Friday, August 28, 2009

coming up for a little air

I thought I'd drop by and post a short update. I know I've been absent from my blog...no one else is here to mind the store. Maybe I could find a guest blogger. LOL.

So the wedding countdown is minus two weeks and a day. Melissa's girlfriend is giving her a shower this Sunday, and I'm going up tomorrow to help her frost cupcakes. I still have to make the garter. It's still a toss-up if the procrastination will win out, or if I will get it done ahead of time. Oh, and of course I have pants to hem, and a dress to find...no sweat, right? Yeah, riiigghht.

Do you think I should have given her a shower, too? I don't think the mother of the bride usually does that. Isn't that like a social no-no or something? But usually don't they have a girlfriend shower and a family shower? It's been so long that I'm just not up on the wedding etiquette stuff. I should consult Gail. She has magazines and workbooks and long-term and short-term planning lists, and her wedding is a year away. She would know if anyone would!

Maybe it doesn't matter. But each side of the family usually does one, and we have nothing. Just this one, and the invite said to "bring something romantic." I'm a little afraid! LOL. I can just imagine.

Oh, and Mugs has been over all week. She just went home last night. And she is so much like my honey that it makes me just howl. It's so funny. So he gets to deal with the female version of himself all day long. She said she went and took a nap in sheer self-preservation. And my honey told me he's considering withdrawing his invitation to her. Hee hee!! Ah, it's all in love. They're crazy about each other. Really! :)

And Luvvy was over almost every night, and our niece...and her kids...and then our nephew, his daughter, and her boyfriend came over one night to help, too. I missed all the fun that night. I had class, which I'm very excited about. I'm taking computer networking classes! For free. Basically.

And then Johnny was over last night helping my honey put up the bathroom ceiling board--you should hear them yell at each other. Seriously. Yelling. They are SO alike. So here's me and our niece, trying to help hold up the ceiling board, and my arms feel like they are going to fall right off my shoulders they hurt so bad. And here's my honey and Johnny, ARGUING about where to put the screws to hold up the board! Are you KIDDING me??!

"I'm dying, here!" I shout. And they both look at me, look at each other, and keep on shouting. Totally hysterical. And then when the work is done for the night, they are both perfectly calm, and they hug each other goodbye when Johnny goes home.

"Love you, bud." "Love you, too." "G'nite, now. See you next week," they say.

And I'm just sitting there with my finger in my mouth...going, "Huh??"

It's like a three ring circus. Who needs TV, I say. I have my own family sitcom right here in the house. Maybe I could sell tickets to the nightly show to raise money for renovations. Ha!

Okay, I'm really not complaining because my house is looking better every day. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

blast from the past

I just got back from my nephew's wedding. I have decided that I do NOT like riding in the car when I'm tired. I haven't had to do that for a while. I would rather be tired at home, thank you, where I can just go to bed when I'm ready. Even if I have to start brushing my teeth when there are people over, at least I don't have to sit in a squishy little space (the front seat of the car) where I can't get comfortable and my claustrophobia gets the best of me.

I was so uncomfortable all the way home I probably drove my honey absolutely batty. I told him he married a spazz. Jumping around, twitching, thrashing around trying to get comfortable.,,it was a horrible car ride. Thank goodness my honey drove. I was so glad when we got home that I almost got out and kissed the ground a few times. LOL.

It was fun to see family I haven't seen for a while, though. The kids don't stop growing when you don't see them...in fact I think they speed it up and put it in overdrive. Wow! Some of my brother's grandkids have gotten married already. I'm not there yet. I'm just getting used to the idea of MY kids getting married.

Tomorrow, it's back to work with the painting again. We got the walls in the living room completely textured, and tomorrow we paint them. I think they look fabulous already. It's going to look great. I can't wait. No more Christmas morning pictures with the blotchy sheetrock in the background.

And the bathroom walls are nearly done...all they need is paint and a little trim. This place is going to be like a whole new house when we finish everything that needs doing.

I gotta get to bed, though. I just had to sit down and type a few things and get my online fix because I haven't been on the computer all day. Is that sad?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

steve and marian need help!

