Season with Love not Obligation

I come from a family of wonderful cooks. Not only is my sweet mother one of the best cooks I have known, but my grandmothers, aunts, cousins (male and female), and an uncle or two were gifted in the kitchen. One of my cousins even has her own catering business. This family knows its way around a kitchen.

Both of my grandmothers were phenomenal cooks. I had the privilege of learning this craft in each of their kitchens. One was precise and measured ingredients with a steady, knife to level everything off to a perfect cup. The other taught me to cook many things by sight. At a young age I was taught how to fry chicken and make a meringue pie with swirly peaks.


A memorable lesson was to measure out a teaspoon of salt in my hand. What?! Why wouldn’t I just grab a measuring spoon? My grandmother instructed me to attempt the task. Afterwards, I was given a bowl and measuring teaspoon to check how accurate I was. It seems I had enough salt for almost four recipes. we switched places. Grandmother was within grains of measuring a level teaspoon by pouring salt into her cupped hand.

Mammaw was a farm wife and could make anything taste like a gourmet meal. Many of her recipes were made out of ingredients on hand. The piece of advice she gave me that I have cherished the most is to always season your food with love. She said that means to cook because you love the people you are feeding and not because it is an obligation. After having a husband and family of my own, I fully understood what she meant.

Scripture instructs us to love and serve others. In fact, it says to serve others in love. Cooking is a great way to do both. Food tastes better when someone else prepares it. Maybe you have a friend or family member that is ill, depressed, extremely busy, or had a baby. Making a meal or tray of cookies seasoned with love could change the trajectory of their gloomy day.

If you don’t cook, there is a plethora of other ways to help. Run an errand, take them groceries, sweep their walk, rake their leaves, or find some other way to bless them. Scripture tells us we will be accountable for our actions here on Earth. It also says when we help anyone it is like helping the Lord.

How about you? Do you cook for your family? I hope you prepare and season your food with love. Do you serve others in different ways? Share with us.

Today is National Pecan Cookie Day. The recipe below is one my mother, grandmother, and aunts baked. It is especially good with a cup of coffee or tea and shared with a loved one.

My Beloved Auntie June

It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. This is absolutely true. Between parents, grandparents, other family, and friends, children are nurtured in many ways. I was fortunate to have a large village caring for me. One of the leaders of my village was my aunt, Eva June Wilson. I affectionately called her Auntie June. I treasured her. A few days ago she was called home by Jesus. Yes, I am broken-hearted that we are now separated, but I know with certainty we will see each other again.

Auntie June was my father’s elder sister by two years. She was a delightful, quaint, lovely woman. From my earliest memories of her, I knew that she loved me. I recall being rocked in a rocking chair and swung in a porch swing by her. She liked to be in motion and passed on that love to me. Her husband, my Uncle Sam, was a jokester and teased me relentlessly. Both of these relatives have special places in my heart. Everyone that knew my aunt loved her and sang her praises. She was one of a kind, the best kind.

I learned many things from my aunt. She had a sharp mind and gave sage advice:

a. Family is forever. Always be ready to help them. Never forget their stories.

b. Forgiveness is a requirement and not an option. Do not withhold it.

c. There are certain words a lady doesn’t say, and always remember you are a lady.

d. If you can’t say anything nice, then be quiet.

e. If you don’t know what to do, pray. You can’t go wrong talking to Jesus.

f. Don’t go where you aren’t invited. If they wanted you there, you would know.

g. If it’s not your story, don’t tell it. That is called gossip.

h. Be nice to everyone. You don’t know what they have been through in life.

i. Look for the silver lining in each situation. There is alway something good

j. Make sure your lipstick is fresh. Somebody might take your picture.

k. No one loves you like your family. Always tell them you love them.

There are many other things she taught me. She and Grandmother were skilled in the kitchen. They could cook, freeze, and can until the cows came home. Chicken tasted better fried in lard. The best thing to drink was iced tea. It was okay to use paper plates so you could spend more time with your guests. German tomatoes were fine raised besides the patio, and a yeast roll was better than a cookie anytime. Angel rolls were fluffy and great to have on hand for surprise company. If you had more than enough, share with someone. When you hug someone, close your eyes and savor it. Let your love seep through to them.

