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I was on twitter this week and saw a tweet by John Piper that caught my attention. It referred to a blog he wrote called Matrimony No More. It’s a great article, but I will share just a quote from it.

“Surely God’s purpose for his children in the resurrection is not only that eternal life will replace death, and righteousness replace sin, and health replace sickness, and joy replace sorrow, and pleasure replace pain, but also that unimaginable, unending, ever-increasing ecstasies replace the best of our most intense pleasures in this world. In other words, the age to come is not only an improvement over the worst of this world, but over the best.”

“In other words, the age to come is not only an improvement over the worst of this world, but over the best.”

I repeated that last sentence because I want you to really see it. Heaven will be more amazing and wonderful than our best experience here on earth.

This morning during my time with the Lord, I read John 14. When I read verses 1-3, it brought back to my mind John Piper’s blog. Here are the words Jesus spoke:

(1) “Don’t let your hearts be trouble. Trust in God, and trust also in me. (2) There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? (3) When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” 

Have you ever been amazed at the wondrous beauty you’ve seen on this earth — oceans, mountains, forests, fields, waterfalls, etc? I have. Many times. This earth is a testament to God’s creative power. But if we are impressed with what God created in just a few days, imagine what awaits us in heaven, for all eternity. Jesus said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”

Heaven is for everyone, but not everyone will be there. I didn’t make that up. Jesus said it in verse 6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” In verse 15 Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  The only way we can know what God’s commandments are is by spending time reading the Bible. And the only way we can love Jesus, is by spending time meditating on His Word and in prayer. It’s by spending time with Jesus that we fall in love with Him.

“Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” John 9:47

If we ignore spending time with God, we show that everything else in our lives means more to us than He does. How can we say we love Him, if we neglect Him?

Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “Above all, keep much in the presence of God. Never see the face of man till you have seen His face who is our life, our all.” He instructed his students to seek the face of God every morning before seeing any other face. He taught them to live for eternity.

We used to live thirteen hours from my parents’ home. Whenever we told them we would come for a visit, Mom would prepare our bedrooms and think of fun things for the children to do. She would make delicious meals and desserts. My parents worked on their garden and mowed the lawn. They took great care to prepare for our arrival and wanted us to know how happy they were that we decided to come home to be with them. What if we had decided there was something else we would rather do? What if we called them at the last moment and cancelled our plans. We would certainly have disappointed them, but we would also have missed out on all the blessings they prepared for us.

Heaven is real and I want to be there one day. Jesus went to prepare a place for me and for you. It is our choice whether we will see the unimaginable, unending, ever-increasing ecstasies that are awaiting our arrival. We cannot earn our way to heaven. Jesus has already paid the price so we can spend eternity with Him. Now we must choose whether we will accept this gift or reject it.

 

Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author.

The book I’m featuring today is Perfectly Matched by Maggie Brendan.

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Can two people who are opposites and strangers make a marriage work? Anna Olsen knows it’s time to leave her sister’s increasingly crowded house and start a life of her own. Following her sisters’ examples, she becomes a mail-order bride, and after a short correspondence with clock maker and jeweler Edward Parker, she moves to Denver to become his wife.

Now it’s your turn. Place your first line in the comments and then check out some more bloggers who participate in First Line Friday. Just click on the link below.

 

 

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I love fall with it’s vibrant colors and the last warm weeks before winter sets in. It’s a feeling of coming home. We prepare our gardens for winter and we get a long break from having to mow, weed, and water our plants. As fall progresses, the weather grows colder and we come inside and spend time together. We start to prepare for the holidays that will soon be upon us. I love the crisp air, the crackling of dried leaves beneath my shoes, the mums and pumpkins that decorate the front of my house, and hot apple cider becomes my favorite drink. Fall brings change, but it’s a change I welcome.

I can’t say that about every change in my life. Some change I’ve wanted to resist. Like seeing my children leave home and move away or watching my parents grow old and face the challenges that come with their aging. Come to think of it, I’ve been combating some of my own signs of aging, and unfortunately have lost the fight in some aspects of this battle. Breaking a habit is another difficult change. Have you ever tried changing your diet? Then you know what I’m talking about.

Yet change is inevitable and it all comes down to my attitude, doesn’t it? I realize some change is so devastating that you need time to mourn. I get that. I’ve been there. But I can’t stay in that depressed state for long. If I cannot hinder the change from occurring, I must resist the feeling of hopelessness. But how do I do that?

Many refer to 1 Corinthians 13 as the love chapter, but the verse that most profoundly affected me when I first read this chapter was verse 13. “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” The reason this verse stood out to me was the word “hope.” I totally get it that I need faith in God and I need love. Indeed, how empty my life would feel if I had no faith and no love in my life. But think for a moment what life would be like without hope. When change brings a negative outcome, I need hope that things will get better again. Hope gives me a reason to move forward and to make new plans.

So how do I keep myself from feeling hopeless? I’m certainly no expert, but I have a few suggestions.