Who are Steve and Marian, you might ask. Good question. Oh, my gosh. I read about this the other day, and it keeps haunting me.

This guy Steve, his wife is sick. Like really sick. And the insurance company in its infinite wisdom, has decided to deny her benefits. The doctors have recommended various therapies that would help her, but the insurance company hired their own doctor WHO HAS NOT SEEN HER, and this doctor has decided that she does not need these treatments. Supposedly she will not benefit from them. They sent her to a nursing home without providing for any rehabilitative treatment. HOW DOES THIS PERSON SLEEP AT NIGHT???

It reminds me of when my honey got permanently injured at work...when he put in a claim for disability benefits, they had a doctor see him, who only looked at him, asked him a couple of questions, and told him he could return to work.

My poor honey could hardly walk into the office using a cane because he was in so much pain. "Oh, no. You're fine," the guy says. "You can go back to work tomorrow, and with no restrictions." In fact, he told my honey he had to go back. And if he didn't, they could fire him. What a farce. Anyway.

What if my honey were in that situation that Steve's wife is in? What could be done? By me, or anyone.

Well, Steve's friends and family aren't sitting around crying. Well, they probably are doing that, too. But they have turned to the wonderful blogoverse to ask for help spreading the word about his wife's situation. Take a quick look. You won't be sorry.



They are starting to feel a small inkling of hope. Go ahead. Go on over and leave a comforting word for them. Spread the word. You'll feel better.

Monday, August 17, 2009

the scariest concept in the world for me

I have taken a bit of a break from book reviewing, but this one grabbed me. Letting go of control is very scary for me, as it probably is for many people. This book is written by Sandy Hancock, a woman who had to let go because everything she was hanging on to disappeared from her grasp. Marriage? Poof. Security? Poof. Gone. It's my worst nightmare. So of course, being who I am, I have to read about it to see how someone else did it, so that if it happens to me, I'm prepared!

Meet Sandy! Read more about her experiences here, and follow the link at the end for more information if you like.

Question: What inspired you to write Letting Go, Pathway to an Amazing Life?

Answer: I have had a personal relationship with God most of my life. I attended church, prayed daily, participated in church activities, etc. I knew Jesus offers joy and peace. Yet happiness in my life seemed to come and go. There had to be more to life. I heard others say you will have happiness if you have a relationship with God. I had a relationship with Him yet something was missing.

Then I went through what I call a “wilderness experience”. This is a time of hardship in which there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. We discover we must let go of our grip on anything in our life that we are seeking to find satisfaction from and embrace the life God called us to live. Experiencing a wilderness experience changed my focus and my life. What resulted is a strong desire to tell what I discovered to all who are on the same pursuit for happiness that I was on.

Question: Letting Go, is an intriguing title. Why did you choose it?

Answer: We tend to hold onto the things we think will bring us contentment. In my life I held onto my dreams and desires. I believed they would provide me the happiness I sought. Yet everything I pursued failed to bring meaning to my life. It was not until I reached a point that I realized that my own pursuing was not working that I was able to let go and surrender all to God. It was at this point that my life changed. It was in letting go that I began to find true joy and peace in my life.

Question: How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life?

Answer: As you travel with me on my journey to find contentment, I share the secrets I discovered to have inner peace and true joy. I encourage the reader to let go of the obstacles in their life that hinders them from experiencing the abundant life Jesus wants all of us to have. Further, fundamental truths are revealed that guides the reader to a closer walk with God.

Question: How did you become a Christian?

Answer: My parents made the decision to enroll me in a Christian school. My parents did not know God, but they knew the value of a good education. They felt a Christian school would give me a better education. It was at school that I learned who Jesus is and about the love of God. I value those days and the valuable lessons I learned. Those lessons were what would get me through many challenges in my future.

Question: You speak of joy and peace in your book. In what way did you find these?

Answer: For most of my life, my eyes were focused on my life, my circumstances, my dreams and desires. Once I let go of these and put my focus on drawing closer to the Lord and embracing His desires, my life began to have meaning. When I stopped placing confidence in myself to find happiness and started having God-confidence, He brought me an inner peace and joy that I had previously only had glimpses of. My circumstances did not change but how I felt inside did.

