Positive conversations with old and new friends. I'd love for you to join me on my back porch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Helping Our Heroes

Today I'd like to introduce you to a program dedicated to helping our military heroes.

Courage Beyond focus on serving our nation's military and their families by honoring their struggles and wounds. Their goal is to provide a safe place for healing. Courage Beyond's missions is to, "empower service members, veterans, and their loved ones by providing confidential, no-cost programs and services to help them face the challenges of life."

They have an online community, eGroups, and counseling services around the country along with a 24-hour crisis line. They focus on serving anybody who has had their life changed by military service.

If you, or someone you know, might be in need of these services call 866-781-8010.

Monday, January 25, 2016

American Pride

How do you show American Pride? Do you fly your flag? Vote? Read books about American heroes?

I wanted to share a few recent sightings of American pride.

Here's a quote to ponder.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
― George Washington

And one more picture.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

An American Hero: Matthew Bradford

I met Matthew Bradford on Facebook in 2015. He's a local man with a family and lives in my area of the country, and he's an American hero.

On Monday, Matthew shared this on Facebook, and I asked if I could share with you. He said, "Yes."

Today marks the ninth anniversary of a day that tragically and emotionally took so much from me at an early age. Although emotional to realize that I will never be able too see my family or miraculously have my legs back, throughout these last nine years, I always try to find the best in every situation. I have been asked in the past by multiple people, "how do I do it" and "how do I stay motivated?". I sincerely do not have an answer except being a U.S. Marine and proudly serving in the greatest and most powerful military in the world for this country that I love so much! I am willing to risk anything or everything for those fifty stars and those thirteen red and white stripes. The never quit attitude will never leave my body, for my brothers then and now for my family! Yes, bad days occur however I allow the greater moments to trump the negative! I smile, laugh, yet more importantly I am alive! A bomb didn't take me from this world nine years ago and I will not surrender now! "A lifetime of glory is a worth a moment of pain"

What a powerful message. Let's honor Matthew by showing respect for our veterans and service people.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr Day 2016

To celebrate Martin Luther King, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes.

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from "Loving Your Enemies")”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Beth Ziarnik and "The Fourth of July in January"

I am so excited to introduce you to a lovely friend, Beth Ziarnik. We've have prayed for each other for years, and I'm so excited to have her with us today.

"The Fourth of July in January"

Thank you for inviting me to Back Porch Reflections, Jackie. You snagged my happy attention right away with your love of our country and its beautiful flag. I was raised by parents who married as a young couple during WWII. My father was a veteran, and our whole community was all about God and country.

How I enjoyed all the American Legion activities, especially on Memorial Day. Dad got up early in the morning, donned his uniform and left with other servicemen to honor our country's fallen soldiers at nearby cemeteries They decorated each grave with a small flag Then Dad played "TAPS." Later in the morning with the whole town turned out to either march in the parade or watch it, Dad again played "TAPS." The parade paused, and the memorial wreath was thrown from the middle of the bridge into the Fox River. Several vets selected for the honor fired their guns in salute, and then the sweet, mournful notes of "TAPS" floated in the quiet and gripped our hearts.

Every occasion that gives us pause to remember the sacrifice of our vets and those who guard our country is special to me. Even at ballgames when the National Anthem is played, I place my hand proudly over my heart and sing out its dear words, my heart bursting with thanksgiving for our "Land of the Free" and those who fight to keep it so.

That's why I was especially happy when the Fourth of July and all its old-fashioned celebrations in Munising, Michigan became an important part of the setting for Her Deadly Inheritance. How perfect for my debut Christian romantic suspense novel which released this month through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Last summer, I was also excited when I found the scarf you see me wearing in my author photo. At the time, I was just leaving ER at the Shawano Medical Center and happened by a display window for the gift shop. The next day, I bought it, knowing I'd want to wear it to my author events.

