the Lord
Hasn’t come through.
Makes me sadder
Than sad ever was
It’s Christmas but not the night that Twas.

The world thinks
Christmas is all about them
Many people are
Consumed with,
Rushing about,
Buying, and wanting gifts
While heartache abounds.

Living life through a phone
Instead of talking
With those nearby,
How will they feel when they’re gone?
One day they’ll wish
That conversation
Will linger on.

Makes me sadder
Than sad ever was
It’s Christmas but not the night that Twas.

This mom just got tired
Of the constant strife
She just needed a break
From her own “real life.”

Her tears stormed heaven
As a trumpet song given,
A battered, wounded sound
Came as she lay prostrate
On the ground.
Then the Lord was pleased
With her battered worship to Him.
He put a crew of angels to work right then.

One angel sent a song,
Another sent a friend with hugs,
One sent a book,
For a fiction vacation,
A temporary
Break from this world.

Back when angels came singing
Jesus was bringing
Hope for a deep, dark world.
The enemy roars,
But he won’t win any more;
  Angels are surrounding the door,
Of  her simple abode.
They’ve taken this load,
Put her on a
Different road.

Prayers were given,
Because she’s
Held up by friends,
The mom is renewed,
Now she’s Celebrating Christmas too,
Saying a Merry Christmas to you!

Donna Collins Tinsley 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I'm always happy to review a fellow Word Weaver's book. Linda D. Schoonover wrote An Illusion of Normal

Linda D, Schoonover is a woman on a mission to bring to light the affects mental illness can have on a family and especially children in her book, An Illusion of Normal.

I'm drawn to this story as at the beginning it's through the eyes of a child. Oh the pain that some children have to endure on this earth as emotions and chaos reign because of mental illness. It looked like at first, Linda might have an escape route via being sent to her grandmother's house for a season.

I love how the little girl watches her grandmother in all aspects of life. She wonders why she prays certain ways and is very vocal about the only way she's heard God's name used previously. The conversation in Chapter Seven between Linda and her grandmother was priceless. Chapter Eight wrenched my heart as sometimes, I've found the familiar home of a grandparent feels like balm to a child's heart.

What a powerful ending for Chapter Nine:

"God, please help me not be scared. I don’t know what’s wrong with my mother and I don’t know for sure if anyone is outside my window, but if you’re there, could you please help me?

I shut my eyes and tried to ignore my mother waiting quietly in the dark for her killer’s return."

In Chapter Ten the phrase,
"A knot set up camp in my stomach. The Ferris wheel stopped at the top and I hung on the mercy of someone I couldn’t trust." blew me away. Linda is a master communicator.  

 Chapter Fourteen is priceless. Only a child could have precious, untarnished faith to believe for that miracle and it was totally mind-blowing.

One of the most poignant parts of the book was in Chapter Twenty-five:
 I laid on the wet grass and closed my eyes.
“Did you make a mistake, God? If you did, it’s okay. I just want to know. I won’t be mad, I promise. But God, could you please find me another place to live? Anywhere is okay, so long as it’s a place where people really want me.”

Later her brother gave us a glimpse into a different side of the dad than portrayed earlier in the book. I loved reading the description of an earlier part of life that perhaps Linda didn't know about until her brother described it to her.

When talking about her  grandmother after she died: "A few days after we buried her in the family plot next to Grampy, something sprang up from inside me, like a seed when it slowly and confidently breaks through the dirt. I wanted to be like her. Strong, caring, hardworking. I wanted to love God like she did. To take care of and rescue people caught in disasters, not necessarily of their own choosing. To cook and serve Sunday dinners in a house where everybody felt welcome and at home. I wanted to be a grandmother like her, a grandmother that changed lives. But more than anything, I wanted her to be proud of the person she always knew I was and would be." I know that Linda has made her grandmother proud.

I enjoyed the letters from Linda's brother and the overview about Viet Nam as she got older. Drama seemed to follow her and her family though.

