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!
Fifth Friday Freebie: Your Choice
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.
Third Thursday Thoughts: Rampart
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.
When you've been married to a basketball coach for over 40 years, you know that March is all about the tournaments. Dennis is watching in our camper already. These are a few of my fav March Madness photos, past and present. Rock Chalk, TarHawk!
Fourth Friday Fun: Stair-Slide
Pretty sure my Stacie has one of these in her Heavenly log mansion!
This is the day the LORD has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. And have some fun today!
In light of current events and tragedies, nothing I had thought about for my post today seemed appropriate. So, I will share this favorite photo of a compassionate Jesus and these Words from my devotions today, found in the Message Bible, Ephesians 5:1-2.
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
I will add that tomorrow is National Caregivers Day. Since I have been a full-time caregiver at different times to my husband, my mother, and my daughter, this act of love and compassion is dear to my heart. If you know someone who takes care of aging parents, family with health issues, or those with special needs, or is in a caregiving occupation, take time to say thank you tomorrow. And maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help take care of them. God's love and compassion is what the world needs now. Share it.
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis since 1974, enjoys living in the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.