Hello Sweet Readers!
I hope you all have had a great week! : )
I have a bunch of things in today’s newsletter, but first I wanted to thank you all for praying for so long for my grandson – he is OUT of the hospital and HOME with his parents and sister! I got to meet him for the first time this week, and I have to say – that kid is going to have the most awesome sense of humor ever. You can just see it all over his face.
Truly I appreciate all your prayers and patience since February!
The blueberries are starting up in PA and I have a pic of my granddaughter picking them with me on Facebook.
But now I’m back home in Virginia on the farm.
We sold two of our pigs to the local butcher for an insane amount of money, so Watson bought three more. There’s a pic of them on Facebook as well. He actually went and bought ten more after that, which is crazy, I know, but we feed them the cracks from the chicken barns, so it kind of makes sense.
I’m sure there will be more farm stories in the future, but for now, I’ve been working in my yard, getting my hands in the dirt and doing a little planting. Yesterday I planted tomatoes – it’s really too late for them, but we’ll see.
I’ve also planted some hostas. It’s really too late for them, too, and I planted them in an area with a lot of poison ivy and oak. I was wearing jeans, but I was too lazy to go back in the house and grab my gloves. It’s possible we’ll be finding out if I can write with poison on my hands and arms. Or maybe I won’t get it. : )
I have a few other things I’ve been putting in the ground. I guess being in Pittsburgh really made me want to grow things. lol
And, in writing news, I just finished writing my 70th(!!) book.
Someone suggested I celebrate with my family, but I actually talk very little about my writing with my family. They don’t even know I finished book seventy. Actually, my Sweet Water box set that I’d told you all about the last few weeks hit #13 in the whole Amazon store. I was pretty excited about that – it was the highest rank I’d ever had. It’s still #1 in a bunch of categories. But, yeah, I didn’t do anything to celebrate and didn’t say anything to my family about it. I’m just mom around here. : )
But I did want to celebrate book #70, so I bought myself a plant. It’s kind of a joke around our house that my office is a jungle, but there’s always room for one more!
I am so excited to announce that Heartland Romance released this morning on Say with Jay! It’s totally free to listen to Jay perform this book and if you haven’t heard him (and even if you have) you’ll have to check it out! I have an excerpt and links below.
There are a few other things on down below that, and I have a devotion on prayer that I wrote last fall at the bottom.
Alright, I’ll be back on Tuesday. Thanks for spending time with me today!
Have a beautiful and blessed weekend!
Hugs and love,
Listen to the incredible Jay Dyess perform Heartland Romance for FREE on Say with Jay!
“Yeah?” he said, trying to make his tone devoid of the anger that scratched on the inside of his ribs.
“I think I’ll let you lift the box up after all.”
He laughed. “Oh really?”
“Yeah. I actually was going to put it on the top shelf here on the end.”
He already had his hand on Catherine’s back, so he turned his back toward the shelves to try to slide past her. “I’m guessing that Chubb probably wants us to beg to be let out, and as much as I want to command him and demand that he do it, ninety percent of me doesn’t want to give him that satisfaction.”
“That’s why I said something about the box. I didn’t want you doing that either.”
He huffed out a breath, feeling the box with his fingers, as his body brushed by hers in the tight closet.
So often they thought alike on things like this. He figured she probably couldn’t see his expression in the dark, but he couldn’t keep the grin off of his face. If Chubb wanted to upset someone, he’d picked the wrong two people.
“I think I have it,” he said with his hands underneath the box.
“Okay. I’m going to let go and slide out.”
“Sounds good.” They slid by each other, him with the box, as he lifted it, feeling with his fingers for the shelf and sliding the box back. “Did you even look to see what was inside of it?”
“It said on the outside of the box it was spare parts. Used, and I assume they were for obscure pieces of equipment that we seldom see. I also assumed that Chubb had Brian inventory them before he put them in the box. Although, if he just had me putting this box away so he could trap us in here together, maybe they weren’t.”
“I’ll straighten it out when I get out. You don’t need to worry about it. The last thing you need to do is get into something like this on your last day. This isn’t your worry anymore.” If he wanted to be technical about it, it had never been her worry.
“You haven’t hired my replacement, or I would train them.”
He hadn’t even really thought of anyone to replace Catherine. No one could.
“I just haven’t found the right person yet.” He might as well be honest. “Or maybe you’re just irreplaceable.”
She didn’t really work for him anyway. Not technically.
He heard the knob rattle and figured she was checking to see if Chubb had actually locked it.
She shifted some, and he took a step toward her, his hand out as he moved slowly. The last thing he wanted to do was ram into her.
“My eyes are adjusting to the dark a little. I think there might be enough light coming around the cracks in the door for us to see a bit.”
“Yeah, Chubb left the light in the office on.”
“I have the flashlight on my phone, except my phone is sitting on my desk.”
“Mine too.” He never took it when he was working in the shop, since he would end up just taking it out and putting it somewhere so he didn’t crush it or drop something on it.
He hadn’t picked it up after he walked in, more concerned about getting to Catherine and helping her with the box.
“I’m sorry about this,” he started, unsure what to say. It wasn’t like he could fix it right now. Picking locks wasn’t exactly in his skill set. Although, if he had a screwdriver, he could take the doorknob off.
As soon as he thought that, he remembered that there was an extra toolbox sitting in the corner of the closet.
His eyes had adjusted to the light enough that he could grab that screwdriver and probably have the doorknob off in about sixty seconds or less.
Did he want to do that?
He couldn’t believe he was actually considering…not.
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Devotion from Jessie from last fall:
I have a huge list of people I pray for daily, but honestly, sometimes…I wonder what good prayer does.
Am I allowed to admit that here?
I mean, seriously, there are a few things I’ve been praying for for YEARS. Years. And I haven’t seen God do a thing.
It makes me think sometimes, what’s the point?
Then these last few weeks, I’ve had someone who’s told me weekly, if not daily, sometimes, that they’re praying for me. They knew a few things that were going on and they wanted me to know that they were lifting me up before the Father.
I appreciated their words and their prayers, but again, I wondered what good it was going to do?
God hasn’t changed any of the circumstances that were happening in my life.
But the idea that someone is praying for you does something to your psyche. I’m sure psychologists have a word for it – when it makes you feel like God might work on your behalf, which gives you a more positive outlook, which causes you to see the positive things, which gives an emphasis on those positive things, even if they actually happen by chance.
Basically, positive thinking creates a positive outcome, which has nothing to do with God moving in any mysterious way. After all, you don’t have to be a Christian to think positively and have a positive outcome for yourself, right?
It’s not really God working. It’s just a law of nature.
BUT, I realized this week…so what?
Whether it’s God working in some mysterious way we don’t understand or whether it’s some measurable and predictable psychological benefit we get from believing prayer works and/or knowing someone is praying for us, prayer still works.
Although God DOES work in mysterious ways, who says that the answer to prayer has to be mysterious and not a psychologically explainable benefit?
Is there some reason why we think God hasn’t already figured out that not only can He move mysteriously in response to prayer, but even if He chooses not to, there are still very real benefits to prayer?
Of course He knows this. It’s surely one of the reasons He commands us to do it.
Just like laughter. Like kindness. Like giving. Even…like submission. God knows it’s good for us, which is why He gives those commands to us.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I wondered why it was so hard for my kids to see why I might say no to certain friends or outings, why I wanted them to eat vegetables and not ice cream, why I made them work hard and first, before they played, why I wanted them to keep their rooms clean (and didn’t put up with their excuses for why they couldn’t).
God has to shake his head the same way at us, as we question why we need to spend time reading the Bible (or make excuses for why we don’t), why we need to pray, why we need to be nice to people who have been jerks to us (the world tells us to cut them out of our lives, because, you know, they’re toxic. Christians even say that! But God doesn’t), why we need to give, why we need to…submit. Man, there’s that word again.
He gives us a whole book full of things he wants us to do – FOR OUR OWN GOOD – and we buck and kick and make every excuse in the world to not do what God commands, which is basically saying, we know what’s best for ourselves and He doesn’t.
How arrogant we are.
How arrogant I am.
Because yeah, I’m talking to me.
God wants me to be kinder,
He wants me to be more generous,
a sweet servant,
to forgive (I don’t get angry often, but I do hold grudges, even if they’re just little wee things – see me making excuses? ; ),
to love – deeply and freely and without expecting anything in return, which is HARD –
to give without reserve,
to…submit – not just to Him, but to my husband, as well (hey, you can get angry with me, but you’ll need to take it up with God. I’m just repeating what He put in the Bible. Do we believe it or don’t we? I know, I’ve heard all the reasons why we don’t need to listen to that command and they always remind me of one of my kids explaining all the reasons why they didn’t think they needed to listen to me when I told them not to do something and usually they were talking as they sat beside me in the front seat of the car on the way to the ER.)
to have childlike faith and to trust Him,
to shut up when I think I’m not being treated right and
to TRUST that God has everything under control. Isn’t that faith?
Childlike faith is believing that our prayers are doing some good even when it looks like they’re not.
I read about a study once that said people who pray – it doesn’t matter what god (little “g”) they pray to – have measurably better outcomes than people who don’t.
I thought at the time that study was a strike against Christianity since the study “proved” you don’t have to be a Christian, or pray to the Christian’s God, in order to get benefits from prayers.
I’m a slow thinker, I guess, because that was years ago, and I just realized this week, that’s faulty thinking on my part, since when God tells us to pray, He is commanding us to do something that’s good for us, and good for others, and not just because of prayer being able to prompt the God of the universe into moving on our behalf.
But also because there are measurable psychological benefits to praying and, like I was thinking this week, in knowing someone is praying for you.
Doesn’t it do something to your spirit to know that someone is spending a little of their valuable time, lifting you up to the Father? That they care enough about you to remember to whisper your name in a quiet plea, wanting the best for you, caring about your health and life and circumstances? That their desire for you is for good, for improvement, for health and joy and life and happiness over sorrow, joy over tears, peace over pain, health over sickness. That they’re thinking of you, pulling for you, wanting every good thing for you?
How can that not inspire us and cause us to feel less alone and more like we are hedged about and lifted up and cared for and loved?
The more we feel like that, the more it changes our brain chemistry and the happier and more content we feel – stronger and better able to deal with whatever circumstances we’re in.
So, yeah, God moves in mysterious ways and often in response to the fervent prayers of His people.
But God also made our bodies, and our brains especially, to respond positively and powerfully in a measurable and non-mysterious way to the idea that others are praying for us.
I know yesterday I said I was praying for Chas and her husband. I pray for her every day even when she’s not sick.
I pray daily for Jay. Hey, if you work with me, you need it. What can I say?
I’m kidding. Mostly. Jay has the potential to reach the world with his voice, how could I not pray that God’s hand is on his life, guiding and blessing and keeping him healthy and making him prosper?
I have a lot of you on my prayer list – Carolyn and Karen, Alyson and Nan, Wren and Judi and Betty and Charlene and Bobbi and Karalee. There are more, Yvonne and Nancy and Kathryn and some whose names I can’t mention. I’m not saying that to brag or to make you think I’m a good person (I’m not – trust me on that), but because of everything I said above – it’s encouraging and life-changing to know that people are praying for you.
But, even if we didn’t have that “proof” – that prayer is good for you, God commands it, so we should do it – even when we question whether or not it’s working, whether it’s making a difference, whether God is ever going to change someone’s situation.
It’s a command. We might not understand the why’s, but if God commands it, we can know for sure that it’s good for us, and it’s a blessing to others.