Question: Was there a pivotal point that changed your life?

Answer: My childhood held a lot of precious memories. It was during my childhood that I grew to have a special love for family. It was a place where you belong; a place you can count on, or so I thought.

During my junior high years my family started to come apart. Investments my dad made put a strain on his marriage with my mother. Finally my dad stopped coming home. My world was turned upside down. The family I knew and loved was gone. All I depended on was no more. What I was left with was my pursuit to have a loving family again. It became my life’s goal.

In my pursuit I would meet several men; a few that were good to me and many who were not. I ended up in some pretty awful circumstances at times. Yet I just hung on. I believed so deeply that if I could just meet that special one, I would be happy at last. Then one day I did or so I thought. That man became my husband. Then four days before Christmas he walked into our bedroom and said there was a U-Haul in the driveway and he was moving out. I could barely breathe. The pain was intense. This is what I had waited for all my life. This marriage was supposed to bring me happiness. And there were many times it did. But in the end I was left empty and alone.

For most of my life my focus was in finding Mr. Right. I believed once I did I would my life would be complete. When my husband walked out, I realized all my pursuing only left me broken and without hope. I saw following my own pursuits was futile. It was at this point that God was then able to show me a much deeper love than I had ever experienced and I was able to let go.

Question: How has your book been received from its readers?

Answer: Here are some excerpts of what others have said after reading my book.

“Phenomenal book! From her personal experience, Ms. Hancock gives inspired counsel on how to have a truly amazing life. Her insight often goes against the modern cultural norm, and challenges popular notions by taking us back to basic concepts that have been known and have worked for millennia. A must read, if you dare. Warning! Do not read this book if you’re happy and content with just miserably existing in this world. You will be challenged.”

"This book has a great message to anyone who reads it. The author shares many of her life stories plus a great pathway to happiness. It is a true must have for any Christian reader. The book holds your interest from chapter to chapter."

“As an avid reader of mostly non-religious books, I was pleasantly surprised how much liked this one. I found "Letting Go" to flow smoothly between scripture and the stories of the author and others. This is a REAL story, from a very REAL person who takes us on a journey through her trials & tribulations of looking for her "true love". She would come to discover that the only "true love" can be found in Jesus Christ. This is a terrific book about life and living it to its fullest. A very inspiring book to readers of any denomination and I recommend it highly."

Question: Are you associated with any other organizations you would care to share with our readers?

Answer: I have partnered with Inspire Life Skills Training, Inc (www.inspirelifeskills.org). They inspire young adults who are aging-out of the foster care system to become independent. Half of the proceeds from the sale of this book is given to them.

Foster youth face enormous challenges in making a smooth transition to adulthood and building successful lives. These young people often leave the foster care system with few resources and very little support. Often they have suffered physically and emotionally from the lack of a stable and supportive family. As a result it is common for these youth to face homelessness, limited education, unemployment, incarceration, substance abuse and unwanted pregnancy.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Answer: I currently reside in Southern California. I am the Director of Amazing Life Ministries which gives me the opportunity to travel throughout the country and minister to people. I have two grown sons, David and Jeremiah. I love the outdoors. Some of the activities that I enjoy participating in is skiing, hiking, camping, bicycling, and scuba diving.

Question: How can our readers purchase your book?

Answer: It can be purchased directly from my website at www.pathwaytoanamazinglife.com. Also it can be bought from several online bookstores.

Thank you for your time and May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

so long, sweet boomboom

What a sucky weekend it was. We had to put Dee's kitty BoomBoom down. The poor baby...he was pretty sick. She had him in to the vet, and it sounded like it was going to be so expensive to take care of him, and she just couldn't afford it.

Now some of y'all probably would spend the money on the cat, and honestly, I have such a soft heart that if I had the money, I would have done it. He was such a sweetie...so mellow and loving that it about broke my heart to do it.

