Pray for Each Other

81F5D65F-5D0D-4628-97AB-1759B1745B88.jpegI have already told the story here about when I had my stroke and lost the ability to speak.  Actually, all I could do was stutter.  But as I rode to the hospital in that ambulance, I was praying in tongues.  I had no idea what was happening to me, but I knew that it was serious by the talk of the paramedics and the speed of the ambulance.  However, I knew that no matter how fast we were going, my prayers were going up to the Lord and He was with me, comforting me.  These prayers are not just meant to be for ourselves, though.  We are also to pray for others.  If the Lord brings someone to your mind, pray for them.  The Holy Spirit will tell you what to pray if you wait in silence before Him. It is absolutely imperative that you pray for others!  When they hurt, you are hurting also, although you may be only vaguely aware of the pain.

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Unfortunately, I am not known for my graceful movements, so I have broken my right elbow twice.  The first time, I slipped on some gravel and fell and broke it.  The second time, I was walking on a wet hallway at school and slipped and fell and broke it.  My orthopedic surgeon told me that the reason I kept breaking my right elbow is because the natural tendency is to put out your hand to stop your fall…thus your elbow snaps and breaks.  After the second break and round of physical therapy, Dr. Fleming told me to always use my quad cane.  So, I carry cane with my everywhere. I introduce my cane to others, saying that “he makes me able.”  (Pun intended). Now, back to my point.  When my elbow was hurt, it affected my entire body.  I had difficulty doing simple tasks like washing and brushing my hair or even brushing my teeth.  And don’t get me started about how hard it was to teach and grade papers without the use of my dominant hand and arm!  The same thing applies to the Body of Christ.  When one part is hurting, it affects everyone else.  The body doesn’t work as well.  As the Body of Christ, we are a well-oiled machine, working together to speak the truth to a lost world.  Sometimes, however, one of us is hurting…physically, emotionally, spiritually.  So, we have to take time to pray for others.  As soon as the Lord brings someone to mind, pray for them.  If you don’t know what they need, remember that the Holy Spirit knows exactly what the need is, so pray in the Spirit.  Pray as if your life depended on it, because it may.  Part of your body is hurting and you need to do all that you can to bring comfort and/or healing to that part.  Listen to the voice of the Lord.  Be obedient and pray for others.  

Review of FEARED by Lisa Scottoline

Scottoline knocks it out of the park with her latest Rosato and Dinunzio legal thriller!  Her acerbic wit adds to the story of the firm being sued, an associate being murdered and Mary being pregnant.  What is most memorable about the book is the family relationships and the support of Mary’s family, no matter what she is going through.  It is also the family relationship that Mary establishes with Judy, determined to help her during a great loss as well as to act as her friend and loyal supporter.  It was relevant that two law firms were suing each other at the same time that Bennie’s firm was filing a huge lawsuit against a tech firm, so that was a very modern touch.  The author’s knowledge of law practice is very evident in this novel, shown directly in the dialog between the characters, in the police station and in court.  Fans of Scottoline will definitely want to read this new installment of the series, and new fans will be thrilled to find someone who writes with expertise about lawyers and their dealings with each other.  The whole book was a delight to read, with fast-paced action and cutting-edge banter between the characters.  Scottoline is a master at the craft of drawing the reader in quickly and keeping them enthralled throughout the story.  I highly recommend this book!

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions that I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Review of FACE OFF by Brenda Sue Novak

This third book in the Evelyn Talbot trilogy will be available on August 28th at all of your local and online bookstores.  I need to let my readers know that this book is rated M for mature audiences and V for violence.  

Wow!  What an intensely dramatic thriller!  I just could not put it down because it included my favorite Brenda Novak characters, Amarok and Dr. Evelyn Talbot.  The saga of Dr. Talbot versus her nemesis Jasper Moore continues in this third book in the series.  Although the reader will be able to understand the story by not reading the first two, I highly recommend that the books be read in order so that you get the complete backstory.  That being said, this book would be an excellent standalone with all of its drama and tension and the story about Jasper’s prior attack of Dr. Talbot is thoroughly explained.  Jasper is in Alaska and is determined to catch, torture and kill Evelyn.  Amarok, an Alaska state trooper and Evelyn’s lover, is equally determined to catch him before he can wreak havoc in their small town of Hilltop and kill the woman with whom he has planned a future.  I enjoyed meeting Evelyn’s sister Brianne in this story and finding out more about Evelyn’s family, including her parents back in Boston.  I also enjoyed t he interactions between Evelyn and the prison guards at Hanover House.  Evelyn is a very strong woman and shows this in how she exerts her authority at the prison.  My favorite character was Amarok.  He is a hero with a big heart, and I know that anyone who reads the book will sympathize with him and his need to protect Evelyn at all costs.  This was the best Hanover House book so far!  It kept my heart thumping and my eyes reading late into the night, and even when I put the book down, I was still thinking about it.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions that I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Shout to the Lord…and Pray

Praising God seems to be different from praying, doesn’t it?  Really, they are two sides of the same coin. One does not exist well without the other.

