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2015 in a Nutshell

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been almost a full year since I have posted anything here. I have got to get more regular with that!!

A lot has happened over the past year and I’ll not bore you with all of it, just a few highlights.

At this time last year, our church was still seeking a pastor. I am so happy to report that we have found our guy and he has been with us about 6 months now, and we are starting to see a lot of people returning who had left, as well as seeing many new faces! It’s really very refreshing to look around and see filled pews, and smiling faces greeting one another with hugs and handshakes. Bro. Gary Weaver and his wife Carrie have brought a lot of eye openers to Peachtree! And I, for one, am so thankful to have them there!

I have a new granddaughter! Her name is Elizabeth Grace and she is the red head that I prayed for when I was having children. I’m so thankful to God for giving her to us! She makes #8!!

IPAD pics January 2016 1031

That’s our little angel. She just rolled over and has started sitting up by herself over the past couple of days.

I guess the next big thing in our lives would be my husband’s job. He is currently serving as the Interim Police Chief in our town, and we do have hopes of him getting the position permanently. God’s will be done.

I started my own business back in August!! Well, I became a consultant with Scentsy and I am loving it!! I’ve done fairly well, earned my first trip on them! I’m going to Nashville in July for a week, all expenses paid!!! I am so very excited about that!!

A little background on the whole ‘Scentsy thing’. This is something that I had thought about doing for years, but the time just never seemed right. Well, this time when the opportunity presented itself, I prayed. I asked God to open a door if this was something he wanted me to do. Then I texted my husband and told him I was thinking about doing it. His reply to me was “if it’s something you want to do, go for it. If nothing else, it might give you a little spending money.” He is usually against things like this, but something this time was different. We also, like so many Americans these days, live paycheck to paycheck, with very little extra between. Add in that my husband, the very AVID hunter, was preparing for hunting season, and basically, we had no extra money. So I asked him in my reply how I was going to pay the $99 for my starter kit. We have one credit card that we try to only use for emergencies and the occasional frivolous item or two. I had no idea how far from our limit we were, but my husband’s reply came and nearly knocked me out of my chair!! “Use the credit card”. WHAT?? He was actually TELLING me to use the card. Then it hit me. OK God. I see the open door now!! THANK YOU!!!

Well, since signing on, I have made and reached goal after goal. I signed on in mid-August and currently hold a title that on the average takes almost four years to reach!! Tell me God’s not in the details!! You better believe He has been in every detail of this wild journey!! Well, shortly before Christmas, I slowed down for the holidays, and am just now getting back into the swing of things! And now I’ve been hit with a horrible upper respiratory bug that just won’t let go!!

When I received my paycheck for the month of December, I was seriously disappointed. But, it was no one’s fault but my own.  I took time off for the holidays and didn’t work my business like I needed to. But most importantly, I forgot who was actually leading this business. Not ME!! I wasn’t depending on God to send my my customers and lead me in the way I was to go. I was trying to do it myself. I realized today that if I am going to have a business that is fully dedicated to the Lord, I have to FULLY depend on Him to lead me. So today I begin anew, rededicating my business to God. His will be done!!

A few other things that happened over the year were not so good.

One of my sons went to jail. We knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time and his dad and I both agreed that he needed to go. Hopefully this would be the straw that would wake him up so he would turn his life around. Thankfully, he was not involved in drugs. He stole money from an employer. Initially, he had been put on probation and ordered to pay so much for fines, restitution, etc. Well, he decided that the probation system wasn’t working to suit him, so he stopped paying his fees. He stopped reporting to his probation officer. Next thing we know, he is listed as one of Jasper County’s top 10 most wanted!! Yep. His dad caught a lot of flack over that, but our reply has been the same to everyone. He’s a grown man (27 years old) and he knew what he did was wrong and now he was going to have to pay the penalty. I cried my eyes out many times over the thought of him possibly going to prison, but God prevailed and he was allowed to stay at the county jail. He is due to be released next month. I took his son to visit him last weekend, and when my son turned the corner and saw HIS son, he did something I have never seen this “tough” guy do. He got tears in his eyes. There’s a long story behind the relationship of him and his son, but I won’t go into that. As we talked though, at one point I pointed at my grandson and told my son, “This is your reason.” At first he didn’t understand what I was talking about, but when I repeated it and added that this (my grandson) was his reason to change and improve his life, he agreed. It amazed me that he could not take his eyes of his little boy the entire time we were there. I have begged, cried, and ached for him to have that kind of relationship with his son, and it looks like God is stepping in once again. I have really been praying for this boy!!

Then came August 30. This was my twins birthday, one of them is the above mentioned son. They were turning 27 years old! WOW!! Where had the time gone? My husband and I were getting ready for church. Well, I had just gotten out of the shower and I had a message on my phone from my mother’s number. I listened to the message and heard my brother’s voice on the other end telling me my mother had passed away. We live 3 hours from them. So, with what little strength I could muster, I woke my husband from his morning nap and told him we had to go and why. He went to get his shower and I began to notify my kids. As I was doing this I realized that there was one that I could not call, and I felt I HAD to let him know! My kids were not close to my parents, partly due to the distance we lived apart, and partly due to other things I won’t go into, but I wanted them all to know. So, when he got dressed, my husband made a phone call and we were granted a special early visit with my son. (It was visitation day) Normally, our visits were in a room with 5 other people visiting their loved ones with a glass wall between us and our loved ones and we have to talk on these awful phones. You can usually only hear about half of what is being said. But on this day, the jailer, knowing my husband and what was going on, was kind enough to grant us a contact visit. As I grabbed my son, I couldn’t speak for the tears flowing that quickly turned to sobs as he was wondering what the heck was going on! I told him his grandmother had passed away and we were going to where she had lived. I told him I wouldn’t be there to visit today and all I had wanted to do today was wish him a happy birthday!! We were allowed to visit and hug as long as we wanted, and I thanked the jailer and God for that because I so desperately needed that at that time!

Then on October 20 my uncle Skeeter passed away. He was the last of my mother’s brothers. She still has one sister living, but we live about a 15 hour drive apart! My uncle’s funeral was tough, but I did get to spend some time with some cousins that were not able to make it to my mom’s funeral. I think we all needed that time to visit.

So….that is my 2015 in a nutshell! Or at least most of it. There were good times and bad, happy, joyful times and sad ones. But through it all, I know that God was, and is, in control. He carried me when I couldn’t carry myself. He has lead me to an opportunity to contribute to our family finances and our dream of building a home.

Whatever happens in 2016, I know that God’s will, will be done!! To Him be all glory and honor, always!!

Review… Skinnytaste cookbook

Skinnytaste is a cookbook filled with recipes that have been revised to reduce fat an calories and make them healthier. Old favorites will quickly become new favorites! As you peruse the pages of this unique cookbook, you will find many recipes that will make you hungry just looking at the photos. The photography in this book is second to none. Very well done.
This cookbook will very quickly become a favorite for any cook! The cover art also allows this to be a beautiful coffee table book.
Anyone who picks up this book will find the recipes easy to follow for novice or expert. The tips given throughout the pages of this book are excellent tips for all cooks.
**I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review by “Blogging For Books”.**

If God Is Good

A REVIEW OF “IF GOD IS GOOD” BY RANDY ALCORN

The single most difficult question for Christians to answer is: “Why would a loving and good God allow such suffering in this world?” Many Christians feel utterly incapable of responding to anyone who poses this question. Moreover, many Christians privately have their own personal struggles over this issue. Fortunately, Randy Acorn has written, If God is Good. As a pastor, I have read many books on this critical topic; however, I have found Alcorn’s work the most satisfying. Alcorn combines sound theology with relevant application. The book is filled with Scripture, interviews, illustrations, and critiques. Throughout it all, Alcorn is humble, gracious, and transparent. For the Christian who is seeking to be able to finish the statement, If God is Good. this book is a must read.

If God is Good is also a must read for skeptics, critics, and spiritual seekers. In brief and readable chapters, Alcorn addresses every relevant objection or question dealing with human suffering. For the individual who is seeking to disprove theism, Alcorn’s work must not be ignored. For the person who is genuinely searching out answers, Alcorn’s book will be a welcomed oasis of truth.

I have enjoyed soaking in If God is Good. This exceptional book has further transformed my mind and heart. While I’ve always shared Alcorn’s confidence in theism and sovereignty, as I read his book, I felt like I was studying these concepts for the first time. I strongly recommend this book as a perfect Christmas or graduation gift. I also highly recommend this book as a resource for high school and college students and small group Bible studies. I am confident that If God is Good will be one book that you will return to again and again.

I Can Shoot a Bow!!!

Wow! I didn’t realize just how long it had been since I last wrote anything! I have just been so busy over the past couple of months that I have let my writing take a back seat. So, let me tell you about my progress in a few areas.
First, I told you about getting a bow and getting ready to attempt bow hunting. Yes. I am a hunter, or rather a huntress!! I love to be in the woods, listening to the sounds of the woods waking up. The squirrels scampering about, snacking on acorns and scattering leaves about. They are an arch enemy of many hunters due in part to their uncanny ability to stomp through leaves and rattle tree branches, making the hunter believe a massive whitetail is about to step out into an opening! I believe many squirrels remain alive today only because the deer hunter they ‘tricked’ didn’t want to ruin his or her hunt by shooting him!
As dawn begins to break, numerous birds begin their daily tasks of finding food and nest building. Their cheerful chirping and whistling will help wake a tiring hunter who has been sitting in or against a tree for a couple of hours already! Sometimes, a blue jay or a robin perhaps, will visit a nearby tree branch and begin to give said hunter an irate ‘talking to’! It is not uncommon for that trickster squirrel to join in the chastising from a distant tree. I have been sitting in an enclosed box blind, waiting for the ever elusive and massive buck to step into my previously chosen shooting lane, and been visited by one of these chastising squirrels who would sit on a tree limb a couple of feet outside my blind and relay my location to all creatures within a 50 mile radius! You got it! That squirrel was playing with his life!
As the sun slowly rises there is a very brief period of time when it seems to be at its brightest, yet the temperature in the air is at its coolest. It is at this time that you can feel a light breeze blowing, which will give just a slight chill, yet the sun is shining in just the right way to provide just enough warmth for a tree-sitter to prevent shivering so strong that the entire tree is shaking! It has been my experience that this is usually when the deer start showing up.
Let me back up just a little bit and tell you about my bow. I have been interested in learning to shoot a bow for quite some time now and recently had the opportunity to purchase a used bow from a friend. From the time she posted the bow for sale on her facebook page, to the time I told her I wanted it, there might have been a lapse of 5 minutes! I knew as soon as I saw the post that it was time for me to see if bow hunting was for me.
My husband and I had some concerns about my ability to pull the bow back to shoot because of my back and neck problems, including two surgeries and numerous disc herniations, buldges, and ruptures! We were afraid that I might not have the strength to pull, or that the act of repeatedly pulling the bow back would cause pain. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a bow only to find out that I wasn’t going to like it, or wouldn’t be able to physically handle it. Because I had looked at the prices of some bows before I knew that the asking price of $125 wasn’t a bad price, so I jumped! I waited for a response to my message to her before telling my husband I had bought a bow! I was just a little bit worried that he might not be happy with me for spending that kind of money! If he was upset about it, he certainly didn’t show it!
As soon as I said I wanted to buy the bow, my excitement started building, and it hasn’t stopped yet! I LOVE IT!
I bought a Jennings Micro Carbon Extreme. It is an early 90’s model bow, built primarily for youth and small framed women. I am neither!! So, of course I had some concern about that! However, we were given the name and phone number of a bow tech who we found to be so incredibly helpful, and full of information for us!
I realized my husband was not upset with me, but instead was excited, when he came home with a bow he had found at our local pawn shop!! He found a Mathews Drenalin, fully rigged out, for $300! Because of connections he has made through his job, the pawn broker very kindly allowed him to put the bow on lay-away, telling my husband “take it with you so I don’t have to keep stepping over it. I know you’ll pay me.” To say my husband was excited about his purchase would be a serious understatement!
So, we called and set up a date and time to go see our bow man! He checked my draw length and decided the bow was set practically perfect for me! Then he had me pull it back, saw me struggle a little, and checked the draw weight. This was one of the areas I was concerned about because you have to be able to pull back enough weight to produce enough energy to send an arrow to, and through, your targeted harvest. I was a little worried when he said it was set at 38 pounds! Especially since he was backing it down a bit! But, he assured me that I would still be able to harvest a deer at the 36 pounds he now had the bow set at. He also told me that if I practiced and shot a few dozen arrows a day, that I would be coming back to get my poundage raised very soon.
I was so excited when he told me that I was going to shoot a couple arrows for him that I had my hubby, the technologically challenged man that he is, prepare to take a picture of my first ever bow shot. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when he was already preparing to do just that before I even asked!
Thinking we would be going outside to a target range, I started to grab up my bow and get ready to head outside. But Mr. Jigs (my bow man) told me just to hold tight as he opened the back door to his shop. Right there, outside the door, was a hanging target! He stepped out of the way, handed me an arrow, told me to load it, draw back, and shoot at the target! He could tell I was excited about this being my first ever bow shot, and I think my enthusiasm made him a little excited for me as well! My very first shot…….
My first bow shot at Jigs shop (1)

My first bow shot at Jigs shop (2)

My first bow shot at Jigs shop (3)
nailed it!!
Then I got to pick out my arrows!! Pink ones of course!
Hubby’s turn didn’t go as well. 😦 When he went to pull back his bow, he tried and tried, but just could not pull that bow back! Mr. Jigs took the bow to measure the draw back weight and couldn’t get it to peak out! So, he put it in the bow press to see what was going on and found that the string was off the cam! He fixed that and then measured again to find the bow was set at 68 pounds. However, the draw length was a little too short for my hubby! Because he isn’t a Mathews dealer, Mr. Jigs informed us that he couldn’t get the needed cam to increase the draw length! So, he told us that we could possibly get a cam off Ebay and bring it to him and he would be happy to switch it out for us. Unfortunately, we left the bow shop that day with my excitement dampened some because of hubby’s misfortune.
The good news is that we found a cam and had it installed and returned to our bow man to get it adjusted, as well as to purchase the hubby some arrows. Our oldest son went with us to get his bow adjusted at the same time. (There is another story there about a little boy and some pepper spray that I’ll save for another day!) Now, all of our bows are ready for hunting season.
I had been shooting at least 2 dozen arrows a day and on our return trip to the bow shop had my draw weight increased to 40 pounds!! I was excited about that! Hubby didn’t really start practicing until the bow adjustments were made.
We had chosen our stand sights and prepped them for opening day, even though hubby wasn’t going to be able to hunt just yet. All the camo was washed in scentfree laundry soap and placed in a trashbag with pine needles and pinecones. Backpacks were packed and ready. Safety harness was purchased and lifeline rope installed at my stand. I could not wait for opening day of archery season to get here!!
On opening day I did something I have never done before. I went by myself to the woods, in the dark, and climbed up into my stand to hunt. I didn’t see anything that morning, but I was just proud of the fact that I had gone by myself!
It wasn’t until about 2 weeks later that I finally saw my first deer. I knew this kind of hunting was going to be a lot different from hunting in a box blind. In the box blind you are able to move a little. In the tree, you better not move until just the perfect time! In the box blind your scent is not as easily disbursed for the deer to smell you. The box blind provides good cover to move your weapon into place and prepare to make a shot. All of this is limited in the tree because of the deer’s keen senses of smell and sight!
It was late evening, almost to the end of good shooting light when I saw her. A very large doe walking just outside my comfortable shot range and behind some thin brush. She walked across from the left, managing to keep some brush between she and I. She stayed about 30 yards out. My comfortable range at this point was maxed at 20 and we had ranged all over at my stand where I thought I would have a good shot, with the longest shot I expected to make at 22 yards. She was about 5-10 yards past that, but I had hopes that she might come back to my feeder and present me with a shot.
When I spotted her I knew I had to be perfectly still and pray that she couldn’t smell me! With little to no wind, I wasn’t too worried about smell. I was afraid she was going to see me shaking!! I was so pumped and nervous all at the same time! She made it to a point where her head was behind a tree so I quickly stood up and got my bow, attaching my release to the D-loop quickly. She came out from behind the tree, took a few more steps, then slowly turned around and headed back in the direction she came from. This gave me hope that she would go over to my feeder!! But, she took a slight turn in the wrong direction! Then she stopped, looked around (though not at me), and BLEW!! As she blew she ran away. I was so upset!!
I don’t know if she smelled me or noticed something different by me being standing with my bow, but she busted me. I couldn’t do anything for a few minutes because my knees were shaking so hard! I finally made it down from my stand (thank heavens for my safety harness and lifeline!) and walked out to where hubby was waiting for me since he was hunting that evening as well, and sadly shared what had happened. He just said not to worry about it. She would be back.

My first archery season to hunt whitetail deer!!

I have wanted to try bow hunting for some time now, and I finally got a bow this summer. I have been practicing daily and I am really enjoying it!! I think my husband is more excited than I am that I will be in the woods, hunting with him even more than just rifle season! I don’t have really high expectations for my first season. In fact, I have said that if I just get a good look at a deer and maybe a shot at a wild hog or two, I will be perfectly happy! But, who am I kidding? I really want to bring home a nice deer on opening morning with my bow!!

I’m counting down the hours!!


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Countdown Clock

Stop struggling to spend time with God….pursue and intimate relationship with Him

I am so blessed to have been able to read Shellie Rushing Tomlinson’s book, “Heart Wide Open, Trading Mundane Faith For An Exuberant Life With Jesus”. Shellie easily accomplishes her mission of showing the reader how to stop struggling to spend time with God, and instead pursue an intimate relationship with Him based simply on His unconditional love for us. A key thought throughout the book is a reminder to the reader to rest in the knowledge that we can only love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is impressive how seamlessly Shellie intertwines relevant Scriptures throughout the book. This gives her words credence and truth for the reader. It is always good to be reminded of how the Bible reveals a God who summons us to come to Him only on the basis of faith in His promises, not on our ability to be good. Shellie tells us that she had always been a committed Church attender, but realized she was missing real desire for God. As I read through the pages of this book, I also came to realize how easy it is to drift away from a deep love for God and his Word.

Shellie helps you, step by step, open up your heart to God’s amazing love for us and shows you how you can fire up your love for Him. It has certainly given me the encouragement I need to seek out a deeper love for God and His Word.

There are prayers at the end of every chapter and a Bible Study and Discussion Guide at the back of the book for you to use on your own or with a group.

If you want to love God deeper and more intimately than you ever dreamed possible, you owe it to yourself to give this book a read.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books, in return for my honest review.

BOOK REVIEW – THE NIV ESSENTIALS STUDY BIBLE

I received a copy of the new “NIV Essentials Study Bible,” and immediately was drawn to the multiple study aids available in this Bible. I think this study Bible is a good resource for the study of scripture. I am already a fan of the NIV translation because of the ease in reading it compared to the KJV. To me, the NIV is much easier to understand than some other translations I have seen. The multitude of study aids offered in this “NIV Essentials Study Bible” make daily scripture study much smoother and more informative. 

While I didn’t read every study note and comment, those which I did read had some in depth information that I considered very insightful. The “NIV Essentials Study Bible” is jam packed with tons of interesting information that most definitely can help to expand your knowledge and understanding of the Bible text, the Middle eastern culture of biblical times, and archaeological discoveries proving the accuracy of the Bible.

It did seem as though some of the commentaries tried to scientifically explain how God performed certain miracles which can only be speculation (since none of the modern day writers of these commentaries were present for any of these miracles) yet were stated as facts. It’s not necessary for us to know exactly how God does a miracle. We just trust, have faith that He has and He continues to perform miracles every day. Being a hardcover and larger than the typical Bible, I found it slightly heavy and inconvenient to carry. Though to use it at your study desk, I feel it’s the perfect size. The font is easily readable. All notes and commentaries are in relevant locations, rather than commenting on a passage that was possibly 100 pages prior to this entry.
 

Overall, I think this “NIV Essentials Study Bible” is a great resource for students of scripture that seek to gain a deeper understanding of God’s word. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon, as well as Christian Book Distributors, www.christianbook.com.

** Many thanks to the publisher and BookLook Blogger for providing a free copy of this Bible in exchange for an honest review, which has been provided by a guest reviewer **