Friday, October 22, 2021

Thoughts on a Few Books

I love books. Many different kinds of books. Here are a few I’ve read recently.

 

Grace will lead us home: the Charleston church massacre and the hard, inspiring journey to forgiveness by Jennifer Hawes. This tells of the June, 2015 mass shooting at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Besides an account of the tragedy, it is a respectful story of the survivors and families of the victims, and what came after, for the families, the community and around the world. We read about the trial for the killer. This is not an easy book to read, but I believe it is important. A great picture of sharing God’s grace.

 

The Legend of Storey County by Brock Thoene. The story of a run-away slave during the Civil War, with a surprising friend. They travel to Nevada territory to work the silver mines, and win a victory against Rebels who plot and make an attack in Nevada.

 

Harvest of Rubies; Pearl in the Sand; Harvest of Gold; by Tessa Afshar. stories taking place during Old Testament times, in Canaan, Persia, and Jerusalem. Showing through Scripture and beautiful writing, the grace, forgiveness, and closeness to God that people of that time could have.

 

Wild Montana Skies, Wait for me, rescue Me, by Susan May Warren. Suspense, rescues, forgiveness and romance in Montana.

 

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart. This book is based on a true story about a man who was a slave in Kentucky in 1833. Instead of taking the opportunity to run away, he stayed and helped a town through a cholera epidemic.

 

Deadly pursuit: Guardians of justice, book 2 by Irene Hannon. Suspense in St. Louis and rural Missouri.


Friday, October 15, 2021

Grace and Truth John 12:1-11:

Verses 1-11: Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

 

Jesus was close to this family, good friends. In John 11:5, it says he loved them.

 

A feast was being given to honor Jesus, sometime after he raised Lazarus from the dead. They may already have known that Lazarus was in danger from the leaders, too, but Lazarus was willing to dine with Jesus to honor him.

 

Martha served Jesus, the best way she knew to honor him.

 

Mary anointed him with the costly perfume which she would have used to bury him. She wanted him to enjoy this honor while he was still alive.

 

When Judas objected to this, Jesus told him to leave Mary alone. When this story is mentioned in Mark 14, VERSE 9, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

 

What a lovely picture of Jesus, that even though his crucifixion was coming soon, he took the time and thought to honor his friend.

    

Friday, October 8, 2021

Kathy's Kitchen, Smashed Potatoes

From the Carroll Times Herald, where my daughter Rebecca is editor. This is definitely a keeper.

 

OUR FAMILY FAVORITES

These smashed, seasoned potatoes make a jazzy side dish

By Jane LawsonSep 17, 2021

 

Smashed potatoes have it all — crisp edges and soft insides topped with a blend of garlic and smoked paprika.

When plain potatoes just won’t do, jazz up meatloaf, pork chops or chicken breasts with these fancy yet easy-to-prepare potatoes.

Smashed Potatoes

These potatoes require an extra step, but the effort is worth it. This side dish is a fun addition to any dinner.

1 1/2 pounds small yellow potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons melted butter

Parmesan cheese, grated

Fill a large pot with water. Add potatoes. Heat water on high until boiling, then reduce heat to medium. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.

Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto baking sheet (with sides). Place potatoes onto baking sheet and use the bottom of a glass to smash each potato carefully. Be careful not to smash too hard; you want to retain the round shape. Continue with each potato, allowing for space between each one.

Drizzle each potato with melted butter. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture and Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven and bake for 22 minutes or until potatoes are crispy around the edges and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Note: Reserve any leftover seasoning mixture for future use on meat, potatoes or vegetables.     

Friday, October 1, 2021

Psalm 1, Delight In the Law of the Lord

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!

    They are like chaff

    that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

Father, I look forward to a closer look at these precious Psalms. Thank you for your clear explanations. Thank you for the picture of those who delight to study your word—trees planted by streams of water, yielding fruit, not withering, continuing to prosper. Lord, I want this to be a picture of me.         

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Guest Author, Denise Weimer

Author Denise Weimer gives us a glimpse into her new story, A Harvest Heart, and lets us in on a deal. Thank you, Denise.

 

A Harvest Heart

#16 in The Georgia Peaches Series

https://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Heart-Georgia-Peaches-Book/dp/B09F1FXWDL/

 




Back Cover:

Hope Richardson is good at just that—hoping. Problem is, she’s often disappointed—by fathers who die, boyfriends who ghost her, and promotion at her event planning firm. It’s her twin sister, Faith, for whom things work out. When Faith’s fiancĂ© lands an out-of-town job, Hope is called home to plan a wedding in the Georgia foothills … and jumpstart the tea room Faith was supposed to run with their mother.

Of all the people to make the first reservation for his family farm’s new event barn, Tucker Bradshaw least expects Hope Richardson. She might’ve rebound-dated him their senior year of high school, but she was all too eager to run back to the star football player in college. Always wanting something bigger and better than their hometown of Clarkesville. Than him.

Her sister’s wedding plans land Hope in the midst of the opening season for Tucker’s corn maze. When a harvest romance reignites, Hope searches for the faith to finally live up to her name.

 

Bio:

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense mostly set in her home state of Georgia. The author of a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas, she's also an editor  independently and through Iron Stream Media Fiction, a wife, and a mother of two daughters. She always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses. https://www.deniseweimerbooks.com

 




CHAPTER TWO

Tucker Bradshaw was pounding the last nail into the kitchen window frame of his family farm’s new event barn when voices made him pause. Female voices, coming from the main room on the other side of the open slider door.

“Oh, look at the woodwork. I love how they left the beams exposed, with those fancy metal brackets.”

“I do love the stone fireplace. But it’s very rustic. A far cry from the Charm House.”

“We can’t afford the Charm House.” The first speaker again, her airy voice growing tight. “And see, we could put the band up in that loft.”

Tucker laid his hammer next to the window he was about to insert. Apparently, he’d forgotten to bolt the main doors when he’d started work this morning. That’s what you got for being in a hurry … nosy women comparing his post-and-beam Gambrel barn to a Greek Revival mansion in the nearby historic town of Clarkesville. He ought to be out working the summer harvest with his dad and brother, but the rain had put his local contractor behind. And this place needed to be brochure-photo-ready this month if they hoped to pay back the massive loans they’d taken out this year.

So despite the fact that these women weren’t supposed to be in here, he put a smile on his face as he ambled into the main room. “Can I help you ladies?”

And there he stopped short, for not one, but two petite redheads turned toward him. He’d seen Faith Richardson a couple times in the last several years, whenever he’d been home from college. Each time, he’d done a painful double-take before his heart rate slowed down. But she must not have expected him to be back home, for she spoke with surprised emphasis.

“Tucker Bradshaw.”

And no need to double-take today, for her sister was right there beside her, unmistakable and in the flesh. Every fiber in Tucker’s body went into some sort of instant freeze-dry as Hope’s dark eyes swept him from the top of his tousled blond hair to the tips of his scuffed work boots.

“Faith. Hope.” Her name stuck on his tongue like the honey they sold in the open-air market across the parking lot.

“Hey, Tucker.” She seemed to pump enthusiasm into the greeting with the breath she drew, lifting her shoulders under the straps of her silky, red tank top. The only ginger he’d ever seen pull off wearing the color stood before him. The only girl who’d crushed his heart like a Ritz cracker.

Faith took a step forward. “I should’ve known you’d be here today.” Was that an apologetic glance she tossed at her sister? “I told Hope you’ve been behind the changes at Bradshaw Farms, even while you were still in school in Tifton.”

“Griffin,” he corrected. “ABAC is in Tifton.”

“Oh, right. Of course. And you went to UGA. I forgot that you and Hope started together in Athens before you went to … Griffin.” Faith faltered as her gaze again drifted to Hope, who shifted her purse on her shoulder and focused on the concrete floor. “Anyway, I love your new barn. Did you do it all yourself?”

He hooked a thumb in the pocket of his jeans, trying hard for casual. “It’s a kit barn. The company we bought it from came to lift the bents and drop the ridge in place. Basically, they raised the shell. We finish the inside. That’s why, as you can see, it’s not done.”

“Looks pretty close.”

Tucker jerked his thumb behind him. “You wouldn’t say that if you saw behind the slider. I’m finishing window installation, then I’ve got to frame out the kitchen and bathrooms so the plumber can come in.”

“Well, I’d love to see behind the curtain, so to speak.” Faith gave him a wink. She seemed perkier than he remembered. She’d hardly spoken to him in the past. “You see, I got engaged. We’re shopping for a reception venue.” She thrust her left hand toward him, bringing his attention to a shiny diamond.

Perkiness explained. She was a blooming bride. “Very nice. Congratulations. Neal Watkins?”

She nodded and smiled, catching her lower lip between her teeth.

“Lucky guy. When’s the date?”

“Mid-October.”

Hope brushed a strand of hair back. It fell just past her shoulders now, shorter than it had been in high school. “I told Faith you might not be ready for bookings. She doesn’t realize how much goes into planning big events.” She definitely sounded hopeful.

“And I guess you’re the maid of honor?”

“And the wedding planner, basically.”

The Richardson-Watkins wedding on Bradshaw property would mean Hope Richardson shoved back into his sphere. Again. But it would also snag one of the biggest events of the season. Even though Neal’s parents had moved to Chattanooga, his extended tribe remained in Habersham County—the reason he’d attended their local college. And they were one of the most influential families in the area, benefactors of said college.

“Then let me show you around. We’ll be ready in plenty of time for a mid-October wedding.” Did that sound confident enough?

Tucker walked them into the rear portion of the building, his back burning. He could just feel Hope studying him. His t-shirt might catch on fire from the intensity of her perusal. Sure enough, when he pivoted to face them, she whisked her gaze back to his face, giving a startled blink. He almost laughed. That moment of unguarded attention gave him confidence. At least he wasn’t the only one affected by proximity, even four years later.

 




** Want to read more? Today through the end of the month, you can pre-order an e-book of A Harvest Heart for .99!**

https://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Heart-Georgia-Peaches-Book/dp/B09F1FXWDL/


  

Friday, September 17, 2021

Kathy's Kitchen, Recipes From Friends

When I mentioned making potato salad a while back, and asked for favorite recipes, I received these yummy replies from three friends. Thanks, guys.

 

From Nina:

 

I found the recipe for pulled mushrooms in the Washington Post. I won’t be using any fancy varieties- I can’t locate them here (Arizona), so I think I will try this with regular, large white mushrooms. It’s a vegetarian recipe and I look for those as my daughter doesn’t eat meat, so if we find a good recipe, we all can enjoy it.

 

You’ll think of dozens of ways to use these fork-shredded mushrooms, which soak up their marinade and turn juicy and succulent in the pan. They were designed by Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Creamery to look like pulled pork, but their texture is more delicate. Still, they would be at home in tacos, enchiladas or sandwiches, or tossed with pasta or rice. Note that king trumpets go by many names, including royal trumpet, king oyster and French horn mushroom.

Total time: 30 mins

Storage Notes: The mushrooms can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat in a hot skillet.

 

SERVINGS: 4  

Tested size: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 pound king trumpet mushrooms (a.k.a. king oyster, royal trumpet or French horn)

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch fine sea salt (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Pull the tines of a fork down the length of each mushroom to shred it, breaking up the head with your fingers, if needed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the maple syrup and smoked paprika. Add the mushrooms and toss well to coat. 

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they release their liquid, it evaporates and they start to brown and stick, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

From Erma:

 

Funny what we get known for! Mine is indoor smores. I had to bring two batches of this Golden Graham cereal mixture to my in-laws or there was no living it down!! They were inhaled in no time. Now my daughters make them so I'm duty-free!!! I've never added nuts - just seems wrong to me!!!

INDOOR S'MORES

Printed from COOKS.COMhttps://cooks.com/843tm4m7

 

2/3 c. light Karo syrup

2 tbsp. butter

1 pkg. (11 1/2 oz.) Nestles Real milk chocolate morsels

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pkg. (10 oz.) Golden Graham cereal (about 8 cups)

3 c. miniature marshmallows

1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Heat corn syrup, butter and chocolate morsels just to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in a large mixing bowl. Toss quickly until completely coated with chocolate. Fold in marshmallows, 1 cup at a time, fold in nuts. Press mixture into prepared pan with a buttered back of spoon. Let stand 1 hour. Cut into 1-1/2-inch squares.

 

From Patti:

 

Pasta Salad: There's nothing special to it, believe me. 

 

Slice one-and-one-half cucumbers, then cut each slice into quarters and set aside

Chop up 6-8 radishes, a half cup of hamburger dill pickles, and two large slices of onion and set aside

Cook 32 oz of macaroni (don't overcook!) drain and let cool.

Combine cucumber, radishes, pickles, and onion

Place macaroni in large mixing bowl, then stir in the above combined ingredients

Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix in well (when I say two tablespoons, I'm actually thinking of two large soup spoons, not the really big ones that you serve with, but the ones you eat with)

Salt and pepper to taste

Decorate with tomato slices

 

Okay, so I've never written out this recipe before. LOL! Take into consideration the amount you want to make and scale accordingly. Also, you can cut the cucumber slices in half if you have a skinny cucumber and cut the radishes in small pieces instead of chopping them in a chopper. I've just kind of made adjustments over the years. 

 

As you can see, there is absolutely nothing special about this recipe. However, when I mentioned that to one of my nieces, she said, "Yes there is, Aunt Pat. We know you make it with love!" I guess maybe that's the key! 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Grace and Truth, John 11

This is another well-known Bible story, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

 

Questions have been asked many times—why did Jesus Cry? Lazarus and his sisters were Jesus’ friends. Why didn’t he go to them immediately?

 

I’ve heard possible answers, and I have my own ideas, but truthfully, we only know what the Scripture verses tell us.

 

Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, was sick, and his sisters asked Jesus to come heal him. Jesus didn’t go until after Lazarus died.

 

Jesus would have known from the beginning that Lazarus was going to die, and that he was going to raise him from the dead.

 

In the meantime, he had to deal with his disciples’ questions, the sisters’ disappointment, the mourners’ speculations.

 

In the end, Jesus had his goals, and he explained this to his disciples.

 

Verses 14-15: So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

 

He spoke to his Father and explained to all of us what the whole event was about.

 

Verses 40-42: Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

 

He wept. Certainly he was upset. For the suffering of his friends? For the confusion of his disciples? For the lack of faith toward his Father? For the horror yet to come for all of them?

 

Maybe. Jesus was human with human feelings.

 

And he was God, completing his work, moving, with purpose, toward the finish. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Guest Host, David Parks

The Boy Who Closed the Sky by David Parks, one of my critique partners, is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for joining us, Dave.

 

Family in Fiction

Birdie—my one remaining sibling—phoned. She had read to page eight of The Boy Who Closed the Sky, A Novel of Elijah the Prophet

“I’m disappointed my baby brother didn’t give credit to our mother. Sunday afternoons she read Egermeier's Bible stories to us and would be proud her little boy published a Bible story.”

Mother read to us of David and his five smooth stones? Sorry. I only remembered Oliver Twist and Chuchundra, the muskrat, who never came out into the middle of the floor, but always crept round by the wall.

Birdie forgave my poor memory, and I told her to keep reading.

She’ll find family in a line I dug from the archives of 1946. With my spoon standing in the oatmeal, I leaned across our porcelain-top kitchen table and asked Dad, “Why doesn’t God just kill the devil?”

A few chapters later Birdie will phone again when Elijah says, “Small matter, pal.”—a phrase our dad used so often people called his business Pal’s Place.

Two lines, though, I’ll have to show her.

The first comes from Oboth, the desert spot where Moses lived in 1293 BC. When my wife, Delphine, and I lived there in 1984 AD, one night she looked up at the Lord’s brilliant star show. “The sun goes down and the sky is ours.”

The second line comes from a custom of my mother-in-law.

Elijah turned to his brother, Nathan, “Remember how mother takes your cheeks in both her hands?”

“Mm-hm. To help you listen. She holds your face and looks into your heart.”

So, bits from my family did work their way into the Elijah novel. Hmm… Had Mother’s Bible stories been the thumb in my back which nudged me to complete this book?

Elijah faced the king then glanced at the open gate.

Vendors and shoppers blocked his escape.

Lord, you’ve gotta get me out of here.

He leaned toward the king. “As the Lord lives—the God of Israel whom I stand and serve—for these next years we will have neither dew nor rain unless I say so.”

Guards lunged.

Elijah sprang for the gate and smacked into a donkey loaded with onions. “Uhh!” The air left his lungs.

“Grab that kid!”

The Elijah story for purchase: TinyURL.com/ElijahClosed

Or -  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1737353709?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

The first chapter’s free. Click on “Look inside.”

 

  

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Guest Host, Valerie Massey Goree

 

Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your story with us.

 


 

My Writing Journey:

 

Thank you for hosting me, Kathy.

 

Authors are often asked about their writing journey. You have probably read many posts on this subject, however, my journey did not start off on a positive note.

 

I grew up in the former British Colony of Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe in Central Africa. We followed the British educational system, and many of our teachers were from England. Although I believe we received an excellent education, some of the teachers were straitlaced and well, cold. I distinctly remember the teacher we had for 7th grade English. After we wrote our essays, she’d have us stand in front of the class and read them out loud. Then, she would critique our work and allow students to add their pros or cons.

 

At the time, I didn’t know that I had OCD tendencies. I followed instructions to the letter. I had no imagination outside of the assignment. My math work was immaculate, not always correct, but all my columns of numbers lined up perfectly.

 

The essay topic for this class assignment was to write about things we collected, for instance coins from foreign counties. My older brother had just left home and had given me his stamp collection. As you might imagine, the tiny square or rectangular stamps lined up next to each other on their special pages indulged my OCDness. Well, whoop-de-doo. I had something to write about. So I planned my essay, and began writing.

 

Mrs. Teacher—I remember what she looked like, but not her name—walked around the room and commented on what kids had written. One student received flowery compliments because she chose to write about two of her collections. I could do that. I collected many things that caught my OCD eye, items that met my desire for symmetry, or variations in color or size.

 

I completed my essay on my stamp collection, then added a few paragraphs about how I collected buttons and liked to sort them into colors, then line them up on the parquet flooring in my bedroom. I so wanted to receive compliments and couldn’t wait for Mrs. Teacher to hear my composition.

 

I have no idea what she said about my stamp collection because all I remember are her harsh words about how silly it was for a thirteen-year-old to be playing with buttons!

 

As you can imagine, creative writing was not high on my list after that. In fact, I hated writing and dreaded every writing assignment that came my way, even in University. I only began to open up to putting words on paper when I was in my forties.

 

The first novels I wrote were soundly rejected, but I kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision.

 

Fast forward to the present. My sixth novel released the end of July. Justice at Dawn is the third story in my Stolen Lives Trilogy. An International Retrieval Organization (IRO) agent in the first novel, Weep in the Night, is highlighted in the second, and an agent in Day of Reckoning is highlighted in the third. Each book features a standalone story. I always knew I wanted to tell Cooper’s story after his brief appearance in the second novel. Why was he single? How did he get his scar? What contributed to him being one-track minded in his work?

 



 

Blurb:

 

Cooper Callahan has been an International Retrieval Organization operative for fifteen years. In all that time he has never worked with a trainee like Kitty Claire Briggs. Overflowing with energy, KC isn’t quiet long enough for him to think. But when the boss assigns them a training mission to follow Sadie, his wife, KC’s serious side emerges.

 

Sure, former stunt double, KC, wants to be an agent, but she also has an ulterior motive to be accepted by IRO—she wants access to their superior technology. Can she locate her quarry without Cooper finding out?

 

As Cooper shares the finer points of surveillance with KC, his waning faith is strengthened by her enthusiasm for the Lord and for the job. When the training exercise turns into a real abduction, will KC’s naivetĂ© lead to death or to a successful conclusion to the case?  

 



 

Bio:

 

American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

 

After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired in Washington, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren.

 

Valerie writes romantic suspense novels, and her tag line is: Stories of Passion and Intrigue. Her novels include: Deceive Me Once; Colors of Deceit; The Stolen Lives Trilogy, Weep in the Night; Day of Reckoning; and Justice at Dawn. Set in Australia, Forever Under Blue Skies, is now available from Amazon.

 

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.

 

Check Valerie’s website to learn more about her books: www.valeriegoreeauthor.com

 

 

Purchase links:

Available from the publisher, Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group:

 

https://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=37_47

 

and from Amazon:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-at-Dawn-Stolen-Lives-ebook/dp/B08V5L4Q91/ 

Friday, August 20, 2021

We Need Not Fight Our Battles Alone

Psalm 56

Verses 1-2: O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me.

 

David said he was always being attacked. When I read this, I thought, people aren’t attacking me. How does this relate to me?

 

And yet, we all certainly do have an enemy.

 

1 Peter 5:8: Be alert and of sober mind.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

I don’t say this to frighten anyone. I say it to remind us to keep focused.

 

Psalm 56:3: But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

 

Like David, we do not need to fear defeat. We are not alone.

 

Verse 5: They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me.

 

The devil uses these same tools to fight against us, but we can follow David’s example of prayer to God.

 

Verse 7: Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down.

 

We must not forget the tender way God watches over us.

 

Verse 8: You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

 

Look at the promises we share with David.

 

Verse 9: My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!

 

Verse 13 For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.

 

Verse 10: I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.         

Friday, August 13, 2021

I want to be Open About My Mental Illness

When I was a young Christian, I was convinced my depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder were due to my own sin. I refused any medical help until my husband Murray insisted I go to a doctor.

 

I’m not saying sin isn’t involved. I am only too constantly aware of my own sin and its consequences.

 

But I believe all illness, including mental illness, is due to a fallen world. Because of thousands of years of sin, of turning away from God’s good way, because of people mistreating other people, their own bodies and souls, and mistreating the world around us, our world has digressed to illness, war, tragedy.

 

The answer to all of this is a relationship with Jesus and a future in Heaven. In the meantime, however, God has generously given us much assistance to go through this life of struggle, including medical treatment.

 

I again and again praise God for the miracle of medical assistance and medication.

 

I believe mental illness, as well as diabetes, heart disease, broken bones, and much, much more, can be helped by medication and other medical treatments.

 

I have gone for counseling, and I am sure this is a helpful tool. At one time in our lives, my husband and I believed that my being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward was the best solution. And I can’t praise God enough for the medication which continues to be such a balm for me.

 

For many years, I was ashamed of my mental illness. Now I believe those of us with that illness should not be any more ashamed than someone with diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc. No more than other disabilities, such as my blindness or hearing impairment. This is an illness which can be helped by medical assistance—praise God!

 

James 1:16-17: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

As our minds become more clear, we can be more fully involved in the help Jesus wants to give us.

 

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

For many years I’ve been touched by this passage, but recently I’ve come to a new understanding of it. Jesus isn’t offering to give us more burdens. He says he will yoke himself to us to help us carry those burdens that we already have.

 

I’m embarrassed to share this, but even more important, I want others who suffer this illness to know they don’t need to be, shouldn’t be ashamed.

 

Psalm 103:4: who redeems your life from the pit

       and crowns you with love and compassion,

 

I feel that God has redeemed my life from a pit, and I want others suffering from this illness to know that there is hope. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

More Than A Carpenter, by Josh Mcdowell

More Than a Carpenter by Josh Mcdowell. This is an older book, copyright 1977, but I often enjoy reading, or rereading, and learning from older books

 

Josh Mcdowell was a writer and speaker I heard of when I was in college in the early 1980s. Teachers at my church said he spoke on apologetics, which they said did not mean he apologized for his faith. The definition I found for apologetics is: reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.

 

More Than a Carpenter is a book which discusses evidence for believing Jesus is God.

 

Mcdowell mentions many verses from my favorite book of the Bible, the Gospel of John, as well as other New Testament books, to show that Jesus did claim to be God.

 

If he claimed this, then, Mcdowell says, we have to decide if he was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord.

 

Many people claim that Jesus was a good teacher, a moral man, but not God. However, if he claims to be God and is not, he is certainly not moral or a good teacher.

 

Why not a lunatic? Descriptions of his actions and words are not those of a lunatic. And, although some who claim to follow Jesus have done horrific deeds in history, many of his followers have performed much kindness and built up services of care to people throughout the world.

 

Mcdowell discusses evidence for Christ and the Bible from legal and historic verifications.

 

The Bible has much more evidence from the number of its documents which remain, and how close they are to the actual time of Jesus’ life, than any other ancient document. People do not argue whether these other documents are true, such as the writings of Aristotle and Caesar.

 

Mcdowell discusses writings by others from the time of the early church, outside the Bible, which talk about Jesus. Archaeology confirms the historical accuracy of the bible.

 

People have been willing to die for a lie. But would that be true of the disciples? They did not expect Jesus to die. The Jews believed their Messiah would set up an earthly kingdom, save them from the oppression of the Romans.

 

When Jesus was arrested, most of the disciples ran away from him. After he died, they were discouraged, scared, and hid. But, shortly afterward, they turned bold and, even when arrested and beaten, they kept on teaching about his resurrection bravely. A legend which was not true would have taken a long time to develop, but they started doing this immediately after he died.

 

Can we trust the disciples? They were seen as moral people. They were so dramatically changed from what they had expected the Messiah to be, and from the cowards they were after he died. They were willing to stand up boldly, even though they were arrested, beaten, and most were killed, for their faith.

 

Scientifically, we cannot prove that Napoleon or George Washington lived. We cannot perform an experiment and prove it right before our eyes. We believe it because of the testimony of those in history.

 

This book discussed the Old Testament prophesies and predictions about the Messiah, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, which he fulfilled.

 

Mcdowell described his own story of becoming a Christian and the changes that happened in his life.

 

We have faith in Christ, not blind faith, but intelligent faith. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Grace and Truth, Jesus and the Father are One, John 10:11-42


Verses 14-16: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

 

What a joy, that Jesus was thinking all the way to us today and beyond, not only of the people with him then. What a privilege to be accepted as part of his family.

 

Verses 17-18: The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

 

We have no reason to doubt that Jesus wanted to give his life for us.

 

Verses 28-29: I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

 

I grab on to this promise, that no one can snatch me from the hands of Jesus.

 

Verses 30-33: “I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

 

Jesus knew he would make them mad, but he had the courage to tell the awesome, important, necessary truth anyway.

  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Kathy's Kitchen, Porcupine Meatballs in the Crockpot

Welcome back to Kathy’s Kitchen. I’ve been enjoying searching through recipes and sharing recipes with my mom recently, so you may be hearing more from Kathy’s kitchen.

 

This dish is something I do regularly, and our family loves it.

 

Porcupine Meatballs in the Crockpot

 

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1/2 c. raw rice

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped

1/2 c. green pepper, finely chopped

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 (10 1/2 oz.) can tomato soup

1 can diced tomatoes and liquid

In mixing bowl combine ground beef, rice, onion, green pepper, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well to blend. Shape meat mixture into 24 meatballs, about 1 1/2

inches in diameter. Place meatballs in slow cooking pot. Pour soup and diced tomatoes over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for

 4 to 5 hours. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Now in Kathy’s kitchen, we always remember the rule my husband Murray taught me, “A recipe is merely a suggestion.”

 

I use two pounds of meat, usually one of beef and one of sausage. For a sauce, I use a jar of salsa or bottle of barbecue sauce. It’s sometimes a little dry, so I’m planning to add an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce next time.

 

I’m working on convincing Murray to let me cook these to go with our spaghetti sometime, but for now, we eat these on hamburger buns. Mmm mmm good. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Together for Good Series, LeighAnne Clifton

Thank you, LeighAnne for giving me a chance for an interview in your newsletter.

 

 

 

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Don't forget to share with your friends and encourage them to subscribe!

More great author & artist spotlights are lined up!

AS PROMISED, THE NEW BOOK COVER....

Here it is! The cover for the 2nd book in the Together for Good series, Ready to Forgive! I hope it starts the wheels turning in your head... What happens with Alex and Chad? How is the relationship between Miss Matilda and Terry?

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Pop over to the Book News page (link below) and leave a comment, question, or even your guess at what the cover hints at!

 

I think you'll be surprised!!!

 

Book News Link

https://alive-leighjourney.com/all-your-heart-book-news/

 

And now, let's

welcome this week's

Author Spotlight!

Kathy McKinsey

 

This week, we'll learn about Kathy McKinsey. I had the privilege recently of being the guest blogger for Kathy's blog. You can check out that post here.

 

Introducing: Kathy McKinsey - Woman of Many Talents

 

Kathy McKinsey wears many hats: Christian, wife, mom, vision rehabilitation therapist, and author! Kathy has a blog (which you can navigate to below) that keeps her busy. She's also published several books and loves sharing her stories with readers.

 

Kathy's story is a beautiful reminder that God has amazing plans for us in all circumstances!

How long have you wanted to become an author? What made you take the leap?

 

I dreamed of publishing a book since I was a teenager. I did have a few short stories published in magazines then. But for over 30 years, I wrote little, using college, work and raising a family as excuses. Nine years ago, I had to stop work because of health reasons, and God encouraged me to pick up my writing dream again.

 

What is your most recent book about?

 

My most recent book, Gifts of Grace, is a collection of women’s fiction novellas. Stories of women with struggles and sorrows who find hope and grace in Jesus.

 

I also have two other books, All My Tears, another collection of women’s fiction novellas, and Millie’s Christmas, a children’s Christmas story.

 

Do you write around a certain theme? Or do you just let the story guide you?

 

I have a basic theme when I start writing, but God sends me delightful surprises as I travel through the story.

 

 

How did you find your publisher? What do you like the most about them?

 

Mantle Rock Publishing published all three of my books. I met Kathy Cretsinger when she taught a monthly class for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I will always be grateful to Mantle Rock for taking a chance on a beginning author.

 

Mantle Rock has recently transferred most of their books to Scrivenings Press, and I look forward to working with them. I am currently in the process of independently re-publishing Millie’s Christmas, which only makes me appreciate my publishers more.

What's your favorite Scripture verse and why?

 

So many favorites. This one comforts me and gives me joy:

 

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86:5

 

What are some of your favorite things? Basically, how do you like to spend your free time (as if authors actually have any of that!)

 

We have had cats in our home ever since our children were small. We also had dogs when my son lived at home with his guide dogs from The Seeing Eye. Such joys!

 

Although dark chocolate will always make me smile, my favorite food is a hamburger with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise.

 

My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. My husband Murray introduced me to the movie The Sound of Music soon after we were married, and we have watched it repeatedly over the years.

 

How can folks find you?

 

You can find me online at the following places:

 

·         Website

·         Facebook

·         Twitter

·         Email

 

Thanks for joining us, Kathy! I love your story and your willingness to go where God was leading. He's always an on-time God, equipping us for what He's prepared us for. I'm sure the readers will want to check out your books by clicking the links above.

 

Don't Miss the "Fruity" Series!

This week the summer-long series on the Fruit of the Spirit continues with a look at LOVE and JOY!

 

The information in the series will soon be available in Bible study format and will include additional content, more accompanying reference Scripture, and study questions.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Fruit of the Spirit - Love & Joy

https://alive-leighjourney.com/fruit-of-the-spirit-love/

 

Remember to share this newsletter with a friend and remind them to subscribe! Great bonus content and more sneak peeks will be available ONLY to SUBSCRIBERS!

 

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