The life-long effect of childhood trauma that Linda described in the epilogue  was among my favorite parts of the book. I'm proud of the work Linda is doing to help children and bring us knowledge about mental illness in the family. Normal, at last, has become more than an illusion for her.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jumpstart your day with this song of praise!
It's Monday and today we focus on praying for our families. I read Stormie Omartian's books every day and this is my strong prayer: KEEP THEM FROM WASTING TIME ON A PATHWAY THAT YOU WILL NOT BLESS! (Stormie Omartian)
I pray that all who are discouraged today will find their peace in the Lord and we ask that a blood covering be over all our loved ones in Jesus name. Cast your cares upon Him, utterly fling them to the One who has the power to help. Prayer is a working tool given to us from the Father, use it, people.
Do you have a fractured family? Is your family tree messed up? You are in good company then and Jesus is our hope. Sometimes it may not seem that way but we have to get our eyes off our circumstances, look up to the Lord, find a Word from Him and claim it. Then pray, pray, pray!
 Prayer is your tool to peace and acceptance. A lot of our turmoil in life is not accepting the things we can't change; We sometimes have to accept that things are the way they are for a reason. I'm sure Joseph, during his days in prison and slavery felt forgotten by God as well as his family but he went ahead being the best he could be in those circumstances. The Lord caused him to rise above them and to rise in favor. Don't look at things the way they are but look at them through eyes of hope.
Jesus is the answer to all our problems and our strong help and that will always be the case. His ear is open to our prayers for help and hope. He is such a creative God that He brings forth beauty and grace and gifts within us that we never thought were there. He can bring the dormant seed to life. We praise His name and ask that He cover our families today. We thank You, Lord Jesus ahead of time for Your great blessing and favor towards our loved ones.
May we be able to say "It is well, through it all, today." Regardless of what our eyes see and our souls feel. We still say "Who is like You Lord in all the earth?" You're my cup that won't run dry even, through tear-filled eyes I seek that last drop in the cup.
Lord rise up please and bring our families full circle to health, healing of emotions and peace we pray.

Double-dipping with Stormie Omartian: "Lord, open my adult child's ears to hear Your truth so they will reject all lies."
"Have a sound mind and a right attitude:  Ask God to help your adult children make the right choices about what they allow into their minds so they’ll have nothing less than the sound minds He has given them.  Pray that God will protect them from having evil fill their minds with lies that oppress them mentally and emotionally.  Ask God to dissolve bad attitudes in their minds, such as pride, fear, anger, anxiety, and a broken heart.  Encourage your adult children to develop a habit of praising God regularly, since that practice will heal their minds, emotions, and attitudes.  Pray for Christ’s peace to flood their souls and rule in their hearts every day.
Resist evil influences and destructive behavior:  Ask God to give each of your adult children a humble, repentant, and teachable spirit.  Pray for God to destroy any spirit of rebellion in their lives.  God’s love and grace will always be available to your children, no matter what they’ve done.  Ask God to help them return to Him after they’ve strayed.  Pray that: God will open their eyes to see the truth and not be blinded by evil lies, they can hear God’s voice leading them, their hearts will be filled with wisdom and knowledge, they will turn away from evil when they encounter it, they will understand that they are engaged in a spiritual battle every day, they will respond to trials by turning to God, and they will learn to praise God for the healing and deliverance He has for them." Stormie Omartian

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Water Pourer for the Lord

Ten months ago our world turned upside down once again. Many days just pressing on is very hard, but in the name of Jesus we do. Some days we really wonder are we really going to make it. I survive by the Word of God and the readings of His people, music and hanging on to dreams and long ago prophecies. I believe that truth and love always comes forth at the end and if it hasn't, it hasn't ended yet. 
Only one thing brought a solution - desperately lunging for Jesus, believing His authority and power were greater than her massive need. (Anon or hand of God)

"With love that knew no fear the Singer caught his torment, wrapped it all in song and gave it back to him as peace." Dr. Calvin Miller, THE SINGER

“I'm well aware of the toil, blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain our family and support and defend my children and grandchildren. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. (my paraphrase of a letter by John Adams to his wife.)

