Friday, December 15, 2017

Are You Fearful?




Fear not! Are you fearful today? Most women struggle with fear in some fashion or another. Even Mary, the woman chosen by God to bear His Son, struggled with fear. I have battled with fear my entire life. It truly is the thorn in my flesh and has been since I was a small child. Yet~ God does not give us the spirit of fear.

When we accept Jesus Christ into our life as our Saviour~ we are looked at by God with favor. That is something to celebrate on this beautiful December morning. "Fear not, _________: for thou hast found favour with God." Just put your name right in that blank. Rest in that thought today as you face the busyness of trying to get it all done. Rest in that thought as you may have fear or anxiety today. Rest in your Father's arms and fear not!


Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luke 1:30-33 KJV

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas At Grey Sage Book Review ~

Christmas at Grey Sage







CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE BY PHYLLIS CLARK NICHOLS | BLOG TOUR AND 5-BOOK GIVEAWAY



Sometimes we all need a little hope at Christmas. If you are looking for a different kind of fiction this Christmas ~ this is a good read for you. The owners of the Grey Sage Inn are Maude and Silas Thornhill have had a deep sorrow they had carried for so long. And ~ it wasn't until a group of unusual strangers and a big storm bring them together to share their stories that the healing begins.

This is a sweet story that is a wonderful Christmas read but would be a great story of redemption just any old time. 

This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review, 

Enter to win a copy of Christmas at Grey Sage. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced December 13 on the Litfuse blog!

{MORE ABOUT CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE}

Christmas at Grey Sage(Gilead Publishing, October 2017)
This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn.
Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.
But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won’t be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues–and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.
In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends–proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.
Phyllis Clark Nichols

{MORE ABOUT PHYLLIS CLARK NICHOLS}

Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.
Find out more about Phyllis at http://www.phyllisclarknichols.com.

How To Make Christmas Fudge~




YUM~I love fudge! When Christmas comes I have visions of fudge dancing in my head. Nothing speaks to me like Christmas fudge and an iced cold glass of milk. It is really easy to make. The secret is making sure you boil it to soft ball stage. 


You know it is at soft ball stage when you drop a little of the boiling goodness in a cup of cold water and you can form a soft little ball out of it with your hands. It is at the soft ball stage. 


CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE


  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

  • * Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.




  • *In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 7 minutes. (Check for soft ball stage.)Remove from heat; stir in marshmallow creme until well incorporated and melted. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth; spread in prepared pan. Let cool before cutting into squares.

BUTTERSCOTCH FUDGE


3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
1 (5 1/2 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (12 oz.) pkg. butterscotch pieces
1 (7 1/2 oz.) marshmallow creme
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla




  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 7 minutes and check if it is at  a soft ball stage. Remove from heat; stir in marshmallow creme until well incorporated and melted. Stir in butter scotch chips and vanilla until smooth; spread in prepared pan. Let cool before cutting into squares.

MY FAVORITE ~CHOCOLATE FUDGE


2/3 cups butter
3 cups sugar
2/3 cups evaporated milk
1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate
7 oz marshmallow cream
1 tsp vanilla




  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 7 minutes or to a soft ball stage. Remove from heat~ pour in chocolate chips, marshmallow cream and vanilla until smooth; spread in prepared pan. Let cool before cutting into squares.
    I put mine in the fridge to cool!



Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Gift Of Christmas Past~ Christmas Book Review




Hadley and Monroe were just young kids who fell in love. She is a foster child and he being from a family of wealth just make for a disaster in the making. Through a chain of events, Hadley finds herself in trouble with the authorities.  It appears to everyone that Hadley set fire to the neighbor's house, especially Monroe's family who just really want her to go away. Monroe even saw Hadley set fire to the grounds. Even he believed she was guilty.

His parents come up with a grand plan to make sure the two of them never end up together. It even appears to be working out just fine as ten years come and go until the day when Hadley walks right back into Monroe's world.

This is one Christmas read you are sure to enjoy.


This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.




Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.
Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.
Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ordinary Graces ~




































Happy Thanksgiving ~ I pray you have a very blessed time with your friends and family.God has blessed me with way more than I deserve. 



This morning I picked up this sweet little devotional and I was immediately drawn to the Thanksgiving season as I prepare to start my Thanksgiving cooking. I have my list in hand but I wanted to sit and prepare my heart for an attitude of thanks. I have not been feeling the greatest so I am a bit grumbly. I just figured I needed a little time with Jesus.

Ordinary Graces is a devotional that is separated into four sections for different seasons in life: Grace, Strength, Gratitude and Life.

Today I am reading from the section of Gratitude. This devotions is  titled Gratitude. It starts with Hebrews 11:28.  It begins with~ "Each day is a gift from God."  It is a call to have gratitude and to serve.

This Author is a wonderful writer who has a deep relationship with God. Each devotion is evidence of her walk with her Saviour. She has included many wonderful stories and quotes from the giants of faith past and present. I absolutely love this devotional. Each devotion starts with a topic so the reader can pick and choose or simply read them in order. I like being able to easily find what I need to read that day. The devotion contains the Word of God and a prayer at the end.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the book:


Everyone loves to receive a gift.
And God has given us many, such as his grace-the gift we don't deserve and can never earn. Promises from the One who declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in his image. The question becomes, will we truly receive that gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out?
God's Word will stand forever, in any season of life. These truths prompt us to respond with compassion and courage.
Through inspiring devotions, Lucinda Secrest McDowell reveals biblical blessings that remind us that: God's promises give us strength, God's grace can be most evident at our weakest points, a proper response to our abundance of blessings is simply gratitude, and the "more" we are all looking for is the same abundant life that Jesus came to give us.
Would you like to receive these gifts of ordinary grace? Join Lucinda in focusing on one word a day through devotional readings and short benedictions for any and every season to explore the many facets of Grace, Strength, Gratitude, and Life.

