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?

The Bells of New Cheltenham Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

The Bells of New Cheltenham by author Chautona Havig is a contemporary romantic holiday fictional novella. This is a sequel to The Ghost of New Cheltenham. It can be read as a standalone novella, but I wish I had read the other one. At times I felt like an outsider at a party of close friends. I did not quit understand everything.

Havig has an unique style of writing. I am always blessed when reading her work because of the spiritual content. Her books give glory to God. She writes plain, everyday scenarios that makes things seem plausible.

The Bells of New Cheltenham is an interesting story. I love Christmas and especially the beautiful music. Her writing took me to the quaint town where I could almost hear the carolers. The contest was a lovely idea. Ms. Havig has been blessed with a writer’s imagination.

The characters are very likable. Ken is a sweetheart. He is almost too good to be true. Justine is new to town. She seems to have money problems as well as other issues. They make a nice couple except for the fact they are unequally yoked.

This is an enjoyable tale. It was not a page turner for me. I was able to easily read a chapter or two and go about my daily activities. When time permitted I would pick up the story again.

I recommend this sweet holiday romance. The message is beautiful. Anyone will enjoy it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own opinions.

About the Book

Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: October 15, 2020

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Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?

Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.

Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.

“But what do the words mean?”

Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.

He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.

Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona Havig

3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing

I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.

The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down.  This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.

The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection.  Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.

Still, I tried to be responsible, you know?  After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already.  Bookers on the RocksThe Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.”  And those didn’t include anything wanted to write in spring or summer.

Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme.  That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?

The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections.  She sent a list of those that had already been claimed.  I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.

No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”

That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.

All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea.  I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?

That’s when it happened.

There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination.  My favorite moment.  And it hit me.  What if the theme for the collection was my story idea?  My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.

And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh!  Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest.  And then… well…

The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.

If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone.  However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited.  Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to chautona@chautona.com, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”

But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.

  1. The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
  2. The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
  3. The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.

What makes your heart sing at Christmas?

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 10

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

Blogging With Carol , November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, November 13

Batya’s Bits, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Worthy2Read, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Aryn the Libraryan, November 18

Lots of Helpers, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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/10359/the-bells-of-new-cheltenham-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Christmas Tale for Little Women Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

A Christmas Tale for Little Women by author Linda Brooks Davis is a Christian historical holiday romance novella. It is a short read and perfect for this time of year. I love holiday books and novellas.

This story is the prequel to The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. I have previously read and reviewed this brilliant story. It earned a five star rating from me. This novella is just as good.

Adelaide is an endearing character. She is talented, charming, and caring. We meet her nieces Dahlia and Camilla. Both girls are delighted to spend time with their aunt during the holiday season but are missing family.

There are precious life and spiritual messages woven throughout this poetic tale. The characters are wonderful and the writing is beautiful. You will be glad you read this sweet story.

I highly recommend this novella. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: September 15, 2020

A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Broadview is attired for Christmas. Oklahoma heiress, Adelaide Fitzgerald, is hosting two young girls who have chosen to celebrate Christmas with Auntie Addie rather than their family in Colorado.

Adelaide must give these girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? What would top off this holiday in an extraordinary way?

The answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. But what will it take for her to realize it is the Christmas topper she’s been seeking?

It’s 1912, and Adelaide Fitzgerald’s view of Christmas is about to emerge as a tale for a lifetime.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Linda Brooks Davis is a lifelong Texan who devoted 40 years to special education as a therapist, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 2008 and now writes full time.

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

More from Linda

Everyone worked at my home on a South Texas farm near the U.S. border with Mexico.

My playmates were children of Hispanic laborers. Language never hindered playing la casa, making mud pies, or rocking los bebésFrijoles and tamales served from stewpots over open fires tasted delicioso in either language. I learned outside their homes a broom works great on hardened soil.

Daddy paid workers on Saturdays, some by the hour, others by production. Lining up, they extended their hands, and he laid cash across their open palms. They checked the figures they had scribbled on paper scraps, trusting el patrón to correct discrepancies. Humble, grateful people, they showed respect.

My father verified immigration paperwork for those whom he housed. Others lived in the shadows, arriving around sunup and disappearing before sundown. Each evening a car or truck would rattle alongside the field, and the shadow worker would slip inside. Then the vehicle would clatter toward the horizon. And returned another day.

