Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Divine Appointment

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

I love it when God makes an appointment for me. He sets up a time for my path to cross that of another person, without my knowledge. On Thursday, I was meeting family for dinner and I had a little time before our meal. As I drove into town, I stopped by the local library for a restroom stop and just to browse. As I wandered among the shelves I heard a familiar voice. A dear friend, and fellow librarian, was sharing some fun book titles with a young lady. I peeked through the shelf and sure enough there was my good friend. Neither of us work in this library, yet here we both stood. We hugged and had a great conversation God knew I needed.

You see, I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to stop at the library. I could have gone to a gas station or even the restaurant for a bathroom. But God knew I needed to go to the library and talk with Sharee. One of my daughter's will be traveling out of the country soon. I'll be honest—I've been nervous about the trip. Sharee's daughter had traveled to the same country my daughter intended to go to, so she had knowledge of the area. She messaged me later after she'd looked up the target mission. Her words and information gave me great comfort and reduced the stress I'd experienced about the trip. I know without a doubt, the Holy Spirit nudged me to stop by the library. I had a divine appointment with Sharee. I love this about Jesus. He knows our needs and meets them, no matter how small. It's my job to listen and respond to the Spirit's prompting. Now I am excited for my daughter and the mission she's pursuing. I pray for safety and that her team can help those in need and touch the people with Jesus love. Pray with me, if you would.

Praise God for divine appointments!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fiction Review: Murder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart

Book Description:
One body may be an accident. A second body means murder.

The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its aged owner Miss Fonda doesn't realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she's not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.

If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky--with a dash of sinister--you'll love this latest whodunit from deft storyteller A. H. Gabhart.

My Review:
First, I like the main character, Michael Keane. He's smart which makes for a good crime solver. And according to the description he's handsome and best of all he is kind. Hidden Springs is a typical small town where everyone knows each other's business. And that just makes the story more interesting. Because even though the gossip floats around like a kite on a windy day, it is seldom accurate. As Michael and his crew sift through the facts and fiction, a killer is on the loose. One of the things I enjoyed about the story is Maggie's perspective, a teenager caught in the middle of the mess. She has a way of being brave and scared all at the same time. The pace of A.H. Gabhart's story is much like relaxing on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon. I'd compare the story to some I've enjoyed on the Hallmark Mystery and Movie channel. If you're fond of small town settings, mysteries and an array of peculiar characters, you'll love Murder is No Accident. I received this book free from Revell.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fiction Review: Home at Last by Deborah Raney

Book Description: 
Why did their differences matter so much?

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he's stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters' efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother's white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn't repeat in polite-well, in any company. Her father's family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn't people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?

Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl's aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee's On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

About the author:
Deborah Raney's novels have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken Raney have traded small-town life in Kansas-the setting of many of Deb's novels-for life in the city of Wichita.

Find out more about Deborah at
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My Review:

Home at Last is the fifth and final book in the Chicory Inn series. This series about the Whitman family is fantastic. As much as I loved the final book, I hated to see the series end. I had so much fun binge-reading the series. Yet, I think each book could stand alone. But you'd be missing out on some excellent story telling if you skip any of the books. Of the five, I enjoyed this one the most.  Deb created a beautiful story that hit on a scenario which has touched many of our lives. As Link and Shayla explore a possible relationship that puts both families on guard, Deb creates a story of overcoming differences in the face of love. That's one thing I like about Deb's writing, she's not afraid to write about troubling issues. Also, she creates believable characters who are in the midst of the challenges of life. In addition, I enjoyed the romance and the family interaction. As Grant and Audrey Whitman are striking out on a new adventure of their own, they're trying to balance life with their adult children. Deb Raney  has great insight into being a parent of grown children. The Chicory Inn  books will appeal to readers who relate to the grown kids finding their way in life and romance, and the parents who are learning to live in an empty nest (at least most of the time.) I highly recommend Home at Last as well as the first four books, Home to Hickory Lane, Two Roads Home, Another Way Home, and Close to Home. Five stars! I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

When I'm not at Liberty to Speak

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

My co-worker, Natalie and I presented at a library staff conference this week. We'd been working on the PowerPoint and ideas for a few weeks. But I felt I lacked something. I wasn't quite grabbing the baton for my part of the program. Yet, I moved forward and gave the attendees encouragement in the world of library technical services. I thought maybe I fell short because I was nervous or tired. Although the evaluation sheets reflected satisfaction with the program. Still, I couldn't shake the dissatisfaction I felt in my heart. Then it hit me...

I'm enthusiastic about libraries and information. But compared to my love for Jesus, everything else pales. Without the freedom to include words about God and salvation in my talk, I left feeling empty. But that's how it is in the world. There are times when I will be in front of others, and I won't be at liberty to speak of the Jesus I love. But, I will be able to show God's love through encouragement and compassion. I may not be able to quote scripture, but I can speak with a love in my heart to the people God created. You see, it's not always the words that give a resounding message. My actions show others what Jesus already knows is in my heart. Was I kind, encouraging, peace-filled, joyous, gentle and self-controlled? I hope so.

When the woman caught in adultery was taken before Jesus to be condemned, instead of spilling out a string of words, he knelt and wrote in the dirt. He didn't find the need to spew out what he believed, instead he showed patience and gave no condemnation. How often are people watching instead of listening. Most of the time.

Whether an opportunity to speak or a chance to share, I pray the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are pleasing to God. Praise God for his guidance in all things.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Deborah Raney's 'Home at Last' Facebook Party and Blog Tour

Conclude Deborah Raney's Chicory Inn novels with the final book, Home at Last, a story of acceptance, trying to overcome differences, and love. Everything changes for bachelor Link Whitman one icy morning when a child runs into the street and he nearly hits her with his pickup-and then the girl's aunt Shayla enters Link's life. Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

Join Deborah on Thursday, March 23, for a live author chat party in her Facebook group with fun prizes to be won! Click the graphic below for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there-bring a friend or two who loves to read!

Home at Last by Deb Raney


The Lord of Heaven and Earth

Jeremiah 10:12-13
But God made the earth by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom
    and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Last week Tim and I stopped by Kroger to pick up groceries. As we drove around the parking lot to find a space, I looked into the field in front of the store. I was appalled. Litter tugged against the green sprouts of spring. Pop cans, food wrappers, and water bottles rolled around in the wind. Why on earth did anyone let that happen? I understand that sometimes a piece of paper might fall out of a cart or car. But good grief, it looked like someone dumped their trash out and let it fly.

God created an incredible place for us to live. The oceans, plains, mountains and the changing seasons. Spring should bring the beauty of the daffodils and forsythia, not garbage in the field. I appreciate God's creation and love being out in the woods or by the water. But mind you, I don't worship nature, instead I worship the Creator of all the wonders of the earth. The people in Jeremiah's time struggled with idols in nature. They bowed down to the sun and the moon. If any weather seemed like a threat, they thought they were being punished and shut down all their work to tremble in fear. But they had it all wrong. God gave us the earth and all the natural resources to use and appreciate. In turn, he expects us to take care of all creation. I thank God for this earth and pray we teach the next generation to take care of our world. Praise God for his creation!

Here is God of Wonder by Chris Tomlin. Love this song!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

In the Palm of his Hand

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Batavia sits in a small valley surrounded by low-lying hills. Just enough hill to cause a cozy, tucked-in effect. But on Thursday morning, the atmosphere seemed anything but cozy. The radio called for thunderstorms and a threat of tornadoes. As I drove through the center or town I watched the sky. Dark clouds billowed toward our little town. As I moved west, the clouds pushed east. The sky darkened as the clouds rolled. Lightning lit up the outline of the hills after thunder crashed through the air. We were in for a deluge. As I pulled in to my parking spot and jumped out of the Jeep the huge drops of rain, that come just before a downpour, accompanied me to the door. After I entered the building, rain let loose and poured in sheets. The wind ripped through and shoved water across the parking lot. The storm arrived with no mercy.

Sounds like life, doesn't it. Except there are not always warnings. Instead the thunder and lightning of life takes us by surprise. Illness, death, loss of job, divorce, broken friendships, disappointment, and on the tempest rolls. It's heartbreaking. But in the midst of all the storms there's hope! My brother sings a beautiful hymn that reminds me of God and his love, "‘Til the Storm Passes By." The lyrics are a prayer seeking God's protection in the midst of turmoil. The vocalist asks God to hold him in the palm of his hand. And that's exactly what he does. He hears our cries and wraps his arms around us, lifts us up and sees us through. No matter how dark the clouds, or heavy the rain, God offers peace and joy on the other end. He is our hope in every storm. Praise God for his endless love and provision.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Seed was Planted

A little over two years ago, the seed of a dream was planted into the heart of someone who saw the need to provide food for local children. Along with her husband and family, she took that seed and planted it in Clermont County. From that germ of an idea Empower Youth grew. And continues to grow.

photo by Lori Conley
The first time I heard Lori Conley speak, with compassion in her heart for children in poverty, I cried. To know that there are children who may not have a meal to eat or a pillow to lay their head on breaks my heart. Young people may be left to fend for themselves for any number of reasons. But they shouldn't have to go hungry, ever.

Tonight, Tim and I were blessed to stand beside other folks from the community and pack boxes of macaroni and cheese, juice bags, fruit cups, ravioli, crackers and various other food items into plastic bags. Each of the 385 bags will go home from school with a child, to provide a weekend meal.

That's not all. Empower Youth not only provides food, they also give a pillow with a pillow case to kindergarteners each school year. Plus they offer scholarships for summer camp.

To read more about empower youth go to their website at You'll find opportunities to volunteer, give, and encourage.

I'd love to see this program continue to grow and flourish. Please share this post so that more folks will know, and more will help.

"Empower Youth was founded in February 2015 to partner with children and youth in hopes of instilling in them the confidence and resources needed to break through the chains of generational poverty."