Bring Your Bible To School Day ~ October 4th

Bible, Child 1

 

Christian children all over America will be bringing their bibles to school on Thursday, October 4th. They and their families will be participating in celebrating religious freedom in the USA with this simple act.

Christian children who read and delight in their Bibles, enjoy sharing this very important part of their lives with their schoolmates. On October 4th, these children can let their spiritual lights shine. It’s awesome that American Christian children live in a country where they have the First Amendment religious freedom to bring their Bibles to school. Bring Your Bible To School Day is a visual celebration of this freedom to talk about God’s amazing love for us.

Bible, child

 

 

 


A Generational Curse ~ plagued me all of my life

ShameMy mother and I grew into a love/hate relationship. She was a good person, don’t get me wrong. I honor her for the upstanding individual she was. Her word was her bond and she was as moral  as the day was long.

However, very early on, I perceived her attitude toward me as one of suspicion and condemnation where the opposite sex was concerned. As I grew into my teenage years, it seemed to me she was obsessive in that area. I’ve always been bemused by this, I’m absolutely sure I didn’t exhibit any behavior in my pre-teen years to warrant this type of extreme scrutiny on her part…which was when her censure began.

I wasn’t allowed to date in high school.  And it was during my high school years when I overheard my parents discussing their fear that I would get pregnant. I was extremely hurt. Why would they think that? I was socially awkward around boys. I said and did the wrong things. I’d try to fit in with them by being one of the boys and quickly found out most teenage males didn’t enjoy a girl more quick witted than themselves. And they weren’t attracted at all to a girl who was one of the guys. By my senior year, I’d begun to flirt and that got me some male attention. Still, I didn’t fall into the ‘dateable material’ category in their books…not a problem. I wasn’t allowed to date anyway. But I was allowed to attend my proms. Out of the fear that I would have no date for either one (more than fear…stark reality), I asked boys who I thought would in no way be asking any girl to the prom. And so, I did attend both proms. The Lord has gifted me with the skills of a planner and with determination. Both those talents have stood me well in life.

When I got out of high school, it was like being shot out of a cannon. I went to live with my older cousin and her husband in New York City and I got into the dating scene, which at that time was the singles bar scene. Enough said.

Later, I married a funny, great looking, and highly intelligent guy. My mother is gone and I was at her side when she passed. It’s been a number of years that I’ve forgiven her for her obsessive hounding, scrutiny, and condemnation of me as a girl.

I’m now semi-retired, a widow, and I have an ongoing, growing relationship with the Lord that is indispensable to my life. It wasn’t long ago when the Lord not only opened my hear to see where my mother was coming from lo those many years ago, He impressed upon me that I was to share this publicly…hence this blog article. Sharing this was not what I wanted to hear or do. I knew it was God, even though I might’ve wanted to play that game: is it really God asking me to do this?

I also was aware of the sad history of my third youngest aunt (one of twelve children, born to legal immigrant parents, my grandparents). This aunt got pregnant at age 19, told her older sisters, and was whisked away to a sister’s house in another state. This was so my grandparents would never know and the family wouldn’t be embarrassed in their small town. My aunt was kept hidden away during the pregnancy and must’ve felt intense shame. At any rate not long after the baby was born and given up for adoption,  she was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Secrets do get out, and when my grandparents found out about the pregnancy, they were in extreme pain that they had a grandchild ‘out there’ somewhere they would never know. My aunt’s schizophrenia was very hard for the family to deal with. She was institutionalized in a state hospital. In the 60s when the state institutions were closed, she went to a group home. I recall visiting her as a girl at the state hospital, and then as a young adult at the group home.

What the Lord made clear to me in my heart about my mom was that her fear of me becoming pregnant came out of a generational curse brought on by the intense pain and suffering the family went through with my aunt’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy and birth and her subsequent schizophrenia. I’ve never been sure if my mom and her sisters believed the strain of this pregnancy and birth triggered the schizophrenia. And maybe it did…or maybe she was going to come down with this awful disease in her 20s at any rate. Maybe the oncoming schizophrenia caused her to make poor choices with a boy and that resulted in the pregnancy. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, the cart or the horse? I’ll never know.

What the Lord recently showed me was while I lived for many years wondering, due to my mom’s condemnation, if she truly loved me…this extreme behavior on her part came from irrational fear. She was absolutely beset by a spirit of fear in this regard. And it was also love. She wanted to protect me from what had happened to my aunt. It had never occurred to me that my mom’s crazy behavior had anything to do with love, but it did. And I hope my sharing this will help set someone free who had a condemning parent.

