D is for Dress

Welcome to A to Z! We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors. If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here. This week is the letter D. I love Dresses! I’ve always been a girly girl and nothing makes me quite as happy as getting dolled up in a pretty dress. Here I am all fancied up for the red carpet at a movie premiere with my granddaughter, Trinity: When I was younger (and not yet an old grandmother with arthritic feet) I was an edgy dresser. You probably can’t imagine that can you? Okay, so maybe you can. I was shopping at vintage stores and wearing recycled clothes before it was cool. I loved mixing odd items such as a boy scout shirt with a fluffy green skirt. Yeah. That was me. The weirder the better. You can see some of my strange taste in clothes on my My Style Pinterest Board. I’d still dress weird if I could get by with it, but as a pastor’s wife, I have to tone it down a bit. There’s still a side of me that loves strange fashions. Thankfully the side that likes pretty dresses has won out in my old age. When I’m writing a story, I enjoy choosing what my heroines are going to wear. In my current work in progress, Flora Jean has the opportunity to wear beautiful gowns. I base all my fashions in the book on actual pictures I’ve found of clothing from the era. If a dress I love isn’t exactly from the right date, I change the description of it to fit the date but still use the colors and the idea of the dress. I have her dresses sent from France, so I’m able to use that as an excuse for the dress to be a little more ahead of the typical fashion of the 1830s or more unique as they are made by exclusive designers. I find it fascinating that the iridescent colors of the beads in the dress above are made with fish scales on the inside of glass beads, don’t you? I have several other Pinterest Boards that include beautiful Dresses from the past: Vintage Clothing RMDC Research Pandora Dolls (These are antique dolls wearing authentic antique styles. Wealthy ladies had them sent to them with the latest fashions and that’s how they shopped for the...

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The 10 scariest things about writing

Okay, so I don’t believe I’m driven by demons to write. Hopefully it’s the Holy Spirit Who inspires me. But I must write just as ducks must swim. I’m compelled to torture myself with the literary arts. And while I love this gift, and the places it takes me, there are days when I agree with Dorothy Parker who said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” Here are 10 things I find the most frightening about writing: Fear of being inept and amateurish. What if my writing is really bad? What if I can’t play with the big kids in this writing thing? What if I’m too shallow? Too glib or cliche? Fact is, I probably am, but I’m the only writer who can write like me, and that’s something I have to offer that no one else does. Fear of not being smart enough. This relates to the first fear. I think great writers are geniuses. Seriously. I envy successful writers because they are extremely clever and smart. Will I ever be as smart and knowledgeable? Do I even have the aptitude? The answer is that there are a lot of writers much, much smarter than I am or ever will be. And maybe, just maybe, there are writers I’m smarter than. But if I’m called to write, then there’s a reason. There must be someone who needs to hear what I have to say. And if I can influence or encourage even one life–isn’t that reason enough to obey the call? Fear of making mistakes. Last I checked, Jesus Christ was the only perfect human Who walked the earth. And I certainly don’t have the qualifications to be the Messiah, so this fear is absolutely unreasonable. Then again, I never claimed to be reasonable. Fear of being unoriginal. This fear is based in a lie. God’s Word tells me that “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” Ecclesiastes 1:9. Basically there are only seven major plots: 1) Overcoming the Monster, 2) Rags to Riches, 3) The Quest, 4) Voyage and Return, 5) Comedy, 6) Tragedy, 7) Rebirth. There are no original ideas, just variations. Fear of not selling the story.  What if my idea is so stupid and the writing so bad that even my agent won’t look at it? Yes, this poltergeist taunts me on my dark days when the words won’t flow. Fear of not creating the story that’s in my head. That’s when I freeze and don’t know how to put the words on the page and procrastinate by playing online marbles. The only way to work through this...

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Reaching for the moon

Dear Young, Strong Girls, things weren’t always as they are today. Used to be, strong women such as Jerrie Cobb, Bernice Steadman, Janey Hart, Jerri Truhill, Rhea Woltman, Sarah Ratley, Jan and Marion Dietrich, Myrtle Cagle, Irene Leverton, Gene Nora Jessen, Jean Hixson, and Wally Funk, who passed the same tests as other astronauts competing for a spot on a trip to the moon, would be denied the chance simply because they were female. Because strong women such as these never gave up on pursuing the dreams God placed in their heart–the dreams they were born to do–we now have many more choices in the United States and allowed to compete for the same jobs as men. Gender has no role. I know some people think there’s a war against us in the United States, but trust me, it’s nothing like it used to be and the war is with a very different enemy. Satan hates women and he’ll do everything he can to suppress them. He delights in seeing your dreams squashed because you are powerful and influential. He’s scared of you. I’m always encouraged when I see strong women go after a dream. In some way it strengthens me and gives me courage to keep working toward the dreams in my own heart. Surround yourself with other strong girls and women. Take courage from their persistence and tenacity. Learn about all the strong women you can. I believe it will encourage you to go forth and conquer! To learn more about the remarkable women who reached for the moon during the Mercury space program check out these links: Women in Space. She Should Have Gone to the Moon Women of the Mercury Era And enjoy the following videos (embedding for the first one has been disabled, but it’s very good, so please check it out!): Click here:    Mercury 13 – The Secret Astronauts (Part-1) Part 2: The Mercury 13: Tweet this: Strong girls reach for the moon! Psalm 8  O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all...

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C is for Church

As you may already know, Church is a huge part of my life as a pastor’s wife and associate minister. (Yes, I’m an ordained minister. I don’t crow about it much because I enjoy my role as a pastor’s wife and more people identify with it.) There are a lot of people missing out on church these days and guess whose fault it is? Those who go to church. Yup. Here are some statistics to chew on regarding church attendance from Thom Ranier’s book, The Unchurched Next Door and other sources: “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people.” “The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church ‘if I knew there were people like me there.’” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research Most people come to church because of a personal invitation. 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives. The top “rational” reason adults seldom or never attend church is they don’t agree with organized religion or what they preach (24 percent). “Perhaps one of the most underestimated reasons people return to the church is that someone simply invited them back.” The U.S. Church is in a general state of decline, with fewer than 20 percent regularly attending church. This suggests that 7.9 million people may be leaving...

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October is Pastor Appreciation Month

My church family gave us the most unexpected surprise Sunday when they presented all the pastors with gift baskets via our talented clown ministry team. As you may or may not know, my husband is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in North Manchester, Indiana. It’s one of the smallest churches in town member-wise. It’s not the hip church or the popular church. It’s the only non-denominational church and filled to the brim with love. A lot of people come to our church that are on the fringes of society and a lot of people come to our church who aren’t. Most of the kids in our youth group have disabilities. I’m not sure why God sends us those he does, but I’m so happy to say our church folks welcome people from all walks of life with open arms. Not just in words, either. You truly feel the love when you walk into the building. It oozes warmth. My husband is a nurturing type of pastor. He visits the sick, builds wheelchair ramps at people’s homes when needed, helps do household repairs for widows and the aged, and genuinely loves people. He is very people oriented, whereas, I’m more task oriented. It’s a good thing, too. While my husband doesn’t have the gift of administration–a task-oriented gift–I do. Since we don’t have a church secretary, I can slide right in beside him and help with administrative duties. Small churches are much more labor intensive than large churches. But there’s also a real sense of family in a small church. I’m not saying you can’t get that in a big church. I know you can. I’m just saying that small churches have a lot to offer, too. Our services are more casual, perhaps, than in a bigger church. For instance, we were clowning around when taking these pictures and that’s why I look silly in them: I was truly surprised to get the gifts Sunday. It’s hard to surprise me since I’m the administrator/secretary/social events coordinator/Christian Ed. director/piano player/choir director. I love being surprised this way! It truly sent the message to me that I’m valued and loved. It sent the same message to Mr. Himself. What have you done lately to honor your pastor? A simple note of encouragement will take him through a difficult week. I know this very well. Never think a small token of gratitude is too small. Pastors and their families are drained dry at times and we hear much more complaining than we do encouragement. Take a little time this month to say, “Thank you.” Tweet this: Have you hugged your pastor...

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