Tag Archives: Debora Coty

Encouragement We Need This Mother’s Day Week…

Friends!  Blessings to you this Mother’s Day Week!  Whether you’re a Mom, or an Aunt, or a Grandmother, or a Mother-like-neighbor, I pray we’ll all be encouraged this week not only for ourselves, but so we may in turn encourage the precious Moms who are in our lives.

Many of us know Mothering is no piece of cake.  It’s the most rewarding experience we can have, and yet it’s one of the most difficult jobs we’ll ever hold. (As in it never ends.  Case in point:  My sweet Mother-in-love, who’s a mere eighty-six years old, is found often worrying about one of her sixty-something daughters who’s battling Parkinson’s.)

I nearly fell out of my chair this morning (for many reasons you’ll soon see) as I was reading a devotional by my good buddy, Debora Coty.  I’ve written about this book before, Too Blessed to Be Stressed—Inspiration for Every Day—365 Devotions for Women, but this particular entry is well worth sharing.  First, here’s the book:

Second, let’s have some fun and encouragement together thanks to Debora’s entry on May 8th, Surviving the Hood.  (“Hood”, of course, referring to Motherhood.   LOL.)

Debora believes our reward awaiting us in Heaven will be “something akin to a twenty-four-year deluxe spa treatment with a Godiva smorgasbord.” I knew as soon as I read that I was all in on this day’s devotion.

Debora dubs her friends who are moms “mom-sisters.”  Let’s just see how some of their quotes affect you:

  • “Giving birth to a child is the beginning of a long good-bye.” (Debora’s friend, Sarah) This is killer.  Don’t even broach this subject with me as our family has just been blessed with our first grandchild…
  • “If you wouldn’t want someone calling you poopy-face, don’t call anyone else poopy-face.” (Deborah’s friend Debbie explaining Matthew 7:12, a/k/a The Golden Rule, to her twins.) This is grand “toddler speak.”

  • “I’m a parenting survivor!” (Deborah’s friend Carol at her son’s high school graduation.) This is brilliant  and empowering given the popularity of Survivor on TV. Yes! Let’s say that together, “I am a survivor!”…

Take a moment to pour over these little numbers.  I still can’t believe this:

  • “Think you’re busy? According to Guinness World Records, the greatest number of children born to one mother is sixty-nine children (an 18th century Russian peasant)…

She had twenty-seven pregnancies:

 16 sets of twins,

7 sets of triplets, and

4  sets of quads.

 I’m betting her tombstone said, ‘Rest in Peace. Finally.’”  I know.  Mercy sakes’ alive…

And, I love this…Here’s what happens when your kids finally get a glimpse of what you’ve been thru’:

  • “When my friend Eddie asked her son, married one year, when he planned to have kids, he answered, ‘I’m not ready to share my fries like you always did, Mom.’” I confess I didn’t always want to share my fries or cookies or…

Finally Debora leaves us a jewel of a Scripture to encourage us to “continue to diligently pray for our children and grandchildren”:

If you’d like to learn more about Debora’s devotional, here’s the link to my recent review.  All of Debora’s books are wonderful with her hysterical humor and heartfelt devotion to our Lord, whom she calls “Papa God.” Checkout her website:  www.deboracoty.com

Happy Mother’s Day!  And many thanks to my dear Floridian friend and mentor, Debora Coty, who continues to bless me every day.

Next week you’re in for another treat with some astonishing stories proving God pursues us even as young children…

‘Til next time!

P.S. It’s our distinct, overwhelming pleasure to announce the birth of our first grandchild, Claire Elizabeth Hoagland.  Born May 9th at 9:17 a.m.  Mamma Diana, Papa John Jr.  and Baby Claire are well. Huge answer to prayer! We praise you, Lord.  Claire weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz., and is 20 inches long. Here we go on our new adventure!!! Needless to say we’re ALL smitten. =)

Here is the girls’ side of the table at Our Last Supper before Baby Claire’s arrival. Left to right:  Yours truly, LT, Lauren, and Diana (9+ mos. pregnant!) This was at one of our favorite hangouts, Noosh Nosh.

 

Here are the new proud parents, Diana and John Jr with Baby Claire.

Have you ever seen any bigger ear-to-ear grins on new grandparents?  We hope to be called Lolly and Poppy, but I’m told whatever the grand darlin’s call us is what we’re called.  So be it for the little angel.

Here, unbelievably, are our three grown sons with Claire.  Left to right, Proud new father John Jr., Uncle Woody in the center with Claire, and Uncle Gordy (maybe Uncle “G”) on the right.

