Thursday, May 28, 2015

Author shares miracles of angels, new friends, children, and puppies

My Testimony
By Caryl McAdoo

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11 KJV

Blessed be the name of the Lord! Thank you Ada for giving me this opportunity to share my testimony! I love more than anything to testify to the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord! I have so many testimonies! Well, I turned sixty-five the third of this month, and I would suppose that anyone who has loved the Lord as long as I have would!
We go through seasons in our lives, times of lack and times of plenty, of health and times of sickness, time in the valley and time on the mountaintop, of sowing and reaping. In this world, we will have tribulations. Trials and troubles do come, but we can always be of good cheer for He has overcome the world!

I want to testify to a recent blessing. O’Pa and I still have two of the four grandsons we’ve reared for almost thirteen years now, ages fifteen and twelve, and we wanted to find a church with a good youth group for their sakes. The last we attended regularly was Abundant Life Assembly of God, and ours were about the only children there. We thought First Baptist might be the place to go, especially since a certain young lady went there who Christian, the older one, knew from school.
But alas, it turned out the group only had a few and the young lady mentioned turned her attentions elsewhere, so things were not so good there anymore. I have A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS debuting in November and in September or October, happened to see that another Christian author also had a title with Angels launching in November. Her name was Stephanie Collins.
So, I typed her name in Facebook search and several came up. I only knew her name—not even if she was young or old—so, chose a couple and sent a private message: ‘Hello! Nice to e’meet you! I saw where a Stephanie Collins has an Angel book coming out in November, and I have one, too! Are you that Stephanie?’
Right away, I got a response. ‘Nice to meet you, too. I see you’re a Christian lady, so I sent you a friend request.’ Well, #1 – this lady could have lived anywhere in the wide world, right? But when I went to her page, I saw she lived in Bogata (pronounced Buh GOAT uh – it’s a long story) which is twenty minutes from Clarksville where I live! WHAT? We both lived in Red River County! Amazing!
#2 was that she had a profile photo of herself and a teenage son! My next question…Where do you go to church because my husband and I live in CLARKSVILLE and have been looking for a good youth group for our grandsons. She told me she drove twenty minutes up to the Church of God at Blossom and bragged on and on over their youth. We visited the following Sunday.

The boys love it! The church is well attended and unlike so many where Ron and I’ve visited and were the youngest there, there are many young families! From the nursery to the youth, their busting at the seams, except they’d recently built a new bigger beautiful building after the old one burned down. They had a gym and a ping-pong and pool room, and lots of family activities. J We have a new church home and thank God for leading us there! My fellers are looking forward to going to summer camp with them and the youth director will pick them up on the way to Weatherford on their way through the Metroplex! How wonderful is that?

See just how God cares? He knows our needs and is always so faithful.

Today, I had six of a litter of eight pups I needed to find a home for before the boys went to their other grandmothers for the summer on Friday. A homeless walk-about showed up one day around
Christian and finding puppies homes
dinner time, all thin and in need of love. I did my best to find his owner, but far as he was concerned he had a new family. I had two outdoor dogs – a Border Collie, Faith, and Great Pyrenees Zoe. Both females…no males, no puppies. For two years, this worked then Bodark showed up.
SO I dropped Christian off at church tonight and Ben (the twelve-year-old) and I drove on to Paris and prayed God would send the new owners of these precious, playful puppies. We parked way out away from the Walmart store, with a clear view of MacDonald’s drive thru and set up our FREE PUPS sign. I took my rocking chair from Gander’s Mountain.
He started hollering “Free Puppies, Get them while they’re young!” When a car stopped, he would run to the car and put the puppy through the window. We gave away five and brought one back home. I know that baby has an owner who wasn’t at Walmart. Another testimony of God’s great goodness toward us! His mercies and loving kindness are new every morning, too! I love and adore Him!
I have a running testimony of my whole life that I just keep adding to on my Facebook Notes if anyone wants to be encouraged by seeing where I’ve been and where God has brought me. The URL there is:   

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26 KJV

Caryl's books: 

The widely 
acclaimed Historical Christian
'western adventure' Texas Romance series:

Hope Reborn (1850-1851) Book


Hearts Stolen (1839-1844) Book

(1832) Book One

A Little Lower
Than the Angels

One of The
series, Biblical fiction

Debut Day:  May 3, 2015

SERIES: TEXAS ROMANCE, book four of these historical Christian, western-adventure novels set in 1851-1853 / Continuing the story of Henry and Sue Buckmeyer with their growing children, this title begins the next generation and features their oldest daughter Mary Rachel. 