So today we pray for single parents and their children, may the Lord send mercy and grace. We pray for first responders, the military and all the police and firemen who put their lives on the line for us each day. We pray that we all can put differences aside and find some time to be GRATEFUL.  We pray for PEACE!
May I live to be a "water pourer" before the Lord.
WATER POURERS!!!By Lana Vawser

The Lord began to speak to me about many being in a season of wilderness, and many have felt like they have been in the desert and they have been living upon their "stored up revelation and history" with the Lord. Many feeling like they have almost been in a season of WANDERING and WONDERING what's going on. I felt the Lord wanting to encourage you that He has been building endurance, strength and character in you in the desert, in that wilderness place and you are coming out with a greater CAPACITY to carry greater revelation of Him and His Word, greater mantles that have been birthed in that deep difficult place where you are constantly pushed and pressed and find that deeper place in Him in the midst of pain.
In the desert and wilderness where you have learnt to store and carry what the Lord has given you and press in for MORE amongst adverse conditions, the Lord is bringing you out of the desert and you will be WATER POURERS for others. What you have gleaned and carried in the desert places is about to be ignited and flow out of you. His living water is about to flood out of you. There is a great birthing upon the Church right now. I saw this pure, BIBLICALLY based revelation that has been found in Jesus in the desert flooding out in conversations, in books, in teaching, in songs, in cds, in writings, in sermon series, in prayer gatherings bringing incredible healing, salvation and deliverance. Freedom is about to explode in proportions across the world like we have never seen. Get ready to hear more and more crazy, amazing, wild testimonies of the power, healing and love of Jesus and how He saves, delivers and sets free.
Where the enemy has attempted in many ways to "stop His flow" through you, He is declaring over you that you will be a PURE FLOW AS YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE LOW.
I'm praying to get beyond survival mode to really thriving in the Lord. I pray that for you, too.

Adding a happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Oh Lord, make us truly grateful for what we have, forgiving for what we don't have and accepting of where we are in life right now on this Thanksgiving Day. If we have family together, remember and pray for those who don't. If we have something to be grateful for, then we will praise Your name, the giver of all gifts, and never let us forget to count our blessings!
We put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. We pray for all who have experienced a week of loss and burials of family members. May the Lord's comfort wrap itself around you as only His love can. We will lift you up to His throne and ask for grace for the day, peace that can't be understood and the strength to press on.
This excerpt from Streams in the Desert is beautiful for today:
"All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.

"But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy 'still small voice' that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain."
Another song  of thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

DNA, Poetry and The Living Prayer of my Life

Poetry and
The Living Prayer of my Life

“If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches of the same tree."- WB Yeats

I recently shared at a Retreat about my husband, Bill, sending off for a DNA test for me. It ended up very funny when we found out the results. I had no idea because I lost track of my family history after my parents divorced, that I’m very much a mixed breed of sorts.

 I laugh every time I think about it and they also show that my blog name, “A Sister Among You” was well-named. Or I can pretty much sing the song, “I’m Every Woman” and maybe make up some lyrics of my own. I could very well be related to many of you or all of you.  My husband thought it was hilarious when the next time I went to the doctor, I checked off multiple boxes concerning heritage.

Every time I look into a mirror now, I see a Native American woman. Bill said “Well, there are some cute little Indians” but I told him “I see Geronimo!” Maybe I’ve been on the war path too long. Or perhaps I’ve always identified with Native Americans because I’ve felt like I’m walking the Trail of Tears many days. For those who are unfamiliar with the Trail of Tears, it was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Native Territory. I definitely feel Cherokee roots at times, as well as mainly European and even some African. I remember crying through nearly the whole Roots mini-series and now I realize why. I’m every woman, mother and sister.

I think my life and prayers and even the DNA in my body is communal.  I am all that has been poured into me by my mentors, loved ones, family members and friends. My mothers in the Lord, sisters in the Lord, those who have loved me and even those who have not, have helped me become the woman I am now.

