Heaven Help Us!

Heaven Help Us!  That was the name of the Independent Christian Bookstore that I owned for ten years.  It was truly a labor of love.  I loved the atmosphere, the customers, our employees, and the service we provided.  Oh, and the books!

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We hated having to close our store, but the time had come.  Our competition was Amazon, e-books, and big box stores.  In December 2012 with tears we locked the doors for the very last time.

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Recently I received a call asking “is this Heaven Help Us?”  After I explained that we had previously owned it and now it was closed, the caller moaned and replied “oh, I don’t know what I will do now.  I went there all of the time.”  Hmmm, she called almost seven years after we closed and had no idea it happened yet she frequented the store “all the time”.  That was the last of many calls I have received identical to it.  Everyone shopped there all of the time but had no idea we had gone out of business years earlier.

Time has a funny way of slipping up on us, doesn’t it?  What seemed like just yesterday to some people was actually years.  Big difference.  When we think we recently phoned someone to check in with them in reality it might be a lot longer.  Visiting with family or dear friends could appear to be “all of the time,” but maybe it has been months or even years since the last one.

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Don’t let precious time slip by.  Time waits for no one.  Carve out some to spend with loved ones making memories and reminiscing about treasured ones.  They might be sitting and waiting to hear from you.

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How about talking to your Heavenly Father?  Do you really do that as much as you think?      Make it a priority to start and end your day with Him.  Do not just plan to do it, actually do it.  You will find the pieces of your day fall into place with daily prayer.   Don’t know what to pray sometimes?  Try “Heaven help us or Heaven help me.” We can all use help from above.

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Something Needs to Change Book Review

My Review:

Something Needs to Change, A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by best-selling author David Platt is 224 page phenomenal book.  This is a thought provoking, soul searching, stick with you read.  I am still pondering it days later.

Author Platt is transparent as he takes excerpts from his diary from a mission trip in the Himalayan mountains.  There he brings the Word of God to people in the area and provides encouragement to Christians.  Isn’t that what we are all called to do?

Reading the book I was aware that I was privileged to be raised in a Christian home and always know about Jesus.  It hurts to think there are still so many people that do not know Him.  Platt is right…something needs to change.

This is a gritty, tear-jerking account of the author’s mission trip.  He bares his heart and poses questions that will step on most Christians’ toes.  It is scripturally based and brutally honest.  I could not put it down even though I read most of it through tear-filled eyes.

 Favorite Quote:

“Because you and I need to remember that our homes and our health and our bank accounts and our vehicles guarantee us nothing… one day (and it could be today), they’re all going to be gone, so we need to remind ourselves to live today for what lasts forever.”

Yes, I highly recommend this powerful book.  It just might change your life or cause you to change someone else’s life.  It would make a great group study.  I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by the Publisher but these are my honest words.

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About Book:

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The New York Times best-selling author of Radical takes readers on a soul-searching journey through impoverished villages in the Himalayan mountains, daring them to make a difference in a world of urgent need, starting right where they live.

“Grippingly vulnerable and unforgettable. I could not put this book down.”—Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.

Advance praise for Something Needs to Change

“Rugged. Authentic. Gritty. Real. Worshipful. There are no other books like this one. I always pick up David’s books with a sense of excitement and, quite honestly, apprehension—because I know that areas of compromise and complacency in my life are going to be exposed. But this book exceeded even my high expectations, for which I am grateful. And so will you be. As David writes, it’s time to run, not walk. Let’s go.”—J. D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention

“Extraordinary and challenging. I’ve just never read a book like this before. I am so moved. Bring your full heart to this story and watch how God opens your eyes, changes your mind, and broadens the dreams you have for your life.”—Annie F. Downs, best-selling author of 100 Days to Brave and Remember God

“If you dare to read this book, you might just have an unexpected encounter with Jesus that leaves you weeping on the floor, as David’s experience did. Something changes within us when the seemingly overwhelming needs of the world present themselves simply in the life of a single person. Ultimately, I pray your compassion will be transformed to action.”—Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, president and CEO of Compassion International

About the Author:

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David Platt is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Radical. He is Lead Pastor at McLean Bible Church in metro Washington, D.C., the former President of the IMB (International Mission Board), and founder of Radical Inc., a global center for the unreached that serves churches in accomplishing the mission of Christ. Platt received his Master of Divinity (M.Div), Master of Theology (Th.M), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Virginia with his wife and their children.

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

My Review:

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner, Organize Your Life, Achieve Your Goals by author Mark Batterson is a wonderful planner all around.  It doesn’t matter if you have read his book Chase the Lions yet or not, this is a planner that will benefit anyone.

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I absolutely love it.  It contains everything I need for a yearly appointment book and more.  Mr. Batterson has thought of everything.  He even starts us off with instructions on how best to use it.

