Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ooh! Aah!



            I have no shame! I’m in my 40s and I still love Christmas trees and all their shiny decorations. November 1st, I’m ready to put my tree up. After we decorate it, we like to stand back and admire it . “Oooh! Aaah!”

If you are like me, you have newer shimmering ornaments that go out front for everybody to see. And you have some old dull ones where their color has faded or the paint has chipped off. You are tempted to throw them away, but you are too attached to them, so they get hidden in the back of the tree.  That way nobody can see just how bad they really are.

 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are new creatures.  We are to shed the old self and take on the new one.  Unfortunately, a lot of times we try to hang on to the old habits.  We’re attached to them and don’t want to let them go, so we hide them from view.  Take a moment to step back and look at how your soul is decorated.  How many of those old habits that we’ll call drab ornaments are still hanging around?  Maybe it’s time to throw them out.  That way you have more room the glistening ones.  Oooh!  Aaah!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

OOPS!

Oops!
I say “OOPS!” at least once every Christmas. Sometimes more. Each year I drop ornaments as we decorate the Christmas tree. They shatter upon impact with the hardwood floor. Know what’s the most aggravating about it? It’s never the old balls or the ones that have fallen off of my favorite decoration list. Nope. It’s the new shiny ornaments that I just had to have on my tree.

It’s a shame that bad habits can’t be disposed of easily as the broken ornaments. Just scoop up the pieces and throw them in the trash never to be seen again.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are new creatures. We need to shed the old self and take on the new one. Unfortunately, a lot of times we try to hang on to the old habits. We’re attached to them and don’t want to let them go. In our eyes, they are still shiny and pretty, but in God’s eyes they are the old leftover decorations that need to go.

Step back and look at what you are decorating your soul with. Those old habits that we’ll call ugly ornaments need to be shattered and thrown in the trash, never to be seen again!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EXCITED!

     I love the Pointer Sisters. In case you don’t know who they are, they were a group of sisters who sang together. They started out in the 1970s, but they achieved their greatest success in the 1980s. I had their 1983 album Break Out which had their hit, I’m So Excited. I loved this song and listened to it quite often.

     Why did I like I’m So Excited so much? For one reason, it was very upbeat. I love music that makes me want to move and bob my head. I’m like one of those little dogs you put on your dashboard where the head moves or bobs around while you drive. That’s me. I don’t enjoy listening to slow or draggy music. I know I'm alive when my heart to thumps!  There is a drawback to this kind of pleasure-Its short-lived.
 
   If you want real happiness that lasts, may I suggest some scripture? I looked up some verses that I find inspirational. I hope you find inspiration and excitement about God’s promises and love for us as believers in Jesus.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
This is one of my favorites:“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14(NIV)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rear View Mirror

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving You All!

Rear View Mirror

“Oh Lord!” That’s what I say when I look in my rear view mirror and see a policeman behind me. As long as he is there, I am self-conscious of everything I do. Am I going the speed limit? Is it the posted speed limit? Am I putting my blinkers on too early or too late? How long am I to sit at a stop sign? Are all my lights working? Is he taking notes of everything I do and don’t do? Yeah, I freak out a little.
Needless to say, I am not as conscientious with my driving when there’s NOT a cop behind me. My attitude is different, so my driving is different. I’m not as worried about getting caught doing something wrong. Isn’t that like the way we are a lot of times with our attitude toward God?

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)


How different would your actions be if you remembered that God knows all? No, I don’t think we should be paranoid like I described myself in the first paragraph. God isn’t waiting for us to miss up so He can write us a ticket. If we’ve been saved, our fine was paid with the blood of Jesus.
Here’s the bigger picture. If we have the wrong attitude about the sin in our lives, then how are we going to lead the lost to Christ? How are we to be an example to others?

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness. Titus 2:7(NIV)
May you have a blessed day with no cops in your rear view mirror.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If the Creek Don't Rise

Being a Tennessee girl, I have been raised with many colorful southern “sayings.” I will on occasion discuss these clever phrases and how they relate to the bible.

     As you have probably guessed by now, we southerners can’t always give a simple answer to a simple question. When you ask somebody to do something for you at a later time, you expect to hear a yes, no, or maybe as an answer. But if you’re in the south, you might just hear, “Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise.”
     Growing up in East Tennessee, I had heard this phrase many times. I didn’t think about what that phrase really meant until I got older and (hopefully) wiser. I just thought that phrase was supposed to funny and cute. I was so wrong for there’s a big meaning behind that phrase.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1(NIV)

    In other words, don’t take the future for granted. Only God knows what his plans for tomorrow are and they may or may not be the same as ours. So when somebody answers you with, “Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise,” be rested assured. As long as it’s ialso n God’s plans, they’re going to do whatever they promised you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Empty Space

No, I’m not going to talk about what’s between my ears. I’m going to talk about outer space, or better yet, the universe. Notice I didn’t capitalize the word universe because that is a pet peeve of mine. What on earth am I talking about?

