Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent On Christmas Eve

Remember to first light all four previous candles before beginning. Our final Advent celebration is in honor of Christ and the salvation we afford through the shedding of His royal ruby red blood. Were it not for the Christ Child there would be no Christmas. Were it not for Christmas there would be no salvation. This week let us reflect on the sacrifice JESUS made when He left His royal place in heaven and took on the flesh of a man while remaining fully God. He bore our sins on a cross that we may be joint heirs with Him in eternity. Shall we never forget the ultimate sacrifice JESUS made for you and for me.

As we close this Advent celebration, remember to keep the Christ of Christmas alive in your heart.

The Scripture Reading:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring for a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” The Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1: 26-38

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. Matthew 1:18-25

The Prayer:

Father, on this day we worship Your Son whose birth was merely the beginning of a life of total sacrifice. We thank You for the prophets who foretold of His coming. We thank You for the little town of Bethlehem where the King was born. We thank You for the shepherds You chose to first hear about His birth. We thank You for the angels who brought the glorious news of the coming of Your Son. And most of all we thank You for JESUS and the hope, love, joy and peace He brings. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. It is in His name we pray. Amen.

The Candle:

Light the fifth and final tall white candle in honor of JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

The Song: (Suggested)

Away in a Manger

This Christmas hymn was purportedly published in a collection entitled, Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families. The song was edited by James R. Murray who lived between 1841 and 1905.

Advent Week Four - The Joyous Announcement

This week, the fourth week of Advent, we remember the angel that gloriously proclaimed the birth of the Christ Child. This announcement was the most momentous message that ever had been or ever will again be made! The angel truly did bring tidings of great joy…the Savior was born. Not only was he excited about the news, but so were all his friends who showed up to celebrate along with him. How many angels joined him? The Bible says it was a multitude. How many is a multitude? I don’t know, but I have a feeling it was a HUGE amount! Just imagine the most insane concert and laser show you’ve ever seen and multiply that by infinity and it’s probably not even close to what the shepherds saw that earth-shattering night of Jesus’ birth!

This week we are also to remember peace…the peace that is only found in the loving arms of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. As you light today’s candle reflect a moment on the peace of Jesus, our Prince of Peace.

Remember to first re-light the candles lit on previous weeks.

The Scripture Reading:

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:8-20

The Prayer:

Father we thank You for the angels who brought the glorious news of the birth of Your Son. No other means of announcement would be so befitting Christ’s birth as a multitude of the heavenly host. We praise You and adore You and thank You for your Son, Jesus.

The Candle:

The fourth week of Advent is celebrated with the lighting of the third purple candle to remind us of the angels who joyously announced the glorious birth of Jesus…the Prince of Peace.

The Song: (Suggested)

Hark! The Harold Angels Sing

This Christmas carol was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley (brother of John, who founded the Methodist Church). The tune, however, came from Mendelssohn in 1840 to celebrate Gutenberg and the invention of printing.

Advent Week Three

It’s hard to believe we are already celebrating the third week of Advent! This week of Advent is a time of joyous reflection on the shepherds that mundanely watched over their flocks that night having no idea their lives were about to be changed forever. Imagine the fear they experienced at the sight of a spectacular angel of the Lord appearing before them. Consider the joy they felt in their hearts when the angel told them what was happening nearby in the little town of Bethlehem. Don’t forget to re-light the first two purple candles before you begin!

Here's a picture of my makeshift Advent wreath. It's not really a wreath at all, but it works in a pinch!

The Scripture Reading:

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Luke 2:8-20

The Prayer:

Father God it is on this night that we thank You for sharing the birth announcement with the lowly shepherds. This is how we know that Your salvation is not only for kings and princes, but for everyone, even me. Thank you for this joyful season when we can celebrate Your love for us through the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

The Candle:

The third week of Advent is celebrated with the lighting of a pink candle to remind us of the shepherds and the joy of the Good News of the Savior.

The Song: (Suggested)

Silent Night, Holy Night

This beautiful song, composed in the 19th century has a very colorful background story consisting of rumors that the song had to be written for guitar as mice had purportedly eaten the organ bellows. It’s worth looking up the history associated with the hymn.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Second Week of Advent

The second week of Advent is a remembrance of Bethlehem and God’s love for us for sending His One and Only Son. It was not a gilded cradle where the King of Kings was laid upon His birth, but a lowly feeding trough for beasts of the field. He was not born in a palace, but in a filthy barn in Bethlehem. This week we remember God’s amazing love that He would send His perfect, sinless Son into a fallen world that we might have the opportunity to live forever with Him in the glory of heaven.

