Monday, December 31, 2018

Favorites of 2010

Last night I began thinking of things from this past year that have been important to me. I had to laugh that so many of the words began with the same letter: Faith, Family, Friends, Films, Festivities, Flames, Finding...! Well, you get the point. My initial title for this note did make me giggle, but I decided it is inappropriate. Therefore, I was grateful when the word "Favorites" popped into my mind.

Faith: My faith becomes more important to me each year. This is the year I reluctantly decided leave a church family I still love dearly and move to another. I was so caught up in service to God that I was neglecting time with God. I also know myself well enough to know that I was not just going to learn to say no and step down from my involvement. I still have a long way to go in learning to rest in His presence and listen to His voice. (I do tend to talk way too much!) However, I am learning to seek Him and soak in His word. Prayer needs of others also is bringing me into more time spent with God.

Family: My "babies"are all in their 30s!! How did that happen so quickly? (Frankly, I still see a 16 year old when I look in the mirror....yeah, fantasy!!) My daughter remarried this year and is growing in her faith. My prayers are still with my sons to return to theirs, but I am proud of the people my children have become and have confidence that they will continue to evolve into the people God intends them to be.

The grandkids are rushing toward adulthood with amazing speed. Zac is driving!! I still see the little boy on his tricycle, but he will soon be a man and already shows a promise of maturity. Caitlyn is at the fun, frustrating, & fascinating age of fifteen. Cody is leaving behind the world of being a child quicker than I am ready for, but I am amazed at the young man he is becoming. Admittedly, there was the few weeks there when I broke out in hives every day when he got home from school...and he wasn't too thrilled to be around me either...but I believe we are going to be okay.

Friends: This is an absolutely amazing group of people who mean more to me than they could possibly realize. Some have been around for a lifetime...and I have the sheer pleasure of also being related to them. Some are people that I have met through the years and whether the relationship is one where we share details of our lives or one of a more casual nature, each is special to me. The third group are people I have never met. There are some I can share more detail with than I have shared with people I have known for over 50 years.....yet I never expect to meet them. (Perhaps that is the type that works best for me! LOL!) Whether I have known these friends since my entrance into the world, or they have just recently entered into my world, these are people I can talk to, pray for (& can ask them to pray for me), and rejoice in getting to know better. I hope you all know who you are and that I have let you know that I treasure you.

Films: What can I say? Beyond The Farthest Star!  Alright, seriously, there is no doubt that I am so excited about this film I talk of little else...and I couldn't begin to tell you why. Honestly...I don't know. :)
However BTFS and other faith-based films have become an important part of my life. On one hand it saddens me that we have become so entertainment saturated that simply telling others about Jesus no longer seems adequate. On the other, I see movies, music, & books as doors of opportunity to get a conversation started. I love to read, but I realize many do not. Music is my favorite form of worship...a song can bring me to the throne of God within seconds. But movies seem to weave a common thread with others. I like a variety with movies. I don't think the purpose of each faith-based film should be to lead others to Christ. I don't have the expectation of secular films to encapsulate their entire belief system within an approximately 2 hour time frame, so why should I expect Christian filmmakers to constrict themselves?

God did lay this industry on my heart. I know I probably drive many people up a wall as I promote a variety of films, but it seems silly for me to just sit around praying for the films and the people involved with them without sharing the news. Put it this way: If you feel something will make a difference in someone's life, do you tell them? Whether a film can help me share my faith with non-believers, clarify (whether about a person, an issue, whatever...), give a person something to think about,....or frankly, just entertain someone, how will people know if no one tells them? 

Festivities: Whether it is the most sacred of holidays that commemorate significant milestones in our beliefs (Christmas, Easter, etc.) to frivolous (Talk Like A Pirate Day, National Coffee Day...not sure if that is frivolous to me) to ones that give us both cause to reflect on our past and give hope to the future (any guesses here?), the festivities, celebrations, & holidays have given us an opportunity to share fun facts, favorites, fears, faith, friendship...and a common bond with one another. Hope to have many opportunities in 2011 to celebrate with y'all!!

Flames: What else, use the term loosely. I noticed my most popular status updates were always when I mentioned my attempts to cook. While I do have the occasional success, I also have those moments with flames shooting out of the oven. My inability to boil water without some type of disaster still astounds me. I do want to thank some of you who were kind enough to believe that I merely lacked decent recipes. Some that I received did turn out quite well. Some looked promising, although my son constantly tells me that my ideas of "close enough" is usually no where near an adequate substitute. There are some I am still puzzling over: what is 'cake flour'? Let me leave this section with a quote I found written in my status updates that sums up this subject perfectly:
'I read recipes the same way I do science fiction. I get to the end and think, "Well, that's probably not going to happen!""