Auntie June was fun. She loved playing games and winning. When she lived on her farm she had peacocks. They were beautiful but squealed like a cat or baby. Since she had received a teaching degree, she was the best person to explain anything. Her patience was unmatched. She was a natural born story teller. We had no trouble talking for hours. I could call her and chat for an hour, unless her Kentucky Wildcats were playing ball. Then I needed to wait until after the game. She was frugal but not stingy. Things were cared for and lasted years. I remember the same family room loveseats, living room set, bedroom set, and even lamps at her house. Perhaps being content was her secret.

Auntie June grew up in Southern Indiana, but moved to Kentucky to live with family there after her sophomore year. She skipped her junior year of high school to graduate early with her cousin, Phyllis Ann. After graduation they attended college together. My grandmother was anxious that if she did not have a college buddy, my aunt might not go. She went and graduated with a bachelors degree in business. Like many others in her family, she became a teacher. Learning was important, and she continued to read and educate herself. I valued her opinion.

She was an animal lover. When she lived in Louisville, I remember her dog, Smoky. It was a black cocker spaniel, and I thought it was the most beautiful dog ever. A few years later they moved to the big farm house after her father-in-law died. She had a gorgeous collie. I remember cattle, a calf, a pony, kittens, a dog, and the peacocks at that stately place. I was certain the country estate had seen some civil war action and had many untold stories itself. Like my granddaddy, she was petrified of snakes and passed that right along to me. She had a few heart stopping stories of being trapped inside her house by a big, very big, snake.

My family lived in Clarksville, Indiana. Once when Auntie June had surgery she came to our house to recover. Grandmother stayed as her ever attentive nurse. I remember sneaking to chat with her. She would pat the side of the bed and wink. I quietly asked her if this surgery meant she could have babies or could not because she would be a wonderful mother. She told me that she was praying God had the right baby He would send just for her. Well, He did. In fact, in His generous way, He sent her three, twin sons and a daughter, my cousins: Kevin, Gavin, and Ruth Ann. She was devoted to her children, grandchildren, and greats.

Not only did I love her, but I respected her. Her life was full of trials, but she managed each one with a smile. The glass was always half full for her. She had a life full of hard work, but she also volunteered at church and other places. She was very giving. Others were more of a concern to her than herself. Mother and Auntie June remained close after my daddy died. Many times they chatted and laughed like schoolgirls. They shared precious memories.

I was the first grandchild on Daddy’s side so obviously I was spoiled rotten. Many nights and weekends were spent at my grandparents and later my aunt’s. I was like a sponge wanting to soak up every bit of information I could about the Winburn branch of my family tree. Now that Auntie June is gone I can no longer glean any more information.

Auntie June was a Woman of Faith. She walked her faith as well as talked about it. She loved church and her church family, too. There are many story of God’s blessings in her life. He healed her from breast cancer and various other maladies. He kept her safe during the many (many) storms in her life. She live a long life of 91 years. Auntie June worshipped and praised God for guiding her through them all. She told me that her deepest desire was that all of her family would know Jesus and be saved. She would laugh and say “you know there will be enough room in Heaven.”

During our last conversation she spoke to me a lot about our family: her parents, my parents and sister, her children, grandchildren, and greats. Family was important to her. She spoke a lot about her brother, my father. This was the first time she had talked about Daddy in a very long time. We talked of the goodness of God. She always told me she loved me before we hung up. I assured her of my love, too. The very next day she got sick and after a week went to Glory. People I tell me “I’m sorry you lost your aunt.” Dear friends, I did not lose her. I know exactly where she is. She has gone home and is happier than she has ever been. I miss her more than mere words could express, but I will see her again in Glory. Maybe our rooms will be close together.

Journey Back Home Celebrate Life Book Tour and Giveaway

Journey Back Home by talented storyteller, author Cheri Swalwell is Book Two in her The Redemption of Green Pines series. This is a Christian contemporary family tale that is filled with spiritual and life lessons. The author has sprinkled scripture throughout her book, which is one of the things I love about her writing.


