Category Archives: Guest Post

Meet Guest Author, Cathy Fyock and Discover a Must-Read, Color Today Pretty by Stephanie Feger

Friends! I’ve got a big treat for y’all this week.  You’re going to get to hear from Cathy Fyock, a super talented book coach who lives right here in Louisville. I’m one of many beneficiaries of her talent, because she got me started with my book, God bless her!

Cathy’s going to share how she came to be a book coach plus she’ll introduce us to local author, Stephanie Feger and her new book!

Without further ado, please welcome Cathy Fyock to these pages…

Meet Cathy Fyock, The Business Book Strategist

Isn’t it just amazing how God works?!

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be a book coach helping authors write their books, I would have told you that you were crazy.

But when God has a plan, He has an amazing way of bringing all the pieces together!

I was in Human Resources in the corporate world for many years, then ended up as a consultant, speaker, and author running my own business. I was blessed to have my Mom work with me for many years (as a side note, she also worked with the amazing Liz Curtis Higgs, but that is a different story!).

When Mom passed away I lost my mom, my best friend, and my coworker all at once. I limped along in my business for a while, then decided I needed to be a part of a team. For several years I struggled to find the right team, only to learn that I am truly an entrepreneur who needed to have her own company. But what to do?

About this same time I received a call from the National Speakers Association Kentucky chapter (I’ve been a member now for 30 years), and the president told me he’d heard I’d written my book in six weeks. (See book below.) He asked me if I had a process, and would I be willing to give a presentation for the chapter on my process? But, there was a catch—would I be willing to coach two members on their books and then give my presentation. I said, “You had me at ‘give a presentation.’”

Upon coaching these friends and giving my presentation, my colleagues asked, “Have you ever thought about being a book coach?” I said, “No, I’ve never even heard of a book coach!”

The more I started thinking about it, the more I knew this was a God-thing! It was a perfect match for me, and something I’d been training for my entire life. Isn’t God good about knowing us deeply and preparing us for His plans! In my wildest imagination I could not have dreamed up a more perfect role for me.

God introduces Stephanie and Cathy

How new author, Stephanie Feger, author of the amazing book—Color Today Pretty: An Inspirational Guide to Living a Life in Perspective—came to find me as her book coach is one of those amazing stories.

Stephanie had gone to a Bible study, and told the group that God was calling her to write. She’d been writing a blog for some time, but had no idea about how to move forward with a book. The woman sitting next to her wrote my name and number on a piece of paper, slid it to Stephanie, and the connection was made!

Stephanie’s book is about finding the Holy in the humdrum, and seeing God in everyday experiences. Through Stephanie’s relatable and powerful true stories, you’ll be inspired to lead your own life more richly.

Because I’ve been so involved in Stephanie’s book journey as her book coach, I’ve been able to witness first-hand how her book is making a difference in the lives of others. Just today she sent me this message:

“When I was writing my book, I would tell myself that if the messages in my book made a difference in one life it would be worth it. Many times, I would pray for that person who may need to read what I was inspired to write. Recently, a woman shared with me that she had suffered a stroke and was battling anxiety. One night she woke up with a panic attack and didn’t know what to do. She grabbed her Kindle and opened my book. She told me she wasn’t sure what she would have done without my book as it helped calm her in that situation. That one person I prayed for as I wrote each page, I had the opportunity to meet. THIS is why I wrote this book. For HER. For that one person.”

You’ll find God speaking with you and inspiring you in every chapter. And you’ll find yourself seeing a cardinal bird or hearing its song and think of Stephanie and her grandmother, recalling God’s way of letting each of us know He is close.

Are you ready to be inspired to find your purpose, to see the world the way my friend Stephanie Feger does, and Color Today Pretty?

To find your copy of Color Today Pretty on Amazon, follow this link:  https://www.amazon.com/Color-Today-Pretty-Inspirational-Perspective-ebook/dp/B07CSJ5HW5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530828692&sr=8-1&keywords=color+today+pretty

THANK YOU, CATHY!

And prayers and best wishes to Stephanie and her new book.

Friends, don’t miss Cathy’s other book, From Blog to Book. And if you have an inkling about writing a book yourself, jump on the phone and give Cathy a call. She’ll gift you with a vision for where you’re going.

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Post

Come Meet Author Sarah Ladd and Learn About Her Novel, “The Heiress of Winterwood”, Monday, April 24th, 6:30-8:00 P.M.

Friends! I pray you and your family had a blessed Easter. We rejoice that He is risen, indeed.