I consider all that I’ve read, all preaching, prophetic words and prayers that have been spoken into my life have made me into this mixed bag of genes. Anne Sexton talks about “a communal poem being written by all the poets alive.” It is said that there was communal weaving among the Native Americans. If I’ve known you, then I consider you have influenced me. You have become the poetry of my life, helping me to write my life’s poem.

I’m at the part of my life where I want to be a song and poetry unto the Lord, even better than that, I want to be a living prayer unto Him.
"Father Almighty, we pray, we offer prayers to you for those whose lives are linked to ours," is the beginning of an awesome chapter from Living Prayer by Robert Benson.   He also wrote, "They are our friends and brothers and sisters and daughter and sons and loved ones. They are our enemies sometimes too, those with whom we are in conflict. ‘Pray even for those who curse you,’ the teacher said, and I expect that would apply as well to those who bug the living daylights out of you. But it is hard to truly hate those for whom you truly pray. Those with whom you have a hard time have been given to you just as surely as those with whom you are at peace....” he ended this segment with "We entrust all who are dear to us to Your never-failing love and care, for this life and the life to come, knowing that You will do for them far more than we can desire or pray for."

 “Kyrie, elesion; Christe, eleison. Lord, have mercy; Christ have mercy,” we pray. For we must, we simply must. It is all that we who walk together in the dark can do.” Robert Benson*

Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy upon my life and bring about Your destiny for me and those who’ve touched my life. Make me Your living prayer and a song so sweet, it will bring joy to your heart. Wrap us in your Father arms, knowing You gave us the perfect DNA for Your purposes. Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy and come quickly, Lord Jesus we pray.

*Robert Benson from  Living Prayer

 Double dipping;

Journaling about Robert Benson after reading his take on his own journaling in Living Prayer. LOL!
Robert Benson. The name evokes sighs of contentment from this group of senior citizen women, with one much younger blonde in the group. His words! His books! We all sigh again. I included a quote from Living Prayer in a blog to take to Word Weavers Volusia Group critique and my reader unconsciously called his name Robbie every time she read it. Like he is our Robbie.
Last week my friend gave me his newest book and we quickly opened it and just reading all the names of his books made us, two sometimes called introvert women, SMILE. I feel nearly like a fallen women writing this or maybe even unfaithful to Bill, but surely belonging to Robert Benson’s fan club can’t be a sin, can it?
When we heard him speak at the writer’s conference, we agree with many of his thoughts and feelings, and come away with a sense of peace. Oh the peace of seeking tranquility and a respite from the noise of the world. Peace to pray. Peace to perhaps find myself a prayer rug that also serves as a family picnic cloth, or even use it to serve hospitality at our Word Weaver meeting. He makes you want to find a monastery, go on a retreat or just read more books.
Robert Benson. Sigh.

Well it’s time to edit my blog that I brought to Word Weavers and I’m grateful that I will consider Robert Benson a part of the DNA of my life.

Trail of Tears as sung by John Denver:

Ride This Train https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyXWgw1z4zE

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thank the good Lord, it seems I'm back on this blog!

So glad to have made it through this week. I thought I had posted this before but just remembered I'd saved it, as it is so beautiful. Especially the first paragraph has struck me and I've read it every day this week.
From a Streams in the Desert Devotional:
They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner and purifier of silver," until they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands.

They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions.

Grateful to the Lord that I got to go to Winning Women for Christ of FL retreat in St. Simon's GA recently. Here's how I ended my mini-session, Holding on While You're on Hold: 
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!

Though I have fallen, I will rise.

Though I sit in darkness,

the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8

This is my main declaration today:

No Weapon formed against us will prosper, we will be the head and not the tail, all of our children and grandchildren will be taught of the Lord, He will be sought by those who did not call our for Him and found by those who did not seek Him. We will not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble, for they will be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord and their offspring with them. It shall come to pass that before we call He shall answer; and while we are yet speaking He will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, (what the Lord showed me in this I'm inserting my version: families divided will eat together)


Yes, it is frustrating to be “on hold,” but the Lord will never forget you and never disconnect you. Accept God’s timing as perfect and “hold on!”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If all you can pray is Jesus, this one's for you!

Sometimes it just doesn't seem like prayers are being answered. Sometimes we are reduced to uttering, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" Sometimes we are reduced to moaning, "Jesus, Jesus! Jesus!" Sometimes we can only cry out, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," in the middle of the night, the night of deep sorrow of the soul. The night that breaks in to an unknown day.
Jesus, do what's best for our loved ones. All of them. Jesus send them home to You again, Jesus.
 Jesus seal up ungodly entrances that they've allowed into their lives, Jesus.
Hedge them in, Jesus. Show a way where there seems to be no way, Jesus. 
Sin is sweet for a season and then the sour sets in. The utter nausea of regret comes, the "How could I do this?
 "How could I sink so low?"
"How could I break my Savior's heart?"
"How could I turn away from my family?"
Show us how to live, today and live well. Show us how to love today and love well. 
Thank you, dear Lord for this promise: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" Romans 5:20.Show us how to live, today and live well. Show us how to love today and love well. May Your grace forever win in our lives, today.
When I speak of sin for a season it is not from the point of view of someone who was never in that position. It's from the point of view of a woman who has many regrets and would like to spare others from that.
Studying about sin for a season here today: http://www.scionofzion.com/proverbs_9_13_18.htm
Those who live for the pleasures of this world may think they have all wisdom but the reality is that they are naïve and they lack understanding not realizing that they are literally playing with fire. They are willing to sacrifice their eternal future for a few years of wanton pleasure. To sacrifice the eternal for the temporary does not show true wisdom but shows the spirit of folly of one who has no understanding. Every person in this world attends the funeral of someone we know and it is at that time that it should get us to think of our own mortality. Unfortunately, the spiritually dead do not think upon eternal things, only the things of this transitory life.
Prov 9:17 (KJB)
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
Those who live for the pleasures of this world will turn into the harlot because she claims that stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. There is pleasure in sin for a season. (Heb 11:25 KJV) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Moses knew that it was better to suffer in this world and live eternally with the Lord than live in all the sensual pleasures of Egypt for a short season. The enticement of sin is that it always claims no consequences. The enticement is that there will be pleasure and enjoyment. This is the call of sin to every human being but it is the wise person who can hear beyond the call and see beyond the present picture. (Heb 4:13 KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
 God sees everything and nothing is hidden from His eyes. There is no such thing as secret sin. (Isa 29:15 KJV) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“Every Bride Has Her Day” book review

You'll laugh till you cry when you read Janice Thompson’s “Every Bride Has Her Day”.
This is the third book in the Brides with Style series and Janice hits a lot of topics besides wedding planning, such as family drama, parents taking in grandchildren, and church division. Even the WOPer's prayer group goes dysfunctional for a season. Small town life that seemed so idyllic before is threatened with hostility and taking sides right before Katie's big day. The day that everyone else wanted to plan and then when Katie finally learned how to stand up to them still seemed to be bombarded with chaos.
Janice's series reminds be a bit of the Pot Luck Club style with characters you'll love and the real Southern flair, even if it is based in Texas. I admit, I'd loved to have had a future mother-in-law plan a wedding at the Gaylord's hotel but every bride has her own thoughts and at least the brides in this book  do. Trust me there were several and they  weren't anywhere near the Bridezillas on TV. Loved Eduardo and his flare and style, wooing Aunt Alva to the altar; there were many surprise journeys in this series and especially this last book. Romance was on the move in the most unusual places, it seemed.
Just when it looked like a disaster for a wedding, came some of the most beautiful vows I've ever read: "...In joy and pain, in adversity and in celebration, I will love you. Who you are. Who you will be. Who we will become together.  My love will never fade. No matter where God takes you on your journey, I will be the one with my hand in yours, walking beside you. Listening. Learning. Loving. Your joys will be my joys. Your sorrows, my sorrows. Your faith, my faith. My heart has waited a lifetime for these words: I am your and you are mine. Always. Forever. Together."
I got a jump on my summer "fiction vacation" with this book and trust me I needed some comic relief from the stress of life. Janice, I've become a fan with this series and pray you'll take your humor and characters further in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"It cannot stay, if heaven disagrees," From THE SINGER by Calvin Miller