Blind love propels Mary Rachel to defy her father and elope to California with Caleb Wheeler where betrayal and murder drive her to despair. Who will ever love her enough to cover her sins and deliver her from the pit she’s dug for herself?
Persistent faith brings redemption and reconciliation.
Blind love propels Mary Rachel to defy her father and elope to California with Caleb Wheeler.  The newlyweds partner with his cousin in his San Francisco dry goods business. Unbeknownst to the young bride, her new husband sends his kissing cousin ahead to have both his love and his new wife’s money. Betrayal and murder drive Mary, soon a young mother, to the depths of despair. Is there a man who can love her enough to cover her sins and deliver her out of the horrible pit she’s dug for herself? She travels from frontier Texas to the raw bone boomtown of 1850’s gold rush days, then all the way to genteel New York to find redemption for the sins of her mothers. 

With everyone on the porch for the clan’s sendoff, Mary Rachel decided for sure and for certain and could wait no longer. She took a deep breath and hugged his neck. “Daddy, I’m sorry. I really am, but I can’t go. No, I mean I’m not going. I can’t leave. I won’t.”
He leaned back and stared at her for too long a minute, his face suddenly stone cold. “What did you just say?”
She grimaced; steam rose to her cheeks. He softened just like he always had when her mother turned on him. Saying it aloud made it all the more real, strengthened her resolve. “I cannot be gone for seven months. I thought for a while maybe I could, but I can’t, Daddy.”
Her new mother stepped close. “But Mary Rachel, why? It’s the trip of a lifetime. I promise you’ll adore Europe.”
“It’s just Mary now, please. No Rachel. That’s what Caleb calls me.”
His voice lowered to almost a whisper, he slipped some of the steel back on. “So. This is about that boy.”
“He’s a man, Daddy, and you know it. We love each other.”
“If he loves you, baby, then he’ll wait. It’s only seven months. He should be thrilled you have this opportunity to travel Europe.”
“Well, I’ve made my decision, and I’m not going.”
“We’ve booked your passage.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. I should have told you sooner, but I knew you wouldn’t be happy about my decision.” She looked off at the tree line, hating the disappointment in his eyes. But that was a coward’s way, so she faced him again. “Like I said, I thought I could. Anyway, let Bonnie take my place.”
From somewhere, her youngest sister burst into the middle. “Can I, Daddy? Please take me! I’ll be good. Mama, tell him how good I’ll be.” She turned those doe eyes on him. “Pleeeease.”

* * * * *

Six miles, north by northwest as the turkey vultures soar from Clarksville, Texas, the very reason Mary stayed home, rode his best mule as he skidded the black walnut saw log back to his cabin. Caleb looked behind. “Slow, girl, almost there.” 
He nudged the animal a bit further, the timber only feet from his makeshift hoist. Two more steps, then he eased Harley Sue to a stop. He hopped down then rubbed the old girl’s near ear. “You sure are a good mule.”
The distant rattle of trace chains turned him east, for a minute he stared, then she waved. “Well, look here what the cat drug in.”
He unhooked the skid and led Harley Sue to the barn’s corral; got back before Lanelle had the brake set on her wagon. “She go?”
He nodded. “You sure? Saw it with your own eyes?”
“Yep, he took the three younger girls, but not the princess.” She stood and threw him a smirk. “Help me down.”
“Sure.” He stepped toward her with his arms held out, she fell into them. He caught her then twirled her around as she wrapped hers around his neck. He set her feet to the ground then stepped back a bit. Business first. “Anyone see you turn on my road?”
“No, but what difference would it make? I’m only bringing supplies for my kin.”
“True, you get it all?”
“A pound of salt pork, two ounces of salt, and a pound of coffee, but you best get yourself to town. Old man Hobbs wants a word with you. Wasn’t too happy when I told him to put it on your bill ‘stead of Pappy’s.”
Caleb nodded toward his wagon. “I should have this lumber loaded by Saturday. I’ll see to him on my way to Jefferson.”
She shrugged then turned and moseyed toward the cabin. “That last batch any better?”
Heading the opposite direction to the well, he soon went to cranking; retrieved the jug, pulled the cork, and sipped a taste. When he didn’t follow, she looked around then trotted to him grinning. He extended his home brew. “You tell me.”
Always a sight to behold, she accepted the jug without an ounce of pretension. Licked her lips then took a short pull and wiped her mouth. “Boogers, Caleb.” She grinned then got herself a real drink. “Woo! I’d say that may be the best you’ve cooked yet.”
He took the jug back and sipped a few gulps more. Burned good all the way down. Replacing the cork, he nodded toward the cabin. “You got time?”