The Scripture Reading:
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, every one to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David to be registered with Mary, his bethrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The Prayer:
Heavenly Father we thank You for Your immense love that You would give us Your precious Son in a Bethlehem stable. We praise You and adore You and thank You Father for the salvation we have through the One who was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen

The Candle:
The second week of Advent is celebrated with the lighting of the second purple candle which reminds us of the Love of God poured out to us when He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ at Bethlehem. Remember to re-light the candle from the first week!

The Song: (Suggested)
O Little Town of Bethlehem

This traditional Christmas carol was written by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal Priest. Three years after he visited Bethlehem in 1865 he penned the poem we know today as the song, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent Week One

The time has come again for the celebration of Advent. The first week represents “The Prophecy of Jesus’ first coming” or “HOPE.” Advent is, after all, a prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a joyful remembrance of His birth.

The Scripture Reading:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is giving; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2

The Prayer:

Father God in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. We thank You Father for sending Your precious Son, Jesus, The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. We thank You at Christmastime for the prophets who foretold of Your coming. We praise You as we await Your second coming. Amen

The Candle:

The first week of Advent is celebrated with the lighting of one of the purple candles which represents the prophecy of the coming of Christ Jesus and the hope of our coming Savior and King!

The Song: (Suggested)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

This traditional hymn is thought to have come from the 8th or 9th century and is one of the most solemn of Advent hymns. The song confirms the proclamation in Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanks For The Memories!

All good “thanks” truly must come to an end. This last week of November marks a very special time of thanksgiving in my life. You see, twenty years ago this week I gave birth to the most amazing daughter anyone could ever wish for, Casey O’Hare. I won’t go on singing her praises, as I’ve been doing that for the past twenty years. Instead I’ll just say, thank you Casey, for sharing the amazing ride we’ve been on together for twenty years now. I love you!
Sunday, November 25, 2012 – Romans 1:21

Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Monday, November 26, 2012 – Psalm 107:22
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 – Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 – Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 – 1 Chronicles 16:35

And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise.”

Friday, November 30, 2012 – Luke 17:16
And he fell down on his face at the feet of Jesus, giving him thanks—and he was a Samaritan

**Photo courtesy of Paul McRae**

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Something happened last month that really shook my world and I haven't shared the story with very many people. Most everyone who knows me knows that I have an eighty-five pound Weimaraner named Max. He is MY dog. He’s the kind of dog that will get between me and my husband when we play fight. He is the dog that follows me from room to room for no apparent reason. Max has his own recliner, next to mine. Undeniably, Max is…my dog.

Max has more than one bad habit. His absolute worse bad habit, however, is when he recognizes one of our vehicles coming up the drive; he runs up and circles the vehicle as if he’s herding us into a corral.

On October twenty-first I pulled into the driveway and cut it too close. I hit my precious Max with my truck pinning him against the fence. It was Sunday evening so we rushed him to the emergency vet in Humble. We were sure he would need stitches to close the gashes on his leg. It turned out to be much worse than we expected.

Monday morning we carried our morphine drugged puppy to an orthopedic doggy surgeon who confirmed the E/R vet’s diagnosis that the tendons had been sheared off Max’s left rear hawk and he needed pins and wires to put him back together again.

That’s when you ask the all-important question…how much is this going to cost us? Let’s just say, if you’re thinking about a profitable career path, don’t rule out animal orthopedics. Neither Dan nor I could bear to part with him, (which would have been our only option in the past) so he underwent the surgery.

Four weeks later the poor guy is still in a bandage and for the most part, gimps around on three legs. So what is the spiritual takeaway from this story?

1.      God will make a way, even when there seems to be no way.

2.      We had the money to pay the original estimate on the surgery left in our account after paying our bills and tithe.

3.      I’m thankful beyond measure that I didn’t have to make a life and death decision on my dog, no matter how dumb he can be.

4.      God knows just what we need when we need it and will provide it for us.

Happy Thanksgiving week! Love your God, love your family and love your dog. And remember, go TEXANS!
Oh and before I forget, here's this week's list of THANKSGIVING verses.

Sunday, November 18, 2012 – Psalm 79:13

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, will give You thanks forever; we will show forth Your praise to all generations.

Monday, November 19, 2012 – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 – Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Thursday, November 22, 2012 – Psalm 107:21

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Friday, November 23, 2012 – Colossians 4:2

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 – Psalm 105:1

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Merci, Gracias, Danke, Mahalo, Arigato, Thanks Y’all!