It saddens me when I hear people talk about getting signs from the universe or stopping to listen to what the universe is telling them. The word universe is just another name for the vast outer space and all the contents therein. “The universe” is not capable of reason or love. It didn’t create you in its image. It didn’t die on a cross for you or resurrect from the dead. It can’t forgive your sins and it can’t get you into Heaven.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,” Isaiah 45:5 (NIV)

Don’t let the world confuse you. The universe is not a god, but it was created by One .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cows in Texas

Being a Tennessee girl, I have been raised with many colorful southern “sayings.” I will on occasion discuss these clever phrases and how they relate to the bible.



   My mother has a southern saying for almost every occasion. Now, before we go any further, let me say that my mother is a “big cut-up.” She loves to have fun and make people laugh, but she also has a big heart. She tries to help people and she’s raised me to do what is right versus what I want to do or not do.

   So, if you ever hear my mother say, “If it hair-lips every cow in Texas!” you better watch out. Yes she is making a joke, but she is also being very serious. She will do what needs to be done and she’s not afraid to do it. At this point, you better get out of her way.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1(NIV)
   Awesome verse! Talk about the invincible power of God. When you lean on Him, you tap into His strength. Don’t be afraid to do His will and do what He commands you to do or not do. The ones who need to be afraid are the ones trying to discourage and/or stop you. They won’t succeed, even “If it hair-lips every cow in Texas!”
*by the way, we’re from East Tennessee, but I think Texas has many more cows than we do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kathy Cretsinger 's "Callie's Mountian" Interview

I’m so excited to have an interview with my friend Kathy about the release of her new book, Callie’s Mountain.
When did you fist realize your calling to write?
I’ve wanted to write since in elementary school. I didn’t have any idea how to go about it until I met a friend who was an author. She showed me I could write, and helped me with the process of getting started.

What inspired you to write Callie’s Mountain?
The story of the Melungeon people has been dear to me for a long time. They were so mistreated by the white people. I guess I feel for the downtrodden people. I’d much rather write about people who are lifted up from the depths of hurt.
We were researching our family tree, along with my cousin’s husband. He found information about our family that we had not heard of before. Believe me, it was a wild family. With his discovery, we realized we had Melungeon blood in our veins, from my father’s mother. My father and his siblings bore distinct characteristics of the Melungeon race. I tried to use native Melungeon names in the book, but it isn’t about anyone in particular.

Writing Callie’s Mountain has been quite a journey for you. Do you care to talk about it?Callie’s Mountain has had a lot of starts and stops. The book has been with me, and a part of my life, for seven years. I started writing for therapy after my father’s death. I wrote off and on while caring for my mother. Callie wouldn’t let me alone, and I continued to write.
There have been a lot of discouragements, mostly from agents and publishers. We all have them if we desire to write. I have persevered. It’s made me a better person and a better writer.

What is Callie’s Mountain about? What time period is it set in? What makes it stand out?Callie’s Mountain is set in the hills of Tennessee, around Rogersville, in 1798. It is a love and hate story. Callie’s father tells her he has arranged a marriage for her with Jacob McGinnis. She’s never met him, and she rebels. First on her agenda is to teach school. Then she wants to find her “own true love.” The wagon train they are traveling across the mountains in is attacked by three strange men, the first introduction of the Melungeons. Jacob runs them off, but it doesn’t impress Callie.
She becomes close to one Melungeon family, and teaches them to read and write. The store owner raised prices when he sells anything to the Melungeon. He is killed by Indians, who he also cheated, before they have a chance to approach him with their knowledge.
There are Indian attacks, Callie likes Jacob, then doesn’t. I think there’s a lot of action.
To me the story of the Lost Race, the Melungeons, makes it stand out. Very few books have been written about these people and I want them to be portrayed as the sweet, wonderful people they are.

What about your new publishing company Mantle Rock?
When I was having trouble being published, my dear friend and author, Sandi Rog, encouraged me to start my own company and self-publish. My husband, Jerry, and I decided this was the way publication was going. It’s hard to be published in a large publishing company. It takes years to see your book in print. Mantle Rock Publishing can publish your book for you with no cost to you, and in months instead of years. The only thing we ask is you have it edited before it comes to us. We want a perfect manuscript. We can then have it printed on Kindle and in paperback. You will receive a commission when the book is sold. We will also help you market your book by helping you with blogs, interviews, and other ways of marketing. Of course, you have to do a lot of the leg work. Callie’s Mountain is being printed now in paperback. If anyone has other questions, they can contact me at kathycret at yahoo dot com.

