Why Has Tammy Been Quiet?

Ok, so I’ve not been too obviously quiet, since I had several blog posts scheduled weeks out, but there are reasons you’ve only seen a few posts from me in the past month. One reason is that gnats invaded my apartment and this gal is allergic to gnat bites. The results had me down hard for about two weeks, but I’m coming out of it now praise God. But that’s really secondary to my big news.

We’re working on my new website!

I know things look the same here, and they will for…I’m not sure how long. One of the biggest hurdles has been successfully run, however, and my developer has completed the process of moving my blog to their server where it will become part of a new website in which I’ll be able to go more in depth in several areas.

This has been an educational trip, I tell ya!

We’re working on multiple things at once, and one of the most exciting for me is branding: color choice, style, etc. It’s kind of fun, and really interesting. It’s also making me think outside of my usual box. On the branding questionnaire, for instance, I encountered some surprises. One that caught me off guard was something along the lines of “If your brand were an animal what animal would it be?”

My answer? A peacock!
If you know me, you know I love peacocks,
but my response goes beyond simple animal preference.

Have you ever heard a peacock? If so, you would probably agree they can be pretty annoying. Frankly, the same could be said about me – has been. Honestly, there will be times you probably don’t want to hear what I have to say. In the past, I’ve been pretty conservative, staying in the middle of the road, trying not to offend anyone, but there’s no time for that anymore.

I have a revelation of Eternity that demands I do all I can to help others not only live well in this life, but also prepare for the next. There’s not a person on Earth who is guaranteed tomorrow. We may want to ignore that fact, but we can’t change it. Hebrews 9:27 (NET) speaks truth loudly when it says, “And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgement…”

Yep, I’m not the only one who can say things that people don’t want to hear. The Word of God can be just as annoying as that peacock’s voice when you don’t want to listen to what God has to say. Even so, our preferences do not change the truth God speaks.

And then there’s the undeniable beauty! Even if you’re not a peacock lover, you have to admit that, when he fans his tail, the peacock demands attention. He’s lovely. He’s majestic. Each feather is simply amazing, so much so that they’re reproduced in myriad artistic ways! Have you ever studied one, literally handled it with intent? They’re awesome!

God’s Word is like that too! It’s beautiful! You can look at it in intricate detail and be absolutely amazed. You can come to the same passage you’ve read before and see something entirely new that you missed the first time. Like that extraordinary peacock, the Bible demands attention, drawing you in and leaving you in awe. Of course, the peacock is only a bird; it can’t even begin to the compare with the Word, but you get what I mean. I hope?

And that is why I chose this animal as the answer to that question.

I am super excited about this move and all it will help me do! The website will serve as a home to Experiencing the Bible and a devotional I’ve begun writing, as well as anything else God has me do. I’m also making plans for a newsletter that will allow me to communicate more personally and share snippets from the upcoming book. But there’s more! At my developer’s request, I’ve been making a wishlist.

One of the things I’m particularly excited about having is a dedicated reviews page where I can share my thoughts on, and experiences with, various resources. My primary focus being on helping Christians grow in the Lord, you can expect to see reviews of Bibles and other such things for sure. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll include other types of reviews on a permanent page or simply keep sharing them here as blog posts. Feel free to offer up an opinion on that.

Don’t worry, my blog will continue to be just as eclectic as it has been.
My brain demands it!

So yes, I’ve been quiet lately. In large part, it’s because I couldn’t post anything that wasn’t prescheduled during the transition, at least I don’t think I could have? It’s also because I’ve been busy, not just with this move to a full-blown home on the web, but also with my full-time job; I kept working during the gnat debacle (and came home each night and cratered) because there’s so very much to do. 

You may remember that I work for a church, Hillside Church in Mont Belvieu, Texas, to be exact. We’re deep into one of our two busiest times of the year right now as we prepare for the auction that provides the bulk of the funds for Operation BAM, a vitally important ministry that helps untold numbers of people, all around the world, every year. You read a little about it in my post “Relief to the Texas Panhandle.”