It’s with great excitement I get to tell you a wee bit about Book Club and turn over the details to my dear friend, Nancy Tinnell. Nancy will reveal what all is happening next Monday, April 24th. Be thinking about who you’ll invite to bring with you to Book Club! You do NOT want to miss this!

The gals at Branches Book Club have really cooked up some fun. Here’s the book they’ll be discussing:

Even better, you’ll get to meet the author, Sarah Ladd!

Now, please allow me to pass my pen to Nancy Tinnell:


“The Heiress of Winterwood”
Sarah Ladd

Why do we love Regency fiction so much? Even as an adult, it’s easy to fantasize about a wardrobe of empire waist dresses with ribbons trailing down the back, and, of course, an upswept hairdo!  Shades of Mr. Darcy!

Sarah Ladd makes it easy to love period fiction in The Heiress of Winterwood. Though we may look back on those days with the idea that it was a quiet and genteel time, Sarah brings to the surface the reality of what it’s like to marry under pressure so you don’t lose your property; the struggle Amelia Barrett experiences when she finds her heart has been touched by another man; the disappointment felt when trusted family members are found to be not so trustworthy.

Amelia is a “good girl,” a rule follower, and she must learn that sometimes being obedient and faithful to God challenges our own rules and requires that we follow Him. Oh, how Amelia learns to trust in the Lord and lean not on her own understanding! (A vision of Proverbs 3:5-6!)

Author Sarah Ladd will be joining us at Branches Book Club on Monday, April 24th, at 6:30 p.m. for the final meeting this spring before we break for summer. What a great time this will be to ask her questions about her work.

As a bonus, Lifeway Christian Store will have a display of Sarah’s books, AND, last but not least, Lifeway will be selling copies of our next season’s book club selections at a discount. Can it get any better than that?

Well, as a matter of fact, it can! Our snack theme is an English tea party, a la Downton Abbey! Bring your finger sandwiches and cookies (or biscuits, as the British say), and enjoy an evening with Sarah Ladd and your book club friends. There will be door prizes, tea and dainties to consume, and the schedule for fall and spring’s book club selections, so you can get a head start this summer.

You may remember author Kristy Cambron’s visit last September when we read her book, The Ringmaster’s Wife. Kristy and Sarah are friends, and it was she who suggested we invite Sarah to be with us. All of us at Branches Book Club are excited Sarah’s coming, and, of course, we hope to see all of you! Make plans to join us!


THANK YOU, NANCY!

Please call Middletown United Methodist to RSVP at: (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Clubs, Book Reviews, Guest Post

Guest Author, Robert J. Morgan, tells us about his new book: The Strength You Need—The Twelve Great Strength Passages of the Bible (Releasing August 16th!)

Friends! We are so blessed this week to get to hear from author and preacher Rob Morgan about his new book, The Strength You Need. I can’t wait to read it as every book Rob writes becomes my favorite.

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Rob is the Teaching Pastor at Donelson Fellowship Church in Nashville, Tennessee. (www.donelson.org ) He’s been preaching, shepherding and serving there for thirty-five years. John and I go hear him preach whenever we’re in Nashville. His church is only five minutes from Opryland.

Rob has been most gracious to drive in from Nashville to speak at two book clubs I’ve had the pleasure of attending in Louisville. He came to Southeast Christian several years ago when we read his book One Hundred Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart. Last fall he came to Middletown United Methodist Church when we discussed The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times.

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Rob and his lovely wife, Katrina, worked together on this newest book, The Strength You Need–The Twelve Great Strength Passages of the Bible. Katrina has been valiantly fighting multiple sclerosis for years. He told me that even tho’ she’s in a weakened state, she contributed a paragraph at the end of each chapter–all the more reason to want to read this book! (Please keep Katrina in your prayers.)

Rob and Katrina are about to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary with their family at the beach the end of this month. They’re blessed with three daughters and fourteen grandchildren. (You don’t want to miss their experiences in raising sheep when the girls were young in The Lord is My Shepherd—Exploring Psalm 23.)

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Rob recently sent me an excerpt from his newest book.  Without further ado, let’s enjoy some wonderful words from our author while praying we can wait patiently for the August 16th release date of The Strength You Need


“From Strength to Strength”

By Robert J. Morgan

(Adapted from the conclusion of his book, The Strength You Need)

Last night I stood on the front porch and watched the sun descend like a burning plate behind the horizon. This morning while brushing my teeth, I saw the same sun arise on the opposite side, ascending over the tree line like a blazing disk. I thought of the old song, “Awake, my soul, and with the sun thy daily stage of duty run.”

