I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.
Remember the game we played as children that was called “pass it on.” Someone would tell a secret of some sort (usually foolish things that were not really secrets at all), and say, “Pass it on.” Then we would see how many different people we could tell. The age of technology has given way to a new way to play the game. We are still doing the same thing, but our message reaches a larger audience in a shorter amount to time.
As Christians, each of us is tasked with the mission to “pass it on” and the greatest mission field that we have is first to our own families.
Our lives are the testimony we live before our family members, especially the youngest ones who listen and watch everything the adults say and do. We may not be aware that is happening, but believe me, it is! A case in point is that I am currently in MD watching my youngest grandson. His older sisters spend a lot of time with their other grandmother because she lives nearby, and one of her favorite phrases is OMG. I don’t use that phrase at all and told the girls that it was wrong to say it because you were saying God’s name without any purpose, like a swear word. They still use it because it has become a habit, and I cringe each time they do, but when they see my disappointed face, they change the wording to, “Oh, my goodness” which is what I suggested they do. Children hear and mimic. I have been singing Christian songs with the little one and one of his favorites is “I’m In the Lord’s Army.” I have been here a few weeks now and when he wants me to sing the song while he does the motions, he comes to me and starts “marching.” It is very cute, but it also shows how attentive children are to what we say and do. It is up to us to plant seeds of righteousness rather than seeds of worldliness and rebellion.
I am old now, and the wisdom that I have comes directly from God. So does the witness that I demonstrate to my grandchildren. When I disappear to the basement bedroom weekly to attend church virtually, they know that Nanna is going to church and they hear me singing the worship songs along with the congregation. Sometimes, the curiosity of the older two leads them to come downstairs and listen with me. My desire is for them to attend church again as they did before the pandemic, but I am not sure that will happen. In the meantime, I am going to be the best witness I can and sow as many seeds as I can into their young and fertile hearts.
May each of you be blessed with the knowledge that someone is watching and God has given you a ministry right where you are. So, pass it on!
In this season of Thanksgiving, many people who do not regularly thank God take the opportunity to acknowledge that what they have in their lives is from a “higher power.” Others continue on with their lives and call Thanksgiving Day “turkey day” or some other name that means that they are all about themselves and their own ego trip, refusing to acknowledge the Creator and the Savior. I call it Thanksgiving, it’s one of my favorite holidays and I am thankful for all of God’s gifts.
Of course, the first gift that comes to mind is His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, without whom I would not have a relationship with the Father. I am also thankful for the Holy Spirit, the One who guides me and helps me to stay close to the Lord and to understand His Word. Ultimately, I am thankful for all of God’s creation: the beauty in the changes of season (we saw snow yesterday!), the rare beauty that is all around us if we just look for it (like the cardinal hopping in the snow) and the beauty of the children and grandchildren that I am blessed with. God is so good to His children. It seems to me that we need more than one day to be grateful for His gifts, for all He has done and continues to do for us. The season is one of Thanksgiving and I am thankful to be counted among His children because of His grace and mercy.
May the Thanksgiving season be the start of thankfulness in your heart and life. Every gift is from God! Have a blessed day of counting your blessings.
What does “unity” mean and how do we get there in this world that seems more divided each day? Many years ago, I studied in a history class the root causes of division between people, with my teacher instructing us that the basic problem was that some people have and others don’t. The ones who don’t want what the “haves” possess, so thus begins bitterness, envy and division. I believed what the teacher said then and I believe that this division has spread to families and even churches. Sadly.
I have been staying in NC in a home filled with the opposite of unity. There is bitterness, anger and unhappiness abounding. So, instead of good and pleasant, it is awful and very unpleasant. I am not happy here because I don’t feel that I can change anything, caught as I am between the factions that are determined to attack each other. Without the Lord, this situation is unredeemable, and I am doing all I can to stand in the gap and present God to them, the God of love, forgiveness and acceptance.
I have to pray a lot here, with a constant attitude of prayer, lest I lash out and tell my sibling how I see her actions and how she is hurting others. I can say a few things to encourage but nothing much that seems to be making a difference and that is discouraging. Still I persist and pray with my husband daily for strength, physical, mental and spiritual. The whole armor of God is a necessity here!