This ministry is one of my absolute favorites. Yes, we have the disaster response truck. We also provide car seats to a local hospital so that mamas who can’t afford one are taken care of. We support missionaries and organizations around the world. We provide protein for shelters and other organizations that usually only receive donations of non-perishables. We make Christmas dreams come true for multiple families every year, and also celebrate Christmas by taking trailers loaded with bicycles into neighborhoods and passing those bicycles (and trikes, and this past year scooters) out to resident children and any others who show up. We have a team of quilters who make special blankets for those who are going through cancer treatments, we support a men’s rehabilitation facility, and we help out a local pregnancy resource center.

And more!
It seems every time I turn around
Operation BAM is doing more, and I love it!

So right now I’m neck deep in auction items and preparations for our upcoming Crawfish Boil & Auction. Yes, this means I’ll still probably be a little quiet, if not as much as I have been, but only for a couple more weeks…maybe three.

Hopefully, I’ll soon be fully back and you’ll be seeing at least three posts a week from here on out. In the meantime, thank you for being part of my community. I love having you here!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Reader Review: Experiencing the Bible

Review: Peg Flint
Originally posted on Amazon. Reprinted with permission.

 A great resource for anyone who wants to apply the Bible to their life
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2023

I have enjoyed this book, and I’m sharing some images from pages I haven’t written on to give you an idea of the various entries.

But…let me start with the beginning. Not only does the author take the time to introduce herself, but she also shares about her life as a Christian. Her comments about reading through the WHOLE Bible have inspired me to start reading through the whole Bible, too, because it feels like I tend to reread only certain books. She explains how reading the WHOLE Bible helps you see a bigger picture of what God is doing and how the books come together to tell His Story. She also shares the way she first read through it in 90 days.

I immensely enjoyed the intro; it made me think about how much I read and study the Bible.

I really like the portions of scripture she has chosen for this book because, with each one, she shares from sermons, study notes, and her own experiences. Half of the page is blank for you to write your own study notes, cross-references, or whatever you choose to do with the page. It’s there for you to interact with the scriptures and comments on that page.

I hope she does more books, but I wish she would do them on whole books of the Bible. For instance, I’d love to see a book on just the book of Ephesians or James (probably the two books I read the most).

However, whatever she writes – I will read it because I find her notes thought-provoking, and they encourage me to learn more.

Experiencing the Bible by Tammy M Cardwell – available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. Ebook also available at your favorite online shops.

Photoshoot Results

Photo Credit: Angela Hernandez of Creative Heart Photography

Aphantasia Network publishing my latest aphantasia post as an article triggered the need for an updated set of portraits. Or, more accurately, it shoved me forward into doing what I know is a professional necessity for my upcoming new website and my social media accounts.

But, you see, photoshoots are one thing I have always dreaded, because I almost never like photos of myself. This is literally the first time I’ve gone into a shoot unfazed. I’d decided to leave the whole thing in the hands of God and the photographer (and told God about this decision, of course). The result was a Tammy who wasn’t worried about “producing” and could simply relax into obeying the photographer’s instructions.

It was a great experience over all, even though our outdoor shoot in Baytown’s historic district meant very cold wind. I told my photographer that I had a whole new respect for models who do bikini shoots in the middle of winter! We did get some good pictures, though, including the one above. My favorite is this one of me against a plain brick wall. It was one of the few times that the wind worked in our favor. Or, as she put it while shooting, we got a diva wind.

You see those crossed arms? Yep, not only for looks.
It was fuhreeeezing! But fun!

It got even more fun when we moved to the studio. Not being at the mercy of the elements meant we could take our time and get more creative while having laughs and picking on each other. I really like a lot of what we accomplished there!