Who knows how many days are left us in this world? How long until the Lord returns? Not long, I think. We have work to do and a cause to advance, and we need all the strength we can muster.

Psalm 84 tells the story of a pilgrim like us, a traveler preparing for his annual trek to Jerusalem for one of the great Jewish festivals. For him, the greatest thing was visiting the Jewish Temple, standing in its courtyards, listening to its choirs, and sensing the presence of the Lord God. “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord,” he said in verse 2. But the trip was rigorous, dangerous, and demanding. Where would he find strength for the journey, especially through the hot valley of Baka?

He exclaimed in verses 5-7:

Psalm 84

We can learn from this Psalm. Our lives are a pilgrimage to the city whose architect and builder is God. We’re travelers tackling rugged terrain. As we press on, strengthened by the Lord, we leave blessings behind us. We turn waterless valleys into irrigated landscapes. We go from strength to strength, from day to day, from faith to faith, and from glory to glory. Along the way, the Lord will provide the strength we need.

Here are some power lines stretching from heaven right into your heart. These are some of the great strength passages of the Bible. My wife, Katrina, and I have searched these out and have written about them in my book The Strength You Need. Read them, and claim one of them for your pilgrimage today.

  • Your strength will equal your days – Deuteronomy 33:25.
  • The eyes of the Lord range to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him – 2 Chronicles 16:9.
  • The joy of the Lord is your strength – Nehemiah 8:10.
  • The Lord is our refuge and strength – Psalm 46:1
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me – Philippians 4:13.
  • Out of His glorious riches He will strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being – Ephesians 3:16.

 

 

THANK YOU, ROB!!!  Blessings to you, your family, your church and please keep writing!

August 16th won’t come soon enough! May we stop and take hold of those “power lines” to strengthen us.

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Post

Guest Author Liz Curtis Higgs Completes our Back to School Survival Series: It’s Good to Learn (Part 4 of 4)

Greetings, sweet friends!   I pray you’ve had the opportunity to grab onto (and not let go of) the past three posts on back-to-school survival.  These survival tactics are equipping us adults to survive not only this back-to-school month, but are giving us ways to survive daily living. If you’ve missed any, here are the links to our previous three survival skills:

Prayer…

Worship…

Wellness/Nutrition…

It is my distinct honor and privilege to turn you over to my dear friend and mentor, Liz Curtis Higgs, who will give us our fourth survival tactic. Oh, do you ever have something to look forward to!!! (www.lizcurtsihiggs.com)

Lizzie came to our Bible study this past Tuesday. She kicked off our 10-week study straight from her amazing book, It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba. She taught us all about diving into God’s Word and the many pearls we can glean.

Tears from laughter and from His revealed Word touching our daily lives fell on many a Kleenex. Liz’ life lessons blessed all of us a thousand fold.

You’ll see our time together didn’t end with Bible study, it rolled onward and out the door for lunch. She tells it better than me. (Only for her would I try a restaurant I’d never been to before. You’ll see….)

Please give a hearty welcome to Lizzie and hear from her WHY IT’S GOOD TO LEARN…. 

—————HERE is Liz Curtis Higgs!!!———-

It is Good to Learn  

By Liz Curtis Higgs

Hoagland Study 01a Group

Gathering with a group of friends to study the Bible is the most fun a girl can have on a Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday) morning. Not kidding.

This is how one group does things (and does it well!).

First they eat. Then they meet. They stay parked in the Word for an hour or so, with open minds and open hearts, not to mention a good deal of laughing and crying and learning and growing. Just the best. Finally, they pray. And then they eat.

Really, is there anything not to love about a day like that?

Hoagland Study 01b Books

Facts don’t make us bold. Faith makes us bold.~ It’s Good to Be Queen

This week I joined Elizabeth and a dozen other delightful sisters in Christ to kick off their fall Bible study with It’s Good to Be Queen. Right. My own book. Kinda scary. I thought, What if they don’t share with one another, since I’m there in the room?

Not to worry. This was a lively bunch. They were glad to be together and glad to be in the Word. And seriously, look how cute they are!

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Hoagland Study 03 TV

Hoagland Study 04 Duo

Hoagland Study 05 Trio

Group dynamics are a wonder to behold, aren’t they? At every Bible study, God brings together talkers and listeners, thinkers and doers. Every person matters, and their unique perspective on the material adds to the group experience.

