Unsolicited Advice

Since my husband has retired we spend almost all of our time together.  Good thing we still love each other very much!  Honestly, it is what I have been anticipating for many years, our time.

He never was one to do anything in the kitchen except lick the spoons or steal some cookie door off of the sheet right before I popped it into the oven.  It made me ponder how my friends had gotten so lucky to have husbands that cooked.  Not mine.  He is a self proclaimed “eater”.  Without eaters the world would not need cooks is his logic. (lol)

Last week I was preparing dinner.  A simple beef roast with vegetables in my Rockcrok, a slow cooker.  All of a sudden I had a supervisor.  “Those potatoes need to be cut in quarters instead of halves.” my husband gingerly stated.  Having gotten away with that a minute later he stopped me and said “Whoa, you have enough carrots in there.”  Now I was getting a bit irritated.  The final straw was when he asked “Do you always use that many herbs and keep the celery leaves on?  Maybe that’s too much.”

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I don’t tell him how to run things in the yard or take care of the vehicles, because I have no experience.  He knows so much more than I do in those areas.  Just like I know so much more about cooking than he does.

As soon as that comparison came to my mind, so did something else.  How many times have I done the same thing with God?  Ouch!  Have I really tried to give advice or tell the Creator of the Universe what to do?  Well, yes, I guess I have.

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There have been times I have taken things to Him in prayer, and instead of asking that His will be done or for His help, I have listed what needed to be done.  Have you ever done that?  I would pray asking Him to do specific things so that the end result would be what I thought I needed.  How ridiculous is that?  The child giving instructions to the all knowing Father? Unsolicited advice being given to the One that directs us?

Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Abba doesn’t need a work order from me.  His way is perfect.  He already knows what needs done and what will happen.  All I need to do is lift my request to Him.  God knows exactly what needs to be done.  He is not waiting for my suggestions on how to solve a crisis.

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My prayers now take a different tone.   I know God knows and does what is best.  When I pray I take my concerns to Him, thank Him for being bigger than any issue I have, and leave it with Him.  Believe me, it isn’t always easy.  Sure I would love to include my suggestions but that would be silly.  Jehovah is our powerful God.  He isn’t our God that needs help.

Think about this the next time you pray for something.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Ask Him for help not if He needs any.

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Read a Book Monday: “My Heart Belongs in Glenview Springs, Colorado…Millie’s Resolve”

Do you like to read?  Obviously I do.  There is something relaxing for me to get lost inside a book.  I love traveling to places and making friends between the covers of a new novel.  Don’t you.  Well, today I have a really good one.  “My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado…Millie’s Resolve” is a 256 page Historical Christian Romance written by Author Rebecca Jepson.  Published by Barbour it was the first book I have read 2B48CB54-1270-4592-9F12-99CB0D84D629by that author, but it definitely will not be the last.  This is a fresh delightful, emotionally packed historical Christian romantic fiction.  I enjoyed it so much I did not want to do anything else except read that book!
Glenwood Springs, Colorado is a town with a healing spa.  The story is set there in 1888 and is the tale of Millie Cooper.  She is a caring young woman running from her past.  Millie grew up in Nantucket as the daughter of a poor fisherman.  One summer she fell in love with the son of a wealthy family on vacation.  The results were heartbreaking for Millie and the book opens with her now in Glenwood Springs working beside dear Dr. Murphy.   Everything is going wonderfully until the brother of the man she fell in love with came into town and turned Millie’s world upside down.  He needs a nurse for his family and Millie seems to be the one.  This man prevented her from marrying his brother and now wants her to care for his mother and brother’s pregnant wife.  Oh my!
Author Jepson presents a fresh new story that I have not ever read.  It deals with forgiveness, regret, mercy, love, grudges, social classes, faith, illness, and trust.  The author tackles issues in 1888 that we can relate to now.  Her writing style is lovely.  The words just lowly effortlessly making the story easy to read and book hard to put down.  Twist and turns are added to keep readers on our toes. 9B1B3DF4-9C70-4265-A04E-C5EEE3D32768I was emotionally invested within a few pages. The descriptions were so good felt like a fly on the wall watching things happen.
The characters are so well rounded and defined that I felt like I knew them.  Not only did I become friends with the main characters but secondary ones, too.  I loved Dr. Murphy!  Some characters I scolded, others I had empathy for, and the majority I wanted to stay my friends.  I could travel to healing Glenview Springs and have coffee or tea with my new buddies.  The novel gave me the feeling we were that close.
“Millie’s Resolve” is a touching historical, Christian romance.  The lesson to trust God is prevalent throughout it.  I loved on page 192 the lines “The Master of the crashing sea was with her.  He was Lord…even of this storm.”  This beautiful message of faith is woven in the story so well.  Anyone will benefit from reading it and feel inspired.  Nonbelievers shouldn’t find it off putting or preachy.  This is just a great story.
I highly recommend this.  It is one of those books I wanted to finish reading, couldn’t put down, but did not ever want to be over.  What a dilemma!  It is a complete story, no cliffhanger.  I just loved it.  Any reading group would love discussing this delightful tale.  There are no discussion questions but just asking “what did you think” will start words flowing.  This gets a big 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  Loved it!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.41D8B9AB-D3BF-4C95-94F5-249C5BCB2C25

