8 things I want my daughters to know

mom and daughter

As the mother of two daughters, there seems to be such a short time in which to teach them all the things they will need to know by the time they reach adulthood. Will I succeed in teaching them everything? No. But I can focus on teaching them these important truths.

Focus on the things that are eternal. Material items, popularity, sports, homework, stress…these are things that will waste away. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of life – and there are many. But I hope you will remember that the only things that truly matter are those things that are eternal. Faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. Sharing about Him to our loved ones and friends can plant the seeds for their eternal life.

The grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of our God endures forever.~Isaiah 40:8

God’s love is unconditional. Ask just about anyone and they will tell you they have experienced a time when someone stopped liking/loving them because of something they did or said. In a world where love is fickle, God’s love is unconditional and never changes. Nothing you can do can make Him love you any more than He already does. And nothing you can do can make Him love you any less.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies~ Psalm 36:5

Jesus understands. He’s been there. Jesus knows and cares for every detail of our lives. He, too, has had a friend betray him. He has been on the receiving end of lies, has experienced loneliness, and has been tempted. But no matter who lets you down, there is One who never will. He promises NEVER to leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5).

Hebrews 13 5

Where to find your value and self worth. It is so easy to attempt to find your self worth in others. That friend. That boyfriend. Your husband. Your parent. But your self worth comes only from One. If we  garner our value from another human being, we will always be disappointed.

In our looks-obsessed culture, we could tend to think our value comes from our hairstyle, clothes, or whether our figure matches that on the front of a magazine. But our value does not come from people or from any of those things. Our value and our beauty comes from within. I have known far to too many women (and men!) who appear attractive on the outside, but are far from attractive on the inside. I hope that you will seek to be the girl God made you to be – one who has the love of Jesus within and who seeks to share it with others by the way she lives.

Proverbs 31 30

Speaking of value, do you know how valuable you are to our Lord? He loves you so, so much. Enough to give His very life for you.

The value of prayer. How often do we say, “Well, the only thing we can do now is pray.” The only thing? How about the most important thing and the thing that should top our list? Prayer is powerful. It is effective. And it’s our way of communicating with the One who created us and wants a relationship with us.

James 5 16

God’s Word never changes. In any given day, especially in our quick-as-the-blink-of-an-eye culture, things change. Technology, the weather, fashion, styles, etc. But God’s Word is steadfast and never changes. We, as a culture, can try all we want to make God’s Word squeeze into our man-made box, but it will be futile. We should instead, with the help of the Holy Spirit, live as He commands by learning and living by the precious and timeless words of Scripture.

Give to God the unimportant things in your life, the important things in your life, and everything in between. Your future plans? Give it to the Lord. Your future husband? Give it to God. Surrender your life to Him and allow Him to use you for His glory. And He will.

Jeremiah 29 11

 

Aim to please only One. Live your life to please the One who matters. And everything else will fall into place.

 

 

 

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what’s in a name?

what's in a name

When I went to vote in the primaries yesterday, one of the women at the voting table thought my name was Shirley.

Surely. Now, do I look like a Shirley? 🙂

It reminded of the time I was voting a few years ago and they thought my name was “Penny Dollar.” I’ve always been thankful I didn’t marry someone with the last name “Nickel,” “Dime,” or “Quarter.” But, I guess I never really thought about my last name being “Dollar.” I suppose I could blame inflation.

The most hilarious thing was that they announced loudly and for all at the voting precinct to hear, “Penny Dollar has voted!”

Yes, having a name like Penny is sure to garner interesting nicknames. In high school, a friend came up with the name (meant to be a sweet nickname, mind you) of Pinhead. It caught on and extended even to my family.

My fifth grade teacher (and one of my favorite teachers, I might add) never did realize my name was Penny. That entire year, I was known as Peggy! 🙂

My husband, Lon, has all sorts of misunderstandings about his name. We receive mail for Ian, Ron, Don, Ion, and Lom. I signed him up for the health fair blood draw and they had him written down as “Lawn.”

