Book Review – The Patriot Bride

I enjoyed “The Patriot Bride” just as much as I’ve loved the other books in this series. The historical background is excellent, and the plot and characters are well developed. I truly enjoy the main characters interactions with real life historical figures, and appreciated the insight into the part many civilians played during the Revolutionary War. This story kept my attention throughout. I highly recommend this book!

Pain

I’ve been told I’m a bit philosophical . . . and I guess that’s a true statement. I’ve also decided that I’ve finally lived enough years and seen enough to have some opinions that may be worth listening to. For the last half hour or so I’ve been contemplating pain.

Perhaps you’ve read another post in my blog, and you know I have this autoimmune disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica (at least that’s what the docs believe it is – I still have a bit more testing to go through). Whatever it is, it causes pain and muscle weakness. My shoulders ache, I have to lift my legs with my hands to get into my car. It seems to effect my throat and my eyes, and it makes me tired.

So, today as I was folding clothes with my shoulders starting to burn, I thought about pain in general. And it occurred to me that everyone has pain. Some is physical, some emotional. There’s psychological pain and even phantom pain. Many would like to think their pain is worse than another’s, but after watching many people who I know live in pain, and then living it myself, I believe that it’s not so much the degree of pain as the permission one gives the pain to control life.

Yes, pain can be debilitating. However, I know folks who’ve had and have pain, crippling pain (yes, literally crippling). But it never stopped them. I didn’t think too much about it when I was ten and watched my grandmother’s body turn on itself. I saw the physical effects the pain had on her body, the twisted fingers and the fragile bones. She never stopped, and she never complained. I was ten. I assumed it wasn’t that bad. In fact during the sixteen years I was privileged to know her before she died, I don’t know if I ever realized she had pain.  And in the past 50+ years I’ve met many like her, people whose pain caused visible disability yet were never stopped by it.

On the other hand I’ve also known people who every ache was a complaint. The pain was/is disabling. Their life completely stops because of the pain. I can’t say whether it’s worse pain than my grandmother and others like her have experienced. Even if these people sat next to my grandmother, there’s no way to know which pain is the worst . . . except perhaps a SED rate . . . that might be an interesting test.

What I do know is the pain for this second group of people has more power. And after years of watching people, I’m inclined to believe it’s power granted by the one who suffers.

Everything I’ve ever heard or read from a medical professional says that those who quit moving because of the pain will experience more pain. And more pain means even less movement for these folks. And this is my experience as well.

Those who dwell on the pain, those who allow the pain to be in control become more and more controlled by the pain. Those who refuse to stop because of the pain, still have pain, but it seems more bearable.

This is not to say we don’t need medicine for the pain. Whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological or other, often we need help. And there should never be any shame in doing everything we can to make it better. But God has created us with a great capacity to heal, and much of that healing seems to be taking authority over the pain. To not allow it to control us anymore than it needs to. (and even that will be different person to person)

There’s no way for me to tell if you are allowing your pain to control you more than it should. However, I have determined that those who talk about their pain more seem to be the ones who give the pain more power.

So in my situation, you’ll probably hear me talk about my pain from time to time because it hurts and I don’t like it. However, if you hear me say I can’t do something because of the pain, go ahead and question me . . . ask me if the activity will make it worse . . . ask me if I want to give the pain the authority to control me . . . because I intend to control my life even when I can’t control the pain.

 

The Importance of Fathers

I’ve been thinking a lot about Fathers lately. I’d like to write them all a letter, especially those dads who come to church on a somewhat regular basis, or even those dads who show up a couple times a year.  I guess I’d kind of like moms to read what I have to say too, because I’ve seen so many women who undermine every move their husband makes.

The thing is most parents, and adults in general, have no idea the tremendous impact they have on a child’s life. And this reality is even more significant in the world of a Christian.

I’ve lived enough years now to say with confidence I know the answer to raising kids who grow up to know Christ. I guess I can’t make any guarantees, but as I look over the vast number of families I use as my “test subjects.” I can’t find one single deviation from my findings.