  1.  Talk to God: When you have a personal relationship with God, there is nothing you cannot talk to Him about. It isn’t that He’s unaware of your difficulties or changes, but He wants you to come to Him because He wants to have fellowship with you. That’s how He set it up. Often, as I talk to God about what I’m going through, I find the answer as I pray. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'” (Matthew 11:28 NLT) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV) I have come to God over and over again, and He has proven Himself faithful to me. He renews my hope.
  2. Refocus:  Look for ways to help others. Meet new people. Find a new hobby or do something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time. Take a course and learn something new. (I wrote a novel when I needed to accept a huge change in my life. I always wanted to do this, so I finally did it.)
  3. Work: Repaint and redecorate. The change will do you good. Work on gardening. Make some changes around your house. (When my kids moved out, instead of keeping their rooms as shrines in their memory, I repainted and redecorated them as guest rooms for when they would come home to visit. I loved the new look.)
  4. Exercise: This is a huge help to get rid of stress and get some happy hormones (endorphins) flowing through your body. Ask a friend or neighbor to join you. In the process, you may help them face their difficult changes in a healthy way, too.

In closing, I have one more word of advice. Change with change. Sounds strange, right? But what I mean is, when change comes your way, change with it. For instance, your adult child moved to another state. Don’t sit with a photo album on your lap staring at your loss, or watch all the home videos of your children’s childhood. There is a time for that. Do it when they visit you, and watch the videos together. You can all laugh at how adorable they were. In this way, you will make new happy memories with them of all of you watching the videos together. When your child calls you, don’t go on and on about how much you miss them and how lonely you are. It’s okay to say that you miss them, since it will make them feel loved and appreciated, but show them by example how you have also moved on with your life. In the process, you will be teaching your children how to accept change and move forward. So when change comes your way, change with it.

IMG_0991You cannot resist the fall season so that winter will never arrive. Whether you like it or not, if you live in Michigan, winter will come, ready or not. It’s best to embrace and enjoy the fall season and then do it again when winter sets in, because in every season there is something to enjoy. In the same way, when change comes into your life, you must embrace it and prepare for the next phase. It may be the opposite of what you long to do, but it is what you must do for yourself and for your family. Make the new phase enjoyable by the attitude in which you embrace it.

Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author.

The book I’m featuring this weeks is The Measure of Katie Calloway, written by Serena Miller.

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“A drop of rain seeped through the sodden roof of the Georgia cabin where Katie Calloway lay.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you would like to see what it’s about, just click on the title of the book above.

Now place your first line in the comments and then check out some more bloggers who participate in First Line Friday. Just click on the link below.

 

Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author.

The book I’m featuring today is one of by favorites. I’ve read it twice! It’s Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard.

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Chesterton, Hertfordshire, England 1813

“Something would have to be done about Ariana.”

Mr. Philip Mornay is London’s current darling rogue. Ariana Forsythe is a sweet girl from the country with no experience in London society. Ariana and Mr. Mornay’s first encounter is rather embarrassing for Ariana. His response didn’t help matters. The story captured me from the start and I had a hard time putting it down.

Now place your first line in the comments and then check out some more bloggers who participate in First Line Friday. Just click on the name and it will take you to their blog.

Reading is My SuperPower ~~ The Christian Fiction Girl ~~ Faithfully Bookish ~~ Bookworm Mama ~~ Lauraine’s Notes ~~ A Baker’s Perspective ~~ Singing Librarian Books ~~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~~ All the Book Blog Names are Taken ~~ Fiction Aficionado 

 

 

A cable car took us high up onto a mountain in Grindelwald, Switzerland. The view was breathtaking! It’s something we’ve seen in pictures and wondered if it could really be this magnificent if we saw it with our own eyes. Now, as we stood there taking it all in, the splendor was beyond description. Hiking around the top of a mountain over 7,000 feet above where we had parked our car, we gazed in wonder and gasped at the things we could see, wishing all our closest friends and family could be there to savor it all with us.

When we reached a certain peak, there was a sign someone had posted. It was there to remind travelers, tourists, and shepherds of who was responsible for all we could see. Whose hand created it. Who is worthy of our praise. I don’t know the person who posted the sign or how long ago it was placed there, but I realize they, too, were enraptured by all that stood before them and they knew who was responsible for putting it there.

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Praise the Lord. – Psalm 150:6

“Our land in all its splendor,
Its mountains, its corridors,
Are the witnesses of your might,
Traces of your fatherly goodness.

Everything in us bows,
Great things you have done.”

K. V. Greyerz

(Translation of poem by Curt Dalaba)

“You need a smartphone,” he told me.

“Why?” I responded. “This phone does everything I need it to do. It lets me call people and receive calls from people. Everything else can wait until I get home and sit at my computer.” 

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When it was time to get a new phone, he bought me a smartphone. I use it all the time! What was I thinking? Life is so much easier with a smartphone.

