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
Dear Family and Friends,
At the end of October we put up our Macs MountainView sign. Jeannie wanted to frame it with the beam hand-hewed by her great-great-grandfather. Her mom had taken two beams out of an old building on the family farm in Wabaunsee County, KS. Both beams were used as mantels, but ours was an 8-foot floor joist with several notches. When we built our first home in Silver Lake, KS, it sat over our wood stove. When we sold that home, Jeannie insisted on taking it down and bringing it to NC. Because it was kept outside since 2002, we decided to use it outdoors and it works well for this purpose. The dinner bell and other memorabilia also came from the family farm. (You can read about this area and its connection to the UGRR in Jeannie's first book, Dawn of Day.) The actual mountain view on the sign is not in this photo, but those "M" shaped mountains on the sign will be visible from our house when we get it built! We positioned it this direction because we wanted folks to see it from the road, and we enjoy looking at it from the windows of our camper.
continue to ref after his music studio is up and running! Jeannie has a feeling he will find a way to combine these two loves, music and basketball, just as he has done their entire 45-year marriage, (celebrated two days before our move!) Whenever Dennis works on his music or is away to officiate a game, Jeannie can do her reading and writing thing, so it works out well.
Jeannie hasn't been idle in her writing during the past year. She keeps up her monthly website blog, has been working on her craft, and preparing for the next project. In our last newsletter, she shared about attending the Rubart Writing Academy in April. One of the things on the "Road Map" she was given, was to get out into communities and take her books to the people. Thanks to fellow writer Georgia Wilson, she (and her characters, Winny and Ginny) attended their first street festival in October. You can read about it here.
Another thing that has filled her time since moving was to help Dennis move all his tools to the front of our little barn. Then Dennis helped her turn the back half of the barn into her "library" instead of storing her book cases and books in our new storage building. Now Jeannie's beloved books are again at her fingertips and available to share with friends and neighbors. There is no electricity, so no electric lights or computer, heat, or A/C, but it was a happy homecoming for her when she sat down at her desk surrounded by her books. Jeannie is a happy camper. When we moved, she donated many boxes of secular books to her favorite local used bookshop and many more boxes to begin our church library at Cherokee Bible Church, so these are her favorites and special collections. On good weather days, her barn library, and the screen room, will be places where she can begin her next writing project. She is ready!
While Dennis finished up some fall projects on the land, Jeannie took stacks of bins filled with her mom's almost 40 photo albums covering seven decades. There just wasn't room in our new storage building to hold them. Jeannie spent many days going through each one, enjoying the memories, and pulling out photos of family and special friends that she wanted to keep or share. The last two days in October, Jeannie's brother Dave, and his wife Rhonda, came from Topeka to see us. It rained both days they were here, so our mountain sightseeing was curtailed, but the first evening, after Carolina BBQ, was spent in our little camper going over photos from mom's albums. We had a good time, and the next day enjoyed a drive in the rain around Franklin, Cherokee, Maggie Valley, and ate at two of our favorite restaurants. It was great to see them and share Macs MountainView. Rhonda asked
One last thing. Jeannie's ebooks will be on sale for Christmas, so after Thanksgiving, check the website (www.jamcphail.com) for more information. But she wanted those of you who receive our newsletter to know about a special gift offer first. Until December 15, her Tresia Trilogy is available for $40 including postage and a free Tresia Tote in your choice of jewel colors. If you are interested in giving these to the kids in your life, send a check for $40 for each set, to J.A. McPhail at our new address below. We would love to hear from our "Clan." If you've read this far, thanks! We'd love to hear what God is doing in your life. If you reply to this newsletter, and tell her you want to be included and what color tote you want, Jeannie will put your name in a drawing for the three books and bag to be given away in time for Christmas.
Our vision verse up to this point has been Jeremiah 29: 11. But the Lord gave us a new scripture for Macs MountainView and we want to share it with you.
Psalm 118:23 This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
Dennis and Jeannie (J.A.)
368 Allen Road, Franklin, NC 28734