ONCE UPON A TIME . . . by Narita Roady

When the girls were small, one of their favorite books was Green Eggs and Ham. They recited each page by memory. Oh, how wonderful they thought it would be to eat green eggs and ham for breakfast! At that time, it was a Saturday morning tradition for Dad to cook breakfast. Jerry’s menu was quite short: scrambled eggs, toast, and rarely, a slice of ham. His customers clamored for more variety.
One morning, in an attempt to satisfy, he added blue and pink food coloring to the scrambled eggs. He solemnly explained to our puzzled daughters that the blue ones would have been boy chicks and the pink ones girls. Awed by their father’s scientific genius (?), they seriously ate their gourmet spread. Unfortunately, knowing which bundle of joy each egg held was sadly too personal, so Dad went back to his original menu.
Complaints broke out afresh! This drove Chef Roady into his culinary bag of tricks once again! Soon, Dad announced a special breakfast, and to their amazement their favorite book came to life! Their dream came true; a steaming plate of green eggs and ham! They seemed a little less excited, but none the less, suitably impressed. They dutifully ate their meal. When asked their opinion, they looked up and smiled with lips, teeth, and gums glowing a ghastly green. In unison they chanted, “Very good Daddy”.
The meal took them a bit longer than usual to finish, and I think I detected a tint of green in their faces that had nothing to do with food coloring! Later, three little green mouth goblins said, “Daddy, we like the book about
green eggs and ham, but we don’t think we like to eat them, OK? ”
They never had to again. For several days, each time they spoke, I felt like the mother of young lizards instead of children!
We frequently laugh at a small child’s belief in storybook fantasy. How could they believe something so ridiculous? We chalk it up to their immaturity and gullibility. Okay, what excuse do we make for ourselves as mature, wise adults when we believe Satan’s storybook ideas? Here are just a few of his myths we fall for:
1. Material Possessions Bring Happiness
2. Disobeying God Won’t Hurt Me
3. Financial Security Will Solve All My Problems
4. It Doesn’t Matter How I Treat Others, Only How They Treat Me
5. It’s Okay to Do Wrong If I Don’t Get Caught
6. I Can Watch, Listen to, and Read Anything I Want (no matter how sinful and wicked) but It Won’t Affect Me
7. Position, Praise, and Attention of Others Will Make Me Content
8. If I Just Had *(you fill in the blank)*, I Would Be Happy, And Wouldn’t Need Anything Else
9. Just This One Time Won’t Hurt
10. Leaving God Out of My Life Won’t Matter
11. My Feelings Justify How I Act and Treat Others
Need I go further? When it comes to the world, Satan lures us in the same way. We allow ourselves to be drawn into the fantasy land he weaves where evil is good, and good is evil. He twists the truth to appear that harmful choices benefit and beneficial choices harm us. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8 Do not be fooled, Satan is real and operating full speed ahead around us.
He deceives us into believing that all he offers us in obtaining our deepest desires will bring us joy, fulfillment, and contentment. Talk about a fairy tale! In Satan’s make believe land, we think the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who sees all, hears all, and knows all that is within our hearts and minds, will be unaware of our transgressions against Him and His Word! “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.” Psalms 10:4-7;11
“ The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” Psalm 94:11
With imaginations like that, kids don’t hold a candle to us! Little ones sometimes have difficulty in discerning between truth and make believe. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
As born-again Christians, we are without excuse. Not only do we have the truth in God’s Word, but we also have the Holy Spirit to guide us if we will yield to Him
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13
Our girls learned a valuable lesson that day, but so did I. They learned that fleshly desires do not satisfy as they promise to, and appearances can be deceitful. I learned it takes green food coloring a LONG time to wear off little teeth and tongues!
Let’s make the Bible our favorite book, and its Truth, our key to a truly extraordinary life filled with wonderful things beyond our imaginations!
“But it is written, Eye hath not seen or ear heard, neither
have enterd into the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1999 and March 2014

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LOVE’S SWEET BEGINNING By Ann Shorey

Cassie Haddon was born with the proverbial “silver spoon”. The end of the Civil war changed her and her mother from wealthy aristocrats to homeless average people with no skills to support themselves. After overstaying their welcome at her uncle’s they are forced to move. Her mother refuses to accept her loss of status and lifestyle, but Cassie takes a realistic point of view, especially after she overheard her uncle call her “useless”.
Her mother uses the last of their money for tickets to Noble Springs, Missouri on a hear-say that her brother is living there. An old friend of Cassie’s, Rosemary Stewart, invites them to stay with her and her husband Elijah. Cassie is angry and humiliated to realize her mother plans to put down roots and take advantage of the Stewart’s hospitality permanently. This and her uncle’s declaring her “useless” spurs her do get a job to support her and her mother.
She applies at Jake West’s restaurant as a waitress. Her persistence and spunk persuade him to hire her. Having never worked in her life she has a real learning experience. Her mother is not only horrified at her working, but down right angry when Cassie rents them a little 2 room cabin in town.
Throughout the book Cassie shows courage, perseverance, and character, as she faces her mother’s conniving and manipulation, not to mention the many mistakes she makes as she learns to make a new life for herself. Mutual respect soon draws Jake and Cassie together and they find themselves falling in love. Her lack of confidence and His secret from his past keep them from declaring their feelings at first.
They had much in common in spite of their very different backgrounds. Jake had grown up poor and neglected, whereas Cassie was raised rich and overly pampered, yet both of them were striving to overcome their pasts through hard work and honesty.
I loved the way Cassie was always double checking her choices and actions by God’s Word. I also admired her respect and patience with her mother’s selfishness and scheming. It was wonderful to see a story where the spoilt rich girl becomes a godly woman of substance. Expect lots of surprises and glitches throughout the story! I appreciated the godliness and integrity of the main characters. An enjoyable book. Although have not read the other two books I never felt I was missing part of the story. I look forward to reading them now!
I received this book free from Revell Pulishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