Occasionally, however, an alarm shouted in Spanish would sound across the field. Dropping his cotton sack, a worker would dash toward the cotton trailer in the turn row. Like hounds burrowing under a house, he and a compadre would leap over the trailer’s sides and dig a hole in the freshly picked cotton. The first crawled in, and the other covered him.

The immigration officer making his rounds would walk into the field and occasionally stomp around inside the trailer, searching for man-sized lumps. I never witnessed the discovery of a shadow worker, but I heard about them on other farms. Worst of all, I heard about tragedies. With very little oxygen between tightly packed fluffs of cotton, a man could suffocate and occasionally would. I wondered what would lead a man to take such chances and how my law-abiding, God-loving father justified his complicity. So, I asked, and he answered, “Desperation, sugar. All they want is work. A man wants to provide for his family wherever or however he can. I can’t turn them away.”

Sounded like work was a gift. Huh? my ten-year-old brain asked itself.

Years later, I understood this principle. The second chapter of Genesis shows us that God created man not to laze around all day, but to work.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.Genesis 2:15

Therefore, not only in “the beginning,” but on our farm in 1956, a man’s strength to work was God’s gift. The opportunity to work was Daddy’s gift to the men. The fruit of each man’s labor was the gift he sent home each week and the fulfillment of his need to provide for his family.

At Christmas we enjoyed preparing bushel baskets of meats, fruits and vegetables, candy and nuts, and toys for each family. I wondered about those who stayed around for a single day. Would their children find fruits, nuts, or even a piece of candy on Christmas morning?

Answers evaded me then—-as they do now—-but as a writer in my eighth decade of life, one truth I hold onto is that the strength for each day of writing and less pain in my arthritic hands and back are gifts from God. Each opportunity to write is an opportunity not only to entertain but to inspire readers to seek God in their everyday lives. Each word, unique turn of a phrase, or plot idea . . . is my gift to Him.

Protecting our safety is a far more complicated endeavor in 2020 than it was in 1956. Threats arise like none presented five decades ago, but work is still a gift. God wired it into our DNA. Come to think of it, the ideas for A Christmas Tale for Little Women and the subsequent novel—one set in the southern tip of Texas, a story about a loving, destitute man who wants only to provide for his family—are gifts.

Those diligent workers of 1956 and other years deserve a story that honors them. My gift to them and to Him is A Christmas Tale for Little Women.

Thank you, Lord.

Note: Photos from Pixabay

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

Blogging With Carol, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 21

Connect in Fiction, October 21

Get Cozy Book Nook, October 21

She Lives To Read, October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, October 23

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Splashes of Joy, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 25

Mary Hake, October 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 26

KarenSueHadley, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Inklings and notions, October 28

Betti Mace, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

CarpeDiem, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 31

Batya’s Bits, October 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 1

Moments, November 1

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 1 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of all 6 eBooks in the The Women of Rock Creek Series!! (The Calling of Ella McFarland, A Christmas to Remember, A Christmas Measure of Love, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, and The Awakening of Miss Adelaide)

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/10264/a-christmas-tale-for-little-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

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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Holy Saturday, When Jesus was Gone

Today is the anniversary of Holy Saturday, Easter Eve or Black Saturday.  It is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It is the seventh day of Holy Week.  When Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” He had completed His job.  Now what?

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Where was Jesus on this day so long ago?   He was dead.  My heart breaks to write this.  Jesus was away from God and descended into hell.  Isn’t that what the Apostles Creed says?  All of what was done was for us.  The price was paid for us so that we would not owe it.

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This day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting like Lent.  Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday.  He had said He would rise from the dead so they would be watching for Him.  Most likely they would be recalling every word He said to them.  I would.  Wouldn’t you go over every detail?

Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that He had risen from the dead.  Pilate sealed the tomb, secured it, and posted guards.  No one was getting in.  Jesus’ body would not be taken.

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Easter or Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow.  I know the ending of this heart wrenching account.  I also know this was God’s plan, but it still hurts.   For those of us baptized, when we were we died with Christ (going down under water) and arose with Him (rising up again).  Symbolic but not close to what my precious Savior endured.

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Scripture tells us this in Romans 6:3-11 King James Version (KJV):

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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So, while we await Resurrection Sunday, take a moment to reflect.  Just as we were baptized and died with Jesus, we died to sin.  We should sever the bond sin has over us and sin no more.  After He died for us, let us live for Him.
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What is love?

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  Our hearts and minds are turning to love.  How do you celebrate?  Is it a time for just you and your sweetheart?  Perhaps you include your children in the holiday and make it truly about love.

