Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Book Worth Reading


Last night I finished reading The Power of Simple Prayer by Joyce Meyer, and I highly recommend it, even if you have a very satisfying prayer life. I admit to not having read very much on prayer, but I did think this book was excellent. It's an in-depth look at many aspects of prayer and had examples, scripture, and summaries.

This book took me two-and-a-half weeks to read, and that's fairly slow for me. I realized that as I read it, every few pages or so I was moved, or nudged by the Holy Spirit, to pray for something Ms. Meyer was sharing, as it applied to my life. Sometimes I spent several minutes before I turned the page.

One of my favorite chapters (all are very good) was the final chapter on how the devil tries to wear us out, making us tired, stressed, and worse. We need to recognize that what seem like everyday problems can be and are being instigated by the devil. As Joyce Meyer says, we need to pay attention and fight the devil at the onset. 

In the same chapter she tells about types of people the devil will use to wear us down: Felixes, who will sap our energy and determination; Delilahs, who will tempt us to do things we shouldn't; and even Peters, who will try to block us from doing what God would have us do.

I have been feeling a bit worn out, and it totally makes sense that the devil is behind it, at least in part. 

This is a book I've put on my wish list to own someday. I can see turning to it frequently.

In 2017, I "obligated" myself somewhat to posting three times a week. This year I feel the opposite! In other words, I don't think I'll be posting until writing the post doesn't feel like an obligation, but rather feels like a pleasure. So probably not as many posts forthcoming, but please do check back from time to time.

As always, blessings on you and yours,
Bess

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not Feelin' It


Since I last posted, I simply have not had much of anything to say or share. I think my mind has gone into hibernation for the winter! But I'll be back when my muse wakes up and gives me an idea or two.

(Didn't want my few, but very special and appreciated, readers to wonder about me.)

Meanwhile, I hope you have a cozy and happy winter!


Blessings,
Bess

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

You've Got Mail and Reading









Raise your hand if You've Got Mail is one of your favorite movies. Mine, too!




I had taken a break from watching it the last two or three years, and this year I watched it December 23, start to finish at one go, and loved it just as much as the first time I ever saw it. What a great movie.




Isn't Kathleen's brownstone apartment the best? I was hoping to turn up a floor plan, but so far have only come across still shots from the film. I'm pretty sure the stained glass window in the bathroom is the same one we see when she is on one side of her door, with Joe Fox on the other. But I'm not sure of the foyer. Can't quite picture the layout. Oh well. Much ado about nothing, but little details like that intrigue me. (One could watch the movie just to see how many pieces of furniture are moved around from scene to scene.)



Anyway, the first time Joe visits her bookstore, The Shop Around the Corner, Kathleen is telling him that her mother didn't just sell books:

" ... she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to turn out to be. Because when you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."

So profound, and something I have believed, even felt in my bones to be true (a deep belief), for a long time.

I missed out on most of the reading I could have done and should have done as a child. Which is odd because I was a good reader, in sixth grade often being chosen to read to the slow reading group or listen to them read. Yet, I had not developed a true love for reading.

As I've said before, with all our moving I think I just fell through the cracks. I didn't know what was out there (book-wise), no one thought to tell me, and I didn't think to ask or come across it on my own. Not until my fifties and blogland did I understand how great was the scope of all the wonderful children's books I had missed.

Thank goodness I read them now, and enjoy most of them very much. But sadly, as Kathleen said, I'll never make up for the loss of reading those books as a youngster or teenager, and I'll never recover the identity they might have shaped in me.

Just a thought. If you know a youngster, you might strike up a conversation to find out what books they've read and loved. Then maybe suggest some titles and authors you've loved.

You just might be helping them to become whoever it is they are going to turn out to be.

Hoping 2018 will be a splendid year for you!

Blessings,
Bess
PS: Didn't think I'd post this week, but ... Also, the photos are from Google Images.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!



For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6


I've decided to take a break for the holidays!

Also, I desire to use my time wisely, so I have to ponder whether I want to spend my "available" time on writing for my very small blog, or on other endeavors. 

I'll just have to see how things go. (But I imagine I'll do at least one post a week still.)