The best part was having one empty seat—a reminder that the Lord was with us, just as He promises: “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

For chapter one, we studied a single but powerful verse:

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 1 Kings 10:1

All of us agreed the one word that really got our attention was relationship. King Solomon of Israel didn’t merely worship the Lord—he had a relationship with Him. This surely amazed the queen of Sheba every bit as much as the king’s renowned wisdom did, since she came from a country that worshiped a hundred different deities. One could hardly have a relationship with the sun or the moon. What a concept for this pagan queen to grasp!

Her curiosity and hunger for wisdom sent her on a two-month journey across the Arabian Desert. Roughly fifteen hundred miles. On a camel. Oh my.

Sheba was bold, all right. She didn’t come to simply listen to Solomon, like other rulers of the Near East did. She came to test him, and with hard questions at that.

We kicked around some questions of our own during the discussion time. I may have written the book, but believe me, these bright women had plenty to teach me. Bible studies are less about teacher/student than they are about willing learners getting together to read, study, and encourage one another, using God’s Word as their first and foremost resource.

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With Sheba’s royal boldness beating in our hearts, we took our own (much shorter) journey to the Queen of Sheba restaurant in Louisville for lunch. Really, how could we not?

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Hoagland Study 08 QOS Menu

Hoagland Study 09 Table Side 2

Hoagland Study 10 QOS Meal

The food was exotic, the fellowship was wonderful, and the opportunity to bless our server let us put our faith into action in lots of positive ways. With more visiting queens planned for the weeks ahead, Tuesdays with Elizabeth and Susan are going to be a blast!

Interested in learning more about the queen of Sheba? Here are some links that might be helpful:

Weekly Bible study blog for It’s Good to Be Queen

Free videos to enhance your study of It’s Good to Be Queen

A Shebalicious Pinterest board for the queen

More fun info about It’s Good to Be Queen

Hoagland Study 11 Liz

Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. She’s the author of 32 books with 4.6 million copies in print, including Bad Girls of the Bible and her latest, It’s Good to Be Queen. Liz has also spoken at 1,700 women’s conferences in all 50 United States and 14 foreign countries, including Women of Faith, Women of Joy, and Extraordinary Women. Liz and her family are grateful to call Louisville, Kentucky home.

————————–THANK YOU, LIZ!!!——————————

Nobody says it like Liz. Truly one of her many gifts is writing which teaches us there’s nothing more important to one’s survival than being in the Word. Studying the Word. Talking about the Word. Translation: Bible study!

Liz told us her most favorite thing to do in all the world is to teach God’s Word. I can tell my Tuesday group’s next nine weeks together is going to be something spectacular indeed. Why don’t you grab some friends and try it?

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews, Friends, Guest Post

Judy Russell Challenges us to Spend More Time AROUND THE TABLE (With Help from Leonard Sweet’s book: From Tablet to Table–Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed)

Greetings!  It’s my pleasure to introduce you to a dear friend and mentor of mine, Judy Russell.  Many of you are blessed to  know her and have been equally blessed to know and hear her husband, Bob, preach.

Last week we talked about the upcoming Summer Bible study on Bob’s most recent book, Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain.  I promised you’d get to hear from Judy and Bob here on the blog, so this week Judy is issuing quite a challenge for us and our families. 

I predict you’ll want to read the book she discusses as well as take her up on her challenge to gather around a table!!! 

Please join me in welcoming Judy Russell, a precious gal who can do more than all of us put together, with gracious hospitality, all the while smiling away…..

 

“Gathering Around the Table CHALLENGE”

by Judy Russell

“My Grandmother makes the best brownies and chocolate chip cookies in the world!”  This was the rather declarative sentence quipped by my eight-year-old grandson to his buddies recently… He was telling how some of his friends had been saying their grandmother’s cookies were the best.  Of course, I jumped on that opportunity and hugged him tightly!

Although I seldom cook anymore, I still enjoy hosting family and friends. Thank goodness for carry out and caterers, and don’t forget chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven!

I remember as a child, listening intently about work in foreign countries and churches in other towns, as the minister and his family would gather at our kitchen table.  We listened, laughed, cried and prayed.

My mother cooked the best roast beef ever!  A bounty of fresh vegetables filled huge bowls, and nearly always a homemade devil’s food chocolate cake graced the table.  Our table wasn’t fancy with china, crystal goblets or real silver.  But it was laden with the bounty God had provided. Bob’s parents entertained many people at their table as well. Naturally it was easy for our family to follow suit.

There is something uniquely special that happens around the table. We have had a variety of guests put their feet under our table:  family, friends, students, professors, authors, missionaries, preachers, political figures, coaches, sports figures, staff, college interns, Bible study groups, neighbors, etc.

