Tag Archives: Debora M Coty

Stellar Stocking Stuffer Idea for Any Stressed Mom… And Please Dash to Peggy’s Gifts in Lexington this Saturday 12/15!

Friends! Got any stressed moms on your radar this season? I’m flailing my hand…It’s mid-December, and so far our tree is up, but still sitting miserably undecorated. Sigh…

I’ve got good news for ALL of us. Yes, it happens to be a book, and it’s pocket-size, ready to stuff someone’s stocking ASAP. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab copies for all the stressed out moms you know of Debora M. Coty’s book, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms.

This book is your ticket to stress relief, laugh out loud knee slappers, AND timely encouragement and advice. Deb often admits her mom failures and show us what we can learn from her. (Secret: all three of my daughters-in-love are getting copies in their stockings, as well as some of my friend’s daughters who are moms or moms-to-be. Shhh, don’t tell.)

Set up in four sections with twenty-five chapters, you could read this each month as a devotional, one chapter at a time. Take home value is at a premium, you may wish to have a journal handy as there are many pearls you’ll want to read and re-read and record.

I have several favorite chapters from each section. From Section 1, don’t miss “PMS: Pretending Mom’s Sane (Motherhood Mayhem)” and “I’m Not Crazy—I’m Crazy Busy”, which include ideas for how to prioritize, plan, and pace yourself. Deb shows us why “should” is a dangerous word, being a “stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver.” Amen to that having sulked over the shoulda/coulda/woulda scene time and time again.

Section 2 favorites include “Too Blessed to be Obsessed (Letting Go of Mom Guilt) and “Chocolate Caulks Relationship Cracks (Forgiveness)

Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse. Chapter Eleven offers Ecclesiastes 6:11 in the NLT:

Chapter eleven is loaded with ways to combat our accuser, a/k/a Satan. Deb quotes Charles Spurgeon who said, “The devil never kicks a dead horse.” In other words, we who are still drawing breaths in this world are all marching around with targets on our backs. We’d be wise to “don the armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

We also gain…


Another bonus of each chapter is Deb closes with four excellent, thought-provoking questions called “Navigating the ‘Hood” (short for motherhood). One of my favorites is, “Need a good meme to remind you to pray for your kids? Try Lamentations 2:19 in the NKJV:


Favorite chapters from Section 3 include: “Zombie in Sweats (Finding Elusive Rest)” and “My Hair Stylist is from Oz (Confidence)”. Finally, Big Drum roll: hugely fav chapter from Section 4 is: “Morphing This Worrier into a Warrior.

One of my bigger sins is worry. I know, I know, it is NOT GOOD. But, good news! Deb gifts us reader with TEN simple ways to “rejuvenate your prayer life. Don’t miss these!

Let’s close with this quote to make you think, smile, and savor each day:

Start making your list for who you’d love to bless with this book!

And if you’re anywhere near Lexington, KY this Saturday, December 15th, please come do some Christmas shopping at Peggy’s Gifts. They have everything and then some. I’ll be signing my book from 10:00 a.m, to 2:00 p.m. and Peggy tells me they’re having a trunk show too. Double the fun!

http://peggysgifts.com/
112 Clay Avenue
Lexington, KY 40502

‘Til next time!

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When a BAT Swoops Over You at 5:00 a.m., PLUS 1 of 2 Stocking Stuffer Ideas…( Perfect combo’, right?!)

Friends! What do you do when you’re trying to fly outta town super early, you go to close up the porch, and, “Whoosh!” A BAT scares the willies out of you?

Happy to report this didn’t happen to me, but to my better half. He admitted he didn’t want to be battling a bat at 5:00 in the morning. “But…” I whined, “Think of what we’ll find upon our return!” (Envisioning a dead bat and it’s remnants all over our newly recovered porch cushions. Because of course it’s all about the new porch cushions?!) Oh ye of material mind….

One attempt, armed with a tennis racket, John reported, “No sighting.” Stay tuned to what we will find in a few days. Sigh…

Moving on to better things to fill your mind with(!!!), allow me to give you a stocking stuffer idea this week and next. Both are books (shocking) and both are pocket size to where you could stuff them in a friend’s or a family member’s stocking.

My friend Jane posed a thought provoking question this week: “What gift will you offer to Jesus this Christmas?” Stumped, we let Jane offer her answer first.

“I want to extend grace to all who cross my path this season, not to just those I’m partial to. After all, Jesus gave us all more grace than we deserve, how can we not do that?” she said.

To which I said, “Big ditto!”

Our friend Gwen answered, “Id like to offer Him worship.”

Which made me think of an awesome book by one of my all-time favorite worship leaders and songwriters, Chris Tomlin. He co-wrote the book with pastor Darren Whitehead.

The book? Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship

In addition to the book, Chris just released a new cd by the same name. Every song is excellent, but “Is He Worthy?” makes me come unglued. Every. Single. Time. Several of my buddies and I were blessed to hear him sing many of the songs at Southeast in November.

Recently, Pastor Darren Whitehead, of Church of the City in Nashville, preached a sermon on “The Seven Words of Praise”, explaining the “different words the ancient Hebrew people used to express their praise to God.”

What’s so mind blowing about this, is the different meanings of the words because in our English language, we only have ONE word: “praise.” Wait til you read the seven chapters. Each will open your eyes.

Not only educational, both Chris and Darren are also engaging to where you’ll say to yourself, “Why didn’t we know this? This is a game changer.”

Let’s take one of the seven words: “Yadah,” which means “To revere or worship with extended hands…” This is one of the seven. Get this: It’s “found over 111 times in Scripture.” What?

One fun point re: the format of the book is Darren begins teaching us the Hebrew words and Chris answers with a song and the story behind its origin. You’ll know the songs and love discovering their very own stories.

Each chapter offers additional Scripture to look up for “reflection and discussion.” Chris and Darren invite us readers to become a part of the “holy roar.” Chapter Seven is on the word, “Shabach,” which literally means “to raise a holy roar.”

Do NOT miss Chapter Six, where you’ll learn how Darren, who’d been in Christian radio, came to America from Australia. As a pastor. You will fall out of your chair. Only God.

Ah, you know what’s next! Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Holy Roar. Your worship of the Lord will forever be changed and whoever you bless with this as a gift will love it!

Next week we will discuss another neat little book that packs a punch, “Too Blessed to be Stressed” by Debora M Coty. Bundles of fun a la Deb and pearls-a-plenty of wisdom.

And if you’re anywhere near Lexington on December 15th, you’re invited to a super fun Saturday. Please come shopping and join me and the gals from Peggy’s Gifts. I’ll be there signing books from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Peggy’s has something for everyone. (I got into a little trouble there a couple of weeks ago. Sorta bought some Christmas gifts as well as fab flannel PJ’s for Santa to give, well moi.) There will also be a trunk show, so double the fun!

http://peggysgifts.com/
112 Clay Avenue, Lexington, KY 40502

‘Til next time!

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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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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

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.

Eliz Wedding

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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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Life Lessons