And THAT is why I'm going to stick to my mantra of No New Pets. Too much heartbreak. I can't take this anymore. Our two cats are twelve, and Augie Doggie is eleven. Their clocks are ticking, and I'm turning into a wimpy kid, here.

Pets have one downfall. They just don't live long enough.

Farewell, sweet BoomBoom baby.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a cleanin' I will go, a cleanin' I will go...

Hi ho the derry-oh! A cleanin' I will go.

We have been existing in a state of desperate frenzy ever since we decided we would apply to be foster parents. A whirlwind of activity has been going on here! Clean this, repair that, put those away, install this, buy that...it's not simple to become licensed for foster care.

The state holds you to a high standard of safety and preparation, and I know it's because they could be liable if they placed the children in an unsafe environment. But there was just so much to do.

There is a family member whose children need to be in foster care, probably only temporarily. But if they are not placed with family, they could be permanently placed outside the family. My honey says you don't let that happen to family. You do what you have to do, and you take care of your own. Okay, honey.

He told me when we got married, that I better hang on to my hat, because it could be a wild ride. I never thought that this was what he meant, though! LOL.

On the bright side, however, I have sheetrock on my bathroom walls for the first time in, oh, almost twenty years! It's so beautiful. I cried.

It got torn apart when there was a water leak, and that's pretty much how it stayed. There were always other things more pressing, more of a priority, like...kids' shoes and clothes, groceries, school supplies...you know the drill. Even with one kid, that can get spendy. Times that by eleven, oh my.

But. We decided that if we were going to be living here much longer, we had to put some more money into it. So the rejuvenation project was started already when this other situation came about, so it's just being put into high gear. Well, as high as it can be when you consider all the factors. Most of the kids work full time. I work. My honey, disabled as he is, can do things in short bursts, but he gets frustrated because he can't work the way he used to before he became disabled. He has the knowledge, but not the same ability.

And, we may yet have Mugs living with us, which will be a joy! We had planned to invite her to move in here eventually, when a bedroom emptied out. It just got moved ahead due to changes in her living situation. It's just the logistics we have to think about and plan. We'll be back up to ten people in the house. I guess these four walls are taking in a deep breath once again. Oh! And Mugs comes with a dog.

You know, I thought this was going to be one of the quietest years yet, so I signed up for three classes this fall. The boys have all moved out. Gail will be in college full time again. Dee is working full time and X will probably be in daycare. Just imagine...one teenager and my honey and I.

All that I can keep thinking about is the old saying, "Man plans, God laughs!" I'm betting He has a big smile on his face right now, because He knows the outcome of this. He can see the big picture. The only view I have is what's right in front of my nose.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

it was the title that caught me

I must confess, I agreed to review this book because the title caught me: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife.

I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the book virtually fell into her mind, as a complete piece, chapter titles and all. (I have had that happen a couple of times, but I didn't write the books. I could kick myself for that!)

But there was more I was looking for. I think by necessity a pastor's wife must be discreet, but often that discretion seems more like distance. It can feel like a barrier. Kind of like, I like you, but don't get too close to me.

I don't know what a pastor's wife goes through, but I can imagine the demands can be stressful. It has to be difficult to make friends you can trust on an intimate level. And still, you can't trust them with other people's confidences. Even if you just disclose your self, and the friendship melts down, it leaves a gaping hole from which the shared confidences will inevitably pour out. It's a risky business. I thought that the book was going there, but it really didn't do that as much as it documented her personal journey about learning to listen to God.

But anyway, when I saw this book, my interest was piqued. Kathryn Bonner has graciously consented to answer some questions which will tell you, better than I could, about her experiences with being broken, and how when she listened, God was able to put the pieces back together for her.

Her marriage fell apart, and much of this is the story of the man God put into her life, but the book is full of tidbits and eye-opening nuggets of wisdom that I keep mulling over in my mind. It's a great read!



Kathryn, when and how did you first get the inspiration to write "Confessions Of A Pastor’s Wife"?

