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Reading Is My Super Power

A Hoosier Musing

Updated: 2017-07-28T02:12:46.015-04:00


This is My Story…And I'm Sticking to It!


Every writer can point to a time when he or she remembered wanting to "say" something, so they began the process of writing it down. Some wrote and took it to publication. Some wrote and wrote and just kept it to themselves. I had a journal I kept all through junior high and high school that I burned just before I went off to college. I needed to do that, but sometimes I wish I'd kept it--in a locked box somewhere to come out when I was dead. I have been going through old boxes of photos and mementos. I've always been  a writer and wrote all sorts of things. I also loved making cards. When my first son was born, I found this Grandmother memoirs book I gave to my mother to fill out. She filled out very few places in it! I was appalled. I had wanted her to share things with us--with my sons. She didn't do it. I know she wrote letters but I have none of those, except for a few she wrote to me in college. She was a reserved and private person and really didn't like writing, I think. She did take photos, and she took a lot of home movies (my brother took those and didn't share them.) So there you have it. I've tried filling in some of that book now, just to try and remember the things she said over the years. It is awful to think we lose so many family memories because of stubbornness, pride and frankly, just not wanting to take the time. I have been compiling tons of information, and realized that no one wants to contribute in our family. I've had a couple ask me for my information, but not give me any photos or information in return. It's frustrating to me.For whom am I cataloguing all of it? I decided today that I'm doing it for ME. I'm the one who loves it, who thinks it is worth saving and for whom delights in the photos and information. So few when you share the information even say "thank you" for sharing that. (One did and I was delighted to share with him.) I've come across some in our family tree wanting information from my tree and we've done exchanges. I have ONE cousin who sent me pages of information and photos. That was awesome. I've heard of this cousin but have never met him. (He was in my mother's older family of half-siblings.) Because I was in the mind of a writer, I saved tons of family photos and memories and stories. But who do I share them with? I'm a writer and have a need to share my writing and stories somewhere! And I have a blog. Should I turn some of it into fiction? That was my desire early on. But at this time of my life, I have more of a need to say something about the times and people who went before me. I don't care for details so much as the story that was shared. Plus, many people forget the details and some remember it differently than I do. My memory is valid. I have a right to my own reflections and stories and memories. My husband (The Irate Overlord) and I had a conversation/debate recently. He asked if you believe something is true even though it is wrong, is it a lie? I argued that yes, it's a lie you believe. He pushed and said, but do you believe it is true? Is that your truth? I would hate to get into a "what is truth?" debate with a fellow Christian because we all remember the "washing my hands of it" moment! We all have moments when we weigh a story/memory in the balance and reject or accept it. I still maintain that it's a lie if there is truth (like, is the world flat or round?) but maybe he's right in that it comes into a gray area. What is your truth? Is your truth built upon a lie? And can you come to truth? Just because you believe it, is it true? I do believe a child can remember something over the years but when he grows up, he will see it more with the eyes of an adult, which can change the view. I've done that with some things, but many I remember correctly. The stories I'm sharing here are based on truth--some fragment of it. I suppose I can weigh in some comments and arguments on facts if you have proper documentation. It's something I want to do--as a writer, memorabilia-keeper, keeper of the family history, history[...]

Who Is Jesus to You?


