If a Shoe Fits...

Not too long ago, I lost the notebook that goes everywhere with me—the notebook that I jot down all my ideas in when I'm not able to get to my computer. That little notebook has seen lots of miles! Well, when I couldn't find it I went into super-sleuth searching mode because it had some ideas in it that I really wanted to use. It was a Sunday afternoon, so rather than panicking, I decided I'd check at church, which happened to be the last place I remembered seeing it. Sure enough, it was there.

After hugging it (yup, I really and truly hugged it.) I flipped open the front cover to see if my name and number were in it—like they were supposed to be—so if I happened to leave it laying around again there would be hope of finding it, again.

Guess what's inside the front cover?

I would've gladly crawled under the pew in embarrassment...if it hadn't been so true!

It says:

Lessons from the
Everyday Life of a Looney

Right there on the front page, right where my name was supposed to be!

The Birdie on my shoulder fell off her perch, laughing hysterically. Between gasps she said, “Cupcake, if the shoe fits, wear it!”

After blushing and looking around to see if anyone had seen or heard that annoying little Birdie, I laughed all the way out to the parking lot.

This is one shoe that definitely fits me. Most of the time I feel like I'm living the life of a Looney. There are days when I think I'm one step from the Funny Farm, and there are days I'm convinced that I'm already there! But you know, that's okay! As long as I know I'm where God wants me, doing what God wants me to do, then I will gladly be a Looney.

But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and His grace toward me did not prove vain;
but I labored even more than all of them,
yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

~I Corinthians 15:10

Patterings is a collection of the lessons I'm learning. In fact, since started blogging, I've learned to look for these lessons and I'm being blessed time and time again. If I weren't writing, if I weren't a mother and wife, if I weren't living the life of a Looney, I would miss out on the blessings! I would miss out on having God in my life.

For me, being a Looney in the world's eyes has resulted in tremendous blessings for me. It has more than surpassed anything the world might have to offer me. I don't regret being a Looney, not even the teeniest bit. Why?

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ~Philippians 2:13

That explains it all to me in a nutshell.
God is working in me.
For HIS pleasure. Not mine, HIS.

So, what shoes are you wearing?

Green and pink sneakers Originally uploaded by EyeTwoEye
Red shoes originally uploaded by Daemys

Skirting the Truth ~Part 2

Welcome to Fiction Friday! Today, Beth is hosting at her blog Laughing at the Days. Join us there for links to more fun fiction--whether you like reading fiction or writing it. We'd love to have you join us!

Okay, so this week for Fiction Friday I'm continuing my story 'Skirting the Truth' from last week. (this is one of my personal favorites!) I'll back up just a touch to refresh your memory, but if you missed the first installment, click here to read it.


Skirting the Truth ~part 2
“Ooow!” Reggie jumped, swiping at his pant legs. “Git offa me!” Frantically he swatted and mindlessly ran. When he reached the wagon he was still hollering and swiping his pants.

“Haul his drawers down, he's got bees up his pants,” Earl called as he carefully rolled to his feet.

With a quick yank Martha had his pants part way down before Reggie jerked them back up.

All three stood in stunned silence.

“Yer a girl!”

Reggie's fingers clenched her waistband, her face flooding with color. Oh, no. In her panic she didn't even notice when a bee found its mark inside her pants.

Earl and Martha stood frozen, staring at each other until Martha's lips twitched and then tilted into a smile. She turned and looked at Reggie, seeing the long lashes and face of a girl.

“Well, I'll be,” Earl said softly, also looking at Reggie. “That sure does explain a lot.”

Martha put her arm around Reggie. “C'mon. Let's get you into the wagon so we can take care of those stings.”

“Hold on a minute.” Earl held out his hand to stop them.

Reggie flinched, bracing herself. Here it comes.

Earl's eyes narrowed and he slowly lowered his hand. “What's your real name?”

“Regina,” she whispered, her eyes wide, haunted.

“It's okay, Regina. You're safe here with us.” His gentle voice and eyes reassured her as much as his words. “You ladies go on and take care of them stings and I'll get us ready to roll.”