I’m a few days late with this week’s Thanksgiving post. I was feeling a bit blue, thinking about having to get a molar filled tomorrow. But then I remembered how incredibly blessed I am. I have good teeth—well for the most part. We have good insurance and I have a good dentist. If only I would have remembered what my grandfather always said…be true to your teeth today and they won’t be false to you tomorrow. Anyway, on that note, I’ll finish by saying, God is good and I’m thankful for his abundant blessings. And remember, next week is the big day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012 – 2 Corinthians 4:15

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Monday, November 12, 2012 – Psalm 50:14

Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 – Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – 2 Corinthians 9:11

While you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 – Psalm 95:2

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Friday, November 16, 2012 – 1 Timothy 4:4

For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 – Psalm 100:4b

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Merci, Gracias, Danke, Mahalo, Arigato, Thanks Y’all!

Continuing with week two of our month of THANKSGIVING, here are seven more verses on thankfulness from God’s Holy word. I Thank You, Father, for giving me a life, a hope and a future specifically designed to serve you more. I will bless You, oh Lord. With my mouth full of praise and a heart of thanksgiving, I will bless You of Lord.
Sunday, November 4, 2012 – Psalm 75:1
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
Monday, November 5, 2012 – Jonah 2-9
But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 – Psalm 100:4a
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 – Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 – 1 Chronicles 16:8
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
Friday, November 9, 2012 – Psalm 107:1
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Saturday, November 10, 2012 – Colossians 1:12
Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where God Finds You

Anita Higman, bestselling Christian author of 32 books has just released the devotional, Where God Finds You. Anita is one of my favorite authors and with her amazing background in Christian fiction, this is sure to be a devotional that will resonate with God's truth that we can apply to our lives.

In forty devotional tales, Where God Finds You breathes new life into ancient Bible characters. Live with and learn about more than forty Bible men and women, including the wife of Pontius Pilate, Esther, John the Baptist, Delilah, Lazarus, and Mary Magdalene.

Through reflection on Scripture and prayer, you'll discover a place in each of these lives of vulnerability, tenderness, truth, and love-a place where you can find God . . . and where God finds you.

Where God Finds You is unique among women's devotional books in that it brings dozens of men and women of the Bible to life through dramatic short stories, connects biblical truths to today's culture, and offers readers an opportunity to reflect on what they've learned. Each devotion features:

. A dramatic retelling of Scripture that allows the reader to crawl into the pages of the Bible.
. The Story from God's Word: a quote or paraphrase of the applicable Bible passage in a reader-friendly version.
. The Story-From Then to Now: a personal reflection from the author to help link the passage to life today.
. The Story-Questions to Think About: prompts for personal reflection or group discussion that lead to practical application.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Computer Virus


Over the past month I’ve had to deal with some of the worst kind of computer troubles you could ever imagine. I should have realized there was a problem when my anti-virus software started going off like a pinball machine. On a side note, if I ever design my own anti-virus software the alerts won’t say, “We have blocked a site that may cause an over-buffering issue.”  My alerts will be more like…No! No! Do not click anything! For the safety of yourself and everyone around you, turn off your computer and don’t log back on until we notify you via rotary dial telephone with the all clear sign! DEVASTATION!

How was I to know the expensive software I bought to protect me from such things was trying to warn me about a possible threat to my computer? I thought I was practicing safe surf! But alas I let down my guard and was infected. VIRUS ALERT!

The scariest part of all was that I didn’t even know I was infected for about two weeks. Were digital eyeballs watching my every keystroke? Did they already have access to my personal information? I was subsequently told the virus wasn’t one that steals information. Its sole purpose is to make things miserable for the user. Who would do such a thing? EVIL!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 PETER 5:8

I spent hour upon hour trying to cure the problem on my own. But it was to no avail, the experts had to be called in. It took three levels of technical support all the way from the Far East to fix what evil had broken…and $96.00 to boot, (pun intended). RECOVERY!

A lesson was learned from this experience. Trust your anti-virus software whenever it says it has blocked a site. Be sober, be vigilant! Then flee as fast as your fingers will take you! The enemies are sneaky and divisive and we can’t even fathom the kind of evil they desire to thrust upon us.

Thankfully we have the ultimate technical manual to get us through the hard stuff. Everything you need to know is posted in the section entitled Ephesians 6:13-17. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. But above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bathsheba A Novel By: Jill Eileen Smith

At the urging of my pastor, Rev. Rob Ray, our church was encouraged to read through the Bible as a congregation. Even though I’ve studied the Bible for years I had never read the text cover to cover. It really makes me feel good knowing I’m part of a group of believers, corporately reading the greatest book ever written.