How often do you think about this? If you are a Christian, you're probably thinking about Jesus and who He is to you, or maybe who you are to Him. Most of the time we're not really thinking about this, are we? He's our Savior. Holy, fully God, fully Man--right? A mentor (Bev Nottingham) I had during my years as a young mother recently challenged her Facebook friends to try and explain who Jesus is to them. And I had to agree with each one who commented. Yes, yes, yes! That's who He is to me, too! But then, I thought, WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? Remember Him asking this question? He asked this while He still walked on this earth as a man. And that really challenged me--who am I saying He is? I pulled out an old list to go see who He is in the Bible. It really was something to renew my view of Him through all the names given. Maybe this list will also remind you of who Jesus is. Is He all of these things to you? I admit that my human mind sometimes cannot comprehend or take in all of these things at one time. This year my "word" that I'm focusing on is PEACE, so when I think of Jesus, I think, "Yeah, He is the Prince of Peace" (and you know I'm singing that song in my head, Emmanuel. :) Matthew 1:23)Who do you allow Jesus to be to YOU? Ultimately, He's just what so many have commented to my friend, Bev--Savior. He saved me! Advocate - 1 John 2:1Almighty - Revelation 1:8Alpha - Revelation 1:8Amen - Revelation 3:14Angel of the Lord - Genesis 16:7Anointed One - Psalm 2:2Apostle - Hebrews 3:1Author and Perfecter of our Faith - Hebrews 12:2Beginning - Revelation 21:6Bishop of Souls - 1 Peter 2:25Branch - Zechariah 3:8Bread of Life - John 6:35,48Bridegroom - Matthew 9:15Carpenter - Mark 6:3Chief Shepherd - 1 Peter 5:4The Christ - Matthew 1:16Comforter - Jeremiah 8:18Consolation of Israel - Luke 2:25Cornerstone - Ephesians 2:20Dayspring - Luke 1:78Day Star - 2 Peter 1:19Deliverer - Romans 11:26Desire of Nations - Haggai 2:7Emmanuel - Matthew 1:23End - Revelation 21:6Everlasting Father - Isaiah 9:6Faithful and True Witness - Revelation 3:14First Fruits - 1 Corinthians 15:23Foundation - Isaiah 28:16Fountain - Zechariah 13:1Friend of Sinners - Matthew 11:19Gate for the Sheep - John 10:7Gift of God - 2 Corinthians 9:15God - John 1:1Glory of God - Isaiah 60:1Good Shepherd - John 10:11Governor - Matthew 2:6Great Shepherd - Hebrews 13:20Guide - Psalm 48:14Head of the Church - Colossians 1:18High Priest - Hebrews 3:1Holy One of Israel - Isaiah 41:14Horn of Salvation - Luke 1:69I Am - Exodus 3:14Jehovah - Psalm 83:18Jesus - Matthew 1:21King of Israel - Matthew 27:42King of Kings - 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16Lamb of God - John 1:29Last Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:45Life - John 11:25Light of the World - John 8:12; John 9:5Lion of the Tribe of Judah - Revelation 5:5Lord of Lords - 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16Master - Matthew 23:8Mediator - 1 Timothy 2:5Messiah - John 1:41Mighty God - Isaiah 9:6Morning Star - Revelation 22:16Nazarene - Matthew 2:23Omega - Revelation 1:8Passover Lamb - 1 Corinthians 5:7Physician - Matthew 9:12Potentate - 1 Timothy 6:15Priest - Hebrews 4:15Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6Prophet - Acts 3:22Propitiation - I John 2:2Purifier - Malachi 3:3Rabbi - John 1:49Ransom - 1 Timothy 2:6Redeemer - Isaiah 41:14Refiner - Malachi 3:2Refuge - Isaiah 25:4Resurrection - John 11:25Righteousness - Jeremiah 23:6Rock - Deuteronomy 32:4Root of David - Revelation 22:16Rose of Sharon - Song of Solomon 2:1Ruler of God's Creation - Revelation 3:14Sacrifice - Ephesians 5:2Savior - 2 Samuel 22:47; Luke 1:47Second Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:47Seed of Abraham - Galatians 3:16Seed of David - 2 Timothy 2:8Seed of the Woman - Genesis 3:15Servant - Isaiah 42:1Shepherd - 1 Peter 2:25Shiloh - Genesis 49:10Son of David - Matthew 15:22Son of God - Luke 1:35Son of Man - Matthew 18:11Son of Mary - Mark 6:3Son of the Most High - Luke 1:32Stone - Isaiah 28:16Sun of Righteousness - Malachi 4:2Teacher - Matthew 26:18Truth - John 14:6Way - John 14:6Wonderful Counselor - Isaiah 9:6Word - John 1:1Vine - John 15:1Jesus. T[...]

God's Thumbprints on My Life Story--and on Yours


It appears that gloom and doom are taking over the world. We have much to be sad and angry about, (we think,) but in spite of all that, there is a joy to possess.  What I have learned in my over half century of life might help someone else (or at least be a warning to that someone else--a scary warning.)My goal is to have the last laugh in this world because I know that Jesus said, "In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NIV. I laugh and scoff at strife and hard times.My story began in Noblesville, Indiana. On that day a blizzard was in progress. My dad was off trying to earn enough to take care of my arrival and my next 20 years by driving a semi-truck loaded with auto parts. My doctor was outside the hospital hunting rabbits, or some such critter, and told the nurse to call him in when it was time (can you imagine? Only if you are old, I suppose.) My mother was busy with her body and first born fighting her from the inside out. She said I was the toughest thing she ever met (I take issue with that,) but always told me I was the most beautiful thing of her entire world. There’s something profound and God-like in that sentiment, if only we would possess it and believe it.Crystal in Noblesville, Back in the DayNoblesville has changed dramatically since that day, and  dear Dr. Dillon has gone to a better place (along with both my parents.) I have changed, as well, but there are some things that are sure and true, no matter what. We all have our stories, like all human beings. Each story (each life) begins with God's thumbprints all over him or her. The Psalmist said,"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14 NIV. He's a hands-on kind of God.If you need a real boost in your worth in the world then read this, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (NIV)We had an Aunt Lola who used to say, "Ain't this the life!" not as a question, but a statement. She said this long before, but even during battling cancer and while knowing that she was in the fight of her life. She used up everything God gave to her. Every time I think of her, I think of her smiling face and bald head and I'm thankful that I was able to be a witness--and a participant in this life so I can say with conviction myself--"Ain't this the life!" No matter what you are going through there is a God who cares and is in control. He has already triumphed for you. He puts His thumbprints all over the place, but where those thumbprints show up the most is on you and me--and in our stories. Tell me a good story. I'll tell you mine.Where are you seeing God's Thumbprint on your life today? What is He doing for you?  [...]

Day 1: 12 Pearls of Christmas | A Hibiscus “Hug from Heaven” | Margaret McSweeney


Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series! Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days. We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.***A Teenage Pregnancyby Robin Jones GunnIt was early, early morning, that delicate time of day just before sunrise when it seems as if all of creation is still asleep.In the cold, gray light she gazed at the infant in her arms. He was less than an hour old and so, so small. Instinct prompted her to draw her newborn close that he might feel the rhythm of her heart. He curled his tiny hand around her finger and she smiled. His eyes closed, and with feathered breath he gave way to the blessed sleep that follows such a long journey.In weary awe she studied his face, his ears, his nose. He was here. He had come at last.A single tear fell from her eye and rolled across his cheek. She kissed the tear away but could not kiss away the memories that came with the tears; memories of the day she found out she was pregnant. How exhilarated she felt and yet how terrified. She was young, and there was much she didn’t understand.Trying to justify her condition to her parents proved more difficult than she’d hoped. But the most excruciating memory was the moment she stood guileless before the man she hoped to one day marry. She had no words to make him understand the awful truth—the child she carried was not his.Leaving seemed to be her only option. A gracious aunt took her in and welcomed her with open arms. From the moment she arrived she was showered with motherly words of hope and sisterly touches of love. Week by week, month by month, the child inside her grew.Was it a miracle when she returned home, her belly round, her face flushed, and found him there?What prompted this man to take her back and make her his bride? Did he now believe what she had tried to explain all along, that none of this was her own doing?When the time was right they left their small town together, as husband and wife, with her due date rapidly approaching. The labor began—tightening her abdomen with a force she had never before imagined. Perspiration streamed from her forehead. The contractions multiplied with a frenzied urgency until the need to push overwhelmed her young body, and the baby was born.Nothing of the past mattered anymore. He was here. Naked, perfect, quivering in her arms. With a thrill of hope, she believed that her life, her world, would never be the same.Now as the first silver streaks of dawn pierced through the cracks in the stable, she tenderly wrapped her sleeping babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.***Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of the much-loved Christy Miller Series and the award-winning Sisterchicks® series, has had more than 4.5 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her frequent speaking engagements have taken her around the globe. Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have a grown son and daughter. You can learn more at Robin's website. a Rafflecopter giveaway[...]

Garden Party


Coral bells, coreopsis, delphinium, Lily of the ValleyThis spring I finally decided to take ownership of my gardening. At my last house I had spent tons of time outside, planting and working on my perennials, my herb garden, veggie garden, various apple trees and planting nut trees, working on the look and joy of my gardens. Then, I was forced to move. I wasn't happy about any of it and went kicking and screaming. This house didn't have anything I really could bond with and even the layout went against my nature.Over the last 17 years with so many deaths of those I've loved, plus, the death of my "dream" home and not fitting into this community well, I've floated along, not really caring how anything went. I was angry and grieving quite a lot. Each year I'd put something in the garden (perennials being my favorites) but since this place was mostly shady, I had a hard time finding what I should put out. Nothing worked. Many plants and trees died. I continued to feel everything was ugly. But then last year I started to feel some ownership. I discovered some plants that did well here in spite of the harsh, clay soil and lack of sunny areas. Hostas were not only thriving, but huge. Coral bells work. Lily of the Valley was out of control. And hummingbirds showed up and entertained me.This hosta has leaves larger than my hand.One of the things I'd done was tear out lemon balm. First I had moved it from the backyard to the front. Then I realized it was about invasive as a weed. I had it growing everywhere--and I hadn't planted it there! So I ripped out tons of it and THREW it over the hillside in the woods. This year I noticed lemon balm--growing profusely along the woods' edge by the yard. Tons of it. And it looked nice. It's fragrant when crushed and grows in neat bunches.The Lemon Balm I never planted, but just threw over the hill!I also noticed that the wild plants that grow in our woods were encroaching our nurtured areas and I liked them. Mayapples, sassafras trees, blackberry bushes, wild ginger, and Queen Anne's Lace--I felt like welcoming them. They grew into my heart, as well as in my yard. I didn't plan it, but somehow I felt I needed to include such things into my plans. I did. And it made me happy. More Lemon Balm (and a geranium) but this time I planted it here and it's doing well. Sometimes these Purdue gnomes and my turtle, Henry, take walks in my gardens. You never know where  they could show up!I still had some editing to do, but things are shaping up and I feel peaceful. Even though I am still not included  in many places, I feel I've found peace and my own world right here in my home. I used to spend a lot of time looking for another place to live. I'd dream of selling this place and moving somewhere that I could make sense of everything and feel included. But this summer I feel differently about it. I know I'm not still not included in communities around me, but finally I feel a peace with where I am and am content on being here and making my own world by writing and tending those right here. The view from my front porch isn't perfect, but I like what I see. I feel  peaceful about it and don't mind that I'm rarely included elsewhere.It's not a bad place to be. I know that God meant for me to be here. He made it abundantly clear I was supposed to be here, even 17 years ago. I can't really see His purpose for me in that, but it did force me to go outside my immediate world and reach out to others all around the country in the writing world. I know that being in God's will is a good place to be and maybe my heart is finally catching up with it all, maybe even healing. There are some people gone from my life forever either through their choice or by death, but I'm finally ok with that. I can put roots down right here for the moment and if it changes tomorrow, well, then, I know God has me in the palm of His Hand. Just like my Lemon Balm, thrown out from the garden[...]

