Friday, March 30, 2018

A Trip and a Story

It's been a month of travel. Firstly, we drove to Sacramento and were gone for six days. Then we flew to Chicago and were gone three days. Most recently, we flew to New Orleans and were gone another six days. Hubby was invited to speak at a religious convention each time. The third convention was actually in Gulfport, Mississippi, so we rented a car and drove the 80 miles to Gulfport after spending some time in New Orleans.

We hadn't been to New Orleans since the mid-90's. The French Quarter and the French Market hadn't changed much at all--maybe a little older and in need of some tidying up--fresh paint, cleaning.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, 24-miles long. The lake is only 10' deep.

We didn't want to spend too much time retracing our steps, so we decided to drive over the 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain and then tour around the Louisiana bayou.

Mike and Cathy in Gulfport, Mississippi

Water! How I love to see water ...

When in Gulfport, we spent some time with a friend who lost everything during Katrina. He was telling us that the water near his home, which was only a couple blocks from the Gulf, was 25' deep after the storm.

After the floodwaters receded, they discovered their neighborhood was still intact ... except for their house, which was nowhere to be found.

Apparently, besides the hurricane, a tornado had swept through and demolished their house. Our friend found only a few of his belongings, including the tie he'd worn at his wedding.

The natural response: "God, why me?"
The Christian's response (and our friend's): "God, why not me?"

It was a horribly traumatic event, and our friend and his family suffered enormously. But God is good. Our friend's family all survived. Since Katrina, God has amply recompensed them for all that they lost.

So I'm celebrating our opportunity to see New Orleans again and to visit Gulfport for the first time, and especially to hear about this story of faith.

What are you celebrating today?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lord, You are My Island (Celtic prayer)

Lord, you are my island. 
In your bosom I rest. 
You are the calm of the sea. 
In that peace I lie. 
You are the deep waves of the ocean.
In their depths I stay. 
You are the silence of the spheres. 
In that space I live. 
You are the smooth white strand of the shore.
In its swell I sing. 
You are the ocean of life that laps my being. 
You are the Lord of my life. 
In you is my eternal joy.

Poem taken from 40 Prayers from Celtic Christianity

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mailbox Monday

Hosted by: Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

St. Patrick's blessing

Did you know that this blessing, which you may be familiar with, is attributed to St. Patrick?

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
--St. Patrick

Sunday, March 11, 2018

I Welcome the Created Light of this New Day (Celtic Poem)

I welcome the created light of this new day,
So that I may enter more fully
Into the uncreated light of eternity;
I welcome the wind
That blows away all that is not rooted, 
So that I may enter unencumbered,
Into the Source of all;
I welcome the dark storm clouds, 
So that I may never make light
Of the mysterious Presence; 
I welcome the cold,
so that I may always search
for the warming fire of God's love.

Poem taken from 40 Prayers from Celtic Christianity. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

IWSG: How I celebrate after completing an important writing goal


It's hard to reconcile that another month's rolled by, but February is short and we took two trips--one to Sacramento and the other to Chicago. 

Regarding this month's question, which asks how we celebrate after completing an important writing goal. I ran across this nice article, The Best Rewards to keep you Motivated, which talks about small and large rewards after completing small and large goals. 

I've done many of the suggestions over the years, such as going out to dinner, watching a movie or a favorite TV show, doing some retail therapy, doing something relaxing, taking a day off, reconnecting with friends. 

I haven't taken a class or a trip as a result, and I've never bought flowers, but I'm pretty sure I've spent time working in my flower garden and gotten all kinds of pleasure out of it. 

I'm currently completing a revision of a YA romance, with plans to send it to a targeted publisher. 

So just reaching that goal will be an incredible reward, in and of itself. Nope, I will need no other reward than to upload the manuscript and then to hit the send button. 

What about you? How do you reward yourself after completing an important writing goal?

Hosted by: Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Friday, March 02, 2018

Celebrating a visit to Chicago

Hubby and I had the opportunity to spend a day in Chicago this past Monday. For us, it's not a small thing at all, considering that we live just under 1800 miles away from the city. Here are some memories:

View of Lake Michigan from Brother Tom's brother, Joe's 17th floor condo. 

Another picture of Lake Michigan and Lakeshore Drive.

Chicago Skyline with park below.

This is us in front of the Bean with Sister Cheryl and Brother Tom.

Mike and I in front of the Bean.