Speaking of silly names, I recently took a poll of funny real-life names. Here is a sampling of those submitted. Remember, these are all REAL names!

Anita Paycheck

Pilot Inspector

Ima Pigg

Dr. Paine (a real doctor – BTW, don’t think I want to go to him for treatment!)

dr. paine

Crystal Shanda Leer

Justin Other Mitchell (he was youngest in a long line of Mitchell children)

Dr. Relich (pronounced “Relish” and not to be confused with his relatives Dr. Mustard and Dr. Ketchup, LOL)

My Own

Dr. McClaws (a foot doctor)

Sunshine E. Day

Liberty Isabell

Justin Tyme

and the sibling groups:

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Lake Trout and Brook Trout (twins perhaps?)

One of the things I enjoy most about writing books is naming the characters. After all, I can’t let all those good names go to waste – names I would have used had I had 50 children!

I love nicknames, and no, I don’t even mind being called Shirley, Penny Dollar, or Pinhead once in awhile.

However, my favorite name? The name the Lord calls me – He calls me “His.”

What funny real-life names have you heard?

Sunbutter and Chocolate Fudge Bars

sunbutter fudgeLooking for a delicious dessert that doesn’t require the oven? Check out this gluten free/nut free recipe for sunbutter and chocolate fudge bars.

Time: 2 hours twenty minutes (start to finish)

*To ensure this recipe is gluten free and nut free, choose ingredients that don’t contain gluten or nuts.

Ingredients for Chocolate Fudge:

  • 4 cups gluten free powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup of rice milk (regular milk and almond milk would also work)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter

Directions:

  1. Put powdered sugar and cocoa into a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Stir in milk and vanilla, and mix well until it clumps.
  3. Put unmelted butter on top, and microwave until butter is completely melted. (Time will vary).
  4. Stir mixture until smooth.
  5. Spread into a 9×13 baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray.

Ingredients for Sunbutter Fudge:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of sunbutter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of rice milk (regular milk and almond milk would also work)

Directions:

  1. In a separate bowl, melt the sunbutter and 1 stick of butter in the microwave until butter melts. (Time will vary).
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, and stir until mixture clumps.
  3. Put the other stick of unmelted butter on top, and microwave until the butter is completely melted.
  4. Stir mixture until smooth.
  5. Spread over chocolate fudge.
  6. Chill for two hours and cut into squares.
  7. Enjoy!

 

For more recipes, visit my recipe tab.

 

the importance of honesty

honestyI read an article recently about how phone scammers are trying a new tactic on unsuspecting victims. They are calling and telling the person who answers that their friend/family member has been in a serious accident. Of course, when the person hears this, panic arises. During this vulnerable moment, the spammer makes his move. He tells the person that he needs money for this friend/family member who has been injured.

Many will see the scam for what it is, but sadly, many will also fall for this deception.

This is wrong on so many levels: cruelty, callousness, hatefulness, and insensitivity to name a few.

It’s also dishonest.

Dishonest in that it’s a lie – the person’s friend/family didn’t really have an accident. The spammer doesn’t even know anyone related to the person whom he called.

Dishonest in that if the spammer does succeed in retrieving a bank account number/credit card number/ cash amount wired, they are doing it under false pretenses. Such action will likely destroy the victim’s credit in the way of identity theft and loss of life savings.

The above was an extreme example. But what about everyday dishonesty?

Dishonesty about another person, sometimes otherwise known as gossip (for additional info, see The Importance of Avoiding the Gossip Trap);

Dishonesty in attempting to escape consequences for behavior (“Wow, Officer, my speedometer said I was going 35, not 55”; or, “No, You’re Honor. I had no idea I stole someone’s wallet”).

gavel

Dishonesty when completing a job resume;

Dishonesty to avoid conflict;

Dishonesty when participating in sports;

sports

Dishonesty about money earned on taxes;

Dishonesty about calling into work sick when you’re really not;

Dishonesty during a doctor’s appointment – or at the dentist (well, yes, of course, I floss after each meal!).

dentist chair

And on it goes.