What other releases do you have coming out?Susannah’s Hope is scheduled to be released in January, 2013. Susannah is a brat in Callie’s Mountain. She goes through a lot of changes in the beginning of the story. She takes a complete 360 turn when her father dies and she is left to manage the store. Dr. Val Minor befriends her. There are no Indian attacks, but a smallpox epidemic. This book also involves mixed marriages between Melungeon and Caucasian. It really happened in that time.
After that is Emily’s Faith. Emily is the daughter of Callie and Jacob McGinnis. This will involve the Trail of Tears and be set in Hopkinsville, KY. After all, I live in Kentucky now and the Trail of Tears is part of our area. It is also a love story between Emily and a part Melungeon man. I think it will be a sad book to write because of all the things that happened to the Cherokee Indians. I am enjoying the research.
In the fall, I hope to finish Gilded Winter. I may change the name to Golden Winter. Haven’t decided yet. It’s set in 1908 on Jekyll Island. It’s the end of the Gilded Era, and Jekyll was a winter haven for the rich. It’s about four employees on the island. It’s a little lighter book than the Melungeon stories.
After that, I have several running around in my head. I pray God lets me live long enough to tell them.
A lot of the process of my writing is on my blog,
www.kattscribbles.blogspot.com. My website should be up soon. It will be www.kattanderson.com. I also write another blog for teen girls. I invite you to stop by www.forchristiangirls.org. You may also check out Mantel Rock Publishing at www.mantlerockpublishing.com. Thanks Brooke for having me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed being here. Thank you to the readers who have taken time to read the blog. I pray you will enjoy my humble endeavors to tell my story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fireworks!

     30 years ago in last April, I saw the best fireworks display ever!! I saw my future husband Tim for the first time. Here’s a little surprise, I knew I was going to meet him before I met him.
     At the start of my junior year in high school, God told me three things. I was going to have somebody who was to be very special to me, I didn’t know him yet, and I was going to the prom with him. Every time I went out with somebody, one of the conditions was not met. By the spring of 1982, my junior year was almost over and I hadn’t met anybody to fit all three of God’s conditions.
     Did I misunderstand God? Was I being silly romantic teenager? When I least expected it, I met Tim. From the first moment I looked into his big green eyes, he had my heart. It was as if God whispered in my ear, “This is the one I was telling you about.” He meet all of God's onditions and more! Three years later on October 12, 1985, I married Tim, the man God chose especially for me.
     I want to dedicate the following verse to the man who is the love of my life, my husband, and my best friend.

Song of Songs 5:10-16 (NIV)
“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli.
His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem
.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stringin’ and Breakin’

    I’m a farm girl who’s not a farm girl. Seriously! I was raised on my grandfather’s farm and I didn’t fit in at all. I didn’t want anything to do with any farming except for stringin’ and breakin.’
Stringin’ and breakin’ what you may ask? Green beans of course.


    After the beans were picked, my family and I would sit together to string and break them. It was a    wonderful time for many reasons. My family was together laughing and talking. If it was during the day, we’d sit in the carport. Sometimes the wind would blow a gentle cooling breeze. Other times, we’d plug in the fan. It was still nice. If it was night, we’d pile in front of the TV and watch family shows like Andy Griffith and the Beverly hillbillies.

“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:2 (NKJV)


    Too bad I didn’t realize how special that time was or how short it would be. Too bad I didn’t realize what a blessing everything was; from the beans to my family. Stop and thank God for what He has given you. Rejoice in the day the Lord has made.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spit Bath

     Aw, the joys of childhood. We have those wonderful moments we will never forget no matter how hard we try. Mine is my mother’s Spit Bath. Yeah, you heard me right, Spit Bath. If we were out somewhere like church or the store, I got them quite frequently. I was a tomboy and I got stuff on my face all the time. It drove my mother crazy. She’d make me sit still while she spit on a Kleenex and wiped my face off. I call it stuff because it could have been anything from dirt to chocolate. There were a couple of times my mother couldn’t figure what I had gotten into. I liked to think of that as a special talent. J

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
     Sin is like that stuff I used to get on my face. Whether you can see it or not, everybody else can. It’s not very becoming; in fact, it takes away from you. Who wants to look at a nasty face? Here’s the really bad part: No amount of scrubbing or soap will get rid of it. The only One who can is Jesus. Unlike the spit baths from my mother, you have to ask Jesus to cleanse you. All you have to do is confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. Fortunately for us, He doesn’t have to spit on a Kleenex first to do it.
***
Fun info!!
Did you know that Jesus used to use spit to heal? Check these verses in Mark out:
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). Mark 7:33-34 (NIV)
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:22-23 (NIV)
*Special thank you to my friend and Coworker Susan Bradley for remembering these spit verses.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What is that?

