Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Measure of Growth

Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

When we vacationed in Maine, Tim and I took a "Lobster Tour." Our first afternoon in that beautiful state we boarded the Lucky Catch, on the Casco Bay in Portland. The little red boat held about fourteen tourists ready to learn about the trade of lobstering. First, we filled mesh bags with chubs and herring, then tied them into the traps. The captain taught us about the traps, how the larger lobsters get caught and the little ones have an escape hatch. The whole experience was hands-on. When we pulled in the traps and found a female, they showed us she was a layer and threw her back. Then the captain demonstrated which of the larger male lobsters to keep and which to send back to the water.


The captain grabbed the lobster and a gage. He hooked one end of the measuring tool to the socket behind the lobster's eye, then drew the other end straight down along the crustacean's carapace (back). The minimum length had to be three and a quarter inches for him to keep it. Otherwise back to the deep they went for a chance to grow.

Like those lobsters that get thrown into the sea, God wants me to keep growing. My Father knows where I am as a believer. He knows my heart and sees my soul. When I think of ways to grow spiritually I call up the verses in Galatians where Paul names the Fruit of the Spirit. My love needs to multiply. Does God draw me through the fires of life to increase my compassion for people? I'm willing to say yes. Does he require I wait to develop patience? Of course. How about experiencing hurt and pain to remember to be kind and gentle. Yes! God wants me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. He wants me to strengthen my knowledge of his word. Does he use a gage to measure my growth? No, instead he checks my heart. Jesus knows me. He loves me and he wants me to be filled with joy. And that takes growth—in learning his word, in prayer, and in obedience.


Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fiction Book Review: Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

About the book:
A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?


About the author:
Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four
brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer's conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Find out more about Jeanne M. at http://www.jeannemdickson.com.



Facebook Twitter Instagram

My Review:
Grounded Hearts tells a beautiful story of strong women in Ireland in World War 2. I didn't know that Ireland was neutral during World War 2, nor did I know anything about their internment camps. Jeanne M. Dickson did her homework on the history of the area and the role Ireland played during the war. I like the main character, midwife Nan. She has a heart of gold, that's been broken. Yet, she's selfless when it comes to taking care of others. I love the strong and loyal bond the women of the story share, as well as the setting. Nan's cottage is cozy. Then there is the flyboy, "Dutch". He's a strong, yet tender man who wants nothing more than to fly his fighter plane against the evils of Hitler. As I read the book, I didn't want to put it down. It's not a gentle inspirational book. Instead, the story deals with emotions, passion, sin, war, and love. The men of Ireland were drinkers and the women said what was on their minds. But the story is a beautiful tale of redemption, second chances, forgiveness, loyalty, and love. If you enjoy honest, historical fiction, you'll want to read Grounded Hearts. I give it five stars for the excellent writing and moving story. I received this book for free.

Jeanne M. Dickson's 'Grounded Hearts' Giveaway and Blog Tour

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson's new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

God's Own Hands

Isaiah 44:23
Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

I never get tired of experiencing God's amazing creation. On our trip to Maine this week, we spent a day in the rural area between Portland and New Harbor. We journeyed up the coast across parts of the Casco Bay. Trees lined the roadways; not just fence lines of scrubs or a spruce here and an oak there. Instead we passed by forested areas grown by God's own hands. I couldn't help but wonder what animals roamed the woods. Maybe a bear or a moose. But those were left to my imagination. Other areas we crossed were covered by wetlands and waterways. Everywhere we looked, beauty sang a song of glory to the Creator.

As I prepare to leave the great state of Maine, I thank the Lord for the experience to visit another area of the world. No matter how large or small the geographical areas in my life are, I know God's hands formed everything. From the sandy beaches to the evergreen trees to the call of the sea gulls, I witnessed the glory of God by his presence in this amazing environment. I love his incredible imagination and wisdom.


Shout to Him with joy, for He is good!
Do you connect to God through nature?  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

We Grabbed the Tail of our Dream

I've imagined traveling to the great state of Maine for almost 50 years. It's true. When I was a kid in school, we were assigned a state project. My state was Maine. We had to use snail mail back then and write a letter to the Maine State Chamber of Commerce to gather information (no internet, way back then.) I discovered Maine had a beautiful coast.
I spent my 60th birthday on a Puffin tour 
Amazing forests. Mountains. Incredible wildlife and gorgeous flora. And so the dream began... a journey to Maine.

In February, things started to fall into place. Tim and I both researched the possibilities. Where to stay. Do we drive or fly? What do we want to see? In March, we booked an Air BnB. My dream turned into our dream. Being here with my best friend has been incredible.


 Lobstering was so much fun!





We got to eat the lobster we caught. Yummy!

  The beach at our Air BnB

 


 


                         A seagull egg


 

Friday, July 7, 2017

I'm Not Home Yet

John 14:1-4
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Have you ever prepared for a long trip? A journey to a new place? An adventure of a lifetime. We've spent the last few months booking places to stay, creating lists of things to do, pages of what to pack and mapping out a route. Maybe you do this for vacation, taking a child to college, or moving across the country. This year, we'll be packing our bags for a week long excursion across several states. I'm excited to go places I've never been and see things I've only dreamed of. But to go from dreaming about the trip to actually loading the car and driving off, we've had to get ready.

In John 14, Jesus talks about a different kind of journey he's designing for his followers. Building 429 sings, Where I Belong, a song that talks about not being home yet and looking forward to the time when they'll meet Jesus face-to-face. Even as Jesus sets the table in his Father's mansion and lays out a path for me to follow, I need to prepare for the journey. I can't just sit around and dream about the day I'll see Jesus. I need to pray and listen to his voice. I want to follow his map, the Bible. I try to obey my God and Savior, as I anticipate his coming. He's promised to return for the faithful. I praise God for his grace and the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. I know I'm not home yet. But someday I will be spending my days at the feet of Jesus' throne.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fiction Book Review: On Love's Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson

Publisher's Description:
Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return to Prince Edward Island. But when her fiancé books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to plan the perfect wedding. Yet she can't possibly plan for a run-in with Justin Kane--the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.

Justin has never forgotten Natalie. He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until tragedy struck, leaving him to run the family dairy farm. He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him--but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin may discover that there is more between them than broken promises and an old friendship.


My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed On Love's Gentle Shores, the third book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series. First of all the setting is incredible. The water's edge, the small town feel, and a lighthouse drew me right in to Prince Edwards Island (PEI.) Second, the characters are lovable and realistic. From Natalie to Justin's mom, I enjoyed getting to know each one. Third, Liz Johnson is a fabulous writer. One of the things I like most about Natalie is that she's carrying baggage. Real baggage, and she struggles to deal with it. Fourth, I love the community on PEI. The people are real. There are loving folks and town gossips. Helpful and harmful—true to small town living. This is my favorite book in the series. And just for the record, Justin is a sweetheart. This is a fantastic summer read, and can be read as a standalone. But trust me, you'll want to read the series. I can actually say that I missed the characters after I finished the book. I'd love to see what happens to them in the future! 5 Stars! I received this book for free.

Reflections of the Heart

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


Before July ends, I will celebrate another birthday. I've chalked up a lot of experience in the years I've lived. As I looked in the mirror this morning, my reflection stared back. White hair, tired eyes, wrinkles and frown lines. Life mapped out on my face. Sounds depressing doesn't it. Until I look past the physical markings and see the cheeks my husband, children, and grandchildren kiss. The hair I still have. The eyes that take in the beauty of the natural world. I see hints of my mom and my dad, resemblances to my siblings. Years of worry and sadness are balanced by many more moments of joy and love.

Somewhere in the reflection, I recognize the love Jesus pours over me. The grace he offers freely. Even as I live on earth, I see Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, the apostle Paul talks about "a reflection as in a mirror," as in what we see now—today—here on earth. But "then we shall see face to face," not in a mirror but face to face. Jesus will return to take his followers, the believers, the obedient—and then we will see him face to face. Not just a reflection, but our true Savior will stand in front of us in all of his glory. What a joy that will be!

As I reflect on my life, I pray that my heart reflects the deep love I have for Jesus and the grace he's given me. I praise God for many years lived surrounded by people I love.
Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.