Amen and Amen.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holidays, Scripture

Let’s Get Inspired EVERY DAY, Thanks to Author Debora M. Coty

Friends!  No, you’re not seeing double, but due to my multi-tasking I had the wrong cover of this wonderful book I’m sharing about.  So the below is what you need.  My apologies!  Please enjoy:

Friends!  Have I ever got good news to share with you!  Spring has sprung, and with it, daily inspiration, thanks to author Debora Coty and her new book, Too Blessed to be Stressed…Inspiration for Every Day.

Short and sweet, each devotion includes a clever title, a Scripture verse, an anecdote to go along with the title, and a prayer to close it out.  One of many, many of my favorites is entitled, “Perfecting My Stinky Face.” (Makes you curious, doesn’t it?)

For those of you who don’t know Debora, you’ll love getting to know her because she has the funniest sense of humor I’ve read in a long, long time.  She’s also a great storyteller and you’ll think you’re sitting right next to her while she tells you what’s transpired.

I love how she calls her grandson “grandbuddy.”  His name is Blaine and in this particular story, he was watching her put her face on…Wondering what all that stuff was, Blaine asked his Mimi what it does.

Deb told him her blush gave her more color.  He then  asked why his Mimi wanted to be pink. (!!!)

Next up, a little spray of perfume.  Further curious, typical of a three year-old, the “why” question returned.  Deb told him she thought her perfume made her smell pretty.

Oh, Blaine’s response is worthy of an award for best comedy:  While making a stinky face…he said, “Uggghh.  You smell like my Pull-Ups.”  Wow. Outta the mouths of babes.

Her point to this devotion is we all make “stinky faces” over something.  Not so pretty to look at when passing a mirror.  Many times we don’t even realize the scour our faces are sportin’…

Deb teaches us, “The face is the window into the mind.  Reading expressions is our feedback mechanism to know what’s going on inside others.”  Reminds me of that saying, “If you’re so happy, you may want to notify your face.”  Makes me laugh every time.

Right before the ending of the devotional, Deb asks us to consider a couple of questions:

 “So does my countenance bless or intimidate people?”

“Does Jesus-joy shine through my eyes and encourage through my smile?”

While we readers are pondering those questions, Deb closes with a beautiful prayer:

See how neat this devotional is?  And it’s just one of three hundred and sixty-five!  One  for each day.  And you know my rule for devotionals:  “Like shoes, you can never have too many devotionals.  Change them up as your mood does.”

Last year, I was blessed to get to meet Debora in person in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Hubster and I happened to be vacationing there for a few days .  She drove over from Tampa just so we could meet face to face (our faces were happy that day!!!) and sip on some tea. We had a ball and our time flew out to sea before we were close to being finished.

Deb and I’d been emailing for a few years after my happy discovery of her book Fear, Faith and  a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s WorriesIt’s another one not to miss.

I love what one of her endorsers, Rhonda Rhea,  says of this devotional, “Too Blessed to be Stressed…is just like the right touch of soul caffeine—perfect for my morning. I love that it’s compact and clever. Witty and heartwarming, yes, but best of all the wisdom tucked inside is biblical, and each devotion directs my focus to God who wants my day…”

A couple more fun facts and then we’ll close…So back in 2011, Too Blessed to be Stressed—Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life’s Stress-Pool was published.  Debora’s publisher got the bright notion to birth a few more offshoots from this and a cookbook was born as well as a three-minute devotional which then led to this three hundred and sixty-five day one.  (See the post from March 2016 for more on Deb)

Debora says this devotional is “ready to rescue readers from the joy-sucking dully-funks.”  The devotions cover about any topic you could come up with:

“Relationships,
Love,
Boundaries,
Hope,
Brokenness,
Revitalization of spirit, body, and faith,
and Refreshment”—just to name a few!

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab this devotional!  You’ll be so happy you did!

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Got Three Minutes? Too Blessed to be Stressed—3-Minute Devotions for Women by Debora M. Coty is Well-Worth Your Time…(FREE GIVE AWAY too!)

Running away to the beach is just what the doctor ordered.   I don’t know whose doctor, but frankly any doctor will do. Just sayin’…

Hubster and I did indeed heed aforementioned doctor’s orders. We happily hopped a direct flight from Louisville to Tampa, thanks to Southwest Airlines, and ran away to Clearwater Beach for a few days.

If any of you’ve been to Clearwater, you know what I mean when I say it has one of the prettiest, whitest, biggest beaches I’ve ever seen! Breathtaking!

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It’s safe to say we recharged and refueled, actively denying winter, thanks to some picture-perfect weather and a swell crew of helpful folks at the Sand Pearl Resort. www.sandpearl.com

We were also blessed to visit family and friends. Added bonus:   I got to meet an awesome author in person!!!

