Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have two blog addresses:


Essentially, the exact same blogs (since I did the import/export thing).

I feel like I'm having an identity crisis and trying to figure out what I want the blog to be called!

Thanks for bearing with me.


This Side of Heaven~Karen Kingsbury

This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury

No one believed he had a daughter he’d never met . . . No one listened when she cried for the daddy she didn’t know . . . Now, in the ashes of tragedy, lies a vindication neither could’ve imagined.

Annie Warren always wanted the best for her son, Josh. But years of failure and bad choices created a heartbreaking distance that has grown far worse since the day Josh was hit by a drunk driver.

Now on medical disability, Josh has put his life on hold for years, waiting for the insurance company to send a settlement that never seems to come. Worse, he believes the story of a scheming woman who claims they have a seven-year-old daughter named Savannah.

Despite the unlikelihood and complete lack of evidence, Josh dreams of being a father and is determined to one day claim the child. His family doesn't know the full story. They don't know what happened the night of the accident that was worth the chronic pain Josh suffers every waking minute, or that he is turning his life around. They haven't seen that Savannah's eyes are his, and they don't know how desperately the little girl needs her family.

When the settlement that rightly belongs to Josh is threatened, Annie sets out to defend her son. But she might find a treasure more valuable than money, one she never expected, one that is the greatest gift her son could ever give her--THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.

A story of family secrets, broken relationships, and a love strong enough to span an ocean – this side of heaven.

My review:
This was the first Karen Kingsbury novel I have read, and it will most definitely not be the last. Right off the bat, she captured my attention and did not let it go until well after the book was over. (As a matter of fact, after I finished the book, I went to her website and read more about her and the inspiration for this book, her brother Dave.)

I can't get over the fact that I have not read anything by Karen Kingsbury before now! This book was fast paced, had mystery and intrigue, pain and suffering, family drama, a beautiful ending and showed how much God loves us! You can't get much better than that, folks.

I really enjoyed watching the mom, Annie Warren, grow as a person and learn to put her fears and worries over what other people thought aside as she learned about her son and grew in her relationship with the Lord.

The main character, Josh Warren, showed how you can touch someone's life in a huge way by doing the small things. I also loved how Christian music played such an important part in his life and in his testimony, because it has also done so in mine.

This book emphasised to me that while we're on this side of heaven life will not always be easy or free from pain; however, as long we keep our eyes on our heavenly Father, there is nothing we can't handle. One day, we'll be on the right side of heaven.

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading a good book and feeling like you're part of the story. (I would also recommend visiting Karen Kingsbury's site and learning more about her and her life. What a treasure she is.)

(Second book review - whatcha think?)

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

For the Tough Times, by Max Lucado

When we feel that life is out of control, He is in control. When tragedy strikes, people desperately search for answers. Believers and unbelievers alike find themselves turning to God. Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado points to the only real answer to tragedy and crisis: Prayer. In For the Tough Times, Lucado helps us understand how to pray despite our doubt and fear.
My review:
This is a gem of a book. It's the kind of book that you can either skim through or devour. When you read the book, you are constantly reminded how much God loves you and how He is in control. Max Lucado gives examples of prayers we can say, even when we our circumstances leave us speechless.
For example: "Lord, the one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed." The words of the prayers may vary but His response never changes. He hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won't miss a word. (pp. 67-68, emphasis and paraphrasing mine.)
If you or someone you know is going through a tough time, buy this book. They won't feel overwhelmed by the size (79 pages) and the book can be read as circumstances allow. The pages are filled with treasures and words of wisdom.

(P.S. This is my very first book review for Thomas Nelson: book review blogger. Please let me know your honest thoughts of the review. Thank you!)

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, February 2, 2009

Prayer Request

*UPDATE 2/2/09* Tomorrow, they will be heading to St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, TN and going to the Solid Tumor Clinic. McShane still hasn't had a biopsy ~ I imagine that will be done on Thursday. What they think it is is osteosarcoma. I'm bathing them both in prayer and if you're helping me do that too, you'll never know how thankful I am!*

My husband's 13 yo nephew, McShane, has an abnormal growth behind his knee that appears to be some type of tumor. The doctors aren't sure if it's growing out of the bone or if it's wrapped around the bone. McShane & Mike (the dad) went to the doctor Thursday thinking it was something minor and were stunned to be referred to specialists. They are on their way today to New Orleans (they recently moved to Baton Rouge) for a biopsy. Mike was told he could expect to be there at least 2 - 3 days.