I genuinely appreciate the results of this shoot, both because I had an experience I not only totally enjoyed and that we ended up with such completely satisfying results.

And I leave you with the last photo we took. Well, one of the last. I’d already kicked off my shoes and moved to the floor for other poses when she asked me to “sit criss cross.” My book, Experiencing the Bible, was sitting right there so I snatched it up as if I were reading it and she started shooting.

When she was finished, I read aloud the verse I’d randomly turned to. It was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” That “happens” to be my life verse, has been for years, and I don’t believe there was anything random about it being the one I was looking at in those last shots. God is so cool!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

PS: The links to Experiencing the Bible are associate links. If you buy a copy using this link I’ll not only earn my usual royalties, but will also get just a little bit extra as an Amazon associate. Thanks!

Keeping Busy & Exciting News

What progress looks like.

I have multiple projects running simultaneously today, so my bed has officially become part of my desk.

I’m particularly excited about what’s on the bed, because it represents a definite start on my next book. I’ve been asked repeatedly if I would write something else, and I’ve had a few ideas I wanted to pursue, but none were quite right.

Until now.

Those of you who appreciate my reactions to scripture in Experiencing the Bible will be happy to know this is going to be similar. Note: Not the same, but similar. At this point it’s looking like it might be a devotional, though it’s too early to know that for sure.

I’m so excited about it that I’m seriously considering starting a newsletter so I can keep those who are interested up to date on the progress. If you would like to receive it, probably twice a month at most, email me at tammymcardwell@gmail.com so I can notify you when I open subscriptions.

And now I need to get back to work. I pray you have an amazing day!

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Woman in the Basket

In Zechariah chapter 5 we see our prophet friend having an absolutely bizarre vision, one I’ve heard more than one person attempt to explain – never in a way that made sense to me. But I may finally understand it.

Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”
“What is it?” I asked.
He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain, and it’s filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.”
Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it.
The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.
Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.
“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
He replied, “To the land of Babylonia, where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”

Zechariah 5:5-11 NLT

According to the vision…

  • The basket is filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.
  • The woman’s name is Wickedness.
  • The basket will be taken to Babylon.
  • A temple will be built for the basket.
  • The basket will be placed on a pedestal in the temple.

As a reminder, Old Testament prophesies are sometimes literal and sometimes figurative. They also can have multiple fulfillments. With that in mind…

Working our way backwards through this list, it becomes clear that the basket or, more accurately, what it contains, will be worshipped. This is, after all, what happens in temples. Just as God was worshipped in the Temple built for Him, this basket’s contents will be worshipped in the temple built for it.

I’m thinking a figurative temple.

The temple will be built in Babylon, which in the Bible represents the world’s system.

So, if I read this prophecy correctly, it’s telling us that the world’s system will worship wickedness and sin.

Which it takes little discernment to see pretty much sums up the condition of the world right now. Today’s society condones just about everything God condemns. In fact, it doesn’t just condone sin; it exalts sin, pushing it to the forefront in every arena possible, sadly even in the church. The world system we live in, indeed, worships sin and wickedness.

As I see it, this is just one more sign of how close we are to The End.

Celebrating Jesus and looking for His return!
Tammy C

He Let Everyone Hear

In Luke 23:34 NLT, you read, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.‘“ This line always makes me pause, because it shows His tremendous love for the people, His mercy, and His grace, but there is another verse in this chapter that also makes me sit up and take notice.

Think about every crucifixion scene you’ve ever watched. Almost always, you hear Jesus gasp out words just before he dies.

But that’s not what happened.

“Then Jesus shouted, ‘Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!’ And with those words he breathed his last.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:46‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you see it?

Jesus SHOUTED.

At the end, He left no room for doubt. With a voice that could be heard by everyone present, this man for whom shouting should have been a physical impossibility (google crucifixion) let everyone know that God was His father and that He was still the one in control. By all rights, it should have taken several more hours for Him to die, but He very publicly died when HE chose.

