Friday, August 12, 2022

Even More Salads From Kathy's Kitchen

I  got some great responses to my salad blob last week, and I decided to share them.

 

From my friend Nina:

 Salads are so good and one that has been my favorite is only as good with fresh summer garden produce.  Tomatoes and basil grow well in Tucson (though the tomatoes need some shade cloth) so I like lots of chopped, home grown tomatoes, fresh basil, pieces of fresh mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Some salt and pepper.   

 

We have a tomato plant on the side of the house, growing out of the gravel.  It’s a tangled bunch of stems and it produces tiny tomatoes the size of a thumbnail.  Tiny, but delicious.  We do nothing to care for these wild type tomato plants and yet we can gather handfuls of these tiny gems for salads.  And plain lettuce and tomato salads are good too!

 

From my friend Sherri:

 

We make taco salads pretty often. They are quick to make.

 

Start by creating some type of taco meat. I usually brown ground beef and add my own seasonings. You could use a package of taco seasoning to make it easier. You could also make shredded chicken and season it for your protein. Once you have your protein, it is time to layer your salad.

 

Layer 1: crushed nacho cheese Doritos

Layer 2: chopped or shredded lettuce

Layer 3: taco meat

Layer 4: chopped tomatoes

Layer 5: shredded cheese

 

Top with sour cream, salsa, black olives as desired.

 

And here are two comments that were anonymous:

 

I don't have a favorite salad, but I can tell you about one that I ate way too much of back in the day: Jello mold salads. I've eaten them w/nuts, cranberries, mandarin oranges, and marshmallows. Sorry to say, if I see one at a potluck, it's probably the only thing I'll avoid. Sad but true! :)

 

And:

 

Here’s my go to salad recipe. Every time I bring it to someone’s house, they ask for the recipe.

 

Mandarin Orange Salad

 

Servings: 5

 

Ingredients

 

½ c vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

¼ c cider vinegar (Sometimes I use balsamic vinegar)

¼ c white sugar

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

1.2 c sliced almonds (works with slivered almonds too)

¼ c white sugar

1 head leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 c chopped celery

1 (11-oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained

 

Directions

 

1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until use.

 

2. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cook and stir the almonds and sugar until the sugar is melted and the almonds are coated. Remove from heat, cool, and break apart. Store at room temperature until ready to serve salad.

 

3. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, celery, oranges, almonds and dressing until evenly coated. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Summer Salad from Kathy's Kitchen

I got this recipe from Marilyn, who was my boss. We’re eating salads more often these days, and I’d love if you’d share favorite recipes with me.

 

Just reading this one makes my mouth water.

 

SEVEN LAYER SALAD,

 

Ingredients:

One head or bag of lettuce

One bag frozen peas (frozen or fresh broccoli can be substituted.)

One large onion chopped well

One pound of crisp bacon crumbled

One to two cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs sliced

one to two cups Miracle Whip

paprika

parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Put lettuce in a large salad bowl.

Layer frozen peas on top of the lettuce

Layer onion on top of peas.

Layer bacon on top of onions.

Layer mozzarella cheese on top of bacon.

Layer sliced eggs on top of cheese

Spoon Miracle Whip over entire top of salad.

Sprinkle top with paprika and parmesan cheese.

For best results cover and refrigerate overnight.

Or cover and shake well. Or serve it up just as it is. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Hope From Jeremiah

God sent his people into captivity because of their sin, and he punished them. But his heart was to forgive them, to give them hope and a good life.

 

Jeremiah 33:3:

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

 

Jeremiah 24:7:

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

 

Jeremiah 29:10-14:

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

Jeremiah 31: 33-34:

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness

    and will remember their sins no more.”

 

These promises are for us today too. God will give us a heart to know him. If we seek him, if we return to him, we will find him. If we call on him and pray to him, he will hear us. He puts knowledge of him in our hearts, forgives us, and remembers our sin no more. Thank you, Father. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

A Collection of Books

these are just a few of the books I've enjoyed recently.


You're the one that I want: a Christiansen family novel by Susan May Warren. Beautiful descriptions of grace.

 

Sequoia Scout by Brock and Bodie Thoene, breath-stopping adventure in California when it still belonged to Mexico.

 

Between Sundays, by Karen Kingsbury, football and foster kids, fathers and sons.

 

War room: prayer is a powerful weapon by Chris Fabry. Written from the 2015 movie, story of prayer as a weapon to save a troubled marriage.