Those children who had two parents (or grandparents, if the grandparents were instrumental in raising the children) who both were committed to serving Jesus Christ with no compromising, now have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve also seen the same results with kids who some sold out Christian chose to mentor.

But let me describe these families a bit for you . . .

These families whose children have grown up to love Jesus seldom missed Sunday worship, and the adults truly wanted to be there. I would venture to say these families would not have missed more than three Sundays a year. There were never any excuses allowed for missing church, sports never took precedence.  The adults were actively involved in the life of the church, they attended special events and fellowship dinners. They helped with clean up days and showed joy in serving. They never acted like it was a chore. Serving Christ and Worshipping Him was never a duty, but it also was required for anyone who stayed under the roof of the house.

These families lived Christianity at home. There were no dual lives. Now, this can become tricky because I know some families who LOOKED like they were living the Christian life, but later it came out that one parent was secretly living a lie. And, you know what? In those instances, it had a profound impact on the children in those homes. When even one parent acted like they were living the Christian life, but in their heart wasn’t, the enemy had a foothold and it effected the children.

On the other hand, the families I know with a 100% success rate with their kids growing up with a living faith, both parents (or other very influential adults) had a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. By that I mean it wasn’t just  Sunday Morning religion. These folks read the Bible for themselves and pray continually. They invited the Holy Spirit to live in their home and most gave their kids to Christ when they were young.

And gentlemen. . . one for you . . . each of these families had a male modeling the life of Christ. Sometimes it was a strong grandfather. I’ve even seen individual children who’ve been influenced by a male mentor in the congregation, but in most of the cases I’ve experienced, the instrumental and deciding factor was a dad of faith, especially in the case of sons becoming sold out people of Christ.

Guys, you have an awesome responsibility. You are more influential than you think. And ladies, when you undermine your child’s father’s influence, you damage your child (unless of course your child’s father is a drug addict or criminal of sorts).

Men were designed to be the spiritual head of the household, you set the standard of faith for your family. If you allow the enemy into your life, you allow the enemy into the lives of each member of your family. If you cheat, that spirit of deception will be in your household and your children will be susceptible to it. You set the bar.

So many men set the bar so low. As the leader of your home, you are the one who gives authorization for which Spirit is allowed in. And sometimes you can give permission by your actions. Your prayer life and the life you live outside of church determine the spirituality of your home. If your wife is living a holy life, but you are not, you are still bringing in spirits that will influence your children, and while your wife has the power to do the same, it seems from all I’ve watched through the years, that in a traditional marriage, the man has more clout in the Spirit world. I know some women who won’t like that, but it’s just what I’ve observed.

It’s not terrible to let your wife do most of the spiritual, biblical training in the home, but your kids should know you support it. They should see you read your Bible, or at least see you carry it and know you value the words in it, even if you read before they wake or after they go to bed. Your family should hear you pray and know you pray for them. And most of all, the Holy Spirit should be the only Spirit you allow into your home.

None of this is to say kids can’t find Christ in a single parent family or with only one Christian parent. It happens! Plus, when single parents immerse their children into a good loving congregation, one which places an emphasis on a relationship with Christ, the odds of their children finding Christ in a real way increase significantly. Which means even you men who have no kids still have a responsibility!

As I write, Father’s Day is only two days away.  The main reason we should honor fathers is because of the power they have in the lives of children.  I pray for dads everywhere that they may recognize the awesome God-given responsibility they have so kids can begin to have a fighting chance in this world.

 

 

 

Book Review – Captured Bride

Another great addition to the Mayflower Brides series. I was given this book to review, and I wasn’t disappointed. Like the “Pirate Bride,” book #3 offers a lot of adventure and unpredictable plot twists even though I’d still put it in the classification of Historical Fiction or Christian Romance.

Set during the French and Indian War, all of the main characters are fictional, but I truly enjoyed the bits of real history entwined in the story line. Each of the characters is very well developed and easy to relate to. Plus the mystery surrounding at least one of the main characters remains intact clear till the very end.

I highly recommend this book to Christian and non-Christian readers.  If you like romance and Historical Fiction, I believe you’ll enjoy this book.

#TheCapturedBride #NetGalley

Book Review – Pirate Bride

This is the second book in the “Daughters of the Mayflower” series by Barbour Books.  It was written by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

I truly loved it. Immediately after reading it, I put the first book on hold at my local library! If you enjoy a bit of romance with a lot of adventure this book is for you. Most romances are so predictable, but this one had several twists I wasn’t expecting.  I enjoyed the characters as well as the story line, and since I was unfamiliar with Miss Y’Barbo’s work, I was a bit hesitant when it was offered as a book to review. But I’m glad I did!!!

#ThePirateBride #NetGalley

More about the Polymyalgia Rheumatica

So, after really thinking about this “condition,” I’m starting to wonder if it started years ago. The TIA I had in 2016 could have triggered it I suppose, although the things that are making me wonder about when it started didn’t appear till 2013.

That was the year I started gaining weight. My doctor attributed it to my age and slowing metabolism, but I started gaining a pound a month. I finally started eating more protein and complex carbs and got it under control, but I still haven’t lost those pesky pounds.

It was the next Summer I noticed my hips started hurting.  I didn’t even tell the docs about this one! I assumed it was because I’m over 50. They didn’t really hurt that bad. It was a little difficult to put pants on some days, but never horrible. I remember the date because in 2013 I walked all night for our Relay for Life Team, but that year I couldn’t.  I had to take a lot of breaks.

It was the next year I noticed my hands didn’t work the way I wanted them to from time to time.  It was most evident in my handwriting. I really like the way I write, and I just didn’t seem to have the control I’d always had. I had a little bit of numbness now and then, but no pain really. So, again, I never told a doctor.

Right around Easter of 2016 I had a horrific bout with what seemed to be sciatica. It was excruciating! I went to a chiropractor, had some x-rays taken and got some exercises from a Physical Therapist. This seriously may have just been a problem with my sciatic nerve but now I have to wonder.

It was that same year that my stomach felt funny a lot and my shoulders began to hurt a bit. Neither was anything I considered to be major. I attributed them to my age. But the shoulders especially may have been the beginning of all this.

By the end of the year, I felt exhausted all of the time. My brain was in a fog a lot. I even told my neurologist and PCP. Both thought I needed to exercise more (and I probably do)

The most disconcerting thing is that I got till I have problems singing. My throat feels tight and weak all the time. The ENT gave me Flonase and said some of it was caused by Acid Reflux, but even after taking care of those two problems, I can’t count on my voice to be strong.

Finally, last fall, I remember thinking if I don’t figure out a way to exercise my eyelids, I’m going to have to have surgery to keep them open. I attributed it to being tired all the time, but now I have to wonder, are my eyelids heavy because I’m tired or do I feel tired because the muscles in my eyelids are effected.

I still have no idea how much of this is related to the way I feel now, but I think some of this is more than coincidence.

I and an EMG (Electro Myography) this week. It looks like all of my nerves are working OK. I see Doc in June to get the results . . . until then . . .

I got to review Craig Groeschel’s new book

“Hope in the Dark” is scheduled to release on Aug 21, 2018. I highly recommend it.

There are no good answers to why bad things happen to good people, but “Hope in the  Dark” may be the best attempt I’ve ever read. This book is honest, sometimes painfully so. The truth is we don’t want to hear that bad things are going to come, but Groeschel’s honest handling of the truth is amazing.  He uses Habakkuk to give example after example of how to trust in God even when things aren’t going well. (And I love the book of Habakkuk) I hope everyone who feels like they’re walking in a dark valley will read this book and find the hope Jesus Christ means for us to have! #HopeInTheDark #NetGalley

The Devil is a Liar

It’s true . . . The Devil is a Liar.

But you probably knew that.

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard that Lucifer lies, and for the most part, I think Christians, even nominal ones, believe it. But something I’ve learned over the years is that humans don’t often live what they say they believe.

Many years ago I attended a retreat once or twice a year. We were not allowed to mention occupations during the entire retreat, so at the end we had to tell folks our name and something about ourselves. I remember one time a bunch of clergy wives were there. The first one said her name and said, “I sleep with my pastor!” The room busted, and several of us followed suit, “I sleep with my pastor, too!” It was fun!  We also went on to tell about our day job or our children.

I’ve had a number of day jobs, from waitress to receptionist, store clerk, layout designer and more.  But at the time I wanted to sing. I was performing a few times each month with a band, and soon after I was doing solo concerts. So I decided to start introducing myself like that, “Hi, I’m Lynne. I’m a singer/songwriter.” I knew if I wanted that to be who I was I needed to embrace that identity myself. I obviously wouldn’t e able to convince anyone else I was a singer/songwriter if I didn’t believe it.

I think we Christians need to do the same thing.

We need to embrace our identity in Christ and begin to say it out loud even if we don’t believe it.

The enemy reminds us constantly of our faults and failures. We bury the past, and he digs it up like a dog that’s found a bone in the backyard. That bully can smell our insecurities, and he plays on them.

But just like a human bully, the best thing we can do is ignore him or stand up to him.

When you hear your spiritual bully whisper those lies in your ear, I want you to ask yourself, “What do I know to be true?”

Here are a few truths to get your started:

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Colossians 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I am near God. I am Light. I am holy. I have no blemishes. No one has any reason to accuse me of anything (not even me). I’ve received mercy and pardon. I am loved by the Creator of the Universe.

The enemy needs reminded often of these truths. When we hear the lies of the enemy, it’s imperative we begin to speak these truths over our lives. Say them out loud so the enemy can hear! Remind him of whose you are!

And until you believe you are who Christ says you are, perhaps listening to this song over and over will help you:  Matthew West, Child of the One True King

 

Polymyalgia Rheumatica – I’d never heard of it before

Yesterday I got confirmation that the pain I had for about a month has a name, Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It’s an auto-immune disease. Which basically means no one can figure out why your body turned on you all of a sudden.

Mine started February 21, 2018 . . . or perhaps a few years ago, and that’s the day it got real, but I’ll explain that more later.

I woke up that Wednesday sore. I’d bowled on Sunday and moved furniture on Monday and Tuesday, so there was a chance it was just overused muscles. I ignored it and didn’t worry about it too much. But then my right trapezius (shoulder) started feeling as though someone was ripping it in two.  Ibuprofen didn’t touch it.

So finally on March 17 I went to the doctor about it. She gave me some pain meds and muscle relaxers, but it just kept getting worse. By March 24 I couldn’t climb stairs and getting in my hubby’s 4×4 truck was next to impossible.  So, back to the doctor the next Monday.

I can’t begin to tell you how bad the pain was. From my neck to my knees every muscle ached, and just got progressively worse. I got weaker and weaker. It was hard to get out of a chair, and getting in and out of the vehicle was torturous. During the whole ordeal I was painting and decorating, getting our new church building ready for Easter. So it didn’t stop me, but it did slow me down and it was excruciating (although not as bad as the Sciatica pain I had a couple of years ago).

My maternal grandmother died of Lupus and grandpa of Colagen disease, both auto-immune diseases. Five others in my family have Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, I was starting to get a bit concerned. And after blood tests and two days on Prednisone, the diagnosis was confirmed. I’ve joined the auto immune club in the family.

I couldn’t believe how fast the Prednisone worked. In less than 24 hours I went from not being able to roll over in bed to being up early and feeling great! However, enough of my family has been on this miracle drug to know there are a lot of reasons NOT to stay on it. I got a bit worried Saturday because I forgot to take it in the morning, and by afternoon, I could feel the symptoms coming back.

I’m not sure where this will go, but I do know there isn’t much information about it, so I thought I’d chronicle my journey.  So stop back often, leave a question or two and journey with me.

 

 

 

More on Guns

So many folks have asked my opinion about guns lately. They did it on Facebook, so I’m not sure they meant it. I started to reply to two people, but decided to put it here instead so those who wanted to read it could, and perhaps I wouldn’t get the hate replies I’d see otherwise.

One friend understands a total ban of guns isn’t the answer, and she mentions love, hope and faith.

