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Showing posts from June, 2012

Uncle Mordecai

A few days ago I wrote about Queen Vashti. Before moving forward to Queen Esther I thought I would spend a little time sharing about Mordecai. I found him to be fasinating. He is that uncle we all dream of. I had an uncle like Mordecai, who took the position of watching over me, after my dad passed on. He walked me down he aisle and made sure he kept a protective eye on me. For that I am forever grateful.
Life might have been different for Esther had her uncle not stepped up to the plate. In losing her parents her life could have taken a turn for the worst. I know when I lost my dad I thought my world had ended. In many ways I rebelled and searched for something or someone to fill in where it was now void. It was years later, after meeting my husband, that my void spot was filled. You may think my husband was the filler of the spot. Friends, no one can replace your daddy. But I did fall in love with another Father. My Heavenly Father.
Mordecai took Esther under his wings and watche…

Learning The Gas Pedal From The Brake Pedal

When I first began driving I had a lead foot. I loved to go fast. Now, the brake was another story all together. Although pressing on the gas to go was easy, pressing that break caused some problems. I wouldn't begin breaking until I was almost past that stop sign. My stops were urgent and quick. Well, I didn't snap anyone's neck, but you get the picture.
Today, I drive a with a stick. My driving skills have improved. I am a slower paced driver now and my stops are gentle. Now, it's removing that road rage that invites itself in as my passenger.
Our journey down the highway of life isn't much different. I often look at my kids and wonder why they can't get it. Well, they aren't forty-five as I am. Learning and wisdom come with time. We are on a journey. Some of us take each day as a Sunday drive. Others, seem to be on the race track in Indy. The key is finding balance. When I learned to drive a stick, well, lets just say, it took a while. Yes, that's…

The Beauty and Character of Queen Vashti

As little girls we are taught to be nice and polite. Not too long ago I heard on the news about a man who was going about the city hugging women. Now, the shocking part is, these women were allowing this man to hug them. I couldn't believe my ears. The man would go up to women and share with them that he knew them from years past and would love to hug them. Excuse me, but were these women a tad bit out of their mind? If a man comes out of no where and attempts to hug me without my permission, someone is going to find a fist in their face.
We must have boundaries.
Remember that shot heard around the world that we have all learned about in history class? We all learned the power that one shot held and it changed the world. Queen Vashti didn't have a weapon in her hand. She held something of greater value. Her voice. She was the woman who stood with integrity and honor. As politely as she could she said, "No". This one word held a great impact on the world.
She was …

There's A Better Way Than Bitterness

In studying the story of Ruth and Naomi I learn something new every single time I open this book. We have two women, each very different, but both, women of God. When we look at Naomi we see a woman in deep torment. Pain that is almost unbearable. She not only lost her husband, but her sons also. The man of her dreams and the sons that filled her home with laughter.
I think Ruth was a god send for her. A daughter in law that we dream of having. One that chose to stand by her mother in law in difficult times. What catches my eye today, is not Ruth, but Naomi.
"She said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?" Ruth 1:20-21

Naomi had lost all hope. Even though she was a woman of God, she was not seeing God blessing her, but taking away all that brought her happine…

"Travelers Rest" by Ann Tatlock

"Travelers Rest", is the story of three people and how their lives intertwined in God's plan. He weaves grace through the lives of these three people who are all facing different circumstances, but life brings them together in ways that could only happen through God's divine plan for us.
The travelers in this poignant read all need rest from the weariness they face. You have the woman who wants to remain by her love no matter what. The soldier who is ready to give up after battle has cost him greatly and the man who needs to find forgiveness. Ann Tatlock has brought us a fantastic story of God's strength and redemption. We see love prevail and realize everything doesn't turn out as we would like. But once we begin to see past the pain we can see God's plan forming and come to view.
I connected with the main character, Jane Morrow. There is a character in this gem that each of us can connect with. I know there have been times in my early walk with Chris…