7B518603-2366-499C-97DD-F17E1D93AAF9.jpegWho is to shout for joy and praise?  We are, the whole earth is to do so.  We sing for joy before God, our Creator and the Savior of our souls.  We praise Him because of Who He is, and because of all that He has done for us.  He is God and deserves our worship and praise.  We kneel before Him as our Soverign Lord, the King of all the earth.  Would you stand silently before the God of the Universe if He were to suddenly appear at your door?  I don’t think so!  Your soul would burst out into praise to Him.  He is the Lamb who was slain, the God of our ancestors and the One who breathed the breath of life into us.  Indeed, He is worthy!  Hallelujah!  Bless His Name!

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On the other side of the coin is the admonition to pray.  Those of us who call ourselves Christians are to repent and pray, not just for our own sins but for those around us, for our friends, our neighbors, our enemies, our leaders…for everyone that we can think of who needs to repent and turn from their “wicked ways.”  We need to pray for our entire nation.  If we want God to hear us, forgive the sins of our land and restore us, then we have to pray.  Prayer is not optional, nor is it on a timetable.  This is something we should do daily.  The lost depend on us…and God has called us to be partners in His plan of salvation.  We praise and then we pray.  How long do we continue to do this?  Until everyone has heard the gospel…just keep praying.  Remember Dory in “Finding Nemo”?  She just kept saying to herself, “Just keep swimming.”  We should be saying to ourselves, “Just keep praising and praying.”  

Integrity: Do You Have It?

Integrity is something that you either have or you don’t.  But it starts when you are young and you build a foundation that is based on integrity.  So, what is it?  It’s more than honesty.  It’s more than being morally upright.  It is choosing consistently to stand for what is right, no matter who is looking, and even if no one is looking.  My students used to tease me that they would pay me big bucks to change their grades so that they could pass.  My answer was always the same, “I refuse to compromise my integrity because of your lack of studying.”  Then, I would explain that integrity is the choice you make when you think no one is looking.  

37DB59F7-41F0-4752-B671-DDBE62EB8ACA.jpegI would then explain further that there is a Higher Power who is always watching.  I had to be careful with my words because I was in a public school, but I made sure that they understood that the Higher Power that I was referring to, the One that I answered to was God, and I hoped and prayed that they would follow my example.

CE27E9B6-D096-477A-A660-DB17E2B0F664.jpegThe above is a great quotation, but who gets to decide what is right and wrong?  God established that in His Word.  You can’t know what is right or wrong unless you refer to the guidebook that He has provided.  We had a pastor once who told us that the Bible is our Operator’s Manual for Life, likening it to the manual that comes with all cars.  I don’t know about you, but when a light flashes on in the car that is a trouble light, I open my Operator’s Manual to find out what that light means and what I am supposed to do about it.  Well, my manual for life has all of the answers, and I open it daily to find directions for that day.  I can’t consistently make right choices if I don’t know what they should be, and I find that out by reading God’s Word, by meditating on what He is trying to tell me.

0562A785-5592-4832-A9C5-0B995F19EFC1.jpegIt was important to me when I was a teacher that my choices be evident to my students, that I “walked the walk and talked the talk” before them.  But even more important was when I was home, how I acted in my comfort zone.  Did I continue to always make right choices?  I am sad to say that many times I fell short, I missed the mark, I dropped the ball…all of the sayings that one uses to say that I messed up.  However, what was more important is that my children and husband stuck around, knowing that under the anger and thoughtless words was the person that they knew and trusted to come forth…the real me was one of integrity.  Once I got over a temporary upset, I apologized, we prayed, forgave each other, and I went on, striving each day to be a better person and a better example of Christ.  I’m retired now, and I can only hope that the seeds of integrity that I planted with my students and with my own children will bear fruit, to the next generation and the one after that and the one after that…unti the Lord returns.  He is good!  He wants us to follow His manual that He gave us so that we can enjoy an abundant life.  I hope that you will pick up a copy of that “manual” today and make it a part of your daily routine.  The Holy Bible is our manual to help us to live with the integrity that we need so that others who are following us will make right choices, too.  You never know who might  be watching, but you can count on one thing…God is ALWAYS watching!  

Random Acts of Kindness

38714FB4-E1B6-4114-9038-8BAE516EB2FC.jpegStuart from Something to Stu Over has graciously nominated me for The Random Acts of Kindness Award. (RAKA)  Since I didn’t know such an award existed, I was happy to know that others are recognizing the kindness in the world.

Here are the rules:

Tell who you nominate and why.

Copy and share the picture that shows the award, posted above.

Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.

Nominate anyone or share to your own page.  You may choose to participate or not.  Tag or ping back the original person who nominated you, or the original post.

There have been many random acts of kindness in my life, so it is hard to choose only one, but here goes:

I had a stroke on January 23, 2015.  It was a Friday and I was in my classroom, giving exams.  I was diagnosed by the school nurse and sent off to the hospital very quickly by ambulance.  I got a clot busting shot that saved my life, was in ICU and then sent home after four days in the hospital.  When I got home, I was sad because my whole life was changed.  My activities were limited, I had difficulty reading and comprehending my books that I had always enjoyed, and my diet was totally changed.  My husband was doing the best he could with a 1200 mg sodium diet, but most of my food was tasteless, totally bland.  On Wednesday morning, I got up early as usual and looked out the front window to find my daughter’s car in the driveway.  I then went into the bedroom and asked my husband if he knew Hope was here.  He said that she had mentioned coming down but didn’t want me to stress over her driving almost ten hours alone, so she didn’t tell me that she was coming.  Hope left her four children at home (whom she homeschools), her husband and all of her other duties to drive down to help me.  She stayed for over two weeks and helped me to come out of my depression.  She encouraged me to walk, to move around if only a little at a time.  She set a schedule for me so that I ate regularly.  She went to my neurologist appointment with me and asked the questions on my mind that I couldn’t quite verbalize yet.  I think the biggest thing she did for me was take me to the grocery store and show me how to shop according to my new diet restrictions.  She made meals that were tasty and showed my husband how to make them.  I had spaghetti squash casserole for the first time and loved it because she made it spicy with things other than salt.  She looked up recipes for me to have and left them with my husband.  Her gentleness and her demands that I continue to live the best I could helped me to want to continue to live. I will always remember that she just left everything in the middle of winter, drove on icy and snowy roads to come and help me.  When it was time for her to leave, she had to look at the weather in Pennsylvania in order to travel between snow storms.  Here is a picture of my darling daughter who helped me to want to keep on keeping on.  WHAT A BLESSING!  

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Now my nominees are anyone who would like to share a Random Act of Kindness.  I hope that many of you will do so because we all need to encourage each other with positivity.  There is goodness in this world!  Let’s all share how someone else’s kindness has affected us!  Please comment on my post when you share so that I can read and be encouraged, also.  😊

Choose the Road to Life

3C8AAD3C-53B9-4C23-91E8-6FE705E27F79.jpegEveryone makes choices daily.  That’s a given.  But what we need to understand is that our choices influence the choices of many around us.  When I chose to accept the Lord into my heart at the age of twenty-one, the first person that I know I influenced was my fiancé.  He wanted me to forget all of this “Jesus stuff” because it seemed to make him uncomfortable.  I told him that Jesus died for me, so I couldn’t just forget him.  Then, I invited him to go to church with me.  He went and became a Christian.  So, four months later when we got married, we were “equally yoked” and ready to start our family.  I hope that throughout the years I have been a positive influence on my children, grandchildren and all of the many students that I have taught .  I know that I have been told by more than one student that I taught with love.  I did love my students and I wanted them to always do their best, and to make right choices.  I did whatever I could to influence them in that direction.  The road that I took long ago to follow Jesus has influenced my choices and my choices have influenced others.  

Just as it says in Ecclesiastes that I cannot understand all that God does, as I traveled down my chosen path, many things happened that I was not particularly happy with.  A beloved granddaughter died before she could enjoy life.  My husband and I had so many disagreements that we thought about splitting up.  My home is not exactly the place I want to live.  But, you know what?  Things happen for a reason, a reason that God knows whether I know or not.  As the Psalm says, “The Lord reigns!”  God is on His throne and He makes the final decisions, about life and death, sickness and health.  Yes, we have choices that can influence our health and when we die, but  God makes that final decision.  He is a fair judge for all, and I trust Him to bring me through.  No matter how rough the path has been in my life, God has been my steadfast helper, always there when I was a lonely military wife, always there when I was teaching and trying to get an advanced degree and be a good mother all at the same time, always there when I was ready to give up on my marriage, always there. Going to God before I make daily choices has made my decisions better, I think, for me and for others.  That is what you need to know to do.  You are going to be making decisions today…make sure that the Lord who is ruler over all, who sees all and who loves you enough to die for you, is part of that decision.  Pray and ask Him to help you make wise choices.  Don’t just make a decision and then ask Him to bless it…He wants to be part of the process from the beginning.  God knows that what you decide may make a difference in the lives of a multitude of others today.  Think about it….

The Different Names of God | Jehovah Rohi

This is the best essay on Psalm 23 that I have ever read. Thoughtful and comforting. Enjoy!

Grace Over Pain

In Psalm 23, David reflects back on how his life was as a shepherd before he became a king. He reveals that the work of a shepherd is exactly what God does and is to him. From this revelation, he pens down these powerful poetic lines that has become one of the most beautiful pieces of the bible.

Jehovah Rohi means The Lord Is my Shephard.

A shepherd is someone who looks after sheep. Sheep aren’t very clever animals. They often wander away without a shepherd. Sheep needs constant care and attention. We are the sheep and God is our Shepherd. So let’s explore this beautiful piece and unravel the priceless lessons embedded in this bible scripture.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

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To begin with, David reminds us that God IS. He is a present Shepherd. He doesn’t lead from a distance. I do…

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Hope and Enjoyment

I am convinced that if you have hope you will enjoy life more.  Your are always expecting the next great thing that is coming “just around the corner.”  When I was pregnant for the first time, my husband and I totally expected to have a little boy since boys were all that were in his family, and the male determines the gender.  It was the 1970’s and there was no such thing as finding out the gender of your baby beforehand.  So, regardless, we picked out a baby name for a girl because that was our desire:  We would name her Hope (because we hoped she would be a girl) and Ellen, for my husband’s mother.  Well, guess what?  We had our girl first, named her Hope and had two boys afterwards.  She has brought nothing but joy to our lives, as have our sons, but Hope was the unexpected gift that keeps on giving.

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If we had had a little boy first, we would have rejoiced regardless, because he was healthy.  But we hoped for a little girl and God fulfilled our desires.  Now, to focus on the Scripture.  Life is too short to always be focused on what you don’t have and be worried about losing out on things that will never happen.  You know, I could wish that I had never had my stroke so that I wouldn’ t have dietary and activity restrictions on me life.  But you know what?  The stroke was a blessing in disguise because it showed me a whole new way of life, a healthy lifestyle that I had no idea about its existence.  And I also learned how to exercise in a healthy way, from going to physical therapy and continuing with the exercise afterwards.  It has been over three years and I am still tracking my sodium and exercising five times a week.  Before that, I never paid attention to the food labels and just ate whatever I wanted.  And I never exercised.  Growing up asthmatic, I thought exercise was for everyone else.  But God got me on my back in ICU and taught me a better way.  Reading the labels on food now is second nature, as is exercise.  Now, would I rather eat whatever I want?  Would I rather skip exercise and just chill?  Sure!  But that is not good for me, and I am blessed to say that I have lived long enough to see three more healthy grandchildren added to the family…all girls!  

CD1F3FD9-86A8-4659-89B9-A1ABA560FE9E.jpegI feel like I’m rambling today, but I really do have a point. Two of them, actually.  One, don’t spend your life wishing that everything were different.  Enjoy the blessings that God has already given you.  Look around you and you will find plenty to be thankful for.  And two, you can choose to abound in hope because God will fill you with it.  His Holy Spirit will fill you with an abundance of hope…so that no matter what you face, you know that God will take care of the details and you only have to do your part. I carried Hope for nine months, not knowing what would happen in the labor and delivery room, but trusting God regardless.   Just keep on keeping on, in the belief that God has your best interests at heart.  That should give you hope!  Blessings and prayers until next time.  

What I learned from a gentle hand squeeze

Remember that someone may need to hear the words “I love you” today or get a gentle hand squeeze. It’s the least we can do in a hurting world.

John Eli Garay

As we went for our daily walk, I reached out and grabbed her hand. I felt safe with her, and I had felt this way since we first met. Unbeknownst to her, underneath my boisterous personality, was a broken child who feared the world and trusted no one. Yet, her presence seemed to magically remove the fear and worry that filled my mind. As my little hand grasped hers, she gently squeezed it three times (I love you). I returned this gesture by squeezing her hand four times (I love you more). As always, a little smirk would come across her face as she gently squeezed my hand twice more (How much?). Then, with all the might that a five year old boy could have, I attempted to squeeze her hand tightly to show her just how much she meant to me.

My kindergarten experience was short lived…

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