Friday, February 26, 2010

lace up with joy

I am fascinated by ice skating. I have to tell you when I was a little girl, I don't know how many times after watching these beautiful women grace the ice floor, I too was skating through the house. If I am honest I will share I still grace my living room floor from time to time.
There is just something so beautiful and transparent about ice skating. Those who do so make it look so easy, just as if all you must do is put on the skates and glide out to the ice and there you have it!

I have tried to skate. As I put on those skates for the first time I thought,"Wow, this is going to be great!!" I am not sure what I was thinking really. I thought as I placed those skates on my feet I would just take off and spin. The tricks our imagination plays on us can at times get us hurt. I could not skate if my life depended on it. I fell flat on my face. I held on to the side and made my way around while others skated by me at least four or five times. It was indeed a sad show. But you know what? I had a ball! It wasn't that I couldn't do it, it was the joy of trying. It was the joy of falling, laughing and getting right back up again. Needless to say my skating career as never taken off, and it never will. I am okay with that. That is not a gift God has given me, but He has blessed me with others. And I am blessed with the gift to watch others skate and enjoy the emotion they put into grabbing my attention.

Last night as I watched the Olympics, my heart went out to the young Canadian skater who lost her mother a few days ago. To watch her was just sheer beauty and elegance. As her heart was breaking she skated with nothing less than her pure heart and love for her mother. She skated with such passion and it is one that I will not forget soon.

But the girl who really grabbed my heart was the young skater from Japan. As she stood there knowing she had lost the gold, that it was not enough for her or her country tore me apart. The look in her eyes broke my heart. Even though she won a silver medal, the announcers were concerned that her country would not accept her graciously. Nothing but the best for them, and anything but gold is useless.

This young girl skated and did things no other women in skating has ever done before. She skated with her heart, and after all the training, all the long hours, she gave it her all. But was it good enough? Did she receive hugs, and love from those around her? Was she embraced by her family and countrymen? I think the look in her eye told it all. She had not, and she knew what was coming. Nothing. Nothing for all her hard work, for sharing her gift, and loving being on the ice. I was in tears watching her.

Have you ever felt like you gave it your all and it still wasn't good enough? Have you felt like you reached out and nothing is coming in return? There are times when we can be harder on ourselves than others are on us. But there are those who make us feel like whatever we do is still not good enough to place. We feel like all our efforts are useless and in vain. But are they really?

When we give it our all, when we love what we are doing, and we know this is our gift, all we really have to consider is, "Am I pleasing God?" At the end of our journey, all those fans, those countrymen, those friends, and those who see us daily will not be there standing to judge us. There will be no judge there from Russia criticising every move we made. There will only be God before us. To hear Him say, "Well done my good and faithful servant", are words my heart longs to hear.

At the end of the day I can look back and see if I gave the day my all. If I gave my day to God and lived in faith and without fear I can lay my head down at night, knowing He is pleased with me. In our Christian walk we will never be perfect until heaven. We will none just get it all right. We will stumble and we will fall, but in faith, we can get back up, and try again.

I am learning that what I do doesn't have to please anyone else. It doesn't matter if anyone reads my blog, or sees my writing. What matters is that I am following what the Lord has placed in my heart. It matters that I love writing. That I love sharing, and in that I can take joy. As I sit back and know the Lord is working through me, I can be moved speechless.

At times I wonder why the Lord would use me. Why has He chosen me to love. But I am reminded that He created me, He created me with His very hands, and filled me with the Holy Spirit to love and bring Him glory. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me. Just in that we can find a humble beauty.

I would love to take this young Japanese girl in my arms and tell her how beautifully she skated. I would tell her its not the gold, silver or bronze that makes her special, it is in fact that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. I would tell her there is no such thing as perfect, but there is a pureness in finding joy in the very things that God has placed in our hearts.

Live out today with the acceptance of the Lord. Live out today knowing that through Christ we are made perfect in Him. Whatever dream He has placed in your heart, live it out with all the beauty He has filled you with. So, lace up, get out there and enjoy the life the Lord has given, and live it to the fullest, finding joy in the gifts that the Lord has given just for you.

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well."

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown."

WHY IS GOD IGNORING ME? by Gary R. Habermas

When you pick up this book you will find that in our times of trouble, in our struggles and loss, where we often think God doesn't care, He is right there with us. We can feel alone and shut out when hard times hit. We can find ourselves praying and asking where God is. We often wonder why we cannot hear Him. As you read through the pages of Why Is God Ignoring Me, Gary Habermas helps us see clearly that God is there. He has not left us, in fact He is moving in ways that we can not see at times, He is working behind the scenes to bring things together. One part that stands out for me is this: "Although the bible does include many wonderful promises of deliverance and healing, it does not mean that as believers we will always be exempted from trouble, sickness, persecution, ministry opposition, worry and death." Another part that caught my eye was where he was sharing how those in third world countries see our vision of faith or lack of. As they are hurting, they have a hope that God is present in and through the problems of life, not from them. Gary brings us through scripture, sharing God's word, and showing us through His word that He is in fact here with us. Finding God always occurs on God's terms, not ours. There are those who believe in "Name it and Claim it", but that is not how God works at all. We cannot place conditions on Him and the way He answers our prayers. Gary shows us that its often the journey through our struggles that gets us to where God wants us to be. All things happening in His timing is hard for us who want things and answers right now. If you are struggling, if you are wondering where God is, and what He is up to, this is a book for you. Although small, its packed with encouragement, hope, and knowledge. This book was a gift from Tyndale for its review.

Dr. Gary R. Habermas is Distinguished Research Professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University. He also teaches in the Ph.D. program in theology and apologetics at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned the Ph.D. at Michigan State University and the M.A. from the University of Detroit. He has authored, coauthored, or edited thirty-six books and contributed more than sixty chapters or articles to other books. He has also written well over one hundred articles and reviews for journals and other publications. While his chief areas of research (and the topic of eighteen of his books) are issues related to Jesus' resurrection, he has also published frequently on the afterlife as well as the subjects of suffering and religious doubt. Visit his Web site ( to access some of his publications. Over the past fourteen years, he has often been a visiting or adjunct professor, having taught courses at some fifteen different graduate schools and seminaries in the United States and abroad. He and his wife, Eileen, have seven children and ten grandchildren, all of whom live in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the joys of purse shopping

As I was out with my mother the other day she took me shopping for a new purse. She too knows the joy of shopping for purses. Although our tastes are not the same, we have a great time choosing the one that fits us best.