Regina's pants had been shaken out and the stingers scraped when Martha pulled a jar of salve from a small chest. “This here's the salve my granny used on me whenever I got stung; it should help take the bite out them.”

Martha's kindness and gentleness made tears well in Regina's eyes. I wish she were my ma. “I didn't mean to deceive you.”

Martha smiled sadly. “Didn't you, though?”

Regina dropped her chin, hiding her tears from Martha. “I'm sorry,” she whispered.

“We understand there was a reason for it but we need you to tell us the truth now, can you do that for us?”

“Yes'm, I can.”

“Good girl.” Martha wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze, dropping a light kiss on the top of her head. She ruffled the ragged ends of Regina's hair. “I'll trim these up later so it'll look nice as it grows out. How long was it before you cut it?”

“Down to my waist, but it's been kinda nice having it short.”

“I don't doubt it for a minute,” Martha chuckled. “You'll probably miss your pants, too.”

Regina grimaced. “I didn't bring my dress with me; I was afraid it'd be found.”

“Don't worry, we'll find one for you sooner or later.” Martha smiled. “Now let's get out there and help Earl. Noonin's bound to be over soon and I know he's anxious to hear your story.” Martha raised the wagon flap and carefully crawled out, Regina following right behind.

“Well, Martha, do you think Regina's as much a help as Reggie was?” Earl called out as Regina's feet landed outside the wagon.

Regina reached out and took her battered hat from his hand and slapped it on her head. “Of course I am.”

Working together they soon had the wagon rolling and were walking alongside the oxen, just as they often did.

“Are you running away?” Earl asked.

“No, sir,” Regina quickly replied. “Well, not really,” she amended.

Earl's eyebrows rose. “Why don't you tell it to us straight, and don't leave nothing out.” His voice was gentle but firm, the same as it had been many other times.

Please don't let them send me back.

...to be continued next week.

Next week will be the last installment of Reggie's story. I'm working on some backstory for what I'm considering (really wanting) for my next full-length project, and my plan, at this point at least, is to post a little of that the following week. We'll see...

I hope you're enjoying Reggie.
Don't forget to join us at Laughing at the Days for more fiction links!

Missing Linus

Linus, my beloved cat, is gone. He went out one night and didn't come home the next day. By mid-morning I had a good idea that he wouldn't be coming back because he had never done that before. He was bottle fed as a kitten and had always loved being in the house with us, even though my younger boys aggravated him by always wanting to snuggle with him. (He was soooo soft!) He would go out and follow the kids all around the yard and field as they played, just like a dog. We had him for 1 1/2 years and he grew big, lazy and very adept at communicating what he wanted. I have to admit that I truly miss him.

Living out in the midst of cornfields, like we do, losing small animals isn't unusual. There are dogs running loose, not to mention the coyotes and foxes. Predators abound both on the ground and in the air and small animals have to be kept close. The farther they roam from home the more likely they are to be injured or killed by a predator .

The same is true for us as Christians. Predators abound in our lives and they're out to get us.

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ~I Peter 5:8

Our safety is found in God's shelter, in His dwelling place. The farther we roam from our Father, the greater the chance of being tormented by our adversary.

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence. ~Psalm 91:3

The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; ~Deuteronomy 33:27

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me;

How close to home are you?

Train Up

Recently this is something that's come to my attention several times. My husband excels in this area, but I need to make some changes...

Training a child starts at birth, and covers every area of life, throughout life. Kids need more than just a physical home. They need love and attention, correction and confirmation and even more love. Children are wonderful and I love mine--but I need to work on being a better mother to them.

For links to more Word Filled Wednesdays
run to the 160 Acre Woods!

I'm Looking...

...out my window and finally I see!

But do you know what I see? LoL--for that information you'll have to go over to Exemplify and read today's post!

Join me today at Exemplify Online's Blog!

More Motherly

Gathering At the Well

Today's Gathering At the Well discussion is about mothering and the transformation to "Motherly." Be sure to check out At the Well for more thoughts on that transformation as well as responses to the discussion questions--I'm just looking at one aspect.

The discussion questions are:

Are there areas of hardness and coldness in my life? What are the roots of these? Do I need to release someone who has hurt me in my past? Do I need to confess and release myself from the bondage of sinful patterns in my own life?

What are some ways that I can turn the conversation around when other women begin to gripe and complain about their children?

Name some creative ways we can create warmer, more inviting environments for our children.

The thing that I struggle with the most in mothering is the juggling. Sure, I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, and although that sounds ideal on the surface, there's much involved—as so many of you know because you're doing the same thing.

There are things I want to do, the things I feel God has led me to do and I need to weave them into my family life. That weaving is not the easiest thing for me. I'm one who can successfully focus on one thing and manage 2-3 things if I'm really focused on not focusing on just one thing--LoL—but beyond that I'm lost. It's far too easy for me to bury my head in the computer, the keyboard, and forget the world around me. This is NOT what God wants of me!

God has given me children and I'm to be raising them, not just housing them, as Sherry pointed out. He's also given me words to write, and I'm to be writing them. But I struggle with not being distracted when I'm with the kids. Are there roots to this? Yes, I think so. For me, it's selfishness. I want to write. I love writing. There are many times I catch myself thinking of the kids as interruptions to my writing, but that's not how it is, and I need to change my thinking there.

By calling it what it is (selfishness), I'm able to see it for what it is (sin) and confess it and move on. My kids need a mom who is there for them mentally and emotionally, not just physically. They understand and support my writing, so it's not like I have to chose between my kids and my writing. I just have to chose between doing things God's way or my way. Sheesh, putting it that way makes it a no-brainer. It's got to be doing what God has called me to and doing it God's way. Any other way will lead to disaster.

For me, the transformation to 'motherly' is a matter of more of God and less of me.

Shrouded Responsibilities

The sons of Kohath in Numbers 4:15-20 really intrigued me when I read about them the other day. They were the Levites responsible for carrying the Holy objects of the Tabernacle. Others took care of the Tabernacle coverings and the all the rods and sockets that formed the framework of the Tabernacle, and they were given carts to haul those items in, but not the Kohathites. They carried the Holy objects on their shoulders. But what caught my attention was that Aaron and his sons were to go in and cover the Holy items and then the Kohathites could go in and carry them. It made me wonder if those men ever saw the items they were responsible for. They saw the covered forms and were well acquainted with the weight of their responsibility, but they might not have known the details of those items.

There are Christians today that are called to do as the Kohathites did. They carry responsibilities on their shoulders—responsibilities given to them by God—that they don't know the details of. All they see is the covered, shrouded, form. All they know is the weight of carrying that responsibility.

Even when we don't know the details, when we're simply told to carry the burden, we need to be faithful to the task God has given us.

Can you imagine if the Kohathites had gotten tired of packing something around and simply left it by the wayside? Sure, it's hard for me to imagine because I know they were carrying Holy furnishings from the Holy Place of God's Tabernacle, but what about the things I set down and leave by the wayside because I don't know what's under the shroud? How many times have I left behind something important, even though it was a responsibility given to me by God?

I can't always understand the assignments God gives me, but that doesn't mean I can walk away from them. I need to be faithful to the tasks God has given me—whether I can see and understand them or not.

If the burden we're given to carry is shrouded, it might just be holy. Be faithful to the task God has assigned to you.

Skirting the Truth

Welcome to Fiction Friday! Today,Yvonne is hosting at her blog My Back Door. Join us there for links to more fun fiction--whether you like reading fiction or writing it. We'd love to have you join us!

Today I'm posting the first part part of a longer story that I had a lot of fun with.

Skirting the Truth
Reggie jammed his hat back on his head and glared at the girls who were bunched around him. Dumb girls; shows how much they know! Telling me I can kiss 'em! Blech. Ain't no way I'd kiss a girl! He grabbed his bucket and stormed to the wagon, the girls trailing behind him, lugging their own water.

Myra smiled as Reggie stomped up. “Those girls pestering you again?”

“Yes'm, they sure can be a nuisance.”

