Psalm 118:23 This is the Lord’s doing: It is marvelous in our eyes.
Dear friends and family,
We had hoped to report that we have begun putting up the walls and roof on Ruby Cottage guest house and Macs Music recording studio. We had intended to start construction again in early spring, but when Dennis went in to order the lumber, he discovered that the estimate we had received last fall had tripled!!! Apparently this is the way it is all over. So we are on hold until we make sure of God’s timing on moving forward.
Since we are building debt-free, we don’t want to waste any resources we have just because someone decided to raise building costs. Please pray with us that we will have wisdom and peace about when to begin building again. In the mean time, we are thankful that we had the foresight (and good advice) to build a weather-proof foundation. We enjoy climbing up on it, “faithing” about the finished building, and thanking the Lord for our MountainView!
Until the Lord gives us the go-ahead to resume construction, Dennis will have plenty to keep him busy with mowing and continuing to develop the property. A flower and plant garden are planned and clearing out the lower two acres along our stream. We finally have a decent path down to the water! Eventually it will be a continuation of “Turquoise Trail” which Jeannie has already created as a small tractor and walking path through our grove of pine trees. There is a story about the name, but we will share that later..
Jeannie has kept busy writing for the past year. Her sixth and latest book, Kingdom Corner Connection, released in November, 2020, has been her most successful book thus far. (If you haven’t read it yet, here is a link that will give you more info.)
Since all of the face-to-face festivals, where she hoped to have a book table, were cancelled last year, she hopes to be able to include a few this year. Word of mouth is still her best marketing tool, so if you have read her books, she would appreciate it if you would pass the word to family and friends and post online reviews. That helps an author so much and Jeannie is grateful for her faithful reader “Clan” on her website, Author Facebook page, and her Amazon page.
A new feature on Jeannie’s website this year is her Reader Bonuses. This is a separate email list from the one for this newsletter. The Reader Bonuses list is exclusively about Jeannie’s writing, and this year she is giving away six downloadable picture books that she wrote years ago that have been sitting in her “project drawer.” Two eBooks have already been released to those who have signed up, The Animals Bookcase and The Cousins’ Backyard Mystery Club. A new picture eBook will be emailed to her Reader Bonuses list every other month this year. Corresponding coloring pages are also available for download and printing. Jeannie is thrilled that two of her former Tresia Youth Advisory Board gals, Emalee and Lilly, are helping her with illustrations and title page lettering for picture books in this project. The third eBook, Sarsaparilla Cafe, will be sent in mid-May. So, parents, grandparents, babysitters, and even storytellers looking for material to share with the kids in your life, take advantage of this new FREE offer from J.A. McPhail. (Each year Reader Bonuses will feature different topics of interest to readers.)
To give you an idea of what you will get with the Reader Bonuses, Jeannie wants to share a “bonus newsletter subscriber” story with you. This story was written as an assignment for a writing course she recently took. It required her to take three photos that people had texted and make them into a story. These are the three photos she had to use. If you are curious as to what in the world she did with them, click below and find out! Then if you enjoyed it, sign up for her Reader Bonus list to get more!
Jeannie’s amazing and patient webmaster, Carol, who does all techy things for her, including sending MountainView Moments newsletter and Reader Bonuses, also made this sign. Jeannie’s “2021 Word of the Year” is STILL. We pray you will take time to “Be Still” in His Presence every day. That’s what your Kingdom Corner is for...whether it’s outside in God’s creation or in your armchair or vehicle in cool air-conditioned comfort! It doesn’t matter to Him. He’s waiting for you.
Dennis and Jeannie
Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20 (TLB)
Dear family and friends,
Since we want this newsletter to be uplifting, encouraging, and packed with news about what God is doing here at Macs MountainView, we are not going to comment on what the world has been like in 2020. All we need to know is that God is always good, His Word is true, He loves His kids, and He has a plan for each of us that is far greater than we can ever hope or imagine. We hope and pray that this edition of MountainView Moments finds you happy, healthy, and thriving as a child of God. Know that if you are on our family and friends email list, you are prayed for on a regular basis. If you didn’t receive this newsletter in your inbox, but want to next time, join the list on our website homepage. (www.jamcphail.com) Then you will be on our email list and our prayer list!