In our family it is a day centered around love for everyone. We send cards to family and buy presents for our grandkids besides spending time for ourselves.  It is not just a romantic holiday for me and my hubby.  Our pets even get a new toy.

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When our kiddos were still at home we included them.  I remember making a red heart shaped cake or a red velvet cake to have for dessert.  They would get cards and a gift or money.  Sure the hubby and I carved out time for each other to remember our love, too.

Love should be lived, spoken, and shared everyday.  Do you agree?  I am talking about true, unblemished love.  Everyone flourishes when loved, even plants.  Where do we begin to find out just what love is if we want to do this right? The Bible in First Corinthians gives us the best answer.

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In I Corinthians 13 we are provided a guideline about love.  This scripture explains all about what it is and isn’t.  As we read what love is, think about the people you love.  Is your love in line with the definition?  Are you patient with them and not easily angered?

“Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

Always hopes,

Always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

How did you do on your check list.  Me, I could stand some improving.  For one thing, patience is something that I am constantly honing.  Certainly I have failed in many of the other areas, but after writing this blog it has given me a wake up call. I need to love others better, and I will.

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Jesus commands us (not suggests) to love one another as He has loved us in John 13:34.  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Wow.  That is a high standard.  No, let me change it to the highest standard.  The gold standard.  Even though we are mere humans we can still strive for it.

God has always loved us and always will.  He has plans for each one of us and sent Jesus to redeem us.  Scripture says He loves with an everlasting love.  That is unending, pure, powerful love.  That verse is so sweet to my spirit that I drink my coffee out of this cup.

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Please join me in pondering this scripture and how we truly love others, even family.  As I ask these questions of myself, you could search for your own answers.  Am I patient, kind, hopeful, protective, and does my love persevere?  I’m not proud, envious, boastful, easily angered, rude or self-seeking, am I?  Do I keep track of when people do me wrong?  Has my love ever failed someone?  How can I improve and love others as Jesus did.

Enjoy this season of love and remember how loved you are.

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My 2020 Challenge for You

 

Happy New Year, my friends and welcome to 2020!  Are you excited about a brand new year with endless possibilities?  I know that I am.  Are there things you want to do differently this year than last?  Me, too.  Let’s work on that together.

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Contemplating the next twelve months, what would you like to accomplish?   Do you have things you really yearn to do or maybe stop doing?  I think some people call that resolutions.

Since I am a list maker, I took pen in hand and began.  My list started and soon became overwhelmingly long.  Immediately I felt discouraged.   I would encourage you to keep yours challenging but still attainable.  Don’t begin the year feeling defeated.  Asking God to hone your 2020 aspiration list will make it perfect for you.

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Tell me, do you have a strategically crafted plan to fulfill your dreams for this year?  The first thing on that list should be to pray for that plan.  Ask God to show you what to do and how to do it.  That is what I intend.  With His help it will be much easier.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

I find the above bible verse comforting.  God, the Creator, will teach me what I need to know to accomplish my plans.  Really?  Me?  God cares enough about me to do that?  Absolutely, and He cares that much for you, also.  He might place people in my life that will be able to help me.  Perhaps a book or article will be brought to my attention.  The ways He will help you and me are limitless.

My challenge for you for 2020 is to pray.

I want to challenge you to join me this year.  Commit yourself to daily pray over your 2020 goals.  Adopt a system using a prayer jar or journal.  Record your specific prayer requests in a prayer journal or place them in a prayer jar.  As your prayers are answered  and results seen, make notes by the request.

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Besides praying for yourself, add 20 people to your list.  Ask God to place those people on your heart for prayer.  Place these names after your list or in your jar.  Each day lift one or all of these people up to our Heavenly Father.  Maybe you are praying for health, healing, salvation, or financial issues.  Perhaps you don’t even know why Abba brought this person to your mind.  Just intercede for them in prayer.

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Get a Prayer Partner

A prayer partner is someone that will be there for you to take your requests, thanks, and  praises to God.  My prayer partner lives many, many miles away but is ready within a few minutes of a text to pray.  There is a deeper level of prayer coming before Jehovah with another Christian.  She keeps me accountable, too.  If you do not currently have a prayer partner, I would encourage you to try it.  Ask at church or in your circle of friends.  Better yet, ask God to send you one.

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Let me know if you accepted my challenge and how you are doing.  I’d love to hear if you are using a prayer journal or prayer jar.  As always, if you have a prayer request for me, leave it below and I will most assuredly pray.  Thanks for spending some time with me today.

