Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's a Dog's Life

I asked some friends what they thought of when they heard the phrase, it's a dog's life. Here are some of the replies I got.

Relaxed. Fun. Stress free. Eat when you want and sleep when you want.

Saturday night after a week full of stress, Tim and I found ourselves walking Heinz. We deviated from our normal pattern and ended up at Centennial Park.










We continued walking to the Mackenzie Sayre Dog Park.


We entered the area for small dogs and let Heinz off his leash. The park opened in the fall in memory of Makenzie Sayre, a sweet young woman we had the privilege of knowing for years.

The week's stress began to roll off our shoulders as we enjoyed watching Heinz run, sniff, and enjoy his freedom.



Next time you're feeling stressed, I hope you can find the time to go for a walk. And don't forget, it's a dog's life.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Flag of the Week from Ft. McHenry

This week's flag is brought to you from my brother, Chris Lutz. It also happens to be his birthday. Happy birthday, Chris!

Chris and a group of church friends have been in Baltimore on a mission trip. They took time off Sunday to visit Ft. Mc Henry.


Ft. McHenry is famous for the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key was part of this bloody battle against the British. Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner during the night of this battle.

One interesting fact is whenever a new US flag is designed, it is first flown over Ft. McHenry.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Perseverance

Perseverance is defined by Merriam-Webster as: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness.

I'd like to share a story of perseverance with you.

My son, Bill, married into a running family. His wife runs as well as her siblings. Bill will try any sport and give it his best shot. Months ago Bill and Amanda began training for Disney's Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. Another thing about Bill is that he loves Star Wars, and they both love Disney.

They spent hours daily training for this weekend. The persevered through injuries and found other ways to train like swimming and biking as their feet healed. A few friends and family began praying for them. As they left town, they still hoped to both be able to compete. Bill's plan was to run both days, and Amanda would run on Sunday.

Another challenge was the start times. The races start before the parks open which means 5:00 a.m. The buses start running at 2:30 to get the runners to the park in time to race.

After the race, Bill shared with me that they both felt so much better. Their feet didn't hurt, and they both were able to run the race(s). I am so proud of these two for persevering to reach their goals.



I hope to invite Bill and Amanda to share more about this fun race. Until then, "May the Force be with You."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Encouragement

"But David encouraged himself in the Lord." 1 Samuel 30:6


Today I'd simply like to share Psalm 42 with you. These words are from David. Yes, King David. He struggled with doubts, depression and cruelty from his enemies.

Despite everything going against him, David found encouragement in God.


1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Flag of the Week

It seems fitting to bring you a flag from Augusta, Georgia.




Congratulations to Danny Willett on winning the Masters. His baby was due to be born in April 10, but Zachariah James came on March 30. So Danny Willett decided to play in Augusta this week, and what a great decision that turned out to be.


In addition to the surprise win by Danny Willett, three golfers scored a hole-in-one on the sixteenth hole. This is the first time in Masters history for this to happen in a single round. Congratulations to Shane Lowry, Davis Love III, and Louis Oosthuizen.

Once again congratulations to Danny Willett on winning the Masters, and congratulations on your new baby!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Masters

I grew up playing golf. The first time I remember going to the golf course, I was probably nine years old. I grew up in a small town that had a Par 3 City golf course. My brother and I took lessons for kids and played a few times.

When I got older, my mother suggested, in the way only a mother can do, that I try out for the high school girls golf team. I made the team, but it was probably because they were desperate for players. So I played golf in high school but quit when I started college.

The first spring I lived in Georgia, two things impressed me. The beauty of the azaleas and the Masters. If you turn on ESPN, the golf channel, or your local news, I'm sure you've heard mention of this prestigious tournament and seen the beautiful azaleas.



I always enjoy hearing about the players and their lives and what inspires them. To compete at this level, or really any love there has to be determination and dedication.