        I tell you what, folks, this girl can write! I do love this series, and maybe most especially this book Mary Rachel Buckmeyer is smart as a whip. She can out-negotiate the experts, out-guess marketing trends, and out-stubborn a mule. Trouble is, she tends to follow her heart into disaster. She falls in love with Caleb Wheeler, a man her father says is a boy. As she finds out, he's not only irresponsible, he has a meandering eye, lies like a braided rug, and has all the loyalty of a new-born pup. Mary hops from one frying pan to another until one man shows up who could steady her and get her out of the fixes she gets herself into. But again, trouble is she might throw him away. When will this girl ever learn? Such a great story! I know you'll love it
                   --Patricia Baxter Campbell, Author

I've often wondered if the past can repeat itself in a person's life and Mary Rachel Buckmeyer gave me my answer. Love, betrayal, despair, the sweet faith of little children, and the perseverance of a miner. These all made for a wonderful story of what life was like in San Francisco during the gold rush of the 1850's. When I finished the last page of Mary's story, I smiled and thought... I loved this story! But... There had better be another book coming because I want more of these Buckmeyer's! I'd recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading  a good Christian, historical fiction of the 1800's.
                   --Deanna Stevens, Nebraska reader

Bio: Christian, hybrid (Simon & Schuster & Indie) author Caryl McAdoo is currently writing three series from a perspective of faith: her historical Texas Romances; the contemporary Red River Romances; and The Generations, her Biblical fiction. The novelist loves singing new songs the Lord gives her and painting. In 2008, she and her high-school-sweetheart husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-eight years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and fifteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from above. Praying each story gives God glory, she hopes it also ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015


                                                      By Ada Brownell

      “The police came last night to our house to get Daddy,” the little boy announced. “He hid in the back on the shelf in the closet and they didn’t find him!”
      His eyes sparkled with triumph.
      The report came during our opening moments at the Dunamis Academy, an after-school and summers program where I heard similar stories. Dunamis means supernatural power.
       I started the program at our church daycare after retirement. A number of the elementary children in the class were Social Services children who didn’t attend our church.
      When I had the idea for the after-school program, I was concerned about latch-key children because I’d written about them in my work as a daily newspaper reporter in Pueblo, Colo. I prayed about it and thought God would raise up a pastor with the vision to use the church’s empty spaces to reach youngsters who needed the gospel, bring the congregation’s children into deeper knowledge of the Word, and help children not doing well in school with tutoring. I hoped spiritually mature teenagers and other volunteers would help.
      Then I spoke to the daycare director and she also caught the vision because the older children already enrolled in the daycare after school and summers needed something constructive to do.
      The first summer the director taught the lower grades and I took upper elementary. We continued the program after school and summer for two years. We charged a nominal fee to children not enrolled in day care. There was no charge to students already enrolled.
      Summers for three hours Monday through Thursday we sang, prayed, played, studied Bible stories, memorized scripture, did skits, saw object lessons, participated in discussion, listened to guest speakers, did crafts and learned how to operate puppets in ministry (the children’s pastor taught puppetry).  Daycare children stayed for a leisurely afternoon.
       On Fridays we went on all-day field trips to ministries in Colorado Springs to show children some of the ministries for which they could prepare. We watched a Christian radio missionary who was broadcasting the gospel around the world. We visited Focus on the Family. At David C. Cook we saw how artists create illustrations for their publications. We visited the Navigator’s castle and others. The next year we visited soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other charities in our city.
      We had guest speakers, two I’d like to mention. The teenager emigrated from Africa, told about the differences in freedoms there and America and taught a song in Swahili: “Hold on to Jesus.”  The other was a public high school teacher through playing a game called “Virus X” taught how quickly sexually transmitted diseases spread.
      According to the last statistics I gathered, five million elementary-age U.S. children grow up with no supervision after school. Twenty-two million adolescents are unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m. on a typical day, according to the U.S. Department of Health’s Child Care Bureau.
      At the same time, thousands of large church buildings are unoccupied except for a few people working in the office.
      Large numbers of America’s youth have never heard the gospel. The church is losing young people to secularism.  Some churches have eliminated Christian education, thereby carelessly dropping their sterling silver youth down the garbage disposal. Churches that emphasize discipleship often have only a small percentage of children and youth receiving training.
      The first summer of the Dunamis Academy, my two daycare assistants accepted Jesus as Savior. Most of the children also invited Jesus into their hearts.
      It was a great deal of work partly because I wrote my curriculum, led the music, chose scriptures to memorize and led the training sessions and competitions. But I felt great spiritual reward. If I were young again, I’d love to help establish more programs like it.
      One note I’d like to add. Quite a few churches have after-school programs, but the ones I’ve seen don’t emphasize the gospel. We informed parents we would teach undenominational Bible classes and had them sign their permission. We didn’t have one parent opt out. In fact, we had great feedback, with parents coming to awards ceremonies.
      I imagine they were like my dad when our family started going to church. He told my mom who hadn't been born again yet, “Let them go. I heard they teach children to obey their parents.”

