Posted in Faith

Prepare Your Heart For #Easter With a #Free Online #Bible Study

Bible Gateway is offering a new, online Bible study for Easter.

In this free Online Bible Study, we’ll shape a picture of Jesus and his world in light of the exodus. We’ll see how the Essenes and John the Baptist are linked to the desert experiences of Israel’s past. We’ll follow Jesus into the desert where he, like Israel, was tested and prepared for his mission to the world. And we’ll consider the events of the Last Supper and the night of watching in Gethsemane against the backdrop of the exodus experience.

Register now for The Path to the Cross Online Bible Study, starting March 9, 2020 and ending April 12, 2020.


Unlike many other devotionals and studies for Easter, ‘The Path To the Cross‘ begins with Exodus. During the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, I, like many other Christians, focus my reading and devotionals of The Passion. Easter is such a pivotal time for believers. There is so much emotion and love surrounding The Crucifixion and Resurrection that it can become overwhelming. Don’t miss a message that God may be showing you. Add this free, 5-week study to your church’s or organization’s plans for this significant time of year.

Included with the study is a toolkit and study schedule. You’ll find a Bible reading plan suited to the various weeks’ studies. There is a map of sites in Israel that also pertain to the study. Two inspirational quotes can be printed and framed, if you wish. One is a Bible verse. My favorite part of the toolkit is the 2-part Holy Timeline.  Each entry on the timeline contains the event and verses that correspond.

All it takes to sign up for the study is a valid email address. It’s completely free without obligations. I believe you will enjoy the videos and be blessed as we remember the love and sacrifice of Our Savior, Jesus.

*Pic & Quoted Text belong solely to Bible Gateway.

Posted in Faith, Home

House Hunting: Uppity Realtors & Disappointments

We were all set to view houses tonight. I had talked with my mom about the two we were interested in. She had a good feeling about it. I usually go by her intuition on big matters. So, I had a positive outlook and a happy spirit. Both houses made my glad list. Either would have been okay with me. My husband would be the deciding factor, I’d determined.

But, alas, it was not to be…again. In regards to the first house, the folks selling it seemed to just not want to sell. They set obscure hours for potential buyers to view the house. Mainly, 12-2Pm during the week. My husband works. This was a problem. Besides, the realtor that was representing this house, was flighty and couldn’t remember anything like my name, the house’s address, etc. When I told her that those hours weren’t feasible, she sent me back an incoherent text. I replied with ‘Pardon?’. She blamed Siri! I didn’t text back.

Now, the second house was way more promising. Inside, it had an adorable, nostalgic feel. Walls were brick and wood, the kitchen was cozy, there was a basement. We were way more smitten with this one. So, I contacted the agent for the house. He was a young man, articulate, but, his company is known for providing upscale houses. That just isn’t me. I’m just a rural girl in a rural world. I love finer things, but, it’s not within our means to keep up with the Joneses.

So, he agreed to meet and it was scheduled for tonight. When I’d first spoken to him, he acted like this house was a thorn in his side that he wanted to be free from which made me hopeful that he’d be an ally. I inquired about a few things we’d noticed, for example, it was blatantly obvious that there had been a fire in the kitchen. I asked about the odor and whether it had spread. He said he was selling it for a man whose parents had died. They had a kitchen ‘mishap’. There was no odor but the kitchen needed ‘TLC’. Okay.

I hung up, info in hand, and called my husband. He informed me that he’d looked at the MLS and it listed that the home had no water. No water? In 2018? Alright? I figured it had to be an oversight. Nay. I texted the agent. He skeptically told me that there was a slim chance that public water was available but the well was not operable. Good grief! So, there is no water currently, the house has been vacant 3 years, kitchen was burnt & there’s a toilet missing. Holy cow!

Needless to say, if I had that much to invest in a home’s redo, I’d have been doing that here! Our current home has enough problems. I don’t need someone else’s. However, that’s not what upset me. It was the agent’s next few comments. He asked about pre-qualifying for a mortgage. I was honest. Our credit is stinky. We have collateral and a possible co-signer. He then asked about how much home we could afford. I gave him a number. I swear he choked. ‘Oh’ was his reply. Then, he abruptly said, he didn’t have anything for us and good luck.

Perhaps his business card should say ‘Only call me if you can afford a 250k house’. We’re not rich. Sorry, dude. I was aggravated & s bit humiliated. In all honesty, I cried. He doesn’t have to help us, but, to act put out because we aren’t in his tax bracket is unprofessional to say the least. So, I would never call this man again even if I came to win the Power Ball Lottery!

I called my mom and whined. We will continue looking and let God guide us.

Posted in Faith, Health, Parkinson's Disease

Painting With Parkinson’s

I’ll be honest. There was a time here recently that I was giving up. My body wasn’t cooperating. My mind was following its lead. I was depressed and fed up. Nothing was making me happy. The things I wanted to do I couldn’t. I certainly didn’t want to do nothing. I started letting my mind wander to all the things I have never accomplished. Basically, I had a full-on pity party.

Then, I got a text from my mom, showing me an embroidery piece she’d done. Then, another. Mom, with her more advanced Parkinson’s was sewing! It wasn’t like I forced myself to tell her it was nice. It WAS nice. She did a great job. I got me thinking.

When my husband & son decided to pop into Hobby Lobby, I went to. I went up and down aisles. Shaking my head and doubting myself, I ended up in the painting aisle. Now, I am not artistic. I’m not even kind of crafty. But, they had this guided painting kit. It was on sale for under $10 so I thought, ok. I’m going to try.

I brought it home and realized that the instructions were daunting. But, 2 weeks later, I had finished an adorable likeness of 2 puppies. My husband and son, though still skeptical, told me it wasn’t half bad. Ok, I’ll take it.
The next time I bought a kit, I went a level higher to challenge myself a little more. Now, I’ve almost finished that one and have set a long-term goal of painting a picture for my sister’s new house.

I noticed some other changes too. I have been filling idle time with painting. I also pray while I’m painting and just enjoy talking, inwardly to the Lord. I also haven’t dropped anything in several weeks. I was usually good for 2-3 cups a day, etc. No more dropping. Less type-o’s too.

I’m grateful that the Lord found me a hobby and I am grateful to my mom for pushing through.

Posted in Book Reviews, Faith

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: ALMOST A MINYAN: Lori S. Kline

“Almost a Minyan” is a coming-of-age story of a young Jewish girl who takes her grandfather’s place in their town’s prayer quorum (minyan). With gorgeous illustrations by Susan Simon, the reader joins a loving family as they deal with the grandfather’s death, and the rituals involved. Both Hebrew and Yiddish terms are used, and a glossary is included, making this a wonderful learning tool for Jews and non-Jews alike.

MY THOUGHTS: There are SO many things to love about this book. First, the story is written in a flowing rhythm much like ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. Whether you’re reading aloud or in your head, you’ll find yourself using its fluid structure. Next, the illustrations are simply stunning. Susan Simon has captured the essence of the story with her art. They make you feel the story instead of simply reading it.

The story itself not only offers a culturally relative narrative, but also discussing the concept of grief without it going over the reader’s head. Younger readers will readily understand the sense of lose the family feels, but it’s the lesson of how they push through it that counts here. No one in the family forgets that they’re grieving. They just continue to live despite it. Clinging to their faith rather than abandoning it, they honor their loved one by continuing in his footsteps.

Our author has definitely transferred her passion into her writing. This isn’t a book for Hebrew/Yiddish children alone. It is for all culture, all religions. I love that she includes a bit of education by including the glossary. Not only will it assist readers, but it’s also a conversation starter for the whole family. I would include the age groups for this one as all elementary (K-5). I give it a full 5 stars and have to say I absolutely LOVE this book.