For the Writers Among Us: Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy


I'm re-reading Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. While I think I have a pretty good handle on fiction when I'm editing and reading the fiction written by others, all bets are off when it comes to my own fiction. I think the title itself speaks to me. But even if you are not a dummy, there are gems in this book for you. With five parts, nineteen chapters and 345 pages if you can't figure out your own writing, then you're just not paying attention! Right now I'm working through the questions (again) where I think about what I love to write. You're told to take a sheet of paper (I did, it's called MS Word...) and answer six questions. I'm considering doing this on my Pinterest page--make it more visual. This exercise is on page 40 if you have the book. Here's an example of something said in this book that I have only NOW absorbed: "Write the kind of book that you're best suited to write." (If I could I would put this in neon letters.)I always thought I should be writing what I most liked to read. These guys say this isn't necessarily true. It took a load off my shoulders. I've been trying really hard and nothing has worked for me. I've felt depressed about it in the last six months. I've been on writing teams and been rejected. I've struggled with manuscripts and themes, and nothing ever lined up. I've watched many people I've helped to get published seemingly breeze through this thing, while I still sit in the starting blocks. I know what I love to read. Now, to find what I love to write. Another part that is just penetrating my skull is to "stay out of the editing mode." You think, "Well, duh, Crystal!" I think, "Eureka!" I have never really given myself permission to write. I have written tons of scenes and given myself permission to do that, but never the entire story. Short stories seem to work fine for me. I have yet to find my "sweet spot" with longer fiction.  Then, on page 68 is a table showing the various Creative Paradigms. I always thought that I was a "seat-of-the-pants" writer. I'm pretty sure I'm not when it comes to fiction. For nonfiction I can jet off in a speed boat when it comes time to write. Not so with fiction. It drives me crazy not to know the big picture first. I need an outline. I can change around scenes if I want, but I have to have that road map and a view from above in the plane--not open water and no clue at what is coming around the bend.  With this kind of insight at this stage of my life and writing, I am hoping that I finally will find my place in the writing world. I highly recommend this book--even if you think you're far down the fiction road, or have already read it. See yourself with new eyes through the mindset of this book. [...]

Book It Mondays: The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan


I always have books to read. It's both a blessing and a curse. Right now I have a book called The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan on my desk, which is a New York Times Bestseller. You can see more at . You can even download a sample to read first.What attracted to me to this book is the nostalgia--and that Mary Lou's mother had left behind these treasures. This happened to me, too. My mother left behind letters, newspaper clippings, verses in her Bible, also saving things I'd made for her that makes me feel as if the conversation is still going on with her. My mom, also, was good at forgiveness and "letting go" of past hurts and was able to allow God to work. My mother had TB when I was just about a year old and had to let someone else take care of me while she got better. Now that I'm a mother, I can understand just how hard that was--especially since she had miscarried so many babies and then finally got me. I wish I had the letters that she wrote to my Grandmother during that time, but I doubt that anyone thought to keep them for me. It would have been a wonderful legacy. Mom getting me back after she came out of the TB hospital. I had "grown up" and she missed so many things in my childhood.  Here is what is said about The God Box: When Mary Lou Quinlan started to write The God Box, she hoped to share the remarkable discovery of her mother’s God Boxes filled with wishes and worries. But the more Mary Lou searched the little handwritten notes, the more she realized that, even after death, her mother kept teaching and reaching out. Enjoy this book about growing up as a devoted daughter and her mother’s best friend. See how to create a legacy of love for your own family. Feel the heartache and the uplift of learning to let go.Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting time to read this book.Have you read it?  Any thoughts to share about it and the idea of leaving behind your prayers in a book or box? P.S. Did you notice the new header? This is fun--the two boys are sons of my son's teacher from elementary school. My friend, Mary Lynn, who makes my headers, keeping them fresh, does lovely work with photos. Check out her website where she shares many of her creations there with readers/friends. Thanks, Mrs. Sarah Southworth! And thank you, always, Mary Lynn. [...]