I’ve particularly enjoyed reading about the kings of Israel and how some were good, but sadly, most were not. It struck me that King David is mentioned over and over as the one king who followed after God and was the pinnacle of comparison for all kings who came after him.

Around the same time that I was reading King David’s story I started reading Bathsheba, a novel by Jill Eileen smith. Bathsheba is actually the third book in Mrs. Smith’s Wives of King David series and I haven’t had the pleasure of reading her first two bestsellers, Michal and Abigail.

I started the book thinking, everyone knows the story of David and Bathsheba. How is this author going to add anything to the story I don’t already know? Boy was I wrong.
Mrs. Smith really did her research on how people, particularly women, lived during Biblical times. I felt drawn into the world and lives of the characters. I learned what they might have eaten and drank; how they lived and interacted with others.

It’s my opinion that an added plus to any work of fiction is snippets of historical fact woven into the literature. Mrs. Smith does an amazing job working so much history into this novel, I actually feel smarter having read it. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the first two offerings in the series.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Forsaken In A New Orleans Pedi Cab

Don't Let This Happen To You!
Top of Form
New Orleans, Louisiana is a hot town. Not because of the spicy Cajun food or the warm jazz beats, but because I visited in late July…and it’s just downright hot there.

My husband, daughter, son and I took a taxi to the French Quarter, about twenty blocks from our hotel. After dining sufficiently on Jambalaya, crawfish pie and the proverbial filet gumbo, we walked the Quarter taking in the sights, sounds and revelry that is New Orleans. When we’d had our fill of the city we looked for a taxi to return to our hotel. That’s when we came upon the two Pedi cab drivers.

What is a Pedi cab you ask? Think of a rickshaw, only more Americanized and the attendant peddles instead of runs. Husband decides a Pedi cab would be a fun way to take in the city on our way back. Husband and son climb into the first cab being manned by, what was his name, oh yes, Lance Armstrong. So daughter and I are relegated to the second cab whose driver had the same build as super model, Kate Moss. Did I mention that daughter and I might have outweighed her a tad bit?

Each time the young woman struggled with every ounce of her being to get the bike going, my daughter and I cringed and tried our best to will the thing forward. The only thing I could think of was, oh dear husband, why hast thou forsaken me?

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

The whole situation made me think of God and how many times I’ve wronged Him and not once has He ever left me, or forsaken me. Thankfully for all of us He’s not in the forsaking business and that is why we can be strong and courageous and we have no reason to ever be terrified. He’s going to be there…with us…He said so in His word and His word is true! Thank You Father for that blessed assurance.

I’m no longer upset with hubby for his spously faux pas. After all, he may have had Lance Armstrong driving his cab, but when it was all over and done with, Kate Moss was much more learned at her New Orleans history than ol’ Lance.

Embarrassing side note: At the end of the ride as Kate was attempting to peddle UP beneath the portico Chet of our hotel the chain pops off the Pedi cab, daughter and I quickly jump out and run inside the hotel leaving hubby behind to pay the bill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Solomon's Bad Decision

Prior to King David’s death he charged his son, Solomon with keeping the ways of the Lord. Solomon was to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments and His testimonies. And because of his righteousness, God offered Solomon the greatest desire of his heart. Solomon didn’t ask for riches or honor, but instead asked for an understanding heart to judge God’s people.

The Bible then goes on to say in 1 Kings 11:4, “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
It’s hard to believe that Solomon, the wisest man who would ever live would fall into adulterous behavior against God.

But aren’t we all a little like Solomon? Doesn’t God give us the desires of our heart? Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

As for Solomon, the Bible goes on to say that because of his sins, God raised up adversaries against Israel to afflict them all the rest of the days of his life. So what is the moral here…don’t take for yourself 700 wives and 300 concubines? I think that goes without saying, but I think the main thing is to keep God number one in your life. False gods/idols doesn’t just mean Baal, Ashtoreth or Milcom, it can be something as innocent as our own precious children. Anything that takes first place over God is an idol.

So remember to keep God first in your heart and life, obey His statutes, and have no other gods before Him. And if we believe and pray in earnest God will give us the desires of our heart. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Trip to Remember – Memorial Day Weekend 2012

We never talked much when I was a teenager back in the seventies. Truthfully we never talked at all—yet he always intrigued me. He, being a wild game hunter, professional writer, and childless, had no familiarity with the mind of an adolescent.  But this Memorial Day, on some strange level, we seemed to connect.

