Put Christ back in CHRISTmas

The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching.  Is it one of your favorites?  There are lovers of Christmas and then there are the Scrooges.  In fact, throughout the Advent Season, we could even find that we switch from one to the other.  Oh my!  Isn’t that a dreadful thought?!

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Christmastime is one of the most delightful times for me.  Just thinking about Jesus being sent here to be our Savior bring tears to my eyes.  I never get weary of listening to Christmas hymns.  Today I absent-mindedly hummed and half sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while I did paperwork.  That isn’t even my “go to” Christmas song.  Usually “Mary Did You Know” is first on my mind.

I am a consultant for Pampered Chef and do my parties on Facebook.  Like in-home parties we, too, play games.  One of my popular this year has been to name something that has to do with Christmas starting with A, the next person takes B, and on through the alphabet.  As I totaled points for the door prize drawing, I reviewed the answers.

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The results were about 50% Christian answers and 50% secular.  The letter J brought words Jesus, Joy, Jingle and Jolly.  S gave Savior, Star, Santa, and Stockings.  Every one of the reindeer were mentioned, but I don’t remember seeing Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, or Bethlehem.

What about your list?  When you think about Christmas do your thoughts immediately turn to the first six letters in that word…..CHRIST?  Maybe this world has pushed Him back from the front because of the hustle, bustle, and commercialism of today.  Don’t let that happen.

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This is the season of love and miracles.  God gave us all a miracle, His Son, our Redeemer.   That is the biggest, best present anyone has ever given you and me.  Hmmm, what have we given Him in return?

For me, I am going to try to keep more CHRIST in Christmas.  Play more hymns, read more scripture and Christian based books.  I have decided “do not stress and show grace” is my motto.  Without stressing out, I am a much nicer person.  Not only do I get grace from Abba, but I will in turn give it to others.  Everyone deserves grace.  People are more important than some of the silly things that upset others.

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Okay, so our focus will be on Jesus and helping show Him to others this year.  Even if we are playing a game or singing a song, we can easily do this.  A former minister once told me if I kept dripping little drops on someone eventually they would get wet.  Are you game?

Take Christmas back.  Give it to Jesus.  It is His birthday and so much more we are celebrating.  Spread joy, love, grace, and His light.  Let’s shower drops of Jesus on everyone.

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Book Tour & Giveaway, The Amish Midwife’s Secret by Rachel J. Good

My Review of The Amish Midwife’s Secret:

It is no secret I like to read Amish fiction.  Lately there have been books in various genres about midwives and healing.  I enjoy those also.  This book was especially enjoyable because it had all of those.

Author Rachel J. Good knows about the Amish culture.  She has researched it and has friends that are Amish.  That is one reason her books are authentic to their way of life.  This author has an easy way with words.  Her characters are well rounded and described.  I felt as if I knew Leah, Kyle, and the old doctor.  I was invested in the story early.

The story was organized written, organized, and planned so that there were a few twists.  I wanted to keep reading and longed to visit Amish country again after finishing this delightful book.  Christian inspiration was sprinkled throughout along with life lessons.  It is a sweet romance.

I would recommend it.  It earned a 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.  I received a copy from Celebrate Lit.  All opinions are my own, honest ones.

About the Book

The Amish Midwifes Secret

Book: The Amish Midwife’s Secret

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance

Release Date: November 27, 2018

“A beautiful story of forgiveness and second chances.” -Shelley Shepard Gray, New York Times bestselling author

They won’t see eye-to-eye until they meet heart-to-heart…

Kyle Miller never planned on becoming a country doctor. But when he’s offered a medical practice in his sleepy hometown, Kyle knows he must return… and face the painful past he left behind. Except the Amish community isn’t quite ready for Kyle. Especially the pretty midwife who refuses to compromise her herbal cures and Amish traditions with his modern medicine…

The more Leah Stoltzfus works with the handsome Englisch doctor, the more she finds herself caught between the expectations of her family and her own hopes for the future. It will take one surprising revelation and one helpless baby in need of love to show Leah and Kyle that their bond may be greater than their differences… if Leah can find the courage to follow her heart.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

rachel goodInspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House/Harlequin), Love & Promises (Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and Surprised by Love as well as several anthologies—Springs of Love, Love’s Thankful Heart, Plain Everyday Heroes—and the Amish Quilts Coloring Books.

Guest Post from Rachel

The Amish and Herbal Remedies

As many of you know, my Amish novels are based on real life. I get ideas from hanging around Amish friends, hearing their stories and observing their lives. I’d never invade their privacy by telling their stories exactly as they happen, but the things I learn trigger plot ideas.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way the Amish approach healing. Once thing I’ve learned is that, although they’re usually willing to visit doctors, they don’t always take the medicines that are prescribed. Instead, they often substitute herbal remedies. That, and several visits to one of my favorite Amish natural products stores, gave me an idea for one of the conflicts in The Amish Midwife’s Secret.

