About Marie

Happily married to the same awesome guy for 47 years. Love God, reading, cats and travel. Avid crafter, especially counted cross stitch and crochet.

Always We Begin Again – – Book Review

I’ve been enjoying reading through a devotional that really isn’t a devotional.  Does that make sense? Not really, but yes, it does.  Always We Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley is a series of short essays on the many ways we start over every day of our lives. They’re not only relatable short stories but they include a guided writing prompt that can help each reader deal with their own beginnings.

Here’s what I’ve learned, am learning or have found to be true:

  • The profound yet simple concept that we are constantly starting over is part of daily life.
  • God speaks to us in many ways during our stressful, busy days. Focusing on the issue of the moment, with God as our partner, until we discover the way through, will help calm our minds and lead to a solution.
  • We are held securely in God’s arms. No matter the circumstances He keeps holding on.
  • There are multiple opportunities in our days and lives to begin again, to start over. Just as the sun rises new each day it also sets and gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect.
  • We are all addicts of some sort. Here’s the thing, we can’t pretend to have conquered the problem. Whether we eat, drink, spend, talk, criticize, complain… too much or too little, it can be controlled through God’s grace and our willingness to take each day as it is.

One of the things I really liked about this book is each short essay/story is simply numbered but not dated.  That way if I don’t read it each day I don’t have the pressure of being behind or having to catch up.

This collection is relatable and encouraging. It is reassuring and supportive. There is hope woven throughout its pages. Thank you, Leeana Tankersley, for writing and sharing.

Best quote from the book: “Growth and healing start by giving ourselves the permission to pursue them. If we aren’t willing to show up and participate, then chances are, our souls will be lost on some level. And chances are, it will affect the people who want to share life with us.” (pg. 210)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revel, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions 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.”

back roads to Belonging – Book Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review simply because I needed to give myself a break from the bazillion thoughts that were roaring around in my head from all that I had been reading. However, here we go again. I have just completed a powerful book that has had and will have an impact on my choices in the days ahead.

My thoughts as I read through Back Roads to Belonging, Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People by Kristen Strong

Have you come to the end of yourself, realizing you simply can’t do it alone? Do you know you are loved even when you’re left out or determine a different path? Knowing God’s unending love is more a winding road than a straight line. Sometimes little ‘bunny trails’ are necessary to find the purpose He intends. There will be many sharp corners in our lives but only our Savior can smooth them, and straighten the road to home.

Sometimes I get myself into the comparison trap. Yes, everyone does it but there’s a big catch in doing it. Comparing myself to others takes me further away from actually belonging. My heart needs to be centered on connecting with others not becoming just like them.

Finding a quiet place, to hear God’s voice, as I travel my own unique back road is of the utmost necessity for my growth as a Christian. Especially so as God has called me to a new place and people. Let me be honest with you, I kicked and scratched (not physically) and fought and dragged my feet through the whole route. He did not give up and I finally gave in. I had to deal with the truth that there are some people in our lives who are simply not for us. Just because they’re church members does not make them safe or beneficial. I needed to learn, the hard way I might add, that my comfort in a certain group was keeping me from walking the road He intended. This book has been a huge help in dealing with these issues and deciding the way forward. (Thank you, Kristen!)

One of the exercises in this book is to make a list of belonging (pg. 107), In working through this list I was amazed and delighted at the boost to my sense of belonging. So here’s mine:

I am a much-loved Daughter of the KING, wife of Ray, sister to Stella, Ruth, Rick & Joyce, loving and crazy aunt to 29 nieces and nephews, Bible teacher, and friend to/of Spirit Sisters, part of the church fellowship at Living Hope, sister-in-law to the Bungard Family, part of the Hallock Community …

One last thought from the book that will have a profound effect on my forward journey.  We all find ourselves alone from time to time (Yes, Jesus is ALWAYS there!) on our personal back road. (Yes, Jesus is ALWAYS there!)  There is something we can do about it. We can use what we know and combine it with what we enjoy (paraphrased from pg. 191) to encourage others on their own back road journey.

Blessings to you and yours on the way!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revel, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions 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.”

Think On This – – Lot’s Wife

Gen 19:15-26, Luke 17:29-33

Interestingly, we know her only as Lot’s wife. I’m sure she was a real person, with real, thoughts, ideas, and plans. what could have made her so disobedient?

Lot was probably quite wealthy by the time God was ready to destroy Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain. After all, he had chosen the best land and location when it was offered by Abram. (Genesis 13)

Looking back is such a normal part of our lives that it’s hard not to look back. But we must! After all, it’s impossible to fully forgive if we keep going back to the issue.

And so, Mrs. Lot looks back and turns into a pillar of salt. She knew not to do that.  Did she think there would not be a consequence? But why did she look back? Was it memories, things she left behind, were their daughters following…

We can often think of all kinds of reasons not to move forward. I have learned when God says to do it, it’s best to trust Him and move forward. His plan is better than anything we’ve left behind. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Think On This – – Hagar

330px-Expulsion_of_Ishmael_and_His_Mother

Genesis 16 and 21

Did you know that Hagar was the only person who gave God a name?  She called Him the God who sees me. El Roi. All of the other names given to Him were given by Himself.

Hagar was a slave, given to Abram by Sarai to produce a child who would fulfill God’s promise of offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand of the sea.  According to the custom of the time that was totally acceptable. But she was still a slave and probably felt invisible, unnecessary, and unloved.

After the birth of Ishmael, Sarai abused Hagar to the point that Abram sent both her and her son away from the camp, into the desert. At the point of death by starvation and dehydration, Hagar heard God’s voice. Not once, but twice.  He told her to go back and she did. I don’t know about you but I’m reasonably sure I would have questioned that and had some second thoughts. Why would she even want to go back to the abuse? What was this God thinking? But back she went, to Abram. Guess what? Did God speak to Abram, too? When she got there he (Abram) protected her. I wonder if she ever felt safe again?

We all spend time in the ‘desert’. Whether by our own choice, someone else’s, or circumstances. We all know what it’s like to feel isolated and unloved, without hope.  We know the pain of being placed in circumstances that are not of our own choosing.  Yet, as this story shows, God is always with us, always seeing. He alone provides and protects.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I hope you’ll take the time to watch this beautiful video: The God Who Sees

Think On This – – Sarai

Sarai Is Taken to Pharaoh’s Palace by James Tissot.

Genesis 12

Why was Abraham so afraid of dying that he gave Sarai to the Pharoah as a concubine, saying she was his sister? (True, but a partial lie is still a lie, right?)

Sarai was almost 70 at this point. Her beauty must have been stunning!  What must she have thought of her husband? Was he a bully, in that he seemed to be an expert liar and manipulator?

Here’s an interesting article you might want to check out. Sarah’s Abduction by Dr. Ralph Wilson.

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. 1606-1669

 

Genesis 22

After the sacrifice, Abraham went to Beersheba and lived there. Was he afraid to face Sarah?

What must Sarah have thought/felt when she discovered why Abraham took Isaac? It seems that a short while after she found out she moved away ,as she died in Hebron (See 23:1). Had she had enough? Did Abraham try to stop her?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Read more in When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams by Jill Eileen Smith

Think On This – – Noah

What was happening while Noah was building the ark? The people of the known world were going crazy. Sin was rampant.

Did Moses ‘just’ build the ark or was he also busy trying to get the mockers and scoffers to believe and understand?

Are we destroying ourselves again? Chaos, sin, violence, corruption, perversion…

Save our sons and daughters, friends and neighbors… Come quickly, Jesus!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Read more in When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams by Jill Eileen Smith

When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams – – Book Review

Eve… Sarai… Hagar… Rebekah… Rachel… Leah… Dinah…

Stories we know quite well yet is there more to these women?

What happens when we insist on doing God’s job for Him? What happens when one assumes they know best and determines to go a step further? It seems each woman named above had to find out her own way and often that is/was the hard way.

There are some tremendously powerful words in these stories. Often, I could see myself and my own responses. Although I knew these stories well, I found myself re-reading and pondering them more deeply.

We’ve all struggled with the some, or all of the same issues these women have. Things like knowing what we’re supposed to do and not doing it… Doubt… Fear… Survival… Abandonment… Disobedience… Choices… Desperation… Yet deep down God is always there and always will be.  The lives of these women are changed and made better even When Life Doesn’t Match (their) Your Dreams (by Jill Eileen Smith).  Yours will be, too!

Read it! It’s worth it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House Books and Blythe Daniel. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions 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.”

 

Promises

 

God’s promises are words He always keeps!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.               Isaiah 41:10

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 3:18

“… THE WORD OF OUR GOD WILL STAND FOREVER.” Isaiah 40:8b

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post is part of a flash mob of writers who write for 5 minutes on a word given each Friday by Kate Moutaung at https://fiveminutefriday.com. Come join us and see what others have written.

Commandments

Exodus 18 brought these thoughts to mind.

The Israelites had escaped from Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and defeated Amalak so far. There were probably more than 1.5 million people at that point. (The Word tells us there were 600,000 men, not counting women and children.)

Moses was doing all of the judgings himself when his father-in-law came to him and advised him to make some changes. I’m sure Moses talked to God and his advisers (see Genesis 18:12) about it, too. The plan was, there would be men in charge who knew the 10 Commandments well and would judge in hierarchies of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

It was so simple.

But then, would it be perfect again? Probably not! Since the fall men and women have gotten progressively farther and farther away from His Word. I wish I could shout it to the multitudes. God’s Word and God’s Law matter!

Can I get an amen?!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Practice — Haiku

I wonder how many hours of my life have I sat at the piano? Sometimes making music. Sometimes staring at the keys because the music wasn’t happening. Practicing the same phrase or measure over and over until a measure of perfection was achieved. Always enjoying the good and the bad of it all.

What a blessing, this talent God has bestowed.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post is part of a flash mob of writers who write for 5 minutes on a word given each Friday by Kate Moutaung at https://fiveminutefriday.com. Come join us and see what others have written.