AUTHOR INFO: Lori S. Kline lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and son. She regularly attends minyan at Congregation Agudas Achim, where she chants Torah and teaches Hebrew. Her first book, Josiah’s Dreams, was released in 2014.PIC/SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

Posted in Faith, Home

House Hunting Nightmares Pt. 1

Recently, my husband & I started batting around the idea of house hunting. Our home is old, has seen 3 sons raised, a dog, and more repairs than I can count. It’s almost become like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. My husband has always said it wasn’t going to last forever and we had to think about what we’ll do further down the road.
Continue reading “House Hunting Nightmares Pt. 1”

Posted in Faith

Yes, You CAN Go Back to Church Again

Around 7 years ago, my husband and I made the decision to leave the Church that I’ve known as home for over 30 years. Mistakes were made on both sides. Right or wrong, whose fault it was is irrelevant. We no longer felt peace and instead of God’s presence we went there salty and feeling betrayed. So, in everyone’s best interests, we left.
The morals & doctrine there have always been & will always be sound. When our youngest started 6th grade, he wanted to attend the youth group there. I happily took him every Wednesday. We did not bad mouth the congregation. We never said a word. We simply left. I felt there would be no issue with him attending and there wasn’t.
Every year since then, he’s participated in their Fine Arts program, doing a short sermon. Every year, we go to support him. We’d smile nice and because my mom & aunt still attended, we’d exchange pleasantries with their friends. No one had ever called and asked what had become of us. A few people asked my mom or aunt, but, no one ever called me. I was hurt. I harbored it in my heart and throw a lot of meaningless jabs at the people (mentally, not verbally). The pastoral staff had changed- the senior pastor left. The associate became the senior.
At the Fine Arts event, the new pastor’s wife came up to me and hugged me. Genuinely. Sincerely hugged me. I was confused.
Continue reading “Yes, You CAN Go Back to Church Again”

Posted in Faith, Pets

Who Do You Yell For When You’re Scared?

When I’ve been in scary situations, usually the first thing I yell is ‘Jesus!’. Not in a cursing way, of course, but as in ‘Jesus, help me!’ Sometimes the danger has only been perceived, but, when I’ve slid on ice with the truck, fallen, or otherwise hurt myself, I yell for My Savior.

That’s why I was quite surprised at myself the other night. Actually, more mad than surprised. It was late. I was sitting on the couch reading with Buster next to me. He began fussing about, sniffing the air and such. I tried to calm him, but he was noticeably agitated.

Seconds late, some kind of bug that I’m calling a beetle hybrid, landed on me. Instantly, I screamed like a small child. But, who I yelled for was Buster. In fact, it was ‘Buster, help!’ Immediately, he leapt from the couch, grabbed the bug (without even nipping my shirt or me), threw it to the ground and ripped it in half.

I was startled. He was quite pleased with himself, even walking to the kitchen for a ‘Good boy treat.’ I gave him one of course. After all, he did save the day (I guess). But, after congratulating him on his victory featuring a fatality (the bug), I begin to think about the whole incident.

On one hand, I was thrilled that Buster had done what I’d always hoped he would. Pit bulls get a bad rep in general, though I’ve never met a ‘bad’ one yet. I had always assumed that if I needed Bus he’d be there. He was. I am grateful. But, it also made me look at myself in a different way.

Why didn’t I call out to Jesus? Was it because it was a very simple, earthly type problem? One I could easily rectify? Yes, it was a very silly problem. It was a less than 2 inch bug that simply startled me- without malice. But, why did I yell for Buster? I was kind of disappointed in myself.

I don’t want to put Jesus in a ‘box’. He shouldn’t only be called on for the big stuff. My initial reaction should have been ‘Jesus, help me!’ True, I believe Buster was a gift from God. He has been my friend, companion, laughter, and snuggle buddy. He has been an agent of joy and peace- both emotions are God-given. But, Buster isn’t the go-to answer. Jesus should be and should’ve been.

So, lesson learned. It made me very conscious of my priorities and taking simple problems to God. I hope, that should a similar situation arrive, my first instinct will be to call on the Lord first. Buster may be a major league protector of the house (& me), but he isn’t the one to take my problems to. Jesus is.