Speaking quietly and with soothing words seems to help some but it isn’t bringing the unity that I crave to see. Years of bitterness and resentment are seething under the surface, waiting to bubble out. Do I understand what is actually happening? Yes, of course. This is spiritual warfare!
The greatest example of love that Jesus gave us was His sacrifice on the cross. Thus, I am attempting daily to show love in practical ways so that some peace is found in the environment. It’s hard to be with someone who hates people just because of what they believe, but that’s where I am now. I’m at the point where I am praying and then trying to muddle through and make it to the end of my visit without damaging my own health too much. I am sure this is not what God envisioned when he made us a family, and I feel guilty about disappointing Him, but I don’t know what else to do but pray and stand.
This week has been beyond difficult for me, and I sincerely appreciate all of the prayers for me and this situation. I have five more days here and then I can go home and recover.
Have a blessed Saturday, my friends! Remember to hold your loved ones close and to show love to all whom you meet. You never know what a difference you might make!
This book made my heart race and my pulse pound as I raced through the pages to the satisfying conclusion. The story of Natalie, an insomniac who does not trust her husband and Michael, the husband who has many secrets to hide from her, is mesmerizing. Neither narrator is particularly reliable since Natalie never sleeps more than a couple of hours per night and Michael has a vested interest in hiding his past. I totally enjoyed getting to know the characters and guessing what their next step in the twisted plot would be. The fact that Natalie flees from her husband because of her suspicions and that Michael pursues her and the children had me absorbed and waiting for the next red herring to be thrown into my path. I really liked the character of Kate, a former classmate of Natalie’s who lives on a farm and who agrees to shelter her. She seemed strong and reliable whereas Natalie seemed somewhat weak and undecided about some of her actions. Michael teams up with a police detective from his past, Amos Kennett, to track down Natalie and the twist there was worth reading the whole book. In fact, this is one of the best books that the author has written (and I have read all of his psychological thrillers), with an endangered family and deceptive spouses making me wonder who could be trusted. Excellent book with lots of action, great characterization, plenty of mystery and suspense and thrills! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions 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 Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
What a perfect book to read to escape the doldrums of everyday life and all of its challenges! Robyn is a divorced mom, a woman who has never really found her niche in life but who desperately wants to. She is dealing with her spoiled daughter Harlow who wants her to keep the expensive home she can no longer afford just so Harlow can get married there. She is also dealing with a selfish ex-spouse who flaunts his affairs and who insists that his way is always best. When Robyn has finally had enough of the drama at home in Naples, Florida, she takes a flight to visit her great-aunt Lillian, a wonderful elderly woman who dispenses wisdom and encouragement as if it’s her second nature. There, Robyn meets Mason, a retired army drill sergeant who will inherit Lillian’s house when she dies. Mason and Robyn have interesting conversations as they realize how much they have in common and how attracted they are to each other. What started out as a getaway from everything for Robyn turns quickly humorous and chaotic as all the people she thought she left behind follow her to California. The plot is multi-layered and character-driven, written with an eye for detail that I greatly appreciated. There is romance, drama, wise advice and unforgettable characters who made an indelible mark on my heart and mind. Of course, not all of the characters are likable, nor are they meant to be, but they are all portrayed realistically, complete with flaws, doubts and hard decisions to make. This is a book that is well-paced, with just enough conflict to keep me guessing about the outcome and enough romance to keep me enticed. With a mansion filled with antiques that also interested me as well as the Pacific Ocean in the backyard, the setting was perfection! All in all, this is one of the best standalone books for beach reading that I have ever read and I highly recommend it. It’s cleverly plotted, intricately woven and so filled with emotional highs and lows that this book is a getaway for anyone who reads it. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin Trade Publishing via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions 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 Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.
Robyn Caldwell picked up her glass of white wine and briefly thought about swallowing the entire contents in one gulp. Mindy’s statement was certainly gulp-worthy. But she knew pacing herself through lunch was the responsible thing to do. A lesson her friend had yet to learn.
“You are not,” Robyn murmured, because shrieking wasn’t attractive. Especially at “the club,” where their friends and frenemies were also enjoying Thursday’s lobster salad. The dining room was filled with forty or so women, all dressed in Florida chic—diamonds sparkling, gold or platinum charm bracelets clinking, necklaces resting on tanned and toned skin.
