Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Lesson From the Dogs

Gracie is the first to respond to each and every alarm that’s sounded—she quits whatever she’s doing and charges toward the point of concern. I’ve seen Puppers bark a warning, race toward the threat only so far, then fall back to what she’s watching over as soon as Gracie arrives. Gracie spends every night roaming, keeping watch on the perimeter while Puppers is the one who stays in the yard.
When Gracie comes home in the morning Puppers cares for her, whether it's licking her sore and sometimes bloody feet or pulling the burs from her hair.

Although we didn’t assign them, each dog has a job in our family—a job given them by God, one that fits with how they were created. If Gracie didn’t do her job, we wouldn’t have blueberries because the deer would eat the bushes as they did before she came to stay with us. If Puppers decided she was too tired or over worked to care for the needs of others, Gracie would limp and ache all night, making it so she wouldn’t be as effective as she is, not to mention the burrs and sticks that would get matted in her fur. Forcing Gracie to stay home at night by tying her up makes her miserable and Puppers is happiest when she’s nurturing someone, whether it’s Gracie, one of the cats, or one of us. Each dog not only does her job, but she takes great joy in the role she plays in our family.

As Christians we should be the same way. Some of us are assigned to the perimeter, roaming far from home, while some of us stay in the yard and minister to the others as they return or touch base. Each role is necessary and if one of us neglects our job for whatever reason, the whole family is affected.

I never see Puppers ignore someone who comes to her for nurturing—if it’s breathing, or supposed to breathe, she’s there, caring for their needs and showing her love and concern. She doesn’t seem to care that she doesn’t get out of the yard much, that she’s left behind and misses out on the exciting stuff. Washing feet is fine with her, even when they’re caked with mud and who knows what else. I’ve seen her spend an hour cleaning Gracie’s feet while the big dog sleeps, then lay down to rest and end up with a cat nestled in to her. She doesn't care that it's a cat and not puppy, only that she's there for the one who needs her.

Makes me wonder about myself. Am I doing the work God has given me to do? Am I taking as much delight in fulfilling my God-given job as my dogs are?

Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it. Colossians 4:17

Monday, July 21, 2014

TV Time with Toby

Toby loves relaxing with the family in the evenings. Sometimes, he's a bit like a lap dog and just curls up on my lap to sleep. Other times he hops from person to person, playing and visiting, and every now and then he'll actually watch the TV for a few moments. Like here. He liked Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.  =)

So tell me, do your pets watch TV with you and can you tell what shows they like best?

Like pictures of the monkeys? Follow me on Instagram!

Monkey Monday at Patterings

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

BFFs: Fear and Procrastination

I'm a procrastinator at heart. Pathetically so.

I know all the reasons I need to push on. I know the importance of it. I know that procrastinating could easily kill all hope of what I'm hoping for and what I've been working for and I feel God has for me. But sometimes there's something even bigger than all those things I know.


Fear of what? Fear of failure.
If it's not done, it can't fail.

Am I the only one who deals with this??

And I even know the verses to fight this fear—because I've searched them out so often!

So here's the verse that's pulling me out of this bog fueled by fear:

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7 NAS

Timidity. Cowardice. Fear. It's NOT what God has given us!

God's given us power. His power. “Miraculous power,” might and strength.
And love.
And discipline. Now there's a word we love to hate. Discipline. Self-control.

THAT's what God has given us.
That means that any time I let fear have control, I'm turning my back on God and what He has given me and choosing the hog swill of fear instead.

How dumb is that?!?!

Sooooo, now that I've put that in perspective (for myself) it's time to get back to work. In power, love and discipline—those awesomely cool gifts God gave me.

So tell me, how do you fight procrastination?

*This is a repost from a couple years ago that I'm needing again these days.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Just Call Me Casper

Sometimes I want to wave my hands in the air and ask if anyone hears me.

Did you say something, Mom? 
I hate feeling like I’m invisible.
I hate feeling like I’m talking inside a bubble.

I think I’ve turned into Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.

Am I alone feeling like this? Is it a mom-of-teenagers-and-older-kids thing?

The other day, after introducing myself to a group and getting no response (none!!), and after saying something to my son and getting no response (until I reminded him I’m mom), and after saying something and having my husband talk over me, changing what I said, I began to feel kinda… vapory. Floaty.  Was I really there? Did I really say anything? Maybe I just imagined it all… But I knew I hadn’t imagined those things.

Then I got downright mad.
I did. (Does it count if hormones were screaming in the background?)
I don’t get mad like that often. Thank goodness. But then the edge of anger left and I fell into a pit I hate. Self-pity. ugh.

After wallowing around in self-pity for way too long I decided to just be a ghost. I like being a hermit so settling into ghosthood shouldn’t be bad. Right? Talking to myself is normal. At least for me it is.

But then I heard that still, small Voice.

I hear you.
…if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. John 9:31b NAS

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him. Psalm 4:3 NAS

I’m not talking in a bubble.

God hears me.

And when I’m honest with myself, I know the others hear me too—they’re just busy in their own world to acknowledge mine. It’s okay. I get it. Sadly, I’ve done the same to others.

Just knowing God hears me, and listens to me, was enough to pull me out of my self-pity.  I mean—the God of the Universe hears me.  Me! The spoiled, whining, self-pitying bump-on-the-log me.

It’s okay if others don’t acknowledge what I say. I can be Casper—the friendly ghost.

Because God hears me!

And He hears you too.

So tell me, how do you combat the I’m-feeling-invisible monster?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Traveling with a Monkey

Toby loves to travel and he's an excellent passenger. His favorite spot is on my lap--lounging, dozing, looking out the window, or picking his toes (hey, that's serious monkey business). If he's not napping, he likes to sit on my shoulder and hang over the back of my seat where he can see out all the windows and keep an eye on his brothers and sisters.

When we're on the road, Toby's favorite times are snack time and going through the drive through windows. He usually greets the cashier person and by the time we reach the pick up window people are running to see if there really is a monkey. =] Not only does he adore the attention but he loves cheeseburgers too. ;-)

Monkey Monday at Patterings

So tell me, how does your pet while traveling?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wrong Turns or Detours?

Choices. So much to choose from. So many possible outcomes, so much promise, so much hope wrapped up in those choices.

But what happens when the choices and the hoped for possibilities fall flat?
What happens when the choice throws you to the ground?

What happens when you're left scratching your head trying to figure out what went wrong?

I can tell you what happens.
Once the stunned feeling wears off, you get up, brush yourself off, figure out where you are and which direction you need to head, and you go from there.

Each of those steps have become key to us.

  • Get up. Don't stay under the beast's hooves where you'll keep getting trampled. Don't stay in the mud puddle you've landed in.  Get. up.
  • Brush yourself off. So many things--usually yucky things--will cling to you when you get up. Brush them off and don't let them linger. They'll only slow you down and make you feel worse, even if you are out of the pit.
  • Figure out where you are and which direction you need to head. This could take some time. Often at this point your head is still swimming, like it did when you were a kid and you spun in circles to see who could spin the longest. If you try moving forward before your head clears, you won't make it too far before landing on the ground again. Or throwing up. Let your head clear so you can see and take stock of where you are. Then find the direction you need to go. You don't have to know specifics, for those first steps, a general direction will work for now.
  • Go from there. There's no magic button to push to instantly change where you are. You have to start where you are. Move forward. To do this, you have to quit looking back. Sure, know where you came from but don't become fixated on it! Face forward and take a step. Then another one.
The best news is that God is faithful--regardless of whether it was a wrong turn or a detour. Don't let go of His hand and believe...TRUST...that He's there with you. He is! He won't ever leave.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;
you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you.
When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you.
for I am the LORD you God,
The Holy One of Israel,
your Savior.