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The cover is compelling.  Actually it is gorgeous.  Men and women will find it attractive.  Being a medium size, 6.2 x 8.2 inches, it easily fits in my purse or tote.  The pages and cover are good quality. There is even a ribbon bookmark.

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Pages are laced with quotes and inspiration from Chase the Lion.  There is space for notes in the margins.  Listing prayer requests, goals, progress, even things to do is encouraged. Besides months at a glance and weeks at a glance, there is a multi-year calendar for quick reference when needing a date.

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The book is a mixture of planner, diary, appointment book, and devotional.  It will definitely help with time management, keeping better organized, and becoming closer to God.

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I highly recommend it.  It would make a thoughtful gift to a pastor or church worker.  Any businessperson or college student would enjoy the benefits it gives.  I rated it a 5 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by the publisher but this is my honest opinion.

 

About the Book:

The perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion

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  • Diary: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (August 20, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525653422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525653424
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches

This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

About the Author:

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Mark Batterson is the author of sixteen titles including the New York Times bestseller, The Circle Maker, and his newest title, Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, which hits shelves on October 24, 2017. A few of his titles include include In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase, All In, The Grave Robber, If, and Chase the Lion. Mark is the lead pastor of National Community Church, one church with eight campuses in Washington, DC. Mark has a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children. Learn more at http://www.markbatterson.com.

 

Secret Ingredient is Love, Bread Recipes

Do you enjoy cooking and baking?  I certainly do.  There is something about taking a number of different ingredients, mixing them together, and creating something yummy.  A creation that makes the house smell warm and inviting.  Homey.  Love wafts out of the pan.  It is so calming.

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For me baking is a way to destress and also to show my family and friends that I love them. I love it when my parents stop by and I have made a big kettle of soup to share.  It warms my heart when family pops by and I just happen to have made their favorite pie.  Sometimes it lightens their load and gives them a smile if only for a short time.
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Does it work like that for you, too?  Do you enjoy cooking?  Do you have happy memories from Times in your kitchen?   Most people that love to cook and bake have precious, “sweet” memories of time spent in the kitchen.  The women in my family taught me to cook.  I loved being with them and they were always in the kitchen.  It seemed natural that the kitchen was a place I would love.  My mother and hers were the two women who taught me the most about cooking.
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Everyone has something special they make or a special added ingredient that like to toss into their dishes.  If I’m cooking a savory dish, garlic is my secret ingredient.  Even if it’s a smidge, I love garlic.  Now baking, that’s a toss up.   Depending on the dessert I will reach for vanilla or cinnamon.  Mmmmmmmm.  They both smell heavenly.  However, the most powerful secret ingredient is love.  People can tell if you made something lovingly.  My Grandmother always told me “if you cook with love, you will always love to cook.”
God makes sure we have all of the things we need for our daily bread.  He sees that we have money to buy ingredients.  There are cookbooks and family members to guide us.    We have been given the ability to put the ingredients together to make all different kinds of wonderful dishes.  All we need to do is have faith it will turn out and add our secret ingredient of love.
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He has given us every thing we need for faith, too.  We have all of the things we need.  The Bible is our instructional book.  Church is our classroom, and other Christians are there to help.  God has the ultimate secret ingredient . . . Jesus.  There is no greater love.

Best Banana Bread Ever

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1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3 bananas, mashed
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, and bananas. Stir in dry ingredients, nuts, vanilla and milk. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy….

Are you a morning person?  When the sun lights up your bedroom do you stretch and declare it a glorious day?  Perhaps not and grumble while burrowing under your pillow.  Some people need just 5 more minutes, which often turn into 45 minutes and they are still cranky.

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My husband and I are totally different morning people.  The old joke “Sometimes I wake up grumpy and other times I let him sleep” was written for us.  He loves his sleep and can get a bit irritable if it is interrupted.  After decades of awakening at 6:00 a.m. to go to work, he delights in sleeping “until he’s finished” as he puts it.  Being in the Army has something to do with it, too.

Me?  When the light shines and a wet nosed fur-baby greets me, I am ready to pray and get up.  Thanking God for the new day and safety of the night, I begin my morning prayer before my feet hit the floor.  The older I get the less sleep I seem to need.  Are you at this age yet?

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What is your relationship with mornings?  Are you thrilled with the endless possibilities of the new day?  Scripture tells us in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” No time like the present.  Get out of that bed and enjoy this gift from Abba.

The trajectory or path your day will take depends a lot on how you wake up or get up.  Have you ever encountered someone so crabby you asked if he “got up on the wrong side of the bed today?” B0B716FE-C11E-4A45-AD80-FD7DCDAC6997 Your and my day begins when we first open our eyes, stretch our arms or legs, and (hopefully) pray.  Then when we hop out (do you hop out or like I do gingerly get out) of bed, we are ready to tackle the day with strength from our Father.

Just because the day started grumpy, doesn’t mean it needs to stay there.  You are able to shake off that bad mood that began earlier.  You have the power.  Use it.  Trade in the frowns for smiles.

I hope you start your days happy and give smiles away generously.  If a cantankerous one slides in, exchange it for a happier one.  There will always be time for napping later.   Use today to bring glory to God.

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Gardening, Harvesting, and a Recipe

Summer is here.  It is a beautiful season!  Already it’s hot in Southern Indiana.  Are you ready to begin planting flowers or have you done that?  Do you like to garden, too?

Gardening is something that soothes me. Nurturing seeds and seedlings into plants is relaxing and produces resulting that can be seen.  The plants yield vegetables, fragrant herbs, or beautiful flowers.  I love it all.  Do you?  My grandparents on both sides gardened and it is in my blood.

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Of course, it takes care to get the desired results.  I can’t just scatter the seeds and hope everything works.  Seeds must be carefully planted and watered.  Fertilizing or feeding  helps give the plants nourishment to grow strong.  I will want to protect them from things seeking to destroy them by eating them.  Here we not only have bugs but critters like bunnies, groundhogs, and even deer that like to munch on tender young plants.  Most importantly, they will also need sun.  That will be beyond my control.  When the little seeds have everything they need, voila, we are rewarded with plants.

A couple of years ago I purchased yellow squash seeds.  I love yellow squash and have many recipes.  The seeds went in the ground and I made certain they had everything they needed to thrive.  I watered, fertilized, watched, and waited.  The seeds sprouted into three tiny plants.  Wow, I was happy.  They continued to grow and finally the yellow blossoms appeared.

Yellow squash dishes ran through my head for what would be first.  Would I have enough to share with others?  Yes, more blossoms formed.  I was excited.  Finally the flower turned into a vegetable.  Oh, no.  A green zucchini!  The seeds had been mispackaged.  We like zucchini, but not three more plants worth when one had been planted.

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My lesson was you reap what you sow.  I thought I was planting yellow squash but really all along had zucchini seeds.  I had a harvest of something I hadn’t anticipated.  Even though I thought I was doing everything right, one thing at the beginning spoiled everything.

How true is this in areas of our life?  We think we are doing something and put forth all of our energy to it.  When it is finished we find we were off track and are reaping something we had not expected?  It can be accidental like the seeds.  Someone else tripped me on that one.  Perhaps it is known but at the time it doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Ignoring someone in a store or not inviting someone to your party might seem innocent, but what happens later?

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Maybe we think our children aren’t watching how we treat some people, and grow up to mistreat them because we did.   Our work habits are excessive to provide for our family and now our family has no time for us.  Watch carefully what you sow so you don’t reap something unexpected.

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Memorial Day, Remember and Honor

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us.  Do you have big plans?  Living in Southern Indiana by Louisville there are many activities all weekend close by us.  My favorite is picnicking with family and playing games.

How much do you know about Memorial Day? It is much more than the Indy 500 and unofficial start of summer or three day weekend.  Even more than playing games and picnicking with beloved family.  The first Memorial Day was May 30, 1868.

This was a day for people to decorate graves of Civil War soldiers and originally known as Decoration Day. Unfortunately, grievously the United States lost many men during that horrible war against itself. Approximately 620,000 died during the Civil war. That is a staggering number. 620,000!

May 30th was chosen because no Civil War battles were fought that day and flowers across the nation would be in full bloom to decorate the graves.  It remained that date until 1971. Then it became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day and was changed to the last Monday of May giving people a three day weekend.

In honor of those who died, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day. It should then be raised to the top. Since 2000, all Americans have been encouraged to stop for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. IMG_3842Red poppies are a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war. People, men and women, wear them to honor those who died in war. Especially on Memorial Day you will see a lot of red poppies.IMG_3850Scouts can be seen placing flags on the graves in the National Cemetery. What a great honor for a young scout to do this.  I have a grandson that does this.  His Dad is a former Marine so he is very respectful of our military.

This Memorial Day think about your life, your freedom, and how you are privileged to live. Without those that unselfishly gave their lives defending our country, our freedom, and us, what would our lives be? Very different indeed.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those that gave all for our country, for us. It is our responsible to take care of what and who was entrusted to us and honor our military and especially God. We need to keep remembering and pass those memories on to teach our children. Children need to learn about our holidays… that they are more than a day off and that our country and freedom were paid for with the blood of brave men and women. There is a price for freedom.IMG_3846We live in a great country with strong roots. Many people have lived and died for this land of ours. Let us always remember you brave soldiers. Those that stood and stand between us and the enemy. Pray for them, our leaders, and our country. May God continue to bless America.

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“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NIV