“I might,” Mindy Krause said, picking up her champagne. “He’s gorgeous.”
“Of course. He’s a thirty-year-old tennis pro. What else would he be?”
Mindy, a petite brunette who was six months from turning forty, sighed. “I need a Dimitri in my life.”
“You have a great husband. Payne loves you and the kids, and never has eyes for another woman. Why would you screw that up?”
“Payne would never know.”
“There aren’t any secrets in this town. Not in our social circle.”
Something Robyn had learned the hard way herself. She’d been blissfully unaware of her ex-husband’s affairs until a “friend” had oh-so-sweetly informed her.
“Maybe just some kissing,” Mindy mused. “I want a little Dimitri action. The fantasies make me happy, so imagine what the real thing would do.”
“The fantasies are safe. The real thing could destroy everything you have. Knowing you’ve cheated would devastate Payne.”
Mindy’s mouth formed a pout. “I never see him anymore. All he does is work.”
Robyn stared at her friend-slash-boss. “You two talked about how that promotion would be more work for him but that it would be worth it. You wanted this for him.”
“I didn’t know how much he’d be gone.”
The unreasonable statement grated nearly as much as Mindy’s whine. “This isn’t a good look for you,” Robyn murmured. “You’re changing the rules without telling your husband. That never ends well.”
Mindy dismissed the warning with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not worried. Besides, if he does find out, I can just move in with you.” She laughed. “You’ll soon have that big house all to yourself.”
“You have four kids,” Robyn pointed out. “If things go south in your marriage, I’d rather have Payne move in.”
“Well, that would get people talking.” Mindy held up her empty glass to the server. “More, please.”
The server obliged.
Mindy took another sip. “My sister called, swears she found a Thomas Pister chest in a tiny shop in Wales. It’s dirt cheap, so I’m afraid it’s a fake. She’s looking for someone to prove authenticity. Wouldn’t that be a find?”
“It would. I’d love to see it.”
Thomas Pister had built beautiful chests and cabinets in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His intricate designs with stunning inlays sold quickly and for huge amounts. Depending on the condition and the materials, a good-sized chest of drawers could go for sixty or eighty thousand dollars.
Those of you who follow my blog regularly already know that I spent three months in Maryland taking care of grandchildren while our son dealt with a childcare dilemma. I was a little leery to take on the responsibility because of my age and physical limitations, but I tackled the job, knowing that if God called me to do it, He would provide a way for me to be strong enough to fulfill the task. Well, my time in Maryland is done as I returned home on January 31st, tired and emotional about missing the children with whom I had bonded so well and completely. My time in Maryland taught me so many things about life in general and relationships, but mostly, I learned a great deal from my newest grandson.
Nathan is accustomed to being held as he naps, so I happily assumed that duty. Cuddles became my specialty and I spent a lot of time soothing, singing and rocking gently. As I did, I learned some life lessons that I believe are reasons that God tells us to come to Jesus as little children do.
First, Nathan was totally dependent on his caregivers for his food, shelter, warmth, changes of clothing, etc. He cried when he needed something and did not think that it was being too demanding to have his needs met. That, my friends, is how we are supposed to come to God. I’m not saying to demand or to cry, but, like little Nathan, to voice our needs and to know without a doubt that someone will meet them.
Every day, as I held him closely in my arms, Nathan looked at me with such total trust in his eyes. He had no idea that a fragile septuagenarian was holding him and could have dropped him. He just knew that I had held him daily and he trusted me to continue to do so. That is how we are to approach God’s throne, with complete trust in His ability to handle whatever we lay before Him.
There were days when Nathan was cranky, continuing to fuss even after all of my “nanna tricks” had been employed. So, one day, I decided to quietly sing to him the old song from Sunday school, “Jesus Loves You.” (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be “Jesus Loves Me” but I changed it for Nathan.) He got immediately quiet, listened to the entire song and quickly fell asleep. My guess is that he recently left the realm of Heaven to come down to earth and recognized Jesus’s Name. The peace that settled over him each time I sang that song was a wonder to behold and it never failed to bring that same peace. Learning that the Name of Jesus brings instant peace to an infant brought me peace many times when I was feeling homesick or lonely for friends and church family. I just focused on the look in Nathan’s eyes and realized that the same peace he felt when he heard the name of Jesus was mine, too.