My family made the four hour drive to Ingram, Texas to visit my eighty-five year old aunt and uncle at their sixty-five acre piece of heaven etched into the side of a hill. Twenty years of improvements have turned the rocky hillside into a paradise for man and beast alike. The house, an homage to guns, knives and big game mounts from around the world is a feast for the eyes. My aunt, as feisty as ever, offers her home to us to use as our own.

The ravages of old age have reduced the once virile hunter to a man dependent on an oxygen tank for every breath. As we sat on the veranda overlooking Johnson Creek I talked to my uncle about writing…his favorite subject. He told stories about writing for such hunting magazine giants as Sports Afield and Guns and Ammo back in the heyday of the fifties and sixties. He said he once walked into the offices of one of the largest magazine publishers in New York and was able to meet with three of their editors. He laughed at the idea of doing something as audacious as that nowadays.
My uncle admitted that even though he’d written the top selling book on hunting white tail deer (of all time); he had never been able to write fiction. I felt for a moment to have one up on the old man as fiction is my specialty. He said that with the surplus of great fiction authors in the business it’s next to impossible to get a novel published. I wanted to disagree with that, but my part in the conversation was more of a listener than a contributor.

The visit to Ingram turned out to be a very good thing. The kids participated in activities that are impossible in our part of the world. They caught bass from the pond and ate them that night. They saw a heard of axis deer with their young. And they spent a lot of time talking to their great aunt and uncle learning things that can’t be obtained at any university.
I hope to go back and see my aunt and uncle again. I hope to have the opportunity to learn more from the man my kids have nicknamed, The Most Interesting Man Alive. But I’ll have to do it soon…because time is running out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lord God Creator!

My precious husband had many interesting jobs as a young man. Once he even worked in a pet store. His primary job was “fish-man.” For that reason, I have always been blessed to have beautiful saltwater aquariums in my living room. Marine fish, in my opinion, are perhaps the most glorious and curious creatures in all of God’s creation. The magnificent colors and shapes of these fish are a sight to behold.

Yahweh Borey is powerful name for God that means...Lord Creator

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 40:28

My all-time favorite marine fish in called the Mandarin Goby. The picture above can’t possibly do it justice. It’s as though God crossed a fish with a tropical frog and then crossed that with a Chinese kite! I am truly in awe when I gaze upon the beauty of this fish.

Just to think that God in all His glory took the time to create each and every fish in His own unique way is practically mind boggling. There are only five different species of fish in my aquarium at this time. My imagination can’t fathom how God in His magnificence, created thousands upon thousands more; each one a masterpiece to behold.

“In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” Psalm 95:4-5

Take time today to praise the Creator of all…Yahweh Borey!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview With Janice Hannah Thompson

I recently learned that many of my reader friends are fans of comedic Christian author, Janice Hanna Thompson. Janice, I'm happy to say, is also a very good friend of mine! It is my pleasure to share this interview with Janice, telling what's currently going on in this writer's life. Did you know Janice has a brand new book coming out on May 1, 2012? (Available now in E-book format) Read on and find out all about it!

Who (or what) influenced you to become a writer?

From the time I was a little girl, I always had a creative bent. I loved to sing and dance. I got involved with drama in high school and ended up writing a little play, which we performed. In the late 70s my father moved our family to Los Angeles so that he could get into the movie business, (as a producer). He encouraged me to co-author a screenplay, which I did. In fact, I joined the screenwriter’s guild at age 18. Quite an honor! After I got married and had my children, they showed an interest in theater, too, so I ended up directing and writing musicals for Curtain Call CafĂ© (a Christian theater group). From there, my interests spread to books, and I started publishing fiction for the Christian market. I’ve now published over 80 books, everything from inspirational romance to non-fiction devotionals. I would have to say that my father was a huge influence. He passed away in ’06, but did a lot of writing in his lifetime (both screenplays and lyrics to country songs).

Janice, can you tell us about your latest book project?

Yes, I’m so tickled to share the news about my comedic historical, WEDDING BELLES, which is releasing on May 1st. Most of my readers know that I love to write light-hearted tales, and this one is no different!

What is the story behind this book?

I received a call from editor Susan Downs, who shared an idea she had for a series of books titled “Belles and Whistles.” The books in this series, she explained, must be historical, set in the west, with funny, quirky female characters. Because I write romantic comedy, she thought I would be perfect. I quickly put together a proposal for six books and two were picked up right away: WEDDING BELLES and SLEIGH BELLES. I was commissioned to write WEDDING BELLES first and had a blast doing so! The basic premise for the book was developed before I started writing, but something significant happened along the way to change my plans drastically. I needed a sneaky reason for Lottie Sanders (my heroine) to bring a group of women to Estes Park Colorado as potential brides for the town’s men. About a week after I got the contract for this book I went to a local restaurant that happened to be hosting a melodrama during the dinner hour. As I watched the drama take place, I realized this was my answer! Lottie would write and direct a melodrama to raise funds for Parker Lodge (owned by the young man she secretly loves). Out of that came the rest of this fun, melodramatic tale!