Earl's eyes twinkled. “Least they recognize a prime man when they see one.”

“I ain't a man,” Reggie muttered, his face burning even though he knew Earl was teasing. “Is there anything else I can do for ya?”

“I told ya before, son, we hired ya to help me, not do everything for us. Go have some fun before we git moving again.”

Myra watched Reggie join the group of boys shooting marbles. “Maybe he'd let us adopt him. It's sure nice having a youngster around.”

Earl stretched out on the ground, favoring his broken arm. “He's worth his weight in gold, that's for sure, and he's nice to have around. I'm glad to see he's friends with those boys there instead of that group of hooligans that's always causing a ruckus.”

Reggie hunkered down with his friends, letting them do all the talking.

“About time ya got here. You gonna play or not?”

“You're just hoping for a chance to get you're lucky marble back.”

“Won't be a problem cuz ol' Reggie here ain't got no real skill and I do.”

The boys laughed while Reggie grinned at the friendly ribbing and knuckled back his hat as he lined up for his shot.

“Can I play?” Lizzie's voice came from right behind Reggie, making him jump and spoil a perfect shot.

“Nah, you're a girl and girls can't play.”

Reggie ducked his head while tugging his hat down to his eyebrows.

Lizzie planted her feet, her scowl settling on Reggie even though he hadn't said a word. “Oh, is that so?”

Just calm down, Reg. He scrutinized the marbles and ignored Lizzie.

“Get outta here, Lizzie. We don't want no gossiping girls round here.”

Turning to the boy who spoke, Lizzie narrowed her eyes. “I do not gossip.”

“Yah, right. You're with them gossiping girls all the time.”

“They're the only girls on this wagon train 'cept for the little girls.”


Lizzie blew out an exasperated breath. “I wouldn't spend time with them if I had someone else to be with.” She looked pointedly at Reggie.

Reggie drew his dusty sleeve across his face, refusing to look at her. How can she know?

When Lizzie stalked away Reggie released the breath he'd been holding. “Ollie, it's yer turn. Hurry it up, will ya?”

“She likes ya, Reggie, but don't ask me why.” The boys guffawed, and jabbed each other.

“Ya don't know what you're talking about,” Reggie said, his face flaming. She better not!

The game was ruined for Reggie and he quickly lost two marbles, making the boys tease him for letting a silly girl get to him. He laughed and teased them right back, “You're just jealous.” They have no idea... “I'm going to the river.”

Reggie ducked around the wagon and went into the scrub trees that lined the river. I only talked to Lizzie that one time when she told me about Earl was thinking of hiring a boy to help him. Surely she don't...

Shrieks jerked him back to where he was. “You dirty boy! Thought ya could spy on us, huh?”

“Get outta here!”

Reggie stood with his mouth gaping before he turned and ran. Dumb girls! They should of had look-outs posted! He vaulted over a rock and stopped to catch his breath. They know better than to swim in their chemises without...

“Ooow!” Reggie jumped, swiping at his pant legs. “Get off of me!” Frantically he swatted and mindlessly ran. When he reached the wagon he was still hollering and swiping his pants.

“Haul his drawers down, he's got bees up his pants,” Earl called as he carefully rolled to his feet.

With a quick yank Myra had his pants part way down before Reggie jerked them back up.

All three stood in stunned silence.

“You're a girl!”

Reggie's fingers clenched her waistband, her face flooding with color. Oh, no.

...to be continued.

This story started out at Faithwriters, as a Writing Challenge entry, but these characters grabbed me and demanded more--LoL, they're still demanding more, I'm just trying to decide if now is the time or not. I hope you enjoyed them...

The Best Advice Ever

Jesus' public ministry was kick-started by His mother. In John 2 we see Jesus at a wedding feast where the wine has run out, and Mary steps in. She gives us the best advice an older woman could ever give.

“Whatever He says to you, do it.” ~John 2:5

If we follow that advice we won't go wrong. It boils down to obedience. The servants obeyed and look at what they got to witness! They filled the jars with water and they brought some to the headwaiter, just as Jesus instructed them to do. And they got to see a miracle up close and personal. Those that serve God are blessed to see His miracles.