   
     “What in the world is that behind us?” My friend Lynda’s husband Alan asked that as we were traveling along I-40. We were on our way to a Smokies Game when Alan saw something strange in the rear view mirror. Of course, everybody in car turned around to look. What we saw is in the picture below. We took pictures of it with our cell phones. I think it made the driver mad, but what do you expect when you’re driving on an interstate with a large moose head duck taped to the back of your small car?
     I sent the picture to several people and most of them had no idea what it was. Many of them thought it was a giant boot or cast attached to the small car. Since my husband does taxidermy, it was obvious to me that it was a moose head. But then again, I’m used to seeing dead animals attached to things. Seeing that moose head was a unique experience to say the least.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV).
     “One and only” is how Jesus is described in the above translation. The King James Version uses the term “begotten.” Both terms mean special, unusual, and unique; just like Jesus. There is no one or nothing else like Him. Man cannot create anything that can even come close to comparing to Him and His love.
     As in my above example, some people did not recognize the moose head in the picture since it was so different. There are many today who cannot or will not recognize Jesus and his “uniqueness.” If only people could get past what the world has taught them to see Jesus as He really is. Now that would be an experience they would never forget!

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SNOT!

     There’s only one thing that I like about snot: everybody has it. It’s a great equalizer. From Prince William to the child at day care, we all have snot, but unlike the day care child, you probably won’t see Prince Williams’. So why am I talking about snot?
     When I was a child in Sunday school, I learned the Lord’s Prayer. I was so proud of myself that I couldn’t wait to recite it to my mother. I’m glad I did or I would have been so embarrassed if somebody else had heard me. Instead of saying, “lead us not into temptation”, I was saying “lead us SNOT into temptation.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
      Remember, I was a small child. I did think it was weird to put the word “snot” in a prayer, but that’s what I thought I was hearing. Like all the other humans on the planet, I made a mistake. No matter how hard we try or how good our intentions, we mess up. All of us! God knows this better than anybody. That’s why he commands us to Trust Him and not what we think we know. Chances are we are wrong! But guess what? He never is. And that’s nothing to blow your nose at!

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yum! Yum!

To say that I love chocolate is like saying the sun is a little hot.   Thanks to my sweet-tooth, Hershey Pennsylvania is on my “Got to go to” list.  I told my husband Tim I wanted to spend a weekend there and tour the Hershey factory.  Unfortunately for me, Tim wasn’t too keen on the idea.  Dread is the look I would describe that came across his face.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  Psalm 119:103(NIV)
          Reading and studying the bible should not be a daily task.  It’s not something to mark off of our “To do” list and go on to the next chore.  As Christians, God’s words should be our desire and pleasure. We should savor His words as much as we savor a flavorful desert or a special treat.  Instead of your waist expanding, you’ll expand your faith. 
          That doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy chocolate. J
 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Playball!

Some of my favorite words are: “Play ball!”  I played softball for years.  To this day my favorite smell is grape bubblegum and infield dirt.  I played second base and one of my responsibilities was to relay the ball from the outfield to home plate to stop a runner from scoring.  How did I do this?  I honed that baby in as fast and as hard as I could.
 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
          Did you notice the first word, “Cast?”   It means to throw or toss.  God isn’t telling us to hand Him our worries, but to throw them at Him.  Why?  Think about it.  As soon as I threw the softball to home plate, it was gone.  I couldn’t get the ball back if I tried.  It was beyond my reach.  When you hand somebody something, you have the chance to snatch it back.  But when you toss something, you can’t do that.  It’s gone.
          God doesn’t want us to take our problems back.  He doesn’t want us to be anxious or worried.  So throw your problems to Him.  He won’t miss! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mr. Spock

Mr. Spock
 I’ll admit it.  My favorite alien is Mr. Spock.  Who doesn’t like those pointy ears or his ability to do the Vulcan nerve pinch?  Alf is my next favorite.  I loved the episode where he had to fight a giant cockroach.  It was hilarious.  As for E.T., he was okay.  I didn’t cry when he died in the movie.  I’m sitting in the theater, listening to all the sniffles, and I’m thinking,  “It’s just a puppet!” 
None of the aliens were real anyway.  Mr. Spock was portrayed by a real person, Leonard Nimoy, but the character of Mr. Spock was as fictional as the other aliens.   I guess the question should be do real aliens exists?  The answer is yes, and they walk among us!
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV).
Did you think I meant extra-terrestrial aliens? The Amplified Bible translation uses the term aliens instead of foreigners.  None the less, we as Christians are the “foreigners” or “aliens” addressed in this passage.  Once we become believers in Christ, we have a new home and a new purpose.  This sinful world is only a temporary stop on our eternal journey.  But while we are here, we still have to deal and live with the sin and temptation all around us.  We are to behave in a Godly manner and not succumb to worldly ways.  By doing this, we are to be example to the lost so they too will become aliens in this world.
I’m gonna beam out of here y’all.  Live long and pray often!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blast Off!