This is the story of Jace. He has been the youth pastor at his church for over a decade years. His wife, Simone, just had their fourth baby. Jace thinks he is more needed at their church than he is at home. Simone is feeling overwhelmed, tired, and invisible at home by her husband.


This is a down to earth story of a family of six. Mom is trying to keep the home and her sanity while Dad is out enjoying life with his buddies at church. Sound familiar? Any woman will be able to relate to Simone’s frustration. I was immediately invested in the story and characters.


Throughout the story I ran a gamut of emotions. I could feel the emotions that the characters were experiencing coming off of the pages and settle into my heart. Only a great author can transfer emotions from a character to a reader, and Swalwell did it multiple times. She packed in a few twists and turns to keep us on our toes, too. There is a mystery in the plot that will keep you reading and turning pages for more information.


The characters are well rounded, relatable, and realistic. I enjoyed seeing Holly pop up in this book since we got to know her in Book One. The dialog sounded smooth and easy, never stiff or forced. The lessons learned from watching this Christian family go through trials and triumphs are invaluable. Readers will see faith and grace as actions and not just spoken words. 


Swalwell has done a great job planning, organizing, and writing this fictional story. There are many God-glorifying moments to offer encouragement and inspiration. I highly recommend this beautiful glimpse into the life of a Christian family. It would make a perfect book club selection. There is much to ponder and discuss. The only thing missing is a discussion guide or reflection questions. I gladly rate it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest thoughts and words.

About the Book

Book:  Journey Back Home

Author: Cheri Swalwell

Genre: Christian Romance

As you know, life isn’t always as it seems.

Ten years, four children, two full-time careers, insane schedules—this is not what Jace and Simone signed up for. When the couple married a decade ago, they shared a passion for serving youth together. They believed their deep love for God and shared interests were all they needed to keep their marriage strong.

With Jace busy as a youth minister on the weekends, and Simone taking care of their four children, as well as her second grade classroom, they barely find time to connect with each other. Travel up close and personal into the home of a youth pastor and his family as they deal with issues far-to-common in this fast-paced society.

Tragedy strikes…an investigation begins…and it seems as though life will never return to the “happily-ever-after” of their dreams.

When their world is turned upside down, the question becomes…will God give the family strength to journey back home?

If you like wholesome fiction with a faith-filled message, buckle in to read Journey Back Home, Book 2 of The Redemption of Green Pines series today.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She enjoys writing regularly for Book Fun Magazine and LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Her Spoken from the Heart Series is available through Deeper Shopping in both eBook and paperback versions. To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at: http://bit.ly/1gRp9oK. She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at clSwalwell99@gmail.com or “like” her on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1h4eudV.

More from Cheri

Journey Back Home was the first novel I ever wrote. The way God downloaded it into my heart was by sharing Simone’s side of the story first. Her journey is shared in the book through a series of diary entries. So I basically wrote the middle of the book first, then the ending, and then went back and wrote the beginning. It was definitely God who tied it all together so nicely.

When I finished writing Journey Back Home, it sat in my computer folders for six years. During that time God took fiction away from me, and gave me the platform of nonfiction. Two years ago, He lovingly gave me fiction back and I pulled it out, dusted it off, and started getting it ready to publish.

However, I realized it wasn’t a standalone book anymore. It was a community, a tight-knit group of people who had much more they wanted to share with readers. And I knew I needed to start with Holly’s story. Adventure’s Invitation, Book 1 of The Redemption of Green Pines, tells Holly’s background which is an integral part of Journey Back Home.

I hope you fall in love with Jace, Simone, their four children, and of course Holly as much as I have. If so, get ready because there are many more people to grow to love in all six books of The Redemption of Green Pines series.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

Artistic Nobody, January 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 24

Batya’s Bits , January 24

Inklings and notions, January 25

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 26

deb’s Book Review, January 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Holly Jo Morris, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 1

For Him and My Family, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cheri is giving away the grand prize of a $15 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10626/journey-back-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir

The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir is a loving tribute from author Melissa (Missi) Johnson Gouty to her amazing father, Melford (Mel) Johnson. This nostalgic look of family and life in a small Midwestern town had me turning page after page. It was a bright, sunshiny smile on the face of a dark dreary day. You must read it and have your spirits lifted, too.