If they had not obeyed, if they had shirked their job, or found someone else to replace them, they would have missed out.

This is such good advice that I had to pass it on—it came from Pastor Mike at our deacon ordination service the other night. His charge to the men being ordained as deacons was that one verse—but it applies to each and every one of us!

Don't forget the Giveaway/Challenge I have going! (It's yesterday's post.)

For links to more Word Filled Wednesdays
run to the 160 Acre Woods!

The beautiful picture of the pots (without the verse) by Harshad Sharma.

Paying it Forward Challenge

First, before I forget (and trust me, I forget a lot of things when I get excited, and I'm excited!!) Today I'm at Exemplify Online's Blog talking about white knuckles and praying. I'd love to have you join me there! (And feel free to leave a comment over there! Those are as good as tossing chocolate!)

Okay, now for the Paying it Forward Challenge!
I was visiting Larie at My Heart Speaks and I saw this challenge that she saw at one of her friends. I immediately had a gift idea come to mind (surprising, I know!), and I'm excited. I know how wonderful it was being on the receiving end of gifts (see my Blessings posts) and I cannot wait to participate in this and give a handmade gift (that I made) to others!

Here are the 'Paying it Forward Challenge' rules as posted on Larie's blog:

1. The first 3 bloggers to leave a comment letting me know they want to participate, will receive a hand-made gift from me.

2. Those 3 bloggers promise to post this challenge on their blog (meaning they too will ‘pay-it-forward’, creating a handmade gift for the first 3 bloggers that leave a comment on their blog!!)

The gift can be any price range--though I'm thinking that keeping it small will be sufficient--and you have 365 days to make/ship your gift!! (But I'm planning to get you your gift to you way before a year from now!)

If you want to participate, just leave a comment telling me so and then repost this on your blog so that you can pay it forward to 3 others, and so on, and so on, and so on.......You can still leave a comment on what you think about this even if you don't want to participate!!

And YES, I will send a handmade gift overseas.

This is one that I especially love—'Paying it forward' is something Jesus modeled for us and something He calls us to do. Because HE first loved us, we can love others. Isn't that just amazing? He first loved us!

So, there ya have it. I'll be making something for you, and mailing it to you as a gift, just cuz I love you! Let me know if you want to participate.

Those Pronouns!

Monday Manna

Today is Monday Manna over at An Open Book. Be sure to join us there for links to more thoughts on Isaiah 53:5.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5 NAS

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5 KJV

Isaiah 53 is one of my most favorite chapters in the Bible, so I was thrilled to see that Joanne chose a verse for us from there—not to mention that I happen to know this is an extra special passage for her! (Happy rebirth-day, JoDear!!) I'm a New America Standard girl, but I have to admit to loving this passage best in the King James.

Being not only a homeschool mom, but someone who spends much of my time writing, what jumps out to me is the pronouns and prepositions in this verse.

...He...for our...
...our...upon Him...
...with His...we...

If we didn't know anything else, that alone tells us so much about what Christ did for us. He died for us, in our place. He suffered through a horrible death out of LOVE for us. My mind completely boggles at that much love. Yes, I love my husband, and I love my children, but the kind of love Christ has for us is so far beyond that. Infinitely beyond that.

Because of my sin Jesus was rejected, beaten, chastised and scourged. My sin did this to Him. My sin made it necessary for Him to go through such things. And yes, necessary. The penalty and debt incurred by my sin needed to be paid, and HE paid that price. In full. Out of love. Wowzers!

Now look at those verbs!
Wounded, bruised, stripes (KJV)
pierced, crushed, scourging (NAS)

Those are strong words, especially those in the New American Standard version. I wouldn't like to experience those! (and it doesn't appear that Jesus wanted to either—look at His prayer in the Garden to see just how much He didn't want to) Yet He did. For MY sins. Out of love for me.

Lord, thank You for loving me so much that You endured all that so I could be forgiven. Your love amazes me and I hate to think where I would be without it. Thank You. Father, help me to give all I have to You! My life, my all. I love You, Lord.

