As the Book of 2017 Draws to a Close…

Another year has reached an end. At 12:00am the gong will strike and 2017 will join its predecessors as a Ghost of Years Gone Past.

I have often seen a year referred to as a chapter that comes to a close on December 31st. While I can understand that, I tend to see each year as more of a book.

Each day of the year is a scene, each week a chapter, each month a part, and each year a book in this series of Life. And each dawn of the New Year, as I close the book on the last paragraph, I store the volume away in my mental library to review later.

Some books are reviewed more often than others. Some are quite dusty from hardly any handling. Some are well used. Some, even when I pull them down, have such faded writing, as to only have certain section visible anymore. 1995 for instance, only has some chapters in legible print. 1992 only has certain pages.

Over some chapters, despite the clear presence of the ink, the pages are difficult to read, because water drops have damaged the paper and made the ink begin to run. The storm left its mark and is sometimes clearer than the actual events accompanying it.

Other pages, mostly pressed together in one sole book, are obscured by so many marks and splatters of dark ink, that it’s difficult to review the words inscribed at all. The mental darkness of those days made itself quite visible on the written page.

Still, though the ink in every book shifts from dark to bright, if I remember to look closely at each page, I’ll be able to see that every word is written in shimmering gold, a reminder that the LORD’s hand is always evident in my life. Sometimes the darkness fades away and the ink shines brighter with age, other times those pages remain dark as ever.

Now, I’m drawing near to closing the book on 2017. The LORD blessed me with many lovely experiences this year. October was one of my favorite chapters. I went on an airplane, I met one of my dearest friends in person, I saw Virginia, visited Mount Vernon, and later in the month, we all attended our church Reformation Party, which is always a highlight of my year.

December was another favorite chapter. Besides Christmas with its lights, music, and celebration of Christ’s birth, my nephew Triumph made an appearance and his whole family spent two weeks at our house.

Other chapters and pages stand out as I glance through the book. I published Presumption and Partiality in November. I manned a book booth at the Homeschool Convention in July. We celebrated my niece’s first birthday in May.

Yes, there are tear-stained pages and ink splattered chapters. I’m not sure I have more than one book without them – just the first, which is honestly so faded now, that I can’t read it at all. Yet, I tend to focus on the sad and darkened parts far too often, so tonight, I’m focusing on the blessings and joys.

As I close the Book of 2017 and let it slip away as a Ghost of Year’s Gone Past, while the first page of 2018 opens with a bright clean slate, I pray this year proves to be one of Giving and Growth, while giving glory to my LORD.

Happy New Year! It’s time to greet 2018 with a smile and with the knowledge that whatever is ahead, our God is sovereign and in control. Enter the New Year praising HIS Name!

To the KING be all the Glory!

~”It’s a Wonderful Life” and a Lesson in Thankfulness…

It’s a Wonderful Life. My family watches it, at least, once every Christmas. Despite its oddities, it’s a film that I look forward to every year. Watching George Bailey grow up, marry, have a family, experience loss, and then hit rock bottom before he is shown how different the world would be if he had never been born. It’s an interesting movie, spanning a long stretch of George’s life. The Singhs even watch it in 24 Days Before Christmas, though they don’t watch a lot of films.

However, as much as I enjoy the film, one thought started to creep into my head in these recent years. A thought that, instead of taking it captive to the obedience of Christ, I fed and nourished.

I wish I could have the same experience as George Bailey. I wish someone would show me all the good things that wouldn’t have happened in the world, if I hadn’t existed. And I wish there would be as many things for me, as there were for him.

If you can’t tell by the above statement, besides having an inordinate amount of focus on myself, I have struggled with feeling useless or unneeded or even worthless. Not only were my thoughts unhelpful in purging those feelings, they didn’t help me snuff out the spotlight that I had trained on myself either. Instead, they bred more self-focus and a sinful discontent. I also realized that I may have missed the real point of the movie.

George Bailey didn’t ask to be told how important his existence had been or shown how much of a blessing he had been to his fellow men. He had lived a life of putting others first, in a humble way, not elevating himself for it. He didn’t ask to be honored for his love and service before or, what struck me most, after he saw the impact that he had made.

George didn’t go running though the streets of Bedford Falls, puffed up with pride, shouting how wonderful it was and how honored the citizens should feel that he had been born in their town. He didn’t start yelling, “Look what I’ve made possible! Look what my life has influenced! Look what I have done for you all!”

No, he ran through those streets with a renewed love and gratefulness for the life and people and places that he had been blessed with. For the wife, children, brother, mother, family, and friends that had been given to him. He cast aside his discontent and despair, not in a selfish glow of pride, but in a beautiful burst of thankfulness. And all before his troubles changed. He still thought that he was headed to jail, didn’t know how he was going to take care of his family, and might have pictured the Building and Loan soon to be in ruins.