          I’m sure most of you know that I am a space cadet.  I can’t help it; that’s the way God made me to be.  A few years ago we were visiting relatives in Florida when there was a Space Shuttle launch.  I don’t know about you, but I miss those.
          We watched the launch from Jetty Park.  Where Sara and I were standing, we could see the Assembly building.  It took the sound from the blast off a few seconds to reach us, but when it did, it was AWESOME.  Sara was standing right beside me and we had to scream at the top of our lungs to even be able barely hear each other.  It wasn’t just a roar.  I could hear the crackle of the fire within the roar.  It was AWESOME.  Did I say that already?  And I saw more of the huge fire tail than I saw of the Space Shuttle.  It had a glow like I’ve never seen.  It’s almost hard to describe its intensity. 
“You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6 (NIV)
           I was awestruck at man’s accomplishment, but what was that compared to God’s.  He’s the One who hand made the galaxies, black holes, stars, planets, moons, meteors, asteroids, and everything else in the universe. And He alone governs the laws of physics that control them.  And yet, He still cares about what happens in my life.  Now that’s truly AWESOME.
By the way, “Apollo 13” has a great launch scene!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Locked Out!

            Have you ever felt stupid?  Most of us have on occasion.  Tim and I felt stupid when we recently locked ourselves out of our house.   Here’s the funny part, it happened during a severe thunderstorm.  I stepped outside to tell Sara goodbye when I noticed the ominous storm clouds.  Tim stepped outside too and left the door cracked.  There was a big puff of wind and the door was blown shut. Somehow it had been locked and Sara had just driven off.  All the cells phones and keys were inside and there we were standing outside in the middle of a tempest. 
            Tim climbed the back deck, but the deck door was locked.  I didn’t want him to risk climbing back down, so I walked on a busy road during a thunderstorm to the subdivision next door.  A neighbor was kind enough to lend her cell phone to call Sara.  I was so grateful and embarrassed at the same time.
I wasn’t sure what verses to use.  When I looked up deliverance, I saw many reverences to facing war or persecution from enemies.  Fortunately, those didn’t apply.  I also found verses about pestulance and being in need.  Fortunately, those didn’t apply either. 
“The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8 (NIV)
God is always watching over us.  Whether we are in a war or standing out in the middle of a storm, God is there and we can rely on His promises.   
Here’s another lesson I learned: you might want to hide a spare key out in the yard somewhere.

Monday, July 23, 2012

“Can we get there from here?”

Have you ever had to stop and ask for directions?  When my mother does that, she likes to ask, “Can we get there from here?” Most people laugh, but some look at her likes she’s crazy.  My mother likes to joke and “act silly.” It’s part of her charm.  
Now days, we have GPS systems to guide us, but they’re not mistake proof. My mother and stepfather were visiting a sick relative in Virginia a couple of years ago.  They thought they entered the correct address for the hospital into their GPS.  They got the road name wrong and ended up in the middle of nowhere next to a cow field
            Here’s my point: Who or what are you trusting to do your navigating?  My dear friend and relative Lynda made an excellent point the other day when we were talking about some new ventures in my life.  She said, “It’s like going from Athens (TN) to Chattanooga.  You start out on a two lane highway, but the closer you get the more lanes are added.  Once you get there, you are not sure you will know which way to go. It is all big and can lead in many different directions.  Hang on and let God navigate!!!!”
God is the ultimate navigator for He alone knows how to guide us to where He needs us to be.  As humans, we want to go where we want to go and we take the easiest route to get there.  When we do that, we end up like my mother and stepfather; worse than we started out!
            “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
            If you let God do your navigating, you’ll be amazed at where He can take you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Green Eyed Monster

