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

Monday, July 29, 2019

What Does It Mean to Love Mercy?

The prophet Micah tells us what the Lord desires from His people:
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, New International Version).

Maybe we should start by defining mercy. According to Merriam Webster mercy is:

1a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power
also : lenient or compassionate treatment
begged for mercy
b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
May God have mercy on us.
b : a fortunate circumstance
it was a mercy they found her before she froze
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress
works of mercy among the poor

Okay. Got it. But what does it mean to love mercy? I think "compassionate treatment of those in distress," a an act of loving mercy. We may have the right to punish or harm a person, instead we forgive and show compassion. This is mercy.

Let's dig deeper. Real mercy has an element of sacrifice. I've always been impressed when family members can forgive a person for murdering a loved one.

In Micah, God's word is clear that we are to love mercy.

If we want to see a picture of what mercy looks at, we can open our Bibles. Time after time God shows mercy to mankind. Old Testament and New Testament stories or parables touch on mercy.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36, NIV).

Titus 3:5 NIV says, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit..."

Sometimes, it's easier to show mercy than other times. If this cutie did something wrong, it'd be easy for me to show her mercy. How could I not show her mercy.

No matter what the situation though, God expects us to show mercy. I'd love to hear your stories of mercy. Thanks!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sherrinda Ketchersid

Today I'm excited to introduce you to my dear friend, Sherrinda Ketchersid. We met online years ago and are part of a critique group. The first time I met Sherrinda face-to-face was at an ACFW conference in Dallas. I was so nervous, and she was so gracious! She will always be special to me.

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the
past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside. Sherrinda lives in
north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal,
she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.

Sherrinda had her first book published this year, Lord of Her Heart. It's a historical love story, and I asked Sherrinda a few questions.

How did you become interested in historical fiction? Have you always been a history buff?
I love historical fiction because I can escape into a different world easier than in contemporary. I love knowing that people in years past experienced the same struggles with faith, love, and ... well, everything. Also, my dad loved the time period for its chivalry, and I can remember coloring pictures he drew of knights and fair maidens (He is an artist as well as an author.).

Is trust the central theme in this story?
It's funny, but I didn't write the story with that theme in mind. Originally, I wanted to convey a sense of belonging, which was illustrated by Jocelyn's desire to return home to her family. But as the story unfolded, it was clear that trust was a major theme throughout. Not only trust in God but learning to trust each other in the journey.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for about ten years. Lord of Her Heart is my first novel and I worked on it a couple of years. I set aside writing for about four year when I was convicted of making writing an idol in my life. It wasn't until 2016 when I felt God releasing me to write again.

What was your inspiration for Lady Ashburne? Inspiration for Malcolm Castillon?
I've never been asked this. I wanted a heroine who, even though she was scared, desired something strong enough to gather courage and go for something big. This is something I learned way too late in life. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing something in spite of the fear. As for my hero, I just wanted a strong character - fierce, but kind and chivalrous.

Have you ever toured a real castle?
No! It is definitely on my bucket list. I told my husband not too long ago that for our 40th anniversary, I'd like to go to Scotland and see castles. That's only seven years away.

Do you have a favorite castle even if you haven't toured it?
I would love to visit the Elean Donan Castle in Scotland. It was built in the 13th century, not far from the time my stories are set. I love the water and mountain around it. https://www.eileandonancastle.com/visit/

If money was not issue, what would be your favorite vacation?
Other than going to Scotland, my favorite vacations have been in Colorado. I love the mountains and cooler weather. I love small brooks winding through the valleys. I love staying in a cabin, taking hikes, and sitting on a porch during the occasional rain shower. It's a piece of heaven.

Sherrinda, I'm actually a beach girl, but I loved Colorado on my one trip there. I really felt close to God in the mountains.

Sherrinda, thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Here's a little about the book.

Book’s Tag Line
He’s fighting for his future—she’s running for her life.

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle
because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to
force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises
herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.
Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament
and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on
the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny
lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for.
Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.
Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are
determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only
way either of them survives.

Both the cover and story are beautiful!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

TobyMac - I just need U.

Here are the beginning lyrics to I just need you.

"Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up and I'm feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showing me (showing me)
Some days it'll lift you up
Some days it'll call your bluff
Man, most of my days I ain't got enough
And all I know
Is You're my only hope
When I'm up when I'm down (uh, huh)
When the wolves come around (tell me)
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need You
On my darkest days (uh, huh)
When I'm losing faith (tell me)
No, it ain't gon' change
I just need you..."

Good days or bad days, I always know where my hope is. I hope you enjoy this song! Thanks for stopping by. 
Keep believing!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Career Expert says the Golden Rule is at the Heart of Creativity

What is the Golden Rule?  In Matthew 7:12 (NIV) we're told: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

I grew up knowing this rule. I recently began studying what's best next by Matt Perman with a good friend, Sherrinda Ketchersid. We began with the timeline of one chapter a week. We're learning so much that we now tackle one chapter a day. I've included a link if you're interested in learning a little more about Matthew Perman and what's best next

Have a great week!

Sherrinda Ketchersid

Setting Up Your Desk

Last week I mentioned I'd started reading what's best next by Matt Perman. I looked up his blog posts and found tips on setting up your desk for maximum effectiveness.

Here's a picture of my desk before. Printer, pens, highlighters, coffee, stapler, calendar, index cards, and you can see some of the other junk.

Matt Perman says clutter will take away our creativity. He suggests our desks should be like a cockpit.

I wasn't born an organized person. I often tried, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I have to WORK at getting and staying organized.

He suggests we know what we need as far as equipment, supplies, and decorations. I've combined decorations with supplies. I have a small crystal bowl for jump drives. I have cute containers for pens and highlighters and a pretty lamp on the corner of the table. The table I use for my desk was an old table my Uncle Proc made. My dad dug it out and refinished it. So it has sweet memories for me when I sit down.

As I continue working through what's best next, I'll let you know if I learn to decrease the clutter and work more efficiently.

Monday, July 1, 2019

How to Help the Homeless

A friend recently gave us a bag to share the next time we came across a homeless person asking for help.

I've heard the debate plenty of times. If you give them money, they'll buy beer. But if you give them money, at least you're trying to help. The argument goes back and forth. That's why I was excited when our friend gave us this bag of goodies the next time we were faced with the opportunity to share with a homeless person.

Matthew 25:34-40:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

What can we do for the least of these?

Here's one simple thing.

Take a gallon plastic bag and fill it with a few items.

A few easy items you can place in your bag are wipes, a fruit cup with a plastic fork, peanuts, a toothbrush and toothpaste, peanut butter cracker and breath mints, because we all like minty fresh breath.

Get creative and change it up.

I'd love to hear if you try this and what response you get.


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