 

“You should get a Kindle. It’s so much cheaper to buy books and it’s convenient, too,” he said.

“I love holding a book when I read. I’m on a computer for my work. Another screen in my face is the last thing I want when I find time to read,” was my response

He said, “You need an iPad. It’s so convenient. You can use it wherever you are. It’s more handy than a laptop.” (Which I didn’t have yet, since I thought a desktop was good enough for me.)

He bought himself a new iPad, so I decided I may as well give it a try. I inherited his older version and — I loved it!! It was SO CONVENIENT!! I could use it to find recipes and then place it on my counter as I cooked. I could do all kinds of research on it. And since the Kindle app is free, I decided that I may as well try that, too. Now I love reading on the Kindle app! I rarely buy books in hardcopy anymore. I can download tons of books and switch to whichever one I feel like reading. I can even highlight in my book. And if I don’t know the meaning of a word I come across, I only need to hold my finger on it and it gives me the definition!!! How exciting is that?!!!

 

If you haven’t caught onto it yet, the “he” I’m referring to is, of course, my husband. He keeps pushing me to educate myself about electronic devices, apps, and programs. If it were up to me, I’d probably still have a “dumb” phone and be typing in my Word Perfect program. (Anyone remember that one?)

You would think he would be content with his successful endeavors in my education, but no. He pushed me to start a blog. I’m on Facebook and on Twitter because of him. I now own a laptop — an Apple, of course. He said it only makes sense since I already have an iPad and an iPhone. I do my grocery list on my Reminders app. This was also his idea since we can share the app. He just types in whatever he needs me to pick up for him on his phone and it shows up on my phone. Oh, my friends, the list just keeps growing.

 

When I started writing my first book, he told me I needed to learn the Scrivener program. Everything within me wanted to rebel. I don’t want to learn another program! I have enough to do! But he started to explain how convenient it is for writers. He sent me information about the program with testimonials. Needless to say, I wrote my first book on Scrivener — and I’m so glad I did! It was so easy to move around in my book when it came time to edit. I effortlessly made character pages, a setting/scenery page, and so much more. I felt organized and not overwhelmed. When it came time to publish, the compile feature was amazing, and adaptable to whatever type of compiling I needed to do (PDF, Kindle, paperback, etc.).

Sssshhhhhh!!!! Don’t tell him, but I’m so glad he pushed me over the years. He was right! He has made my life easier, broader, more functional, very exciting, and practical! I love things that are practical! I love not feeling behind-the-times. And I love my man!!

Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author.

The book I’m featuring today is The Courteous Cad (Miss Pickworth Book 3) by Catherine Palmer. All three books in this series are interesting reads, but I’ll feature the 3rd book today.

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“I shall never marry,” Prudence Watson declared to her sister as they crossed a busy Yorkshire street.

If you enjoy First Line Friday, here are some more blogs to read:

Reading is My SuperPower ~~ The Christian Fiction Girl ~~ Faithfully Bookish ~~ Bookworm Mama ~~ Lauraine’s Notes ~~ A Baker’s Perspective ~~ Singing Librarian Books ~~ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen ~~ All the Book Blog Names are Taken ~~ Fiction Aficionado 

Sometimes the best thing you can do is go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day. Put your work aside and turn your cares and concerns over to your Father who cares for you, and get some rest. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep. For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 (NASB) 

After a good night of rest, you will be refreshed and able to face another day and accomplish your work. Goodnight.

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fullsizeoutput_1cc8My husband and I just returned from traveling to Europe for two weeks to celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary.

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We started out in Munich, Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stayed a couple nights in Grindelwald, Switzerland and enjoyed some amazing scenery.

 

 

 

 

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We traveled down to Lago Maggiore, Italy, and stayed at a lovely Airbnb.

 

 

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Finally, we drove to Altach, Austria and visited some of my family.

 

 

 

 

It was an amazing vacation we will never forget. We had the opportunity to use the German language again, which was a lot of fun. We met many people in our travels, and each one played a part in the enjoyment of our trip. From the workers in hotels and restaurants, to our Airbnb host in Italy, to a young mother and toddler at a rest stop in Austria, to a street sweeper in Germany, my family, a priest, a 90-year old Austrian lady, and four young boys asking us to check out the goods they were selling in their backyard — everyone added to the richness of our experience in Europe. Even my aunt’s dog, Chuck. (After we left, my aunt told me Chuck walked around the house whining. Poor dog…)

On our last Sunday, we attended a church in Switzerland: Glaubenszentrum St. Margrethen. People greeted us as we walked up the stairs to enter the building. More people greeted us as we walked into the sanctuary. It was a warm and welcoming church. They sang the same songs we sing at our church in Michigan, except in the German language. The message was solid and the building was packed.

Now that we are home again, I want to contemplate all that I saw, tasted, felt, and experienced. Perhaps some of this will be implemented into my writing at some point in the future.