There is such a thing as a generational curse. It’s a very complex subject matter, not a parlor game. I’ve only touched the mere surface of this subject. If you identify in any way with this scenario, pray about it.

 


Reno On My New Condo ~ life surging forward!

I moved to Jacksonville from Brooklyn (NYC) over two years ago and have been looking (on and off) for a new home…and soon realized I was in need of a condo. I am through with yard work and hiring handymen to do outdoor upkeep on the house. Through, I say! Through! I finally found the perfect spot for me in the Old Mandarin neighborhood.

Hebrews 3:4 [New American Standard Bible] ~ For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

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I decided on this condo in large part because of the beautiful tiled floors and fireplace. Of course the existing ceiling fan had to be swapped out for a new one, same thing with the small chandelier in the dining room area of the open living space.

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Ray, a friend of Christian author Dalyn Woods, is doing my reno. Here he’s working on the electric outlet in my daughter Victoria’s room.

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Another shot of Victoria’s room.

 

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The master bedroom after the first coat of paint. The bar stools for the counter off the kitchen were given a dark stain. We got them through Offer Up at $5 each.

When I take a breath after painting a door, or trim (Victoria has slathered white over the walls), I realized I’m a further step away from Brooklyn and my late-husband,, both physically and metaphorically. After two years, the bad days come much, much less frequently. Life does go on. The move is fun and exciting, but I can’t wait for the work to be done so we can settle in.

 


Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens ~ spotlight

Rebecca's Legacy

Historical Romantic Suspense/Inspirational Fiction

Betty is such an awesome writer, you just have to check out Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3 Legacy series.

*****

Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time.

Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

INTERVIEW:

Nike:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

Betty:  Amy Juliana Emerson was born in Amelia’s Legacy, the first book in the Legacy series. I always wanted to tell her story. When her character began to flesh out in my writing, I loved her instantly. She made me laugh. The main antagonist in Rebecca’s Legacy, Thad Greene, was supposed to be a constant thorn in Amy’s side, but something happened as I was writing his character. He ran into a snag that changed the entire plot line and shocked the author. Yes, that’s right, I was surprised. So, now you know I’m not a plotter. I contemplated an adjustment to the story, but honestly, the pivotal scene just felt right.

Nike:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.

Betty:  The Legacy series begins with Amelia’s Legacy, Nancy Sanderson’s attempt to free herself from her grandmother’s iron-fisted control. In book two, Carlotta’s Legacy, Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis feels compelled to enter into marriage with a man she barely knows, a young Italian count who owns a vineyard in Umbria. The ongoing theme of the Legacy series is discovering love through family.

Nike:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?

Betty:  I’m working on the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. The first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth, set in 1950s rural south. I was able to use many of my childhood memories of the setting and actual people (fictionalized, of course) who lived then. Book 2, Sutter’s Landing, continues the story. In the final book, Annabelle (the Naomi character) struggles with her feelings for a man who’s pursuing her. I’m hoping she’ll overcome her objections and accept his proposal, but we’ll see. The working title is “Annabelle’s Beau.” I hope the book will be ready for release in 2019.

Nike:  Were you good in English as a student? Did you enjoy reading and writing back then?

Betty:  English and literature were two of my favorite subjects in school. I read all the time and enjoyed a variety of subjects and authors. My senior year of high school, I was a teacher’s pet—er—aid for my English Lit class. That was when I became interested in the classics. I read books by the Bronte sisters, Dickens, and du Maurier. When it came time to read Les Misérables for class, I was horribly bored. But a couple years later after high school ended, I was even more bored, and picked it up again. Wow. I was hooked. I read it through twice and loved it. I don’t remember writing, except when it was required. The desire to write came on suddenly in my early thirties. I often quip that I started writing to keep my sanity while raising three boys. A friend read one of my early stories and encouraged me to pursue it. I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville. The professor loved my story and urged me to continue writing.

Betty Thomason Owens

BIO:

Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, ANNABELLE’S RUTH, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, THE LADY OF THE HAVEN and A GATHERING OF EAGLES, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Betty’s website 

Purchase Rebecca’s Legacy on Amazon

 


Inspired Hostess/Bread and Butter Gifts ~ making merry

 

Coasters

I’m moving into a new condo and my mind is running to all things home/homey. Honestly, I’m NOT asking anyone to bring me a gift, but I am thinking of all of the holiday celebrations and house parties I can have in this larger home. As a teenager (in an era gone by) my friends and I spent a lot of time learning about etiquette and entertaining. At that time it was something girls/women learned (and I think it’s something boys/men need to learn). I’m often saddened by how little people think about customs and amenities. I think it’s important to preserve heritage and legacy. I still enjoy pouring over my cookbooks, especially the holiday ones, looking at table-scapes.