I'm sure you've all heard of Tom Watson. He won the Masters twice. At sixty-six years old, he played his final Masters this year. Friday he received a standing ovation as he walked to the 18th green. He ended with 152 which was two shots over making the cut. Amazing!

Then there's Bubba Watson. He's a UGA graduate, and one of my favorite players. He has shared his personal story of trying to adopt to encourage and inspire others. Twice Bubba and his wife, Angie, had adoptions fall through. At last in 2012, Bubba played in the Masters while Angie remained in Florida completing the adoption of their son, Caleb. What a sweet victory. He won the Masters and more important, they finally had a child.


Phil Mickelson continues to play competitively despite having psoriatic arthritis.

Do you know about Jordan Spieth? His parents were college athletes. Jordan played baseball before transitioning to golf at twelve years old. His brother, Steven plays basketball at Brown University. And Jordan is a devoted big brother to his sister, Ellie. I've seen her at many of his tournaments cheering for him.

Rory McIlroy won four major championships by the time he turned twenty-five. The Masters is the elusive title he's yet to win.
I can only imagine the pressure he's putting on himself to win this year.


So if you are channel surfing and see golf, please don't think it's a silly game. There is so much more to these men than golf.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Janet Ferguson and Leaving Oxford

Today I'd like to welcome back my good friend, Janet Ferguson. Here's Janet.

Where would you run to escape your problems?

If something terrible happened in your life, is there a place that gives you peace? Oxford, Mississippi is the setting for my book called Leaving Oxford. My main character is in a tragic accident in Los Angeles and wants to escape her heartbreak. I chose the charming area for a backdrop because I had fond memories of the quaint college town.

There’s nothing like walking the downtown square and indulging in sweat tea and a local delicacy. From fried green tomatoes and catfish to fine dining with a Southern flair, Oxford will meet your culinary expectations and more. Just a stroll down the road is one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. And people do take relaxing strolls along the sidewalks lined with magnolias and giant oaks.
But like in real life, no matter how far we run, our problems follow us.



The heroine of my novel suffers from a severe anxiety disorder. I’ve experienced anxiety difficulties, and I’m open about it. In being open, I’ve met many individuals plagued by anxiety or depression. These terrible disorders also carry an unfair stigma which only adds to the suffering. My desire was to write a novel that would encourage people with serious anxiety problems.

Leaving Oxford is what came of it. God has still been able to use me as a children’s minister, a youth volunteer, and in so many other ways despite my weakness. Whatever struggles and weaknesses you’re facing, you aren’t alone. No matter where you are in life, you are still glorious and useful in God’s eyes.

I hope and pray that at least one person is encouraged by my story.

If you or someone you care about has dealt with anxiety or similar issues, you may enjoy this clean but quirky romance set in Mississippi. If you buy it and enjoy it, I’d be honored if you would leave a review on Amazon. You can sign up for updates and other of my quirky personal stories on my newsletter page. http://www.janetfergusonauthor.com/under-the-southern-sun
Thank you for having me on your blog, Jackie!

Here’s the link and a description of the story.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DJJKRJM
Releasing in April 15
Amazon EBook Pre-Order Discount available now for 99 cents.
Leaving Oxford
Southern Hearts Series ~ Book 1

Escaping home to Oxford, Mississippi, seemed like a good idea. Until it wasn’t.

A year after a tragic accident in Los Angeles flipped her world upside down, advertising guru Sarah Beth LeClair is still hiding away in her charming hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. And she may well be stuck there forever. Suffering from panic attacks, she prays for healing. Instead, her answer comes in the form of an arrogant football coach and an ugly puppy.

Former celebrity college quarterback Jess McCoy dreamed of playing pro football. One freak hit destroyed his chances. Although he enjoys his work as the university’s offensive coordinator, his aspirations have shifted to coaching at the highest level. His plans of moving up are finally coming together—until he falls for a woman who won’t leave town.

As the deadline for Jess’s decision on his dream career looms, the bars around Sarah Beth’s heart only grow stronger. But it's time to make a decision about leaving Oxford.