I write about this in the intro of the book. It was literally like a burning bush moment for me. In 2004 God gave me all of the chapter titles all at once. He was literally speaking this book into me! I never expected it! It’s one of the reasons the subtitle is “He Speaks, Can You Hear Him?” I literally ran into my office and grabbed my prayer journal and began writing all of the chapter titles down as fast as He was delivering them to me. They came in perfect speed – it was overwhelming and awesome! I stood there in amazement staring at each chapter title - knowing what would be in every single chapter! Of course, immediately thereafter began to have all of the feelings of being unable, unworthy, and unqualified to do this work. But it was God who gave it to me and He who made the way for it to be completed.

What was the process of writing this book work? Was this an all-at-once kind of epiphany or did this take years in the making, collecting thoughts and ultimately putting them together?

I mentioned before how God gave me the book to write in 2004, but it wasn't until 2006 that I really began to write it. He had to build my faith further, nudging me along. One of the ways in which He continued the prompting was that He provided me with a life coach to hold me accountable, to push me. Then once I finally surrendered all of the self-doubt, unworthiness and fears I began standing it this beautiful place of faith, with His power. He gave me a joy around it and then I began to write. It was like opening up a vein, it just began to flow. There were times when I couldn't pull myself away from the writing, that's when the writing is great! That's when you feel the power of God, the Holy Spirit moving through you, Him speaking. That's the gift He gives me in it. I am so thankful for this gift. It's all from Him, all of it. I love it.

One of the chapters in your book that is titled “Discovering God” you say that there are “moments when God speaks to you through your dreams” does God still speak to you in your dreams?

Oh yes, He sure does, and I hope He never stops! He also speaks to my husband in dreams. Dreams seem to be one of the ways He has revealed major transactions that are headed our way. He speaks profoundly to me through the dreams. It’s not every day, but when it happens it’s intense. In the book I write about some of the dreams He has given me that have come to pass. He’s also done so with Bruce.

You talk about the many ways in which God speaks to us, do you hear His voice as an audible voice or is it an inner sensing voice? Also can you share a few ways in which God speaks and reveals Himself to us, while backing this up through Scripture?

I don’t hear Him in an audible voice, it’s an inner voice that I hear Him, and I hear Him through His Word. Some Biblical references in which God speaks to us are: Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ACTS 9:15: “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.’” 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The book frequently takes a humorous approach; I found the chapter titled “The Bug Truck" to be deep and absolutely hilarious all at the same time. It has a kind of an intimate "ya ya sisters" kind of thing? Do you think of your book as something that will appeal more to women than to men? Why or why not?

Women love it, and they laugh as they fly through the pages and then they cry as they land on the very next sentence. It’s been very soul stirring. You know, at first I thought that it would have an appeal mainly to women; however, I am getting incredible feedback and actual responses from men. Men are really able to relate to this book on numerous levels. They have shared how parts of it have essentially moved them emotionally as well.

This book is about marriage, talks about becoming a blended family, and talks a lot about Bruce and his approach to our marriage, speaks to raising our children, financial concerns, and being a supportive partnership in marriage. So it has been speaking volumes to men, which I am glad to hear... God is good.

How did your husband Bruce support your efforts with the book?

Bruce was totally supportive. He was an encourager to me. He prayed for me, he knew that this was something new for me and he enjoyed the process along with me. I think he was rather fascinated with the way that God had spoken this book into me.

Was he at all curious of just how much "confessing" appears in the book?

I'm sure he was a bit, but interestingly enough he wasn't asking to read it, he wasn't asking me what I was writing. I found that interesting, because if it were him writing a book, I know that my curiosity would get to me, I'd want to read each page as it was written. He didn't do that at all. He just watched me as I wrote, sat back and smiled at it all.

What do you think is the essence of what you felt compelled to say?

Oh wow, that feels like a loaded question! There are so many things regarding faith, family, how God moves and so much more. I think the two main things that I want people to recognize is how God uses each of us, and the other thing would be the most beautiful and profound ways He speaks to us. He uses you to speak into my life, into my heart, to hear Him.

