Since both my mom and my daughter are in Heaven, I don't do much to celebrate Mother's Day. But I wanted to post this photo again of my "adopted family." I am so blessed to have these kids in my life. They call me Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Aunt JA, and even just Jeannie. I am so grateful for my family, kids and grandkids of dear friends, and these special friends and former students of Stacie's. I love you all. This collage sits in my Kingdom Corner to remind me to pray for you every day. And I do.
I also want to say Happy Mother's Day to Den's stepmom, the only mother-in-law I have ever known. Doris McPhail is a precious lady, and she loved taking care of her granddaughter, Stacie. This photo is fuzzy, but one of my favorites.
Love on your moms, your daughters, grand-daughters, and nieces today. Celebrate the women and girls God has put in your life.
With Mother's Day coming up soon, I wanted to feature some special ladies, and our get-togethers, which I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few years. Bev Entz, a dear friend of my mom's from way back, and her daughter, Kerri Sasnett, both live near Charlotte, NC. Bev and her husband, Jim, were missionaries in New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators. When Kerri married Todd, the son of missionaries to Brazil, followed the same call as their parents and have spent their married lives serving with WBT and the Seed Company, both overseas in Cameroon, and now at headquarters.
Several years ago, we began a tradition of meeting in Concord, NC, for lunch at Cracker Barrel. Several times we added antiquing afterward at The Depot. It has been a joy to keep up and spend time with Bev and Kerri while we've lived in Hickory. Mom and Dad were big missionary supporters and they passed that on to me, for which I am grateful. Mom always taught me that being part of getting out the Gospel by sending others, is as much a calling as being a missionary. Bev is retired, but Dennis and I are honored to be on Todd and Kerri's team as partners in prayer and support, just like my parent's were.
At our last lunch a few weeks ago, Kerri presented me with a copy of a New Testament in another language that had just been translated for the first time. It amazes and humbles me to think that while I have multiple Bibles at my fingertips, some peoples have never seen or heard God's Word in their heart language. I love being part of making that happen.
When we move, we will not stop our lunches and antique shop visits, just change the city where we meet. I know my mom smiles in Heaven every time we get together.
Another missionary that I don't see as often is Janet Roudybush McClanahan. My parents supported Janet when she first went to Brazil many years ago. When Dennis and I married, we joined her prayer and support team. We keep in touch by email and Facebook, but it's been several years since I've seen her. That is mostly because Janet, now in her 80's, is still serving the Lord in Brazil! She's been in the US for a few months for medical reasons, but she will be back on her mission field soon. This photo was taken right before Mom moved to NC with us back in 2002 or so.
I am thankful to have theses precious ladies in my life. If your mother is in Heaven today, I encourage you this month to reach out to her friends that may still be here, and wish them a Happy Mother's Day. You will both be glad you did.
This cake is what greeted Dennis when he walked into the Sports Awards meeting at Challenger Early College High School. Over the past eleven years, he's been the student services provider, counselor, men's varsity basketball, tennis, and baseball coach, plus director of the Firebird Choral, bus driver, substitute teacher, and probably several other jobs. Being a Firebird (and a Shawnee Heights Thunderbird,) has been a joy over the past almost 40 years, and allowed him to fulfill his calling to influence and help his students become the best they could be. (By the way, one of his SH Choraliers is in the top ELEVEN on The Voice right now, Kyla Jade! He's one proud vocal music teacher.)
Thanks for letting me brag on my husband. It's because he has loved and been a success at his teaching job, that I have been able to pursue my dream of writing.
We aren't calling it retirement, though. July 1 begins our "Refirement!"
And so the fun begins.
For the 6th time in our almost 44 years of marriage, Dennis and I are packing up our home and moving. This time it's to establish a new ministry in our "refirement." Dennis designed this logo for Macs MountainView Ministries, combining the new with the old. We don't want to forget where we've come from, and all God has already done for us, even as we move on.
It's the 3rd move where storage units have been involved. I'm grateful for them, but since I don't know how long it will be before we have another home to set up, (we will start out in our 29 ft. camper...) it may be a while before I see my stuff again. But it's exactly that. Stuff. I am determined to give away, donate, and toss things every day as I pack. Some things that I am pretty fond of, like my books, are harder to put away in a box for an undetermined amount of time. But I have already received my new county library card, so will make good use of my new library's resources until I get my books back out on my shelves. Of course, a former library director turned writer, will always make good use of the library!
As always, God gives me what I need, exactly when I need it, to keep moving on, in spite of weariness and even a slight feeling of being overwhelmed by all there is to do before deadline day, July 1. Besides packing and moving, I have a book to finish writing. Earlier this week, in a regular daily devotion that I read, I found the encouragement I needed. This is an excerpt from a "Sparkling Gem" from Rick Renner:
"Time is a precious gift and opportunities for the Kingdom are open doors provided by God Himself. Therefore, if God has given you a space of time when you can freely work without hindrance, embrace it as a God-given gift, and fervently seek to fulfill what He's called you to do. If it will enable you to make a difference in someone else's life, give yourself enthusiastically and passionately to the task that lies before you."
Rick always adds a prayer at the end of his devotions. I made this one personal: Father, wherever we reside, we are on a mission field. You have given us many opportunities to make You known through our words, books and songs --- the work of our hands. Thank you for the associations You have brought across our path to help us accomplish our calling. Holy Spirit, make us sensitive to others' needs and obey You quickly when You prompt us to release Your love into their lives. We are compelled to work and fulfill our new assignments before the window of time closes.