Visibly Faded

Before heading out the door the other morning, I gave myself the usual once over in the full-length mirror. There was a pale spot on my jeans and a quick swipe surprised me. You see, I've been carrying a rock in my pocket for just under two years. Yes, I'm a normal, sane person, but this rock is special. It's a tangible reminder that with God in my life I can do more than I think I can.

I picked up this rock on a beach around San Diego, CA after I had done several things I didn't think I'd ever be able to—things that required me to conquer fear on several fronts, even though they were just small things. It was through clinging to Jesus that I was able to do those things. I had set out to prove to myself what HE could do in and through my life, and He far exceeded anything I could have dreamed of.

Now that tangible reminder that rides in my pocket is making a visible reminder. I noticed the faded spot on my jeans and it reminded me of men and their jeans. Some men's jeans fade to the shape of their wallet, or pocket knife, or even (especially) their can of chew.

Is there anything in my life that is making such an indelible impression on me so that those around me can see it what's on the inside of me? Just like the impression of my rock is fading a spot on my jeans--is God in me visible to others?

Father, please fade my life in such a way that You are clearly visible to those around me.

Just Answer the Question!

Here's how it went today:

Me: Did you get yesterday's math done?

Darling Daughter: It was a test.

Me: Did. you. get. it. done?

Darling Daughter: Weeeellllll, no.

Me: grrrrrrrr. *muttering to self* Wish that girl would just answer my questions!

Birdie on my shoulder:
Didja get it?

Me: *humming* Can't hear you!

Just remember, you asked for this.

Me: Whaaa?


Me: Hey! What was that for?

Birdie: How many times do YOU try to get out of answering God cuz you know you didn't do what He wants you to? Or cuz you don't want to do what He wants you to? Hmmmmm?

*stopping to think* Okay, that one hurt.

Birdie: Well don't say I didn't warn you.

Me: *scowl*

Birdie: Oh, and you're welcome.

*pushing Birdie off shoulder* Sigh.
*picking Birdie up and dusting her off*

I'm sorry, Lord. Help me listen to You more and do what You want me to. I love You, Father and I really want to listen to You and obey.

The Wages of Kindness

Welcome to Fiction Friday! Julie at the Surrendered Scribe is hosting this week--be sure to join us over there!

Currently, I'm between projects and I'm finding myself at loose ends--even though I've had some fun researching an idea. This is one of my favorite stories, and one I'm considering expanding. It's a Fiction Friday repeat, but since I had it out for consideration, I thought I'd post it today. Maybe next week I'll post another one I'm considering.

The Wages of Kindness

With his baby daughter, Rosie, sleeping in his arms, Micah watched as the big body was lowered into the shallow grave. Lord, is this the answer to my prayer? Big Jake hadn't been a good man. He was mean with his mouth and mean with his hands, and no one mourned his death. His children seemed uncertain, but his widow, Jessica, stood silently, holding them close. She was a woman with a strong spirit and a stronger faith.

Rosie stirred, her mouth puckering to cry. Micah gently bounced her, hoping she would hold out a little longer. When he looked up, Jessica was walking to her wagon. Micah followed her, watching as she reassured her children.

“Jess?” Micah called as he neared her fire.

With a smile she took the baby, “There's beans in the pot, if you'd like some, Micah.” She adjusted her light shawl, murmuring quietly to Rosie.

It's too soon to talk to her, Father.

Jessica held out a leather pouch to Micah. “This belongs to you.”

Micah eyed it, mentally weighing how much was there. “No, it's yours. Your wages for wet nursing Rosie these weeks.”

With a gentle toss, it landed beside him.

“I would never charge anyone to nurse their motherless baby.” Jessica caressed Rosie's head through the shawl. “This little one eased the pain of losing my own. She's brought comfort and joy to me. Jake had no business charging you. I know why the amount was so high, too.”

A steely glint entered Micah's eyes. He lowered his voice, so it wouldn't carry to the children playing nearby. “Did he tell you I was paying to ensure he didn't lift his hand against you or the children? Did he tell you that?”

Jessica's eyes searched his. “No,” she whispered. “He didn't tell me that.” She looked down at Rosie and gently stroked her cheek before looking back up. “Thank you. I wondered why he had stopped.”

“Did you love him?” Lord, I can't believe I asked her that! She just came from burying her husband.

Jessica looked into the dying fire. “No. I never did.”

“Why did you marry him?”

A shudder went through her. “Pa didn't believe that Jake had forced me so he made me marry him. Pa's heart gave out shortly after overhearing Jake brag about it to his friends.”

Micah's hands and jaw clenched convulsively.

Jessica turned to Micah and smiled. “It's been a long six years, but God kept us safe and got us through. I accepted Christ after a Christian lady nursed me when Jake was on a binge, so there has been some good come from it.”

Did any good come from my marriage, Lord?

“Did you love Rhonda?” Jessica asked.

“I loved who she pretended to be but she was spoiled and self-centered. I'd hoped having a baby would help her outgrow all that, but...”

“Don't blame yourself, Micah. You have Rosie, now.”

Good did come from those years; I have Rosie.

Jessica's children stopped playing and leaned against her, silently studying Micah. With a smile he reached into his vest pocket and withdrew candy he had brought for them. He offered it as he would to a skittish animal. With round eyes they looked to Jessica for permission. She nodded then watched as they plucked the candy from his hand and whispered their thanks.

Micah's heart ached. “You don't need to be afraid anymore.” Their shy smiles gave him hope. Lord, I want to take care of them, and Jessica.

A neighbor's voice carried from nearby. “I'm tellin' ya', Micah should jest marry Jess. They're a matched pair.” Harriet being shushed made Micah laugh and Jessica's face glow.

“She's right, you know,” Micah said.

Jessica's startled eyes flew to him.

“Do you think you could trust me not to hurt you or the children?”

“Oh, Micah, even that time you were furious with Rhonda you never raised your hand against her, and you're a kind man; I've seen that. I completely trust you.”

Micah smiled, his hope soaring. “And through all these weeks I've seen your unselfishness and love for others. Would you marry me? I know Jake just died, but...”

Harriet marched up, grinning. “Thet goat's been dead plenty long enough!”

From nearby someone called out, “Harriet, let the girl answer the question!” Micah laughed and looked at Jessica.

She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I'll marry you.”

Harriet let loose a whoop. “Call the preacher; she said yes!”

January's Blessings

Since February is a third over it's time for my blessings post—before any more time passes. But first, I need to back up to December. *blush* I forgot a blessing from December (not too surprising for me, but still!)

Traci of In the Potters Hand gave me some of her beautiful cards. I love them, and one of them has one of my favorite quotes on it and there's even dragonflies on the card, and in the summer I love watching the dragonflies. “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about dancing in the rain!” Thank you so much, Traci!

Then there's a couple blog awards given to me!
Sunny of A Damsel no longer in distress gave me. I love Sunny and I love visiting her—she always encourages me and makes me really stop and think. Thank you so much Sunny!

The rules of this award are:
Confess 5 things I'm addicted to.
Pass this award onto 5 other sisters.
SO, the five things I'm addicted to:
1. My Lord and Savior, Jesus! Without Him in my life, there would be nothing.
2. My husband. He loves me, supports and encourages me, and is the best husband I could ever have hoped for!
3. My kids. I really am addicted to them—even on the days I think about trading them in for puppies! LoL.
4. Writing.
5. The Jewels in my life. 'nuff said.

Now, the sisters I'm passing this on to—not in any particular order! (and if you've already received this one—LoL—here it is again.)
Heidi—girl, you manage to keep me in stitches and make me think at the same time. I never know what to expect when I visit you, and I love that. I'm praying for you!
Joanne—your wet noodle is very affective. Thank you for wielding it on me. But more than that is your heart for encouraging and nurturing those around you. You specialize in blessings.
Kristen—you have a God-given talent for turning a story into a lesson. I love your enthusiasm for life—you've been a blessing in many ways.
Vonnie—your heart for younger women is not only encouraging, but a gift to those of us who are younger.
Laurie Ann—God has blessed you with an ability to pull apart a Scripture verse and explain it in a very understandable way that sinks in and sticks with me. Visiting you blesses me and teaches me.

