Consistency – Through the Word

So, you can probably expect me to have quite a few Consistency-related posts this year. At least, if I can become a more consistent blogger you will. Not surprisingly, since God is my highest priority, I intend to put more of an emphasis on His Word this year than I ever have before. One of the tools I’m using is the Through the Word Bible app. I learned about it while doing their study of Luke in the YouVersion Bible App (review to follow) before Christmas, and I’m hooked.

The concept is simple. They’ve put together teachings on every single chapter in the Bible. You can walk through the Bible one book at a time, which would be awesome, or you can browse their topical options. I’m currently going through their End Times collection, which uses chapters from Daniel, Thessalonians, Jude, and Revelation, and I can’t limit myself to one session a day. The things I’m learning are fascinating and valuable!

Anyway, it’s really that easy. Download the “Through the Word” app, register, and then take time to do their introductory session. While you might want to dive right in, it is best to start here. However, if you’re too ready to run forward, just go to Browse, select the series that interests you, and tell it to start playing.

I expect to use this one a LOT in 2020!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Consistency

Every December, I assess the year I’ve just lived – not what’s happened to me, but how I’ve lived it. This year was a mixed bag. In some areas I’ve grown, thank God. In others, not so much.

So now I look to 2020, and what needs to change. The big word is consistency. I need to be more consistent in so many areas of my life that it’s daunting, but as I recently learned from a YouTuber I watch, “Consistency is what stands between you and success.”

So here goes. I’m stepping out into consistency with determination and hope. 2020, let’s do this.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Time to Look Back

As you reach the end of a flight and head to the terminal, you see people gathering their belongings and preparing to disembark. Ensuring they leave nothing behind is part of their flight plan; it enables them to start the next part of their journey with one less concern.

December is the end of our flight. We’re on the tarmac, heading for the gate. Now is the time to look back, to assess where we are relative to where we were in January.

Did we throw out the habits that were holding us back? Did we develop new habits that have made us stronger? Did we gain the courage to end destructive relationships, or to take the risk and enter into new ones God led us to?

In January we will look to the future, setting goals and making plans. We will be better prepared to do this if we first set aside even a little time in December to discover where we really are.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Spirit Sword

By Sam Ford

“The End came too soon.”
“There had better be a sequel!”

These were my first two thoughts as I finished the last page of Spirit Sword. My third thought was that people had better buy and read this book so the author will hurry up and start the next in the series if he hasn’t already.

Take one unlikely hero, a child, and rip his life away from him. Then introduce him to a sentient sword who knows the true history of the world (and a whole lot more), and off you go on a grand adventure.

Spirit Sword is the type of book that more than entertains you. It engages you. You become part of the adventure.

I would say that this is an admirable first offering for an aspiring author, but it doesn’t read like a first book at all. The well-developed characters fit into their excellently-crafted storyline perfectly. It’s intended for a young adult, male audience, but this almost-60-year old female couldn’t put it down.

Spirit Sword, you had me at, “Hello.”

Changing Language

One song in Kanye West’s new album raises a question: Is “damn” no longer a curse word? Has it ceased being considered profanity?


I was shocked to learn that many younger people, including one particular friend whom I truly respect, do not consider damn to be a curse word. I was shocked and appalled, but then I remembered… 


As a word nerd, I was flabbergasted when I realized that, according to the dictionary, the word “literally” can now be used figuratively. Today, you can say, “I was literally dying laughing,” and be speaking correctly. 


You can. I can’t. 


But it gets worse. One of my pet peeves, for years, has been Christians using the words “incredible” and “unbelievable” in reference to God and His acts. I mean, come on, do you really want to say that what God has done can’t be believed when your point as a Christian is to help others believe?!


But, according to my recent venture into one of the newer dictionaries, this usage is now perfectly acceptable.


For others, of course. I can’t do it. 


And finally, I remembered a point at which an older friend proofed a book I was writing. I had used the word… hm… maybe it was “geez.” I honestly don’t remember what it was, but he took time to gently explain to me that people from his generation saw it as a euphemism for an unacceptable word. I didn’t know it had been used that way, had that connotation, but because I respect his generation I took it out. 


Which brings me back to the original question. Has the word “damn” been overused to such an extent that it, literally, is no longer only a curse word, no longer considered profane?


For me, never, but I’m forced to admit that language changes as time passes and, though it’s hard for me to accept, it may very well be so. 


Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Looking for Ever After

Debra Clopton is a current favorite of mine. I’ve just realized I already own about half of her books. This is not good; she needs to write faster.

Seriously, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book since I finished its predecessor, Longing for Love, with Jonah left standing there…alone. I like Jonah, and I’ve been waiting for him to find his gal. Clopton hasn’t disappointed. Her storytelling is always a delight, and the way she has her characters grow in their relationship with God is a continual encouragement. In Longing for Ever After, she’s introduced some new characters who fit into Sunset Bay perfectly, and I look forward to seeing how they help develop the story of the Sinclair clan.

She also introduced some new conflicts and challenges, which is something she excels at. One of the things she excels at is helping her characters learn to cope. As a “Polly,” who had to get past things, I am very happy with the way she had Jonah handle developments – all of the developments. In fact, I was so caught up in the story that it was rather a disappointing shock to realize I’d reached the end. It didn’t feel like I’d been reading for hours.

I’m an experienced reviewer, but I’ve never really handled fiction before; this is a challenge, telling you that you want to read the book without giving any real hints about what will happen. So…just take my word for it. You want this one.

Old-fashioned Fun

Sterling Municipal Library, Baytown, TX

I have some awesome grandkids, and I love doing things with them. In fact, when it comes to things like birthdays, I prefer doing things with them to buying things for them. So when Connor’s birthday rolled around, we settled on an old-fashioned scavenger hunt.

Our city has been working on adding public art for the past several years, so we got a list of addresses and a map and took off. Well, we took off after mapping the locations of the art installations we were looking for. This made for a great impromptu lesson in map reading. We don’t think about how much we rely on Siri for directions!

Our initial goal was to track down all of the decorated boxes. We met that goal; the cat box is only one of many we found that day. But they’ve been REALLY art busy in Baytown, so we were far from done. If I were an Instagrammer, I’d have had a ball!

This book sculpture at the Sterling Municipal Library is fabulous!

Umbrella Alley, Texas Avenue, Baytown, TX
Art League of Baytown

Connor got REALLY excited when we found this…

Because it meant we’d also found…

…and what felt like a hundred other classic cars. His passion for classic cars, sports cars, etc., is… Wow. According to him, I had officially given him one of the best birthdays ever.

In fact, in the midst of a recent discussion about all of the new decorated boxes that are popping up around town, he said, “It sounds like we need to get back in the van and go hunting!”

Yes. That is what we call success.

If you’re in or near Baytown, you should really check out our public art – this is only the smallest sampling. I’ve lived here most of my life and am only now learning just how much there is to do within just a few miles of my house.

https://www.visitbaytown.com

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C