When I think of all those people that have graced our home at meals and the moments of laughter, tears and prayers, I am reminded of how blessed we are to spend time with them—sharing our lives, telling stories, and talking about all kinds of things.

Pictured here in Bob and Judy’s dining room, are our friends, a/k/a The Butter Babes.  Fay’s  at the head of the table.  To her left is Bonnie, Nancy, Judy and Elizabeth.)

Pictured here in Bob and Judy’s dining room, are our friends, a/k/a The Butter Babes. Fay’s at the head of the table. To her left is Bonnie, Nancy, Judy and Elizabeth.)

There are seventy-six references in Scripture about eating together at a table. Think about this for a moment:  Our Lord, at birth, was laid in a feeding trough – a table for animals.  And he broke bread with his disciples at his last meal, at a table!

 The Table is an important fixture in our lives.  Jesus invites us to meet with Him at His Table every Lord’s Day. 

Leonard Sweet’s book, From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed, spurred my thinking. He writes, “… one thing that would dramatically change the world we live in and help return us to our rootedness in Christ is this:  Bring back the Table!

If only we would make the table the most sacred object of furniture in every home…”The table is the place where identity is born. It is the place where the story of our lives is retold, re-minded and relived.”

He warns, “The average parent spends only 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.  We are losing the Table.”

From Tablet to Table

Here are some staggering statistics:

Sixty years ago, the average dinnertime was ninety minutes. Today, it’s less than twelve minutes.”  www.thescramble.com/family-dinner-challenge/

The average Dad spends less than seven minutes a day in meaningful conversation with his kids.  Jeff Hay says – “INSIST on Family Meal Times – buck the drive-thru trend!”   http://www.thedadvibe.com/parents-spend-less-than-7-minutes-a-day-talking-to-kids/

Registered dietician and author, Becky Hand, lists eight reasons for eating together:

“(1) Improving Communication,

(2) Modeling Manners,

(3) Expanding children’s understanding of the world – one food at a time,

(4) Nourishing, Healthy foods,

(5) Teaching Self-Sufficiency,

(6) Preventing Destructive Behaviors,

(7) Improving Grades and

(8) Saving Money.”

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=439

Time magazine recently featured an article, “The Magic of the Family Meal”, reprinted from, Eating Smart.  It said, “There is something special about a shared meal, not some holiday blowout once in a while, but regularly, reliably eating together that anchors a familyeven on nights when the food is fast and the talk is cheap and everyone has someplace they’d rather be.”

According to Time, “Studies show the more often families eat together the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders or to consider suicide. The more likely they are to do well in school and delay having sex. Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to get A’s and B’s in school.  The older the kids are, the more they need this protected time together, but the less likely they are to get it”.

https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/magic-family-meal

We are all guilty of rushing through mealtime. An average American eats one in five meals in their car!  Technology interrupts mealtime.  Gone are discussions of life, moments of teaching and learning. Gone are times that could be the happiest parts of our day–Gathering Around the Table where traditions are formed and favorite foods are served.

Every Thanksgiving our family passes the “Blessing Pot”.  Each person expresses something they are thankful for and shares why they are thankful.  Prayer is a vital part of every meal. Traditions and story telling fill our hearts with love, comfort, and security that brings laughter and joy to the table.  If we really want to get to know someone’s story, sitting down at the table and breaking bread together is the best way to start.

Bob and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.   We had a wonderful time vacationing in the Smokey Mountains with family where we had taken our honeymoon 50 years earlier as well as many family vacations.

From left to right are:  Kimberly, Corrie, Phil, Lisa, Kellie, Chapman, Andy, Johnny, Rusty, Judy, Bob, Tommy, and Charlie.

From left to right are: Kimberly, Corrie, Phil, Lisa, Kellie, Chapman, Andy, Johnny, Rusty, Judy, Bob, Tommy, and Charlie.

Gathering around the table one night, the boys asked, “Tell us again, how you met?  Where was your first date?”  Chances are, those questions would never have been asked had we not gathered around the table!  

I challenge you to regularly start eating with your family at the table. Choose breakfast or lunch or dinner.   But EAT at a table, not at the kitchen counter, SIT at a table so you can look into each other’s eyes! It could even be a picnic or at a restaurant.

Gather at a table!  Just do it – unrushed, uninterrupted and full of stories!  Invite people into your home and ask them questions about their lives, too.  Gathering around the table will bring you more joy than you can imagine.

Don’t delay!  Do this!