Everyone present had to recognize the significance, so it’s really no surprise that the soldier made his declaration in verse 47.

They were all there either to mourn or to mock and jeer. They were also there, whether they liked it or not, to hear.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Carry Your Own Cross

“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me,
you cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:27 NLT

I’m reading through the book of Luke in preparation for Christmas, and after much thought decided I needed to back up to this verse for a bit.

We celebrate Christmas in honor of Jesus, who is the greatest gift. He came, by His own choice, to die so that we could live. It’s important to note that He didn’t come to bring salvation as it is sometimes casually viewed – essentially a get out of jail free card. He came so that we can LIVE. We aren’t only looking forward to eternity in His presence, but to a full and abundant life right here, a life that counts where His Kingdom is concerned.

Foundational to living, truly living, is being His disciple. Those who heard Him that day, in Luke 14, knew exactly what He was saying when He used the word “disciple.” To be someone’s disciple is to follow their example in all things. It is also to accept and act on their instruction and guidance as they strive to help you mature. Jesus was actually making the offer to all who heard Him, but few would accept the invitation. Why?

In verse 28 He commanded them, “But don’t begin until you count the cost.”

This is wisdom, as He warned in Luke 9:62 NLT: “But Jesus told him, ‘Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.'”

Jesus had already let them know in verse 26 that, if they wanted to be His disciples, they had to count Him as more important than everyone else in their lives, including themselves. And then came verse 27: “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”

This verse is quoted so often than I’m not sure we really see it anymore, that we’re not paying full attention to what He’s saying here. I even remember thinking, during one of the really bad times with my husband, “If he is my cross to bear, then I will bear it,” but this verse means so much more!

“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the Law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse of our wrong doing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.‘”

Galatians 3:13 NLT

As Christians, we look at this verse and we love it. And why not?! This amazing act of mercy, Christ taking all of our sins on Himself, washing them away with His own blood, changed our lives forever!

But let’s go back to the gathering in Luke 14 and think about where their heads were, where their thoughts must have gone. They couldn’t see what was coming. They were limited by their own knowledge and experience. In their world a cross served one purpose, and Jesus had just told them they would have to take up a cross that would be particularly their own. They wouldn’t be helping Him carry His cross as Simon the Cyrene was forced to do. He was asking each of them to take up their own cross.

This had to set them back, throw them for the proverbial loop. Because they knew.

They knew…
The cross was a sign of being cursed.
The cross was a very public tool of death.
The cross was a clear mark that you were a criminal.
The cross was intentionally demoralizing.
The cross was a cause of shame for the criminal’s family.
The cross was physically backbreaking before you were even put on it.
The cross was an incredibly slow and agonizing death.

If anyone wanted to be His disciple, they had to accept the reality that the cross, at least figuratively, could very well be in their future. Far from offering them the life of comfort many were currently enjoying, the life His abundant miracles might have implied, the life of sunshine and roses that Christians sometimes foolishly promise to potential converts today, He was laying out a heavy truth.

And here it is.

As Christians, genuine disciples of Jesus, while we look forward to the mountaintop experiences, it’s best to be prepared for the hard seasons that will inevitably come, to consider the cost ahead of time and be ready so that we won’t be tempted to look back. Like Jesus, we can expect to be hated, vilified, attacked unmercifully, laughed at, and more.

So… are you ready?

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Get Experiencing the Bible Anywhere

I’m excited to announce that the ebook version of Experiencing the Bible is now available pretty much anywhere you buy ebooks. This JUST happened, so if you’ve looked for it before on Kobo or any of the other sources, go do a search. You should find me!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

My Legacy Bibles Plan

The Inspire Bible

If you know me at all, you know I’m serious about the Bible. My current “readthrough” Bible is filled, almost cover to cover, with extensive notes like the ones you see here. My original plan was to give this Bible to one of my grandchildren as soon as I finish the readthrough, and get started on the next Bible right away, intending it for another grandchild. (It’s funny; I had never even heard the phrase “Legacy Bible” until after I decided I would pass it along.) The thing is, once I really thought about how long it has taken me to work my way through this Bible, I knew it would take too many years to accomplish what I’d been considering.