In July we spent a day in GA to celebrate Dennis’s 64th birthday. We discovered Anna Ruby Falls on our August weekend in Helen, GA, for our 46th Anniversary. We took a quick September trip to KY and TN for Jeannie’s birthday, (65! Hello, Medicare...) and stopped in Clinton, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, TN, to shop and antique. Lots of good eating went on also! From TN, it’s a beautiful hour drive through Smoky Mountain National Park pass, then another hour home. We added a second trip in October to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to meet friends and refill our KU canister with Carmel Corn! We always stop to see the elk in Cherokee. We used to have to go to Colorado to see them, but now we just stop by on our way home from TN, or before we to go to church!
When we sent out the spring newsletter, Jeannie had not intended to begin her next writing project. She wanted to wait until she had a better place to write than squeezing her old laptop onto our camper kitchen table! But God gave her the assignment, and her new book was released on November 1st! Kingdom Corner Connection: Where Wonder Awaits is a non-fiction companion book to her Tresia series. Kingdom Corner was the term used in the Tresia books for the place where the main characters met with the Holy Spirit character.
In this day and age, we believe it is more important than ever to spend daily time with God. That is why, with much encouragement from Dennis, Jeannie knew that the Holy Spirit wanted this book written now. It is filled with personal stories, scripture, and practical ideas on where, when, how, and above all, why to create your own Kingdom Corner. Thanks to those who have already ordered and helped spread the word, and thanks in advance to the rest of you! (And Amazon and other online reviews are always appreciated!)
Dennis has been busy all spring, summer and fall with our first building project. Dirt work, septic line, footings, concrete block foundation, floor joists, and finally a subfloor! The framing and trusses are next.
It’s exciting to see things progressing. We are building debt-free without a bank loan, so we don’t know when we will be finished, but Dennis is enjoying the process and we know God is our Source and Provider. We told some missionary friends that we are learning to live by faith like they have done all their lives! We have had tremendous help from friends at church (thanks Randy, David, and Zane) and we are so grateful for their time and strong muscles! Ruby Cottage and Macs Music are the first phase of our vision and their purpose is to be shared with family and friends. Pray with us as this first building project is completed. Our motto is “All is done well and in order, for the Glory of God and the benefit of the household of faith.”
Dennis has officiated a few volleyball games at private and Christian schools who had their seasons at the regular time. Public schools are supposed to start volleyball in November and basketball is scheduled for the first of the year. Sports schedules are still up in the air, but he hopes to have both seasons to referee as this has become something he really enjoys. It keeps him young and in touch with kids!
We are both looking forward to a taking the next few weeks off to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. No travel plans as of yet, but even if it’s just the two of us and a quiet celebration here at Macs MountainView, we are so BLESSED. In a very strange year, God has done more than we could have ever hoped for or imagined.
Harvest and Christmas BLESSINGS,
Dennis and Jeannie
Recipe for Holiday Olive Cheese Balls
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of melted margarine (holds together better than real butter)
36 pimento-stuffed queen green olives
Mix cheese and flour. Add margarine and mix thoroughly. Mold one teaspoon of dough around each olive and shape into a ball. Place two inches apart on untreated baking sheet. Cover and chill at least one hour. Heat oven to 400 and bake 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and brown on bottom.
Dear family and friends,
We want MountainView Moments to be an interesting update on us, encouraging, and hopefully bring a few smiles to your day as you read. So we will leave the world health crisis to other communications. We do hope and pray that you are staying safe and finding ways to use your stay-at-home time to benefit your own lives and others. We noticed that one trend on Facebook is that to honor this year’s senior class, who are missing out on so many activities, people are posting their own senior photos. We thought we would join in here with ours, Shawnee Heights, Tecumseh, KS, Classes of 1973 and 1974. Just wow. Long time ago.