Mike is self-employed as a contractor, which is why he moved to Baton Rouge where there appeared to be more employment opportunity. He was supposed to start a large job today, which now he can't. His business has been down and money is very scarce. Also, he has no health insurance.

I pray that you'll join me in praying that regardless of what the tests reveal that Mike, McShane and James will look up to our Father and grab a hold of His hand. Only He will be able to bring us through the rocky road ahead. I pray that I'm used for God's glory and not to His detriment. That I will be able to remain strong and help show them Him!

Thank you!!!!

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hindsight: A Letter to me at 14

The challenge was on Oprah a few years back. I took that challenge and decided to post it here. So, are you up for giving your younger self advice? What advice would you give to your “younger” self in a letter?

Dear Cathy:
I know you don't like to listen to grown ups and what they have to offer, but I can only hope as I am you as a grown up, that you will listen to me. You're 14 right now and you have your whole world ahead of you. I know what life is going to be like when you're 38, and honey there are just some things you need to not do!

Keep God first. You're active in youth at Church right now. Don't lose it. You keep God first right now, and most of the things we're going to go through later on wouldn't have happened.

QUIT SMOKING. Ugh, you don't really smoke much right now and it won't be so hard. In a few more years, you'll be glad you did. Believe me when I tell you that it's really hard to quit when you've been doing it for so long. (I finally quit around June 8, 2007 and it's been rough!)

Keep on saying no to drugs. You know it's the one thing I said actually said no to and I'm so glad I did. We'll drink some and sometimes to extremes, but drinking is never a problem for us.
When you start losing weight this year, work on keeping it off. Keep on exercising and make it part of your everyday life.

That guy at Aladdin's Castle that you think is wonderful. He's going to be your first husband. I'm not sure if you should go down that path or not. As long as you'll wind up where I am right now, you shouldn't. But, I don't think it works that way. I'm sorry to say that when you're walking down the aisle, 3 days before your 19th birthday, you're going to regret it and wish you weren't. We don't stay married toooooooo long. Hey, on the bright side, we went to school and learned how to type. This will be important. Maybe you should take typing in high school and not worry about failing or passing the class. Just do it!

In your junior year of high school, there will be a Christmas party for the Color Guard at the teacher's house. GO TO THE PARTY. Do not, and I stress, DO NOT go with Mireille to see that guy. That guy is a jerk. Because of the events of that night, you will battle with many demons for many years. Eventually, you will ask God to forgive you, and He will (see, keep God first and this wouldn't even be part of the hindsight), but it's a long and hard battle that you aren't going to share with many folks. You'll regret the events of that night forever. (Luckily, later on, you'll forgive yourself and God gave you a huge cup of Grace for that night too and forgave you.)

You're going to become guys' best friend. They will come to you to talk about their girlfriends. Just deal with it. It's not that you aren't good enough for any of them. It's that you're a good listener and you seem to know what to say. This won't really change through the years. Many times, you'll have more male friends than female friends.

When you and Tim break up, you're going to meet a guy named David. Now, listen very carefully, the two of you will get married. It's not a bad marriage, although ya'll don't communicate well. But, you will get divorced. The divorce will be painful. You will do everything you can to make it work but it's just not going to happen. But, here is why you have to marry this guy. You have two beautiful daughters who are your heart and soul. Oh, I just can't tell you how wonderful these girls are. They are so talented in many ways and they just bring joy to you. Oh yeah, sometimes you're going to feel like you're at your wits' end, but then one of them will do something so incredibly sweet, and it will melt you all over.

During this marriage, you will discover the Internet and chat rooms. Listen to me right now...any man you meet who knows you're married and still tries to sweet talk you isn't worth the time it takes to type hello. (If you keep God in that number 1 position, this will be moot.) If you would talk to your husband about these needs you have, you wouldn't have talked to this guy in the first place. That makes us examine the next point.

Learn to communicate your needs and emotions. Be able to tell people no and not feel like they are taking advantage of you, because you know what? THEY ARE! But, dear sweet young Cathy, you are allowing them to do so. Close that open wall up and build a beautiful door which only you can open. Oh you can be such a sucker...don't be a sucker Cathy.