That’s a Sure Bet! Is it Really? Absolutely!

Living close to Louisville Kentucky makes life interesting around the first Saturday in May.  The racetrack, Churchill Downs is open and so are festivities in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.  It is a two minute horse race.  There are fireworks, hot air balloons, a steamboat race, parade, style shoes, vendor booths at a “Chow Wagon”, Thurby (the Thursday before), Oaks Day (the day before), and more than I even know.  D2412375-5B81-4566-80F6-0D56C813565C

On Oaks Day there is a  Survivors Parade around the racetrack of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors.  That is touching to see.  A sea of pink with beautiful hats and smiling faces.  On the local news everything is Oaks and Derby.  They discuss the horses and if one looks like a favorite, sometimes going as far as saying it is a sure bet the horse will either win, place, or show.

Do you go to the horse races and bet on horses?  Some people study racing forms like a student before finals.  Others use the color method of choosing the prettiest silks or their favorite color.  Even the way a horse looks and acts play a part in betting.  7603B979-4416-494D-B92B-5668C32459B1Names came play a large part in it as can the jockey riding the thoroughbred.  Even asking people that work there or “know someone” for a tip is another way of deciding how to place a bet.
After placing a bet, it is off to watch the race.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  It is only if you win or haven’t bet.  If you have gambled some of your hard earned money on the horse you might not be smiling if it comes sashaying across the finish line.  Sometimes a horse wins by a wide margin while other times you aren’t sure if it’s still on the same track. 83369005-6FC6-46AD-924D-CEB84B0455B1 On television there are pictures of many clinched fists, gritted teeth, and frowns among a few smiling faces.  None of the ways people use provide a sure bet or 100% winner every time.  History shows very few people bring home the big buck instead leaving some of their own instead.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 100% guaranteed sure bet on something?  It would wouldn’t it? Everyone loves to get something they didn’t earn.  Don’t you?  Come on now, we all do.  Well, I have some great news for you today. 0CB794E2-8222-45F8-816B-3201356F5748 Yes, I do.  I have a sure bet.  You do not need to invest any money and you will receive the greatest treasure.
Do you have any idea where this is going.  Jesus.  He is a sure bet.  You can bet your eternity on Him and win every time.  Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Are you certain?  Jesus wants you and me to spend it with Him.  He loves us fiercely and died to prove it.  I can almost see heads nodding.  That love is beyond imagination.  He carries us when we are too weak.  If we are lonely He reminds us that He is always there.  He gives us what we need when we need it.  He is our way to the Father.  Do you know Him?  If not, don’t wait because it is a sure bet He already loves you.
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A Word for the New Year

Happy 2018!  The new year is here and brings with it possibilities for all types of good things.  Have you done anything to make a change from last year or help this year become better than 2017?  I would like to invite you to do something my best friend taught me to do.  When you are in your quiet place talking to Jesus, ask Him to give you a word for the new year. DesignThat’s right, your very own word that offers encouragement or inspiration for the year. Maybe He will give you more than just one.  Whatever it is you need, He will give.