Leah, an Amish midwife, prefers herbal remedies. Of course, that puts her in direct conflict with Kyle, the new Englisch doctor in town, who only believes in science and traditional medicine. Put the two together and lots of sparks fly. Of course, some of those sparks are also of a romantic nature.

Leah is not only a midwife, but her family owns a natural products store. She knows the best herbs for healing. Rather than sending a small boy to the hospital for pneumonia, Leah covers the baby’s chest with a warm mixture of onions and other herbs and spices (some Amish friends prefer raw onion for congestion), and she feds the baby fresh pineapple juice for his cough.

As a doctor, Kyle is horrified. He wants to admit the baby to a hospital at once. And he expects the old country doctor he’s replacing to back him up. Instead, Dr. Hess informs Kyle that many of the Amish go to doctors for a diagnosis, but then rely on herbal treatments rather than prescriptions.

Kyle, who’s been debating about whether to stay in Amish country or move to a big-city hospital, decides to remain in Lancaster and make it his mission to prevent the Amish midwife from harming newborns and their mothers. He certainly doesn’t expect to have his eyes opened to other ways to handle illnesses. But he has to admit, Leah’s methods do seem to work. When a crisis comes, they soon discover that it takes both of them to save a baby.

***

A extra little secret: Those of you who get my newsletter already know this, but Kyle in The Amish Midwife’s Secret appeared in two earlier books. The Midwife story stands alone, but if you want to know more about Kyle and Emma’s past, you can find it in the Sisters & Friends series, Book 1, Change of Heart, and Book 2, Buried Secrets.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, November 27

Christian Bookaholic, November 27

KarenSueHadley, November 27

The Avid Reader, November 28

A Baker’s Perspective, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 28

Genesis 5020, November 29

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 29

cherylbbookblog, November 29

Because I said so- adventures in parenting, November 30

Bigreadersite, November 30

Quiet Quilter, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Bibliophile Reviews, December 2

Britt Reads Fiction, December 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3

Captive Dreams Window, December 3

Cafinated Reads, December 4

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, December 4

Carpe Diem, December 4

Maureen’s Musings, December 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 5

Janices book reviews, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 8

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 8

Moments, December 9

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, December 9

Texas Book-aholic, December 9

Miss Tinas Amish Book Review, December 10

The Becca Files, December 10

Vicky Sluiter, December 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize package of two faceless Amish dolls and an autographed copy of The Amish Midwife’s Secret and Plain Everyday Heroes!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d66f/the-amish-midwife-s-secret-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

If I Won the Lottery, I Would . . .

Many people buy lottery tickets.  Are you one of them?  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and frenzy when its numbers get high.  My friends and I play what my hubby calls the “What if” game.  What if we won the lottery?  What would we each do?

To begin with we would first need to buy a ticket.  Just like their add says, you can’t win if you don’t play.  As much fun as winning would be I don’t think donating my money would make me happy.   So for our game, I need to pretend I would buy a ticket.

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We all decided a lot of the money would be put to good use.  We would help family and friends in need.  I see you nodding.  You would do the same.   Charities and churches would get donations, too.  We weren’t all selfless.  We would keep some for ourselves.

Some wanted to travel the world and others wanted nice homes.  One friend wanted a mountain home, beach home, and another near family.  We all wanted different things but decided we wanted the luxury of not working and having enough money to do whatever we wanted.  Notice I said whatever we wanted and not what we needed.

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What would winning the lottery do to our spiritual life?  Would we continue to attend church each weekend or would we be too busy traveling?  If things were always going our way, would we talk to our Heavenly Father as much as we do now?  Our daily prayer time might not be as important if we had most all of the things we thought we wanted.  Would we still want more?  With all of our extra time where would God fit in?

Money used correctly does help a lot of people.  Wanting and obsessing over money tears  marriages and families apart.  It can destroy a person.  Scripture tells us in Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

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It is cliche but true.  Money cannot buy everything.  Think about all the true blessings in your life.  They are priceless.  You didn’t purchase them and they most likely cannot be replaced with money.

Be aware of what you have that cannot be bought.  Take inventory of your own personal lottery winnings.  Are you kind?  Would people say you have integrity and morals?  Do people trust you?  Are you loved?   You, my friend have won!

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Other life lottery blessings would be a loving, supporting family.  Friends that are always there for you and a circle of prayer warriors to intercede on your behalf are irreplaceable.  Money cannot buy any of these.

I agree the “What if I won the Lottery” game is fun, but is it really something Abba wants for our life?  We are His children and parents know from experience it is not always good to allow children to receive everything they want.  For instance what happens when kids have too much candy, too little sleep, or play unattended?

