Book Review – Heart and Home

It feels good to be back on my computer (almost said typewriter!) writing down my thoughts and creating stories. Although like most of my projects I have about 5 ideas going around in my mind at the same time. I guess that is how God created me, with an over active imagination, like my favorite character in literature, Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gable who was always looking at life through her “scope of imagination”.

Heart and HomeOn to one of my projects – my latest book review, Heart and Home by Jennifer Melzer

Over the summer I was determined to get back into the habit of reading and I am now comfortably in a routine. I used to sit and read at a drop of hat, anywhere, anytime. Well, life gets busy, especially now as I still struggle with finishing everything that needs done. Through trial and error I now end my busy days in comfy clothes, all curled up in my favorite spots with my nose in a book.

One of my favorite summer reads was a book written by my cousin, Jennifer Melzer. She did an interview on my friends blog – Marcia Meara, you can find it here. …http://marciameara.wordpress.com/?s=Jennifer+Melzer

Our family comes from a long line of story tellers. Imagination and writing is in our blood. If my father had written down all of his stories we would have been rich! So although he never made it to be a famous author, he did keep us rich in his stories or maybe I should say tall tales.

Jennifer lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and dragons, “but dreams nightly she is laying on the beach watching the stars fall over the Atlantic Ocean”. Although our family are mountain people, there a few including my grandmother, Jennifer’s great grandmother and my daughter who love the ocean. Jennifer like the rest of the family is a story teller. Unlike those that came before us who would sit in front of the fire and telling tall tales, Jennifer sits at her computer for hours perfecting her craft as she tells her own fables.

Jennifer has a an imagination that would make Anne Shirley proud! She writes fantasy romance fiction, and as it says on her facebook page she “spins yarns woven from heartstrings”. I am proud of her accomplishments, although I do not normally read fantasy fiction I wanted to read her latest book which at the time was “Edgelanders“. While waiting for it to come out, I noticed another book she wrote, ” Heart and Home“, an endearing story of the area we live. So I chose to start off with that one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Janice McCarty is a young journalist living in Pittsburgh when she gets the phone call we all dread. Her mother has suddenly passed away. She left her home in Sonesville, PA 8 years before and had seldom returned home. As she arrives she begins to feel out of place. While her friends married, had children, attended church suppers, quilting bees and a scrapbooking club, she had found a career in journalism.

Her plan was to make sure her dad was taken care of before she headed back to civilization where her job awaited her. Soon her life gets complicated by a former class mate and football star who had ambitions of his own. They kept bumping into each other in their small home town or maybe they were being thrown together by her mother’s restless spirit who, “leads her daughter down a path she swore she’d never take, and Chandra McCarty’s ghost has no intention of letting go until her daughter finally sees she’s more than just a byline, and home is where the heart is.”

You will enjoy this story about a young woman who comes face to face with her past only to realize that her past will soon become her future.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have not yet read any of Jennifer’s other titles, but they are on my list. Jennifer’s writing style, imagination and attention to detail has me anticipating reading her other titles. I hope you enjoy her books too and please leave a comment with your review as well.

You can find her list of books on Amazon by clicking here – Heart and Home

Her latest book is Sorrows Peak -  is also available on Amazon

Posted in Books, Home | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Day After Thanksgiving

I dedicate this song to everyone who waits until Thanksgiving to play Christmas music, decorate and start their shopping!

You can thank my son for giving me the CD – now I will think of all of you with smiles as I listen to this song and secretly sing to you “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas”!!

You know I love all of you! :D 

“The Day After Thanksgiving” by Brandon Heath
 
There’s still plenty of leaves
Golden on the trees
Hoodies, blue jeans and football
Bonfires and school nights
Scarecrows and hayrides
It’s fall everywhere except the mall

I don’t want to hear about Santa Claus coming
No silver bells or a dozen drummers drumming
I don’t want to see an inflatable nothing
Till the day after Thanksgiving
(And not a day early)

Don’t plug in those electric candles
Or dangle those stockings from the living room
Those tangled up lights are more than I can handle
Till the day after Thanksgiving

Then oh let it snow
Go and tell everyone you know
That Christmas is here
Every day between now and new year

Don’t deck the halls with the tinsel or the holly
You can make me grumpy but you can’t make me jolly
Elves don’t even make curly haired dollies
Till the day after Thanksgiving

Then oh let it snow
Christmas card, everyone you know
Then pour on the cheer
Every day between now and new year

I want the cookies and the mistletoe kissing
Angel on top of a tall tree glisten
Wrap it all up in a pretty red ribbon
The day after Thanksgiving