This book is a portion of my life story, (not all of it certainly and there are more books to come). In this non-fiction faith story, you will find pieces of your very own faith story as you turn the pages, you will hear the quiet whispers being spoken lovingly straight into your very own ears. God has a way of speaking; He has a desire to be heard, and to be trusted by us. He has such wonderful and glorious things to reveal to us, not only through His powerful Word, but also through all of His people.

I am compelled by God to share the ways in which HE SPEAKS to us, all of the many and wondrous ways… through Dreams, through Wise Counsel, through the Stillness of Meditation Alone in our Closets, through The Whisper of the Wind, through a Bumper Sticker, through Children, through the Clouds, and in so many other ways! None of them are farfetched at all! I want it to be known how the Holy Spirit works, in the holy and mysterious ways.

He wants us to hear Him so He uses the multifaceted ways to grab us, ways that He knows we will hear. The Bible reveals to all of us many of the ways He speaks. Through Clouds, through Donkeys, through Burning bushes and the list goes on and on.

Our lives are a walk of faith, struggle, joy, and more struggles and more faith, but we are never alone, never without El Roi – Our God who sees us.

How has the book been received so far by those who have read it?

It's been really cool for me. My sister called after she read it and said "Wow, I'm so surprised, pleasantly surprised!" She didn't realize the writing ability that I had; I laughed and said that I had no idea either. My mom and dad love it, and of course they would. My mother-in-law raves about it and says I should be on Oprah, which makes me laugh. Bruce loves it, of course. My kids adore it; my sons-in-law enjoy it and are proud of me, Of course each of my family members would respond that way.

What has been wonderful to see though is all the reader responses on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, all give it 5 Star ratings, even men have made comments on it. The other blessings are the emails and calls and notes that I have received telling me how the book has moved them, how it’s spoken to them, increased their faith walk, made sense in areas of their lives where they needed that exact Word from God. Others, tell me that there are so many places that they can relate, and still others tell me that they feel like they know me better, and understand the way that God Speaks because of it. This is the essence of the book, and speaks directly to the subtitle “HE SPEAKS CAN YOU HEAR HIM?”

What, in your opinion, will readers find most surprising about the life of a pastor's wife?

That we are just as human as they are, we make mistakes. I will make more mistakes, certainly not intentionally, just because I am human. I am very honest and candid in sharing my truth, my life, and my confessions of when and how I have messed up, done things the wrong way and what I’ve learned from it. I think that they can have certain expectations of who we are as a “Pastor’s Wife” or who we should be, that in reality we just aren't. And yet, they may also find that to be refreshing.

I am a leader among women, and enjoy that role, and I am a woman who loves the Lord with every inch of myself and want so badly for the world to love Him as much as I do. I hope that they find me to be normal, very real, and see that I am trying to walk out my faith the best I can. They may be surprised to note that in my daily living I am a bit ditsy, (OK, maybe that won't really be surprising! :)

What are your plans for the future in the publishing world? Think you have any more books in you?

Oh yes, there are at least four more to come. I have also written a Bible Study Companion to this book, it’s in the first stages of completion. I have written a guided Biblical Meditation titled “In The Potters Hand” which is derived from Jeremiah 18:1-5, and it is beautiful, and profound and straight from God. It can be found on www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com. I am also in the beginning stages of the second book now. This is truly a calling the Lord has placed right in the middle of my heart.

What else does God have you doing these days Kathryn, and how can our readers connect with you?

I am in the process of writing more books, and just finished the Bible Study Companion to this book. I am a Life Purpose Coach, and I do two day 1-1 individual retreats facilitating Life Plans for women, the part I love is which is an amazing thing to witness, is when a women discovers her purpose and passion. My husband also does Life Plans for men. We do couples’ Life Plans as well. I am an instructor through LPCCI for those who are interested in becoming a Life Coach. I am an international speaker and enjoy traveling to the various parts of the world encouraging and sharing the wonders of God!

My websites are www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com (based on Isaiah 50:5 “He awakens me morning by morning…) and www.KathrynBonner.com I am putting together Writers Retreat in September for Christian Women. They can register for this retreat and find out more about this opportunity by going to my website www.WomenOfPassionatePurpose.com.