So what’s the big deal about dishonesty, and why should it matter?

Here’s what the Bible has to say about it:

Do not lie to one another… ~ Colossians 3:9

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.~ Exodus 20:16

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord…~ Proverbs 12:22

Proverbs 10 9

Even though it can be difficult at times, we need to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, seek to walk in integrity and honesty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the big day is here!

When an author pens a novel or a novella, it can seem like an eternity before the book is released. But there is much work to be done behind the scenes during that time frame…

underground railroad picture

Finish writing the book;

Get a sneak-peak at the cover artwork (one of the most exciting things!);

Receive edits and make any changes;

Read through the final copy for any last-minute corrections;

Stalk the UPS man waiting to receive author copies (another super-exciting event!); and,

Celebrate the day the book is released to the masses (the most exciting!)

underground railroad arrives!

Just a couple of days ago, my novella Freedom’s Flight, became a reality. Included in the fabulous new Barbour Collection, The Underground Railroad Brides Collection, I was joined by eight other authors, as we told stories of those seeking to escape slavery and those assisting them on their way to freedom.

One of the things from a reader point-of-view that I love most about Barbour Collections is that the novellas are short enough to devour in a sitting – even if your time is limited.

From an author point-of-view, I love the camaraderie between authors, as we seek to pen novellas that will combine to make an anthology that readers will savor and desire to read again and again. And most importantly, produce a product that glorifies God. For that is the ultimate purpose for any Christian writer.

Check out the official book trailer:

Here is a tidbit about the stories and their authors that you’ll find in this collection:

Emma Underground by Barbara Tifft Blakey 
Schenectady, New York—1851
Emma Trebor desires to reconcile with her husband, but he is hiding something from her. How could she know the investigator she hires is secretly a bounty hunter and her husband is his target?

Follow the Christmas Star by Ramona K. Cecil
Madison, Indiana—1850
Deeply involved in the abolitionist movement, Edith Applegate struggles to reconcile her desire to help bring people out of bondage and her growing affection for a former Southern slave owner.

Under the Sails of Love by Lynn A. Coleman
Savannah, Georgia—1860
Charlotte Kimbrel, a Southern Belle, has been smuggling slaves. Captain Zachery Browne’s ship sails slaves to freedom. Hostilities between the states are developing. Will Charlotte successfully travel the Underground Railroad by sea?

The Bakery Bride by Cecelia Dowdy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—1859
Grieving over her beau’s unjustified death, Ruth—a recently manumitted slave who is illiterate—assists her upper-class boss as an abolitionist. Can she heal from the pain of slavery and learn to love again?

Place of Refuge by Patty Smith Hall
Abbeville, South Carolina—1857
Underground conductor Hudson Wallace is surprised when Jorgine Emerson asks him to transport her slaves to freedom, but is it a trap? Can Jorgine’s deep conviction win Hudson over?

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes
East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

The Winter Quilt by Debby Lee
Newport, Indiana—1840
Relocated to an unfamiliar town, Coral Martin yearns for stability. Carpenter Josiah Williamson helps her find meaning working on the Underground Railroad. Will their love survive when forces threaten to tear them apart forever?

The Song of Hearts Set Free by Darlene Panzera
Jersey City, New Jersey—1851
Budding abolitionist, Annie Morrison, discovers the man she’s fallen in love with may be a slave catcher in disguise.

Freedom’s Flight by Penny Zeller
Tennessee—1850s
When she discovers the handsome Reverend Matthias Sorenson assisting runaway slaves, can Annalise Van Houten convince him to allow her to help? Or will mistrust prove fatal for all involved?

If this novel sounds like an awesome read…it is!