(You can put antlers on your car for all I care)
As long as its the day after Thanksgiving

Posted in Home, Music, Sunny Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Here Comes Santa Claus

CharlieBrownChristmasUpdate.JPG-675x550It it is time to start thinking “Christmas”.  Actually I think of Christmas all year-long as I reflect the birth of Jesus.  Then as I start sing Hark the Angels, Joy to the World and other favorite Christmas classics, soon I am singing, I Want A Hippopotamus, Nestor the Christmas Donkey, Deck the Halls, I’ll Be Home For Christmas and of course Here Comes Santa Claus sung by my two favorite singers, Doris Day and Gene Autry.   I could type a list of all my favorite Christmas songs.  You name it I love it!

I know everyone is going to comment that it is not Thanksgiving yet and you are right!  Years ago I thought how sad that we get to only listen to Christmas songs for 30 days out of the year.  So  I decided to started listening to Christmas songs the first day of school to celebrate the children going back and having the house to myself!

Then the movement of the stores to have Christmas in July came and I was hooked in bringing out the Christmas songs in July. 

This year I did start a bit later than usual only recently switching my regular CD’s over to Christmas.  But I am proud to say my daughter is following in my footsteps and is also listening to Christmas music. 

And you realize that with the Christmas music comes the Christmas movies. 

So call me crazy and you would be right because I am crazy for Christmas all year-long!

Enjoy your first Christmas song of the season…now you can get back to thinking about Thanksgiving as I get back to listening Christmas songs on Pandora.

But remember Christmas is only 88 days 7 hours and 37 minutes away (as I write this).

 

 

 

 

Posted in Home, Music, Special Moments | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

The silence of the morning
Tick tock goes the clock
A lonely bird cries out
 
The stillness opens the heavens
God fills our waking souls
The morning fog gives way
To the chill of an autumn day
 
Day is done
Silence fills the busy day
Darkness covers the weary land
As Crickets sing a nighttime lullaby
 
The silence of the evening
Tick tock goes the clock
God quiets our tired souls
 
                      Patty Beggs September 23, 2014
Posted in Home, Inspirational, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Fall Is In The Air

My White Dogwood Tree Oct 2013 It won’t be long until my Dogwood is this bright and colorful once again

Autumn. Don’t you just love the smell of the weather change? “Fall is in the air” my dad would say when the temperatures begin to change.

Although autumn doesn’t start until Sept 21, for me it starts with the first day of school. My children are grown now but it doesn’t stop me from feeling the excitement of seeing back to school supplies, children shopping for school clothes and the memory of a class room on that first day. Do you remember the smell of the first day of school?

With the coming of September I welcome the change from the slower pace of summer to the hustle and bustle of church and school activities.

It is interesting how each season has its own distinct qualities.

Winter is a time to curl up with good books in front of my fireplace (it is an electrical one but still a fireplace!) while enjoying a hot cup of British blends teas. Winter is also a good time to get caught up on all those sewing projects I have lying around. Who can resist that first snowfall that blankets our world?

Spring refreshes my world with hope as I watch earth’s slumber awaken with the signs of spring; new growth, spring flowers, baby bunnies and all of the birds returning from their southern journey. Spring is also the opportunity to indulge in spring cleaning as I clean out my closets and freshen up the house. Don’t you love the smell of the house that has just been scrubbed with Pine Sole as the window curtains flutter in the spring breeze?

Summer is set aside for vacations, working around the house and lazy days on the deck. The dog days of summer brings relaxation and enjoying good old-fashioned southern ice tea in front of my air conditioner. Who can remember laying down on the grass, watching the clouds float by and daydreaming of your future?

Oh but Autumn ~ my favorite time of year. The air is not only cooler after the lazy hot days of late summer, but it is brisk, fresh, and clean. Our mountains come alive in the colors of autumn, gold, russet, brown and orange. The smell of chalk boards and freshly copied paper from an old mimeograph machine permeates my mind. To this day I still enjoy buying new clothes in August and enjoy opening up a new notebook just waiting to be filled. Who remembers the anticipation of the first day of school?

Today as an adult my routine in Fall takes a different direction. Instead of getting ready for school, I prepare for committees and activities after a restful summer. My office is also busy as the committees of the Presbytery return from their summer breaks, new pastors move in and other pastors move on. The Presbyterian Church is also ready to start-up doing what they do best – helping others.

And that is where the next chapter in my life is taking me ~ helping others ~ as I anticipate the new challenges God has called me to.

I will be serving on a mission committee at church. We will have our first meeting next week as we find ways to help those in need both locally and in different parts of the world.