Friday, May 22, 2015


By Ada Brownell
Author's Note: Several chapter didn't make it into my book, Swallowed by Life. Yet, I believe this information is helpful, so I'm sharing it here. You can purchase Swallowed by Life, an Amazon best seller, Here

 When we walk through difficult times, we need physical, emotional and spiritual help. There is plenty out there if you know what to look for and where to go.
When Carolyn began to recover enough after chemotherapy, she urgently desired emotional help. I was a thousand or more miles away, and that’s one reason why I wrote this book. I told her about the Cancer Society’s support groups, called her every day, prayed, and flew to see her twice in two months.
Yet, a diagnosis of a terminal, debilitating or painful disease is a whopping load for the patient and his loved ones to carry emotionally, even when the Lord walks with you every moment of the day.
I have several recommendations picked up through wandering around in the medical community and picking experts’ brains.
Find a spiritual partner to help you in your fear and grief. Arrange to contact your grief-mate when you feel overcome by fear, you are terribly sick, have a situation you don’t feel able to handle, or a decision with which you need help.
Your grief mate can be a pastor, a counselor, a Sunday school teacher, a friend or a relative who is spiritually strong.
I have a friend who has battled cancer for years and it recently returned and her husband, Gerald, just discovered he has prostate cancer. Yet, she leads a cancer support group at our church. While she spends much of her time encouraging others, she relies on the love, prayers and fellowship of people filled with compassion.
                        2. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO GRIEVE  
Allow yourself to talk about your loved one, or about your own illness and the doctor's prognosis.
Cry. Jesus wept when he heard his friend, Lazarus was dead. When I was grieving, I set aside a devotional time every day when I could get alone with God and talk to him about my grief. During the day and when you're in public, you sometimes have to shove it away. But I felt better knowing I'd have that time in my upstairs bedroom kneeling and crying before God, telling him about my broken heart.
Each day I stripped another layer off a part of me that felt as if I had died, too, and helped me keep a focus that I am still living and need to fulfill whatever purposes God has for my life here.
It helps to understand the stages of grief and that grieving is normal both for the dying and those left behind.
According to Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier in their book, Happiness is a Choice,[1] there are five stages of grief which occur to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one or discovered he has an incurable illness. Even Christians will have these grief reactions.
1.   The first stage of grief usually is denial.  The person refuses to believe that what is happening is true.  This stage normally doesn’t last long.
2.   The second stage is anger turned outward.  In this stage people sometimes feel angry at God, their doctors, or anyone they feel they can blame for their problem.  Sometimes people even angry at someone who died.  Other people get angry at those in good health or those who haven’t lost a loved one.
3.   At stage three, we have anger turned inward.  The grieving person begins to feel guilty, then begins to be angry with himself.  He absurdly begins to blame himself for everything.
4.   Stage four is when the person feels genuine grief.  Tears and sorrow are normal and help the individual get grief out. Even though we know there is hope for those who “die in the Lord” there should be genuine grief.
5.   The fifth stage is the resolution stage where the person comes to acceptance of the event.  This stage is the result of a person working through the four other grief stages.