I wish you the happiest of Christmases!
Bess
PS: Comments are off for a while so that I don't have to check for them! (Lazy blogger that I am.) 
12/21/17: I have edited this post a little.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon






Another book post to recommend this wonderful, poignant book: The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon, with color illustrations by Jill Weber. It's an older book, published in 1996, and one that escaped my attention until I recently came across someone else recommending it.

It's short at 118 pages, but it is not a children's book, even though it may be categorized as such. It's a tender, sweet love story, but not between two people, but rather between an orphan girl and a Norway spruce tree. It's also a story about sacrificial giving.

I have a soft spot for nuns and convents, and the book has nuns and a convent. (I'm not Catholic, although I once worked at a convent.)

And I have a soft spot for all kinds of trees. My backyard has two majestic cedars, one of which lost its lovely, gracefully curved topknot in a tornado over ten years ago. But I still love it. I also have two large maple trees. 

Alas, trees are struggling here on the Plains because we don't receive enough rain anymore.

Anyway, there's still time to read this wonderful story before Christmas! I was able to get it within a few days from my library system. Or it's only $1.99 for Kindle (book photo is link to Amazon).

Have a blessed weekend,
Bess

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 12/12/17


Today I'm sharing a little about the book Having a Mary Spirit (book photos are links to Amazon) by Joanna Weaver. I just read this 2006 book in the last few days.






I must have read Ms. Weaver's first book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, probably around 2001. 




Both books were excellent. I don't recall terribly much from the first, so I hope to reread it someday.

I also hope to reread Having a Mary Spirit again ... but not right away. I want to mull it over awhile; put some of it into practice.

This book wasn't a quick read for me. As I read it, I often found myself stopping to ponder her words and think about my own life. 

Weaver refers to three Marys: Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary, the sister of Martha; and Mary Magdalene. But she also writes about herself (and others), her failings, and how she has grown closer to Jesus by what she's been through in life and how she's reacted to various circumstances. In other words, how she has been moving towards acquiring a Mary Spirit.

She shares many excellent quotes and excerpts from other authors (all credited, of course), and provides a list of books in the appendices that have helped her.

There is an excellent chapter entitled Mind Control. And a chapter on forgiveness, and much of the book is about that arch nemesis of ours: Flesh Woman. From the book:

My choice to accept Christ as Savior was a single decision I made the day I gave my life to God. But my decision to follow Christ as Lord is made up of hundreds of smaller choices I make every day.

The book isn't a difficult read, but whereas, for example, Joyce Meyer writes for the Everyman, Joanna's writing is a little bit deeper. (The world needs both kinds of writing; the same thing said slightly differently impacts one and not the other, but also vice versa.)

I hope you'll read Having a Mary Spirit, reading slowly and savoring all the helpful morsels shared.



But now it's back to some Christmas fiction for me!
Bess
PS: I am an Amazon Associate.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Word for Us on 12/10/17



You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3  NLT

This is one of my favorite Bible verses, although I have too many favorites to count!

I haven't mentioned lately, I don't think, singing to ourselves as a way to oust those bothersome, and for some of us—seemingly ever-present, negative thoughts.
 
Many of the books I read and programs I watch say to just stop thinking negative thoughts and to replace them with positive thoughts. But as I've said before, positive thoughts don't come easily to an extremely negative thinker such as I was.

The best way I've found to steer our minds away from negativity is to sing wholesome, preferably godly, songs ... and hymns. Out loud if possible, but usually silently in our heads to ourselves.

Songs are easily remembered, and as a plus, many worship songs and hymns are based on Bible verses, which are sometimes easier to sing than to bring to mind for reciting by rote. With a little effort, we can have a plentiful selection of songs to sing to ourselves. 

When we sing, those unwanted nagging thoughts flee. At the same time, with the right heart attitude, we can be worshiping the Lord. Before long we are engaged in constructive thinking and activity.

This is a great time to begin to form the habit of singing godly songs because almost everyone knows the tunes of many Christmas carols, and their lyrics can be found easily online. We can sing to ourselves while we do dishes, vacuum, do the filing at work, drive, or whatever, and especially as we drift off to sleep in our beds.

As today's verse says, the main way we learn to have the peace that comes from trusting God is to fix our thoughts on Him and His Son Jesus. I believe having hearts and minds full of worshipful singing makes fixing our thoughts on our Lord a simple and joyful habit ... that fixes our thoughts.

Have a blessed start to your week,
Bess