Author Gouty and I went to school together. She was one of my sweetest friends. So many of her memories mirrored my own. Even though our lives were vastly different, they were extremely similar. That’s what happens in small towns. They bring people together and give them common threads. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this love letter. It is nothing less than beautiful.

I enjoyed the style that talented wordsmith Gouty uses in writing. Her story is transparent and brutally honest. There is a warmth to it. Readers will feel like they are chatting over a cup of coffee or at least, I did. It brought tears to my eyes at times, many of them from laughing.

There is a plethora of life and spiritual lessons woven throughout these exceptional stories. It reveals the working of a Christian family, a man of faith, how to appreciate nature, and how to simply enjoy life. The author proudly announces that she never recalls her father swearing or using rough language in situations when most men would. Can you do the same?

It is difficult to choose a favorite tale. I enjoyed them all for various reasons. There is just one place that I found myself uncomfortable. In one of the stories the author uses the crass term for feces. (Yes, I am a prude.) It is one of the words that my Southern Grandmother instilled in me (obviously) that a lady never says. I realize I am the exception now and not the rule, but it still bothered me.

I highly recommend this charming memoir to everyone. Baby Boomers will certainly relate to the references made. There are discussion questions in the back so it would make a nice book club selection. I give this a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.

With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?

Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.

This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.

This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.

You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.

Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.

Thanksgiving, a Time for Family, Food, and Thanks, or is it?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.

Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!

This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!

I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.

Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.

Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.

Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.

I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?

Let’s Agree to Disagree Nicely

Friends. We all have them and want to be one. Do you know what the definition of a friend is? Let me ask our buddy Webster:

“…definition of friend: 1: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person. 2 : a person who is not an enemy or foe.”

That sounds correct. Don’t you think? It is fairly cut and dried. Friends are people you really like, trust, and that are not enemies.

The Bible has something to say about friendship, too. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)” Isn’t it comforting to know that a true friend loves at all times? Not just in good times, but also bad? Friends are supposed to always be friends, even during election year. So what is happening?


Are we allowing someone or something to come between us and our friends? Friendship takes work. Each friend needs to be respectful and considerate of the other. For me, friendship is like a safe haven in a storm. A place where I can always go to feel happy and unthreatened. True, we will not always agree on everything, but our tone will be respectful and loving. There will not be any degrading remarks. We will just agree to disagree and go on.

Unfortunately of late, I have noticed friends that are normally respectful and sweet take on a different persona. Snide comments are left on Facebook posts, hateful things are said about others, including friends, and the need to respond viciously overtakes normal caution. Is that because we can type a response without looking the commenter in the eyes? Our comment may “yell” back in all caps or contain offensive words our lips never speak. Our words cut deep without us having to witness the pain we inflicted.

It breaks my heart to see friend pitted against friend and family member against family member. I still choose to love each one, but their behavior troubles me. Are they succumbing to a plan that has blinded them? Why would these naturally loving and caring people become so callus and cold?

Maybe we should all think about what our words and actions are saying about our souls. Are they in line with the teachings of Jesus? When someone looks at me will they see a member of a political party or a member of the family of God? Will I be a friendly safe haven or a downgrading place of battle for my friends?

The solution? First, take inventory of yourself. Are you proud of how you are representing Jesus? Second, pray. Pray for our friends, our nation, and ourselves. Romans 3:11-12 says: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.”

Someday this world will all be over. It will not matter which political party was our preference, only that Jesus was our King. Are we living as peacemakers and beacons for Him? I hope I am.


The best news is that we all have a friend that will be there for us. He died on the cross so that we might have eternal life. Scripture says in John 15:13-24 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”

Using His example, let’s pray for each other and be kind. Let’s be good friends and agree to disagree.

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad

Do you ever think that fathers are a bit overlooked on holidays?  Fathers Day doesn’t seem to be as big of a celebration as Mothers Day always is.  My husband told me earlier this week that he didn’t need nor want anything and for me not to buy him a gift for today.  Even some fathers don’t feel the need to celebrate Fathers Day.

That actually was me for years.  I was angry, bitter, and hurt.  When I was just twelve years old my Daddy died.  Not only did he did, but he died at home in front of me.  I did not want to go to church on Father’s Day after that.  Thankfully, I have gotten through that horrible experience but not without scars.

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A decade or so after Daddy died a blessing was given to our family.  I call him, Dad.  For forty years this remarkable, selfless man has been the leader of our family.  He is a devoted, loving husband to Mom and the best Dad that my sister and I could ever hope to have.  On top of that, he is a grandfather that is beyond compare, just ask anyone that calls him Pappaw.

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Dad is loving and caring, a good example for all fathers.  His faith and Jesus are essential in his life.  Whenever I need prayer or have a question about scripture, Dad is the first one I seek.  He is also generous.  I have watched him anonymously pay for a young family’s meal and ask the waitress to add ice cream for dessert.

Today, I miss him immensely.  We can’t celebrate Father’s Day together because he is in Rehab working to recover and come home.  I have sent flowers and am saving his presents to give him when I can see him in person.  Covid19 restrictions at the Rehab facility only allow one person each day to see Dad for an hour or so.  One person.

Until he is released I will draw on the many happy memories I have.  We have had so many good times, and there will be more to come.  Dad is a giant among ordinary men.  He will work hard to get back home where he belongs with his booming voice, quick laugh, and twinkling eyes.

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  You are missed at home and loved beyond what words can express.  I hope you are working hard now, because when you come home we plan on spoiling you.

No one can ever take the place of my Daddy.  Dad made his own place.  He has been a strong, loving, guiding parent to me for forty years.  Did I mention that he is selfless, too?  I owe him so much.  I love my Dad and miss him today.

My Heavenly Father gave me a couple of great men for earthly fathers.  I am fortunate to come from a Christian family.  This scripture and my fathers go perfectly together.  Abba took a bad time in my life and in the end He used it for good. Our family is so much better because of Dad.  My Dad.

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Readers, I hope you are spending today celebrating with your fathers.  As cliche as it sounds, do not take your father for granted for one minute.  Take it from someone who lost her Daddy when she was young and is now not able to see her Dad because of new visitation regulations.  I would love to be able to kiss Dad’s sweet cheek and tell him how much I love and appreciate him today.  Hopefully he knows that already.

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Prayers vs. Good Thoughts

Pet peeves.  We all have them.  Most of us have a long list of them.  I know I do.  Incorrect grammar drives me crazy.  Younger people being disrespectful always makes me want to correct them on the spot.  One of the biggies for me though is people saying “I am sending good (or positive) thoughts.”  What is that?  Explain it to me.

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How does one send a thought?  Do you put it in a box and send it?  No, that wouldn’t work.   I suppose in lieu of praying people believe this is the next best thing.  Perhaps for them it even is the best thing, but it is not for me.  I would much rather have and offer prayer.  In fact, scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Do you believe a person’s thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s life?  I don’t.  Do I believe prayer is that powerful?  Pull up a chair and let me tell you some first hand experiences.  Yes, prayer is absolutely that powerful and effective.  Why, because God is powerful.

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Several years ago I had a stroke.  The doctors said there was damage done to my eyes and I would always see bright flashing lights, like strobe lights.  Always meaning every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  To the doctors’ baffling surprise my eyesight improved almost back to normal.  I had an army of faithful prayer warriors praying for me.  God heard and answered our prayers.  No positive thoughts or vibes sent my way could have healed me.

Family members have had cancer literally disappear thanks to our healing Heavenly Father answering our prayers.  Lives have been saved, jobs secured, and babies added to our family all because we prayed and God answered.   Money miraculously became available to pay for food or important bills, all because of answered prayers.  Accidents were avoided, injuries not as severe, and diagnoses not fatal where first thought, all due to faithful praying family and friends.  God heard and answered.  Prayer makes a difference, a big difference.

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I encourage you to pray for one another instead of merely saying you are sending thoughts.  It is not difficult.  There is no special way to pray.  It is a conversation between you and your Creator.  He knows everything about you already, even what you are going to say.  Open your heart and just talk to God.  The more you pray, the more you will want to pray and the easier it will become.

Don’t get me wrong.  Positive thinking is important.  It makes a huge difference in a person’s day.  We all awake each day with the choice to be happy and see life with the glass half full or we could be grumpy and negatively say the glass is half empty.  I do believe in positive thinking, but I just don’t believe in sending positive thoughts.

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Speaking of thoughts, I hope this has given you something to ponder if you ask for or offer good or positive thoughts.  Honestly, I would rather not have someone say that to me except for the fact that I can pray for them.   If they aren’t praying, they are missing such a blessing.  We all need blessings and prayers.  We all need God.

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Covid19: What it Has Taken and Given

In the matter of days our lives were turned upside down.  Normal ceased to exist.  Our daily routines changed.  Spring Break plans were disrupted.  Schools let scholars go home for the remainder of the year.  Seniors were cheated out of their final semester of High School or College.  People were quarantined at home.  Why?  A nasty extremely contagious, life threatening virus named Covid19.
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Parks were closed.  Sporting events were cancelled.  Businesses were shut down 
and only essential workers were employed.  Companies had employees work from home.  Grocery store shelves were bare.  Toilet paper became a rare item. Yes, stores were sold out of it everywhere.  Hand sanitizer disappeared along with it.  Health officials found it necessary to reteach us how to wash our hands.

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Since groceries were out of meat, groceries were selling their raw protein along with prepared menu items.  Delivery or curbside pick up were the only options since dining in had been banned. Gatherings were limited to ten people.  Weddings were rescheduled and funerals kept private.  Church doors were closed.  Masks were worn in public for protection.  Our world had completely changed.
Covid19 has taken our normal from us.  Our secure, everyday life is now gone. Healthcare and grocery workers are exhausted.  Parents are homeschooling and frustrated.  Family and friends are missing each other.  Children are frightened and do not understand.  Adults are, too.  This is a worldwide pandemic. What is a pandemic?  Webster’s dictionary says “Pandemic definition is – occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”

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Oh, but wait.  It is not all gloom and doom. Covid19 has also given to us.  Our priorities have been forced into perspective.  Family has risen to the top.  Those concerts and sporting events that we believed were essential have been replaced with family time.  Family dinners have made a huge comeback.  People are returning to the kitchen to prepare meals that will be eaten around a table with family.  The weather has turned nice and families are going outside.  We are rediscovering the treasure we have been taking for granted.
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Communities and the entire nation have joined together.  Meals are given to children
out of school and to healthcare workers. Restaurants are pitching where they can.   Protective masks are being made at home to help. Many are giving them away.  Neighbors are checking on each other.  Teenagers are doing yard work to help elderly.  Groceries are picked up for friends.  Kindness is manifesting itself through people across this nation. We are thinking of others and their needs.  America and mankind are pulling together to help win this war on Covid19.  We are standing together to assist others.  
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With so much time spent in self quarantine parents are spending quality time with their children.  Hiking, playing games, grilling or working in the kitchen, are just a few of the ways families are enjoying their time together.  They are becoming reacquainted with each other.  Families are doing more activities together and making lasting memories.  For the most part, this is a great thing.  Unfortunately there will be some children not blessed with a happy home.

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The best thing to come out of this is that people have turned their hearts and minds back to God.  Children are witnessing a revival in their homes.  Prayers are said at mealtime and bedtime now more than ever.  Bibles are being dusted off and opened.  God’s Word is being read.  We have more time now to begin our day with God’s Word and in prayer.  That excuse has been taken away.  Parents are able to set good examples for their children and teach them God’s Word.

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God’s children have hit the reset button on their lives.  We are putting things in proper order starting with Jesus, then others, and finally ourselves.  We will come through this battle victorious.  Always we need our Heavenly Father, but we need Him especially now.  This is an epic battle we are fighting with Covid19.  Fear not.  Nothing is impossible with God.  He is more powerful than anything, even this pandemic.  I hope the lessons that we learned during this time will stay with us.  I hope our world remains changed for the better.  Don’t you?
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