 

The other Wes Moore: one name, two fates by Wes Moore. Two young men, African American, approximately the same age, from similar neighborhoods in Baltimore. Both grew up without a father in their homes. They grew up to follow two drastically different lives. The author provides a detailed list of organizations which serve and help young people in trouble.

 

Tiger in the sea: the ditching of Flying Tiger 923 and the desperate struggle for survival by Eric Lindner. A fascinating account of an airplane which had to make a forced landing in the North Atlantic in 1962, and heartwarming stories of survivors’ lives after. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Christmas in July

A Christmas in July gift—a blog tour! 




Happy Christmas in July! Welcome to the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway, which runs July 15-22, 2022 (contest closes at 8 p.m. Eastern on 7/22). At the bottom of each author’s blog post, you will find the name of a Christmas song. Write them all down and provide all song titles (26 in total) on this Google form. Click here for a list of all participating authors and their links!

Note: You must grab all the song titles from every author in the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway to be eligible to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each participating author's book OR first place prize of a copy of each participating author's book. At the end of this blog post is a link to the next blog, and so on, to the final blog post (26 authors in all). 


 

I mostly write women’s fiction. Two of my published books are collections of women’s fiction novellas. But my third book, Millie’s Christmas, is a children’s story.

 

Several years ago in December, I decided to challenge myself to write every day by writing a Christmas story. When I started writing the first day, I didn’t know what a gift god was going to give me.

 

Millie’s Christmas has brought me such joy. Truly, I believe this story was a gift from God. I am not a children’s book author.

 

I promote this as a story for children kindergarten to second grade, but I believe people of any age can enjoy it.

 

MILLIE’S CHRISTMAS

 

This is Millie’s first Christmas, and Ruthie says she’ll love it. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and Ruthie’s brother Jake crying?

 

This story is told from the point of view of Millie, an orange kitten. Her best friend Ruthie, who is six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—the food, decorations, music, presents—and Millie keeps hearing about Jesus. Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

 

Then Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, and Millie also starts learning about sad things—like divorce—when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.



Now, it’s time for my Christmas song title: Jingle Bell Rock.

Save the holiday song titles from each of the 26 blog stops, and when you reach the final blog, enter all the song titles on this form for a chance to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card and a copy of each participating author's featured book OR first prize of a copy of each participating author's featured book.

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Donna Schlachter, and her Christmas book Time Will Tell. You can find it at this link:

https://donnaschlachter.com/welcome-to-christmas-in-july-reader-blog-tour

Remember, the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway ends July 22 at 8 PM EST!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Psalm 8, A Precious Reminder

This Psalm reminds me of a beautiful praise song I have sung in church in the past, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” What a lovely memory.

 

Psalm 8: For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

    in the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels

    and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

    you put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,

    and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,

    and the fish in the sea,

    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Father, let our praise silence your enemies. You, a great creator, care for people. You have honored us with asking us to care for what you’ve created. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Grace and Truth, Amazing Promises, John 14:1-14

Jesus knew his time was close. He spent these final hours with his disciples, giving them comfort, answering questions, making promises.

 

Verses 1-6: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Jesus makes an amazing promise—that we, his people, will do even greater works than he did.

 

Verses 11-14: Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

 

Lord, help me lean into your promise, and do what will bring you glory. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Jingle Daisy

We had to get a new cat last October. Our old one decided to move out of our house. He was actually our daughter’s cat, so she took him with her when she got her own apartment.

 

We went to the local animal shelter and looked at every cat in the room. My husband Murray showed me a few; got them out of their cages for me to hold. When we came to the last cat in the room he said, “Let’s take that one.”

 

A year and a half old, she was pretty scrawny; she’d been abandoned. They’d named her Spooky, because it was Halloween, but Murray had planned ahead of time we’d call her Daisy.

 

Daisy hid a lot the first few days, except at night. The very first night, she jumped on our bed. She sleeps with us almost every night. During the winter, she crawled under the covers and snuggled up against me.

 

We found some extra loud bells for cat collars, so I can hear where they are better with my hearing loss. And this cat is very energetic. Running and jumping and jingling all over the house.

 

When I go upstairs, she runs after me, racing past me on the stairs. Unless she comes behind me and grabs at my feet.

 

Daisy loves to help me when I knit and crochet, stretching the yarn a few feet out of the bag.

 

There are many places in the house she loves. She jumps on the table when we’re eating. She perches on the seat of my exercise bike. Of course, she loves to look out the window, at whatever is going on in the rest of the world. She jumps up on the sink in the bathroom.

 

Once in a while, she’ll crawl on my lap and curl up when I sit in my recliner in the living room. Often, she’ll climb to the back of the chair and lie behind my head, sometimes reaching to pull my hair with her claws. She loves my chair. She uses it as a scratching post.

 

Daisy likes to help me with my work on my computer. Sometimes when the computer is on my lap, she spends sometime on the keyboard, helping with whatever document I’m working on. She has something to say. She might add a bunch of Gs, a few Hs and Ps, a bunch of brackets, and at least twenty blank lines.

 

Daisy is not very talkative, but once when she was shut up inside the bedroom with me, she ran back and forth across the room. “Meow? Meow?” I answered her. “Meow?”

 

In a flash, she jumped on the bed, ran up my body to my chest, turned, and ran away again.

 

What a lot of fun!

 

And, not complaining about Eli, our daughter’s cat, but Daisy purrs a lot louder.

 

What a gift God has given us. Daisy makes me smile all day long. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

When I Think of the Cross

While going through old documents for possible memoir goodies, I found this poem, written around 2002.

 

When I Think of the Cross

 

Of You on the cross,

And what You suffered there,

Beyond the physical pain,

To the pain and shame and eternal aloneness of Your soul,

That You suffered for me,

I am crushed.

And brought low.

And tempted to stay low

From the sorrow of it.

 

But Your voice gently reminds me to look up!

To where You’re seated now,

In the glory You deserve.

You won the victory.

And if I come up

Out of the ugliness of my soul,

You win the victory again. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Continuing Grace

Are you like me, a sinner saved by Jesus, who often still sins?

 

That is the biggest struggle in my life, believing that God can still forgive me when I sin again after I’ve experienced his grace; being able to accept his forgiveness for the sin I commit after I’ve learned of his love for me.

 

A wise counselor once explained to me that the devil works harder on me than he does on people who are at the bar every night. If God wouldn’t still forgive us, why would the devil still bother with us Christians?

 

At times in my life when I’ve doubted the existence of God, I’ve never had trouble believing in the devil. Although I can’t blame him for my sin, I can surely recognize all the ways he tempts and harasses me.

 

And he would not need to bother with me if I were not still eligible for god’s grace.

 

1 Peter 5:8-9: 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

Does this mean I need to focus my thinking on the devil all the time?

 

Another wise teacher once said that experts on counterfeit money do not spend most of their time looking at counterfeit bills. Instead they focus their attention on being more and more familiar with what real money looks like. Then they will recognize when a bill is not correct.

 

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

God saved us when we did not love him. But now that we have joined our lives to Jesus, he works even harder for us.

 

Romans 5:9-10: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

 

Does that mean we just continue a life of sin and not worry about it? I don’t believe anyone who truly longs for a life with Christ really believes that. Our deepest heart is to obey God.

 

Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

 

As a longtime student of the bible, I know the Scriptures which answer these fears I have. Yet I worry that my heart has become too hard, that God’s hope can no longer break through my crust of fear.

 

Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow,

and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

And yet God’s hope still finds me. His word is living, and he brings to my mind anew the promises that his grace is still for me.

 

The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, struggled with the wretchedness of sin he still dealt with. I recommend reading the whole of Romans chapter 7, but I want to share a few of the verses of Romans 7:14-25 which God reminded me of recently.

 

Romans 7: 14-16: We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

19: For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

21-25: So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Psalm 7, Trusting the Justice of God

David was a man of strong emotions. In other Psalms he agonizes over his sin and begs God for forgiveness.

 

In this case, David was confident of his righteousness and calls on God to display his anger and justly deal with the wicked and David’s enemies. David trusted God to protect him from those who pursued him.

 

Psalm 7: A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

Lord my God, I take refuge in you;

    save and deliver me from all who pursue me,

or they will tear me apart like a lion

    and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Lord my God, if I have done this

    and there is guilt on my hands—

if I have repaid my ally with evil

    or without cause have robbed my foe—

then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;

    let him trample my life to the ground

    and make me sleep in the dust.

Arise, Lord, in your anger;

    rise up against the rage of my enemies.

    Awake, my God; decree justice.

Let the assembled peoples gather around you,

    while you sit enthroned over them on high.

    Let the Lord judge the peoples.

Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,

    according to my integrity, O Most High.

Bring to an end the violence of the wicked

    and make the righteous secure—

you, the righteous God

    who probes minds and hearts.

My shield[d] is God Most High,

    who saves the upright in heart.

God is a righteous judge,

    a God who displays his wrath every day.

If he does not relent,

    he will sharpen his sword;

    he will bend and string his bow.