There have been times in my life that I've felt like I had a label burned into my flesh or branded upon my forehead. Maybe you have, too.
 "But know this my little friend,  no man may burn a label into flesh and make it stay when heaven disagrees....It may be hard to give me all I ask. Not long ago, in the name of love I gave you legs. Yesterday that very loved demanded mine. But the Song is all that matters. It may be you will have to sing it where the crowd will shout you down and demand your legs or life. But it would be far better to give them both than to surrender up the music in your soul. Some will hate you for the song you love.  They will seek to stop your singing. But no matter how they treat you, remember that I suffered everything before you. And if they should brand you with a name across your face..."
"It cannot stay, if heaven disagrees," she finished up the statement. From THE SINGER by Calvin Miller
The faith chapter always compels me to reevaluate my expectations of life. I've found through working a program that a lot of unhappiness can be avoided by not looking to certain people or things for my expectations. I think back over my life and see how blessed I am regardless of what I'm going through at the moment. I ponder the wonderful people God has allowed me to meet, some were just lovely friends along my path. Some were prophets, authors and preachers; thinking of the quote above I think how privileged I was to meet and actually share a meal with Brother/Pastor Calvin Miller and his lovely wife. I think of the beautiful Margie Holmes who was with me that day and bought me a copy of his book, The Unfinished Soul. I think of Brother C. L. Moore the prophet who in spirit and personality reminded me so much of Calvin Miller. Why would God allow someone such as me, to mingle and even host the Moores in our home several times? I was so humbled by Cec Murphey and the first time he gave me a scholarship to the Florida Christian Writer's Conference; it felt like the doors of heaven opened there. I was able to give the awesome Robert Benson a hug at that conference even though I didn't take the time to introduce myself. I wasn't one of the big name people there so why bother, I thought. Yet the words he spoke were so profound and touched my soul so, that I knew that he would be kind to me, if I'd been brave enough to do it. 
I've been among greatness and some of the great people have been sisters among you. Some have been family who have endured hard situations and like the Timex watches, “took a licking and kept on ticking." I think of the pain my husband endures daily and am grateful he is pressing on. I survey greatness daily in our common life. I think of our children and grandchildren and I press on with a deep love in my heart. Sometimes this scripture is painfully near, "As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul." Luke 2:35
When I'm down I need to remember the great mercies of the Lord towards me. Yes, today and for the recent months I've felt like I'm living hell on earth but I need to recount the days that life was peaceful and love abounded. I want to learn to LOVE WELL and hope that can be said about me one day when I’m no longer here on earth. (In fact, put that on my gravestone, SHE LOVED WELL.) LOL!
I can't even begin to name all the people who have made me feel like a blessed woman and many of those the Lord would say "the world is not worthy of them."
  "Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
24-28 By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. 
32-38 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
39-40 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11 The Message
I'm posting the lyrics to a song and the scriptures that came to me this morning.
Another heartbreak day 
Feels like you’re miles away 
Don’t even need no shade 
When your sun don’t shine, shine 

Too many passin’ dreams 
Roll by like limousines 
It’s hard to keep believin’ 
When they pass you by and by 

I know your heart been broke again 
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left 
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet 

Echoin’ inside your head 
Are the words that your sweet momma said, 
“shoot for the moon, my dear” 
So you took aim out of this atmosphere 
Between high stakes and pump fakes 
You’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break 
I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom 

I know your heart been broke again 

I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left 
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet 

Hold on, hold on 
Lord ain’t finished yet 
Hold on, hold on 
He’ll get you through this 
Hold on, hold on 
These are the promises 
I never will forget 
I never will forget [x2]

I know your heart been broke again 
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet 
it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so 

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes 
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on 
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet.

Toby Mac

When you feel that you've been labeled wrongly, remember that's not your name. Secular song, but it works for me sometimes and I used to love to Zumba to it.