Monday, July 28, 2014

On Turning 50: 5 Things I've Learned

Pretty soon I'm going to have one of those milestone birthdays.  I'll be turning 39 ... for the 12th time.  So now that I'm old, I wanted to share some of what I've learned over these many years.  If only I knew these things much earlier!

  1. My parents are usually right.  They're not perfect (who is?), but they did a good job in handling all of the challenging stages of my life.  I might be responsible for a few of their gray hairs.  When I was 15 I thought they didn't know much--especially what it was like to be a teenager!--but since then they've learned a lot.  And just maybe I've learned that being a parent is hard, and I've realized that they always did their best.

  2. I've walked away from God, and I've walked with God.  Walking with Him is better.  Dealing with the consequences of my sin, and living with the uneasiness that more consequences might surface, had become a full-time job.  What a gift it is to receive forgiveness for my sins and to learn a better way to live!

     "Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses." (Acts 13:39)

    Flickr user wootang01
  3. Carrying a grudge is way too burdensome to be worth the effort.  Staying mad at someone who hurt me consumes my energy.  The people who hurt me half a lifetime ago probably don't even think about me.  Why should they be occupying space in my head?

    "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)

    Flickr user symphony of love
  4. Extending grace to others may require a battle with my own will, but it's always the right thing to do.  Occasionally--just occasionally--someone might get on my nerves.  If I'm doing it right, which usually means that I'm remembering the grace that God extended to me, I can let it go.

    "You won’t be shocked, disappointed, disillusioned, or angry when others mess up. You will accept them for who they are: sinners, like you, desperately in need of God’s grace and your love." (Dr. Robert Petterson)

  5. Always say Yes to chocolate.  I don't mean to eat the whole cake or the entire 7-ounce Hershey bar, but a little chocolate makes everything better.

    Flickr user djwtwo

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finishing Well #fmfparty

I woke up early and energetic with the realization that today is Five Minute Friday.  FMF is a group of writers who get together each Friday to write just for the joy of it.  We write for five minutes, quit, and (theoretically, anyway) never look back.  You might see typos and grammatical missteps--and I always forget how to remove the frame from images--but you'll also see my heart.  Because it's often in the editing that I pull out the bits that seem too personal or too revealing.

We link up at Lisa-Jo's blog and visit one another to offer encouragement.

In a couple of weeks Lisa-Jo will be passing the baton to her friend Kate Motaung, but for now we're meeting at Lisa-Jo's place on the web.


Group Publishing
It's been a long and tiring--but excellent--week at Vacation Bible School.  I've been volunteering in the kitchen, which gets very, very warm.  And with my medical problems and meds, heat is not a good thing.  Today the thought of not going crossed my mind.  It would be easy to stay home, sit in the air-conditioning, and read.

But I won't.  Aren't these children worth a few more hours of my time and effort?  Aren't my fellow kitchen volunteers worth a few more hours?  Of course the answer to both is YES.

I'm a perfectionist, and with that comes a tendency not to finish projects.  It won't be perfect, but if I never finish, I never have to see that lack of perfection.  This week I'd think about the times that I had to escape the heat with a cup of ice water, just to cool off.  But if I don't go today, that will be the biggest red mark of all.

So I'm going to give it the strongest finish I can.  Because I'm doing this not just for the kids and the other volunteers, but for the Lord.  And yes, it's worth it.


Click on the first link in this post or the logo below to link up your own  post.  You can also write your five minutes' worth in the comments at Lisa-Jo's post.  I hope you'll give it a try!

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All for a Sister (Book Review)

Since I'd read and thoroughly enjoyed another book by Allison Pittman, I jumped at the opportunity to review All for a Sister (at no cost to me).  I was not disappointed.

From the publisher:
In Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Celeste DuFrane has it all. Her father’s work with color movie film opens doors that lead to the stardom she’s always aspired to. But after losing her mother, she discovers that half the estate has been left to a woman accused of killing Celeste’s baby sister before Celeste was even born.

Dana Lundgren arrives on the steps of the DuFrane mansion having spent most of her life imprisoned for a crime that never happened. After accusing her of murder so many years ago, why did Marguerite DuFrane leave her a sizable inheritance? 

As Celeste and Dana learn each other’s stories, they come up with more questions than answers. Then a surprising discovery begins to fill in the missing pieces: Marguerite DuFrane’s written confession, penned shortly before her death. Uncovering the treachery and deceit that changed the course of countless lives—most of all, their own—the two women find more than they ever dreamed of.
One interesting aspect of All for a Sister is that the story isn't told sequentially.  We read about the time before Celeste was born; Dana's story; Celeste's childhood; and the meeting of Dana and Celeste in 1925.  We also read the written confession of Celeste's mother, Marguerite.  These stories are told in interspersed chapters, so the overall story unfolds in a logical way.

This is a story about deceit, set in a time period that I found interesting.  Because Celeste is a movie star, we go behind the scenes in the business.  Because Dana was in prison, we can read about her experience.

I'm not much into mysteries or suspense, but this is primarily a story about relationships.  The anticipation of finding out what happened next was delicious.  I couldn't put All for a Sister down!  If you enjoy historical fiction and the Roaring Twenties, I recommend this book.

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