[1] Baker Books, 1983/2007

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


By Ada Brownell

An excerpt from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You

Purchase the book Here

 “Hey, Joseph!” said the baker, his two chins bobbing in sync with his laughter. “I heard you had a tumble with Potiphar’s wife. Way to go! Who would have thought it?”
“Since Potiphar committed all he has into your care, I guess that was all that was left!” the lanky butler added. His cold, accusing eyes mocked.
Anger and embarrassment shot through Joseph. His chains tinkled as he shifted position where he sat on the hard stone floor. “You are wrong. I did not do that great wickedness and sin against Potiphar, myself, or God.”
“You worried about God when you could have had her?” the baker said, chuckling, his round face showing he didn’t believe Joseph.
“I decided long ago to follow God’s will for my life, and I haven’t changed my mind,” Joseph answered firmly as he tried to stand.
“You are a fool,” the baker shot back at Joseph as he and the butler walked away, heads together and laughing.
Joseph stared after the pair, the chains on his wrists and ankles causing his whole body to ache. He wondered why the two men accused him. After all, they offended the king of Egypt and were sentenced to prison, too. Joseph had no idea what they had done.
One day weeks later, Joseph noticed the butler and the baker didn’t pick up their bowls of food when it was time to eat. By now, Joseph’s chains were gone because once again Joseph found favor with his captors. But he was still a prisoner. He picked up the bowls and then slowly walked to where he’d heard the baker and butler talking around the corner.
“Here’s breakfast,” Joseph said. “You should eat.”
“It’s nothing but swill,” spat the baker, holding his head in his hands.
As Joseph held out the bowl, a loud groan rushed from the butler’s throat. His fingers ran nervously through his dirty curly hair.
“What’s wrong?” asked Joseph.
“We’ve had some terrible nightmares,” the baker answered, adding his cry of anguish. “They seem so real we need to have someone tell us what they mean, but there is no interpreter.”
The butler stopped his guttural groans and took two deep breaths. “I’m sure the dreams have a meaning. Do you know anyone…? Hey, Joseph! You talk with God, don’t you? Sure you do!” He got up from the floor and patted Joseph on the back.
Quickly the baker tried to stand. His humpty-dumpty body rocked back and forth three times before Joseph reached and pulled him to his feet.
Panting, the baker put his arm around Joseph and let out a blast of putrid breath. “Yes, Joe, old buddy. We’ve been stuck together in this prison a long time. You are such a wonderful fellow to keep on speaking terms with God! You’ve been a good cell-block mate. Haven’t even seen you in any of the fights. Now the captain of the guards has you serving us, and you do it well. Would you like to hear my dream?”
 “And mine?” added the butler.
All the noise brought a crowd of other prisoners. They stood, watching expectantly.
The butler and the baker stared at each other, then Joseph.
The butler stepped forward and whispered in Joseph’s ear for a long time. Then the baker stood at Joseph’s other ear, whispering and nervously shaking one leg.
Afterward, Joseph turned away and lifted his hands toward heaven. His lips moved, but no sound came out of his mouth.
Finally, Joseph turned to look at the butler. “Within three days, Pharaoh shall give you back your job. Please remember me and ask that I be released from this prison.”
“Thank you! Oh, thank you!” A deep laugh rumbled from the butler. He shook hands with Joseph and some of those watching. ‘I will be sure to give them your message.”
Then Joseph looked solemnly at the baker. “In three days, Pharaoh will hang you.”
The baker stood speechless, his mouth dropped open and his eyes filled with terror. Then obscenities flowed from his fat, drooling lips. When those were spent, his deep, wrenching sobs echoed in every prison cell.
Three days later, the butler was back at work and the baker was dead.
And Joseph’s release didn’t come. The butler didn’t tell Pharaoh about Joseph’s request.
Three men. The butler and the baker had names, of course, but they were not included in the biblical account. But even if we knew their names, they probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning or remembering.
But we won’t forget Joseph. Today’s youth would have called Joseph “hot” in his youth. I despise the term myself, but you know by the way Potiphar’s wife flung herself at the young man his handsome face could put girls’ hearts in a flutter.
Some biblical scholars believe Joseph lived about four thousand years before Christ.[1] That’s a long time ago for his name to come up now. Even though Joseph has no last name, his name will never be forgotten. Joseph is on the minds and lips of many people even today because of who he was and what he did.
Who could forget the sound of Joseph’s weeping in the desert cistern as he heard his brothers planning to kill him and then deciding to sell him as a slave? His years in prison suffering because he wouldn’t tumble into bed with Potiphar’s wife, who then ripped her dress and accused him of rape? Or after Joseph’s promotion to governor, his heart-wrenching sobs when he recognized his brothers bowing before him in Pharaoh’s Egyptian palace asking for food?
Or can any Bible student forget how Joseph forgave those brothers and fell on their necks, weeping and kissing them?
And what Joseph said? “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”[2]
            Our tongues still speak Joseph’s name with respect because of who he was and what he did.