My mom ended up giving me the gift of a new purse, and yes, its pink. Kind of a hot pink color, that just dazzles my joys even more. But this was not a quick purchase, this was one that took time.

See, my problem is I want to be one of those girls who carry one of the those tiny purses that only hold your keys. Really, that is just the first of my problems, because my phone would not even fit in one of those. So, you can imagine purse shopping with me. I go to the small purses, I take out the paper, the massive folds of paper they stuff in, and sit down, looking at mine carefully. As I look at my own purse, I am thinking, "This is possible, I can put all my stuff in there!" Um, no I cannot. I have even gone to trying to put my stuff in, only to then have to load mine back up and go on in my search.

Now, as I walk in wanting to purchase that tiny purse, somehow I always end up walking out with one bigger! And indeed that is just what I did with my mother. I love my new purse. It holds everything I need. As my mother asks, "Ya, know your back might not hurt so bad if you didn't carry such a big purse, why do you carry all that?" Okay, for me, that seems like the silliest question possible! You never know just when your going to need something, and about the time you change a purse, empty all your "Things" that you think you might be able to live without, that my sister is just when you need it!

Yes, I carry paper, you never know when a thought might come. I carry a book, and for that you never know when that moment might arise that you get to take a peek into your book while your waiting on your husband in the auto parts store. I carry all my Mary Kay, a girl has got to look her best, and quite a few other things.(that is an understatement:) I have even come to carrying things I think someone else might need! You never know when someone is going to get a hang nail, or need something cut off their pants.

I have a whole collection, all colors and all styles. I have them in the extra closet, after my husband complained he was running out of room.

As you see I placed a picture of a beautiful, tiny purse as the picture for this post. One that I would love to carry, but never will. I seem to want to hold on to too much stuff. I like to keep all my stuff right there with me. Its like I'm afraid I'm going to lose it or miss place it. And if you are a close friend of mine, you know that my purse is organized. You will find no trash whatsoever in my purse. Some, including my husband and son love to make a game out of putting trash in there for me to find, only to see the look of horror on my face when I find it.

I have friends who carry those cute little purses with just one lip stick inside. They are my friends that seem to have it all together, while me and my big purse are kind of out there in the fog of things, trying to hold on to everything I can.

I am finding out that is not really true. My friends with tiny purses have struggles just as I do. But my friends, whether we hold a tiny purse with just a few items or we carry a big one with lots, we don't have to carry the load of life alone. Whatever it is, we can help one another with whats in our bag whether it seems small or too huge to carry. That is what sisters are for!

just keeping a journal

I love my mornings. I am able to write, to read, and to spend time with the Lord. I love it when I can turn on the Christian radio, and just take my time. It is not always like that, so on those mornings that it is its a sweet moment.

As I had gone through trials I learned to keep a journal. As I wrote each night before bed, I could share in words with my pen my deepest struggles and fears. As I wrote sometimes it was one sentence, one page or at times many more depending on what was going on in my heart.

I learned a long time ago not to write letters to others. My Pastor seems to find all the right moments to remind me of this when I am needing to speak to another, and I say with a smile, "Can't I just write a letter?" He was the one who showed me that even though my heart was on those pages, my deepest and truest feelings, others who received those letters could not sense my heart, my tone, and could often take the words in anger instead of the way I was hoping.

So I learned to write for myself, just between me and God. And you know what, I found answers in doing it this way that I would have never found another way.

In writing, in taking time to think and pray it stopped me from saying the wrong things, and added new insight to the situations. It gave me time to see God at work not just in others, but in me. I grew writing my feelings down, and sharing with the Lord.

I still have all my journals for the last six years or so. And I will keep each one, for as I look back I can see just where I was and how far God has brought me.

In writing letters we often find ourselves so emotional, we are angry and not afraid to write down all these feelings in hopes the other will receive it gladly, and open their heart and all will be fixed. Ha, that never works the way we intend. It soon makes the other angry, the situation escalates, and nothing is solved. It brings us right back to where we were with no answers and more questions.

So when we learn to take time, to seek the Lord first, He will show us and give us the wisdom we need for each situation. All people are different, we have have different facial expressions, feelings, and attitudes toward problems. We call face things differently, and we cannot expect another to come to understanding the same way we might.

Before we write that letter we need to place ourselves in the receivers shoes. How are they going to feel when they open the letter and unlock your words? Are they going to see healing, faith, Christ, and love? Or will find hurt and disappointment?

Sending a letter of love, of thanks is a beautiful gift to the one receiving and the one writing. Those are different types of letters than the ones trying to resolve a problem. As a card sender, I love to write words of encouragement, but as a "Fixer", I have learned letters are not the best way to bring peace. And I too have learned not to be a fixer, that is God's department.

We have His love letter, and there is no other like it. It speaks right to our hearts. Journaling has brought great joy to my life. It has brought healing, and wisdom. If you are going through any kind of situation I would suggest journaling all your feelings and allowing God to search your heart. I still carry my journal in my purse so it write there for me to write down thoughts, words that I find encouraging to me, and it helps me in my writing.

Journaling can be a key to unlocking feelings you have kept for years. For us to grow we need to release all those feelings so healing can come. May our words be between us and God, and let Him work in those situations around us, bringing His will for us to see. Journaling can be a guide, along with God's word on our journey through life, and many times saving the sweetest memories and putting them to words.

wednesday night blessings

On Wednesday nights for the last twelve years I have been blessed to teach in Awana. It is a program at our church and many others around the country where little ones to teens come together to learn about Christ.
I have had the awesome pleasure of working with the youth for years, those junior high kids who are experiencing life in a scary way. Those kids filled my life with such great laughter and joy. I shared with them, they learned, and we had a ball getting to know one another as we grew in Jesus.

I now work with the Sparks, those through the kindergarten up the second grade. I have the kindergartners and first graders. They are just a delight to work with. There is not a Wednesday I come home without a smile on face. These little ones just light up a room with such life. They are not afraid just to be them, they laugh, oh, how they giggle. They have such pure hearts, and gentle souls. And many have wisdom beyond their years. Some come from very difficult situations, but when they all come together, at this age there are no little clicks, there is just love for one another. They all seem to reach out to each other, and they not only take joy with each other, but they take time to get to know one another. When one is sad, there is always one asking what happened.

We have story time, we have verse time, and game time. We begin at 6:30 and we are leaving the church by 8:15. During this short amount of time there are adults who come and give up their Wednesday nights to give of their hearts. I am not sure which is more of a blessing, seeing these adults give, or watching these young ones learn. It is a combination of love from both.

Last night was a night that was one of the most special. As we celebrated a little one's birthday with cupcakes, we learned verses from the bible, and after game time we watched a movie in my room. Now, first we had our story time. And while I am teaching, the kids are coloring a page. It is so great to interact with these small wonders of love. They each can tell what we have just learned and many times they can even add their own stories in.

Last night we learned of Elijah, the widow and her son. How Elijah the Prophet came into the city, and he know to look for the woman. She and her son only had enough food to last for one more night. This was the last of her oil and flour. But here is Elijah asking her to make bread and give to him first. She follows, and and does so. Knowing this is it. But as she makes Elijah bread, she looks in her jars and finds more flour and oil. She has enough to last until food comes again to fill their area. For the rains had stopped and it had been a long time and people were going hungry. But in her faith she obeyed and did as Elijah asked. Not only did she see more flour and oil, but most importantly her faith grew. She knew God was going to provide and meet their needs.You can find the story of Elijah in 1 kings chapter 17. As the kids heard this story, they smiled as they colored. They have come to love hearing stories of God and His people.

I often come home with pictures to put on the fridge, hugs, and thank you's. But last night, one little girl came and sat on my lap, put her arms around me, and told me, "Ms. Robin, I love you so much." To a teacher, these are words that just bless you beyond words. As one was coming down with a headache, she just needed to be comforted, and it was just a sweet time.

They are eager to learn, and eager to share. They are eager to love and to tell others about Jesus.

I have learned that giving of my heart and time is a blessing to others. I have learned that I may never see the full impact of sitting on the floor with first graders coloring, teaching them about Jesus, but I know that there is an impact on their lives, because they have made an impact on mine.

I see these little ones, and for this grown woman, I want to be more like them. I want to live my life in such a way that is so full of life and joy. To watch little kids play, to see them grow right before your eyes is a gift.

As adults I know we face many more trials, struggles and life is much harder, but many of these little ones already face that in their young lives. I think if we stop for a moment and take a good look, we can learn much from the children around us.

I am thankful to be able to teach in Awana. My heart is blessed beyond words.

When I went to church last night I did not feel well. I seem to have a cold coming on, but I went anyway. I have found something out about these little ones. They love me just as I am. It doesn't matter what I look like(and last night was not one of my best looks). What matters to them is me giving my time. Me opening up my heart, sitting and laughing with them and letting them know just how important they are and how special their lives are.

When they put on their vests, when they bring in their books and bibles, and say their verses they have worked to memorize, they are proud, and encouraged. When they have passed so many sections and earn a jewel for their vest, a smile comes that just warms your heart.

Wednesday's are the little blessings in my life that give so much joy in a world that seems to so backwards today.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to teach, to give and to have my heart blessed. My cup runs over because of the little ones on my Wednesday nights. Like the story of the widow and her son, I want to have great faith in You. I want to trust You in all, through drought and joy. Like these small chilren, I want to live for You with inhibition.

at a stand still

Sitting in traffic is not fun. It can be down right irritating. As you sit there in traffic, you can see that you are just stuck, not moving at all, and look over and see the traffic on the other side of the highway moving at a great pace, not stopped at all.

Have you had one of those moments in life where everything seemed to stop? It is like life just came to a stand still. It feels as though your very breath has been taken away. Your wondering if you will ever move again. But as we are feeling this way, we can look out into the world and nothing else has stopped. Our pain is so very real, at times you want others to take notice. You simply feel as though when loss has come, that everything should stop right along with you at least for a moment, but it doesn't. Life keeps going around us.

As my parents are from the south, I learned as a little girl when a funeral was passing by you pulled over on the side of the road as they passed. In this way you were showing respect. I still today do this. As they pass I remember that feeling on the day of my dad's memorial. I sit there with my heart full for these people, whoever they are, knowing the tears are falling, and traffic is still moving, and they feel as though time is standing still. My children have also claimed this small but peaceful moment to acknowledge an other's life.

I have had a few of those moments where time seemed to stand still. One I still feel today is when my youngest daughter left home. I thought my world was ending. I knew it was ending. I knew I didn't want to go on, and there was nothing going to pull me out of the hole I felt I was in. It was one of those days asking, "Why"? I felt in my heart that God had left me on that day. I felt alone and scared.

But the Lord did not leave me on that day or on any other. He was right there with me. As I saw the red light, He was seeing the green. He knew my life would go on. He knew my daughter would return to my life. He knew that this trial would change me forever, but through Him, this trial brought me to another place with Him. It strengthened my faith, because I knew at the time He was all I had to really trust in. He lifted me up and He carried me through, bringing much growth and lessons along the way. He changed me to look more like Him. He knew each feeling, each emotion I was carrying on those days, and just what I needed to move on.

Just when we think that life is ending, it is a new beginning. Its a turn on a new road, one that we have never been on before, but we soon find our way. We learn the sights and sounds, and we see glimpses of Him through the window of our pain.

Remember Job who lost everything? He lost his family, all that he had, everything. I think he thought life ended that day, but then it still got worse. He lost his health. When all around him looked as though it was going to take him down, he didn't lose sight of God. All around him were telling him to just curse God and get it over with. But he didn't, and he wouldn't. God didn't leave him, and through these trials of Job, it strengthened him, renewed him, and brought him a new life he never thought would come again. God restored Job's life, God was in Job's life, and Job was a witness to others as to just what God can do.

He can bring us out of the hole we are in. He can dry those tears, and He can wrap us in His love when we have the feelings of loss, of hurt, and despair. People will come and go in our lives. We will not always be surrounded by others who reach out or understand, but the one thing I know without a doubt is God is never leaving me. He is staying right there with me in the midst of my pain.

That red light that comes in life, doesn't stay red forever. It changes, and as it does we too change. We might be yielding and going slow for pace, but that green light will come again, and God will see us through all. Sometimes standing still for a time is what brings more joy in moving forward again.
In Job 17:1 we find Job crying out, "My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me." Job was broken, and if you read the story of Job, you find he cried out many times, he asked why, he didn't lose his connection with God. In fact it grew as Job went through his trials. Job held on to the One he knew was there with him throughout all.
Again in Psalms we can read in 69:1-3,"Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink deep in mire, where there is no standing; I have come into the deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God." It is not wrong for us to cry out to God. We are to be honest with Him. He already knows our feelings. He wants us to share with Him, to be real, and call upon Him. When we do with our heart, with everything bare, we will find Him, we will feel His love and comfort.
In Hebrews 13:5-6 we find He will never leave us. "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we many boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
If your sitting at that red light today thinking you can no longer breathe, and are afraid to look out. Don't fear what is in front of you. Take your time, let God lead you, and He will give you your breath back, and He will bring you into a new day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

inch by inch

It has been a long road for my mom and her vision. A long and fearful road of not knowing. A road of loss of vision and an unsteadiness in her movements now. She no longer can really do things on her own, liking shopping and walking long distance. She holds on to someone, and she has learned to ask for help. I know this has been hard for my mom. It has been hard for me watching her grow older.

Yesterday while sitting in the eye specialists office we chatted, we really had a enjoyable time together. It was one of our best days. I know my mom was fearful sitting waiting to see what her tests were going to show. But yesterday as I looked at her test results we saw healing. We saw her eye is getting better. We saw she has a long way to go, but she is getting there. Her eye has improved 40%, so she still has a good 60% to go, but inch by inch she is getting there.

Our lives are like too. Sitting and waiting, wondering what is next, hoping for the best. Although we may not be able to see, like my mother's eye, God can see everything clearly. He needs no vision check up.

But healing takes time. Yes, there have been those who have been healed by miracles right before other's eyes, but for my mom it has been a process. My mom has learned more patience, she has learned to trust God more, and she has learned she doesn't have to be strong, God will do that through her.

Yesterday the doctor had to give her two injections in her eye. I had to turn away. For this mercy, it kills me to think of others hurting. The doctor had numbed her eye first, but she still knew he was there. Our lives can be like this too. We might feel numb, we might feel we cannot see, but we know He is there. We know, like these injections of medication, He is filling us with His strength and grace.

We want healing right now. We want things to work out right now. But it is through that waiting, through that trusting, through that time of taking one small step at time that we can look back and see that God has been with us the whole time. To us our steps might seem small, but in God's eye's they are huge and mighty steps if we are letting go and believing in Him.

As this other 60% of healing comes, it may come a little faster, or even slower, but we are learning no matter the pace, Jesus is taking each step with us. We might be able to measure my mom's eye sight, but when it comes to God there is no measurement out of His hands. He can do all. There is nothing to big for Him. From beginning to end He is there with us. Not just for a portion of the time, but for the whole journey.

Once at church for a car race we have each year in Awana, I made my wooden car a pencil, not just any pencil, but a carpenter's pencil. On my pencil I have written, "Son of a carpenter, King of kings, He's the builder of all things." In Revelation 19:16 it tells us He is King of kings. In Mark 6:3, it tells us He is the Son of a carpenter, and in Genesis 1:1 it tells us He is Creator. I have this pencil sitting in front of me as a reminder that God will bring all things together in His time, with His hands and His love.
As Jesus' earthly father was a carpenter I am sure Jesus learned all about measurements, all about working with His hands, and tools. He must have witnessed His father making beautiful things. Creating things with his hands, with love and over time. In watching His father work I am sure He witnessed His father working long hours with his hands to bring pieces together.

With each measure of time we can look back and mark those times that were hard, those times of joy, and those times of struggle that brought change. We all have those moments in our lives that are marked with something. But is those very markings that bring our lives together, and show that Jesus was there every inch of the way.

Some think that success is measured in big amounts, but we can find real success in those little steps taken to find our way closer to Jesus.

am I showing Him in my life

I was recently invited to my high school reunion. That is something frightful for me. As others would love to go back in time to their teenage years, I would soon forget a lot of mine. So when I have an old friend reach out to me, telling me I am listed as "Unknown", I am thinking to myself, this a pretty good thing.

See, my thoughts on this was that I don't want to go back to that part of my life or those who were in my life at time. I thought to myself, "What would I say to these people now?" These are people, most of whom I do not even remember(there are reasons for that memory loss, of which I am saying I do not want to return to that life style).

For me to look back on that time in my life hurts. It is like I don't even remember that person I once was. And as God has changed me that is a good thing. But the problem with my thinking is, how are others going to know of my change and how it happened unless I show them? Those of the past remember me the way I was. I was the life of the party. Now, my party life has changed. No more parties to bring me down, but I now have a party of joy living in my heart daily.

As a follower of Jesus, as one who lives for Him, and loves Him, is it not for me to show others the way to Him? How else can I do that except through my life? Now, do not get me wrong. I don't mean to say walk into the room in a hot dress, full of pride, saying, "Hey guys, look at me now." I am speaking of being humble, being myself, and not showing me at all, but Jesus. Showing He is the reason for my change. He has brought me from the old to the new.

Now, I did not accept this invitation, but now after thinking, I know I should have. I should have embraced these old school mates with love. I should have shown them what God has done in my life through the years. For them to look at me and see the changes would have brought glory to God, but I passed on this day. I have now learned what God is trying to show me. He doesn't just want me to be a light right here in my home, to those in my community, but to be a light to all I know and knew, old and new. It is often those very people that knew us before Christ came into our lives that could come to know Him through seeing Him and the changes He made in our lives.

I am never going to make an impact for Jesus if I am not willing to go and put myself out there for Him. That is what His disciples did. They lost their lives to follow Christ. They gave all to follow Him, to walk with Him, to share with Him and to grow with Him. So I have to ask myself, "Am I really willing to give all?" In my heart I say yes, but that yes is harder that just saying the word. Those disciples who followed Jesus showed others who He was, and they also showed Him through their lives, and what they were willing to do for their Savior.

Now, I think my fears got the best of me. I don't think it was so much of me not wanting to be part of that life again, not even for one night, but it was more of my fears of facing my past, of who I was. I don't want to think of myself as how I lived in my past. I want to see the present and the future I have with Christ, but in order for to get here with Christ I have to be willing to look back and see who I was and what He has done. It is when I can do so that I can see His glory. I can see where He has brought me from and where He is taking me.

I have nothing to fear with Him at my side. I should have been willing. I should have been that vessel for Him, but instead of thinking of Him, I had thoughts of me. And its those thoughts of "Me" that can hold us back from showing others "Him".

1 Thessalonians 5:19 "Do not quench the Spirit."

Ephesians 4:22-25 "That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."

I should be willing to show others that in my imperfect life there is One who is greater that my past, my present or anything in my life. I should be willing to others that in my life, in my joys and my struggles there is One who sees me through each one. I need to show others the joy that God has placed in my heart. When I chose to step back, the only One who shines is Jesus, and isn't that what we are to do?


Change is a funny thing. Its like when your doing laundry and you check the pockets of your son's pants, and you find change. You might even find change under the cushion of the couch. Might look down while walking throughout the park and find yourself a shiny penny. Change comes when we are not looking for it.In life I have been seeking change in others. I have been waiting for change in others, but in the process God changed me. I was here looking for others to change and right here in the middle God changed the one who was seeking it for others. Isn't that how we are at times? We seem we are fit to know what others need to do, we can look at others lives and think they need to make some changes, but when the light comes on, that change we were seeking for others needed to begin with us. Change comes when we are not looking. God doesn't need my advice. He doesn't need me to try to do the changing in others. I have learned that when I have tried to do so, tried to show others the way, I only make matters worse. Kind of like that foot in the mouth thing.Sometimes we work so hard at trying to get others to see, we lose our vision. We lose our focus when we ourselves take our eyes off God.
I had to learn to step back, let go and let God. This is one of the changes that took place in my heart. Change doesn't just happen over night, its a process. We live our whole lives changing daily. As God brings joy, peace, patience, trials, struggles, and loss into our lives, He is changing us through the process. Sometimes it feels like it is a long one, but life is a journey. We don't have to take it at a snails pace, but we can slow down and enjoy life, enjoy each day and see in each day what the Lord has for us. Life is not a sprint either. We don't have to have the mindset of a teenager at 13 wanting to be 18. I have learned that in each phase of my life, even when I didn't know God, He still knew me. He was doing a work in me the whole time. I am in no way finished yet, praise Jesus, but for me to grow into who He has created me to be, I need to keep changing.
We have to make room for change. We have to allow it although at times change doesn't seem fun at all, but its through those circumstances that we not only find out who we are, but we find the precious will of God.Every time I hear the song "Amazing Grace", I get chills. Its like I can feel the Lord moving through me. To hear the words, to feel the music just fills my heart with a love that I never could have imagined. At our church after we have the Lord's supper we always hold hands and sing Amazing Grace without music, just our voices singing out to Christ. That is one of the most joyous times I have. It is so sweet, just sweet. When my son was a baby, after I learned all the words to Amazing Grace that is what I sang to him every time I put him to sleep. Even as a young boy going to bed, he would call me in his room and say, "Mom, will you sing to me?" I would then ask, "What do you want me to sing?" And his answer was almost always Amazing Grace. Now, I am a momma that doesn't have a voice of beauty, but in that song, all of our voices singing out sound beautiful to God. Still today that is my favorite song, and will continue to be something special between my son and I. In God's grace we find change. We find His hands, His wisdom, and most of all His love. God's grace is what has saved us. Him giving His life for us is grace. Through His death we find grace and in His life we find beauty. Change comes in to us all in different ways and at different times. When it comes don't push it away. Don't try to keep things as they are. Open your heart and see what God wants to do there. For in our hearts is where we find Him, and in Him is where we will find ourselves.

Daniel 2:21 "And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding."

Just as the seasons change we too change. There is growth as in the Spring, we shed the old just as in the Fall, we see the light as in the Summer and as the winter brings in snow, we too will be washed whiter than the snow. God shows Himself to us through every season in our lives. No matter what season we are in right now, He with you and I.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

KALEIDOSCOPE (seeing God's wit and wisdom in a whole new light) by Patsy Clairmont

You can not pick up a book from Patsy Clairmant and never cease to be amazed. The title says it all really. She uses the picture of a kaleidoscope, something that doesn't really look to interesting until you look inside to describe Proverbs. Patsy takes the book of Proverbs piece by piece and brings it to life before our eyes in the only way she can, through laughter, through tears, and through truth. She shares her stories, and how God's word can change us to look more like Him. In each chapter she has "Bits and pieces", in which she asks questions, and brings thought for us to ponder over the scripture we just shared. She also shares "Held to light", which is adding more scripture to help us grow in the word.She takes Proberbs and simply puts it in our face in a style only like Patsy's. I loved this little book, all thirty three tiny, but larger than life chapters just as she is. She had my attention from the very first chapter, and held it through the last. She examines God's word and brings her on life stories into it, showing God is in everything. I love how she shares each verse looks pretty easy, but just how hard it is to do in our day to day life, but with God everything is possible if we just stay focused on Him. You can use this colorful book as a devotional, or as a study with your girlfriends. This is one of her best. This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for review.

Monday, February 22, 2010

one of those "AHA" moments

Yesterday I was reading about Lazarus and God showed me something I had never thought about before. We can find the story of Lazarus in John chapter 11. He is the only gospel writer that shares this miracle.

In chapter 11:5 "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." So we know the deep love Jesus had for His friends. As we go into verse 6, it tells us, "So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was." So Jesus was far from where Lazarus was, but He knew, He prayed for His friend. Jesus knows our sufferings and is with us always. Into verse 7 it says,"Than after this He said t0 the disciples, Let us go to Judea again." This was dangerous for Jesus, for the people of Judea wanted to stone Jesus, so this would again put Him in harms way, but He was willing to go for His friend in which He loved. He did the same for you and I. He went the distance even though He knew the cost.

Now, to just move ahead to when Jesus comes and brings Lazarus from the dead. This is the part that really caught my eye like never before. In verses 43-44 it tells us, "Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go."

See in that time the Hebrews tradition was to coat the body with spices. They did not embalm the dead. Now, here is the cool part. According to custom the body must be buried on the fourth day. There were grave watchers to make sure the person was really dead, since there were times where a person might be in a coma and would awaken, so they would wait until that fourth day. So Lazarus was dead for three days, the time period for the Hebrews to watch the body, and then he was risen from the dead. It was not much longer that Jesus was taken and after His death He was dead for three days, and rose from the grave.