Special shout out to Caitlyn, Class of 2020, Elyria Christian School, McPherson, KS. Caitlyn was on Jeannie’s Youth Advisory Board for the Tresia series. Now she is off to Mid-America Nazarene University. Her mom, Carol, is the official Tresia Webmaster and helps Jeannie get all these technical things accomplished. Carol’s other daughter, Emalee, was also a YAB gal, and is the young artist who drew the “Colors of Tresia” coloring pages that are downloadable from the website homepage. (PARENTS NOTE: coloring pages for stay-at-home activities!) Carol was part of the the church youth group with our Stacie, and we are so BLESSED to have these three gals in our lives. To them, Jeannie is Momma and Grandma Mac. Also congrats to the third member of my YAB, my cousin Jill’s daughter, Lilly, who graduates from Oldham County Middle School in KY. You may recognize these three girls names as characters in Books II and III of the Tresia series. They did a great job on the YAB and Tresia would not be the same without their input.
One of Jeannie’s favorite sayings being passed around about what is going on is this: “I’m an introvert. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life!” When she took a personality test years ago during her first library training, the result was mixed. That stemmed from the fact that as a singer and speaker, she was at home in front of an audience, but also needed her alone time! That has changed over the years with her season of performing over. She would just as soon stay home, and her alone time (with God in her Kingdom Corner and also with Dennis) is her main priority. She has enjoyed this time with not only permission, but orders to stay at home! And of course, she is reading a lot! (Check out her Reading Nook on the website to see her book list.)
Jeannie is also using this time to keep up her blog, Jewels for the Journey, and this newsletter. Also, she is now on Pinterest, Goodreads, Linked In, and keeps up her Author Facebook page. Links on are the website if you want to check out her social media sites. It’s part of being an author these days, and a good way to connect, although she loves to hear from readers and friends by email and old-fashioned snail mail most of all.
Dennis is looking forward to building Macs Music Recording Studio, which is half of the building project we are about to begin. For the first time since he retired, the Lord gave him a new song. Now he is really anxious to have his equipment to get it down! Knowing that his place to write and record his songs is close to being a reality, has prompted his creative side to get going again. We have even discussed and are listening for instructions from the Holy Spirit, about Mr. and Mrs. Mac and Friends making a CD, and/or all the new ways to get Den’s songs, and others, out to the world. Let us know if you would be interested in that. Thanks!
Jeannie can’t wait for other side of the building to be built. Ruby Cottage will not only be our guest cottage, but will be a place where she can set up her computer and begin the process of writing her next two projects, a devotional and the next fiction series. That is not to say she has been idle. Writing a book takes a lot of preparation, research, brainstorming, and above all, prayer. Those, she has been active in doing since Dennis retired. Her blog keeps her writing monthly, and she is also working on the craft of writing, using books, podcasts, and online resources. Her job as a library director taught her the importance of continuing education, and that applies to writing as well.
Not much has changed in our schedule as far as staying at home more. The main thing we miss is going out for breakfast! After the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, we found out the owner of one of our favorite places for breakfast is a Chiefs fan! We walked into Rollie Pollie’s the week after to find Chiefs balloons and a Special menu! That was fun.
Cherokee Bible Church on Sunday and Wednesday has been different with drive-in services, but the Holy Spirit shows up as usual, and the “distant” fellowship with the folks in the other vehicles is still sweet. With all the online services available, we praise God for the technology to hear those messages, and share the Gospel with the world.
One of the hardest things about this virus keeping us at home, was that we had to cancel our annual spring trip to Kansas to visit family and friends, many of whom are reading this newsletter right now. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We will come visit when we can! And once we are all released to travel again, please let us know if you get to our N.C. mountains. Maybe Ruby Cottage and Macs Music will be ready and waiting.
Of course, with everything happening in this old world, the next time we meet may be in Heaven! And that’s the best news of all.
Dennis and Jeannie