For 2017 my word was restoration. My husband had been very ill and had an operation. Abba gave me “restoration” as encouragement that things will be better. Throughout the illness a lot has changed and been lost, so restoration gave me hope that what had been taken away would be replenished through God’s grace and mercy.  It would not only be replaced but restored by God which means a full, overflowing measure.  My friend received the word “joy” to remind her of the happiness that abounds all around her.

My word for the year 2018 is “family” and I am eager to learn why.  Could it mean our family is increasing?  The family might not be my immediate family at all but the Family of God.  Maybe I will help lead others into His family.  Perhaps relationships within our family will change.  I have no idea why I received this word, but I am praying about it and the reason.  God will reveal it to me in His perfect time.

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Are you wondering how to receive your word? First you need to ask. Pray to our loving Savior Jesus and ask Him to provide you with a word.  After that be aware.  Watch and listen.  You will see or hear your word.  It might standout in everything you read.  For example, if your word is “hope” you may read “hope” in many scriptures or even a billboard.  Friends might tell you about a book or song they found and love on that subject.  Artwork at a store may have that word in it. A waitress might have a tattoo that says it or even be named Hope. Your word will surround you. Perhaps you will hear your word. In the silence as you chat with Jesus, listen for His voice. It might come as a soft whisper faintly coming to your mind. When you ask and receive, do not worry that you might miss it. If something is meant for you, you will get it.  There are no coincidences, just God at work.

Okay, you have asked and received your word, now what. Treasure that word and watch for the lessons it has to teach you.  Pray about your word. It should bring comfort, encouragement, and hope to you. You might use it to minister or testify to others. This one little word could change your year and your Walk with God making them both better in more ways than you could ever imagine. Happy 2018.  May you find your word, start a new tradition, and have a blessed year.

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Writing Our 2018 Story

We have closed the last page of our life story for 2017.  I hope it was a best seller in your eyes.  A new year brings a new beginning or book.  It comes in with a blank page or clean slate.  Are you hoping the year that begins today is better than the one that just finished? IMG_0181
A new year carries endless possibilities with it. I read posts on Facebook stating that New Year’s Day was the beginning of a blank 365 page book for each one of us, and that we should write a good one. Some claimed 2017 to be the worst year on record for them. Others wrote about the things they wanted to improve upon or change starting today.

Let me challenge you. Get a brand new journal and write down an outline for your 2018 story. I know it hasn’t happened yet, but think about what you would like to happen. For me reconnecting with some old, dear friends is very important and long overdue. My Christian novel remains half written so 2018 is the perfect year to complete it.  Cookbook #2 is a little closer to being finished but needs work.  Any year past, present, and future is the time to deepen my relationship and walk with Jesus. Of course I need and want to get healthier, too. In August 2017 I began a new venture selling a Pampered Chef. It is my hope to improve on that this year. How about those goals? Pages and chapters for me to live and write.

Will you partner with me? We could try it together and encourage each other. Over our blank pages we need to speak and pray positivity.  Begin by asking God’s will to be done.  Thank Him for guiding and directing.  No more “I can’t lose weight, I am stressed and too busy, or it is never gonna happen.” Replace those with “absolutely I will lose weight, there is time, and yes, it will happen!”

Get your inspiration from your Life’s Rule Book or Holy Bible and your Heavenly Father.Design Scripture will give you the help, peace, and strength you need. Remember the verse in Matthew that says “With God all things are possible?” How about in Philippians where it tells us “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Proverbs gives great counsel “Trust in the Lord with all your heart….”  We need to commit Bible verses to memory and claim the promises they give.