Can you share the “official” synopsis?

Lottie Sanders would do just about anything for the man she secretly loves. When Gilbert Parker suggests they put on a play to draw people to his family’s lodge, he begs Lottie to direct it. Lottie agrees to help, but is also worried if they cannot pull this off, Gilbert and his family will lose the lodge — and she will lose him. When the local single men look at this as an opportunity to catch a bride, they secretly hatch their own drama to win the hearts and hands of the actresses.

Why did you choose to write this book under the name Janice Hanna, instead of Janice Thompson?

Ooo, great question! I write most of my contemporary novels (like the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series) under Thompson and historicals (like the LOVE FINDS YOU books) under Hanna. My maiden name is Hanna, and I love to write under that name to honor my father, who passed away in ’06. I think he would have been very proud of this particular book.

Is there any connection between the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series and this one?

Nope. None whatsoever. Just an interesting coincidence with the titles/names.

What’s the deal with the wedding stories? Why do you write so many books with wedding themes?

My four daughters (all in their late 20s/early 30s) got married within four years of each other. Talk about wedding chaos! At writer’s conferences I’ve been told to “write what you know” and I certainly know weddings. I worked for a short while as a wedding coordinator and have catered many a wedding and/or bridal shower. It just makes sense to keep my writing wedding-themed, as much as possible!

What are Reviewers saying about WEDDING BELLES?

I just found out that Romantic Times gave the book a four-star rating. Woo-hoo! Here’s what the reviewer said:

Hanna’s Belles and Whistles series launch is filled with mayhem, drama and, of course, romance. The characters are engaging, witty and willing to do what they need to get what they want. Hanna’s magical touch ensures the book brims with laughter, charm and style.

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

What outside interests do you have?

People might be surprised to hear this, but I bake cakes. Wedding cakes. Shower cakes. Birthday cakes. You name it, I bake it. In fact, I was once asked by a local restaurant to bake cakes for them.

Cute cover! What’s the story behind it?

My heroine, Lottie, is a tomboy. She’s not much for dresses. In fact, she wears pants most of the time. The men in Estes Park make it their mission to get Lottie “gussied up and lookin’ like a lady” as the story progresses. Of course, she’s still pretty attached to her cowgirl boots, so giving those up isn’t an option. I love the cover, because it merges the boots with the wedding dress.

How much research went into this story?

I drove to Estes Park while working on this book. Even though I had been many times before, I needed to see the area again so that I could envision it through Lottie’s eyes. The wonderful people at the Estes Park Museum spent a great deal of time with me, talking about the history of the area and pointing me to just the right research books to write. So, I would like to think I’ve got most of the historical elements right. I added the Stanley Hotel, of course, and the Stanley Steamer. But the setting for my story is Parker Lodge (which is completely fictional). Because I’m passionate about photography, I took dozens of pictures of the area. I particularly enjoy my trek up into Rocky Mountain National Park, where I did my best to absorb all I could about the scenery.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?

I learned a lot about the health benefits of living in Colorado! Did you know that Freelan Stanley (the man who designed/built the Stanley Hotel) came to Colorado at his doctor’s recommendation because he had tuberculosis? His health improved dramatically while in Estes Park.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?

I was directly inspired by the team of actors and actresses (here in Texas) who performed the melodrama. That little “spark” of inspiration completely changed the layout of my story and allowed me to tap into one of my strengths: directing. Many people don’t know that I spend part of my time working as a director at a local Christian theater and I love anything and everything about putting on shows.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?

Two things: I hope they see Lottie as the precious girl she is. I also hope they learn that perceptions are just that. . .perceptions. They’re not fact. Sometimes we look at situations and think we’ve got them figured out. When we give them a second look (and a third) we realize we were dead wrong.

What is the next project you’re working on?

I’m currently writing a novel titled LET THEM EAT CAKE, which is part of the new WEDDINGS BY DESIGN series from Revell Publishing. Many of my readers know me as the “Bella” author (from the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series). In this new series, readers can catch up with Bella, DJ and the whole gang!

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?

I spend time with my grandbabies. I have six darling grandbabies with number seven on the way.

