What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary! Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast. Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling! Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book! Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens! Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain. Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper! Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow! Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone. How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you...

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In Which Mr. Himself Sings the Blues

Every first Sunday night of the month at our church, we have “Gift Exchange Night” following our monthly Birthday/Anniversary carry-in dinner. This month Mr. Himself — my husband and pastor, Eddie, — shared with us a blues-type song he wrote. I think it’s pretty awesome. But then, I’m partial. Both to the blues and to Mr. Himself. What say you? (I know the sound isn’t that great. Which is problematic when you’re recording music. But hopefully as my YouTube channel grows and my platform grows I’ll be able to afford better equipment. For now, it is what it is!) Let me know what you think in the comments below! And please subscribe to my channel! If I get 100 subscribers, I can get a personalized URL for my YouTube channel which will make it even easier to find. Thanks y’all! Tweet this: A new bluesy spiritual by Mr. Himself!...

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Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold

“What a great gift it would be if we could see a little of the great vision of Jesus – if we could see beyond our small lives! Certainly our view is very limited. But we can at least ask him to call us out of our small worlds and our self-centeredness, and we can at least ask to feel the challenge of the great harvest that must be gathered – the harvest of all nations and all people, including the generations of the future.” –J. Heinrich Arnold If there was ever a time the world needed a vision of Jesus it’s now. And the only way most people will “see” Him, is through the lives of His disciples. If you long to be a true disciple and wish to learn what it means to be one, I highly recommend this book, Discipleship, Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold. This new expanded edition produced by Plough Publishing House (the publishing house for the Bruderhof movement) also offers a free student guide and leadership guide on their website. I plan to use these for my Sunday Night Bible study, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book. About the author:  At the age of six, Arnold’s parents moved from Berlin to the little village of Samnerz in central Germany to live a communal life based upon Acts 2 and 4. His father was a writer and theologian and the founder of the Bruderhof movement. Young Arnold was exposed to many interesting characters while growing up in the commune: tramps, artists, and free-thinkers made their way in and out of his life and made lasting impressions upon him. At the age of eleven, he felt the call of God on his life. (I was 11, when I, too, felt the call!) He committed himself to the Bruderhof — “the place of brothers.” Founded in 1920 in Germany, the Bruderhof was and is an international communal movement of families and single men and women who seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor. They have an online book you can read about their foundation here: Foundations of our Faith and Calling. Arnold has been described as “a true Seelsorgeror “spiritual guide” who cared deeply for the inner and outer wellbeing of the communities entrusted to him. And he served his brothers and sisters by sharing in their daily lives in work and leisure, at communal meals, business meetings, and worship services.” His writing has the influence of his own father, Eberhard Arnold and nineteenth century Lutheran pastors Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt as well as Meister Eckhart, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Friedrich von Gagern, and Russian...

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Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop. Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post. Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe! Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes   It’s been a long cold winter in NE Indiana. The kind of winter that calls for lots of comfort food. (Thank goodness for baggy sweaters!) Last Friday I invited all the girls at our church, ages K-12 grade, to a Pinterest cooking sleepover. It was a total blast and I can’t wait to share the recipes we tried! I’ve been collecting Pinterest recipes for a long time on my Pinterest board. I will never find enough time to make all of them, but having a cooking sleepover allowed us to make and try six different fattening and  delicious recipes! Some were a hit and others were so-so. All were kid-friendly and fun. Before we started our cooking activities, I reminded the girls how God made us with His hands and how special we are to Him. I asked them to remember as we worked with our hands, how God loves what He made just as we love what we make. I reminded them that they are royalty–the daughters of the King of Kings. Recipe 1: Pepperoni Roll-ups This was so easy and the kids loved doing it. They were delicious, too. I spread parchment paper all along the table and after the girls washed their hands, gave them each two crescent roll doughs, five pepperonis and a handful of mozzarella cheese. Most recipes call for a stick of string cheese, but using grated cheese was less expensive. I had the help of three other adults and the older girls pitched in and helped the younger girls. This activity worked for all ages and all abilities. One of our teens has autism and an intellectual disability and she had no trouble participating like everyone else. We all had fun eating the pepperoni and cheese, too, as we worked! We used cupcake paper to put the spaghetti sauce in for dipping when we served them. The girls loved them. They were surprisingly filling, too! (Uh, the roll-ups, not the girls!) Since we have a western theme going on for our Children’s ministry, while the roll-ups were cooking, I read them a cute little book about a little cowboy and a very bossy cowgirl who’s a know-it-all: Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door. We talked about how to be a good friend and the difference between being bossy...

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G is for Gratefulness

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 post is brought to you by the Letter G Gratefulness. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. My life is in an uncomfortable place financially. I get discouraged that at my age, I’m still struggling. Of course, this is because of choices we’ve made: to minister in the rural United States. We have no retirement because of this choice. We have no savings. No insurance. And it’s easy sometimes for me to feel afraid and scared if I think too much about the future and “what ifs.” If I’m not careful, I can get into a mode of whining instead of praising. I can get into a rut of trying to figure it out and fix it myself. Applying for jobs (as if I have time for one more job), looking for a greener pasture, begging God for an answer, feeling neglected because I don’t have a nicer house, or car or whatever temporal thing the enemy throws up in my face to cause me to think God loves others more than me. But as I’ve wrestled with this season of discontent, God has sent me answers: Be Still. Be grateful. Trust. Be still? BE STILL? That’s hard for a fixer and a doer! Very hard! But He has confirmed it to me in several ways. First, through a message preached on a Sunday morning, and through scripture I’ve read. Then, in a tiny gift I received weeks ago but just today found and opened. It was a magnet that said, “Be still and know that I am God.. Psalm 46:10.” I laughed when I saw it. Okay, God. I get it. I get the message. You’ll take care of me while I obey. I trust You even when it doesn’t make sense and all around me is debt and bills and a scary economy. I trust You the way the little birds do. You are up to something good on my behalf. I receive it. I need only to be still (Exodus 14:14). How fitting at Thanksgiving time that God would remind me of the need for gratefulness in overcoming fear for the future. I believe that gratefulness is what leads to contentment. The little sparrows aren’t fretting about tomorrow. They...

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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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