The Underground Railroad Brides Collection is available at your favorite local bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

 

 

 

the ultimate Christian playlist for a total body workout

Ultimate Running

From warmups to cardio to cool-downs to stretches and everything in between, check  out these motivational songs (in no particular order) to add to your playlist for a total workout:

Warmup:

Upside Down – Jonny Diaz

Finding Who We Are – Kutless

Never Let You Down – Hawk Nelson

Messengers – Lecrae feat. For King and Country

Right Now – About a Mile

Eyes Up – Building 429

I Want to Know You – Sonic Flood

Break the World – Nine Lashes


Cardio:

The One I’m Running To – 7eventh Time Down

Running – Natalie Villa

Born to Live – About a Mile

Start Over – The Afters

Outta My Mind – Anthem Lights

Rise – Ashes Remain

Marvelous Light – Christy Nockels

Set it on Fire – Citizen Way

The Comeback – Danny Gokey

Secret Weapon – Disciple

Thank God for Something – Hawk Nelson

Press On (CB Ultra Remix) – Mandisa

Dear X (You Don’t Own Me) – Disciple

The List – Matthew West

Amen – Matthew West

Where I Belong – Nine Lashes

Money – Manic Drive

Vertical -1 Girl Nation

We are Brave – Shawn McDonald

Ready or Not – Britt Nicole (featuring Lecrae)

One Shot – Hawk Nelson

Give My Life Away – Big Daddy Weave

Say it Loud – Sanctus Real

Ready Set Go – Royal Tailor

Transformed – Shonlock feat. TobyMac

Unstoppable – TobyMac

Shake – MercyMe

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us – Sidewalk Prophets

Hold Me Down – Storyside:B

What a Friend – Matt Maher

Don’t Wait – Addison Road

Outcast – Kerrie Roberts

The River – Jordan Feliz

Fishers of Men – Newsboys

Tear it Up- Kutless


Cooldown:

Warrior (remix) – Hannah Kerr

All of Me – Ashes Remain

Beside Me – Cameron James

Found – Seventh Day Slumber


Stretches:

Worn – Tenth Avenue North

From the Inside Out – Seventh Day Slumber

Never Once – One Sonic Society

Leaving 99- Audio Adrenaline


If you still have a craving for more workout songs, check out The Top 50 Christian Workout Songs.

What are your favorite workout songs?

 

 

 

the importance of influence

influence

A new believer in the congregation mentions to a friend: “Our pastor watches that movie, so it must be all right to watch.”

Overheard in the workplace: “I may not agree with my boss on the way he treats those under him, but I’m learning from him that sometimes it doesn’t pay to be nice.”

A young boy mentions: “Dad never wears his seat belt. Why should I?”

Overheard at church: “In our Bible study class, a member mentioned enjoying reading a book that teaches beliefs contrary to the Bible. If she’s fine with it, so am I.”

A teenager in the hallway between classes: “My friends were talking today about  a cool fad they want to try. I think I might try it too. Who cares if people say it’s dangerous?”

A new believer mentioning something she’s noticed: “The piano player for our church gossips constantly about others. Maybe I don’t need to take the command not to gossip seriously either.”

Overheard by a player on a sports team: “I’ve never been one to cheat, but since the coach says it’s ok, why not do it since winning is important?”

football coach

And on it goes…

Influence. We all influence someone. If we are a parent, we have a critical impact on our children. They are watching us constantly, and whether we choose to believe it or not, they will mimic what we do. Our actions are powerful.

If we are a supervisor, our leadership has great clout over those whom we supervise, whether for the positive or negative.

A pastor is perhaps one of the most influential among a wide scope of people. His congregation and those in the community constantly look to him for guidance and the way they should live their lives.

Friends make a huge impact on the lives of each other for the good and bad. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of  the friendships we keep.

Movie stars, music artists, authors, teachers, and coaches are also influential.

Those of us who are seemingly “common” and not in any real leadership role still have influence over people. We all influence someone. Everything we do has an impact on someone. People around us are watching.

What does the Bible say about our influence and leadership over others?

2 Timothy 2 15

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness~ James 3:1

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3

Galatians 6 9

Whatever is trustworthy… because whatever we watch or think comes out and whatever comes out is being viewed and watched by others, so it’s a domino effect.

We all sin – that’s why we need a Savior. We all are capable of misusing our influence over others.

Instead, we should take our influence seriously and seek to protect and guard those in our sphere of influence.

Who is influential in your life?