Then there is my term as the Historian for the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity. This year I will also serve not only as Historian but on their mission board. In addition I will also be undertaking the job of webmaster of their webpage. This is a story for a different time, because I did not see that one coming and walked right into volunteering to take over! But it is a challenge I welcome and will enjoy. I look forward to working with the person who set it up. (If you are reading this A.T. I thank you for this opportunity)

The biggest challenge has been to accept the responsibility of a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group leader. I have been in leadership for a few years but not as a group leader. We had our first class night and God has blessed me with a wonderful group of ladies. I look forward to not only seeing where God will lead me but where He will lead the class as we study about Moses together.

Regardless if I buy school supplies or office supplies or if I purchase clothes for work instead of for school I will always anticipate the new challenges that autumn brings.

What do you look forward to in autumn?

Posted in Home, Reflections, Special Moments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

How God Views Us

Patty B:

How God Views Us – as His Priceless Treasure, more valuable than any number of cows. He delights in us because we are His Redeemed Children… ” If you don’t know this already – accept it as truth, God LOVES you – you are important and valuable to God! “This gives us Godly Self-worth so there is no need for Worldly Self-esteem.

God sent His beloved one and only Son Jesus the Christ, a gift more precious than anything imaginable,

Originally posted on Freedomborn's Kingdom Garden:

Cow 33Cow 33A Story is told of a primitive culture where Brides were purchased from their Parents using cattle as an exchange medium.  An average Woman might merit the bride-price of two cows, an exceptional Woman

 might bring three; Cow 33Cow 33Cow 33

While a less desirable Woman’s family would receive one.

Cow 33

Into this Society, the Story goes, a rich and attractive Suitor came, looking for a Wife… 

 All the families paraded their eligible Daughters before him.  Everyone was surprised when he announced his intention to negotiate with the family of a young Woman who was unattractive and clumsy. 

 Perhaps it’s a bargain he’s after”, the Townspeople speculated, wondering if perhaps he would offer chickens instead of cows. 

  To everyone’s amazement, he offered the girl’s family six cows for their Daughter and quickly whisked her away for a long Honeymoon.

When they returned, months later, no one recognised the new Bride.  Gone were the…

View original 361 more words

Posted in Home | 11 Comments

Favorite Children’s Song

Mannheim school 1For some reason this week – it is probably with school starting, that I was reminded of when I was in the First Grade and the first two songs I learned.  You can say they are my favorite because whenever I hear it I am transported back to the DOD (Dept of Defense) Mannheim Elementary School in Mannheim Germany where my father was stationed.

The two most things I enjoyed was learning to read and singing songs.

I can hear my mother as she sang with me.  To me she had the most beautiful voice in the world as I think of her singing German folk songs and the songs from the hit parade.

What is your favorite song from childhood? 

Frere Jacques

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Author: Unknown

London Bridge Is Falling Down

 

Posted in Home, Music | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments

Little League Baseball Unites The World

Carl StotzEvery year for two weeks children unite the world with a game called “Little League Baseball”.

It all started in 1938, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania when a young man by the name of Carl Stotz organized the first Little League Baseball League. In 1947 the first National Little League Tournament was held. The Maynard Midgets of Stotz’ hometown of Williamsport defeated a team from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to become the first Little League Tournament Champions. From there the series would change from a regional baseball league to include teams from all 50 American States, and eventually be televised on national TV. “By 1950, the first international Little Leagues had been established at either end of the Panama Canal and in Canada, prompting the National Tournament to be renamed the Little League Baseball® World Series.” 1 And in 1957 “Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series”2.

LLBaseball

For two weeks out of the year we see cultural differences, hear foreign languages, and see the children of our future play together in a sport called Baseball. Year after year I watch the teams come together forming friendships and sharing an experience of a lifetime. I see firsthand the people of Williamsport and the surrounding communities welcoming the teams and their families.

We complain about the traffic, joke about not eating out at the local restaurants for 2 weeks and claim we will stay away from South Side (South Williamsport) where the games are now held. However by the end of July the town comes alive as the city plans for the teams arrival.

Before we know it, chairs start to line up on the parade route the night before as The Little League Grand Slam Parade begins and Williamsport welcomes the 16 teams.

Since 1975 when I moved to this area with my family, I have watched teams come from all over the world to participate in the Little League games. And during that time political and cultural differences are set aside as young boys and girls come together from as far away as Australia connecting the world by playing baseball.

