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.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Is Your House on Fire? My thoughts on Burning House by Cam

Is Your House on Fire?

"I've come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze!
Luke 12:49 International Standard Version

"Burning House" is a song with a haunting melody and poignant lyrics that has gotten stuck in my head. I researched it, played it a lot, and found how the lyrics came. It was through a dream, thoughts a woman was thinking before she went to sleep that night, about how to make a relationship right. The song became an apology Cam was making to her former boyfriend.

"I had a dream about a burning house
You were stuck inside
I couldn't get you out
I lay beside you and pulled you close
And the two of us went up in smoke"

I feel that many families can relate to some of the lyrics when they are in a family crisis and are trying to find their way out of it. We may feel like we are in a burning house, suffocating, trying to get out, trying to breathe, and trying to save our loved ones. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the battle to save someone else. Can I get a witness out there to that? Amy Tan once said, “I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.” Sounds like she knows what it means to be dreaming of a burning house.

Are you dealing with someone's mental illness, drug addiction, or chronic pain issues right now? If you're one of the few who isn't, thank the good Lord for His mercy. And if you are dealing with those issues, thank Him for His mercy also because we know that He is the one who can "take what's lost and broke, and make it right." Most mornings I cry out to Jesus and say, "Show me what mercy looks like for my family today."

Some days, mercy is that we make it through another day without someone dying or being arrested. Some days an arrest might be the mercy He sends to save a loved one from themselves. Some days that mercy is an opening for a bed in a rehab or hospital. Some days, mercy shows itself through a friend calling, coming by, or sharing a meal.

Some days the joy of just watching a little child whose world has fallen apart through no fault of her own, dance wildly, boldly and without care is enough mercy to get me through the day.

Many of you are in the battle of your lives trying to help someone who seems hell bent on destruction through their lifestyle or choices.

"I've been sleepwalking
Been wondering all night

Trying to take what's lost and broke
And make it right
I've been sleepwalking
Too close to the fire
But it's the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house."

I think the last part of the lyrics the part about "it's the only place that I can hold you tight, in this burning house" strikes the core of my heart because when you come right down to it, the thing we as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends want to do is hold them tight from the pain of life and bad choices. Sometimes it's only in our dreams that we can do that, hold them tight, hold on to the memories, and hold on to new dreams for our loved ones. My house feels like it is on fire lately, does yours?

Credit given to the songwriters: