A Slow Burn – Redemption’s Yearn

I met Mary DeMuth while she was passing out free copies of her book, Daisy Chain, the first book in the Defiance, Texas trilogy. She gave all those gathered to hear her teaching session a copy. Not one person was missed. Her generosity, enthusiasm for the craft, and evident love of Jesus made me want to know more.

So, I turned the first page of Daisy Chain, and kept turning and turning.

With the new release of A Slow Burn, the second book in this trilogy by DeMuth, I was equally ready to read. I needed to know the rest of the story. So, I signed up to get the book before the official release date for review. I’ll tell you this – DeMuth does not disappoint!

If you have read Daisy Chain and liked it, you will really like A Slow Burn. This book explores the underbelly of societal issues in depth and with passion. And you think you had problems growing up – trying growing up with Emory Chance!

I was not sure how Mary would open up this second book in the trilogy since she surprised me at the end of the first book. I was expecting my typical Disney-dilusions but didn’t get ’em. I mean that in a good way. But that’s what I like about Mary. Her writing is real. I felt both anguish, anger, sadness, and joy – the kind of joy that only comes with redemption. Ahhh…blessed redemption!

This book keeps your attention as you page through its chapters needing (not wanting, mind you – needing) to know the rest of the story. You will not put this one down and walk away. You’ll find yourself up late, reading until you cannot take it anymore. And, if you keep reading, you may well find yourself in the pages of Defiance, Texas.

Buy it on Amazon here. I’m also part of a blog tour reviewing this book. So, please feel free to stop by other blogs to read more or you can look for reviews of the book on Amazon. I’ve posted a review there as well.

If you want to know more about this desiring-to-make-Jesus-famous, talented author, you can read here.

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Let Go – Right Now!

I have consistently failed at this effort. This one thing dominated my life for years upon years. In my own strength, I could not get the victory over it. This one lesson should have been one of the very first that I learned about life and relationships but no, not me. I had other issues to deal with. I started from a deficit, not realizing my own self worth –which in turn exacerbated this particular issue. So, now you’re asking – what is the issue?

Letting go.

That’s the issue that I struggled with – knowing when to let go and finally letting go. When you hold onto something that you should let go of, you do damage to yourself. It’s of absolutely no benefit to hold on to dead things. If it’s dead and gone, let it alone. Learn to put an end date on dead things.

Now, I don’t want to sound morbid this morning, but the truth is what we need. I’m not trying to offend; I’m just putting some truth out in the atmosphere. Dead things are dead. Stop carrying them around with you. There are three things you will find on a grave marker or tombstone. You may find more but there will be at least these three things: name of the deceased; birth date and death date. Some will even say “sunrise” and “sunset” but you get the idea. In between those dates, life was lived, until it was not.

The same applies to our relationships – particularly these male/female relationships between single men and women. You meet and decide to enter into a committed relationship. That’s birth. You journey through the relationship. That’s life. And then one or both of you decide to end the relationship. That’s death. The relationship that was is no longer. It does not mean that you cannot have some other type of holy relationship. You can. It does mean that this one that you may have planned would go toward marriage has taken the off ramp.

The problem that we often encounter is that once we get to the off ramp, and it is determined that the relationship is over, we don’t know how to let go or we outright refuse to let go. We begin to think that this person was the key to our happiness. News flash – they are not. We begin to think that we cannot live without this person. News flash – yes, you can. We begin to think that this person was the best thing that ever happened to us. News flash – stop tripping – they were not. I can say this with confidence because I am saved – therefore, I believe that Jesus is the key to my happiness. Yes, He is. Jesus is the One that I cannot live without. No, I cannot. And Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Amen!

Another fallible human being like me does not compare to Jesus.

With Jesus, you can let go of dead things. I’m a witness.

It’s easier to let go if you will put things in the proper perspective. Put Jesus first and examine your life through the lens of His truth. It’s Jesus that we need. So, put an end date on that dead relationship and rest in the will of God. He has a plan for your life that far exceeds anything that we may plan in our own strength.

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Almost ready to return home…

You may wonder where I’ve been. Well, I’ve been in Defiance, Texas nearly every free moment that I’ve had. As a result, I was lured in by a tricky lady that made me feel both compassion and anger for her.

I will be posting in greater details this week. In fact, I’ll have a review of my trip to Defiance via A Slow Burn, the second book in the Defiance Texas triology by Mary DeMuth.

So, stay tuned. I’m beginning to pack up now and make my return trip home. And boy will I have a lot to tell you!

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What’s Shaping You?

I can’t shake the thought that I’m having. Everything around us shapes us.

Everything.

We are like pieces of clay – waiting for someone or something to apply some forming pressure to us. We change because of the force. We are different because of the change.

So the question becomes, who or what is shaping you?

Who or what shaped Emory Chance? Or for that matter, her mother? What made Daisy the rare and beautiful child that she was?

Defiance, Texas. I’m back there. I decided to pack questions (see my last post). But whether or not you are reading A Slow Burn (Mary DeMuth) along with me, the question for you to answer remains the same: Who or what is influencing and shaping you?

It’s something to think about!

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I’m Going Back to Defiance, Texas

I am about to take a trip. I’m going back to Defiance, Texas. Any google search on Defiance, Texas will let you know that I’m headed back that way to visit via a Trilogy written by Mary DeMuth.

I will be visiting with Emory Chance from what I can tell. This book, A Slow Burn, if anything like Daisy Chain, weaves and turns when you least expect it.

I have varying emotions about this trip. I am looking at my reader’s suitcase and I’m not sure what to pack. Will I need Kleenex like I needed last time when I went on the search with Jed? Will I need my blanket, like last time, when I curled up to read, like Jed’s sister hiding hin her parent’s closet? Will I need boxing gloves, like I felt like I needed last time, so that I could knock Hap out? That Hap’s a piece of work.

What to pack…

What to pack…

Of course, I’ll let you know what I decide. For now, know that I am about to take a trip. I’m going back to Defiance, Texas.

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Loving God; Thanking Lysa

Bloggy-land people and Facebook folks – good news! I turned the last page last night on “Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa Terkeurst. You may recall my enthusiasm from my previous post.

I cannot think of a more open, honest and candid book that was not dubbed a memoir. And trust me, if it were a memoir, I would not have read it. I’m just not a memoir-reading kind of girl. Yet Lysa is able to tell her story in a compelling way that highlights the truth of the gospel. Bravo. Yes, I know more about Lysa, but more importantly, I know more about how God is so real in everyday situations and circumstances. In Lysa’s life, God is the priority – it’s clear. In keeping with her nature of giving, she shares through various trials and triumphs exactly how she has come to give Him reign. She wants Him to be the reader’s priority as well.

Being the visual person that I am, I love reading Lysa’s words. They jump off the page and beeline their way into my imagination. I’m there with her smelling the sweet fragrance of pineapples while learning those unlikely lessons (Part 2: Chapter 6); I am there with my vulnerabilities of wondering whether I am accepted (Part 3: Chapter 7); I too am there in Part 4, Chapter 10 “When My Ugly Comes Out” – and if you are honest, you’ve been there too! I’m there with my journal – when I have no words – and just simply need to listen. Oh – I’m all over this book! And as a result, I am experiencing God more – trusting Him (Chapter 15); finding Him (Chapter 16); and loving Him (Chapter 18).

For me, becoming more than just a good Bible study girl is essential. I am convinced the old saying of “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” applies to God as well. He is not wowed by how many factual details I can absorb and retain in the brain that He made for me. He already knows how much I study. He is not impressed with how many Scriptures I can recite, chapter and verse. He knows my ability. But instead, I believe in my heart, that He is more interested in knowing whether or not I love Him with my whole heart; will my actions reflect my words? Do I love Him and love others? He wants to know if my heart pants for Him like David’s once did; will I be called a woman after His own heart? Do I thirst for Him like a deer pants for streams of water?

I’m convinced, more fully now, it’s not about how much I know; it is about how much I care.

Thank you Lysa for a sweet reminder to stay focused on what is most important; loving the Lord with my whole heart. For me, that’s becoming more than a good Bible study girl.

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A decision to make as I wait

Yesterday was a blur. Responsibilities have their own unique way of making you accountable. Even when your watch says its time to do something else, you have to see your previous responsibility through. It’s a tough place to be and the pressure of running behind can be enormous. Yet, persistence is not optional.

My doctor had that struggle yesterday. He, unlike other doctors, is characteristically on time. I never wait more than 10 minutes – and therefore, I scheduled my day and activities following my doctor’s visit accordingly.

Well, I know you can smell the impending doom.

With five minutes to spare, I took my seat in the plush leatherette chair and patiently waited for my turn. Paging through my novel, I figured it best not to get too deeply involved because soon, I would have to tuck it away again. I would glide down the hall, happy and care-free because the scale would be my friend today and everything would run smoothly. Yep – that’s what I was thinking.

Here’s the reality.

I took my seat in the plush leatherette chair and patiently waited the first fifteen minutes for my turn. Paging through my novel, I was increasingly frustrated as I watched the minutes steal away. What was taking so long? This was atypical. Did they forget me? I inquired of the nurse if my name was forgotten. She told me no – that instead, my doctor was running behind schedule. Panic set in – what about my schedule? What about my plans? What about me!?!

I had a silent meltdown in my plush leatherette chair.

I would have to wait my turn – see this responsibility to my health through. I could not leave and the things that I planned would have to wait their turn. And, I would have to get a better attitude – quickly.

I purposed to have a good attitude even though when my nurse called me back, I had been sitting some 35 minutes – a far cry from the 10 that I’m used to. She inquired of me – and although my flesh wanted her to know about my sitting there for that long – I forced out a pleasantry. The battle began in my spirit of who would win – the “am” me or the “am becoming” me. You see, I “am” a sinner, saved by grace. And I “am becoming” more Christ-like daily – it’s a process.

Fortunately, the “am becoming” won out. Praise God!

I encouraged my nurse and my doctor as they explained the difficulties of their day. They apologized for my wait – a touch from their heart to mine that I was not expecting. Had I acted ugly, they may have withheld their apology. In all, I waited about an hour before seeing the actual doctor, but in that time, I got super comfy on the paper-layered, not-as-comfy-as-my-leatherette-chair table equipped with a comfy pillow and read my novel.

I was late for my other scheduled activities but somehow it was okay. I was accountable to my health; and kind to people that needed a touch. Responsibilities in life and in servanthood to God. So, even when your watch screams at you, don’t let its voice replace your own. Filter your voice with the kindness and grace that comes from God.

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Pondering Civility

Recent news coverage has centered me on the notion of civility in all aspects of our lives. I am reminded through the Scriptures of how our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was civil when those who opposed Him came against Him – and He was then and is now, God.

Simple civility.

What makes us think that we don’t have to show it? After His model, we owe it.

Courtesy.

What makes us think we are above simple acts of humanity? Or is it that we are trapped by our own vanity?

A model for us.

He left us instructions – in His will and way we should trust – lest we conclude in destruction.

Phl 2:3-5 (KJV) reads:
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Something to think about – ponder for a time…

It’s time we get back to simple civility – we are brothers and sisters in the Lord afterall. We are one family in Christ. Why don’t we treat each other as such? We need to get back to the basics of esteeming others higher than ourselves. And when we do, we can become an example of civility that glorifies God.

A model for our children on the playground. Not the ranting and raving that has become so popular in our society. Everybody wanting to hear their own sound.

A model for disagreements among peers. A sharing of ideas in a manner of mutual respect, not the hurling of jeers.

Christ is kind. He modeled civility. We should too. Afterall, there is nothing lost by being civil and showing human kindness. However, much is lost when we refuse to show the same.

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A Hair-raising Incident!

Busying myself with some very necessary cleaning, I did not notice the time lapse. I had gone several hours without food or water and my body was sending out alert sirens. Against better wisdom, I finished up the section that I was working on before paying attention to my body’s notification.

When I finally made a move toward fulfilling my bodily requirements, I found myself in quite the drive-through line. Because I’d neglected to pay attention to the early warnings, I felt too weak to stand in the very long line on the inside of the store. So, I waited in the drive-through.

And waited.

And waited.

While counting the number of cars ahead and behind, I focused on the car directly in front of me. The driver, a brunette, was enthralled in fingering her wavy locks and pulling out the strands. With the flip of her wrist, she discarded her loose locks out of the window. Again and again, she pulled and discarded, leaving a trail of hair throughout the drive-through line. And then it happened.

One of these little locks of hair floated with the breeze onto the hood of my car. Great, now I have DNA on my car from the woman ahead of me. The lock of hair rested snuggly between the crevice of my hood and windshield wipers. Since I was not feeling good, I thought to myself, that I would just get it out when I got home if it didn’t fly off on the way home. Well, that would have been too much like right.

It got worse.

With a gentle breeze, and a willing sunroof, said hair lifted from its crevice, up my windshield, over my sun visor and down into my eye!

That’s right. Her hair in my eye!

A complete stranger’s hair now mixing it up with my eyeball.

Oh the drama!!!

I really wanted to get out of my car and return said hair to its rightful owner with a look of disgust and “you should know better” on my face; but alas, I was too ill for that.

I really wanted to at least honk my horn and have her look at me so that I could show her the consequences for hair plucking at a fast food drive-through, but I was too weak for that. Besides, would she really see me waving the hair or would I just look like I was waving my hand back and forth?

Instead, I removed the hair from my eye, with a deep, “I can’t believe this is happening to me all when I don’t feel good” frown on my face and waited my turn in line. I prayed to God that she would not pluck anymore hair and that she would have a bit of courtesy for everyone behind her. I prayed that she would stop littering….alas something I can do that won’t escalate the situation – I am never too ill or weak to pray.

And you know what? She stopped pulling hair, placed her order and went on with her day. I made it home, ate some of the food and laid down for rest.

And now, I feel better – hair-raising incident and all, for I learned that the enemy will try you when you are weak and when he does, it will always be in your best interest to call upon God. He’ll help you. He’ll see you through.

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Worship Mode Continues, featuring Anthony Evans

I’ve been worshipping along with Anthony Evans all weekend. His CD, The Bridge, is really all about worship. As part of my shift, I’ve been in super worship mode. I love the Lord – just can’t figure out why He loves me! But, I’m so glad that He does – and that’s all that matters.

With God’s love – all things are possible.

What a great and wonderful God!

Anthony recorded this song “Lord, I Give You My Heart” and that’s exactly where I am right now. Here are some of the lyrics in the event that you are unfamiliar:

This is my desire: to honor You
Lord with all my heart I worship You
All I have within me, I give You praise
All that I adore is in You
Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your way in me

The melody for this song is incredible, but more than that – these lyrics just speak to me! Then the song transitions into the familiar “How Great is Our God….”If you get a chance, check out Anthony if you haven’t done so already. I have his two other CDs and I like them too. Here’s the link to his website where you can hear some samples of the album (look in the top right corner) http://anthony-evans.com/flash_page.php (Be careful to either use this link or type in anthony DASH evans.com, or else, you’ll end up at another site.)

Lyrics from this website: http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=37754

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