You deserve better than having an affair. You are better than that. I know at 14 you think I'm insane even bringing this up, but trust me, it will become an issue. You deserve someone who will love you no matter where you are. You deserve someone who will hold your hand, call you and not hide the conversation, who will tell folks "Can I call you back? Cathy's on the phone." Cathy you are a wonderful person. All the good things you think you deserve? You do deserve them. (Hey look, again, if you keep God in that #1 position, this won't happen either.)

Sex. I've brought this up a lot, huh? You know what, it's not what's missing from your life. It's not what is going to make you happy. That hole you keep trying to fill is a God shaped hole and only He can fill it.

You know that little voice that you hear but then ignore? Learn to just listen to it. I can't tell you how many times that little voice is right. You're going to ignore her and be sorry. And you're going to hear her taunting you saying, "I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!"

Here's one thing I don't know if I should tell you or not. Your brother...you aren't going to believe this one....next year when he graduates from High School, the two of you are going to become best friends. I know it's shocking!!! He's still going to act like he's going to hit you and then really do it. For some reason, that never changes. Cherish him. Figure out how to save some of those long and crazy voice mail messages he leaves, because he won't be around to leave them when you're older. Oh Cathy you're going to miss him so much. Your whole world will change on March 28, 2002.
It's going to be hard and at first you just won't believe you're going to make it. Just keep on taking it one day at a time. Actually at first, it's one breath at a time. You'll make it through. You have to because shortly after this your mom is going to get really sick. She has to have you be strong for her. You make it through that too. See, you're amazing really at all you can do. You don't think you are sometimes, but you are.

At some point in 2004, when you least expect it, you're going to fall in love with this man named James. DON'T RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll spend months trying to run from him because of all your past mistakes. But don't do it. He's not going to let you get away. And YOU DESERVE HIM!!! This man is everything you have ever wanted in a husband and soul mate. Neither of you think anything will ever come out of your relationship because you're just friends, but it will. I can't tell you how much you are going to love him. I can't even find the right words to express myself in today's world about him. How can I tell you?? I asked him one day how he put up with me and all my quirks (we have quite a few) and he said he didn't put up with me. He just loved me.
Cathy, he's wonderful. He makes the other two marriages and all the heartbreaks in between worth it because he is the one you will go on with for the rest of your life.

You're going to have a bumpy road, Cathy, but if you'll keep this advice with you, you will be ok. All those little bumps and valleys and peaks make you who you are today. Keep seeing the beauty in everything and in everyone. Keep your wonderful sense of humor. Life is pretty funny, even when we don't think it is. You have a way of making people smile when they didn't think they could. You deserve all the good that happens in your life.

Above all, dear Cathy, keep God #1 in your life. I promise if you do this, many of the things I have told you about won't even be an issue. Even if you falter and slide away, He is going to open His arms for you to come running back into. Yippee!! He forgives you so much easier than you will forgive yourself. Good thing is that He is there to help you on your journeys.
Life is beautiful, Cathy, experience it!
I love you, don't ever ever forget that!!

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's bathe them in prayer...

I'm not a politician, nor do I have staunch political views. On this day, however, I want to be obedient to prayer for our incoming leadership. 1 Timothy 2:2 says: "Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God."

Max Lucado has a prayer guide for people on his website. I encourage you to go there, if you aren't sure how to pray for our leaders, and follow the guide. (That's what I've done!) Remember, good things happen when people pray :-).

Also, you are given an opportunity to add your own prayer at the Living Proof Ministries blog.
I know today is a huge day in our Nation's history. I am not sure why I feel so compelled to pray for our leadership but I am and I want to share these feelings with others. Sometimes, I think we forget to pray for the ones who lead and guide us, and I just want to help spread the word.
Today, I pray for our incoming president the following:

Our fight is not against people on earth, President Elect Obama, but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly word. President Elect Obama, Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Remember that God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them.

I pray that the God of peace will give you every good thing you need so you do what He wants. Father, Keep them safe from the evil one.

Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

(Eph. 6:12, Eph. 6:19, Luke 18:7, Hebrews 13:20 ~ NCV)

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What a neat site!