My thoughts . . . banning guns won’t make a difference. Stricter laws won’t make a difference. Most of the ones used are gained illegally. They are breaking the law to take the gun on school property.
 
This friend is correct, we’ve lost our center of love, faith, and hope. Throughout history, when that center has been Yahweh and then Yeshua there has been care for the neglected and forgotten. In every time period, the people who respected life the most were true followers of Yahweh and Yeshua.
 
Jesus Christ has been proven to change the hearts of people, yet, even Christianity today isn’t what it should be. We water it down to make it palatable, and it becomes destructive. Again, proven through history. Many nations embraced Christianity, but they had to make it work for their society, and when they changed Christianity to meet their needs, their nation crumbled. They tried to “win people to Christ” by means with which Christ never asked them to, and gave Christianity a bad name.
 
Today, in America, a nation who tolerates Christians at best, people don’t feel loved. They don’t understand respect.
 
Even if you take out the Christian aspect, if children were just taught to respect others, much of this would stop. I read a statistic from Japan about their “deaths by gun” (which I believe is skewed because it’s an unbelievably low number) and one thing in that country that would create a lower percentage is that they instill utmost respect for others into their children.
 
Even those with terrible mental health . . . if value of life had been instilled in them at a young age, taking a gun and killing others would not be one of their early instincts. There would be so many other signs that it would be much more obvious there was a danger. There’d still be a few cases that would slip through, but by and large, what is instilled in us as children is difficult for us to overcome . . . bad and good.  The mentally ill who have been learned to value life and respect others will take their own life before they will take another.
But today, kids are given war games as early as six years old. Life is something that regenerates and killing and blood are nothing. We have a desensitized population.
Respect is a bad word, unless of course you are under 20 and the one being “disrepected.” Didn’t anyone ever tell those kids they don’t deserve respect. They deserve to be treated with love, with compassion, but not respect. Respect is earned, and sometimes it’s earned through title . . . teacher, principal, doctor, president.  These titles get my respect even when the person holding them hasn’t earned my trust.
And more and more folks want to ban guns or types of weapons. That was the lament of my second friend.  As much as I’d like to agree because I don’t think they are necessary, I believe this is a dangerous practice. History has proven that if a government is given too much absolute power it will become corrupt (or it is corrupt if it seeks that kind of power). If the people are unarmed they become susceptible to an evil government. Most tyrannical leaders and governments who were able to wield any power in the past have begun with disarmed citizens.
I understand it’s a delicate topic, but let’s take the focus off the weapon!  Stop it! Find ways to help those who are so disturbed they feel the need to take a weapon to a school.  How badly have they been hurt, even unintentionally, in that place to feel like that’s the place to begin their killing spree.
Put a great counselor/psychologist in every school, someone who will meet with every child in the school every quarter and be available to show love and compassion to those who aren’t getting it at home.
Force parents to show respect to teachers, even those they don’t like. The schools should quit bending to parents who think their child should get their own way every time.  Force parents to force their children to follow the rules. No excuses. I’ve seen kids with ADHD follow the rules, yes, they need a bit more understanding, but they showed me respect and I could tell they were doing their best to follow the rules even when their bodies were rejecting sitting still.
A person willing to kill children in a school has been emotionally scarred.  Let’s stop that!  Let’s enforce policies which don’t allow one teacher to be with one student. Let’s help children understand that is never allowed no matter what the teacher says. Let’s give more love to children who don’t know where they have to go each night after school because they have a split family and go to grandma’s house two nights a week, dad’s one night and mom’s another.  Let’s keep an eye on kids who are with babysitters a lot. When they show signs of even a little abuse, let’s investigate.
Why aren’t there free clinics for those who feel like they need to kill someone. Why don’t I see billboards for that as often as I see ones for those who want to quit gambling.  I’m pretty sure the casinos are required to put up those billboards, let’s start a free hotline and ask the gun companies to fund those billboards (I bet they would – without legislation).
There are a lot of things that could happen to help this situation, but the focus is so skewed toward gun regulation that the people who need help aren’t getting it.
Stop discussing guns!!!
Start discussing humans!!!