He has prepared his deadly weapons;

    he makes ready his flaming arrows.

14 

Whoever is pregnant with evil

    conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.

Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out

    falls into the pit they have made.

The trouble they cause recoils on them;

    their violence comes down on their own heads.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;

    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

 

David had many trials and sorrows, yet he trusted in God’s justice and praised him for his righteousness

 

Lord, help me to trust you to punish those who cause horror in our world 

Friday, May 27, 2022

A Prayer From My Heart

My heart has been so sick since the school shooting in Texas this week, so quickly following other mass shootings in our country. I don’t know how parents are able to live this way, sending their children to school each day.

 

I pray for the families and students in Texas, and I pray for a change in our country.

 

Father God, help the families and students from Texas to find comfort from your hand. I know you ache for them.

 

And Father, give us in the United States wisdom and the courage to bring about changes in our country. I know you can help us, and that you want to. Help us be wise and brave, and to love each other.

 

Philippians 4: 6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Guest Author, Angela D. Shelton

Thank you, Angela, for sharing with us.

 

Just One More

By Angela D. Shelton

 

No more animals please…

…Except maybe that one.

Whenever people hear I live on a cattle ranch, specific visions pop into their minds. Fields, fences, cowboy hats, and horses are among the most common. Romantic rides into the sunset.

To which I say, “Yeah. Right!”

First, I live in Georgia. Think yellow pine—everywhere. Ranchers carved pastures out of the trees here and the fence lines need to be maintained or those pines will take over in a heartbeat.

Second, we rarely ride off into the sunset. We may enjoy it from the back deck, but we don’t have time to meander towards it, most days.

Cattle, chickens, greenhouse, dogs, and crops fill our days, and sometimes evenings, weekends, and vacations as well.

One of the most frequent questions is: “Do you have a horse?” Usually, children ask this, and it’s most often a girl who inquires. Sometimes big girls, too. But unfortunately for them, the answer is always the same: “No.”

We don’t have the time or money to devote to one more animal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that to myself, or to my husband. And he’s said it many times to me as well.

But then we saw this poor Labrador lying beside the road, obviously in trouble. She’d been hit by a car. No tags, no collar, nobody to take care of her.

We already had two large dogs. Ricky and Lucy, who are constantly underfoot. No, really. Constantly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped over a dog who was determined to lie beside me, under my feet, or behind me when I wasn’t looking.

As a couple, we’ve agreed, many times, no more dogs, cats, birds, snails… anything that requires care. We’ve got plenty to care for now as it is. Thank you very much!

And then we saw her. Lying there. We couldn’t drive by.

When my husband lifted the dog into the truck, she was too dizzy from a concussion to do more than nip at him. The poor baby. Fortunately, our vet was nearby, an extremely kind man with a staff who loves animals and cares for them.

After a week in the doctor’s office, and she was well enough to go home. But where was home? We didn’t know, and she wasn’t telling. The local vet hadn’t seen her before, so he didn’t know where she belonged either.

We called a few people and shared her picture, but no home.

So, guess what?

Now we have three big dogs that we trip over and fight with for the couch.

Apparently, we had room for one more in our home and in our hearts. I guess our limits aren’t more than mental stopping points.

Perhaps you have a place in your heart where you’ve put up your hand and said, “no more.” Is there perhaps a little wiggle room instead? Not necessarily a dog, but perhaps a friend you can invite on a girls’ day out? Or a neighbor who could use a home cooked meal? Or a charity who could put that last $5 in your pocket to good use?

Take a peek. Maybe you really have room… for one more.

 

Collapse: The Death of Honor is in pre-release sales now and is live on June 1st. 

 


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z2VHHB5 

Caleb already lost his dreams when the variant ended life as he knew it, but when blackmailers threaten to destroy his life permanently, he must learn to trust others to forgive or lose the only family he has. 

In a collapsing society, former quarterback Caleb Worthington is no longer a teenager with a secret in his past, but a man searching for his future. But when a blackmailer uses his mistakes against him, his nightmares take over reality. Now, trying to safeguard everything the Worthingtons stand for, he’s finding out being a man is as much about one’s choices as actions—and his are putting his family at risk. 

As the blackmailers up their game, his home-field advantage dwindles, and he can’t count on his teammates since even his best friend is acting the fool. 

Unwilling to share the burden, despite how it’s affecting his family, can he find an honorable play once this “game” really kicks off? And what will it take for Caleb to come clean with those he loves? 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Grace and Truth, John 13:31-38, Our Assignment to Love

Jesus lovingly called his disciples “My children.” He warned them that soon, he would no longer be with them.

 

Verse 33: “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

 

Jesus left them, and us, with a huge assignment, to love each other as he loved us, to show the world we belong to him.

 

34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

Peter promised that he would die for Jesus. Jesus was fully aware of Peter’s coming denial. Yet, above, he called him his child.

 

36-38: Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

 

Lord, I yearn to be a sign of your love by the way I treat others. Thank you for loving me as your child, even with all the times I’ve failed you. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

A Great New Friendship

I always thought of myself as a good daughter. As soon as I left for college, I started calling my folks every week. Back in the days when letters were more common, I even wrote once a week.

 

A few years ago, when I got a cell phone with unlimited hours, I thought, why not call Mom twice a week?

 

In the summer of 2020, my mom had knee surgery and was in the hospital and rehab for most of July. I know how not fun it is to be in the hospital, so I called her every day.

 

Once she went home, I had a brilliant idea. Why not continue calling her every day? My husband Murray asked why I’d only been calling her twice a week before. My only answer was, “Habit.”

 

I usually call Mom around 2:00 in the afternoon, when a TV show she likes to watch is over. I love this time we have together so much.

 

I was never really a good daughter. When I was younger, I didn’t want to talk to my parents about personal stuff. As I aged, I thought I shouldn’t say anything that might upset or worry them.

 

Really, it was pretty much always my mom I spoke with. My dad wasn’t much of a phone talker. But he’s been gone for 13 years, and my mom lives alone now.

 

I hope my mom feels the same, but I really enjoy the new relationship we have.

 

Some days we struggle to find much to talk about. Other days we go on for nearly an hour, and if Murray asks what we talked about, I have a hard time remembering anything.

 

We discuss our physical complaints. Mom told me she read in a women’s health book that our bladder is the size of a walnut. Sounds about right.

 

We love talking about food, what we’re having for dinner, what we’ve cooked lately, eating restaurant food.

 

Recently, Mom had a doctor appointment to go to. Afterward, she sat in the car while my brother went into the store to get a few things. She told me about the people watching she enjoyed doing.

 

Of course, it’s always easy for me to talk about my kids, and Mom tells me about my brothers and other relatives.

 

Mom, Lila Mae, is an artist. She tells me she’s done some drawing, but most of her art is done through quilting, crocheting, embroidery, patterns she follows and ones she makes up.

 

I must have inherited that desire from her. I can’t come up with any of my own patterns, and I can’t do all she does, but I love to knit and crochet.

 

We love talking about things we’re working on, new patterns. It’s nice to be able to ask her questions about a crochet project I’m working on.

 

We laugh. We’re sad. We gripe. Weather is an almost daily thing to complain about.

 

It’s all such a joy to me. I could feel sad that I let so many years go by without enjoying this wonderful person in my life, but what good would that do? I just thank God for the gift he’s given me to share with my mom every day now. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Guest Author Chris Posti, God is Amazing

Thank you, Chris. This is a lovely and fun book.

 

God is Amazing.

 

We know that. Yet it’s worth taking our time to think about the ways He has worked in our lives.

 

For example, a reporter recently asked me if my work experience was used in writing my novel, Falling Apart, Falling for You.


 

You bet it was! I recounted for him a few experiences that proved particularly helpful. In my first job, I worked as a secretary, where I learned how to type fast and accurately. A few years later, while living in Switzerland, I taught English by day and spoke French in public.

 

Back in the States, I started my own consulting business, which initially provided services such as training and speeches. In an effort to gain credibility and visibility, I wrote a Sunday newspaper column on careers and workplace issues—even hosted a talk radio show on those topics. I also self-published some nonfiction books relating to my work.

 

Later on, I narrowed my focus to just two areas: executive coaching and job search consulting. For the executives I coached, we often worked on their written communications. When I did job search consulting (called “outplacement” in corporate America), employers paid me to help a “terminated” employee write their resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, in addition to many other parts of their job search.

 

As you can imagine, all these efforts refined my writing skills.

 

Frankly, at this point in my life, I was feeling pretty puffed up about my writing ability—until the Lord led me to write a novel.

 

About that, I discovered, I knew nothing.

 

Nothing.

 

Such a humbling experience.

 

Perhaps you are questioning if your background is “enough” for writing a book or for any other new challenge. As you have seen by all the experience I listed above, I certainly had a strong writing background, yet it was not “enough” to write a novel. Only the Lord could provide what I needed to get that novel written. He gave me every idea, every word, every twist & turn, every laugh in the entire book. Then, He gave me a publisher—the very first one (and the only one) I queried.

 

Jehovah-Jirah certainly did provide. He will provide for you, too, if you trust in Him and not yourself.

 

 

He is Amazing.

 

You can count on Him.

 

Through all the trials, His Word spurred me on. Here is one of my favorite verses:

 

I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

            Psalm 81:10

 

I give Him all the glory.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Guest Author, Carol McClain, Hope for the Hopeless

Thank you, Carol, for this precious reminder.

 

Hope for the Hopeless

Have you ever fallen so low you know you’ll never find forgiveness?

I have. Fortunately for you and me, I’m not going to bore you with the silliness of my self-loathing. Mostly, I understand redemption, and we don’t need to revisit my tortuous climb back to reality.

I think many people have felt too unworthy to have God’s love. However, we have good news. Something you already know but need to be reminded of. Jesus loves you. Faith in him and his sacrifice on the cross redeems you. It saved me, and cleansed sinners like C.S. Lewis, an erstwhile atheist; John Bunyan; Simon Peter; King David, and Rahab, to name a few.

Even today, Christ’s love redeems the unredeemable. Here’s an incident that haunts me from a conversation I had with my husband. Neil, and I were discussing forgiveness and heaven. In my very self-righteous manner, I made a statement along the lines that I hoped Hitler never got around to repenting. He’d ruin my eternity.

Then Neil sucker-punched me with the following truth. “If Hitler repented, then he’d be in heaven, and you’d never feel this animosity toward him. It wouldn’t be possible to hate in heaven. God would love Hitler as much as anyone else.” Neil made the statement more intense. “Maybe you’d love him too. Heaven can’t hold hatred.”

I couldn’t breathe as this truth overwhelmed me. God’s love is so great, so inscrutable that he could forgive the unforgiveable. People like Judas, Hitler, Putin, and the guy who cut you off in traffic and totaled your car, are loved by our heavenly Father. Had they repented and truly turned to Christ, they’d be redeemed.

Trust me, no one’s fallen so low that God’s love can’t redeem.

In my book, Prodigal Lives, Book 2 of the Treasured Lives series and the sequel to Borrowed Lives, Pearl Solomon knows she’s destroyed her life. After years of lost contact with her sisters and foster mother because of her jealousy, she has nowhere to turn when her life spirals into the depths of hell.

It’s a novel filled with love, pathos, family, redemption, and my trademark humor.



Back Cover Blurb

Life keeps piling problems on Meredith Jaynes. She loses her second foster child—one she was scheduled to adopt. Then Parker Snow refuses to marry her. With only her goats and artisan soap to support her, life will get no better.

If she is honest, though, she still has Crystal. Her funny, happy, loveable toddler makes the sun shine and reminds her of the never-failing love of God.

Pearl Solomon loves her life with her grandfather Guy, but every one of her triumphs is overshadowed by her sisters’ lives. With Mama Meredith, they live a life she envies. Because of her jealousy, she refuses to contact them.

Years later, life for both families twist down paths they do not wish to travel. Pearl knows she’s lost what was most precious in life but has no means of fixing things. Left to her own devices, she spirals out of control.

Meredith finds it harder to mask the despair infertility has brought to her life.

Both families believe they must reconcile themselves to their fates as reality shatters their dreams unless they dig deep for the promise of love.

Buy now: https://www.amazon.com/Prodigal-Lives-Carol-McClain/dp/164949551X/ref

Bio




Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, a budding potter and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and her prized goats. Buttercup will be a mommy around the time you read this. Welcome to the new kid on the block named Mousse or Moose.

You can connect with her at carolmcclain.com.

She also can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/author.Carol.McClain

BookBub at: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/carol-mcclain

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14030286.Carol_McClain

 

Friday, April 15, 2022

The Joy of Jesus

At this time of year, we often talk of Jesus’ suffering, the horror, the tragedy. I never want to minimize that. I want to grow in my thanksgiving for all the pain Jesus went through for me.

 

But I also think it is good for us to remember, at any time of year, how great was Jesus’ joy and desire to bring us safe home to God.

 

Hebrews 12:2: fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

This verse takes my breath away. Jesus scorned the shame of the cross because of the joy set before him. We are that joy. And because Jesus looked forward to the joy of having us in his family, he endured the cross.

 

Romans 5:6-8: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Jesus loved us, and died for us, while we were still sinners.

 

Isaiah 53: 11: After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

 

In this passage which describes Jesus’ horrible suffering, it says he will be satisfied.

 

Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Jesus offers us the opportunity and power to work with him to bring others to be part of his family.

 

Hebrews 7:25: Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him,

since he always lives to make intercession for them.

 

Jesus lives now to speak to God the Father on our behalf.

 

Jesus, teach us more fully to understand how important we are to you. I love you, Lord. 

Friday, April 8, 2022

Psalm 6, A brave Plea

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger

    or discipline me in your wrath.

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;

    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

My soul is in deep anguish.

    How long, Lord, how long?

Turn, Lord, and deliver me;

    save me because of your unfailing love.

Among the dead no one proclaims your name.

    Who praises you from the grave?

I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping

    and drench my couch with tears.

My eyes grow weak with sorrow;

    they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,

    for the Lord has heard my weeping.

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;

    the Lord accepts my prayer.

All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;

    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

 

Lord God, thank you for allowing us to cry to you when we are in such pain. Thank you for accepting our prayers, and thank you for your mercy. Lord, thank you that you have put my enemy, Satan, to shame. I love you, Lord. 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Kathy's Kitchen, Nutty Shakes and Two Slow Cooker Chili

It’s no April fool—you get two recipes this time.

 

From Mary:

 

Two slow cooker Chili

 

Ingredients:

4 pounds lean hamburger meat

1 pound breakfast pork sausage

1 large onion

2 packages (1 ounce each) Williams Chili Mix

4 bottles (12 ounces each) Heinz Chili sauce

1 cup Pace Picante Medium Chunky Salsa

2 cans chili beans (My daughter Christie substituted the equivalent of one can of beans with leftover bean soup.)

 

Chop the onion. Cook the onion with the meat in a large skillet. With a slotted spoon, dip the meat and onion from the skillet and add the other ingredients to a large bowl. Stir. Cook in two medium slow cookers for four hours.

 

 

NUTTY SHAKE 

 

I found this shake recipe in some of my old files when I was searching through for memoir-worthy stuff. I have no idea where I got the recipe from, or when, because there was no date, but I was tickled that it says to pour over the sink. That does sound like a suggestion I would be liable to give in Kathy’s Kitchen, or even in a lesson as a rehab teacher.

 

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 cups milk

2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

 

In a big bowl, place the peanut butter; pour in the milk and mix with a fork. Add ice cream; mix with an egg beater until    everything is foamy. Pour the milk shake into four glasses.  Pour over the     sink in case you spill. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Grace and Truth, John 13:1-30, Love to the End

Verse 1: It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

 

Jesus loved his disciples until the last minute he was with them.

 

Verses 4-5: so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 

He washed his disciples’ feet, giving them a lesson and example to serve each other.

 

Verses 8-10: “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

 

Jesus calmly dealt with Peter’s usual impulsivity.

 

Verses 18-19: “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.”

 

He continued to teach them Scripture, and worked to increase their faith.

 

Verses 21 and 27: After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

 

I believe Jesus had loved Judas, and it broke his heart that Judas was betraying him. And though the other disciples didn’t understand what was happening, Jesus dealt honestly with Judas.

 

Thank you, Jesus, for your strength and for your love. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Stories of Grace and Friendship

These are some precious new and older books I read recently.

 

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren. This is a story of rescuers during snow avalanches in the mountains of Montana. A reminder for us not to base our belief that God wants to help us on our opinion of ourselves. He wants to save us despite our messing up. Romans 5: 8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

True Courage by Dee Henderson. I first read this book some years ago. But when I read it again recently, I was caught by breath-taking suspense, deep characters, heart-swelling dependence on faith.

 

The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson. An excellent story. About—well—church ladies.

 

Take this Cup by Brock and Bodie Thoene. the story of a young boy who came from a far country to deliver to Jesus the cup he would use at the last supper.

 

The promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry. A brilliantly written, heart-stopping story of the beauty and anguish of love among family and friends.

 

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I first read this book more than forty years ago, probably in high school. It’s an amazing story about teenagers, written by a teenager. About brothers, friends as close as brothers, struggles between gangs from different social classes, who hated each other without knowing why. After heart-breaking experiences, a few of the kids began to realize the enmity was senseless. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Psalm 5, The Shield of God's Favor

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,

    consider my lament.

Hear my cry for help,

    my King and my God,

    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

    in the morning I lay my requests before you

    and wait expectantly.

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;

    with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand

    in your presence.

You hate all who do wrong;

    you destroy those who tell lies.

The bloodthirsty and deceitful

    you, Lord, detest.

But I, by your great love,

    can come into your house;

in reverence I bow down

    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness

    because of my enemies—

    make your way straight before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;

    their heart is filled with malice.

Their throat is an open grave;

    with their tongues they tell lies.

Declare them guilty, O God!

    Let their intrigues be their downfall.

Banish them for their many sins,

    for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;

    let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them,

    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;

    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

 

Father God, thank you that I can wait expectantly for your answers to my prayers. Lord, I know you hate evil, but in my heart, I want to be righteous before you. Thank you that you will lead me in your righteousness, and please shield me with your favor. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Grace and Truth, John 12:37-50

Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message

    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

“He has blinded their eyes

    and hardened their hearts,

so they can neither see with their eyes,

    nor understand with their hearts,

    nor turn—and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

 

Jesus stayed focused on speaking the message God gave him to speak.

 

Yet, knowing that Jesus was a man, with human emotions, I believe he must have felt hurt and alone when people refused to believe in him. Or, if they did believe, some would not say so as not to face conflict with the Pharisees.

 

Lord, thank you for sticking to your message. Thank you for being the force that saves us from darkness, and for bringing the command which leads to eternal life. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Guest Author, Angela D Shelton

 

Oh, you’ve gotta love them doggies! Thank you, Angela for sharing with us.

 

Covered in Mud

By Angela D Shelton

 


We love our furry children. Ricky and Lucy are always up to something. One of my favorite “bad dog” stories is when we’d first purchased the farm and were out working on fences. We brought the dogs with us, but since they are both runners, they had to be contained. It was too hot to leave them in the truck while we worked, so we set up a dog run between two trees.

            Each of them had their own lead, so they could freely run about eighty feet, in the shade of the trees, or out in the sun to bask if they preferred. They often played together, so there was also the ability for them to be together or move apart. They had plenty of room to entertain themselves while we slaved away in the scorching sun, repairing wires and clearing the fence lines.

            After the workday ended, we checked back on the two hooligans under the trees. I honestly expected to see them taking a nap. Yes, I was na├»ve then. I know better now.

            As soon as they saw us coming, they ran to the front of the trees from where they’d been busy working, covered in mud. Apparently, their job for the day was to dig a tunnel to China, or so they thought. They were so excited they weren’t even ashamed of the fact that they were filthy with red Georgia clay. Stains covered their paws, snouts, bellies, and tails.

            The hole was deep, so it was obvious they’d teamed up and devoted their day to accomplish the goal. You should have seen their faces, huge doggie smiles, happy with all they’d accomplished.

            Unfortunately, we didn’t need a gigantic hole dug under our tree. We also didn’t want filthy pets to bring into our vehicle or our clean home. They didn’t get rewarded for their efforts. What a disappointment to them, I’m sure.

            It made me think back to some of my previous work efforts. I’d work for hours at a project and couldn’t wait to share how much I’d accomplished. I’d have a grin a mile wide on my face, ready to have praise heaped upon me.

            How frustrating when I’d find out the project wasn’t what someone needed, or the method used was flawed, or any of a zillion other reasons that I don’t get positive feedback. As a younger professional, I’ll admit I didn’t handle this type of rejection well.

Most of us go through a growing phase of learning how to deal with constructive criticism. As you mature, you learn to take in those minor blows to the ego and grow from them. Some who’ve been around long enough can take it one level above that—how to learn from criticism that isn’t constructive.

Let me share a life lesson with you, my precious reader. If you want to move in a positive direction in life, you need to learn how to deal with your mistakes positively. Not all people, even those who end up in authority, can provide feedback in a way that builds up instead of tearing down. Accept the concepts they are sharing and evaluate whether there is a basis for improvement. Use any nuggets you can find to improve your end product.

Never stop growing. As soon as you do, you’re dead in the water. And that isn’t where any of us want to be.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

<<>> 




My upcoming novel, Collapse: The Death of Friendship is on presale with Amazon with a release date of March 25th. It’s the perfect gift for the young adult in your life. A brief synopsis:

On the verge of losing friendships forever, sixteen-year-old Jan Worthington decides never to trust people again. But when she rejects all strangers in a collapsing society, she must learn to be smart about outsiders before her family has to fight off the marauders headed their way.

 


You can sign up to be an Advance Copy Reader (ARC) on my website and be the first to read my latest novels for free:

Visit our farm at: http://www.twooaksranch.com

Check out my blog at: https://www.angeladshelton.com

See featured authors at http://www.chainlinkstory.com

Collapse: The Death of Honor on Amazon Now