“We all need to eat and drink to stay alive. But having a meal is more than eating and drinking. It is celebrating the gifts of life we share. A meal together is one of the most intimate and sacred human events. Around the table we become vulnerable, filling one another’s plates and cups and encouraging one another to eat and drink. Much more happens at a meal than satisfying hunger and quenching thirst. Around the table we become family, friends, community, yes, a body.

That is why it is so important to “set” the table. Flowers, candles, colorful napkins all help us to say to one another, ‘This is a very special time for us, let’s enjoy it!’” – Henri Nouwen

 

THANK YOU, JUDY!!!  Great  post with challenging ideas as well as scary statistics to keep us on our toes! 

My very favorite story on Judy’s Grandmothering skills took place the year Rusty and Kellie moved to Florida.  (By the way, if you’ve not heard Rusty preach before, dash over to his church’s website and watch: www.newdaychristian.net )

Judy worried her grandchildren would really miss the autumn foliage, living in Florida.  So once the leaves turned here in Kentucky, she literally boxed up and shipped a LOTof fall leaves for her grandchildren to play with in Florida.  Who does that?  Only an over-the-top dedicated and devoted Grandmother!!!  One of the many reasons we all love her so!!!!

Happy 50th to you and Bob, Judy, and thanks for all you do for countless friends and family members, day in and day out, shining the light of Christ.

Thanks to you, we will all be more conscious to sit and eat around the table!!!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Family, Friends, Guest Post, Life Lessons

Why Can’t Anyone See I’m Still Mourning??? GUEST AUTHOR Angela Correll Teaches About Grace While Mourning… PLUS FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

FIRST, WHAT YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT SWEET ANGELA:

Our gracious God orchestrated a connection with Stanford, Kentucky author, Angela Correll recently. Thanks to several friends, Jan Watson being one of them, our paths began to cross. (Jan was recently interviewed and featured here and here)

Additionally, Angela and I were connected via Nancy Sleeth as their husbands are friends and they share many interests. (Nancy also recently wrote a challenging article on Sabbath)

Next up, my buddy Judy Russell, (Hoping to hear from Judy in the next few weeks for you readers!) of the notorious Butter Babes, got to meet Angela when she was in Louisville doing a book signing at Carmichael’s for her novel GroundedJudy said, “You have GOT to meet Angela!”

Grounded

 (***IF you comment at the end, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Angela’s book!***)

We (The Butter Babes) took it upon ourselves to take a road trip over to Stanford, become acquainted with Angela, and check out the farm-to-table restaurant she’s co-owner of, The Bluebird Café.   (www.bluebirdnatural.com )  Angela met us for a scrumptious lunch, even graciously treating us(!!!).  During lunch she and Fay realized they were at Georgetown College together, just a few years ago.  Can the world be any smaller?

Fay Bloyd, Angela Correll, Bonnie Johnson, Nancy Aguiar, Judy Russell and Yours Truly

Fay Bloyd, Angela Correll, Bonnie Johnson, Nancy Aguiar, Judy Russell and Yours Truly

bluebird salad

After lunch, Angela took us across the street to her darling store, Kentucky Soaps and Such.  We did some feverish shopping, including snagging some of her wonderful goat’s milk soaps and lotions and made-in-Kentucky gifts. (www.kentuckysoapsandsuch.com) Sidebar:  After running out of what I’d bought,  I ordered more products for myself and have given countless others away for gifts.  These have been a huge hit among my friends. My favorite is the body cream with the “summer rain” scent.

Kentucky soaps and such

A woman of many talents, Angela gave us tours of some of their newly renovated guest houses which are lovely. One of my friends booked one during Centre College’s graduation as they’re only ten miles from Danville.  These would be perfect for retreats, weddings, a romantic getaway, etc.  (www.wildernessroadguest.com )

Bathroom

Pictured here in the front row are: Nancy Aguiar and Bonnie Johnson. Back row, left to right is: Judy Russell, Fay Bloyd and Yours Truly

Pictured here in the front row are: Nancy Aguiar and Bonnie Johnson. Back row, left to right is: Judy Russell, Fay Bloyd and Yours Truly

The Butter Babes are pictured above on Angela’s front porch.  We loved seeing the goats wandering around whose milk they use to make the soaps and lotions.  Angela lives on this beautiful, rolling farm with her husband, Jess.  They raise grass-fed cattle, horses, goats and chickens.  (The Proverbs 31 Woman comes to mind.)

–NOW…..PLEASE SIT BACK AND ENJOY ENCOURAGING, RELATABLE WORDS  FROM GUEST AUTHOR AND FRIEND, ANGELA CORRELL…..