One of the major joys of taking care of an infant is knowing that when they see or try new things, it’s for the very first time. The delight that shone in Nathan’s eyes and that lit up his face gave me hope for a future because there are always new things to be discovered. The first time he tried to scoot across the floor, he was trying to chase my cane, an activity he never tired of. I would move the cane and he would joyfully lift himself up and try to reach it, touching its smooth surface repeatedly until I moved it again. He progressed to scooting across the floor to reach for toys, gurgling happily when he got them. I always stayed right next to him because at any time he could decide to unexpectedly roll over and thump his head. So, I was there to provide the cushion he needed until he could figure out how to roll gently. Isn’t that what God does for us? He provides cushions when we need them until we learn how to better take care of ourselves.
It was my real joy and pleasure to take care of my son’s greatest treasures. I learned what it was like to receive unconditional love, without doing much of anything for it. Gentle caresses, story time, play time, bottle time, everything was a source of wonder and a reminder of how very much God loves and nurtures us until we can do things on our own. I will always cherish the time with these three special children. I must say that I learned the most from Nathan because I spent the most time with him. But I also learned from Penny how to be a peacemaker and a caring and compassionate big sister. No matter how tired she was from her long day at school, Penny always had a hug and a smile for baby Nathan. From fiery, red-headed Evie, I learned what it is to be mischievous and yet to continue to expect love and acceptance. Evie and I had an understanding at bedtime each night. She didn’t always want a hug or kiss. Sometimes, she just wanted to do a quick hug, more like a tag on my leg, but I allowed her the choice for how to say goodnight each evening. She seemed to enjoy keeping me in suspense about how we would say goodnight and then grinned broadly if she knew that she surprised me with her new method. God has a sense of humor, too, and I’m sure He enjoyed the creativity and compassion of the two girls as much as I did.
I will leave you with these parting words. When next you have the opportunity to spend time with children, really spend time with them. See them as valuable gifts from God and learn from them how much God loves each of us. He loves me enough to allow me the privilege of taking care of grandchildren for three months, memorable months that are etched in my memory forever, to be cherished in my heart. Then, I hope that you remember to come to the Lord as a child does, with total trust and complete faith in His ability and desire to meet your needs.
God bless you for reading and being a part of my blog family! Have a wonderful day!
I didn’t tell my readers that I would be absent from my blog for a while because I wasn’t sure how long I would be gone and when I would return. But I did know that while I was gone, I was not planning on blogging. You see, my husband and I went on what we called a “marathon trip” this summer.
First, we went to Maryland to meet our newest grandson, Nathan Henry. He is two months old today.
Then, we went to Pennsylvania to celebrate the graduation of our second grandson Tyler. This is Tyler and his mom, our daughter Hope, at his graduation party.
The next thing we did is come home and wait for our car to be repaired. When that finally happened, we left to go to Florida to visit my siblings, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years. They are the two youngest in my family.
We just got home on Friday and today I am leaving to go to my sister’s house in Glen Allen (about an hour away from me) because my brother and his wife are flying in from Colorado this afternoon.
So, now you know about my summer adventures and why I have been too busy, too preoccupied if you will, to write on the blog. I hope to do better once I return from my sister’s house next week.
So, yesterday was a good and hard day. Mother’s Day is generally a difficult day for me because my children are no longer at home. Of course, they aren’t! They grew up, spread their wings and flew away, just as they are supposed to do. But the fact that this is the natural order of things doesn’t keep me from missing them and my grandchildren. But I pray for them daily and in my devotional this morning, I had this perfect prayer for each child, grandchild and distant family member. I am sharing it with you so that you can pray for your loved ones to abound in love, knowledge and discernment. Don’t you just love that word “abound”? It is more than enough…flowing over. You can also join me in praying for our loved ones to be found blameless and pure in Christ and filled with the fruit of righteousness. What a prayer! Having prayed this prayer for each child and grandchild, naming them each individually, I feel closer to each of them and not so alone here. God has placed them in my heart, just as they are in His.
May God bless each of you with a good day filled with love for your family and for Him.