Our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us and what would happen if we won the lottery.  What do you think would happen?  Would we still be the same people and be as close to Him?  If not, I say keep the money and just give me Jesus.

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Do You Remember?

What were you doing on that Tuesday morning September 11, 2001 when America was under attack by terrorists?  Ninety percent of adult Americans will remember the nightly news reported.  Honestly, I think even that percentage is low.  I remember being in my kitchen alone that day mixing up banana bread.  The television on the counter was turned down low.  I glanced and saw chaos on the screen.  As I watched in horror a second plane hit and the news reporters were frantic.  The bowl of batter dropped from my hands as I fell to my knees in prayer.

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My phone rang nonstop.  Friends and family called in disbelief.  My daughter was in college and I just wanted her home.  Same thing with my working husband.  He is ever the voice of reason and I needed him.  My son wasn’t home either.  He had his own house.  I wanted them all here so our family was together and safe.  The sky was eerily quiet without a single aircraft.

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Church was more emotional than ever before on Sunday.  Attendance was extremely high. In crisis we turn to God, don’t we. Isn’t it a shame we all don’t stay that close after it is over?  It looks like our country could use His protection, guidance, and healing again.  The death total was just under 3,000 while the injured was twice that.  The terrorists coordinated four airplane attacks to kill Americans.  Innocent people in what they deemed a Holy War.  I cannot imagine how saddened God was by this. We all were, and we don’t even begin to love like Him.

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America pulled together then, and we turned to God.  What changed that made some of us turn our backs on Him and His commands?  Why have we turned on each other?  Where did our love, compassion, and kindness go?  63E3C1DD-A4D7-4786-B618-FDD05785A2CFWe need to take back our patriotism and faith.  Give up this name calling and bickering.  Kneel and pray for each other.  As the Bible says “humble ourselves”.  If we do, then we will start to see more unity.

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If you can remember where you were, you will remember the horrible feeling of terrorism, and the wonderful feeling of unity in America.  Our nation was one.  Let’s stand together again in memory of those that lost their lives that day.  Remember, except for the grace of God, it could have been us dying in an attack.  God didn’t save us to bicker, insult, and fight.

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I Wish I Had or I’m Glad I Did

I wish I had….  How many times have we all started a sentence with those four little words?  I wish I had gone to see her.  Perhaps, I wish I had said or even had not said that.  The list of “I wish” is endless unfortunately.

A few days ago a friend died.  It was unexpected for most everyone.  I listened to mourners and read tributes from so many people.  The majority of people started theirs with “I wish”.  “I wish I had called him instead of texted that morning.”  “I wish I had told him I loved him the last time I saw him.”  “I wish I had taken more time to talk when he called.”

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Cliche as it might sound, maybe it is time to give up the wishes and regrets.  It is time to live life doing those things.  There is a song that talks about “Live Like You are Dying”.  What if we lived like our family and friends were instead?  Would we treat them differently?  Yes, I certainly would.

My words would be much more thoughtful and kind.  I would definitely consider others’ feelings and needs.  All of the things I wanted to say would get said.  There are things I have learned thatI would share.   It would be a priority to discuss Jesus and salvation.   How will I know if I don’t ask?

Do they know that in times of sorrow, Jesus is my comfort.  He is my strength.  In Psalm 46:1, the Bible tells us “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  This is so true.  I cannot make it a day without Him.  He shelters and strengthens me.  I draw my peace from Him.

John 14:27 gives us Jesus’ assurance that “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  This is the “peace that passes understanding” that we sang about in Sunday school.  A pure peace is given to us by Jesus when things are in chaos.

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Scripture says  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  That is my goal.  To make certain my family and friends have one of those mansions.  It has already been bought and paid for by Jesus.  All I can do is give them the good news and pray they accept the keys.

No more wishing for me.  It is time for action.  Live each day purposefully.  Say the “I love you” and “thank you”.  Make the phone call.  Take the time.  Go to lunch.  Share the love.  Talk about Jesus.  Say goodbye to “I wish I had” and hello to “I’m glad I did.”

What are your I wish sentences that turn into regrets instead of sweet memories?  How about doing something now instead being disappointed later?

 

Reflections from a Word Nerd

Since I have been young, words have fascinated me.  Numbers do nothing for me, but words are exciting and powerful.  Okay, I will admit to being a word nerd.  Reading, writing, even listening to meaningful lyrics move me and put me in my sweet spot.  Even if you are a numbers person, words affect you.  Some words or phrases bring certain people to mind.