 A Time For Everything - Sunpic

by Angela Correll

There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4

A season of mourning used to be practiced in our country as a time set aside for people to show the signs of grief outwardly.

Most of us are only able to picture that kind of grieving because we’ve seen a movie like “Gone with the Wind,” where proper society demanded the bereaved wear black for a year and turn down social engagements.

But well into the last century, a time of mourning was still common practice, with department stores having entire sections devoted to mourning clothes. A bereaved person was given the time and space to properly mourn and heal the loss of a loved one.

Everyone who came in contact with a person in mourning understood that something quite devastating had happened. They were given a little extra understanding, more time to be out of a normal routine, and more patience in everyday expectations. The time periods allotted could be anywhere from a six months to a year.

We lost our son-in-law two years ago in April. We loved him as a person, but he was also husband to our daughter and father to our dear grandchildren, only three and five years old. It was unexpected and it was shocking.

For about two weeks, we were able to grieve and stop our normal routine, but work demands gradually pulled us back in, and we made the attempt to continue life as we had before since it seemed that was what was expected of us.

But that’s like walking out of the hospital after your foot has been amputated and having everyone expect you to start running again in two weeks. No one thinks that though, because the bandages are a visible reminder of the surgery. That’s where mourning clothes would come in handy. It’s that outward sign that says to the world, “Give this person some room. They are not whole yet.”

Just as when a person heals from surgery, the whole of their physical strength is working to heal the injured place. This means they’re left with very little energy to do anything else. It’s the very same with an emotional injury like grief.

By the end of that first summer, the smallest of tasks exhausted us. I realized we made a mistake by trying to get back to normal far too soon. Yet it seemed everyone around us expected life to go on as before, although it would never be quite the same for us again. I longed for the culture of mourning so I could wear a reminder to others that things weren’t quite right yet and to please give us a little extra grace.

Truthfully, I have done the same to others by carrying on with unrealistic expectations. And it’s unlikely our society will go back to the mourning period anytime soon. But, it did make me think about others who have suffered losses. Since they aren’t wearing black, I don’t always know, but maybe it’s the store clerk who was a little short with me when I asked a question; maybe it’s the church member who didn’t smile and greet me; or maybe it’s someone I do know is grieving.

Whatever the case, I hope I can give out an extra measure of grace, just in case.

Angela Correll is the author of Grounded and the upcoming novel, Guarded. www.angelacorrell.com

——————————————–THANK YOU, ANGELA!————————

From Elizabeth now:

What wonderful words to live by!  It’s a shame we grievers don’t still wear black beyond the funeral!  May we all be in tune to those around us who are grieving while extending more grace.

Angela, we cannot wait for your NEXT NOVEL, Guarded, to hit the stores!!!  Coming December 1st!!!  (By the way dear readers, if you’ve not read Grounded yet, be sure to do that before Guarded hits the bookshelves!  It’s a wonderful page-turner full of blessings and surprises.)

Here’s what we have to look forward to in Guarded:

“When restoration of the old stone house uncovers a family secret, Annie must travel to Italy to search out the answer, leaving her grandmother with a disruptive houseguest, and dealing with her own paralyzing fears about her relationship with Jake.  Guarded is the sequel to Grounded, a bestseller on Amazon in Christian fiction and contemporary romance.”

(Favorite four words in the above paragraph: must travel to Italy.  Mamma Mia.  You’ve got my attention!!!)

Blessings to you, Angela, and we hope to make another road trip your way real soon!

Seems we are all on the same page over mourning this week… Please read more words of encouragement from Kurt Sauter.

‘Til next time!

***DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT AND BE IN THE DRAWING TO WIN A COPY OF GROUNDED***

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Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Guest Post

Four Fabulous Glimpses of Love in February…This week features guest author Debora M. Coty and FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

Bountiful Blessings to you, dear reader!  I’m excited to share that throughout 2015, I will periodically be introducing you to some STELLAR writing from some STELLAR authors who have graciously agreed to send us guest posts. Plus, I will be giving away one of their books to one of YOU who posts a comment! After a week’s time, I’ll put your names in a hat and ask dear hubster to draw a lucky soul who’ll be sent a free book!!!  So let us hear from you!!!