Through the years teams from Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, South America, Africa and Russia to name a few, arrive in our little city. Those of us in the stands cheer and applaud the teams from abroad as if they were from our own hometowns. We do not see Asian, Mexican or Russians, we see young children coming together having fun and determined to do their best to win the championship title.

1408043155008-phxdc5-6gln00seb5k1k164ycsw-originalAs the world around us burns with unrest, these teams and their families show the world sportsmanship and team work. They show the world that people from different nationalities can indeed get along. So often I see the crowds stand up and applaud, supporting all the competing teams.

For two weeks in August the ball players, their families and the local community all come together as one.

There is a lesson to be learned from these two weeks– if those young ball players can bring the world together for two weeks out of the year why can’t world leaders find a common bond and come together the rest of the year? Can it be as simple as a baseball game?
Note: To find out which team will hold the 2014 Championship Title, you can watch the final game on Sunday August 24, 2014 on ESPN.

 

1http://www.littleleaguebiglegacy.com/Little_League_World_Series/About_the_Little_League_Baseball__World_Series.htm
2 http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/historyandmission/chronology.htm
For more information: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/worldserieshistory.htm http://www.northcentralpa.com/article/origin-little-league-baseball
Posted in Home, In The News, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

The Brave Scotsman ~ a short story

Hamish

unknown source

The Brave Scotsman

The sun was shining and not a cloud in the cool autumn sky as Hamish MacGinnis took his yearly walk to the old cemetery at the edge of the village. His steps were slow and no longer full of confidence. Every year rain or shine for the past 70 years he paid homage to the Memorial that sat in the middle of old worn headstones and tall weeds in the long forgotten cemetery.

He remembered the day he marched off in 1915 to fight in a war that was to end all wars. The flag of Scotland held high and songs of victory filled the air as the train pulled away.

As he neared the old battered train station, a train sounded in the distance. Old man MacGinnis was transported back to that day in 1915 when he boarded a train to an unknown future.

Flags were waving and crowds were cheering as the regiment boarded the train. Hamish held his Annie tight as her tears fell among the platform.

With shoulders bent and thoughts of Annie’s last embrace, Hamish went back inside where men were playing cards, laughing and joking about anything but what lay ahead of them.

Little Bobby MacTavish was the first of many to fall.

He remembered that day when he was marching with Bobby talking about home both laughing at the memories of boyhood shenanigans. Out of nowhere a bullet came and Bobby fell.

Gun fire erupted from both sides and then all was silent. The eerie stillness sunk deep into the souls of the men. Silence. A word they all yearned for yet feared. Hamish laid Bobby to rest on a muddy field, with a faded old ribbon attached to the picture of young woman who will be left to mourn the memory of a lost love.

Men came and went, killed in unknown valleys and farmlands, a long line of young men he was afraid to know yet would always remember the men who will forever lay in unmarked graves and on muddy fields.

Three years later he came home to the bands playing, men from other wars shaking his hand, young boys asking to see his medals and pretty young girls ready to offer up forbidden kisses.

A hero had returned home as a young woman waited, holding her breath until she held him in her arms and tears once again fell on the platform.

A hero, no longer a boy but a changed man who survived hell to come home to an unknown world, nothing seemed familiar yet everything was the same.

A hero, to be remembered for that fateful afternoon in a faraway village…

As the last of his childhood friends died on a cold winter night in 1917 – Hamish felt as if a bullet found the depths of his soul where darkness and hardness had now taken root. He fought and killed as if he were possessed by evil himself.

In the fall of 1918 they came upon what was left of a Belgium village. Only one building was left standing. As Hamish drew near he noticed a movement in a curtain, he signaled for his men to stop. Moving ever so slowly towards the building – a church, he steadied his rifle when a little head stared back at him. A child. Then another child stood up and looked out the window, then another in a doorway. The child in the doorway saw him and came forward – displaying the beauty of innocence, as he was reminded of another time in another life when innocence shone in the beauty of his love.

In that moment he saw the flash, heard the mortar as it found its target beyond the church. Hamish felt a stirring in his heart and called out to his men to save the children. Grabbing the child he ran towards the building. Risking their lives they found a child’s refuge in a battle-scarred church. The men held their ground while fighting erupted all around them. Mortars fell short and bullets missed their mark as men from the Kings Army protected dozens of children in an abandoned church.

As the battle came to a close and the Germans retreated, Hamish and his men left the church and was surprised at the destruction all around them but the church was left unharmed. A little girl reached out and put her hand in his, and as she smiled up at him  it was there that Hamish found the shattered pieces of his soul he thought long destroyed.

Dozens of lives were saved that afternoon. They were lives that grew up to become men and women who would also reach out to a new generation of innocence, protecting Jewish children from the storms of another war in a safe refuge of an old battle-scarred church.

He entered the cemetery with the memory of that day filling his heart and remembering that little girl whom many say he was a hero for saving. But it was that little girl who saved him when she reached for his hand.

Laying his poppies down at the memorial, he heard the voices once again from the past, all calling out to him. Then he saw his Annie, also reaching out to him telling him it is time to come home.

A warm Voice called out, “welcome home my brave Scotsman” and as Hamish looked up he saw a brilliance he could not explain and the Voice called out “well done faithful servant”. Soon he was surrounded by the thousands of souls that were saved because of one man’s heroism to save the beauty of innocence in a world gone mad.

In the midst of all those souls, one hand reached out….

Patty B.  August 2014
flanders_field

unknown source

Posted in Home, Short Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Roots of Hope

unknown source

unknown source

“The root of Jesse will spring up one who will arise to rule over the nations; in Him the Gentiles will hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:12-13

We however do not always overflow in hope. So often we place our hope and trust in what isn’t real. We read things, watch things and absorb so much “stuff” in our daily lives that we have somehow lost the hope of God that is deeply rooted in us.

So what is hope?? It is a desire for something good in the future and when we express hope, we are expressing uncertainty. But this is not the distinctive biblical meaning of hope. Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future, but with confidence Biblical Hope expects it to happen. What are the elements of this kind of hope?

~ Biblical Hope is faith that begins as a seed that is planted in us. It is a desire based on a promise from God. If we plant this seed into the soil of our hearts and if the soil is nourished, it will take root and bring forth a harvest of faith.

We must have hope to live in hope. To not have hope is to despair and in Christ, we are delivered from despair. How many of you are familiar with Anne of Green Gables? In the beginning of the movie, Anne laments that she is in the depths of despair. Her guardian Murilla Cuthbert quickly tells her that “to despair is to turn your back on God”. Whenever I remember that quote I always say to myself, “but to have hope is to embrace God”.

Hope is the seed that Jesus planted in us. Hope has been deeply rooted in us through the Holy Spirit and allows us to embrace God when we find ourselves in the “depths of despair”. When hope takes root and eventually blossoms, our despair will turn to hope. We will embrace the seed planted in us through God’s living and abiding Word. We will see our hope overflow – fresh and new every day.

~ Biblical Hope influences the way we live. What sustained Joseph through all the trials he experienced? He was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, lied about by Potiphar’s wife, unjustly thrown in prison. Many of you know the story. Life got pretty unfair for Joseph. What kept him going? What kept him faithful to God? HOPE gave Joseph revelation of what can be and Joseph grabbed hold of God’s plan for his life and hung on. What is God’s plan for your life and are you hanging on? There is nothing like fulfilling God’s plan for our life. God’s possibilities set before us are limitless!

~ Biblical Hope is heaven-sent. The hope that is not of this world will never disappoint you and can’t be taken away that is heaven-sent hope. Real hope is a gift from God. The words of the prophet Isaiah found their fulfillment in a babe born in a manger. Our hope was sent from heaven; real hope has a name; His name is Jesus! Jesus is our hope!

Hear the first verse of the hymn, “The Solid Rock” – “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

~ Biblical Hope must be received personally. Notice the words of the song do not say, “Our hope,” but “MY HOPE.” Until you and I choose to accept God’s gift of hope found only through His Son Jesus, we live in this world without hope.
God doesn’t give us an empty hope; our hope does indeed overflows! The supply of hope is not going to diminish or come up short. Heaven sent hope is always more than enough!

In verse 13 of the Romans passage, Paul says as we trust in the God of hope we will “overflow with hope” (NIV), in the Message bible it states, “God will fill us so full we “brim over with hope”.

Has life thrown you a curve-ball and struck you out?

Are you having a hard time finding any silver lining around all your grey clouds?

Has work become drudgery?

Do you have too much month left at the end of your money?

Trust God and allow Him to pour His hope into your life. God won’t just give you enough for today. God won’t leave you needing more. God will cause hope to overflow within your life as you become God’s Living Hope for the world to see. Again, from the Message translation, “We will brim over in Hope”.

When life confronts you with hard times you can either let your circumstances get you down or you can rise above the circumstances with Biblical HOPE. Let this hope give you the endurance and strength to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up; the hope that God offers will see you through!

May Biblical Hope take root in your soul ~

May it overflow in your life ~

And may the Living, Honest, Patient, Sustaining, and Eternal Hope you have found deeply nourish the lives you touch.

Posted in Home, Inspirational, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments