Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Front of God and Everybody by KD McCrite

This book sounded so fun that I was eager to review it.  I picked it up a dozen times and read the first paragraph over and over.  Sometimes, I just have to be in the right mood to read a book.  But I was so glad I finally got into it.  What a cute book!  April Grace is an 11-year-old living in the Ozarks. She has a 14-year-old sister, Myra Sue, who avoids hanging around her younger sister.  April Grace is full of spunk---and has a sarcastic mouth.  Their parents were childhood sweethearts and have an amazing marriage.  April Grace's mom is generous to a fault.  Her grandmother lives alone behind their farmhouse.
Some city folks, Ian & Isabel St. James, appear at their door one day, looking down their noses at April Grace and their dog.  Well, actually, they look down their noses at anyone in the area and feel themselves to be superior to these backwoods folks. But wouldn't you know it...April Grace's mom ends up inviting them to stay in their home while their old house is being renovated.  Myra Sue is smitten with Isabel, a city ballerina, and begins to imitate everything Isabel does.
A loud-mouthed old man, Jeremy Rance, shows up and begins showing interest in Grandma.  April Grace has a bad feeling about him and catches him snooping around Grandma's house.  But Grandma is enamored...and even changes her hairstyle and hair color for Mr. Rance.
April Grace is a pretty perceptive 11-year-old.  She sees things for what they are and tries to tell her parents, her grandmother and even her sister but it seems as if everyone just sees her as  a smart-mouthed kid.
This book will have you laughing out loud!  KD McCrite is witty and has a fabulous writing style.  I wholeheartedly give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.  And I can't wait to share it with my granddaughters.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson  for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've seen something this summer I've never seen in my lifetime---a real, live (dead?) drought!  Today, Borger has reached the record high of 113 degrees.  I've never seen that in my lifetime, either.  I'd say since March, we've only had a few days without a gusty wind----sometimes in excess of 70 mph.  It's blowing again today.   In fact, something seems wrong now if we don't hear the wind!  Yesterday, on Facebook, our local news channel put up a weather forecast for today.  They only showed a picture---of a blow dryer.  That pretty much sums it up!  Hot and windy.

I've also watched the progression of yards in our area.  They've gone from dying grass to weedy dirt to plain ol' dirt.  I would never have believed how quickly you could lose a yard!  There's one yard down the street from us which belonged to some much-loved friends of ours.  The people who purchased it began to let the weeds take over the summer they bought it.  Our hearts were broken.  That yard was always perfect.  And now...it looks like a scene from Ethiopia.  Unbelievable.

I began going to Andy's mother's house to water her yard.  She's afraid to water because she's afraid she'll trip over the ruts in the yard and fall.  But she was beginning to lose all of her grass.  We told her she had to water it or she'd only have dirt left.  We don't water much, but enough to sustain it.

Yesterday, I began to see the spiritual parallel.  If we're not watering our spirits, we're going to dry up and die.  We have to come to the Fountain of Life and be nurtured.  And it's amazing how quickly death comes.  We don't find life in facebook, television, video games, etc., etc.

Seek sustenance!  Water your fields with the water of the Word.  Drink deeply from His well.  And then pour into others who need it.

"If I shut up heaven so no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."  II Chronicles 7:13-14

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Children, Crisis & Courage

Matt, Zach, Amy, David

Did anyone think when their kids were grown, left home and got married that their parenting job was over?  Tap..tap...tap!  Hello?  Anyone out there?  Well, for some strange reason, I did.  I think maybe it was because my parents made it look so easy.  When we married, that was it.  No more parental help--no advice, no money, but also no interference.  So I thought that when your kids flew the coop, that was it!

Well, I've learned differently.  We don't still actually parent...as in train or discipline...but our job is never done as far as loving, helping, and being concerned for the things which concern our children.  We hurt when they hurt.  We suffer when we see them struggle.  We hope with everything within our being that they get it right--by learning and growing through those hard and difficult circumstances.  We sit on our hands to keep from interfering or saying something that might send them in the wrong direction.  And we wish with all of our being that we could just jump in there and save them.  But we also know that would stunt the growth God is bringing into their lives.  What a hard thing it is to parent adult children.

Matt & Lisa and girls

Recently, all four of my adult children and their spouses have walked through difficult circumstances.  It's so hard to see your children suffer.  And if you didn't have the broader perspective that God, age, and your own set of difficult circumstances have brought into your life, you might despair...or get gray hair at the very least.  (Thank God for Revlon #31!)  But God told me when my firstborn left home and I was wondering if I'd taught him everything, "Becky, when did you really start growing spiritually?"  I replied, "34."  And I've held His wise words close to my heart ever since, "Then trust Me.  Your job of parenting is over and Mine is beginning.  I love them more than you do and I intend to teach them from here."  And He has.

Jay & Amy and kids

It's so amazing when you see your kids "get it!"  It's been a joy to watch each of them grow--from things I had no part in.  Years ago, the Burlesons had the Dietz Brothers come sing at their board meeting.  Their son, Wade, was speaking at it also.  Even back then, he was a powerful speaker.  I looked at Mary and asked her, "Are you just so proud?"  I've never forgotten her response, "You know, Becky, I look at him and I'm amazed.  I had no part in this.  This is all God's doing."  I understand that perfectly now.  I see my adult children making wise decisions in areas I struggled in for years.  I see them bravely going places I've never gone.  I see them admitting mistakes that I tried to keep covered.  I see their hearts after God and it brings tears to my eyes.  I see them moving forward when I wanted to retreat.  God is a good parent.

David & Lindsey

I remember my sister-in-law, Janis, sharing what God had shown her through this verse years ago:  "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth."  (Psalm 127:4)  She said this, "When you shoot those arrows, they'll go further than you do."  So true. 

I couldn't be prouder of all four of my kids.  First of all, they all four married well!!  I couldn't have chosen better for them if I'd been given the opportunity.  And when I talk about my kids, those four are included.  I had no part in their upbringing...and still don't.  But they are amazing and bring rich flavor to our expanded family...some flavors I'd never experienced until they came.  It's broadened us as a family.  It's made us better.  I applaud their parents...and God!

Zach & Shanna

Yes, it's hard watching your adult children struggle.  But the reward is seeing them mature, grow and overcome.  I'm so glad God gave me a front row seat to watch.  I'm so proud of who my kids are becoming and the odds they've fought to overcome.  As Clarence would say, "Among women, I am blessed!"  Well...he says, "men," but you get the gist...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

About You

I recognize this life, this world, mankind, and Satan are really only about You.  You are God, the Supreme Ruler.  The One to be glorified--the One who wins.  None other.  We are here for the opportunity of glorifying You--with our words, our submission and our actions.  Help me to be a reflection of You today.  Let others see Jesus in me.  Help me to love.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Letter to a Husband

This "Letter to a Husband" comes after counseling lots of young women.  I don't counsel men unless Andy & I are counseling a couple.  But this has been burning on my heart.  Marriages are in trouble everywhere--low income, high income.  Marriages with children, childless marriages.  Couples who have been married 40 years and even newlyweds.  Satan wants to destroy your marriage!  So from someone who could be your sister or your mom, I'm writing to you husbands....

Dear Husband of my Friend,
Can I just say first of all, that I'm so glad God put you together?  I can see that He has put you together to complete you both.  Your strengths are your wife's weaknesses and vice versa.  God had a good plan when He put you together.  He knew that you could learn from one another.

The only problem is...Satan has fed your minds with animosity for one another's weaknesses.  You've begun to resent her for that.  And you've quit focusing on and appreciating her strengths.  In fact, I daresay, you've both begun to work against one another instead of embracing one another and learning from the other.

What would I want you to understand about women...or your wife, in particular?

Every time you view pornography, you chip away at your marriage.  You are viewing something which will never leave your mind and which will only open doors to other things.  You are feeding a fantasy your wife will never be able to live up to.  And the path you're on leads to death.  Period.  You've destroyed your wife's confidence.  She knows she'll never live up to those expectations.  When you've opened the door to pornography, trust has been broken.  She doesn't trust who's calling you on your cell phone or who you've befriended on Facebook.  She's afraid you want someone else.  In fact, when you're late to dinner, she wonders if you are with someone else.  Pornography destroys.  But there is help and a way out!

When you get drunk, you demean yourself and your entire family.  You also put lives at jeopardy.  And once again, your drunkenness opens doors to other things.  You do things you'd never do if you were sober.  And most of the time, you never remember how mean, abusive, angry or stupid you were.  I know you never meant to hurt your wife or your children, but you did.  The words alone you threw around were bad enough...but it never stops there.  I only wish there was a video camera so you could see yourself.  You've scarred your wife and children with those words you screamed.  And once you touch your wife or children in an abusive manner, a new door has been opened.  But there is help and a way out!

When you spend money you don't have, you are telling your wife and children that what you want is much more important than the basic necessities of life that they have.  The fact that your wife now has to hide your bank card should tell you how fearful she is.  Others have had to feed your family, buy them clothes, pay for school lunches because you're not taking care of them.  You're creating a monster with your appetite.  And it's stripping your wife of dignity and making your children believe you don't love them.  But there is help and a way out!

Spending all of your extra time with the guys tells your wife that she's not important.  It could be golf, video games, drinking, hunting, sporting events or a hundred other things.  Your entire family becomes insecure by becoming 2nd, 3rd, or 4th....after these other things which are more important to you.  They don't just need a couple of minutes at dinner--they need quality time with you.  They crave time with you--and they want to know they've been heard by you.  It's called communication--and they need it with you!  But there is help and a way out!

When you don't lead your family spiritually, they feel helpless, lost and confused.  Oftentimes, your wife begins the job you were meant to do--and then you resent her for it.  Your family wants you to lead.  They want you to be a man of respect and honor, a leader, and someone they're proud of.  I know men who are leading their families and it's a beautiful thing to see.  A real leader loves his family and is more concerned about their well-being than his own. 

There are so many other things we could talk about:  Not taking your job seriously, stealing from your boss, causing a scene in a restaurant, disciplining in anger...all of these things demean your family.  They really, really want to be proud of you.  They want you to succeed.  They want you to lead them.

The way out?  The Word of God.  All it takes is to be in the Word.  The Word of God has the power to transform your mind and change your life.  Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, talk to others about it.  I know that seems mighty simplistic---but I've actually seen lives transformed by it.  Of course, the most basic thing is to know Jesus as your savior.  And then, to repent of your sin and turn back to God.  But after repenting, you must fill your heart and mind with something else to replace those bad activities--the Word of God.  And if you can't do it on your own, there are so many good places to get help!

Your wife desires a soul mate.  She desires someone she can honor and respect.  She desires a best friend.  Now she may not act like it all the time (Keep in mind--I've been counseling her.  And we've been working on the areas of her life which need to change--I hope you've seen some of those changes!), but it's really what she wants.  She wants YOU!  She's been praying for you and hoping you'd choose her over these other things.  She wants to know that you desire her above everything and everyone else.  She needs you. 

I'm praying for you, too. We all need you.
Your sister in Christ,

Monday, June 20, 2011


"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." II Timothy 3:1-5 (Emphasis mine)

Lots of things are running through my mind these days.  And God keeps putting His finger on areas in my life.

One of those things is a conviction from the above verse.  I really don't want to admit the number of times I have the appearance of godliness but deny the power of God in my life.  For instance, do I just click on Facebook comments that "I'll be praying!"....or do I fall on my face and actually pray?  Am I seeing God work powerfully through my life...or am I just going through the motions?  Do I want people to think I'm godly...or do I fear God more than people?  

It's not comfortable when God puts His finger on my heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Little Bird

Last night, as I was watering our dying grass, I saw a little bird under my sprinkler.  He just sat there with his eyes closed and his little beak open--drinking from the fountain of water.  He was oblivious as I moved the sprinkler right past him--still drinking.  He was basking in the refreshing water I was providing so much, I had time to run in and grab my camera!
I want to be like that.  I want to be oblivious to the cares and manipulations of the world with only one focus--drinking from the fountain of life, trusting it's eternal supply and believing my Creator is in complete control.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My husband is gone...

Andy's out of the country, so....

He'll be home Sunday and all will be right with my world.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kids & Missions

I had so much fun speaking to a bunch of kids last week at VBS.  I was invited to come and tell them about the missions we do at Living Water.  I had kids 3 years old to 6th grade.  I prayed and prayed about how to tell children about Living Water.  I figured what we did would be over most of their heads---and might not really translate "missions" to them.

But I started out asking them how many of them were rich.  Of course, not many raised their hands.  If they did consider themselves rich, it would be impolite to say so.  Then I began showing them photos of children around the world and in the United States who didn't have clothes, food, or a house to live in.  They didn't even have toys to play with.  I showed them a photo of a boy about 9-years-old who had made a car out of a milk carton---and was grinning as he showed it to the camera. 

Then...even I was amazed as I asked the kindergartners-6th graders how many of them had a Wii in their homes.  I'd say 98% of each group (or more) raised their hands.  Astounding.  I asked how many had food to eat each meal.  100%.  I asked how many had a closet full of clothes.  100%.  I asked how many had a house to live in.  100%.  Then I asked again....how many of you are rich?  Some of the kids got it.  And they raised their hands.  But some kids had to be convinced that they were richer than 98% of the world because they had those things.

I encouraged them to share.  Share what they had---because they were rich.  I think they got it!   Kids really do have big hearts and it doesn't take much to encourage them to share with those who have less.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kung Fu Panda II

Do you know what happens when you go see Kung Fu Panda II?  This.....

And this...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In a day...

What can happen in a day?  (Not all in the same day!)

U.S. Could Default on China Loan (What happens after August 2?)

Fires in Arizona (we can smell the smoke in Borger, TX!)

All of that can happen in one day.  Interesting stuff going on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Best Day Ever

Ryan & Addie are here this week (along with their mom) to go to our VBS.  They are so excited each day when they get home.  They couldn't stop telling us all about being in NEW YORK CITY!!  I love their little spirits--they get excited about everything....