I’ve been a fan of Debora Coty’s for quite some time now (www.deboracoty.com). Upon discovering one of her many books, Fear, Faith, and A Fistful Of Chocolate: Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries a couple of years, ago I emailed her to tell her I’d be writing about it.  I was so moved by the book I wrote a five-part series on it! We became fast friends via email.

 

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Slaying Dragons at Deals Gap—Figuratively and Literally – Part 1

Calling All Worrywarts – Part 2

Oh Man, I’m Going Down…When You Think You May Faint – Part 3

My Mother is My Travel Agent for a Guilt Trip – Part 4

Move Over Mom…I’m Drivin’ Part 5

 

One very cool thing her publisher has done with another one of her books, Too Blessed To Be Stressed, is to create baby spin-offs from the original. There’s the Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook, The Bible Promise Book: Too Blessed to Be Stressed Edition, a Planner, a Journal, and… just out this month, the Too Blessed to be Stressed: 3-Minute Devotions for Women.

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I’m tickled pink to report Debbie just so happens to live in Tampa. She hopped in the car and headed to the beach so we could meet in person, sip on some tea, and solve many of the world’s problems! Is God soooo good, or what?

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Allow me to explain how this fun little devo’ works. There are one hundred and eighty entries. Each one only takes three minutes to read. JoAnne Simmons compiled these from Debbie’s original book. She tells us the readings “pack a powerful dose of comfort, encouragement, humor and inspiration into your day.”

Here are your three minutes (Come on now, we all have three minutes to spare…):

Minute 1: Scripture to meditate on

Minute 2: A short devotional reading

Minute 3: A prayer to jump-start a conversation with God

 

I LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E this little book for several reasons:

1 – It’s a petite paperback you can throw into your purse.

2 – Each page has a synopsis of its’ topic at the top. (i.e. “When Trust Triumphs, Worship Wherever You Are, Shackled by Perfectionism, What Are You Telling Yourself, The Prune of Self-Control, Spiritual Vitamins”, etc.)

3 – Debbie uses different translations of the Bible which give us readers a better grasp of God’s Word.

4 – Her sense of humor is hysterical which is so healthy for us all: “A cheerful heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

5 – Her prayers show you how to daily apply God’s Word to your life.

6 – It’s a deal/steal at only $4.99. I’m thinking this is a perfect choice for those Easter baskets you’re wondering how to fill!!!

7 – It’s time management at its’ finest.

Balancing Time

While I’ve dog-eared about every other page of Deb’s book, one of many favorite entries begins with “The Prune of Self-Control”…

The Scripture Deb gives us to savor is Proverbs 25:28:

Proverbs 25-28

The devotional part begins, “Self-control is the prune of the Spirit; not the fruit you savor, but the one vital for moving things along smoothly. (If you’ve ever drunk prune juice you know what I mean!) It’s the fruit you gulp down and try not to choke on.”

Prune juice

Deb continues, “I think it’s no coincidence that self-control is listed just behind gentleness in Galatians 5; they sprout from the same vine. You need to ingest the first in order to digest the second.” In all these years of reading the fruit of the Spirit, I’d never thought of this!

She closes with, “Self-control is courage fueled by integrity and supernatural power. It’s something the average Jane doesn’t have but is possessed only by those willing to step back from the firing line and hand over the lit match.”

2 Timothy 1:7 in the CEV says, “God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.”

Finally she prays, “Dear Papa God, I need such help with self-control, whether it’s in regard to avoiding junk food or taming my tongue or watching my attitude, just to name a few examples. The temptation to give in to my sin nature is great, but Your Spirit is always greater. Amen.”

Keep in mind, the above quotes are from just one of one hundred and eighty equally inspirational devotionals! Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab up several copies of this book! They make great gifts!

Be watching for her upcoming 365-Day Devotional, Too Blessed to Be Stressed Daily Inspiration for Women, due out January 1, 2017!!!

Please leave a comment within the next week and you’ll be entered to WIN A FREE COPY of Deb’s devotional! We have three, count ’em three copies to give away!!!

‘Til next time!

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Move Over, Mom…I’m Drivin’… (Part 5 of 5 on Help from Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates)

Sweet Sixteen…

 Where does your mind go when you hear that phrase?  Depends on how you’re affected, beginning with your age.

If you happen to be the lucky soul turning Sweet Sixteen, you’re excited, ready to get behind the wheel of that car, ready to take on the world.

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If, however, you happen to be the parent of the sixteen year old, I’d like to offer the thought of Sweet Sixteen as an oxymoron.  Sitting in that passenger seat gives you a panoramic you may not wish to view.

Three for three of our boys will tell you their least favorite time of my mothering came when they got their driver permits. It forced me in the passenger seat for six very long months.