[1] You can read about Joseph and his family in Genesis 30–50. Even the creation account didn’t use this much space!
[2] Genesis 5:19–21 NKJ

Friday, May 15, 2015

Propaganda affects Americans' ability to love

By Ada Brownell

I discovered the government doesn’t know anything about love.

Banning The Ten Commandments and teaching children they’re no more than animals was a mistake. Breaking any commandment hurts us or someone else. When I was young, no one I knew locked their doors. We never had anything stolen. Today you can’t leave any possession unlocked and even you aren’t safe everywhere.

Other mistakes affect the view of love. When our oldest son was in sixth grade, the schools brought in sex education. Educators claimed it would end sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.

Now, according the Centers for Disease Control, 40.7 percent of births are to unmarried women. With contraception, abortion pills, the morning-after pill which prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb or prevents ovulation, the number of teen pregnancies decreased.  But that’s no victory for morality or love.

CDC’s new estimates on sexually transmitted diseases show 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing $16 billion in medical costs. Half of new sexually transmitted infections occur among youth.

Another problem with pitching The Ten Commandments is divorce. Coveting, adultery and living together beforehand are major causes. After 10 years, the probability of a first marriage ending is 33 percent, compared with 62 percent for cohabitations.

In 2013, 25 million children lived in single parent homes—one-third of the children.

I’ve seen how faith in God helps us understand love. My oldest sister committed her life to Christ right after I was born. Everyone else followed. The youngest, I watched how being committed to God brought love, joy and peace in the family.

 Despite deep poverty, God lifted us beyond our dreams. Out of eight of us Nicholson siblings, not one bride was pregnant before marriage. Not one divorce. Despite six being red heads with a temper to match, God funneled our fire into achievement. Virgil and Joe worked their way to doctorates and became educators. Virgil was the force behind Evangel University’s great accreditation. Everette became a pastor. The five sisters became devoted wives, mothers, businesswomen, church musicians, Sunday school workers.

I’ve been married 61 years, and discover it’s more than cupid’s work. The most romantic words ever are, “I’ll love you and only you until death.” My husband and I made that vow, yet I found good marriages are built by working at it every day.

Our nation was different when I grew up. But redemption is available; truth can be discovered and lived. God’s promises still are true, evident in our children and grandchildren. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us” (Ephesians 5:2NKJ).

-- Ada Brownell is a retired journalist and author of five books.  This post first appeared in The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. Ada Brownell's latest book is Facts, Faith and Propaganda. Build a firm foundation for your faith. Her Amazon Author Page:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

You Say This Body’s a Temple? LOL

By Mary L. Hamilton

The Temple in Jerusalem during Jesus’ time on earth was said to be the masterpiece of King Herod’s ambitious building program. At one point, the disciples were so impressed they stopped Jesus on his way out of the Temple to marvel at its beauty (Matthew 24:1).
If you were hired to build a temple, what materials would you use? Would you choose a floor of marble? Stone? Granite? Maybe a fancy mosaic tile? Your choice for the walls could be anything from plaster to wood paneling to marble. And what about the ceiling--a molded design or a beautifully painted fresco?
If you were to build a temple, would you use cheap, inexpensive building materials? Or would you forget the cost and choose only the best? Would you throw it together in a hurry, or would you think through every detail of construction and hire only the most skilled craftsmen to work on it? When you finished, would it look plain and ordinary, or would it be a structure that takes one’s breath away just to look at it?
According to the dictionary, a temple is a building for worship or a holy dwelling. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he uses the Greek word for temple that means “sanctuary.” We often use that term to mean a place of safety and refuge, but it also means a holy dwelling. Many churches refer to the worship auditorium as the sanctuary.