....including the swimming pool!  The first day they came home from VBS, they got to play in the pool.  Addie kept declaring, "THIS IS THE BEST  DAY EVER!!!"  So I thought I'd show you a few shots of the best day ever.

Mankind's first leap into the pool...

...and womankind's first big splash!

It's not a big pool, but it offers big times.

Mommy watched on...

...as her chickadees jumped over...and over...and over.  All the time declaring, "The is the best day ever!!"

These are some pretty cool cats.  And I love how well they play together.

They know how to take it easy after jumping and leaping and...well, you get the picture.

Pops came to watch the acrobats, too.

I just haven't told them that our neighbor bought this for their grandkids.  
Not the Jones'...the Smith's.
It's hard to keep up with the Smith's and the Jones'.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr begins with Annabelle Tyler, a recently divorced woman (unheard of and quite scandalous in those days) and Harrison Graymoor, a cad and wealthy, confirmed bachelor (although a womanizer), handcuffed together in Western Pennsylvania in 1831.  They had been robbed as they traveled on a stagecoach.  It began to snow after they'd given it their best to remove the handcuffs, so they huddled together to stay warm.  And that's the way they were found by the sheriff.  The sheriff, knowing of Harrison's reputation and wanting to protect the honor of Annabelle (not knowing she was divorced), took them to the minister's house and forced them to marry--with a shotgun in Harrison's back.
Neither Annabelle nor Harrison wanted to be married.  Harrison assured Annabelle he would go to his lawyer when they returned to the city and have the marriage annulled.  He could well afford it.  But in the meantime, both would have to give the performance of their lives, since an announcement of their marriage preceded their arrival to Philadelphia in the city's newspaper.
Annabelle was given her own room in Harrison's country home outside of Philadelphia and a new wardrobe befitting the wife of one of the wealthiest men of the city.  But they both had to convince the godly housekeeper, Irene, that they were truly married--and living as husband and wife.  Annabelle and Irene were to become the best of friends.
Annabelle's ex-husband and his new wife appear in the city and the scoundrel begins to cause trouble for the new couple.  Eric had only married Annabelle to get to the money her dying parents possessed.  Once he had the money, he left her and divorced her promptly.  And he was in the process of repeating the same thing with his new wife.
Through the story, you begin to see a change take place in Harrison.  And you begin to see a change take place in his relationship with Annabelle.
I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a very easy book to read.  Delia is a craftsman with her words.  But the story line is pretty predictable.  In fact, the conflict in this book had me shaking my head and saying, "No!  Don't go there!"  But she did.  All in all, it was a good book and an easy read.
Thank you to Bethany House  for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, June 3, 2011


You know...God is changing my whole view on the mess-ups in our lives.  I used to see them as huge defeats, pig wallows, or dark holes to climb out of.  But God has been teaching me that they're nothing more than grand opportunities of redemption for Him.  Yes, they can be devastating--not just for us, but for other people our mess-ups may touch.  But they shouldn't be something we linger over for long.  We need to just step back, ask God (and maybe others) for forgiveness, and then ask God to redeem.  Then we wait and watch.  Oh!  And one other thing:  we should be willing to learn from them.

The mess-ups of our lives can become glorious things.  They display the grace, mercy, redemption, and sometimes, longsuffering, of God when we give them to Him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is it my age?

Is it just my age, or do things seem to be speeding up and getting more intense--for everyone?   I haven't had a day to sleep late in ages.  I don't think I could if I did.  I only dream about sneaking away to a quiet place and resting for a week.  When I talk to my friends, they're running from one crisis to another.  I haven't had to face a destructive tornado, earthquake or flood....so I'm not complaining.  I'm just wondering if everyone else feels this...or is it just that I'm getting old-er?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Alarmists by Don Hoesel

I recently read the book, The Alarmists, by Don Hoesel.  The scenario of this book is about a very wealthy man with media monopolization who manipulates the ending of the world--or at least a panicked world.  And you know what?  I could totally see something like this really happening. 
The book takes you from one corner of the world to the other.  Brent Michaels is a college professor who is called in by the Pentagon to consult as a sociologist--trying to put world events together to see if there was once source creating chaos around the world.  Colonel Richards of the NIIU is the person in charge of tracking the breakdown of civilization.  And Colonel Richards has a team working for him which now includes Dr. Brent Michaels. 

Brent Michaels begins to believe that someone is manipulating small events towards one large polarizing event to piggyback on the ending of the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012 which would create total chaos and the complete breakdown of civilization.  As he reaches this conclusion, he only has 9 days to discover who is behind it...and exactly what is that polarizing event.

This book was fun to read after I finally got into it.  The first part of the book had me confused with the characters.  Later, you understand that one man has an assumed name.  And since the book tracks all over the world with the different characters, it was a bit hard to follow at times.  But the theme of the book clearly had me intrigued.

I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Bethany House  for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.