God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

I feel so incredibly blessed at this particular season in my life. I’ve been through several hard things over the past several years, but through it all, God has been right there, walking me through one book project, then another. He has used the writing to bring healing in so many areas, and I’m so grateful for that! I’ve made Ephesians 3:20 – 21 my life verse:  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. God IS able to do so much more than I could ask or think, and He keeps proving that to me. In spite of any weakness on my part (and there’s plenty, trust me), He entrusts me with this gift (writing). I will use it to His glory as long as He allows.

Please give us the first page of the book.

A Reckoning in the Rockies
Estes Park, prepare to be razzle-dazzled! Parker Lodge, located on the beautiful Fall River, continues to offer the best entertainment in town. This month’s event is certainly no exception. Join us this coming Friday evening, April 27, for a rousing performance by local musician Jeb Otis, who will play several well-known ballads and folk tunes on his saw. Otis, who hails from the Estes Valley region, will be appear- ing at the lodge for one night only, performing before a packed house. C’mon out and share in an evening of fine food, rousing entertain- ment, and heartfelt fellowship. Front-row seating for the first ten guests to arrive. —Your friends at Parker Lodge

Estes Park, Colorado, 1912
“Jeb Otis says he’s going to jump off Longs Peak and end it all.” “What?” Lottie Sanders looked up from the rippling waters of Fall River into her boss’s worried eyes. “He’s going to end it all? Why-ever would he do that?”

“Oh, you know how he is.” Gilbert Parker plopped down next to her and sighed. “Melodramatic. Always wanting attention. Just like the other men in this town. He’s frustrated because the Widow Baker won’t give him the time of day, so I guess this is how he plans to remedy the problem.”
“He’s going to remedy the problem by taking his life?” Lottie swallowed hard. “Won’t that defeat the purpose?”

“Who knows?” Gilbert offered a little shrug, and a hint of a smile turned up the edges of his lips. “But if it’s any consolation, I reminded him that he’s got a concert coming up this Friday evening, so maybe he’ll wait till after then to do himself in.”
“One can hope.” Lottie thought about the many times Jeb and the other fellas who frequented the lodge had posed such ludicrous threats. How weary she’d grown of their antics. “What’s it going to take to convince Jeb that he and Althea Baker are as different as night from day, anyway?” she asked. “They would make a terrible match. I’m surprised he can’t see that for himself.”

“True.” Gilbert released a sigh. “But I guess it’s true what they say—love is blind.”
“Mm-hmm.” It’s blind, all right.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson

Twitter: booksbyjanice

My online courses:

Where can readers buy this book?
They can email me for an autographed copy: They can also purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Little Things In Life That Matter

Today I welcome guest blogger, Jane Lyles; an educator, a Christian, a friend.
On Saturday, my daughter and I went out shopping. It was just our usual trip not looking for anything in particular and not really looking for anything special just getting out spending a little time together.
One of our stops was the Family Christian Store and as we were looking at some things we heard a mom say to her daughters, " Leave those bracelets on the table." As they laid them on the table another lady walked to the table and said, "It's okay mom I paid for them," and she quietly walked away. The two young ladies with their mom's permission ran to the other lady and hugged her and as they were leaving their mom told the other lady to have a blessed day.

Ash and I were speechless. Dear Ash was saying, "Don't cry mom if you cry mom I'll cry mom and I'm about to.” So, I just wiped my tears away and then we had one of those sweet conversations in the car about the kindness of strangers and how we are called to serve and bless others we may not know.

Just have to say "Isn't God Good!" and isn't that how His love is. He paid for our sins without expecting anything in return. Putting your faith in Him will change you and as my son once told me if you were the only person on earth Jesus would have died just for you.

Well, today is Palm Sunday and what a wonderful day in worship and in God's House. Although I had a devotional prepared today for children's choir that's not the path we followed during our weekly time in class. It began with Bucky telling me how much he enjoyed the music this morning and I asked if he had a favorite song and he said no I liked them all and I said me too. From there we discussed what the songs were about and Hannah said Jesus dying on the cross. We discussed what the kids could see on the power point and how it looked like wine on the slide that Jesus's lips were being wiped with and from there Mrs. Pam explained that it was vinegar and that was to hurt Jesus with and make him more thirsty. We discussed that because of his death on the cross we have hope and how to have that hope. Hannah explained that we just have to pray and explained how we pray. We also discussed how because of Jesus’ death we do not have to bring animal sacrifices to church. We discussed how the sacrifices were perfect and without blemish. Mrs. Pam explained the details in such a way that everyone could understand. We discussed how Jesus was the sacrifice for our sin. We also discussed what things would be like without his death, burial, and resurrection. Lillie said this world would be filled with all bad people and then we said we would have no hope. Jesus sacrificed his life, so that we have hope. It is my prayer that you have that hope and that you chose to worship our Savior each day that He blesses us with. Have a blessed Easter time as you reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Lord.