Wednesdays Far to Go


We all could use a quick resource for the times of our lives. My mother kept a similar list of verses in her Bible and I have one, too. Thought I'd share it here in case someone needs to print it off and stick it in your Bible. We get by with a little help from our friends, but God is there 24/7 for you every day of your life and beyond. 

Book It Monday: Reflections of a Stranger by Linda Hanna and Deborah J. Dulworth


Linda Hanna and Deborah J. Dulworth, friends with a common interest in writing, decided to plot and write a book together. Now we can read it! It's almost golf season and since it's a little slow in Indiana weather-wise to golf, you can read this book instead where the main character is married to a golf pro. They are working on the next one, too. Linda and Deb speaking. (If you need speakers, they are available  in the Indiana area.) Reflections of a Strangerby Linda Hanna and Deborah J. DulworthPaperback: 284 pagesPublisher: Harbourlight Books (August 24, 2012)ISBN-10: 1611161908ISBN-13: 978-1611161908Cora and her husband, PGA golf pro Steady Eddie Timms, live in a safe gated community, so when Cora witnesses a murder, she's shocked and frightened. But without a body, murder weapon, or evidence of a crime, Cora's sanity is called into question-especially when it comes to light that Cora's not been dealing well with the stress and grief of losing a daughter, and her memory of late hasn't been all it should be. Determined to prove her sanity, Cora bursts into a flurry of danger and unanswered questions as she sets out to find evidence of foul play. With the help of a bumbling security guard, a loyal best friend, and a neighbor's yappy dog, pieces finally fall into place. By all appearance, the mystery is solved...until Cora is kidnapped and implicated in a case of hidden identity and an old embezzlement scheme. It will take more than the national attention garnered from Steady Eddie's status to clear Cora's name, rescue her from the kidnappers, and help find her way back to the peace and sanity found only in God's loving arms.If you love a good, suspenseful mystery, go get Reflections of a Stranger by Linda Hanna and Deborah J. Dulworth.[...]

Wednesdays Far to Go: Prayer


You know, I never understood what St. Paul and what Billy Graham meant when they said, "Pray without ceasing." How could anyone do that? Pray, pray, pray--and how do we continue to do that? It wasn't until I was much older that this became more of a state of being. It is how I approach every moment of life and what comes to mind . We could literally pray every waking moment because there are so many things in our lives that need God. Isn't that what we need--God? Not just for needs, but for praise and just talking to Him as a friend. As I age, I find a desire to be with the LORD throughout my waking moments. I could understand, at last, why some folks want to enter a monastery in order to devote to prayer. His Holiness Benedict XVI, the Emeritus Pope, vowed that he would devote his waking moments to prayer and I feel a great relief and yes, an admiration that he said he would do this. I still feel I'm at a stage where I am like the disciples with Jesus in Gethsemane--I'm failing when He has asked me to stay with Him to pray to the Father throughout the night. I get tired, discouraged and I often don't understand what or why something happens. Many times I have fallen to the floor asking God why, and asking Him to please understand my pain and to please just hold me. To understand that which I couldn't sort out and to take my tears and groans and make sense of them. I don't know what you are going through, but if you ask me to pray, I can present you to our LORD. A very wise woman whom mentored me when I was a young woman discussion leader in a very large Bible study once told me to pray for the women in my charge until they left. She said I needed to let them go if they wished and unless God specifically put that person on my heart, to pray one last time and then put them into God's hands. It's a good place to be and I needed to trust Him with that. After all, God loves that person much more than I ever could. I can't take God's place--I can only pray that God would see that person's heart and need. Anyway, I will be learning about prayer for the rest of my life. People have written whole books about prayer and the spiritual life, and there will always be something new to understand about it. We just need to keep the faith, no matter what comes across our paths and to "consider it joy." What are your thoughts when you go to prayer?[...]