I always thought the movie was about showing George how important he was. While the movie is about the life of George Bailey, or part of it, the message points to thankfulness and recognizing the blessing staring you in the face, even in the midst of a storm, as well as remembering that your life does impact others in ways you may never even know or simply don’t think about. (I mean, seriously. If George had thought about it really hard, he would have known that if he wasn’t there, some things would change, most obviously being that he wouldn’t have a wife or kids. He didn’t really need Clarence to show him some of those things. George just never seemed to have thought that far.)

Sometimes, we’re not meant to see the ways we impact others. At least, not this side of Heaven. We are told to consider it all joy during trials and to give thanks to the LORD in everything. That last would require recognition of, at least, some of the blessings that the LORD has given us. If we’re to give thanks to the LORD in everything – than there must always be something to thank Him for. Even in the deepest, darkest moment. There is always something that we can thank the Father for, even if it doesn’t feel like it. (And I’ve been there, in the dark, where thinking alone hurts, much less trying to think of thanking the LORD.) It’s a Wonderful Life is a good reminder that sometimes we’re blinded to our blessings or we take them for granted in such a way, that we never even think of them, let alone thank our Creator.

Did Frank Capra think through all that when he created the film? I have no idea. He certainly didn’t lay it out in so many words. Yes, the movie is still a little weird and theologically skewed. (Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings – really, the only thing going for that line is the rhyme.) Still, it was a great illustrative reminder for me. I am so thankful that the LORD can use whatever means that He pleases to illustrate His truths to us!

To the KING be all the glory!

~”Presumption and Partiality” is Live!

After over two-and-a-half years… I am so pleased to announced that Presumption and Partiality is officially available as both a paperback and an Kindle ebook!

Isn’t it beautiful? Every single time I publish a new book, I am just as in awe as the last time. It’s an amazing, thrilling feeling to see a project, like a novel, reach the finish! So many hours of writing, prayer, editing, scrapping whole pages, prayer, typing, more editing, and even more prayer are represented by this little book. Praise the LORD that it’s reached completion!

Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice.

Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation.

When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.




The Homeschool Convention is Over Already!

The Homeschool Convention is over. Wow, it went fast.

My sisters and two friends went with me on Friday morning and by the time we were finished setting up, I had a lovely booth! Between navigation miscommunication, a wrong turn, and a looney GPS, we did manage to get lost and arrived rather later than I had planned, but nothing dreadful resulted and we were set up and ready in good time for the exhibit hall to open. I really loved the added aspect of the bookshelf and the ice cream set we did this year. Having only been a Young Entrepreneur with a little booth before, I had no idea how large my space would be this year! My fears of being crowded were very unfounded.

I had some great booth neighbors, who truly kept me laughing the entire time. I doubt if I entertained them much, as I can rarely be accused of being funny, but they were a blast to be around. They kept even the slow hours from being boring.

Second day, I decided for various reasons, to try a different setup. I admit, I was sceptical about the outcome, since I went into a change more from necessity than anything else, but it actually turned out far more lovely than I expected!

The day felt both short and very long. I had some great conversations and enjoyed reconnecting with people I had met in previous years, as well as meeting new ones. We handed out a ton of flyers and toward the end of the day I drew a winner for the giveaway. A highlight of the day definitely had to be the two young ladies who, at separate times, found me, recognized my books, and got super excited. They each had gotten one of my books the year before and loved it. I hope they enjoy their new books this year, half as much!

Even when there weren’t many people around looking at my books, my sisters were around when they weren’t wandering about, and I had several friends in and out of my booth. I even got to hold and play with little people a few times.

At the end of the day, I had lots of help and we got my booth packed up quick and efficient. I had several lovely helpers and they did a great job!

Overall, it was a good convention. The LORD has blessed me! I’m already looking forward to next year!

To the KING be all the glory!

~Life of Washington – A Review

In continuance of my reading challenge, I give you my review on a Biography.

Life of Washington by Anna C. Reed
Originally Published in 1842

George Washington led an exemplary life of service to God and his country, from his very boyhood. Raised by godly parents, they instilled in him a sense of honestly and duty, which proved him well in his many roles as son, land surveyor, soldier, husband, General, guardian, land-owner, benefactor, master, state representative, and President of the United States.

Miss Reed tells us about the life of one man, used of the LORD in many diverse ways of many years. Pulling from legends, letters, diary excerpts, personal testimonies, and using engaging narration, she paints a picture of the life of George Washington, as well as the events leading to the start of the country that he helped to found.

This book proved both interesting and well-written, often binging the reader back to the Bible with Scriptures and reminders of God’s promises.

I truly enjoyed reading Life of Washington. It rarely grew dull, and when it did, those sections were short. Much of what I read, I had studied before, but it was good to refresh my memory.

General Washington always has been one of my heroes and this book confirmed that in the best of ways.

To the KING be all the glory!