Jesus was showing those with Lazarus to have faith. He says in verse 14 "Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." He was strengthening their faith for what He knew was coming. He knew He would see them again, but He wanted them to believe.

In the midst of our hard times, Jesus is there. We may not understand just like Martha and Mary did not understand why Jesus did not make it a point to be there to heal Lazarus. But Jesus already knew and was praying miles away. He would need His friends to also pray for Him as He faced death.

In all of His miracles, in all of His word, every story brings us right back to Him! Everything, every moment of our lives is about Him. Jesus shows us through the smallest to the largest things just how big He really is.

I love it when I have read something before, and then as the Lord brings me back to it, it is just what I needed to hear with a new perspective. Jesus will never cease to be with us, and to show Himself to us. He is here, He knows our needs. He is already praying.

Thank You Jesus for Your word, for Your love and letting me see a new vision of You.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

YESTERDAY'S PROMISE by Linda Lee Chaikin

He fought to seek his fortune. Would he lose a greater treasure: the love he left behind? As the son of the squire of Grimston Way, aristocrat Rogan Chantry has fought hard to win his independence from Sir Julien Bley and the British South Africa Company. Now, his pursuit of a mysterious deposit of gold, marked on a map willed to him by his murdered uncle, Henry Chantry, is challenged by a new complication: the impending British colonization of South Africa. Can Sir Rogan find the gold in the midst of escalating tensions among the native tribesmen, the missionaries sent to win them, and the new colonists? Meanwhile, Evy Varley, the woman Rogan loves back in England, is headed for a brave yet dangerous confrontation with Henry’s killer–but at what price? With so much against Rogan and Evy, a reunion seems improbable, if not impossible. Can yesterday’s promise hold them faithful to the hope of future freedom and a victorious love?

Linda Lee Chaikin has written numerous best-selling and award-winning books and series, including the Silk series (Heart of India Trilogy), A Day to Remember series, The Empire Builders, Royal Pavilion Trilogy, Arabian Winds Trilogy, The Buccaneers Trilogy, and For Whom the Stars Shine, a finalist for the Christy Award. She and her husband make their home in Northern California.

This book was a gift from Multnomah WaterBrook Press for its review.

THE GOLDEN CROSS by Angela Elwell Hunt

THE HEIRS OF CAHIRA O’CONNOR SERIESBOOK TWO A line of women who would be warriors for truth“It is said that as Cahira, daughter of the great Irish king Rory O’Connor, lay dying of a wound from a Norman blade, she lifted her hand toward heaven and beseeched God that others would follow after her, bright stars who would break forth from the courses to which they are bound and restore right in this murderous world…” To Kathleen O’Connor, Cahira’s story is nothing more than a charming legend—until her research divulges that several of Cahira’s heirs did, indeed, leave the traditional roles of womanhood to fight for right. Stunned, Kathleen realizes she herself bears Cahira’s mark. Is Kathleen destined to continue the legacy in the twenty-first century? To discover how the histories of these women relate to her own future, Kathleen must delve deep into the past to learn the truth about The Heirs of Cahira O’Connor… Aidan O’Connor Aidan O’Connor was raised among pickpockets and prostitutes in a Dutch colony on Java, Indonesia. But when a world-famous cartographer discovers her natural artistic talent, she is given a chance to leave her troubled life behind. Disguised as a boy, Aidan joins her benefactor at sea and begins the work of drawing the flora and fauna of the new world. This fresh beginning leads her into adventure--and to a great love. But can this love survive the force of Aidan’s past…and her ambitions for her future?

Angela Elwell Hunt is the best-selling author of over sixty titles. The Velvet Shadow follows The Silver Sword and The Golden Cross, the first two novels in the exciting Heirs of Cahira O'Connor Series. Angela and her husband Gary live in Florida with their two teenagers.
This book was a gift to me by Multnomah WaterBrook Press for its review.

walking together

I have now changed the colors of my blog as you can see. I want it to reflect who I am. I want it to as we are walking together on a journey. I want it to inviting for everyone. My hope is that as that as we go through this journey together we can walk upon the stepping stones of life and count each one as a blessing. Even when we are trying to get to the other side it can be a challenge. God has placed stepping stones for us in our path to grow in wisdom and reflect on Him. As we step upon each one may we not hurry across, but take our time, enjoying the walk together. Now, I am a girl of pinks, I love flowers, but I don't think men want to come and visit a place where it appears so girly. I too love the browns, and the hues of the wooded areas. I love walking through the woods and hearing the sounds and stop stopping for a while to soak up all that God has given. As I share with you I pray you too will share with me, and we can grow and walk together. God has brought so many blessings into my life from blogging. I would have never expected to find such beauty here, but where else would we find God but in the most unexpected places. I pray you walk a little closer to Him today. I pray you can look around you and see Him in everything. Our journey at times seems long, but I am learning through that journey is where I find Him and I find myself, my real self in the midst of Him.

Lord, today I praise You for Your goodness, for showing me who You are along my stepping stones.

are you full?

Have you ever watched a squirrel closely? As I ate my french toast this morning, I watch one gathering and hunting. A squirrel stores up his food. He flits and hops from branch to branch, tree to tree in search of the very morsel that will be his treasure for the day. He has great hopes in finding it and doesn't appear to give up to easily. He can't. He knows his very life depends on gathering food for his survival.

Without his precious food he will not survive the harsh conditions. He keeps his eyes open for attack from every side. He stores his food in the deepest of places that he knows will sustain him through each season.

As I woke this morning, before eating my delicious french toast I filled my soul with God's word. I am learning the only way to have this joy that this little squirrel seems to carry is to prepare, to keep my eyes open against the evils of the world, and to dig into God's word, filling my heart with every word He has for me. As I hide God's word in my heart, I know that is something no one or nothing can ever take away.

With His word I can make it through those hot, dry seasons that seem to be barren, those cold ones where the wind blows fierce and chills you to the bone and through those seasons where the rains pour and things are falling away. God's word is for every season in my life.

Now, unlike this little, gathering squirrel I do not want to hoard all my nourishment. I want to share it, I want to show others where it is and how they too can find their treasure.The only way I can do this is if I dig myself into His word. If I concentrate on each word, letting it wash over me and spill deep into my heart.

God never ceases to amaze me at how He can show Himself to me through the simplest of ways.

Through this window this morning watching a squirrel, God opened a window into my heart and showered me with His love.

Dig in, dive in, and flit from page to page, place to place with a an assurance you are not going to fall. God has you in His hands and wants to show you all He has for you.

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Psalm 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust Him."

Psalm 119:11 " Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."

Psalm 119:105 " Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Deuteronomy 8:3 "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."

ABIGAIL (The wives of King David book 2) by Eileen Smith

When I picked up the book of Abigail I could not put it down. Abigail's life begins with her marriage to Nabal. She had a dreaded fear for her life. This is not what she dreamed marriage to be. She seemed to have lost herself in this marriage and finds herself following David and his tribe. Abigail is brought to life right before our eyes and in our hearts. This story is powerful, thought provoking, and inviting. It carries with it details into her life and the ways of the time in which she lived. This book carries us back to ancient times, to life, death, betrayal and love. We can see deep into Abigail's heart as we walk with her through her journey. These rich visions of the past hold us throughout the whole book. I enjoyed reading Abigail. It gave me an even clearer picture of her and what she went through. It drew me in and grabbed my heart, as we women can relate to her so well. She went through many struggles and she finally captures love, but has she had to give to get there? Come and take a walk with Abigail and see her story come to life. This book was given to me as a gift for review from Revell.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ALASKAN QUEST SERIES book three (Whispers of Winter) by Tracie Peterson

As I finish up the third book "Whispers of Winter" I feel I have connected with the Alaskan people, and made friendships with the many characters as I have spent much time reading about their adventures and journeys. Leah's sweet friend Ayoona had died, but others remember her kindness and wisdom. Jayce and Jake are awaiting on an island to be saved after the ship had been motionless in ice. They return home to find the women they love had not given up on them. Hope remained alive for their return. Sweet friendship builds between Leah and Helaina. And the strong friendship between Jayce and Jake is even strengthened. Jake and Helaina marry, and they are blessed with a child, as too Jayce and Leah are blessed with a little girl they have named Karen, after the woman who raised Leah and Jake after the death of their mother. Karen's death was a devastating blow to her family and came unexpected. The story adds in the lives of Karen's children and the journey they must now face without their mother. And too of the captain of the ship that Jayce and Jake were on. As his wife has died, he is none to happy to keep living, but with the encouragement from Jake and Jayce he finds life new. I love how God brought these families of Jake and Jayce to move to a new area and make a new home just has illness was coming to Last Chance Creek. This book carried with it death, birth, friendship, and enduring love. Everything in God's timing. That is what I captured from this book. To have faith, patience and to wait upon God. I was captivated with this series, the characters, the journey they took and the love they shared. There is so much to learn from this series. I hope you pick it and take a peek and you will find yourself filled until the last page. This book was a gift from Bethany House for its review.

He's calling, will you pick up?

So many times when I am busy I never pick up my phone. I let it ring and let the answering machine get it. I figure if its important they will call my cell, but then even at times I do not answer. But why do I seem to think my time is so valuable that I cannot answer my phone? What if that person on the other end really needs something? What if tragedy has happened? What if they just need to share, or even what if it is something that is going to bless me?

We seem to have become so involved in our own lives and in the moment of "Me" that we forget about all else. We hear that phone ringing as an annoyance, or even we feel obligatory to pick it up.

Is that how we are with God? What about when He is calling? Do we pick up immediately or do we let it ring for a while? Like a bill collector are we afraid of what He is going to say or ask for? Are we afraid He is going to ask us to go somewhere or to make another call to someone in need?

There are times at home when the radio is up, or the vacuum is running and I do not hear the phone. It can be that way in my life with God too. I can allow so much noise that there is no room for His voice to be heard.

But we cannot deny God is calling us. There are times when He is shouting and times when He is giving us a soft whisper. I want to hear Him. I don't want the things of this world to come between me and God. I want to be close to Him. Wherever I go I want Him to be there, and wherever He goes I want to be right by His side. But I need to get off the line so He can get through. I need to drown out the rest of the noise so I can hear His soft, sweet voice.

When I was little, very little, I remember we had a party line. No, that doesn't make me really old. But I remember my mom wanting to use the phone, but she had to wait until another was off. I do know there were those like on Andy Griffith that listened in on the other calls. Some places had more than a two party line, some had many, and each one had their own ring.

With God we each have our own ring, if we are listening we know it is He who is calling. Am I always listening for my ring? I have to say no, but I want to. I want to change that today. In the midst of all the commotion today I want to hear His calling. There is nothing sweeter than knowing God is calling me! That is hard for me to fathom, that the God of heaven wants to call me, and He wants to talk with me.

And just what if someone was listening in on your call, what would they hear? Would they hear anything of Jesus or would they hear just about you? I love it, I have a friend, a beautiful girlfriend who I can call or she can call me and we just talk about Jesus. In almost every conversation we have Jesus comes up. I cannot say that about every conversation I have, but I should be able to. When I speak others should be able to see Jesus. They should know that He is my life. So what if we had that party line today? In some ways we could take that and make it cool. We could hear God's call, answer and share with others all the wonders of His love. I think I like that idea. We too often do not share all the good that He is doing in our lives.

When the phone does ring, are you the listener or are you the one talking? Is it a shared conversation? I have found when God calls, I cannot always be the talker, there are many times that I just need to be the listener. My problem is that I want to do all the talking, but in a conversation that is two sharing, and that's how are relationship with Jesus should be. It is when we are listening that we learn the most.

But we can be in a crowded room, an elevator, under the water or in the woods and hear His voice. We can be anywhere on this earth and hear Him over all else, we just have to listen and be in tune with Him. Walking with Him side by side allows us to know when He is calling so we can pick up.

Wherever you are today He is calling. He is calling for you to come follow Him, to love Him, and to allow Him to be part of your life. He has a special purpose and plan for all of us, but before we are to know what it is we must first listen.

His call is the most important call you will ever receive. Don't let it keep ringing, don't yell for someone else to pick it up. If you just pick up it will be the greatest blessing you have ever thought of receiving. This is the one call you have been waiting for. You just don't know what blessings its going to hold until you answer.

Romans 10:13 " For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

John 10:3-4 " To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."

did that make you blush?

I think most would call me old fashioned. I am sure my kids would. I remember blushing as a kid when someone would say something to me. Maybe even blushing when that first boy threw me a kiss. When I had seen something I knew my eyes shouldn't have seen I remember blushing. But what about today?

Being old fashioned I still believe a girl should never call a boy. I believe before a boy asks a girl out he should show respect and ask her father. Remember the phrase,"A blushing bride?" She was innocent to all around her. She had a sweetness that you could see in her eyes.

Children blush all the time. Their innocence shows in their actions. They are honest and pure. So what has happened in today that makes us so different? Why have we allowed things to come into our minds, our homes and our hearts that no longer make us blush when they should?

We watch movies and laugh at things that are wrong in so many ways. We hear jokes and even tell them that are wrong on so many levels. We allow our eyes to see things that make an imprint on our hearts. Why? Have we just gotten so used to things that being in this world they no longer effect us?

I remember being at the Muny one summer with my children. While we were on our way to our seats we walked under a huge fan, and this fan happened to take my skirt up with it. I tried as fast as I could to get out from under this fan and pull my skirt down. I was blushing, but no one around us was. It was no big deal, it was nothing they hadn't seen before. We can turn on the television or go to our local mall and see women barely dressed. We can go purchase a calendar filled with naked firemen. Does nothing make us blush any longer?

We can actually be hypnotized by something like it is a car wreck when we know without a doubt we should turn away. Do we not keep anything from our eyes anymore? What is there left to see that we haven't seen already?

We can laugh at people, at circumstances, the way another has dressed, the house they live in, the car they drive, or the latest joke being told. We can turn on late night television and be enthralled with nasty jokes, jokes that we then share with our friends. We seem to share all these visions we are seeing with others in hopes they too will chuckle at what we thought was the laugh of the day.

We can watch Victoria Secret models prance on a stage in nothing in hopes to bring in a dollar. We can no longer take our children to the mall without having them see pictures and manikins of the skimpiest clothing, only to have them then ask questions.

We cannot even sell a hamburger on television with having sex sell it for us. Are we not being told that sex sells? Does seeing a girl in tiny clothing really make you want to go to Burger King? When are happy meals going to come with a model or a condom? We do we condone such behavior?

Why as a society have we closed our eyes to what we know is right and opened them to what we know is wrong? We are not making progress, we are going backwards in a fast way. We are going backwards in the fact that our godly beliefs are escaping our hearts and what the world has to offer is taking its place.

To see a child blush is one of the sweetest things ever. To see those little cheeks turn a pinkish hue is stating their innocence. So where has ours gone? As adults should we still not be blushing when we hear others cursing? When we see sex or a woman half naked? When we see a movie about a woman having an affair should we not walk out knowing its wrong?

I am one of those women that when a man calls out words to me, or stares at me with his eyes up and down my figure, I blush, I get angry and I hate it. I hate seeing men that could be my father look at my daughters. But this is not just about men, its women too. At times we can be the worst, in our little groups, laughing and speaking of the worker who was in our presence last week.

What has happened to our voice? Do we no longer stand up and say something is wrong? We just seem to let things go by, looking with our eyes, listening with our ears and lusting in our hearts.

This is not what God wants for us. When He tells us to keep our eyes on pure things, to think pure thoughts, He is telling us these things because He knows what we will struggle with. When we allow our eyes and ears to be part of things that our heart knows is wrong, sooner or later our heart is not going to take notice any longer.

If we are to keep our hearts pure we are going to have to protect our vision and our ears. When someone begins to tell a joke, instead of looking with our eyes wide open waiting for the punch line, may we be strong enough to tell that friend, "No, I don't want to hear such things, its wrong." When our daughter wants to dress in the latest style, may we as mothers be strong in our beliefs and explain why she shouldn't wear such things. Instead of handing our daughters money to go shopping, why not go with them? Teaching our daughters and having a special time with them can bring them into womanhood with the right morals and values.

The more we protect our hearts, the more we will be examples for others. Maybe even the children can be examples for us.

Matthew 5:8 " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things."

Friday, February 19, 2010

ALASKAN QUEST SERIES book two (Under the Norhern Lights) by Tracie Peterson

Under the Northern Lights picks up right where book 2 leaves us. Leah Barringer is home now after marrying Jayce, but during their journey Chase, Jayce's twin brother had kidnapped Helaina at gunpoint. Now as Leah is home, Jayce and Jake are on a manhunt to find Chase and bring Helaina home to safety. There are many twists and turns already in the first chapters. As Leah comes into the house she thinks Jayce is there waiting for, confused because she thought he was out with the crew hunting for Chase. But she is excited to see him, thinking he changed his mind and decided to come home after her instead, but to her recognition now, she is standing before Chase. Chase had come into Last Chance Creek and tricked the others into believing him to be Jayce. He now captures Leah, and has her thinking he has also captured Jayce and Jake. He takes her further up north, and along their journey Leah is always trying to show him grace and in doing so she gets him to open up about his past and feelings of his family. To no avail, Chase is an evil and selfish man. He has made it to the cabin in which Helaina is being held. Helaina has become very ill and Leah tends to her. While here Chase takes advantage of Leah and leaves her with feelings of hate that she has never had before. With Leah's wise thinking they soon escape and find the others. As the others send them home, Jayce decides to go after his brother himself, only to find him almost dead. Jayce buries his brother in the wilderness and is now on his way home. Leah finds herself pregnant, and with feelings of not sure who the father will be. During Helaina's stay here in Last Chance Creek, she comes to find the Lord. She also finds herself in love with Jake. As she is wanting to share with him she knows he will never go back to New York with her. So she keeps her feelings to herself, only to travel home and find that she no longer belongs there.She in fact is a changed person. She is on her way back to the Alaskan country when now Jayce and Jake are on a ship at sea in the midst of trouble again. Leah is taking care of the twins and Helaina is staying with her, praying and keeping faith that their men will return and Helaina will get to tell Jake her true feelings. This story carries so many interesting characters, and you begin to find yourself curious about the life in Alaska during the early 1900's. You will meet Ayoona, John, Emma, and the other people of Alaska who have always called it home. Through their trials and struggles God shows Himself through these characters and their faith. We watch these characters find forgiveness in this rugged land. Jayce, Jake and Leah come to terms with forgiveness. As Helaina watches them she sees what faith is, and when you hold on to faith it will carry you through. I loved this book as much as the first. As much as I have shared, there is so much more to this story that will grab you and you will not want to put it down. This book was a gift from Bethany House for its review.


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