Photo Courtesy of: Paul M. McRae

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What’s In A Name – The Names of God – RACHUM VE-CHANUN

Rachum Ve-Chanun is the name of God that means merciful and gracious.

            “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious.” Exodus 34:6
My beloved pastor Don Harms had a saying he used time and again that I will never forget and will always love. The saying was his answer to what all people really deserve. It was, “Death, hell and the grave!”
I have to admit, I’ve used this phrase numerous times on my children whenever they tell me what they deserve.

God, on the other hand, doesn’t always give us what we deserve:
·         If He did, the Israelites would never have made it to the Promised Land
·         If He did, the 12 disciples might have changed after the first week
·         If He did, there would be a lot less grumbling and complaining
·         If He did, we would think twice before talking behind a friend’s back
·         If He did, most of us would probably have been taken out of this world a loooong time ago

But that’s not our God. Our God is Rachum Ve-Chanun; merciful and gracious. That’s why instead of giving us what we deserve, He gave us Jesus, His one and only Son.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What’s In A Name – The Names of God – ELOHIM

The name Elohim means God-Mighty, Strong, Prominent One
“Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and it’s rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song and He has become my salvation; He is my God and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.’” Exodus 15:1-2

“Who is like You O Lord (ELOHIM), among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” Exodus 15:11
What an awesome tribute to the Lord. After all, He had just parted the Red Sea, led the children of Israel through on DRY ground, coaxed the entire Egyptian army in after them and if that wasn’t enough, He caused the waters to crash down killing most of Pharaoh’s army!

That’s my God, mighty, strong, the Prominent One! It makes my heart feel good that the children of Israel saw that great and mighty wonder and followed God, unquestioning for the rest of their journey into the Promised Land. Oh…wait…what does this say here in verse 23 and 24 of the same chapter?
            “Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefor the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses saying ‘What shall we drink?’”

And the people complained… Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes. We see the Lord work in our lives in some amazing way. We praise Him and give Him the glory for the great thing He’s done and in the next breath we’re complaining about some small thing that didn’t go our way.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God.” Deuteronomy 10:17

Lord, God Elohim, it is my prayer that I would always keep your great and mighty works in mind especially whenever I start to complain about the little things. Amen
Red sea photo courtesy of:

Monday, February 13, 2012

What’s In A Name – The Names of God – RAV-CHESED

The name, Rav-Chesed, means Abounding in Love. The Hebrew word chesed means kindness or loving-kindness.
“And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.’” Exodus 34:6
Way back in 1964 the Righteous Brothers sang about bringing back that loving feeling. I’m relatively sure they weren’t talking about the ‘chesed’ type love that comes from God Almighty. Chesed is love that suggests loyalty, faithfulness, a pledge or promise. Our God is abounding in love. He loves us with a greater purpose. And here’s the most amazing part…His love doesn’t require our love in return.

            “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1
A songwriter by the name of Billy James Foote penned the song, Amazing love, You Are My King. This song reminds me of the boundless love of God when it says:

Amazing love
How can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.
“How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7
Thank you Father, Rav-Chesed for Your unfailing love. The undeserving of this world continue to flourish and prosper, but You are unchanging in your constant, steadfast love for Your children. All praise and glory I give to You. Amen

Picture Courtesy of: Paul McRae

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's In A Name - The Names of God - ADONAI

The name, Adonai, means Lord..Master
According to, the word Master means: One that has control over another or others
There are several instances of master/slave (servant) relationships in the Bible; some good, some not so good. This reference of God as our Master refers to a loving, caring, master who gives the utmost of care to his servants.

I imagine it to be like the relationship between a war dog and his master. These animals are 100 percent obedient to the one who controls them. Why? They are trained to, but also…because he loves the master and the master loves him.

To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God. Psalm 123:1-2
God is the only Master who gives more to his servants than is given to Him.

He gives us His grace
He gives us His mercy

He gives us His boundless love

He forgives our sins
He gave us His Son

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God. Deuteronomy 10:17
Father…God…my Adonai, You are my Great Master. In You I put my trust and my faith. I praise Your holy name for loving me and taking care of all my needs like a beloved servant. All my love I give to You! Amen

Picture courtesy of: