Archives May 2020

Publishing Update!!!!!

Tomorrow is the day set for our publishing journey to come to light.

We’ve had some glitches, one major one with Amazon. However, our ebook will be available starting tomorrow at these sites:

Barnes & Noble ScribdOverDrive BibliothecaHoopla VivlioKoboApple Tolino 24 SymbolsBaker & Taylor

It’s coming soon to Amazon as well.

The print copies will be available soon. They should be shipping by mid-June 2020. There have been some delays due to COVID 19.

Memorial

There have been numerous people in my family as well as within my acquaintances who have been involved in the military. My Uncle Virgil from my mom’s family was involved in World War II. From my generation, my Uncle’s son Virgil Jr. my Adorable Cousin’s husband, Chuck, Adorable’s sister’s husband, Ted, and many others, because our small communities always seem to be hit hardest.

We carry our remembrance of these people, some who have passed away, some who are still with us, with a prayer of thankfulness. Thankful that we had them at a time when we needed them to step up, and thankful they were willing to step up in our time of need.

I am reflecting on this time in our lives how Jesus tells us to not borrow sorrow from the future and how the saying goes that to borrow sorrow from the future doesn’t do any good and only robs us of life and happiness of today. Here is a link to an acapella hymn called ‘Day by Day’ reminding us to take life one day at a time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNVCcph6cnI

I have had two sons who served in the military. Thank you and God bless both of you.

I remember listening as the youngest one told me, “This dog tag goes…and if something should happen this other one goes on my toe…” I remember the finality seeping in of what he was saying.

As a parent and a mother, my heart broke as I looked down the long abyss and realized this child that had grown within me for nine months, and I had nurtured and loved for eighteen years plus, was telling me that there was the possibility that he would die before I did. That is one of the hardest things for a parent.

Yes, I looked down that abyss in case I ever needed to face it in real-time, but I did do so with the prayer that God would bring my son home safe. I know of others who haven’t had that success. I hurt for them who have lost son, or daughter, wife, husband, father, mother, whatever the case. Even though I never had to face the reality I pray for those who have.

“There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”
(Proverbs 21:30-31 KJV)

Living the Highlife

“When I grow up and…” When we went shopping back in the day when our kids were young, if we only had a shortlist, or a one-item list, Old Fuzzy would go into the store and the rest of us would wait in the van.

While waiting in the van the kids would play games of sorts, and one of the games was, “When I grow up and am older…”

I thought this sounded interesting, so I decided to join in, “When I grow up and am older…”

A sudden chorus from the back cut me off, “Hey, you can’t play. You’re already grown up!”

Well, there you go. Right from the horses’ mouth. At forty years old (or slightly less) I could no longer have hopes and dreams. I wonder now that six of my children are caught up with me age-wise if that works?

Young Fuzzy asked one of his brothers ‘If you had a hundred thousand dollars, what would you do with your shop’? His brother said, ‘I’d build a new house.’

To me, that is extremely funny. It takes me back to the super-highway of thought to the time someone accused me of having children just to take care of us when we get old.

I had told this person kids were fun. I was thinking of the games and adventures we had played as they were growing up. Her comment kind of sideswiped me and left me dazed. A caveat here, I had not said they were always all fun, or which ones or…well, you get the gist.

Memory alert went to when I was around ten. My grandfather was a farmer and a farrier. During the summers and clement weather, he shod horses. It’s a summer afternoon and the lunch dishes are all done. One of the neighbor girls, Sherrie S, had walked over and we were all talking and laughing as we played Canasta.

After our party broke up and the visitor was gone, grandpa was inside. Smiling, he said, ‘you girls sounded like a gaggle of geese, or a flock of chickens, carrying on in here.’

I understood what he meant. Some families are all about fighting and strife, arguing and drama. What I find enjoyable is when our family comes together and we eat, talk, laugh, exchange ideas maybe play games, but everyone has the chance for a good experience.

I have found that in a large family with a family get-together it helps to pray. My prayer is for people to enjoy the time together, with no fighting or arguing amongst anyone.

And this was something grandpa understood as well. It wasn’t riches and fancy stuff that made the times good. It was love and laughter and the ‘peaceful easy feeling’ of friends and family.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.”
(Proverbs 21:9-10 KJV)

Inspiration

“I have endured, I have been broken, I have known hardships, I have lost myself. But here I stand, still moving forward, growing stronger each day. I will never forget the harsh lessons in my life. They made me stronger.”

That snippet could be said by most people to some extent or other. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the harsh lessons I’ve had, but they have all taught me something. Most things I’ve learned I’ve used to better myself, or to help someone else, so the lesson isn’t a total loss.

One of the lessons that serves me well is learning to live simply. That isn’t an easy task and somedays learning to live simply tries the soul. I have advised people when Satan begins to throw snags, “Pray that the solution will be cheap and easy to fix, and there will be an end to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.

I have been reading and becoming acquainted with a new addition to our family. I’ll call him ‘Happy’. Happy is a little person, but he’s very wise. He tells his other Mimi, he doesn’t want to grow up because growing up isn’t for him.

His other Mimi prays that Happy’s heart won’t be broken when he finds out how ugly life and other people can be. That’s a tough job for any parent or in this case grandparent. Our hearts are broken as we see our loved ones, our children, and grandchildren, struggle in this world of woe.

We want to prepare them and sometimes we kind of do. None of us know exactly how to prepare them and what to prepare them for. The greatest preparation is for them to come to the Savior. Only He can carry them through not just the hard times, but the good times as well.

And what do you say to a little man who realizes growing up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Most children dream of the day they ‘can do what they want’, not realizing that the grown-up world is much more demanding and far less free than childhood.

Perhaps the main thing is to assure this little person he has time. At four years old he can relax, learn to live, and love those who love him. Learn and wonder at the beautiful world God made for us.

There will be time for him to know how ugly his fellow travelers can be. I’m thankful for the good people I encounter and for the others that aren’t so good, my prayer is that they will come to repentance and salvation. Or that the Lord will remove them. And I know that ‘except for the grace of God, there go I’. Praise God, I’ve been redeemed.

“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”
(Psalms 56:8-9 KJV)

Need to Remember

This isn’t originally mine but it is important enough I will share: “People need to remember, if God wants you to leave this world there isn’t any amount of hand sanitizer going to save you.”

I have seen too many people who say they are ‘sheltering in place’, when in fact they are hiding in fear. I can understand this partially if a person hasn’t taken hold of the horns of the altar, so to speak. If a person hasn’t taken the steps to salvation, but I see this among God’s people as well.

I wouldn’t encourage anyone to live dangerously. Jesus addressed this problem when he speaks to Satan:

“And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:6-7 KJV)

No, I am not advocating that we all line up for sky diving lessons, or hang gliding 101. Even if the problem hasn’t suddenly developed the current pandemic has certainly highlighted it.

People are so afraid of dying they aren’t living. It was interesting that one of the media bogeymen was those congregants in the few churches that came down with the virus. So, out of the thousands of congregations that came together the highlighted few were a warning to the rest? Hmm.

Many have begun asking questions, and rightly so. Historically we have had many sicknesses that are much worse, much more deadly, yet they haven’t shut down the entire world, as this one that has a much higher recovery rate. Not saying there hasn’t been death and sickness with this, not making light of the suffering, but honestly, we know that this world is full of trials and tribulations.

Is this an effort to turn us all into snowflakes? Where are the adventurous amongst us? We need to reread the founding of America. We’ve been ancestor shamed so long by an agenda of lies that we need to step back and reread and realize that whether voiced or not the reason the Separatists came to a new land was for liberty. The same as Patrick Henry when he said:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” As he spoke, Henry held his wrists together as though they were manacled and raised them toward the heavens. “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty”—Henry burst from his imaginary chains and grasped an ivory letter opener—“or give me death!”

Old Fuzzy and I are in our sixties. That puts us in the ‘at risk’ group, and we are semi-aware of this. I don’t have the energy to get out and dig ditches any more, so I don’t. I live the kind of life I can live where I am amongst family and friends. Yet if a person can go to a grocery store for food, they can also justify attending worship on Sunday. If I can go to Walmart, I should be able to attend worship, and also go to a local small business. Actually, worship and small businesses are better bets…

What I’m saying is, if there is still breath in your body, stop dying and get back to living life while you still can. Remember who gives us life and breath—don’t take God for granted.

“For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;”
(Acts 17:23-25 KJV)

Here We Are…

We have for many years raised as much of our own food as we could. I don’t know why, or where this desire has come from. I’ve always been one who wanted to raise a garden, even though my grandparents had abandoned the raising of their own garden due to their age.

Grandma Magill had, as most farm women, raised chickens for eggs to sell at the local creamery, and her cream from the milk cows and this was her money for certain household and personal expenses. When I was quite young I remember them taking cream and eggs into town once a week. Of course, eventually, the government regulations put a chokehold on that source of income for the farm wife.

But we still kept the chickens, only they became ‘free-range’ chickens to provide eggs for us. We also kept the cows, but as the chickens, there weren’t as many cows. So, mostly for us and our use and our neighbors, an older grandparently, couple, which we took two quarts of milk to twice a week we milked cows.

Fast forward to a few years after Old Fuzzy and I were married. With four children soon to be five then six and we were trying to make ends meet on one paycheck. It wasn’t working well. Every dollar we made ended up going into taxes, basically, the government was getting most of what we made. Since we were still ‘farmers at heart’, we were renting an old farmstead, a house with a few outbuildings.

Well, I thought, if making more money didn’t help, how could we live cheaper? First, we bought laying hens, but I wanted a milk cow. We ended up with some cats. I aimed a bit higher, and we got a dog. Still, not there, I ended up with a pony. The kids were happy but… well, next I ended up with a little horse-colt. He was a keeper, but not a cow. Finally, we ended up with an Ayrshire cow.

And that was our beginning journey. We had always kept a garden from the beginning, but the rest didn’t come so easily. And it wasn’t ‘free’ either. To buy the chickens cost money, the cats and dogs were free, but the pony, horse-colt, and cow all cost money, each one a bit more than the one before. Then there was upkeep and the learning curve as to what each one needed for sustenance.

“This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

To Do Or Not To Do

Over a year ago I had a quilt all done except the binding. I need to find some more binding and finish that quilt. As some people know I’ve had a Wix site for several previous years. Here is a link to my quilt project in case anyone would like to view that. https://deborawephraim.wixsite.com/donevywestphal/single-post/2019/06/18/Repost-on-Quilts

Besides the quilt, I’ve been thinking about watching and following a Bob Ross painting video. I believe have everything I need to do the job it just needs set up. I haven’t really painted much and when I first began painting Bob Ross was probably in Alaska just learning to paint as well. My children used to watch his show every Saturday afternoon. It’s just fascinating how he takes a flat surface and turns it into a work of art. Not to mention his wonderful personality, and Peapod the Pocket Squirrel.

I’ve wanted to call my Merle Norman store and find out if they can mail an order to me. They have done that in the past. And perhaps contact a piano tuner to work on tuning and repairing our piano. I do have a list of things besides working to get my book published by June first. It’s count down time for that as well.

***

This morning after Worship Services were over several of the children were outside playing. Suddenly, our youngest granddaughter is heard wailing, and as the old-timers called it ‘pitching a fit’. I looked at my daughter and I said, “I don’t know where she got her temper, I still have all of mine.”

Of course, we laughed…people with tempers can be legendary. Not that I would claim legendary status, but a temper can make a person look courageous or more often than not, look like an idiot. My daughter went through the fit scene with her oldest child in the early years, and asked me, “Mom, do you think we ever look like that to God?” “Yes, I do, child,” I said with a smile.

That’s when my sister’s words come back to me. ‘I remember my mother, and I come down off of my high horse real fast.’ Children are a link to the past and the future. They are also a glimpse from us as child into the mind of God.

(Genesis 44:33)  “Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
(Gen 44:34)  For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.”

A Knot At the End…

This should be Monday, or maybe Sunday. It is irritating to look up at the end of the week and realize somewhere along the week I lost my focus, and now it’s too late to do the projects I had planned on finishing this week.

Since my illness last September, when I had a reaction to a medicine, I’ve decided I should pray before I put any new supplement or medicine in my mouth. One more go-round like that one last fall should be the last one for me.

I know I’m repeating myself for older readers, but for newer readers, I used to tell a story about an Irishman that some dishonest crooks tried to poison in several different ways, but the Irishman kept coming back. I used that to emphasize to my youngest son, ‘you can’t kill an Irishman’. After last fall I told my son, ‘Honey, I gotta stop telling that story, some folks are taking it as a challenge.’

Returning to focus, pills, and the end of the week. Most weeks I just make it through. With this last week, by Thursday and today, I was wiped out. And here it is that I realize I gotta get a grip.

I’m setting a new goal for next week. You see, back in my prime, I was always on the go. Now, I’m having to adjust to days when my body and brain absolutely refuse to cooperate. I cannot shame, force, wheedle, or cajole myself into doing things. So, I need to start Sunday praying for a good week and God’s blessing as to how to go.

It reminds me of a ‘Ralphie T.’ moment. Ralphie T. was a fellow school bus rider back in my young years. He didn’t have a long driveway, but it was long enough for a kindergartner who dreamed he was in a race. Ralphie would burst out his front door, head down, running as hard as he could toward the bus waiting at the end of his driveway. It usually went well, until the time he misjudged and because he wasn’t watching where he was going, he ran into the side of the bus right under the school bus sign. If I start out at the beginning of the week and keep my eye on the end goal, I should not run into the school bus, and hopefully, I will hit the right mark.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
(Psalms 37:23-24 KJV)

Life- A Learning Curve

I learn something new everyday…and as the old timer says, it’s often the same thing I learned yesterday.

This week has been busy, starting with Sunday, Mother’s Day. For many churches it was a first day back in the saddle.

I’ve been trying to gain back strength after a reaction to medicine last fall, and it has been a long road but it has nothing to do with the current troubles.

It was good to get back into the swing of things. We had a small family gathering for Mother’s Day. My youngest son exchanged vows with his intended, and we had a lovely cake baked by my daughter for the event. My littlest granddaughter was certain the cake was for ‘Grammie’, and we allowed her to be happy that she had brought Grammie a cake.

Many people these last few months have come to realize the value of family and community. Having been raised in a different era and under different circumstances, the family has always been important to me. It could also be part of our Scots-Irish heritage that gave us the clans. Where we go one, we go all, seems to come naturally to us.

I try to post two or more times per week, therefore I’m trying to make up for the lost time. Monday Big Fuzzy and I worked a lot on getting “If I Should Die”, ready for publication on June first. The ebook should be ready and we’re working on the print version. Tuesday was just Tuesday, and here we are on Wednesday. More news later.

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
(Psalms 37:25 KJV)

Perspective

My daughter is working at collecting some of her possessions as she is preparing to move to her own residence. “Mom,” she says to me, “it’s a good thing you still have Benjamin. You’ll soon be almost an empty nester…”

For someone with a large family, that idea comes as an incredible shock. I had to stand back and look at where we were. In less than one year our daughter and her two brothers would be moving out, and within nine months the next son would be graduating, leaving only the five-year-old at home.

Oddly enough, if someone had told me then that it would take me seventeen years until I would have my book ready to publish I would probably have told them they were crazy. First off, because I didn’t have it started yet, only the glimmer of an idea, and second, of those who begin a book manuscript less than half finish them.

Yet, here we are looking at the culmination of the beginning of the end. We have come through many twists and turns, and the journey has not been smooth. I remember the first draft when I believed my ‘baby’ was done. I found an address of a popular publisher of Christian books, and with a cover letter I sent it in.

Needless to say, that began the journey, my ‘baby’ was nowhere near ready to face the world. My five-year-old son is now twenty-seven and on his own, and my seventeen-year-old ‘baby’ is about to graduate and launch into the world as well. We are target publishing “If I Should Die” by the end of May/beginning of June 2020. This will be the first in the Ebenezer series with at least two more novels, Lord willing, to follow.