"This Scarlet Cord" by Joan Wolf

"This Scarlet Cord", by Joan Wolf brings to light what the life of Rahab could have been. It gives us a front row seat of times past and what life was like. It is Biblically based, but much of Rahab's story is not recorded in the Bible. So what happens? It leaves room for the imagination. Joan adds the details that could have been there. She helps to bring this woman to life through the pages we read.
Joan tells us in her own words that the story of Rahab takes up five paragraphs in the Bible. Joan goes deeper and brings us a story penned with 85,000 words.
This was a lovely read for me. It gave me a new perspective on Rahab. How would you like to be known as the prostitute in the lineage of Jesus Christ? I love the fact that Rahab was added to the lineage of Christ in the Book of Matthew. This shows us the unlimited mercy of God and the grace He bestows upon us daily. We see a clear picture of love and finding our path by focusing upon God.
I can take away much from …

A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way

I often wonder what heaven will hold for us. Will we one day enter the gates of heaven and get to hear or visualize the prayers that were said on our behalf? Prayers spoken on our behalf by those we have never met in person. Maybe they are prayers that were requested by a friend. A co-worker. Prayers come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure. Prayer is power. Prayer is surrendering that horrific detail of your life to the Lord and Savior and trusting Him to move and do His will and way. Prayer is humbling your heart and realizing you have no control over a situation, but the One above does. Christ knows the circumstances that surround each and every moment in our lives. No matter how big or small. He is involved. There are times when we think He is silent. Oh, those are the times when He is at work. Not only in our circumstance, but most importantly, in our heart.
Have you ever needed encouragement, but found yourself encouraging another instead? Funny thing about enco…

"Mary Magdalene" by Diana Wallis Taylor

When you open the pages of, "Mary Magdalene", you see a story that is biblically based and is woven together in such a way that we are able to see what the intimate details her life could have held. We see deep emotion and the lasting impact that comes from the foundations of a loving family. I truly enjoyed reading this story and it actually brought me to open my Bible and dig in a little deeper. Isn't that what it's all about?
Most of all, what I love about this book is that we see a protective Savior and the healing of that Savior. He truly becomes her refuge in the night as haunting dreams hold her captive. We see this woman, who has been through so very much, come to follow her Savior and spend her life, worshiping and giving praise to the One who came and died for her. This is a story of redemption and one that will leave you blessed.
This was a gift from Revell for it's review.
Diana Wallis Taylor is the author of Journey to the Well and Martha, and has p…

"The Anniversary Waltz", by Darrel Nelson

This was a lovely read for me. I enjoyed it from the first page until I closed the very last. How wonderful to have an anniversary waltz on your sixtieth wedding anniversary. A day every married couple hopes to enjoy together.
The story begins in the year of 2006, as the couple, Adam and Elizabeth, are readying for their celebration. The family enjoys of hearing of how the anniversary waltz came to be, so the Carlsons begin the retelling of their love story.
Nelson takes us back to the year of 1946. We are transported back to the town of Reunion, Montana. He begins with Adam returning from the war and coming home to a family farm in need of repair. Most importantly, a father's and son's relationship, in need of repair. Adam's mother is full of such grace and carries such a sweet spirit, while his father is angered that his son was off at war. For me, more than anger, I see a father, feeling deprived and missing his son. A father unable to really share his feelings.
We se…

God's Snug Buckle

Yesterday while shopping with my grand daughter, I hear the words, "I'm stuck!" To her precious mind, she was stuck. Right there in the cart with that snug belt around her, holding her in tight. To her, she wanted to be able to reach for everything she wanted. She wanted to touch all in sight. She wanted to stand and teeter in the seat.
She wasn't crying. She wasn't throwing a temper tantrum. She was just letting me know, I'm stuck! She would wiggle, trying to free herself. She even tugged on the belt holding her in her seat. She just wanted more than anything to be free from that buckle. A buckle she couldn't figure out how to unfasten. Oh, she tried with all her might, and I might add she didn't give up until she was finally free and in Nanny's arms, as I was putting her in the truck to hold her new baby.
Ever feel stuck, yourself? I know I do. There are times I just want to reach beyond my measure. I wanna tug at something new. I want to gra…

Seek Him and Find Sweet Rest

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:2-5
As I ready for bed tonight I am reminded of this verse. I am reminded to spend time with the Lord in prayer before I close my eyes. Maybe I will even sit in my rocker and look out at the stars and claim witness to His glory. We forget so easily. We become tired and weary. We need rest. Our eyes need to close, but not before we seek the Lord. In seeking Him we find true and complete peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding. I must be honest and say, there is so very much I do not understand. Even though I can find joy, there is much that saddens my heart. I tend to have the opinion that I can do it on my own. God quickly reminds me how much I do need Him. The road ahead is…

"The Unraveling Of Wentwater", by C.S Lakin

What I love about C.S Lakin is the fact that in every story she brings the glory of God alive. We see the power of the cross and heaven's gates are revealed in such a way that the story comes to life. The characters in the latest installment of, "The Gates Of Heaven Series", she brings us to Wentwater.
I love how Lakin takes words and shows the power they have. The town of Wentwater is like invisible ink. It is disappearing as fast as it's being penned. Can we undo our words? Just what can words do? They have the power to bring others to Christ or turn them away for ever. Words hold such power. They can bring love or they can cut like a dagger in hate. Words can undo us or make us feel complete.
Lakin brings fantasy alive and puts a twist on Sleeping Beauty. This is the fourth book of the series. Just imagine, there will be seven tales of heaven when the series is complete. This series is for everyone. If you enjoy fantasy you will be captivated by this series. W…

"Fearless" by Eric Blehm (The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown)

As I opened the first pages of this book about the life of Adam Brown, my heart was not prepared for what I was about to read. God bless his family for wanting his story told. It is a story that holds honor, valor and one worth telling. It shows us the grace of God and His mercies that touch us every day. This is a personal story. A glimpse into the life of Adam Brown and those who loved and admired him. We see a portrait of a young American Hero.
Adam Brown's story doesn't begin as a Navy Seal and it doesn't end there either. Eric Blehm takes us back to Adam's childhood, his teenage years, and those years he struggled. There is such a transparency here that gives us a full glimpse of the walk of a Christian on a journey. It seems Adam was ready for battle when he was born and in his death he was prepared for a new life. A life cut short by battle, but victory awaited him. Victory was around every corner for Adam. It seemed he faced a mountain with a strength that c…

"Waiting For Sunrise" by Eva Marie Everson

Wow! Wow! Wow! I dove into, "Waiting For Sunrise", and didn't come up for a breath until the last page was complete. Now, I'm telling ya, this is a read that you will not soon forget. It's one that will grab your heart and take you for a ride, starting in 1964 and taking you back to 1946. A different time. A different generation and for Pasty Sweeny Milstrap, a life time ago.
Funny how when we are children we see things one way, but after growing ourselves, we are able to look back and grasp a picture that is more crystal and precise than ever. Our childhood impacts us so for the rest of our lives. Sometimes, it's that very past, holding us back from enjoying today. In Patsy's case, there was love lost, family battles and a heart filled with what ifs and whys, that was ever unfolding in her heart.
Depression has hit Patsy. It may have always been there through the years. Patsy has a devoted husband who has stood with her and prayed her to healing. God…

"Shoot The Wounded", by Lynn Dove

"Shoot The Wounded", is a book for every young person to read. Better yet, place it in the hands of every parent to make them more aware of the trials and struggles that teens face daily. As parents we often miss the mark because we are too busy not looking in the right direction.
This remarkable book brings us straight to the issue of many circumstances today. Gossip, bullying, teen pregnancy and more. This is real life for teens. It's just not made for the movies. I applaud Lynn for writing about such important truths for us to learn and remember.
The characters here before us in this story are very real. The writing is poignant and powerful. This is a gripping story of  Leigh, Ronnie and Jake. Three young people torn by circumstance. We see faith come alive and grow.
This book is such an encouragment and testimony of God's love and strength.
Following, "Shoot The Wounded", is the second in the series, "Heal The Wounded", and the third book…

"Chasing The Sun", by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is at the top of my favorites list for historical fiction. She is simply the best. In reviewing Book 1 of her newest series, "Land of The Lonestar", she has soared to the top once again. The writing flows. Your heart opens up wider than you would expect and then the blessings begin to flow. She carries you to another time and place. She brings characters alive and places you right there in the depths of this wild and untamed land.
We have two characters, Hannah and William, with two different lives, about to collide. The country as been at war and there are wars close to home. Hitting the heart directly on target. I admired these characters. They make their faith known and they bring family to the forefront of what's important in life. They stand against struggle and fear, coming together in ways they never imagined.
Friends, if you are searching for a great summer read, you will not falter with Tracie Peterson. In fact, you will be blessed by a new ho…