The green eyed monster is one that everybody believes in.  You don’t have to set traps for it or try to track it down.  It’s everywhere and it bites everybody!
It bit me hard a few years ago during a women’s bible study.  One of the ladies (and a friend) gave a beautiful and touching prayer testimony. God told her to spend a whole day worshiping Him with her prayers and not to ask for anything.  She shared how much God had blessed her and how uplifting the experience was. 
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 (NIV)
The green eyed monster dug its teeth in deep.  My first thought was, “God, I pray too and you’ve never told me to spend prayer time in worship with you.” I felt slighted.   Why didn’t He ask me to spend a day in worship with him like that?  That thought bothered me for days.  I couldn’t carry the heavy load any longer, so I went to my place of solace; the corner of the bedroom.  I literally cried out, “You know my heart God.  I’m not going to hide it from you because I can’t!  I’m being petty and I know it, so here it is!” Now you can’t pray a prayer like that and not expect God to respond in a BIG way.        
After my temper tantrum, I was sitting at the computer and writing. The house was unusually quiet.  Suddenly this still small voice boomed in my head, “THIS IS HOW YOU ARE TO WORSHIP ME!”  I almost fell out of the chair. My friend worshiped when she prayed.  I worship when I write.
“God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth.” John 4:24 (NIV)
 Worship isn’t limited to being in a church building or doing certain rituals.  God will tell you how He wants you to worship Him. Whatever it is, do it “in the Spirit and in Truth.”  Then I bet your blessing will be (as we say in the south) a real humdinger!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blessed Seer



    My friend Paula has her first book, "Blessed Seer," being released this weekend.  I have read it and it is as awesome as Paula is.  In "Blessed Seer," Addy meets a mysterious stranger.  He talks to her about obedience and blessings.  Was she willing to get out of her comfort zone so God use her to bless not only herself, but other people as well?  Addy agrees and begins to have visions.  Like most of us, she has doubts about herself and her ability to do what God ask her of her.  It is a very touching and heartfelt story that will make you stop and think about how we live our lives.  Are we living them for ourselves or for God's glory and furthering His kingdom?  All we have to do is have faith and take that first big step out of out of our comfort zone.

On quick personal note: Happy Birthday Paula.  Knowing you and having you as a friend has blessed my life!

How did you come up with the idea of Addy having visions?As I researched about blessings, some of the verses referred to people having visions and dreams. The writer "what if?" began to whirl in my mind. What inspired you to write "Blessed Seer?" One evening I was thinking about an illustration pastors use. A man went to Heaven and was touring with an angel. They arrived at a warehouse filled with beautifully wrapped gifts. The man asked what the gifts were. The angel answered: "These are all of the blessings God wants to bestow but haven't been asked for or received due to disobedience." I went to bed considering this story, and God "downloaded" the whole outline for the story into my mind. I had to hop out of bed and write it down.How hard was it to write such an emotional story? Let's just say, God taught me so much while writing this story. I've had to deal with all of the truths.
Did you ever have any doubts while you wrote it or while you sent it out to publishers? Naturally, I felt rather vulnerable knowing an editor was reading this story. I did pray when I sent it that God would let the story touch someone if this was the right place for the book. When I received the email back from the editor, the first line of the email said - this story really touched me.
What is your biggest hope for "Blessed Seer?" 
I have prayed that God would use the story to touch readers for Christ and maybe even challenge and encourage them in their Christian walk.Have you ever had visions? Not in the sense that Addy experiences; though, I often envision my characters and scenes I write.Do really believe that we miss out on blessing because of out disobedience? Yes, God will not reward disobedience. It isn't His nature.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Sara!!

           
 My daughter Sara’s 20th birthday will be next week. It doesn’t seem like she should be that old. You blink and your children are grown.  Now I know how my mother felt when I grew up.
When I  think back to the memories of her growing up, I want to laugh and cry.  It’s been a special journey and I  wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so thankful to God for the privilege of being her mother and I’m very proud of the young woman she is becoming. 
 “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16  (NIV)
            In the above verse, Ruth is talking with her mother-in-law Naomi.  Ruth loved her unconditionally and would not leave her.  That is so true with a mother/daughter relationship.  No matter the joy or sorrow, you are there for the other.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA
                                          Here are some pictures of Sara from over the years J











Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bull Ring

Coming soon: a special blog about my friend Paula Mowery's new book, "Blessed Seer."

