Tag Archives: Debora M 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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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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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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Calling All Worrywarts…(Part 2 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

“Honey, I have a surprise for you!!!”, my husband hollered to me from the other room.  “I’ve booked us on the trip of a lifetime!  We’re going to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands!

He continued, “This resort was just written up in Gourmet magazine.  The owners are gourmet chefs!  We’ll eat delicious food, enjoy beautiful views of that breath-taking water, and finally rest for a whole week!”

Ahhhh, music to my ears.  John couldn’t have told me anything better.  And in the middle of a ferocious February winter, the balmy Caribbean was just what the doctor ordered.

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Off we went.  Great flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a smaller-but-not-too-small plane which hovered smoothly over those beautiful waters.  There’s something about that water that flat soothes my soul.  It’s truly one of God’s best creations.

Prior to our departure, we’d received a call from American Airlines telling us our return flight from Tortola to San Juan had been cancelled, but that another airline, Cape Air, had picked us up and would get us back to San Juan.  We wrote down the information, not thinking anything about it….

Until….we landed in Tortola, and there on the tarmac, sat a very petite, and I mean very petite airplane with the lovely words “Cape Air” emblazoned across the side of it.  “Surely,” I said, “that is not the plane to take us back to San Juan?”

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John burst out laughing.  I saw no humor in this whatsoever.  Whatsoever.  Teensy planes don’t entice me at all.  At  all.

Not the best way to start out a romantic getaway, huh?  And guess what?  I kept that visual, of that teensy plane, on my brain all week.  While we did enjoy ourselves and have a great week, I confess that worry over that plane waged wars for real estate in my brain.

“Cape Fear” was a more appropo’ name for that silly thing.  And, sure enough, upon arrival at the airport, things went from bad to worse.

The gate agent who took our ticket was God’s-gift-to-women, or so he thought.  Same guy took us out onto the tarmac.  Same guy loaded our luggage into the belly of the plane.  Same guy sized us up, literally, placing us in strategic seats on the plane to balance the weight.  There were only eight of us, total.

Worse, the very same guy posed the question, “Which of you would like to be my co-pilot????” Are you kidding me?

bigstock-Two-airline-pilot-wearing-unif-42700846Even worse (could it be??), GUESS WHO VOLUNTEERED???  Yep, none other than my husband.  If looks could kill, he’d have been smote on the spot.

 I was so consumed with fear, I couldn’t possibly enjoy the flight back.  To add fuel to the fire, the very self-confident pilot kept turning around facing us and talking to us. I sooooo wanted to say, “Buddy, turn around, face the windshield and fly this plane!” Especially given my husband, our co-pilot, had never flown a plane.

So here’s my confession:  I have struggled with fear for as long as I can remember.  How ‘bout you?

Good news!  We will seek help from a fun author, along with empowering Scripture, and eat some chocolate on this journey…

Imagine my delight upon the discovery of a wonderful book.  It grabbed my attention for two reasons:  1 – It deals with fear and 2 – It has something to do with chocolate!  Debora M. Coty authored Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries.

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Debora says, “Welcome to the sisterhood of worrywarts!”  She adds, “I wrote Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate because it’s time we treat fear like the unwanted gift it is and exchange it at heaven’s customer service desk for something we can really use:  power, love, and self-discipline.”

“The hope-filled news is there’s something more powerful than fear.  Someone, actually, who can break the hold fear has over us.”

She reminds us of Psalm 34:4 that says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (NASB)

Debora equips the reader with numerous Scriptures such as the above and each chapter has discussion questions she dubs, “More Pluck, Less Chicken”.  Her gift of humor is just the release we worrywarts need. For starters, Chapter One is entitled, “I’m a lean, mean, frightened machine…”

bigstock-Worried-Woman-15468278Over the next few weeks we’ll tackle fear of all kinds.   I’ve about worn this little book out.  I showed it to my buddy Liz recently and she noticed its’ pretty little pink-with-white-polka-dotted-pages.  Not only is it helpful in many ways, it’s very cute.

Another favorite chapter happens to be identical to a sign hanging in our kitchen:  “Fear Not Tomorrow…God’s Already There.”  Deborah talks about our need to put on the Shield of Faith, with perseverance.  The verse that talks about the Shield of Faith (from putting on the Armor of God) is a powerful visual. Ephesians 6:16 says, “..take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Debora tackles tough subjects such as what to do when unforeseen trauma occurs.  She has a friend named Elizabeth who suffered a stroke and is dealing with living a “new normal”.  She gives us readers several suggestions you won’t want to miss.

It’s a very humbling portrait that will help your outlook on life.  So as not to give away her tidbits, (ceratin you’ll want to read this book!), allow me to give you a favorite quote from this section:  “Depend on God’s grace to calm your fears.  Keep your mind active and your spirit growing—that’s the key to hope and a positive outlook.”

IMG_0518Deborah also steps on my toes a tad and I suspect she will with you as well.  (That’s a good thing tho’!)  Look at this:  “Fear is really a control issue.” Hope you can hear me groaning on that one.  Any control freaks out there?!!!

She points out, “…being in control is just an illusion.  We’ve never been in control.  And we never will be.”  Why?  Because  God is Sovereign.  He is in control.  Period.  I hope I hear a sigh of relief coming from every single one of you!

Debora gives us a great quote by Elisabeth Elliott on “gripping too tightly to control:  Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business.  If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”  In other words, we are in no way glorifying God with fretful minds.

Good news:  There’s plenty more great tips and Scripture I’ll be sharing with you in the next posts to help us cope with fear.  You’ll love this book!

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This week’s chocolate recommendation (Well, Debora says, “a fistful of chocolate” in her book title!!!) comes from a fabulous discovery my friend Elizabeth Jeffries found at The Fresh Market.  She gave it to me while we were solving the world’s problems at Starbucks last week:  Try the Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds from the Endangered Species series.  Mouth watering…

‘Til next time!

Meanwhile, cling to Deuteronomy 31:8, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT)

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