Finding: This refers to my recent attempts to clean out closets. No, I'm still not done!!!!! Once I packed away the reindeer antlers and nose.....THAT reminds me!! I never did come back and let people know about the nose. I lamented that I could not find my clown nose the day I discovered my reindeer antlers while cleaning. Well, I went to church with my daughter & family on Christmas Eve and red foam noses were being given to the children for them to wear while singing "Rudolph" during the program. I laughed and said that I needed one earlier due to the misplacement of my red nose, and they graciously gave me one!!!!! LOL! While I seldom feel the need to dress like Rudolph while cleaning (the closets were just particularly depressing) I can!!

Anyway...some of y'all may remember all of the plastic Easter eggs I kept finding! I am still finding them every where!! I apparently have bought dozens of the things over the years and just kept tossing them in the closet. Trust me, they are leaving my spite of the fact that I keep thinking of uses for them. I am also hoping I have found the last of my stashes of crayons, glue, & sticky notes. I doubt it, but I can hope. Who knows what all I may find before the forage through the closets is finished.

Facebook: Now, how could I omit this word? The previously mentioned topics would be futile and frustrating without the fun I have had here. Facebook has been at the center of so many aspects of my life, and I hope it will continue to be part of my life...but who know what the future holds.

Finally...thank you all for a fantastic year! May God bless each and everyone who has been a part of my life in 2010 and I hope 2011 is filled with love, life, laughter, & joy beyond belief!!!

I thank God whenever I think of you. My prayers for each are filled with joy! ~ Phil. 1:3-4
This is how I THINK I look!!!!!!!!!! LOL!

November 1971
Goose Creek, SCThis is how I THINK I look!!!!!!!!!! LOL! A favorite photo from one of my favorite years.
November 1971 Goose Creek, SC
I found this old Facebook Note that is special to me. It's easier to keep up with on Blogger than Notes.

Since 2018 was a "D" year (death, despair, disloyalty, discontent, depression, etc.) for the most part, it's more difficult to write about. I still have my joy... but happiness is harder to find. Of course, there were moments of delight, especially with Wyatt in my life. He and his big sister Audrey will need prayers and memories of their mom in the years ahead. And the assurance that their mom, Caitlyn, is safely Home... waiting to hold them again.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Celebrating Sin

Celebrating and encouraging sin as a means of leading people to Christ has become the new norm. The important thing is to further your own agenda! Do not worry about the broken lives & people hurt; There's plenty of time to tell them about God's Word later.

Of course, impressionable children are being given a wrong message... but God is cool with leading children astray. Right? Not as long as it's used as a lesson in God's forgiveness and His offer of 2nd chances. You don't want them learning right from wrong and that sin has consequences. Nor does it matter than their upbringing is being placed in the hands of someone I would not trust to raise a cat. Or one who has proven she has no sense of loyalty.

The important thing is that you get what you want, you get to look like a person nurturing others (while ignoring that you are telling people lies about their sin and encouraging them to continue), and condemning people who disagree with your favorite "holier-than-thou" judgmental attitude.

It's really funny that you are so shocked I am opposed. The people I have confided in (so they can be praying for the children) are shocked and dismayed and absolutely stunned that you are not only complicit, but excited. They honestly believe your priority is the children. But your priority has always been yourself. This is simply the quickest way to get your house back to yourself. While I do understand, I could never risk the children's well-being. and, as much as I dislike the  behavior of the "adults" in the situation, encouraging immorality is just plain wrong. I feel sorry for the husband/best friend who was betrayed, but also for unbelievers whom you are encouraging to go against the word of God. I confess, I am still puzzled over your belief that this is a form of evangelism... but perhaps you do know, deep inside, that you are causing people to feel good about doing the wrong thing. Even more to the point, there are emotionally vulnerable people who have each lost a spouse... one through death, one through a recent divorce. Who in their right mind would be encouraging them to begin a new relationship... especially when their are young children involved? People have been popping in and out of their lives at an alarming rate and with some very poor examples being displayed. 

I pray that everyone seeks and finds God... and establishes a relationship with Him but I can not celebrate that which is wrong on so many levels. Even if there were no kids involved, this would be shameful. I do hate my own attitude is one of bitterness, but I am also very ashamed of you. You are narcissistic and delight in making those who disagree with you feel bad and unworthy.