Isaiah 43: 1-3 NASB

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet Kate Breslin

I met Kate Breslin through our agent, Linda Glaz, and I'm excited to introduce you to her today. Her book, For Such a Time, is one you don't want to miss.

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?

Kate, welcome to Patterings. I have to say (again) that your book, For Such a Time, is probably one of the books that I have most looked forward to reading!

Patty, thank you so much for hosting me today and letting me share with your readers!

The Holocaust is a tough topic, particularly today. What made you decide to do a historical on such a difficult issue?

I got the idea to write For Such A Time while reading Queen Esther’s story in the Bible. I realized how much the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of one tyrant or another throughout history; I began to see similarities between the wicked Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Hitler’s more recent Holocaust of WWII. I wondered if I could superimpose the life and challenges of Esther into this more recent time period. I knew little about WWII or the Holocaust when I began my research, but it soon became an emotional journey as well as a spiritual one. I was shocked to read first-hand accounts of Nazi brutality, yet moved, too, by tales of courage and faith-keeping in those who faced death. And there were so many real-life heroes and heroines who risked all to save others. Needless to say, I felt compelled to try and write their story.

How long did it take you to write For Such A Time and what did your research involve?
The entire research and writing process took me about five years: I studied WWII history in the European theater; the Nazi party, including Himmler’s evil SS; I also pored through personal accounts written by prisoners of the camps, including Dachau, Theresienstadt (Terezin,) and Auschwitz. I read memoirs of German Wehrmacht soldiers who fought from North Africa to Stalingrad, and I also attempted to become knowledgeable in the tenets and traditions of Judaism. At final count, my bibliography stood at close to thirty books, including several documentary videos and substantial online information. It was important to me to treat this horrific period with the sensitivity and accuracy it deserved, while crafting a fictional romance between a Jewess and an SS-officer.

What was a highlight of the research?
Much of my research was emotionally exhausting, but I do recall a story that stands out, written by one of the prisoners: about a former Luftwaffe pilot who, because of an injury, had to earn his living as an SS-guard at the camp of Dachau. He saw the plight of the prisoners and many times would bring from his home in the village food and medicine for them. When the Americans liberated Dachau in 1945, they were shocked to see a crowd of sickly, emaciated prisoners circle the guard protectively, so that he would not be hurt. The humanity in that moment touched me; like a glimmer of light in the darkness I’d been reading. It gave me hope that even amidst such evil, goodness could exist.

Did you travel to the region For Such a Time is set in? If you did, how did that affect you?
While I would like to visit the camps I wrote about, I’ve never been to these places. Instead, I “saw” my story setting through reading, viewing pictures, videos, and other imagery. I know that when I do go, it will affect me deeply!

Who is your favorite character in the book? How did their story impact you personally?
Well, I confess I love them all (except Captain Hermann, of course!) I admire little Joseph, because of his bravery and his child’s willingness to love, yet I think Stella (Hadassah) resonates with me most. Her journey became mine, and as we both struggled with the big question of “Why?” I gained a better understanding into the strengths and weaknesses of my own faith.

What was the main thing you learned from writing For Such a Time?
I learned that unconditional love is the surest weapon against evil; it was how Jesus destroyed death. And while evil may take the body, it cannot take the soul, so long as we hold fast to our heavenly Father.

What would you like readers to take away from the book?
I hope readers will gain better insight into the real events of WWII and Hitler’s reign of terror. It’s also my wish they’re inspired to stand a little more courageously in their daily lives. It only takes one to make a difference!

Where can people find you on the internet?
Either my website:
Face Book:
I’m also on Pinterest and Goodreads!

If you like, you can sign up on my website to become a “Kate’s Crusader” and receive information on future events, books, giveaways, and/or blurbs from me. There’s also a contact form, or you can email me direct at I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for being here with us today, Kate!

Here's an excerpt from For Such a Time...

You can purchase For Such a Time at Amazon.

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