D is for Dress


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

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:

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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.

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I love unique shoes, too!

You can see some of my strange taste in clothes on my My Style Pinterest Board.

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I wish I knew how to make this!

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.

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Polyvore.com is a great site for putting together outfits for your book characters as well as yourself!

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.

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Flora Jean’s first dress

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?

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1830s fashion

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I would so rock this vintage gown! Okay, maybe I wouldn’t, but I’d sure like to try!

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Simply gorgeous! I’d love to know what it feels like to wear this!

I have several other Pinterest Boards that include beautiful Dresses from the past:

Vintage Clothing

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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 new season’s clothes.)

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What is your favorite item of clothing to wear (besides pajamas!)? If you could wear anything at all to a fancy event, what would you choose?

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The 10 scariest things about writing

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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.”

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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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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 fear is to vomit up on the page. Words, not actual body fluids. That might ruin the laptop.

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  • Fear of rejection. I hate rejection. I have issues with rejection as an abandoned child and the thought of being rejected is horrifying. But to go through life thinking everything I do will be liked by everyone is unrealistic. The fact is, I will be rejected. I must learn to accept it and learn to take it like a big girl. To fight this fear I often have more than one project I’m working on so I can put my focus on something other than the rejection.

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  • Fear I’m too old and irrelevant. I didn’t get started early enough in writing seriously–or so I tell myself when this writing gig isn’t going smoothly. But then I remember that Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at age 65, and Frank McCourt (Ashley’s Ashes) when he was 66. And I’m a decade and some years younger than they, so maybe there’s hope.

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  • Fear I’ll give up.  Ironic isn’t it? I’m afraid of quitting because I won’t have the strength to keep writing through all the rejections and failures. Sometimes I wonder about Harper Lee–why didn’t she write another book? Was she too afraid? Like me? And will I be too afraid to keep putting myself out there? What if I quit right before the moment when everything works and a masterpiece is created? The thought makes me shudder.

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  • Fear of failure on all fronts. Fear of failure is at the root of all the other fears, isn’t it? To think I’ll never fail is a lie. Lies and fears are bedfellows. I will fail. I will not always succeed. If you’re going to write, you’ve got to be at peace with that.

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It takes prayer, tenacity and courage to be a writer. I can only face this art I love with prayer and the grace of God. His gift of tenacity keeps me writing on the hard days. And courage keeps me submitting work after countless rejections.

KarlaAkins.com (2)I’m not the best writer. I may never win a Pulitzer or Newberry or Christie. But if I obey and use my gift to the glory of God, that’s all He asks of me. If I quit striving to shine the brightest in the history of the world, and just shine my brightest, the fear and stress will be much more manageable and I won’t be tempted to believe the lies that fear spouts.

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One day I hope to be able to rest 100% in the grace He provides without all this wrestling. But that’s the nature of living on this earth. Until heaven, I’ll keep praying to keep up the good fight and remember that His Love conquers fear and His Strength will see me through.

One. Word. At. A. Time.

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Reaching for the moon

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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 things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What dream is in your heart? How does the enemy try to stop it? What will you do to win? Share with others in the comments below. We need to encourage one another!

C is for Church

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I love this painting. I have a copy of it my mother gave me when I graduated with my degrees in theology. It’s a beautiful symbol to me of a pastor’s wife.

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.

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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

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  • “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

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  • 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.

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  • 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 churches annually–that’s 150,000 each week!  Thom Rainer/Sam Rainer –Outreach Magazine

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  • The study revealed that 63 percent of Americans are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive it from friend or neighbor.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • A majority (66 percent) of Americans are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.
  • “Americans wanting to find out more about God look to the Bible first (33 percent) but are willing to engage Christian friends and family members as well to discover more about God.” – Philip Nation

Ask yourself this question: why don’t I invite more people to church?

Here’s a hilarious video that addresses the issue of inviting our neighbors. It’ll make you giggle. I think giggling makes us less afraid.

So, do you see yourself or others in this video? I’d love to share the chuckle with you!

Take a step of faith this week and invite someone to church!

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A to Z blog hop at Patterings.


October is Pastor Appreciation Month

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pastor Eddie Akins (Mr. Himself, as I fondly refer to him)

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:

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Our pastoral staff, Pastor Eddie and me on the left end and me acting silly to get a laugh. Imagine that.

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At least I’m a little more refined in this pic even though I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat…

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.

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Take a little time this month to say, “Thank you.”

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Strong Girl Jessica Cox

StrongGirlSaturday (2)Today I’m excited to introduce you to Strong Girl Jessica Cox.

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Strong Girls are smart, determined, goal-reaching girls. And I can’t think of a better example than Jessica. Born without arms, Jessica never thought of herself as disabled or handicapped. This is probably due to having such a great Dad. Her father told her he never shed a tear about her being born without arms. And her parents always treated her as capable.

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Which is how we should see all people regardless of their limitations.

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Jessica is grew up to fly airplanes, drive cars and live a regular life using her feet the same way others use their hands.

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She’s also an internationally-known. inspirational keynote speaker and holds the Guinness World Record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. She’s traveled to more than twenty countries sharing her message of courage and hope.

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Doctors don’t know why she was born “differently-abled.” But Jessica has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream of.

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Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, there were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. But Jessica’s father had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica  explored the world with her feet, even studying dance in her home town.

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When the first performance arrived, she asked to be put in the back row but her dance teacher told her there was no back row. When she finished the routine, the audience’s applause gave her the confidence to continue dancing for 14 years.

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Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. He told them that Jessica would be more than physically able to learn the art and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first Black Belt in the International Taekwondo Federation!

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After high school, Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Arizona. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology deals with the way people think, which has a greater impact on a person’s life than a physical limitation.

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During college, Jessica found an ATA Martial Arts club and resumed training in the sport of Taekwondo. Even though Jessica already had one black belt in a different style, she had to relearn all of the color belt material. The instructors created a curriculum that would be accessible to future armless students. Jessica became the first armless person to earn a black belt in the ATA.

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Jessica’s most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. Jessica didn’t give up and her determination put her in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Jessica’s slogan is “Think outside the shoe.”™

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What’s your slogan, Strong Girl? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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B is for Balderdash

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Balderdash:

“First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.” –President B. H. Obama

Bunk:

“‘…there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities,’” said CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. ‘While it is not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with this patient in the coming weeks, I have no doubt that we will contain this.'”

Ballyhoo:

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Baloney:

“Ebola is not spread through the air like the flu…You cannot get it through casual contact like sitting next to someone one a bus. You cannot get it from another person until they start showing symptoms of the disease, like fever.” — B.H. Obama

Bosh:

“…the most common way you can get Ebola is by touching the body fluids of someone who is sick or has died from it, like their sweat, saliva or blood, or through a contaminated item like a needle.” — B.H. Obama

As soon as I heard about the ebola outbreak, my blood ran cold. Ebola terrifies me. It has terrified me since 1994 when I read the book, Hot Zone, by Richard Preston. Death by ebola is hideous and horrible. And I don’t appreciate my government treating it like the chicken pox.

The_Hot_Zone_(cover)Of course we don’t want the public to panic, but at what cost?

Here’s what you should know: studies have shown this particular strain of virus is transferred in the air. You can get it by sitting by someone on the bus. You can get it by being in the presence of those infected.

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My heart goes out to the healthcare workers here and elsewhere in the world who have been infected. I pray for them. I urge you to join me in those prayers. And I also pray for those workers involved in caring for the victims. God bless them. It has to be exhausting and frightening.  I pray for the families of the infected. What horror they must be experiencing. How overwhelmed everyone must be. My heart breaks for the pain in this world.

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Please pray Ebola nurse, Texas Christian University graduate, Nina Pham and her family.

Bottom Line (as opposed to Baloney, Balderdash, Bunk, Ballyhoo and Bosh), we have hope:

Psalm 91 King James Version (KJV)

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Our only hope is in Christ. Hazmat suits may not protect us, but God’s supernatural hedge of protection can. And should we become ill, He will give us the grace to endure. And should we die? We do not die without hope. We graduate! Oh, how blessed is that hope.

B IS FOR BLESSED!

I pray for divine health for you, Dear Reader. I pray for your supernatural protection. I pray Psalm 91. In those words I find more protection than any quarantine could possibly offer.

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A to Z blog hop at Patterings.



Happy International Day of the Girl!

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Today is International Day of the Girl!

Who is your girl hero?

Go on twitter and tell us and use the hashtag #girlhero.

Also, remember when I wrote about Strong Girl Malala Yousafzai? She just became the youngest person in the world to win a Nobel Peace Prize! Way to go, Malala!

Just listen to her inspirational speech:

What an amazing young woman all girls everywhere, regardless of their religion, can look up to.

There are so many heroic young woman in the United States who deserve a shout out today. Girls who’ve remained firm in their convictions, faith and goals. Be sure to honor them on twitter today with the hash tag: #girlhero.

I happen to be the grandmother of six Strong Girls! And I’m very proud of their determination to be true to who God created them to be. I’m also God-grandma to another little Strong Girl! How blessed I am!

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Trinity, Avery, Maggie, Sonya — 4 of grandma’s strong girls!

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My daughter, Melissa. I’m so proud that she’s a Strong Girl!

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My daughter, Melissa, and my granddaughter, Abbey. Two Strong Girls!

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Strong Girl, Lauren, another one of my beautiful granddaughters!

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My God-granddaughter, Emma Leigh! She’s one tough cookie!

These girls are my heroes today because they will take the Strong Girl message to the next generation.

As Christian Strong Girls, our message isn’t that we’re strong only because we’re girls. We’re strong because of the strength we gain from the Lord. When we’re weakest, God is strongest. We know this because of what Paul wrote to us in 1 Corinthians 12. He had prayed for God to take something away from his life that was causing him some sort of pain. But here is what God told Paul about it:

“Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, NET.

Our Strength comes not from our own power, but from the Lord:

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” Psalm 118:14, NIV.

Don’t forget to tweet about your #girlhero! And let me know in the comments below who you admire as a Strong Girl!

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5 ways I get it all done

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People often say to me, “I don’t know how you get it all done!” And truthfully, I don’t really. Having it all and doing it all is a myth. But what I do accomplish is because I have priorities and a constant plan. As a pastor’s wife in full-time ministry with my husband, a full-time college student, CASA volunteer,Prison Fellowship volunteer, and substitute teacher, my writing time is limited and precious. If I don’t make time for it, it simply doesn’t happen. If you want to write, then you must make time to write, because life won’t make time for you.

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Here are my 5 main time-management tips:

1. My daily 7.  I keep and follow a list of  7 main tasks a day (this is not the same is priorities). I keep this list in my planner and on the whiteboard in my office so everyone can see them:

1. Bible

2. Pray

3. Write/work on Work in Progress (WIP)

4. Study — either for college courses or classes I teach

5. Blog

6. Emails

7. Social Media/Platform building

sevenReading my bible and praying are two things I really depend on. I just feel less anxious and more focused if I start my day this way. When I don’t, I’m all scattered the rest of the day.

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I may glance at my emails to see if there’s anything pressing, but I don’t answer most of them until after I spend time working on whatever project is yelling the loudest.

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I picture putting the 7 daily tasks I want to accomplish an imaginary task jar first. If I don’t, put them in first, the jar gets full of all the other little stuff and the big rocks won’t fit:

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Keeping these seven tasks as the biggest “rocks” of my day allows me to fill in the empty spaces with other things that are necessary but not as time-investing, such as household chores, phone calls, etc. Everything else are pebbles, sand or water that I pour into the jar over the seven big rocks. Granted, life isn’t perfect and there are days I have to stray from the plan, but by having these Daily 7 as my ideal daily goals helps me stay focused and get more done.

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2. I sometimes write during 2nd/3rd shift hours. If I get the chance and my schedule allows for it, I stay up until 4 AM and write. I usually try to do this two days in a row if I can. Admittedly, this only happens a few times a month but it helps a lot. Writing 2nd/3rd shift keeps me from being interrupted with phone calls and family matters. It gives me a longer stretch of time to focus. I mainly do this if I’m on a deadline or on a roll with an idea.

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3. Get enough rest. Seems a bit ironic to write that after saying I stay up all night writing, but I don’t skimp on my sleep. Because I have fibromyalgia, I have to get as much rest as I can or I simply can’t function. So if I do work third shift, I make sure I sleep before I start the shift and catch up on sleep after my night writing binge is over.

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4. Eat well (and exercise). Okay, I admit I eat better than I exercise. But since I read about C. S. Lewis’s habit of going for a daily walk, I’m determined to be more consistent about it. Walking organizes the brain, too.

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5.  Never waste waiting. Smart phones are heaven-sent for people like me. I can answer emails on the run while I’m waiting to pick up the kids or for my turn to check out. Anytime I wait, I’m doing something. I read, answer phone calls, read emails or tweet. If there are errands to run and there’s someone available that can drive for me, I let them drive so I can read or work on my writing. If it sounds like I’m obsessed with writing that’s because I am.

aaaaworkandwaitNothing worthwhile pursuing is easy and sacrifices have to be made. I don’t have a lot of “fun” time, but I have enough. I don’t watch a lot of TV unless I’m listening to it while I’m working. I very rarely sit and do nothing. In fact, I can’t think of the last time I did that. My hands are always busy.

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And I’m not alone. Any successful writer will tell you they sacrifice a lot to pursue the dream. It’s only worth it if it’s what you’re called to do. And if you’re called to it, then you’ll make time for it. The time fairies aren’t going to show up to stop the hour hand from moving. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get ‘er done.

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How do you get it all done? What’s your secret? Share in the comments below!

A is for Appetite

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Hittin’ the berries a little heavy there…

I’m convinced I’m part bear. This time of year I just want to load up on carbs and I’m sure it’s because I’m trying to prepare for winter hibernation and months of sleep. But alas, I live in a human body that doesn’t have the luxury of napping all winter.  Somehow, my  appetite doesn’t know that!

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Fall, in my mind, means food. And not just any food. The most delicious food of the entire year.

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I wrote a little bit about this on author, Elaine Stock’s, blog. You can see how much I love fall and feeding my voracious appetite here: Be Inspired by Autumn!

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But for this post, I want to share five of my favorites for feeding my fall appetite. In the comments below, I’d love for you to share your favorites, too! I’m always picking up new ways to tickle my taste buds, and I know some of my readers are amazing cooks. I want to try some of your creations this fall. If I make the recipe you post, I’ll feature it on my blog!

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Here are my top five pics for fattening up for a long winter nap. (I’ll post recipes in later posts):

1. Pecan-Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

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2. Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

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3. Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin anything!)

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4. Corn casserole

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5. Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (I sometimes add cream cheese and sour cream to the potatoes. Can you spell calories?)

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Have you noticed there’s not any meat in that list? I think this girl could live on carbs (which is why I lose weight on low-carb diets!). However, I do admit I feel better and have more energy if I limit my carb intake. Still, this time of year I crave them. Maybe it’s because they remind me of my grandmother and how good it felt to be loved by her.

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A to Z blog hop at Patterings.