So, after backing up and thinking it through, I devised a new plan. Instead, I would purchase three journaling Bibles and start transferring my notes from scratch. Doing this had one distinct advantage: I could make a point of printing instead of writing in cursive, since cursive seems to have fallen by the wayside and at least one of the “kids” is unable to read it. (Yep, as you can see in the above photo, much of what I’ve written is in cursive.)

During my research, I stumbled across this treasure.

This is the Interleaved edition of the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible. Interleaved means they’ve inserted blank sheets of paper between the printed pages. I’ve heard of Bibles being done this way historically but had no idea any publisher was offering them today. When I found it, I got seriously excited! This Bible has enough journaling space to hold not only my notes, but those of my grandkids as well, so it can continue to serve them throughout their lives.

I ordered the Bibles in leather, because I truly do want them to last, and while waiting for them to arrive I purchased a specific set of pens (Papermate Inkjoy) that I will use in all three Bibles. I don’t color code, exactly, or not consistently. I use the various colors more to mark different sections as well as to create a clearer indication of which notes go with which verses.

I also created guide sheets like the ones I used a hundred years ago when I did calligraphy. These sheets, when placed under the page I’m writing on, help me maintain consistency in my writing.

I speak as if I’m actively working on this. I’m not yet; I’ve actually managed all of two pages at this point.

I still have a little bit of both the Old and New Testament studies to complete in my current Bible, and I’ve decided to wait until I finish them before I officially start the project. Looking at what I’ve managed so far while working on these three all at once (because I want consistency and it saves time), I calculate it’s going to take me about three years to finish them, but that’s a lot less than if I’d followed my original plan.

I’m trying to ignore the fact that, since he’s already engaged, my grandson could conceivably have presented me with a great-grandchild by the time I hand him his copy. That’s just too much for me to handle.

But yeah, I’m excited about working on what will be the single most valuable gift I give three of my favorite people.

And here are your Amazon Affiliate links for both the Bible and pens. As an associate, I may make money off qualified purchases.

NKJV, Interleaved Bible, Journal Edition, Genuine Leather, Brown, Red Letter, Comfort Print: The Ultimate Bible Journaling Experience

Paper Mate InkJoy 100RT Retractable Ballpoint Pens, Medium Point (1.0mm), Assorted, 20 Count

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

What Would Happen?

Consider the situation.

You are sitting in church. Your mind has been wandering, but suddenly your pastor says these words and they catch your attention.

“…especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.”

“What?” You jerk up. “What did he call me? ‘Spiritually dull’?! I listen!”

And he continues, explaining that, while you’ve been saved long enough that you should be teaching others, the teachers keep having to come back and instruct you in the same basic principles over and over.

His previous words still ring in your ears: “Especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.”

You’re perturbed, but as you glance around the room, wondering if anyone else thinks he’s preaching to them personally, he continues. “You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.”

“Now wait a minute! That’s going too far! I am no baby!” The thought surges forward even as, deep inside, you start to wonder. “Am I?” You listen intently, growing increasingly uncomfortable even as a new hunger starts to build inside you.

“For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.”

You want to shout, “I don’t know how to do what is right? I’m here aren’t I?!” but you sit silently, not so sure the words are true…not really.

“Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”

You hear what he says. You are truly listening now, and your attention is caught by two words: Training and Skill. “What training?” you wonder. “What skill?”

My question is, “What next?”

If a random pastor were to stand up and preach this sermon to his congregation today, what would happen?

If your pastor were to preach this sermon to your congregation, what would you do?

What would be the result?

Hebrews 5:11-14 NLT
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C