The Best View In The House

A few months ago my husband and I looked at a house on the market. I fell in love with this home as soon as we pulled in the drive way and parked. After going inside, some how I was directed to the windows. It was something I really had never done before. Usually I am searching for closet space and cabinets, but something was different. The view.
I walked to each and every window of this home and found the view was spectacular. It was more than spectacular. Breathtaking is more like it. The view was different from each window. You may be saying, "Well, of course it is." But this was a total different view from each window. From one you could see a tree swing. Another you could see a lovely bench parked between two perfect trees. From another you got a wide lens view of the lake. Again and again I was completely captivated at the view I was seeing.
Do you know what I was thinking? Oh my goodness, what a lovely place to write and spend the evenings with my husband underneat…

Mondays With My Old Pastor by Jose' Luis Navajo

When I saw the cover of this book it tugged at my heart. When I read the description I just had to learn more. I knew this was a book I must review. To say I loved this book is not sufficient. I think this will be regarded as a timeless treasure.
Jose' finds himself weary. He asks the question we have all pondered at least once in our lives, "Perhaps I should dedicate myself to something else?" I treasured the wisdom penned across these pages. The love and passion that was brought to life between these two pastors is almost holy. Through these pages we see the Lord's presence and we see Him moving ever so graciously as Jose' finds that peace he has been seeking.
How wonderful these Monday afternoons must have been not only for Jose', but for his pastor. Jose' shares their intimate moments of conversation. This is pure friendship. We get a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Jose' and his pastor. We get to meet their wives too, who are also filled…

Dinner Time Conversations

Nothing brings a family together like sitting around the dinner table. When I was a kid I could take off on my bike that morning, but I was to be home at 4:00 when mom would have dinner on the table. Mom, dad and I would dine on her home cooking and leave the table feeling more than full of good and tasty morsels. My heart would be completely full of smiles. It is one of my fondest memories of being home. I can remember dad walking in from work and mom placing the plates on the table. Do families even eat together any more?
I loved when all of our children were home. Dinner time was always a treat. Some families may like to eat in silence, but our family was bursting with laughter and stories about the day. There is something about the dinner table that just brings people together. There is a peace in breaking bread with another. Whether your having a cozy dinner for two or a house filled with family and friends gathered in the kitchen, you can't help but smile and feel warm ins…

God's X-ray Vision

I have had my share of x-rays over the years. An x-ray will show what the eye cannot see. It goes beyond all perception and brings a matter into full focus. We get an x-ray when there is a problem. Maybe we are hurting. Could something be broken? There are all kinds of tests that show what is going on deeper than the eye can see. Once the test is complete we then wait on the results. That waiting can be tough. Our mind begins to wonder and worry, forgetting that whatever the test shows God is still God and He is in control. 

You gotta love God's x-ray vision. He can see straight into our heart, past all the blockages, the brokenness, the hardened places. He sees what others cannot see. The heart is the life center. It's the beginning and end. Once we open our heart to Him, the Great Physician, He will bring healing to those places we once thought impossible. He can bring new life that flows grace passed all that once kept us from living true joy.
Ever think of those tests in…

Every Stone Holds A Story

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I went to visit Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. What a humbling experience to pull into a cemetery, holding white grave stones,  that seems to go as far as the eye can see. We would drive through slowly reading over the names on the tombstones. Then we would stop every so often and get out and walk a bit. There are tombstones from the Civil War where you find "Unknown Soldier" engraved.
As I brushed my hand over the top it hit me that this man or woman served and no one knows who or what they did, but their service still today has lasting impact. How many times do we wish to be recognized for our service? How many times do we wish to see our name in lights or just wish someone realized what we did on a daily basis? It gave me a new perspective on serving. My service should be in light of where God calls me and I should be willing to give all for Him no matter the cost. No matter if anyone here on earth ever knows what I have done,…