About the author:

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life - both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers "Encouraging Words" to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of 13 books, including "Ordinary Graces," "Dwelling Places," "Live These Words," "Refresh!," "Quilts from Heaven" and "Role of a Lifetime." Whether co-directing the "reNEW - retreat for New England Writing," mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages.



Celebrate the release of Lucinda’s new book and grace your holiday season with a $75 Etsy gift card giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Ordinary Graces
  • A $75 Etsy gift card
  • A grace bracelet
  • A set of Ordinary Graces greeting cards

Enter today by clicking here , but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 24. The winner will be announced November 27 on the Litfuse blog. (Plus, you can read a free sample chapter.)




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover Book Review



































Every year I tell myself I will slow down and celebrate the real reason for Christmas. I will not let another year blow in distractions and I will not let the never-ending Christmas to-do list rob me of the quiet time celebrating the birth of my Lord and Saviour.

This sweet little book contains 31 days of devotions. I love the Scripture for each day to focus my attention on God's Word. The Author has included sweet Christmas traditions and origins of many of our loved traditions.  I love that each day is a little nugget and an easy read in this busy time of year.  I love this little devotional.

If you need to have a makeover of your Christmas season this year...pick up a copy of this little book.




About the author:
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women's conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of the "First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree," "Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness," and "Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible" studies and "Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home" book. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.
Find out more about Melissa at http://melissaspoelstra.com.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Keep Trying To Write My Own Story



Happy Monday ~ This time of year makes me so... so....so happy as my little granddaughter would say about anything that makes her happy.

I am reading my devotion this morning and I learned a new word. It is called metanarrative. I have never heard that word before ~ have you? Surely I must have somewhere along the way but I don't remember. It is simply a story that connects smaller stories together to make one large story.  That is much like the Word of God.  From Genesis to Revelation we have little stories that add up to one big story. The entire Word of God is revealing to us our need of salvation and God's plan for mankind's redemption.  That simply means a sinner like me can be made right in the sight of a holy and just God.  That makes me so...so...so... happy too. My sins are forgiven by the blood that Jesus shed. 

I think back to seasons or stories in my life. Some of the stories were sad but most were happy and joyous. However, the greatest stories that have had an impact on my life were the times I spent in Christian Education learning the Word of God. All of those verses I learned at the time for requirements are so very dear to me today. Hiding God's Word in my heart has been the greatest thing I have done in my life. I will ever be so thankful for that foundation and that season.

The problem is ~ sometimes I just think I am smart enough to write my own story. And every time I take control of the pen and paper I end up feeling empty and frustrated.  Sometimes it may sound a little like this, "God, I am serving you in ministry and doing your work ...so why am I so tired and weary?"  Every single time He reveals that I have begun writing the story of my life on my own. I scribble in just how I think it should look.  It is then that I realize I am doing things that are good and right but things that God never intended for me to do.

In my foolishness of writing my own story at times, I am limiting my great and mighty God. His ways are higher, His plans are greater and His miracles are more majestic... much better than anything we can muster up in our own strength.  For when He is writing the story, I promise you that you will not want to miss it.

I don't know where you are today and what decisions you are facing but can I encourage you to hand the pen and paper back over to God? Let God have His way in your life and surrender to Him. He has a great story to write just for you.


Isaiah 55:8-9King James Version (KJV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Happy Pumpkin Spice Time Of Year~



I don't know about you but I am  excited that this month has finally arrived. I have my house stocked with every Pumpkin Spice flavored~ scented thing possible. I love the Pumpkin Spice time of year. The leaves have just begun to change here in our little patriotic city.  The sights and smells are in the air of the happy ~ wonderful October. 

"Even if something is left undone, 
everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

-   Elizabeth Lawrence



Isn't that just so! I try to capture every moment I can this time of year. I am as giddy as a child. I love watching all the leave swirl to the ground and get  excited that the holidays are soon to follow. 















That Day Is Coming~

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

 Even the best person in the world will let us down. Even the people who have been instrumental in our lives will not be on this earth forever. Many in my life have already sailed on home to be with the Lord. We can't place our trust in our political leaders~ that is becoming more of a joke every day. There is only one sure foundation for us to stand on~ only one place to put our confidence and that is the Lord, Jesus Christ. 


Pastor Monty said that 90% of success is showing up. That has been true all my life. "God has promised if I stay faithful to show up..... God's going to get me somewhere." -Pastor Monty Shinkle. 

Life has not always been easy. In fact, there have been some pretty hard things but God has never once let me down. He has been holding my hand since I was a young girl and placed my trust in Him as my Saviour.  Every difficult day has been a process of learning to trust Him more. Every trial has been a stepping stone to take me further down the road. There have been challenges in my life and there will be more up ahead of me but God has made my life sweeter than I ever could have imagined. 

I am so thankful on this beautiful Autumn morning that God is still working in my life to complete that which He started the day I gave my heart to Jesus and decided to follow Him. He is still at work in my life ~ and that is just something to celebrate on this beautiful day.  


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