Their favorite phrase to utter became my least favorite one to hear:  “Move over, Mom, I’m drivin’….” It’s a wonder I didn’t punch a hole in the floor or rip off a door handle.

Naturally my sweet husband, the adventurous one, loved teaching the boys to drive.  Somehow, tho’, I was usually the one with them because of school, etc.

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This week in our fifth and final post on fear, we are going to bring home some tactics to carry with us when we encounter fearful situations.  I’m sad to bid farewell to my favorite little book on fear by Debora M. Coty, Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries.

 Again, to grasp the entirety of the book requires you read the entire book.  It’s so good and includes twenty-two amazing chapters.  I’ve simply given you morsels.

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A certain “activity” seems to be haunting me, no thanks to different authors, who do not know each other, yet who seem to truly believe in this activity.  It surfaces in Bible studies I’ve done repeatedly.  When this happens, I firmly believe it is our precious Lord getting our attention.

The “activity”?  Scripture memorization.  Groan…..I s’pose I avoid it because I’m not gifted in this area.  I can’t remember milk at the grocery store, much less multiple words…And yet, the benefits are innumerable.

Rob Morgan wrote a wonderful book that is the perfect addition to your library and hopefully your Scripture arsenal. It’s 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.

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Rob says “if you’ll just invest at least five minutes a day, you’ll reap seven remarkable benefits:

1 – Clearer thoughts.

2 – Steadier nerves.

3 – Healthier emotions.

4 – Purer habits.

5 – Happier homes.

6 – Greater respect.

7 – Eternal optimism.”

Let’s join Debora Coty, our Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates author, perched high on a snow-covered mountain top, waiting for a rescue team to find her.  Seems she took quite a spill while snow skiing that did some damage to her knee…

She said, “A Bible verse I’d learned long ago sprang to my mind:  ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth’(Psalm 121:1-2 NIV).  I said the verse aloud again and again.  The words seemed to take on a life of their own, growing richer and mightier and more vibrant each time.”

She continued, “Then a strange and marvelous thing happened. The majesty of the mountaintop scene consumed me, and a warm, quiet peace filled my heartI realized that I had indeed been given a sword—a powerful weapon that would keep fear, my immortal enemy, from ripping my helpless, defenseless heart into itsy-bitsy pieces.”

Verse after verse started popping into my head, some from childhood, some more recently memorized, some I thought were long forgotten.  Like old friends, they surrounded and comforted me.”

Debora calls this mountaintop epiphany the day she “learned to swordfight”.  She adds, “I’m a firm believer in the mega-importance of keeping a full arsenal of scripture loaded and ready for battle.  God’s Word is our sword…it must be mobile, sharp, and handy at all times.  Even on a lonely mountaintop.”

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A couple of favorite verses prove this to be true:

Hebrews 4:12 tell us, “For the word of God is alive and activeSharper than any double-edged sword…”

Ephesians 6: 10-18 teaches us all about putting on the armor of God.  Verse 17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”

Now armed with our swords, we must stay armed…as in not parking them at the door.  I’ll never forget hearing Angela Thomas speak one time.  She said, “If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, Satan views you as sportin’ a red target on your back.  We’d best be prepared for his attacks.”

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Let’s add this verse to our list:  I Peter 5:8 warns us to “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

My Life Application Bible enlightens:  “Peter warns us to watch out for Satan…feeling alone, weak, helpless, so focused on our troubles, we forget to watch out for danger, making us especially vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.”

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

Debora gives us some great verses to memorize to combat our fear in Chapter Sixteen.  This one you can remember easily:  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  (Psalm 56:3)

So whether or not you’re jumping into the passenger seat with your sixteen year old, or walking down the halls of a hospital for tests, or sitting in a motorcade of a funeral, or facing one of your biggest hurdles, hold on to the best lifeline available, God’s Word.  He will sustain you.

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“Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASB)

I pray you’ve been encouraged to “fear not” after our five weeks together, thanks to Debora’s wonderful book.  Thank you, Debora!  Your faithfulness has helped so many of us!

I also pray you and your families will have a most blessed Christmas season and reflect on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and His most amazing birth.

This week, in honor of Nelson Mandela who just passed away, let’s close with a quote from him on fear:  “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

‘Til next time!

This week’s chocolate recommendation:  a delicious, but disastrous discovery from Costco—and you get not one, but six packages of brownie mix.  Try Ghiradelli’s Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix.

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This  week’s post is dedicated to my new friend and counselor (!!!), author Debora M. Coty.  I have never enjoyed a book more. I’ll be reading and re-reading Fear, Faith and  a Fistful of Chocolates ‘til the Lord returns.  And I can’t wait to start your other books!  Merry Christmas and thanks for your wonderful inspiration!!!  God’s Blessings!!!