(Obviously, this is something personal and meant for a particular person. I may regret things I have written... but I had to vent.)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Restoration Year - John Eldredge

Whether you have had a great year or one filled with many difficulties, the thought of a new year always brings to mind that there are changes we can make to transform us and to restore anything that needs healed or made whole. Restoration Year by John Eldredge (Ransomed Heart) is a 365-day Devotional designed to guide you on a year of restoration as you follow God for a richer experience with your relationship with God, and with other people in your life.

Each day provides Scripture and a short daily reading and ends with a prayer, a challenge or an inspirational message to further guide you along your journey. The steps you take will make a remarkable difference in your relationship with God. And, this will lead to a richer relationship with family and friends as you seek God first.

This is an embossed hardcover book with thick, easy-to-turn pages and an attached ribbon bookmark. It's easy to hold while reading, and since it's one page per day, most people should manage that well. My one complaint is no room for writing my own thoughts; there is some room in the margins of the book, but I would like a bit more space. This is a great devotional for a man, but also suitable for a woman or for a couple to read together. Published by Thomas Nelson.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Resoration Year - Thomas Nelson 
Ransomed Hearts website
John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ellie Claire Devotionals

Devotions For A New Year

A new year will soon be here and a fresh new devotional can be a tremendous assest to your quiet time spent with God. Writing down your thoughts and prayers throughout the year is not only helpful as a way to focus your thoughts, but is a reminder at the end of the year of your deepening relationship with God. A devotional can signify a beginning, a end... but, most of all--- the journey.  

I had the pleasure of reviewing the following three devotionals from Ellie Claire (Worthy Publishing). 

The end of a year always seems filled with holiday activities and an overload of memories as we look back. Many want to have a fresh start with a peaceful beginning to reconnect. Even the cover of this devotional looks calm and peaceful. Filled with Scripture that points the reader to the peace to be found in God and reminders of His strenghth and promise to be with us always. Using the prayer prompts, you can express your thoughts about how the Holy Spirit spoke to you daily through the Scripture and the anecdotal material included. You can purchase at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Are you a music lover? If a song moves you into a deeper worship and praise experience, this is a devotional you will love. Each page starts off with a line from a familiar hymn... either traditional or contemporary that ties in with the daily devotion. That leads to Scripture to read that ties everything together in perfect harmony. There is plenty of room on the rest of the page to share your thoughts, prayers, and praises. This cover is my least favorite although I do love the color scheme. I would still buy this one for my personal use. Purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S AND EVERYTHING IN ITThe cover of this one made me smile because it reminded me of a friend who loves peacocks. The inside is what counts, though, and I believe this should please anyone. This devotional have nature lover and those who delight in the creativity and beauty that surrounds us. The Scripture, devotional, and quotes will resonate with you as find beauty in our Creator and look beyond your own backyard to explore the possibilities God has in store. You can buy this at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Each of these devotionals have:

• Lay-flat binding
• Archive quality, non-bleed paper
• Daily devotional with lightly ruled space for responses, lists, or journaling
• Full-color interior design
• Presentation page for personalization
• Foil, ribbon
• Closure band

I love Ellie Claire devotionals. The beautifully designed soft covers with gorgeous illustrations inside are inviting to use. I also appreciate that they are easy to keep open while writing in them... and no bleed-through. I did have a friend pop into my mind with 2 of the journals and plan to share them with those friends. Due to a year that did have wonderful events, like additional great-grandchildren, but also the tragic death of my beloved granddaughter... and other personal problems, the devotional on Peace is exactly what I need as I try to readjust to life. I recommend each of them.

I received these products courtesy of Ellie Claire and Worthy Publishing at no cost to myself in hopes that I would review them on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, but only for my honest opinion of each.

Ellie Claire website

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Holy Roar ~ Chris Tomlin/Darren Whitehead

Holy Roar is a small book, but not necessarily a quick read. The focus is on the 7 Hebrew words of praise and their specific meanings. Each chapter begins with one of the words with a pronunciation guide, definition, and an example of a Scripture where that specific word is used. Darren Whitehead, pastor of Church of the City in Nashville, then gives a personal story that gives an example of how the word is used that makes it much more relatable to people. Behind the Music is the section where musician/singer/worship leader Chris Tomlin tells the story behind some of his most well-known songs and how each is connected to a form of praise. Each chapter closes with a quote, several Scripture references that use the word (example, halal), and 5 questions to help with personal growth and reflection. The book is published by Thomas Nelson.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book for reading material, but I highly recommend it for personal growth and as a weekly or daily devotional for anyone wanting to learn more about prise and worship. It does have interest for just the casual reader but I believe you get a much better experience when you use it as an educational tool. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”