Philippians  4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

Goodbye, 2019, and Hello, 2020

Goodbye, 2019 and hello, 2020!  Here we are again. Another year is winding down to a close. Don’t worry. There is a brand new one just waiting to take 2019’s place.  The years seem to come faster and faster anymore.

How did 2019 treat you?  Whether this has been your best, worst, or just an average year, it is time to take inventory and plan for the next one.  Do you have expectations for this coming year, 2020, or yourself? A new year is exciting. It’s like getting a blank piece of paper to begin a new chapter in your story.  Exhilarating, isn’t it?!  The promises it holds are limitless.

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What are your plans to escort the old year out and the new year in?  Will you go out and celebrate or choose to party quietly at home?  The past few years we have opted for the latter.  Watching a movie and switching over to see the ball drop is exciting enough for my hubby and me.

The majority of people begin the year with a resolution or two.  Not a bad idea, but how many resolutions make it all year?  Grand plans and hopes turn to ashes when someone offers a piece of homemade fudge or favorite cookie. Even a 75% off sale can crash plans for saving money. My hubby made a resolution a decade or more ago that he continues to keep……”to stop making New Year’s resolutions.” Perhaps I should try that one. My resolutions don’t seem to make it very long.  How about yours?
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One tradition that I do at the end of each year is to review my prayer list.  On it is usually one item that looms greater than any of the others. If you have a prayer list you know the one I mean. It is the one you give over to Jesus to handle and take to the Father. Then later that day you start fretting over it again, take it back, and give suggestions to Him on how to work it out. You pick it back up and cannot seem to give it away.  It is your Velcro problem.  It seems to stick with you no matter what.

75346DE3-E11B-4BCA-877B-ABDC326C686AThe problem is so big and seems unsolvable. Oh, but I have great news for you. God is bigger and more powerful than anything. Period.  He is also in the business of miracles.

This is my solution to permanently give it over to Abba.  I take a piece of paper and jot down that problem which has now become a mountain. Then I pray about it, completely surrendering it to Jesus, throw the paper in the fireplace, and I watch it burn. As it is eaten up by flames and disintegrated, I give thanks that the problem is out of my hands and into His. I have totally relinquished it to my Maker.  He is doing what needs done according to His perfect will.  Before my prayer ends the paper has turned to ashes, tears stream down my cheeks, and my worry has vanished. I am at peace.  Shalom.

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Try it with one of your problems that has grabbed you and refuses to let go. God says not to worry. We can do that only by praying and turning things over to Him. He is good and He is faithful. God won’t let us down. In fact, He will give us His perfect peace.  Go into 2020 with one less issue hanging over your head, and with you holding onto Jesus’s hand.  Give it to Him.  Trust Him.  He has this, He has 2020, and He has you!

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Christmas, Cookies, and Memories

Christmas and cookies just seem to go together.  Kids of all ages love cookies.  Don’t you?  From the simple chocolate chip and peanut butter to fancier bonbons and cookie press spritz, a tray of cookies is always a welcomed delight at any home.

I remember making Christmas candy with both of my grandmothers but not cookies.  My mother and I made those along with treasured memories.  Mother is a wonderful cook and baker.  She is also a true Proverbs 31 woman even to this day.  I am blessed to have a Christian mother to teach me many things, especially about Jesus.

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One of our family’s favorite cookies is Spritz or Cookie Press Butter Cookies.  A hint of almond mixed with pure buttery goodness in small shapes of wreaths, Christmas trees, stars, and hearts give the kitchen a heavenly aroma when baking.  These are scrumptious any time of the year.  The best thing about them is the fun I have when making them with a loved one.

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Christmas memories don’t need to be about a gift you received.  Make sweet memories this year by making cookies for family and friends with your mother, daughter, sister, or friend.  Actually, that will be a gift in itself.  I still smile when I travel back in time to a little red brick house and am making cookies with my mother and little sister.   The smiles on faces of friends and family when we gave them a tin of homemade cookies warmed our souls.  Yes, the gift we gave became a gift returned to us.

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Need a cookbook for some great recipes?  Amish author Wanda Brunstetter has a Christmas cookbook that even has a recipe for these cookies:

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I love the Amish cookbooks.  If you are not familiar with Amish, they love to cook, bake, and eat!  Now that is a recipe for a great cookbook.  Get it at Amazon or wherever you normally buy books.

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