I love big hoop earrings, but I wouldn’t want one in my nose.  Growing up on my grandfather’s farm, I saw lots of cows and bulls with rings in their noses.  I always thought they looked uncomfortable, but the animals didn’t seem to mind. Guess they got used to them.  I watched my grandfather and uncle gently tug on the rings to lead the cattle to where they wanted them to go.  I was glad God didn’t make me a cow, but you don’t have to be a cow to have a ring in your nose.
Let me give an example.  I was raised in church and I can remember, as a child, hearing some sermons that I didn’t understand. Don’t misunderstand me here. I was not saying the preacher was wrong.  I just wanted somebody to be able to explain it so I could better understand. I first asked my mother, but she wasn’t sure herself.  But when I asked my grandparents, the only answer I would get was, “The preacher said it!”  Then they got mad at me and refused to discuss it any further.  Who has the ring in their nose now?
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NIV)
The Berean Jews didn’t doubt Paul nor did they say he was wrong.  They simply referred to their Scriptures to make sure he was preaching the truth.  There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, I think it should be practiced more.  Whether it be from a preacher, bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, or friend, if you hear something being taught that you’re unsure about, look it up in the bible yourself. Pray for God to open up His truth about it. You may learn more than you planned on. If you notice, Paul didn’t seem to get offended.  As a result, “many of them believed.” 
Personally, I think preachers have a difficult job.  We need to give them and their families our prayers and support. In fact, this is true for all church workers from nursery workers to Sunday school teachers. But remember, if you have your nose in your bible, then you don’t have to worry about somebody else putting a ring in it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eureka


            Eureka!  I discovered something better than gold.  I learned the secret on how to get more out of my bible.  Here it is: teach a children’s class at church.  Really!  You’ll be amazed at what you will learn from them.
            One Sunday morning, Ms. Christy and I had taught about not using “bad words” such as profanity to our second grade Sunday school class. We also told them not to call people mean  and hurtful  names.  One of the little boys came up to me and he was so excited, “Ms. Brooke!  Ms. Brooke! Did you know an angel wouldn’t call Satan a bad name when he wanted Moses’ body?”  I have to admit, I was speechless for a few seconds, which was unusual for me.  I had never heard that story and I was raised in church, so my first thought was to say, “No way.” Instead, I told him I didn’t know about it and I asked him where I could find it.  He didn’t know, so I promised to look it up and get back with him the next Sunday.
            I got my bible out and thought, “It’s not in here and I’ll have to disappoint him.”  Well guess what happened?  I found his story in Jude 1:9, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (NIV).  I was floored.  This child was right and I was wrong.  What else is in the bible that I had been missing my whole life? 
            I got 3 things out of this experience.  First, if the archangel Michael wouldn’t condemn Satan, who is pure evil, than who am I to be disrespectful to those who upset or hurt me?  Name calling or using “bad words” only makes any bad situation worse and it puts you on their level.
            Also, God gave us the WHOLE bible for us to study and not just the popular or big stories such as the Exodus, Jonah and the Whale, or David and Goliath. Its “chopped full” of amazing and wondrous words just waiting for us to read and soak them up.
            Lastly, as adult Christians, we should always be aware of our mind set.  I was somewhat prideful and immediately doubted his story.  I had studied the bible for years and this child was telling me a bible story I didn’t know.  Ouch!   Jesus put it very eloquently in Matthew 18:3, “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”(NIV) 
 So open up your bibles and read with a zest as if you are a child with an open mind and heart.
          

Friday, June 1, 2012

Toilet Paper Bride

               

                For all of you who have daughters, I have found a way to save money on a wedding.  Instead of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars on a wedding dress that will be used once, buy some toilet paper and turn your imagination loose. A toilet paper wedding dress has many advantages.  The total cost is under $20.00.  The dress doesn’t have to be dry-cleaned or put in storage.  No hemming or altering is necessary.   If you’re not satisfied with the design, just start over and make another one.  And best of all, it can be recycled. Once you’re finished, just put it in a bag and save it for later use. 
                My daughter Sara is modeling a toilet paper dress in the above picture.  Doesn’t she look happy?  Notice she is holding a pack of toilet paper instead of flowers.  Another money saver!
                You know I’m joking right?  The picture was taken at a cousin’s bridal shower.  We played a game where two “brides” are picked and each team decorates the “bride” in toilet paper.  If you look close, you can see an engagement ring on Sara’s finger also made of toilet paper.  We had a great time at the bridal shower, but real marriages are not only about fun and games.  They’re about commitment to each other and to God.  I looked up verses about marriage and some stood out to me
“I found the one my heart loves,” Song of Solomon 3:4.              
  I have to say it, “AWWWWW!”  What a wonderfully sweet verse.  I am very blessed for I can say this about my husband Tim. 
                “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it," Song of Solomon 8:7
                "Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth," John 3:18
                Real love is a blessing and comes from God.   Even though it can’t be quenched, love still needs to be nourished and cherished.  As for the reception, I haven’t figured out yet how to use the toilet paper for cups or utensils.  Anybody got any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YOKED