Book It Monday: Mothers and Daughters by Teena M. Stewart


Mothers and Daughters: Mending Strained Relationships came from author Teena M. Stewart's own relationship with her mother. As she worked through the strained relationship with her mother, she says God led her to certain Bible passages, laid a burden on her heart for other mothers and daughters who had issues to work through and concepts to explain what was going on. She also spoke with other women who talked about their own mother-daughter relationships--both joys and struggles. Are you in the throes of such a relationship? Do you need some help in getting healthy and forgiveness? Do you desire to have a friendship and effective communication? Do you need hope? Mothers and Daughters by Teena M. StewartEach chapter has a quote to begin, and ends with questions to work through in order to get a more positive footing. Do you make peace or confront? Do you find out your mother's perspective? What have others done to begin repairing their relationships? If you know someone or you have had issues with your mother, I highly recommend this book. Not only do I have a long and deep friendship with the author of this book, but I've written columns with her. She and her husband, Jeff, have been in ministry for most of their marriage and now run a coffee house ministry in Hickory, North Carolina, Java Journey. She is well-written and has the tools to help any woman who wishes to work through these issues. Mothers and daughters. In perhaps no other relationship are our hopes so high, and the dysfunction so disappointing. You feel locked into a hurtful relationship that you must deal with, and it's wearing you down. But Jesus knew the brokenness we would face in the world, even in close places such as family relationships, and still He promised the Counselor would come alongside us. In Mothers and Daughters, Teena Stewart will help you name your hurts, face the barriers that stand in the way of a healthy relationship, and forgive even the unforgivable. Learn how to cultivate a friendship, communicate more effectively, and become the change you want to see. There is hope for restoration and renewal.Teena Stewart is a published author, an accomplished author, and an experienced ministry leader. Her newest book, Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship, is available through Beacon Hill. Teena has served in ministry leadership for years. Currently, she and her husband, Jeff, are key visionaries and managers of Java Journey, an innovative market place ministry in Hickory, North Carolina. Java Journey, a coffee house ministry in Hickory, North Carolina Teena's published articles have appeared in Leadership, Discipleship Journal, and Ministry Magazine and many other publications. Book credits include Successful Small Groups from Concept to Practice (Beacon Hill,) and co-authoring The World's Easiest Pocket Guide to Money and Marriage with Jeff Stewart and Larry Burkett and contributions to several anthologies, most recently Follow Your Dreams (Thomas Nelson.) For more information on Teena Stewart's art and jewelry visit Serendipitini or see her blog on creativity and reuse. For a complete list of published credits visit Teena's published credits page. For more of her published books see this page. [...]

Wednesdays: Far to Go


When I was a little girl, I read the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books. I loved them. That doesn't mean I wanted to live Laura's life--far from it! I didn't like camping as a little girl and I still don't like it much. Her life was worse than camping in my opinion (ha.) Still, having a house in an area where I can view wildlife and am off the beaten path--as long as that house stays warm and I can come back in for a cuppa hot coffee--well, that gives me the best of both worlds. One of Mrs. Wilder's books was called The Long Winter. While I didn't have to live through a winter as Laura did on the prairie, it did seem to me that winter hung on a might bit longer than it was welcome this year. By Palm Sunday when spring was still illusive and we had a snowstorm, I was thinking, "Hey! Don't I still live in Indiana? We didn't pull a Dorothy and suddenly find ourselves in Nome, Alaska, right??" (And I'm not so sure if I didn't answer myself, because I was getting spring fever in the worst way.)I went to bed seeing this on Palm Sunday eve....And woke up to this! Psalm 143:7-8Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Last fall I had planted about 300 tulip bulbs. It was cold when I planted them and I had get my son Bryce to help me out. I did it all in anticipation of seeing a glorious spring display like the one I found in downtown St. Louis last spring. St. Louis Downtown Tulips 2012The snowstorm this year pretty much killed that idea. The few daffodils I had did come up, but were frostbitten-looking and I was beginning to feel down and like winter might never end. I was nearly ready to give up. And when you feel like that with no escape in sight, it begins to mess with your whole general outlook. Not good. I became angrier and angrier and felt like complaining. I ached and wanted to just cover my head with blankets. Not only that, but I had the flu twice over the winter, sciatica acted up, and a series of headaches and migraines showed up. As the Bible says, I felt sick clear down into my bones with a heavy heart. Then......Spring is her own time, bringing cheer to this girl who was nearly ready to give up. I had forgotten my Crystal's Rule #4 to Live By....Never Give Up. When it looks dark and cold and as if life will never change, the change that God planned out so many years ago serves as an encouragement to us. Spring is coming! I'll post those tulip photos later as a few are coming up now. And if this spring doesn't show out like my expectations, I can always remember the Spring of 2012 in St. Louis to hold me over until my own Spring Tulip Festival shows up. Never Give Up! Stay Committed to Jesus. He hasn't forgotten you and gives a promise of Spring. He IS coming back. "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NIVWhat verses do you turn to when your winter seems to go on forever? Share with us.[...]

Book It Monday: The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman


For most of my life I have read books. I attended a very small Christian "church" school for my first five years of school and we prayed every day. This is where I first learned about colporters--we prayed for them everyday, too, along with the missionaries and others important in spreading the Word of God and the Gospel--Jesus. I never hear that  word today referring to what we called the "book and Bible missionaries," but that was what I wanted to be when I grew up! Nothing could be better in my little first grade mind than being a Bible/book missionary. I read every book I could get my hands on and I loved the Bible, so this is what I asked God to let me be when I grew up.  Do you think He answered my childish prayers? The Girl Who Wanted to Share Jesus through BooksSo when I was thinking and praying about what my blog should focus on, of course, I needed to include books. I still read without stopping and my interests go from Christian fiction to Christian romances to speculative fiction to Christian historical fiction to Bible studies and inspirational/spiritual books to biographies and history. I also was a teacher at one point in my life, so I still have interest in learning and the kinds of Christian psychology books that go along with that. And of course, I read from the Bible everyday, seeing how God speaks to me through this precious Word. An extremely small part of my Keepers ShelvesThis week I ran across a book that I had apparently missed. It is called The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman.Paperback: 352 pagesPublisher: Revell; 2 Rev Upd edition (October 1, 2009)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0800734068ISBN-13: 978-0800734060Revised and Updated 2009 version! Have you ever wondered why one of your children loves school and the other one is the class clown, or why your sister is so organized but you can’t find anything? Dr. Leman will answer these questions and offer readers a fascinating look at how birth order affects personality, marriage and relationships, parenting style, career, and children. Whether at home or on the job, birth order powerfully influences the way people interact with others. I haven't had a chance to get very far in it but I am expecting to really like this book and I want to talk about it with--everyone!  I think it is already explaining much in how I react to people and how some people treat me. I see how it seems to affect my four sons and their relationships with not only their parents and each other, but also friendships and girlfriends. But I see another use for this book. When writing fiction, not only do you need to figure out the personalities of your characters, but also give them goals, motivations and CONFLICTS. This book explains this in great detail. I can see it being a good book to sit down with when you go to plotting out your story. For that alone, you might want to check this out if you're a writer. If you've read this book, I'd love to hear what you think about it. And if you haven't read it, does it sound like something you would like to read? I'm hoping that this book will guide me into understanding not only my own childhood, but also give me insight into relationships with my family and boys and those with whom I work. However, as I'm reading along, it has me thinking about what birth order my characters have! (And how to work things out in my real life, too.)What's your place in the birth order in your family? Mine is complicated, but that's explained in this book, as well. I think I will return to this topic someday soon. Let me know if you get the book, or if you've already read it. [...]