So what does it mean when Paul uses that same term to describe our human bodies? In the third chapter of 1 Corinthians, and again in the sixth chapter, he asks, “Don’t you know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit of God?”
Have you ever thought of yourself as a temple? I mean, really thought that way? You may look in the mirror and see a larger than desirable waistline, legs that are too short, a nose that’s too long. You might see yourself as plain and unattractive, but God sees you as a beautiful sanctuary, shining bright with gold and silver and bronze and every kind of precious stone.
He didn’t throw you together carelessly with any old material He found lying around. Psalm 139 says He wove you together. Weaving isn’t something you can do without thought. He chose only the finest materials to build a holy place, a sanctuary dwelling where His Holy Spirit would live. That’s not to say we shouldn’t perform a little routine maintenance. Sometimes, even the finest buildings undergo major renovations. But if we consider our bodies flawed or a mistake, we devalue what God intended for great worth. His presence gives us respect and dignity. Seeing ourselves the way God sees us should turn our focus away from what we lack, or think we lack, and motivate us to appreciate what we’ve been given.

Author Bio: Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, including serving as a camp counselor for a week. She decided once was enough.
Mary is a graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group and a member of ACFW. Her writing has won recognition in several contests including the Genesis and Selah contests.
When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors watching sunsets. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.
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Monday, May 11, 2015


By Ada Brownell
When they think about stretching, health conscious adults head for the gym. But what about spiritual fitness?
With disuse, faith gets flabby. Here are a few spiritual stretches I did the last couple of years and plan to continue.
1.      DESIRE TO ENLARGE YOUR TERRORITY. Pray the prayer of Jabez every day and mean it: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10NKJ). After I began praying the prayer, new opportunities opened that surprised me. I realized I had more potential than I thought, and God was with me!
·         Dust off old talents and develop others. You never know what the Lord might use, even if it’s only to increase your contentment.
·         Witness to others when opportunities open, and resist fear.
·         Tell your family how and why you are a Christian and share a witness.
·         Get a good study Bible or join a Bible study group. Last year I asked my husband to buy me a new Bible because I wanted the included commentary. I often study a book of the Bible at a time or one subject. Recently I did an intense study on faith using my study Bible. I also looked up scriptures in different versions and on
·         If you don’t have a ministry, pray and see where God leads. I grew spiritually when I taught Christian education classes because it stretched me.
·         Learn new things that will enhance your career. Ask God for direction and take a class, do research, or take advice so you can be your best.
·         Put into practice everything you know about being a better wife, mom, grandma, husband, father or grandpa.
·         Contact relatives and friends you haven’t communicated with recently, and visit neighbors.
·         Pray for supernatural love to help you show love to people who are difficult.
·         Give to a credible organization that helps those in need.
·         Encourage the grieving, the ill, the elderly and lonely with a card, email, phone call or something from your kitchen.
·         Ask your pastor if there is someone who especially needs encouragement or help.
·    Believe God for something you need or desire that looks impossible.
·    Venture out and do what you know God wants you to do, but you’ve hesitated.
·    When you pray, give your faith a jump start with the Word.
·         With David I pray, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:15).
·         I pray, “Fill me with the fruits of the Spirit. ‘For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What I Learned from a Toy Poodle Named Macho

By Ada Brownell

“Here’s a free Saint Bernard,” our Jeanette read out of the newspaper one day before school.
She’d been begging for a dog. But we had serious allergies and asthma in the  house and she was one of those affected. The allergist said “No pets.”
Jeanette didn’t give up. Every morning before school she grabbed the newspaper. “Here’s a free Great Dane.” Or “They’re giving away a greyhound.” “A collie.” “I found a Black Lab they’re giving away here.”
I’d heard some breeds don’t shed and poodles and few others don’t distribute their hair and dander all over the house. Dander was the problem. But both children’s asthma was improving, and my husband and I began to listen to Jeanette’s desperation. She didn’t ask for much, and this desire for a dog was so great she didn’t give up.
The reason she looked for free dogs is she knew we didn’t have a lot of money to spend. But our finances loosed a little because I’d just gone back to work.
My husband talked with a friend at church who raised poodles. In a few days, he and the kids brought Macho home.
Now Macho’s name when adopted was Appy because he was an apricot purebred miniature poodle. The lady who bought him as a puppy fed him food off the table and he grew big for his breed. She returned him to the breeder.
But that wasn’t the only reason the dog’s name was changed. Jaron, Jeanette’s older brother, also wanted a pet so he went to the library and got books on dog training and poodles and helped our daughter train the cute fellow. In the process, they discovered the dog thought he was big.
So Appy became Macho. I told the kids they’d probably have to take him to the doggie psychiatrist after doing that, but the dog took it well.
With that name, everybody knew Macho. When he barked, he sounded like a Doberman. He’d threaten to tear a stranger to bits and within minutes try to go home with him.
Macho assumed everybody loved him, and he took to the “pack” (the five of us still left at home) with joy.
Yet, Jaron became top dog. Whatever he said, Macho obeyed. He was pretty good with Jeanette, but the rest of us could give every command in the book and you’d think we spoke Chinese. But if you said treat, walk, bath, leash, go, he understood. Well, he did make an exception for No! spoken in a certain tone of voice. He had at least a 12-word vocabulary and learned to spell treat and walk. He almost could spell the words backward, as we had to do to keep him from going in to orbit.
Now I’d never had a pet, and the outside dogs our older son had, I never touched, although I fed them.
Macho had only been in our house a couple of days when I sat down on the sofa to watch TV beside my husband. There was a kid or two also sitting there and Macho jumped up on my lap, turned his bottom around, and stuck it in the small space between me and the arm of the sofa, backing and squeeziing himself in beside me.
I found myself petting him, rubbing his back, and putting him in doggie heaven.
“He feels funny,” I said. “His skin is so loose you could put two dogs into his hide.”
When he had a bath I remembered why dogs have loose skin. He could whip his back hair to his belly and flip-flop it a dozen times for a quick dry for him and a shower for anyone who didn’t grab the towel quick enough.
 God sure did amazing things with His creation.
A dog may be considered a “dumb animal,” but Macho was smart in many ways. I wouldn’t mind having two of his characteristics—his love for people, and his assumption that everybody loved him.
I think we as humans often miss out on so much because we don’t realize most people like us—unless we give them a reason not to.
Perhaps I can grow emotionally to be more like Macho. I think that’s what God wants all of us to be.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Recharging my Inspirational Batteries

By Robin Patchen

I went for a walk this afternoon. Not the kind of thing I generally do these days. Too busy, don’t you know, writing and editing and marketing my latest release. Not to mention taking care of my teenagers, my husband, and my house. Not time for nonsense like dropping everything in the middle of a workday to wander alone in the park.

But I learned something recently, and as I slogged through this afternoon, it came back to me.
I had the privilege of hearing Allen Arnold speak at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March. He taught on how to write not for God, but with Him.
Robin Patchen
It was inspiring, to say the least. The entire conference was life-altering for me. Maybe it had something to do with the setting. Mt. Hermon is nestled in the redwood forest of California, just the kind of place that makes my heart sing. I’m a New Hampshire transplant stuck in the lands of high winds and short trees of central Oklahoma. And I love it here—I do. But I didn’t realize until I stepped into the woods in California how much I missed the trees. Five minutes wandering along the rough, dirt-packed path, and I was ready to pick up stakes and move.

My family, not so much.

So I’m back in Oklahoma, back to the grind, trying to remember everything Allen said. His nuggets of truth flit in and out of my day like the birds I watch through my picture window. I ignore those birds as I set my timer and try to work a little harder, a little faster, a little more efficiently. But sometimes, Allen’s words of wisdom penetrate my focused mind. One of points points pressed into me this weekend. This is a paraphrase, but essentially he said this:

God did not give us the gift of creativity so we could create for him. He gave us this so we could create with him. And to do that, we must be connected to him. God doesn’t care about productivity as much as he cares about intimacy.

In all my work, was I intimate with God? Because sometimes for me to feel intimate with God, I need to get away from the laptop and the dishes and the laundry.

So I went for a walk. And I thought and prayed and dreamed and
looked at the beauty around me. No, it wasn’t the wild redwood forest of California, and I wasn’t picking my way along dirt trails. I walked in a well-manicured park along paved paths. But God met me there, walked with me, and filled me.

And you know what? I think tomorrow will be more productive than today was. Because without recharging those inspirational batteries, nothing I write will be worth reading. And even if I do write something halfway decent, if God’s not in it, then what’s the point?

Where do you go to reconnect with God?

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website,

Finding Amanda links

Finding Amanda Back Cover Copy
Chef and popular blogger Amanda Johnson hopes publishing her memoir will provide healing and justice. Her estranged husband, contractor and veteran soldier Mark Johnson, tries to talk her out of it, fearing the psychiatrist who seduced her when she was a teen might return to silence her.

But Amanda doesn’t need advice, certainly not from her judgmental soon-to-be ex-husband. Her overconfidence makes her vulnerable when she travels out of town and runs into the abuser from her past. A kind stranger comes to her rescue and offers her protection.

Now Mark must safeguard his wife both from the fiend who threatens her life and from the stranger who threatens their marriage.