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My Mother is My Travel Agent for a Guilt Trip…(Part 4 of 5 on Help from Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates)

Best bumper sticker ever is the above title:  “My Mother is my travel agent for a guilt trip.”  I nearly wrecked my car one day when I approached a car with this funny phrase adhered to its’ bumper.  I cried I laughed so hard.

I later recounted this to my Mother who found no humor in this whatsoever. 
None, nada, zip
.   Hmph…

I don’t know about you, but it’s fair to say our boys would tattle on my mothering skills, saying I’m gifted in the area of guilt.  Guilt, manipulation, control—they all go hand in hand, wouldn’t you agree?!!!

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Years and years and years ago, back when John and I were dating…I’d drag him along with my parents to Owensboro, Kentucky.  My Aunt, whom I’m named for, started a Thanksgiving tradition of hosting a boatload of relatives. (If you remember the children’s book The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Rylant, it’s frighteningly similar!)

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At the time, John and I were attending UK (The University of Kentucky) in Lexington, Kentucky.  My parents lived in Lexington, so we all rode together to Owensboro.  Three hours one-way gave us plenty of time to catch up.  Mother was in her element. Daddy simply tagged along.

One year I suggested we try going every other year, thus skipping this particular one.  “Oh dear,  we couldn’t possibly not go…” Mother replied quickly, followed by a very, very,  v-e-r-y long sigh….and then… here’s where she poured forth the guilt: “At Bem’s age… (that was my Aunt’s nickname), we just never know how many years she has left.”   Daddy and I rolled our eyes over that one.

Granted Bem was Mother’s sister, and Mother wanted to see her and her other sisters, June and Louise. But, I’m here to tell you Bem lived twenty plus more years after that little discussion. God rest her sweet soul.

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This week, from my new favorite attached-at-the-hip-handbook: Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries by Debora M. Coty, we’re going to tackle the topic of guilt.  I know, I know, ‘tis a challenge du jour for most of us, therefore, well worth our time

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Chapter Four is very helpful for us addicted-to-being-guilty-for-something, while killer funny.  It’s title?  Had Your Vitamin G Today? (Guilt)

Note:  Do NOT miss the cat story within the chapter.  There is nothing more comical on the planet. I simply cannot reveal a tidbit.  YOU must read it, and aloud, to all your friends!

Debora offers, “Guilt’s effect is kind of like a vitamin in reverse.  Instead of nourishing our bodies, it depletes our spirits.  And yet we faithfully keep popping that vitamin G (Guilt) every day as if we can’t live without it.”

Look at those last six words:  “as if we can’t live without it”…Remember last week we talked about toxic talk? (For more information, click here)  Wallowing in guilt, over and over, ranks right up there with toxic talk.  And pretty much no one wants to jump in our trenches of guilt we keep digging.

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Debora tells of a friend named Esther who “uses a great mental tool to help her resist picking guilt back up.”  Esther said, “Guilt is a dead thing…If you think of old, already forgiven sin as a dead thing, imagine you’re digging it up from its grave every time you revisit it.” That pretty visual  surely makes one think…

Corrie Ten Boom puts it another way.  She said, “God casts our sin into the depths of the ocean and posts a ‘No fishin’’ sign.”  Beautiful.  God’s  grace at its’ finest.  We just need to remember it!

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“How far has the Lord taken our sins from us?  Farther than the distance from east to west!” Psalm 103:12 CEV

My Life Application Bible says, “East and west can never meet.  This is a symbolic portrait of God’s forgiveness—when he forgives our sin, he separates it from us and doesn’t even remember it.  We need never wallow in the past, for God forgives and forgets.  We tend to dredge up the ugly past, but God has wiped our record clean.”

As Mother’s health deteriorated, especially after Daddy died, she used the phone less and less.  Miraculously, I quit guilting over visiting every day.  One day, however, we were talking and I said, “Well, Mom, I’ll come see you tomorrow, okay?”

Her reply sent me reeling once more…She said, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, always tomorrow…”  Making me think she did realize I wasn’t coming every day.  Right back into that pit of guilt I fell…

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Friends, Guilt is not from God, it’s from Satan.  The Holy Spirit may convict us of something, but shame and blame is Satan’s game.

Debora reminds us that “Satan, the archenemy of our souls, is using our guilt to separate us from our Lord. That’s what ‘the accuser’ does best.  He accuses us mercilessly and racks us with guilt that makes us feel worthless and unworthy of Papa God’s love.”  Noteworthy warning!