This was one of my favorite pictures from the Chicago Art Museum.  

Chicago Art Museum from the outside. 

After visiting the art museum, it was dusk. We crossed the street and had coffee at Starbucks. Then, our friends took us to Midway Airport and we flew home. 

Many thanks to Sr. Cheryl and Bro. Tom for a great day. 

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Monthly Wrap-up for February 2018

What a whirlwind month February was. We don't usually travel much this time of year, but this year proved different.

Things about my life in February:

It started with a long-awaited, overnight visit from some dear friends. They had been attempting to visit us since June, but twice, their plans fell through. Then a few days after their visit, hubby and I drove to Sacramento for a Bible Student convention, where he had the honor of being asked to speak. We got home on a Wednesday, and then on Saturday, we boarded a plane for Chicago, where he repeated the honor of being invited to speak. Both trips were like love feasts, visiting with Christian friends who, in some cases, we hadn't seen in three years. Between the visit from our friends and our travels, that took up fully two weeks of February.

Online presence:

# of blog posts: 20
# of comments on the blog: 90 (Close to half would've been my replies to others.)
Most popular post: from Book Blogger Hop: Have you met any authors? If so, who?
Books acquired: 9. This was an extremely low book-buying month, and I am proud of myself.
Books reviewed: 8

Christian Nonfiction:
Lost World of the FloodMirror for the Soul; Recapturing the Wonder; All things New; 52 Ways to Grow your Faith; 52 Weeks through the Bible
Dare you To; The Ambassador's Daughter
Favorite book reviewed:
Recapturing the Wonder
Features or discussions:
New Routines (Celebrate the Small things); Book Blogger Hop: Have you met any authors and if so, who?; IWSG: What I love about the Romance genre; A Remodeled Scrapbooking Room (Celebrate the Small things)

Links you shouldn't miss (especially if you're a writer):
  1. From Edie Melson, yet one more informative article about Facebook changes: Facebook Changes, Terminology, and Best Practices Screencast.
  2. Again from Edie Melson, a guest post by Cathy Fyock: What no one told you about becoming an author. Great tips!
  3. From Marketing for Romance Writers: Advice for Authors Doing Blog Tours. 
  4. From Vanetta Chapman what to do: When a Book Releases. She includes tips I hadn't considered before. 
  5. From Seekerville, a guest post by DiAnn Mills: Proactive Marketing and Promotion. DiAnn is an uber-promoter with so many tricks up her sleeves.
  6. From the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, Building Worlds. A lot more goes into world-building than date and location. 


On Sundays, I've been posting an image matched with an inspiring quote, which I call Sunday Inspiration. I've collected 365 images and nearly as many inspiring quotes. Someday, I hope to match up all images with quotes and to roll them out, one each day, on Instagram.

For now, I'm rolling them out at a rate of one each week, here on the blog and on Instagram. If you missed them, here are the posts for February:

So Fair the Sky was ...
Lord Teach me ...
May you know love ...
How do you measure yourself? 

Reading Challenge Updates:

Operation Deepen Faith:

I read and wrote reviews for 6 Christian nonfiction books (see above).

NetGalley Reading Challenge: All of the books I reviewed this month were NetGalley books. I am happy to say that my review rate is now at 80%, which is the sweet spot that everyone likes. NetGalley gave me a badge, which disappears from my blog once the rate drops below 80%. I've placed the badge in the upper left corner of my left sidebar.

Writing update:

I did absolutely no writing in February!

Some things I'm looking forward to next month:

  1. In a week, we're taking a third trip, this time to New Orleans, where hubby will speak at another Bible Student convention. We plan to take a couple of extra days to do some sight-seeing. We visited New Orleans only once before, and that was back in the 1990's. 
  2. I'm also looking forward to ordering some perennials for my perennial flower garden. 
  3. And I'm looking forward to warmer weather, longer days. 
Favorite quote from a book I read this month:

This is from The Case for Miracles by Lee Strobel: "Before praying with someone to receive Christ, many leaders in the Middle East will ask two questions. First, are you willing to suffer for Jesus? And, second, are you willing to die for Jesus?"

I will be reviewing this soon, with information about how Jesus is bringing Muslims to Christ via dreams ...

A post I wish had gotten more love:

I wish all of my Sunday Inspiration posts had gotten more love. I love collecting the images and the quotes and matching image to quote and making them on Canva!

How was your February? Is there anything you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it.

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