This is a picture of me and my husband Tim taken at a miniature golf course in Ormond Beach Fla.  If he had known I was going to use this picture for my blog, he wouldn’t have made that face. 
Our wonderful picture reminded me of a verse: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV).
Tim is a believer, but I want to a make point here.  When you yoke two oxen together, they have to work together.  They have to follow the same path.  They have to be led by the same driver. They can’t go in two different directions at once. If you are yoked in a relationship with a non-believer, which direction are you going to go in? God’s or theirs?
What if they want to watch an ungodly movie or TV show? Do they curse and you catch yourself doing it too?  Do they want you to get drunk with them? Do they respect God and His laws?  When you are in a relationship with a non-believer, it’s harder to say no to them than to someone else. Don’t allow yourself to be put in a situation where you can be persuaded to go down the wrong path.
I’m not saying to ignore the lost.  In Matthew 28:19, Jesus told us to “make disciples of all nations.”  You can still witness to non-believers without being in a close relationship with them.  By following your Godly path, you may influence them to follow you instead of their ways.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Abraham and Carl

   I have created a bookmark based on this week's post.  If  you want one, please leave your mailing address in the comments section or e-mail it to me at brookec@tds.net



I’ve got a riddle for you.  What do the Biblical patriarch Abraham and astronomer Carl Sagan have in common?   Let me give you a hint.
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:5 (NIV).
Did that clue help?   They both counted stars, but for very different reasons.  Being an astronomer/scientist, Carl Sagan did it for a living.  Abraham was requested by God to count the stars.  At this point in Genesis, Abraham and Sarah were still childless, and God was promising Abraham offspring as countless as the stars.  When he looked up at the stars as God instructed, Abraham probably saw thousands of them with his naked eyes, or did he?  No, I’m not talking about Abraham needing glasses.  I’m referring to the stars themselves. 
Did you know a star is not always a single star? There are more double (binary) star systems then there are single stars like our sun.  They so far away (millions & millions of miles) that they appear as a single point of light in the night sky instead of two. 
Wow.  We just increased Abraham’s number of stars.  Now we’re going to increase the star count even more.  Our sky is full of galaxies so far away that they also appear as a single point of light. Each galaxy can contain millions or billions of stars themselves. 
 The picture above was taken by the Hubble Telescope courtesy of NASA.  Can you see all the galaxies?  This is in just one section of the night sky.
Too bad Abraham didn’t have a modern telescope like Carl used. He would’ve seen countless stars.  Then Abraham would have been overwhelmed when he realized how big God’s promise to him truly was.  Does the same hold true of the promises God makes to us today?  Absolutely! We’re the ones who put a limit on His promises based on our understanding of the world and what’s going on around us.  God’s promises to us have NO boundaries.  Don’t believe me?  Download a Hubble deep space image and try to count each and every star.  By the way, if you ever get done, let me know.
            Below are a couple of links to check out all the stars and space stuff God has created.
http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/     Hubble telescope pictures
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html    NASA’s Astronomy picture of the day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

All I Saw Were Lights

           
         This is a special blog dedicated to my husband Tim.  We had our first date on May 8, 1982 and we've been together ever since.  The picture on the bottom is of Tim when we were still dating.
            I’m not going to talk about Christmas lights or UFOs.  This one is going to be serious as it concerns people I love.
            My husband Tim loves older model Camaros.  When we were dating, he had a 1970 Camaro that was a pretty shade of light blue with white stripes down the sides.  It was his baby.  He was driving it out to see me when my neighbor’s dog ran in front of him. It had been raining, so when he slammed on his brakes he lost traction and spun around out of control.  As a result, his Camaro was totaled.  Tim was heartbroken over that car.  I felt sorry for him, but I was more thankful he didn’t get hurt. Then he started driving his late grandfather’s 1963 Chevy Truck.  Being an older truck, it was made out of metal and sturdy. 
            We have always lived in Knoxville, TN. which is mountainous and hilly.  After he took me home one night, Tim was almost back to his home when he topped a hill.  “All I saw were lights!”  He was hit head on by a drunk driver on Tim’s side of the road.  This drunk driver was chasing another drunk driver and they were driving on both sides of the road at high rates of speed. If Tim had been in his Camaro, it would have killed him. The truck’s left front tire was bent up under the driver’s side.  It looked as if somebody had taken a huge bite out of the front of the truck.   
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
Wow!  God knows what’s better for us than we do.  When Tim wrecked his Camaro, God was actually saving his life for He knew what was going to happen! Talk about a blessing in disguise!  This December, it’ll be 30 years since that awful night.  Even now when I think about it, I shiver and say a prayer of thanks.  Not only would I not have Tim, but I wouldn’t have our daughter Sara either. 
“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” Isaiah 55:8-9(NIV)