1 Peter 4: 8-9 [New International Version] ~ 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

On that note…it’s a good rule-of-thumb that unless you’ve been asked by the hostess/host to bring a food-item, such as the salad, always bring a small gift to dinner or to a house party. These have been called Hostess Gifts and/or Bread and Butter Gifts. This gift should be something the hostess/host can easily handle while performing all the duties required of him/her in making guests comfortable. My gal-pals and I have a ten-dollar limit on all gifts (birthday, Christmas, etc.). If you don’t know the host/hostess that well, shoot for $10 – $15. If you’re on a very strict budget, don’t turn down an invite because you can’t afford a gift. Go to Dollar General or an off-price store and purchase a gift that looks as if it cost ten dollars.

Coasters make a wonderful gift and are extremely useful to the person who loves to entertain. They can never have too many coasters.

kitchen utensils

Kitchen utensils are something everyone can use. They could be wooden, or plastic in bright colors, or in black/white. There are even whimsical ones. I’ve seen a salad spoon set with a bride painted on one spoon in non-toxic paint and the groom painted on the other. Super cute.

hand soaps

Hand soaps are practical and beautiful. I like both practical and beautiful. There are wonderful scented soaps and they come both in bars and in liquid form in pumps. These are readily available in super markets, drug stores, off-price stores. You could even throw in a scrub. A twist on this would be shower gels or environmentally friendly kitchen soaps.

herbed oil

Herbed cooking oil is terrific for the hostess/host know as a gourmet cook. You could add a container of Himalayan pink sea salt, or any other small gourmet item…and bon appetite!

A box of chocolates, the old stand by, is always fun. The hostess/host can open it and put it our for guests. More than a few people at the party will love chocolate.

Things not to bring, or to be cautious with.

Uncut flowers you get at the supermarket or other markets is not a good idea. The hostess/host will be in a better outfit. She/he will have to go find a vase that fits, or will have to cut the flowers to a vase he/she has and mix in the powder that comes with the flowers. This is messy and will take her/him about ten minutes. Bringing flowers in a vase is also not a good idea because someone may be allergic. Scented candles have the same problems with allergies. Be sure you know your host/hostess will use them.

Wine and liquor should only be brought if you know your host/hostess will drink it, and if you know what they like to drink. Don’t bring a $12 bottle of wine to a wine connoisseur. It will sit in the back of their wine cabinet for years.

Never bring dessert. Never. The host/hostess will feel obligated to put yours out and they won’t know what to do with the one they’ve made.

 

 

 

 

 


Whispering Hope by Peggy Blann Phifer ~ spotlight

Whispering Hope

What an amazing cover. I’m thrilled to spotlight Peggy Blann Phifer’s new release WHISPERING HOPE .

*****

1930 Chicago is no place for a Wisconsin country girl.

Virginia Hopewell visits her cousin in Chicago and gets caught up in a deadly gangster shooting at a speakeasy, barely escaping with her life. After learning of the tragic death of her father, brother, and sister-in-law, Ginny returns to Wisconsin and convinces her mother to reopen the resort her father had closed after losing everything in the stock market crash in 1929.

Ransom Blake, an agent with the Chicago Bureau of Prohibition, had been at the same speakeasy acting on a tip about the shooting. Rance is charged with finding the gangster responsible. He and his team are sent to Wisconsin where the man was reported being seen, and to investigate how illegal liquor from Canada is making its way to Chicago.

With the opening of Whispering Hope Resort, Rance registers as a guest and comes face to face with the lovely redhead he’d briefly encountered at the speakeasy during the shooting.

INTERVIEW:

Nike:  Were you good in English as a student? Did you enjoy reading and writing back then?

Peggy:  I like to think I was. That my mother was an English teacher certainly helped a lot. But I hated diagraming sentences I’ve always loved reading and could usually be found with my nose buried in a book. Writing not so much. I actually didn’t start writing seriously until age 50. Call me a late-bloomer.

Nike:  Do you read much? If so, who are your favorite authors? Do you read in only one genre and/or market, or do you “cross-over”?

Peggy:  My reading tastes are an eclectic mix. Everything from the old classics (Dickens, Tolstoy) and then jumped to James A. Michener and Leon Uris. Later on, I devoured Terri Blackstock. Some of my recent and current favorite writers are Kathi Macias, James Scott Bell, Harry (H.L.) Wegley, and–—ahem—Nike Chillemi.