This month kicks us off with my very fun-n-talented friend in Florida, Debora M. Coty.  You may recall I featured five fun   posts about her book, Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolate in 2013.  (For more information, click on “Move Over Mom, I’m Drivin’”, or “My Mother’s My Travel Agent for a Guilt Trip”, or “Oh Man, I’m Goin’ Down…When You Think You May Faint”, or “Callin’ All Worrywarts”, or “Slaying Dragons at Deals’ Gap—Figuratively and Literally”) 15103243 Without further ado, allow me to present to you a lovely, lively, laugh-out-loud lesson on love (and DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!!!) :

Love Your Man Enough to Zip It

By Deborah M. Coty

(Adapted from Debora’s newest Take On Life Series Too Loved to Be Lost)

Too Loved To Be Lost I truly love my man, Chuck. I do. But even after 36 years of marriage, the way he thinks completely befuddles me.

One day he got a hankering to do yard work. That in itself was phenomenal. So out he went to mow, trim, weed-whack, and leaf-blow. When he came in, filthy from head to toe, he informed me with a gleam of pride in his eye that he’d tidied up the backyard flowerbed for me and fixed the sprinkler problem.

Sprinkler problem? There was no sprinkler problem. Uh oh.

Now you first have to understand that although the lawn is his job, the flowerbeds are my domain. I plan, plant, and carefully nurture each and every flower, shrub, and ornamental. I often talk to them and sometimes even sing to them. Don’t laugh. They’re my little green babies.

So imagine my absolute horror when I walked out the back door to find my gorgeous six-foot philodendron stretched out like a dead body beside the garbage can. It had been hacked off at the base.

I was so devastated I could barely breathe as I stared at the gaping hole in the row of seven enormous, wondrously healthy philodendrons I had planted and lovingly coaxed to adulthood during the past three years. The one in the middle was missing. The one by the sprinkler head.

Chuck, with his logical see-a-problem-so-fix-it male brain, had decided that the plant had grown so big, it was blocking the sprinkler. What he failed to consider was that the whole point of the sprinkler was to grow the plant big.

The rage fuse lit somewhere in my innards and erupted into an inferno. I was ready to storm inside and scorch the remaining hair off Chuck’s head. But something stopped me. It was Papa God reminding me of Proverbs 18:2 (NIV): “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

To tell you the truth, I was so livid, I didn’t much care whether I was a fool or not at that moment. But I knew Papa did. So I just stood there praying for a new herspective (my term for a woman’s point of view), sobbing quietly so the neighbors wouldn’t call the men in white jackets to haul me away.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Chuck covertly watching me from the porch. My mind flew back to the funeral I had recently attended of a woman I’d known since childhood. During the heart-melting eulogy, her husband of 58 years praised the way she’d held their marriage together through difficult times and said in a grief-choked voice, “She never looked down on me in all those years – she always looked up at me in respect …even when I didn’t deserve it. ”

Then their 40-something daughter admitted that that during her entire lifetime she’d never heard her mother say one bad word about her father.

Gulp. Those words hit me hard. I was so convicted about criticizing my husband – much of it in my own mind – that I vowed to show him more respect. Even when it seemed undeserved. 

So standing there in my backyard, I prayed. “Lord, help me understand him, not criticize him. I know he meant well and was only trying to please me. Glue my mouth shut, Papa; help me forgive him and really appreciate all he does for me.”

Later that afternoon, I got up enough courage to go back out to the flowerbed to attempt some damage control. To my surprise, there in the gap next to the stark green stump, stood my listing, drooping philodendron. Chuck had dug a hole and tried to replant the poor rootless thing. He’d even watered it.

I burst into tears again, but this time they were warm tears of gratitude. Oh, I knew there was no hope for the philodendron, but the point was that by me not blowing up and instead following Papa God’s loving lead, what could have been a marital Hiroshima … wasn’t.

Dr. Gary Campbell says, “Love is a choice you make every day. And in choosing love, you’re following Christ’s example. Nothing is more Christlike than loving your spouse.”

So girlfriend, the next time you find your Godiva stash missing because your guy is helping you stick to your diet, choose love. And remember the verse I just might have tattooed across my forehead, “Keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23, NLT).   Deborah M Coty Bio: Debora M Coty is a humorist, speaker, and award-winning author of 14 books including Too Loved to be Lost, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, and Too Blessed to be Stressed. Mother of two and Mimi of one adorable grandbuddy, Deb lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her horticulturally-challenged husband Chuck and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway. Visit with Deb at www.DeboraCoty.com  

 

GREAT POST, DEBBIE!  THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH FOR GREAT LESSONS WE ALL NEED TO REMEMBER.  WE HAVE SNOW UP HERE IN LOUISVILLE TODAY….HOPE YOU’RE BASKING ON THE BEACH.  WARM HUGS….Elizabeth =)   

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Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Post