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My dear mother has a quaint way of terming kisses.  Our family doesn’t kiss each other we “give sugar.”  My hubby does not decide or conclude, he “reckons.”  When Dad is sincere about something, he states it “quite frankly.”  Pappaw Reeves was never hindered but “stymied.”  According to him, planets were never just in a straight line but in a “sygyzy.”  My Granddaddy was a Lockmaster at Dam 43 near us and my hubby worked in Engineering in a ship building company.  Many times both men replaced left and right with port and starboard, the nautical and aeronautical terms for left and right, respectively.79193B57-AC0C-44EA-9510-0B1FBE551571

Just think how important they are and moving in weddings.  In our wedding we had the song “Whither Thou Goest” sung.  Just hearing that phrase or the word whither takes me back decades to a church altar where I plighted my troth to my husband.  Isn’t that more romantic than saying at my wedding?  Words can be magical when used correctly and thoughtfully.  They have power to transform and transport.

For me, I love poetic, old fashioned words and Southern phrases.  Women in my family swoon over thing and say “I swan or swanee” because no proper lady should ever say I swear.  We don’t sweat but perspire.  One does not simply hug my Auntie June but must “hug her neck.”  Most importantly, never did I nor have I heard my grandparents, parents or aunts and uncles say what my Grandmother deemed “ugly words.”   Never.

 

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Ugly words or swearing abound in society today.  Using the Lord’s name in vain, cursing, and horrible four letter words are rampant.  Even name-calling seems to be at an all time high.  Tattoos are permanently imprinted on bodies with words that should not be written, spoken or seen.  14BC4EB3-1B26-459A-95DC-A93412EF1357Clothing prominently sports things that are “ugly” and offensive.  Even some “Christians” have attire proudly proclaiming “Yes, I am a Christian and I cuss a lot.”  What?!  So, I wonder how our Father feels about that?  Or if these people consider the example they are setting?  Ugly words take away from a person’s beauty.  They can sting and hurt.

When I think of my Savior there are many words that come to mind.  Beloved is the first and means dearly loved.  Definitely Jesus loves us dearly.  No doubt about that.  Redemption is another one.  It means being saved from sin or evil.  Christ sought us out before we were born and bought us with his blood on the cross.  He paid the entry fee to eternal life for us.  That fee was his own life.  Absolutely, freely given to us in love is our gift of salvation, which means deliverance from harm or destruction.

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Tell me about you?  What words do you relate to people?  Better yet, what words do you think people relate to you?  What if our words appeared on our skin?  Make them pretty words to inspire, bring about happy memories and smiles.  Don’t leave behind ugly words as your impression or influence on this world.  Let your children and grandchildren read “hug my neck” and “give me sugar” or remember you when they hear nice, virtuous, sweet words.  Don’t let #*@$ or worse be your legacy.

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Kindness…..Let’s Start a Campaign!

Thanks for joining me today.  There is something I’d like to ask you.  Would you join me in something else?  I am wanting to start a kindness campaign.  What do you think?  There is absolutely no money involved unless you are moved in that direction for some reason.  Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful project?  Thanks!  I think so, too.

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First, we sorely need this now because electronic devices have taken personal interaction and emotion out of our conversations and day to day dealings with each other.  Isn’t it quicker to send a text than call?  However, many times words written are more harsh than those spoken.  In fact, the same holds true with telephone calls versus face to face conversations.  Right?  It is a bit harder to be mean and cold when looking someone in the eyes and being able to see the hurt you inflict.
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What would this kindness campaign be?  I suppose we need to get to read the definition of kindness first.  The dictionary says kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.  Kind is an adjective meaning having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.  Well, that sounds familiar.  Synonyms for kind are good-natured, caring, selfless, compassionate, understanding, friendly, thoughtful, loving, good, attentive, and hospitable.  Antonyms are mean, selfish, and inconsiderate.  Sounds reasonable to me.  What do you think?  Which would you rather be?
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Does the Bible say much about kindness and being kind?  Yes, it does.  Our instruction book for life is filled with verses about it.  Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Who wants to wear kindness?  I bet that looks beautiful on everyone.  Another one in Ephesians 4:31-32 “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”  Now that is very clear.  A simple be kind to one another.
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It is my true desire for us to show kindness to others.  Yes, some do mean to harm us, but there is an internal war going on here.  Friends and family are saying many hateful, absurd things that are fueled by mobs of people they have never met.  We need to step back, regroup, and be kind.  None of us are perfect.  We all mess up and sin.  Everyone needs grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.
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Join me in being kind.  This movement needs to start some place, why not with us?  At least try it for the remainder of July.  Refrain from the negative political and newsy posts.  Stop demeaning and attacking people that have not personally interacted in a hurtful way with you.  Be part of the solution and stop fueling the fire.  Spread kindness, joy, and smiles.  Take a break from stress, meanness and finger pointing.  Recruit others to our Kindness Campaign.  Spread kind words and deeds.  Who knows, by August we all might feel so wonderful that we continue.  Most of all, please pray.  Pray for kindness in others and yourself.  Then just like the old song says….”and the world will be a better place for you and for me, just wait and see!”
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I Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Proverbs 16:23-24 From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.