No matter where God has planted you, or is in the process of moving you, lean on His love and trust His plan for your life. Then take the next step He shows you, and move on.
The past week National Siblings Day was celebrated. Found this picture on my brother's fridge and wanted to share.
Glad to say that we have been close since these days when we were kids. He married a great lady who has been a dear sister since we were in high school together. Love you both, David and Rhonda Aadalen. And thanks for all the nieces and nephews!
Winners of the Fifth Friday Freebie were Amy Halford from Morganton, NC, and Janet Bayless from Topeka, KS. Thanks for your comments about "I Will Not Fear: A Chosen Life," my second book. This is our testimony book and to know that my sharing our story has touched people's hearts, means more than you know. Amy wins paperback copies of Trinity Tales of Tresia, Books I and II. Congratulations!
I met Amy and her precious family at church. Her kids, Lauren and Garrett, were my first unofficial Youth Advisory Board. They also faithfully attended my monthly church Library Time on Wednesday nights. I watched these two grow up and I know Amy and James are very proud parents and rightfully so! Lauren is now at App State and Garrett is a senior at Freedom High. Amy's husband James is the best Sunday School teacher I ever had, as an adult anyway. This family has always supported me and my writing and I am grateful the Lord crossed our paths.
Janet Bayless is a friend from Shawnee Heights High School in KS. I looked for a photo of us together in an old annual, but although we were in Pep Club and Concert Choir together in 1972, yours truly must have been absent on picture day because I am nowhere to be found. This is one of my fav photos of Janet now. We reconnected on Facebook and I found out she is a wonderful poet. Janet commented on Amy's comment that she also enjoyed the same book, but she had not read Dawn of Day. So Janet wins a paperback copy of the story of my mom's side of the family and their connection to the Underground Railroad in KS. Congrats, Janet, and thanks for commenting!
See, it not only makes a writer feel good to read comments from readers, but sometimes the readers who comment are winners, too!
Your name will be entered into a drawing when you comment here or on Facebook, if you'd like one of my books for FREE today!
Have a BLESSED Resurrection Weekend, the best Free Gift ever given.
Welcome to my new blog! It's my old Facebook format, but with a slightly new title and graphics that are a little more fun. I will continue to share on Facebook, but I hope you subscribe, so you won't miss any posts.
My fun fact today is that I am almost through with the second Tale in Book III of my Tresia series. (Each book has three separate, but connected tales.) It takes place in the Highlands of Tresia and this photo of the heather covered Scottish Highlands has been my inspiration. I have always enjoyed stories that take place in Scotland so I have been having a lot of fun with one!
The story also has a train that runs through the hills. While writing yesterday, I was reminded that it was the 25th anniversary of my dad's move to Heaven. Daddy liked planes and trains and often took us to see this one in the park in Lawrence, KS. Since I'm spending a lot of time packing for our move in July, I came across this photo of us. Yes, that's me. I was a Daddy's Girl. Now I love to think about Stacie and her grandpa taking fantastic rides on Heaven's rails. I know they would both love this story. They were and still are a big part of my inspiration and love of books and writing. Have fun in Heaven today, Daddy and Stacie!
Y'all have a Blessed and fun day, too.
A friend of mine, Georgia R. Wilson, recently published a speculative fiction book, "Lost Legend of Vahilele." I had the privilege of writing a blurb on the back cover. As many writers do, Georgia changed it from its working title, "Rampart of the Phoenix." I was partial to the original, but it is her book, so I tried to be supportive of her final choice. It's what writing buddies do.
This week, in one of my daily devotions by Catherine Marshall, the word rampart came up again, in a different context. Her subject was spiritual warfare, and she referred to the story in Genesis 2 of Abraham and Isaac as they climbed Mt. Moriah. Marshall speculated that Abraham probably listened to the devil all the way up the mountain, tempting him to doubt the God who had made a promise to him. God told Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations, and here God was asking him to kill his only covenant son. (Side note: Dennis wrote a great song about this story.)
Abraham may have been struggling with his thoughts as Marshall stated, but I tend to believe that the Father of Faith had no doubt that God had a plan. Abraham trusted Him and knew God would not break his promise. But either way, whether he battled doubt and fear from satan, or his faith was strong and steady in spite of the circumstances, something was happening on the other side of the mountain.
God's provision was climbing, too, toward the same altar. The ram had been provided and began his journey up the mountain at the same time Abraham and Isaac started theirs. The message? Our job is to obey and trust that God has a plan. God's job is the "ram-part."
That may be kind of funny, but it's worth thinking about. I looked up rampart in the dictionary and the definition in light of this story is interesting. Rampart: A solid protective barrier, a broad embankment, a strong fortified place surrounded with defenses. A safeguard or support.
Doesn't that sound like what God provides for us every day? Especially when we struggle to understand his instructions? When nothing makes sense to our minds? He protects, strengthens, fortifies, and defends. We run to Him and find support and safety. Next time the devil tells you lies, and everything he says is a lie, remember that God has provided a way of escape even if you can't see it yet. The answer is on the other side of the mountain making its way toward you. Let God take care of the ram-part. Our loving Heavenly Father will set you high above on His rampart of love.
Natural rampart photo: from headland on the west coast of Vatulele, setting of Georgia Wilson's book.
I have shared this before, but this month marks the 45th Anniversary of this team's KS State Basketball tourney 2nd Place finish. I'm partial to #12. I'm at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, but Dennis is home watching basketball. His favorite time of year.
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis for 43 years, enjoys living near the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.