I appreciate a good website and a place where info can be easily shared (this is one of the things I really like about blogger.com). There is a new site that I highly recommend to anyone who is in a group (in my case it's bible study groups, but it could be any type of group) and wants an easy way to communicate and share with each other.
Here's what the site says:
Qlubb is a free, easy-to-use online group site. With online rsvp, sign-up sheets, custom URL, file/photo sharing, auto reminders and much more, Qlubb is the easiest way to organize and manage your group's events, activities and members. It's perfect for school classrooms, scout troops, sports teams, book clubs, hobbyists, religious groups, families, etc!
I set my site up for my Sunday school group and my Wednesday bible study group (I guess I could have set up different ones for each group...maybe later - we'll see if they sign up!). I'm thinking about setting one up for my Celebrate Recovery team, as well.
If you're in the market for an online gathering place where all members can be involved, this is the place to go! www.qlubb.com
You'll be wanting to thank me, I just know it. So, You Are Welcome!

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Lemonade Award

I won an award! I'm so tickled and I feel so blessed to have received this one from my friend Cathy at Tales of the TCKK Family.

Like her, I wasn't sure what the award was for, but she explains in on her blog and it's such a sweet award. It's for someone showing great attitude and/or the spirit of gratitude. Thank you, Cathy!

The Lemonade Award:

So here is the award and the rules.

#1 You must link back to the person you received the award from.
#2 You have to nominate 10 bloggers who show great attitude and/or gratitude.

So, let me think. I have so many people to whom this award can go. This will be in no particular order:

Mary Snyder

Second Cup of Coffee

Mocha with Linda

God is Able

The Preachers Wife

Becoming Me (happy birthday!)

The Simple Wife

Truly Captivating

Big Mama


(Wow that's hard to just name 10 and to pick the 10!)

May God bless each of you as you continually bless me.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, January 5, 2009

Memory Monday

Time for me to pick back up on Memory Monday, hosted by The Simple Wife. (I finally got the little linky box to work!)

To keep me from getting too overwhelmed, I'm going to combine Memory Monday and the challenge to memorize scripture from Living Proof Ministries.

Currently, I'm working on Ephesians 6:12 (TNIV):

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I've been working on putting this to a tune - Ode to Joy - how cheerful!! It's not the best tune for this scripture, but it's what I came up with.

How are you doing with hiding God's word in your heart?

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Friday, January 2, 2009

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

5 Minutes for Mom wants you to share!

5minutesformom.com wants to know what your New Year's Resolutions are. Pop over, add your link with Mr. Linky and get to know some new folks in the process!

I hope you're having a great day and New Year ;).

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let's have us a JESUS-Year!!

I really wish I could come up with some witty title that might just capture someone's attention, but I can't...(Isn't this a great picture of what you think Jesus looks like?)

Anyway, Mama Beth and the folks at Living Proof Ministries wants us to have a great JESUS year! On the 1st & 15th of each month, we are to check in with a new scripture that we will memorize or meditate on.

I felt led to work on this verse because I feel like I've been fighting this battle for the past several months - especially in my marriage - and if you've read any of my posts from the last two or three months, you have seen how God has been guiding me in this battle! I feel like I should know where to find this verse and what it says (since I've been referring to it!). (I think I can combine this with Memory Monday :-).)

Ephesians 6:12 (Today's New International Version)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I cracked up when I read the verse in The Message:
Ephesians 6:12 (The Message)
A Fight to the Finish 10-12
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Don't you just love that? Personally, if I was in an athletic contest, I wouldn't forget it in a couple of hours because I'd probably be half dead ;).

We had a very low key last night. I had ordered several movies from Blockbuster.com but they didn't come in time to watch yesterday. I guess Friday night will be movie night! We watched Law & Order and CSI (Las Vegas & NY) and looked at concession trailers. At midnight, James had trouble getting the the champagne bottle opened and wished me a Merry Christmas...I was confuzzled by that. Maybe he'd already drank all the champagne and I didn't know. lol

Today we're going to have lunch with my mom at "the Legion". We'll all return asthmatic from all the ciggy smoke, but she'll be glad we were with her, and that's more important (for reals). (And I used to help make non-smokers asthmatic and was glad for that opportunity.) We'll be eating a traditional New Year's day meal of pork, black-eyed peas (for luck?) and greens (for wealth?) and then other unhealthy things that don't follow with starting the year with a healthy meal!

I hope you're having a great day and I recommend checking out Living Proof Ministries site if you haven't already done so.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17