Nike:  Do you have a presence on social media? If so, where do you interact with readers the most?

Peggy:  I use Twitter a lot, but my major presence is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pegphifer

 

Pegg

BIO:

Author Peggy Blann Phifer, a retired executive assistant after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale Industry, lives in the ‘boonies’ of NW Wisconsin. A late bloomer, Peg didn’t start taking writing seriously until age fifty.

Her debut novel, To See the Sun, a contemporary romantic suspense, released in January 2012. A second novel, Somehow, Christmas Will Come, contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of romance and mystery, released in November 2014, revised and re-released in late 2015. A new work titled Whispering Hope, an historical romantic suspense, set during the years of Prohibition, released in early May, 2018. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies over the past five years.

Peg is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Peg enjoys reading, blogging, and sharing her home with her daughter, son-in-law, and a Border Collie mix dog named Rocky.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND PURCHASE LINKS:

Blog/website: http://whispersinpurple.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pegphifer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pegphifer @pegphifer

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/pegphifer

Google+: http://plus.google.com/+AuthorPeggyBlannPhifer/posts

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/pbphifer

Email: pbphifer@centurylink.net

Purchase link for Whispering Hope: https://amzn.to/2KURU8x

 


American Exceptionalism ~ a unique idea

Live Your DreamAmerica isn’t just a country with borders, it’s an idea. Not just a democratic republic and a political construct, but a philosophical ideal. America was born for the rights of the individual. In 1776 that was unheard of. In 2018, throughout most of the world that idea is verboten and the individuals who dare to think they should be freed are persecuted, even killed.

And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. ~ Psalm 119:45 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

America is on the forefront of individualism. Americans believe in the individual pursuit of happiness. We walk in that concept. And that idea actually has biblical roots. That life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights given by God. Furthermore, that no government has the right to take these rights away.

Culturally, Americans step out with boldness and reach for their dreams, they reach to find their purpose in life. In America, we ask young people what they would love doing in life. We ask them to imagine that and reach for it. That doesn’t happen in most countries on the globe, not even in 2018.

Traditionally, in Europe middle class and working class young people went into the profession their parents held. A baker’s son most always became a baker. Traditionally, the upper classes in Europe were college educated.

car, couple

As more and more young Europeans would pursue college careers they found it difficult to find a higher level job that utilized the degrees they’d earned. American middle class and working class college grads would hop into their second-hand car and boldly drive across the country to get the job they wanted. This is an example of American individualism we in the states often have taken for granted [but is not intended to minimize the difficulty American college grads have finding jobs]. In Europe, even today, working class youth tend to stay in the town or county in which their parents/family has lived for generations.

Beauty 2011-2

Beauty, my senior kittie and the biggest “mouth” of them all.

When I retired, I did my research, and found my place to live in my golden years. I drove by myself from Brooklyn to stay with friends in Jacksonville. I had every space in my SUV packed with large plastic bins which I put into storage. I made that trip (with the SUV stuffed) one more time. My husband and I rented a tiny place, but he passed away and I made the final trip down myself…with the SUB cargo space stuffed and the back seat with one small dog and three unhappy cats in carriers.

I am not unique. American retirees have moved in droves from the northern states to the warmer, southern states. In 2018 that trend is changing just a bit, many bold retirees are moving to Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Virginia, Wyoming. Still, Florida remains numero uno and Arizona is high on the list. My point is that Americans get up and go at any age. That is part of the spirit of Americanism.

food truck

Local start-up companies are part of the spirit of American individualism. That’s not a put down of large box stores. In fact, I’m married to Walmart. Many retirees are. But my heart leaps for joy when I see an adventurous food truck with a new twist on finger-food. I eat at chain restaurants, like so many. But, I love the local hole-in-the-wall places. Love to talk to the woman who owns Bill’s Diner on the west side of Jacksonville. One day when her waitress had an emergency, she waited tables and cooked in the back. I’m addicted to Sonny’s BBQ. Can’t beat the home style cookin’ at Grammy’s. Clearing tables and working your way up to standing over a stove doesn’t require a pedigree. If you can cook, you’ll rise to chef. This to me is the real American dream…ordinary people just doing it.

Speaking of Americans getting up and doing it…what about all those ordinary folks who are renovating old, dilapidated houses with character and good bones, and then flipping them. They’re hauling refuse out of those old houses and knocking down walls. That is so exciting. The energy there is so American and it restores the history of neighborhoods as beautiful houses are restored.

There are so many possibilities for Americans. Just get out and do it!

 


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