Keep me updated on your happy story. Working together we can make a positive difference in 2018. We will start with each other and see what trickles down from there.  I think it is time to turn a “no” into a “go”!  It is exciting to realize that we have the pen and blank paper for our 2018 story, not to mention the best Editor ever.  I am ready to start my new story.  Are you?

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God Has 2018 and You

Goodbye, 2017 and hello, 2018!  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 2017’s place. Whether this has been your best, worst, or just an average year, it is time to take inventory and plan for the next one. IMG_0113 Do you have expectations for 2018 or yourself? A new year is wonderful. It’s like getting a blank piece of paper to begin a new chapter in your story.  Exciting, isn’t it?!

Do you have a tradition for New Year’s Eve or Day? Many people start 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 and crash plans for saving more 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.

Let me offer another thing to try along with your resolution.  One tradition that I love to do is to think about my prayer list. DesignOn it is usually one item that seems 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 and try to tell Him how to work it out. (How silly!)  You pick it back up and cannot seem to give it away.  The 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 all I do.  I will take a piece of paper and jot down that problem which has now become a mountain. When I pray about it now, I completely surrender it to Jesus, throw it in the fireplace and watch it burn. DesignAs 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 surrendered it.  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.

Try it with one of your problems that has grabbed onto you and won’t let go. God said 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. Go into 2018 with one less issue hanging over your head, and with you holding on to Jesus’s hand.  Give it to Him.  Trust Him.  He has this, He has 2018, and He has you!

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What is Your Christmas Tradition?

My Grandmother’s family had a tradition of playing the Christmas Gift game. Does your family do this? I would love to hear your story of it.  Only Grandmother did it and the older I get the more I wish we had kept the tradition alive in our family.  Growing up I listened in wonderment as my proper Grandmother turned back into a fun loving girl again. In the game of Christmas Gift, the first person to say “Christmas Gift” earned the first gift, an extra gift, for that day.  Grandmother would answer her phone “Christmas Gift” instead of the normal “Merry Christmas” as the majority of people do. DesignShe loved that game.  It reminded her of her childhood and holidays at home. Research on this game revealed that it could be done for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It started as a custom that was broadly practiced by families from the southern parts of the United States. My Grandmother (paternal) grew up near Richmond, Kentucky and was definitely a fine Southern lady.

My daughter-in-law has German heritage and continues a German Christmas tradition. On their Christmas each year is a hidden glass pickle ornament. The lucky person to find the ornament is supposed to receive a finder’s gift and good fortune for the next year. It is said that these ornaments were first sold in the United States in 1880.IMG_0068

I don’t remember any other specific Christmas traditions. Sure we decorate, make cookies and candy, and visit family. Nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary. We used to have a progressive dinner for my mother and her siblings.  That could be a blog in itself. Now things are just toned down.

Toned down describes Jesus’ birth. Nothing elaborate and fancy. Born in a stable with shepherds as messengers to spread the news. Jesus had humble beginnings and taught humility. I looked up the meaning of humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance, not haughty, arrogant, assertive, or proud. Wow – if anyone had a reason to feel important or know He was important, it was Jesus, but He acted like a servant to all. Jesus was not proud, conceited, or arrogant. He did not push people around or assert Himself. Jesus resonated love, purity, goodness, and patience. He taught us what things really mattered. Lessons in riches showed us that our treasures are not here on Earth in things but in Heaven with Him and the Father. His family is our family. We should love and care for them as He wants us.

DesignThis year just might be the perfect time to start a new Christmas tradition. One that is pleasing to and lead by Jesus. Pray about it, open your heart and mind.  Maybe some type of donation or charity would be  for your family.  Perhaps buying some livestock, chickens or seed for someone makes your heart sing.   If you decide on one, I would love to hear about it. “Peace on Earth and goodwill to men.”IMG_0072