One of those events this Sunday, January 17, will celebrate the release of my novel. In keeping with it's setting (time frame wise), we're calling my book launch party "The Fourth of July in January." Patriotic music, Fourth of July decorations and refreshments, and door prizes all reflect the theme. It sure was a lot of fun shopping in July and planning this special event.

Now with the excitement of anticipation in the air, how I thank God for our country and for this opportunity to honor him and our beloved United States of America!

Back Cover blurb:

First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won't Jill Shepherd's family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family's deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive.

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill's historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice ... until Jill gets in the way.

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it's not just Clay s mission on the line, but his heart.


A long-time fan of romantic suspense, Beth Ann Ziarnik offers her first novel with all the twists and turns, cliffhangers and romantic tension she and readers have come to love. She is a co-founder of Word & Pen Christian Writers in Northeast Wisconsin and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In addition to her 450 published pieces (several included in anthologies), she is the author of Love With Shoes On, her ten-year devotional column about love in action and based on 1 Corinthians 13.

If you'd like to learn more about Beth, here are some ways to connect:

www. bethziarnik.com
https://twitter.com/bethanziarnik (@bethannziarnik)
www.goodreads.com/user/show/19295145-beth-ziarnik (Not sure about this link, Jackie. I got it off Google)

How to get the book:

Print and e-book versions available on Amazon.com: and print, e-book, and pdf versions available at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Flag Motif Where You Least Expect

Sunday I attended a bridal show at the Hilton in downtown Lexington, KY. Kelli invited her grandmother, Bette Crouse, and I to go to the show with her, and we had so much fun!

I never knew a bride in our area of the state could have so many options. We saw florists, bakers, caterers, rental people, DJs, wedding gowns, photographers, and videographers. People were jammed into the building on the coldest day of our winter, and it soon grew hot.

One thing I noticed about this experience was everybody was smiling and happy. People were not shoving others out of the way to get to a specific vendor. Instead the future brides and their families were courteous to others.

Vendors greeted the ladies with a smile ready to share information about their business. There were lots of drawings for freebies, coupons, and food samples.

Toward the end of our visit, I looked up and spotted this horse. This week's flag of the week comes from downtown Lexington.

I hope you all have a great and joyful week!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wake Up, USA!

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, is hitting the road in 2016. In the next ten months he'll visit all fifty states in his Decision America Tour 2016.

He says, "I’m going to every state in our country to challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box—and I will share the Gospel."

There won't be any politicians speaking. There will be music, a message and prayer. He will encourage us to wake up and get involved. Get involved at every level from school boards to voting for our next president. We can make a difference, but we've got to do something. I think we need to start by praying four our country.

If you'd like to learn more about Decision America Tour 2016, here's the link: https://decisionamericatour.com/about/

Wake up America and pray!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Kelli Crouse

In December our son, Scott, proposed to Kelli Crouse!

We first met Kelli at a Superbowl party three years ago. They've faced some challenges in their relationship, like Scott spending a semester in Spain the first year they dated.

Kelli has a deep faith and loves God fully. She is also an amazing athlete. She and Scott enjoy serving God with their time and talents. I love hearing Scott and Kelli laugh together, and they support each other. It's a joy to spend time with these two, and we look forward to their wedding this summer.

We celebrate as we welcome Kelli to our family.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Stepping into 2016 with Boldness

I'd been considering what word to focus on in 2016 for a few weeks when I came across this scripture.

"In Him we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him." Ephesians 3:12

I've devoted a lot of time to writing and studying the craft of writing the last few years. I even worked up the courage to attend a couple of conferences, but I've begun to wonder if I'm doing enough. As I contemplated this verse I questioned if I'm stepping out enough with boldness. The stories I write are Christian fiction.

I want my stories to honor him, and they won't honor him if they don't get published. Every time I write a story, I learn more. So what's the next step? I'm not sure, but my hope is in God. As I humbly wait on him, I pray to be bold when he presents an opportunity to present my stories to the right person.

What about you? Are you boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ? I'd love to hear your story.


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