Oh, but there’s GOOD NEWS…Debora says, “The Accuser underestimates our Savior’s mercy. The all-encompassing forgiveness and acceptance led Paul to proclaim, ‘There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.’”  (Romans 8:1-2 NLT)

Let’s all write that verse on a post-it note and stick it on our mirrors, our car’s dashboards, wherever we’ll see it daily.  It is time to ditch the guiltEspecially with the Christmas season in our midst! The song doesn’t say, “Deck the halls with bows of guilt,” does it???!!!

Let’s vow to move forward, basking in His peace and His blessed assurance we are forgiven and there is no more guilt weighing heavy on our shoulders.

‘Til  next time!

This weeks’ chocolate recommendation is for all you ice cream lovers out there.  Again, from Trader Joe’s, try their Mini Mint Ice Cream Mouthfuls!!!  Delish, even if snow is in the forecast….Ice Cream Sandwiches

This post is dedicated to the famous Daves sisters:  My Mom being one of ‘em.  Seems our cousins who are still living, refer to us possessing “The Daves Factor”, as in a teensy weensy streak of some-kind-of-stubborn.  So, in Heaven, we  happily envision Bem, June, Louise and Mother having endless conversations.

They help us all remember Jude 21:  “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

From left to right: My Mother, Anita Mills, Bem (Elizabeth Dawson), Louise Santorum, and June McCandless

From left to right: My Mother, Anita Mills, Bem (Elizabeth Dawson), Louise Santorum, and June McCandless

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Oh Man, I’m Going Down…When You Think You May Faint…(Part 3 of 5 on Help from Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates

The phone rang mid-afternoon.  Usually ignoring it, I decided I’d better answer it, as it was from our surgeon’s office.

A very matter-of-fact nurse asked for my husband, John.  “He’s at the office. Would you like his number?” I asked.

“Are you his wife?” She quickly inquired.

“Yes, I am.” I replied.

“I’d rather speak with you.  Seems you-wives listen better.”  Alrighty then…

I began jotting down our marching papers for John’s upcoming knee surgery for a torn meniscus. Friday morning came all too fast.  The next thing I knew the doctor was ready to see me, surgery already complete.

Doc smiled and reported the surgery was a success.  He gave me pictures, sending us home with a DVD of the procedure.  (Now there’s a “Future Family Movie Night” if there ever was one!)

For a huge change, I wasn’t fearful of the surgery because I trust our extremely brilliant and gifted orthopedic surgeon. He’s a dear friend as well.  He’s put many of us back together again.

Don’t miss this parallel:  There’s no fear when you trust the one who’s in charge of your loved one.  Hello?…As my friend Liz keeps reminding me, “God’s got this!”

We got John home, on crutches, fed him, iced the knee, and even got him up the stairs on crutches, ready for bed.  I was more than bleary-eyed as John never napped, all day…

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Amazingly, next thing I knew it was morning time and John was about to get up. The next phrase that came out of his mouth is not what you’d want to hear:  “Oh, no!”

Lump in my throat, I could barely utter, “Wwwwhat’s wrong?”

“There’s blood everywhere!” he groaned.

Very official-like, I ordered, “Don’t move!”

I whipped on my glasses, and ran around to John’s side of the bed to assess the situation.  Trying to make us both feel better, I said, “Well, the instructions did say the bandage may ooze.”  Eesh.

Ill-prepared for what I was about to witness, I tried to put on a happy face.  Blood was all over the sheets, all over his ace bandage, everywhere. It did appear to be dried blood, however, not fresh blood. But to me, blood is blood.

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Blind as a bat without my glasses for distance, I can see up-close pretty well.  I guess I kept looking over and under my glasses, getting way too close to the wound.

I unwrapped it and just as the bandage unraveled and fell to the floor, I realized things were becoming very, very dark, as if someone had dimmed the lights.

“Oh man, I’m goin’ down…” I said.  John could tell I was weaving and this time he barked the orders, “Sit down!”

But…I knew if I sat on the bench at the end of the bed, I could crash and burn, fainting head first onto the floor.  So, I pushed it and ran back to my side, hurriedly diving back in bed.  Flat. Whew!

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John quipped, “Well now, we are quite the pair!”

“Just give me a minute, I’ll be fine.”  I said in a rather faint voice, yet forever grateful I did not faint.  What a total wimp…. A tailspin of toxic conversation ensued

Now how funny is the timing of this series on fear?!!!  I had to have quite a conversation/prayer pleading with The Lord. I kept quoting Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” And Psalm 46:1 –  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)

This week, we’ll explore more of Debora M. Coty’s wonderful book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolates–Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries.  One of many chapters I especially relate to is “Toxic Voices-Detox for Negative Self-Talk.” Another deals with”Soul-Suckers”. I once heard Erwin McManus call such folks “emotional leeches”.   They are those who suck the life out of you. (Bet you’re making a mental list….)

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Debora not only addresses our own self-talk, she addresses others’ toxic tirades. One of a gazillion laugh out loud instances involves a gal who approached Deborah and pretty much pulled the rug out from under her, spewing a not-so-nice venomous statement.

Debora says, “I don’t know why some people think that by blowing out someone’s candle their own burns brighterMy point is that we get enough negativity from the world; we don’t need to pile any more on ourselves.”

She expounds on this in another one of her books, Too Blessed to be Stressed in the chapter called “Can I Hear Me Now?”  She offers tips on how to control our inner soundtrack. (Yes, that book is next on my nightstand.)

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Debora shows us several Biblical characters who struggled with this crazy self-talk:  Saul (See I Samuel 19), Jonah (See Jonah 4), Peter (See Matthew 14), and my future BFF in Heaven, Martha (See Luke 10). Ditching toxic selftalk is thesame principle in dealing with fear.”

She adds, “By remembering what Papa God has already done for us through Christ, we’ll develop miracle memory. He’s defeated the instigator of fear at the cross, and He’ll do it again.”

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“With practice, our miracle memory will kick in, and we’ll automatically default to faith rather than fear when difficulties come our way.”  (Debora recommends journaling our many blessings to boost that “miracle memory”.)

She gives us, the readers, twenty-five emotions that are potential triggers to those toxic voices. (These are found on page 202.) We could spend weeks on this valuable chapter!  Here are just five of the twenty-five to be aware of:  anxiety, doubt, resentment, needing to be right (oh, I sooo wanted to skip that one!), and our biggie: fear.

Bottom lineJesus is not glorified when we paralyze ourselves in fear. And worse, Satan is delighted.  We do not want that!

Finally let’s close with a plaque Debora saw recently. Tell all your friends about this:  “I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I’m to die for.”

She adds, “Understand you are wanted,

                                                            cherished,

                                                                    and loved without limits.

 At this moment, you may feel abandoned,

                                                            or forsaken,

                                                                        or betrayed,

                                                                                   but feelings are not trustworthy.

NOW is the time to overrule your heart with your head.”

Notice Debora says, now is the time.  Not next week. NOW!  What a gift of encouragement you and I have just received. I’m praying we all get this.

Let’s close with an excellent reminder from Psalm 139:15, 17-18:

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb…How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (NLT)

I pray you and your families have a Most Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!  And safe travels if you’re in the air or on the road…(Might as well throw patience in there too…)

This week’s chocolate recommendation comes from Trader Joe’s. Try their Dark  Chocolate Covered Almonds. Checkout the description:  “Roasted almonds drenched (love that) in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar.”  (Ours have a safe hiding place in the back corner of the pantry.  Shhhh, don’t tell…)

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‘Til next time!

This week’s post is dedicated to our favorite orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Kuiper. I wasn’t kidding when I said he’s put many of us back together again and some of us more than once. As we age, I’m tempted to ask if Louisville Orthopaedic may offer frequent visitor discounts….Scott is blessed with a fantastic family, has virtually adopted our Gordy, and I’ve had a blast with his wife, Mary Jude, in Bible study.  You all have really blessed our lives in so many ways. Hugs across town!

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Slaying Dragons at Deals Gap—Figuratively and Literally (Part 1 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

This week we are going to do some dragon slayin’…but first, you must hear of a most unique Dragon.  Anybody ever slayed The Dragon over in the Smokies?  Most slayers ride motorcycles.

Allow me to enlighten you on Deals Gap and its’ Motorcycle Resort. (www.dealsgap.com)  The website boasts, “You’ll find us nestled deep in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.  We’re also known as the home of ‘the Dragon’.

It’s called ‘The Dragon’ because it boasts some of the most technical and challenging roads in the country.  It includes three hundred and eighteen curves in eleven miles.”

Riders who slay it, ride it again and again. My husband, John, has ridden it many times with many friends, including our oldest son, John Jr.

My favorite story involves one of John’s dear friends, who’s now in Heaven (not from having slain the Dragon I’m happy to report!), named Dick Richard.  Dick was a tough old bird.  Very reserved and serious, time spent with him was always interesting.

John and Dick took several trips on their Harleys to the Smokies.  John recalls their first trip to the Dragon as a remarkable sight to behold. Immediately after he and Dick successfully slayed the dragon, on their very loud Harleys, with helmets on, he heard the loudest whoopin’-and-hollerin’ coming from Dick’s direction.

To John’s astonishment, it wasn’t just coming from Dick’s direction, he realized it was coming from Dick!  He was like a little kid going down a slide for the first time. Completely out of character from his usual stoic temperament.

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Once on a romantic fall getaway to Snowbird Mountain Lodge, in Robbinsville, NC, John realized we could get there via the Dragon.  Now to be honest, curiosity killed the cat, so I really wanted to see it.  BUT….once we reached it and began traveling the eleven miles, negotiating the three hundred and eighteen curves, the strangest thing happened.  We also began seeing ambulances (yes, plural) and a truck hanging off of a cliff.  I began gripping my pillow in my lap with white knuckles and partially hyperventilating.

At one of the many overlooks John sweetly inquired, “Would you like to get out and see the breathtaking view?”  To which I nastily snapped, “No!  I want to get OFF this thing ASAP!!!”

After what seemed like three hundred thousand turns vs. only three hundred and eighteen, we arrived at the bottom.  Hey, and I’m pretty proud to say I slayed the dragon with John driving, while riding in a Honda Accord with four wheels and not two. Alrighty then.

Eliz and John

I’d not considered what could happen to the overconfident ones who rode a little too fast to make the curves. Yikes. Deals Gap’s website also boasts their “Rescue Squad has committed to posting a rescue truck on The Dragon every Saturday and Sunday (Makes one wonder about Monday thru’ Friday???).”

Go back to the Deals Gap website (www.dealsgap.com) and click on “Ride on the Dragon” to see these curves.  If you like it, make the trip!

Because so many of us tend to be fearful, we’re going to spend the next few posts slaying our dragons of fear.  I recently read a wonderful book by Debora M. Coty called Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries. Debora doles out Scripture to bust up fear and boost our faith with laugh out loud humor.

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Before we get into her book, (look for that in parts Two thru’ Five), we’ve got more dragons to slay.  While the Deals Gap Dragon is a crazy one to know about, after hearing Kyle Idleman’s sermon, “Seeing Clearly” from Revelation 12-18, at Southeast Christian Church, (You can go onto Southeast’s website and watch this powerful sermon.  www.southeastchristian.org ) we must be aware of the Dragon in Scripture. He’s prowling now as he was then and we must recognize him.

Kyle taught us about three characters in this passage of Revelation:  a pregnant woman, the child she births, and a red Dragon. This fire-breathing buster is better known as Satan the Devil, the Accuser, the Father of Lies.

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Kyle’s eye-opening teaching came straight out of the Bible. Best part?  He gave us the theme of these seven chapters:  The Devil is Defeated.

Worst part?  Satan’s mad and he’s after us.  Revelation 12:7-12 shows us he’s “enraged and is waging war against us” (NIV).  The Message says he’s “helpless with rage”.

How do we know that?  Look at verse 17, the Devil is after “the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.” (MSG)  Christian brothers and sisters, this would be us!

My Life Application Bible implores, “We must make certain not to lose the battle for our own souls.  Don’t waver in your commitment to Christ.  A great spiritual battle is being fought, and there is no time for indecision.”

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Can you feel this sense of urgency?  Revelation 13:10b in the ESV says, “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  The Message says, “Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.”

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My Life Application Bible enlightens, “Don’t fall into Satan’s trap and turn away from God when hard times come.  Instead, use those tough times as opportunities for growth.”

Chris Tomlin has a great song out called “Whom Shall I Fear”.  Part of the lyrics come from Isaiah 54:5.  The Message calls our God the “God of Angel Armies”.  Look at the chorus with me:

“I know who goes before me.

I know who stands behind.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.

The One who reigns forever.

He is a friend of mine.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.”

There are several YouTube videos of Chris singing the song and of him telling the story of how it came about. (These are worth your time, especially to see the entire lyrics.) He tells of his friend, Ed Cash, with whom he wrote the song and how they focused on equipping fellow believers to sing this song of faith to God, knowing that whatever comes against us, we’re to remember God is on our side, as well as His army of angels.

He cited Second Kings Chapter Six where the prophet Elisha in verse 16 tells his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than who are with them.”  Then he prayed and “The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (ESV)

Revelation 12:11 reminds us how the dragon is defeated:  “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”  By Jesus’ crucifixion and the power of His resurrection, and by our witness, we win.

Next time you’re fearful, remind yourself of your faith, dive into Scripture, and don’t forget:  “The Devil is Defeated”!  “The God of angel armies is always by your side!”

 

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‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my dear, talented friend Kay Richard.  We were neighbors for six years and she and Dick sooo blessed our lives.  John cannot even speak of Dick without recounting their fun riding days.  Kay’s talent of flower arranging has spread beauty at many a party.  Love to you and your family, Kay!  And we will celebrate your belated birthday soon! Hugs across town!)

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

  

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