Lynda of On the Write Track gave me the "When Life Gives You Lemons, make Lemonade" Award . I love this one! Making lemonade out of the lemons is so much fun! If you love to read as much as I do, then you really, really need to go by Lynda's blog—she's giving away books this month!!
For this award, I'm passing it on the five of ladies that have made the best lemonade around. And I mean it. These ladies are spectacular and squeezing out lemonade and I love each of them dearly.

Dee of My Heart's DeeLight
Laura of LauraLee's Lifesong
Laury of In My Daddy's Arms
Sunny, my jewelly sister who I love greatly (and who has a private blog.)
Sunny of A Damsel No Longer in Distress
Beth of Laughing at the Days
Sara of Fiction Fusion

Two other blessings that have come into my life in February were the opportunities to become a part of two teams.

At the Well Blog Button

Each month I'm a blogger At the Well where I take part in 'Reflections on the home'. I have been tremendously blessed through this group of ladies! Make sure to join us At the Well—Chelsey has done a fabulous job putting things together!

Also, each week I'm blogging at Exemplify Magazine's Online Blog
This is another ministry that's blessed me time after time after time. These ladies are real, and there's great diversity. Make sure you check out Exemplify Magazine! It's wonderful!

Faith and Obedience

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
~2 Corinthians 5:7

So many times in life I feel like I'm walking in the fog--but when I walk by faith, I know I'm not alone nor wandering aimlessly. God directs my steps. I just need to hold tight to Him
and obey.

For links to more Word Filled Wednesdays
run to the 160 Acre Woods!

Three Cheers...

I never was a cheerleader, and I'm not a football fan, but there's something to be said for each of those. Join me at Exemplify Online's Blog and find out what in 'Super Bowl Perspective'. I promise, you don't have to like football for this one!

Motive Check

Gathering At the Well

Today's Gathering at the Well is all about our motives.
Our discussion question is:
Are my motives pleasing to God?

This is something that I've been mulling over for awhile now, and something I've been really keeping an eye on in my life. Why? Because there are times when I do the things I do in an effort to draw attention to myself. I see that cropping up in me, and I hate it. BUT there are also times when the only reason I do what I do is out of obedience to God.

The times my eyes are focused on me, when things are selfishly all about me—those are NOT pleasing to God. Those are also the times that the only reward I receive is here and now.

The times my eyes are focused on pleasing and serving God, and focused on obeying God, those are the times that please God. Those are the times my motives are right. When I'm acting out of obedience, my motives fall in line because my eyes aren't on me—they're on God and what He wants me to do. Many times I've been asked to be released from things that I do—Lord, please send someone else to work with the kids at church. You know I'm not a kid-person...Lord, can I quit writing long fiction, please? It's about to do me in...Lord, how about blogging? Can I quit blogging? It's so constant and I expose so much of myself, can't I just fade into the woodwork? Please? ...Can I just send the kids to public school? How about...

The list of my requests goes on and on, and the answer I get back is to keep doing what I'm doing. Carefully doing what I'm doing. So I have a choice. Ignore God's direction, which I know from first hand experience is a direct path to misery not only for myself, but for my family as well, OR I can obey out of love of my Savior. I hate misery. I spent too many years there to want to go back, so I'm obeying.

Now the choice comes in of HOW I obey. Joyfully or grudgingly? To be honest, it depends on the day and the moment. But that's a choice I make. I do not have to let my emotions rule me. Even on days like today when it's all I can do to keep from crawling onto my bed and pulling the covers over my head.

I truly believe that God has given us each things to do and we need to be faithful and do those things—whatever they may be.
“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” ~Colossians 4:17 NAS

The cry of my heart today is this:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14 NAS

For me, this is a good way to check my motives. What about you? How do you keep a check on your motives?

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