THE VICAR’S WIFE By Katharine Swartz

This is one of my first books to read by Katharine Swartz and I was duly impressed. The story is about two women, one living in the present day, Jane Hatton, and one in the 1030’s, Alice James. The Hatton’s are a fast paced, modern New York family. Jane and her husband both have busy careers and 3 children. She loves it and all the perks to living in the Big Apple. Her British born husband, Andrew decides it is time for them to move back to his homeland after their daughter falls in with the wrong crowd. The house they buy is a drafty, crumbling vicarage in the small, isolated town of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast. Jane moves into very house Alice James moved into as a newlywed. Alice was a 19 year old bride who married her true love, David James, the vicar of Goswell.
I enjoyed the way the author alternated chapters between Jane’s life and Alice’s. Jane did not want to leave her exciting lifestyle and found herself very negative and unhappy. She agreed because her husband had spent 16 years in America and she felt it was his turn to be home. Alice on the other hand was very excited about starting her new life and moving, but she struggled with leaving her father and the home she had always known. Each woman had a different attitude about their move, and each handled in in a different way, but the both faced many of the same struggles sand discontentment. The home was huge and dreary. The weather was relentlessly cold and bleak.
One day when Jane was attempting to begin the enormous job of turning the vicarage into a home, she finds a yellowed piece of paper with a shopping list on it. She becomes fascinated with learning about the woman who wrote the list. What was her life like? How did she feel living there?
As their stories unfold both women find their loneliness and despair increasing by their circumstances. Jane woman misses her career and doubts her ability to be happy and be a woman without it. Alice misses her husband who is at war and doubts her ability to be a vicar’s wife. Both women feel the awkwardness and rejection trying to fit in to the tight knit community. Their approach to facing unwelcome changes was a stark contrast between self-pity and loving sacrifice. I felt a part of both their world’s as they grew and learned their true strengths and weaknesses. The author’s writing was vivid in all her descriptions. I could feel how dark, depressing, and cold the home was. At some points I had to pull up some extra blankets because I could feel the chill! Her accounts of each woman’s emotions were so intense I actually felt their hurt, frustrations, and pain! A beautiful book, well written and very entertaining!
I received this book free from the publisher Kregel Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

YOU’RE GOING TO BE OKAY BY HOLLY GERTH

We’ve all been there. Times in our lives where what we are facing is so overwhelming that we just don’t think we will survive. The pain is so great it engulfs our hearts and minds to the point we feel it will never end. I know I have been to that point many times in my life. It’s one huge problem after another or a bunches of little ones that wear me down. This is where Satan steps in and gets our focus off of Christ and onto our circumstances. No wonder we feel defeated!
This is a wonderful book to help you get back on track and see through Satan’s lies and clearly see God’s Truths. Ms. Gerth does a beautiful job through insights and scriptures to help us refocus and on who we are in Christ. She shows all that we have at our disposal through His power, not only to survive but to come out a victor not a victim!
One of the most important aspects of the book was how much scripture she uses to guide you to where you need to be. Scripture is our ONLY guide. She helps you climb out of a seemingly dark hole and see the courage and strength that is there waiting for you through the Lord. When difficulties arise, we are attacked on all sides, physically, mentally and emotionally. The author addresses all of these. A wonderful book filled with encouragement and hope! This is one I will keep, read again and again, and use as a reference. I think it would make an incredible Bible study for an individual or a group!
I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

WITH AUTUMN’S RETURN by Amanda Cabot

One of my favorite things about historical novels is that although they are fiction they are entertaining ways to view life in the past. The growing territories of the 1800’s were sometimes challenging places to live and only for the strong of heart, especially for women. Elizabeth Harding had already braved her way through medical school to become a doctor; definitely not an acceptable career choice for women of that time.
She shows even more grit and courage by choosing to join her older sisters and their families in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1887 and set up her first medical practice. Having already weathered the opposition and jeers of her fellow male students, she is undaunted at the task before her and full of hope and expectation. Next to her new clinic is a young lawyer named Jason Nordling, also trying to establish his business. At first they get off on the wrong foot due to his prejudice against female doctors. This doesn’t deter Elizabeth’s goals at all. Time and circumstances soften their feeling toward each other and a friendship is forged that quickly turns into romance, surprising them both. Suspense, murder and many surprises enter into the sweet love story.
Living in the 21st century we forget how restrictive and sometimes hard the lives of women were, little alone one that was choosing to blaze a new path. There were many life lessons to be learned from the characters. Elizabeth’s courage not only to follow her dream but also to do what is right despite the opinions of others was inspiring. She chooses to treat a madam of a bordello and her women without caring what others would say. Although she did not agree with their occupation, she did care about them as people. She was not afraid to stand for what was right or for those who were being wronged.
In her I also saw how easy it is to jump to conclusions about people and their motives before knowing the full truth of the matter. I have to give her credit that she recognized her weakness in this area.
Elizabeth and Jason had what they believed to be concrete plans about their future, who they would marry and if they would marry. Their relationship was a reminder that we should never say “never” and need to leave the door open for God’s plans.
Gwen, her friend and lady she roomed had a problem that still goes on today but in a greater way; body image and self-worth. I appreciated the way the author proved that this is not the key to being loved and admired by another.
I have not read the other two books of this series and I feel this could be a stand-alone read. The story was well written and a real page turner. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Cabot’s books.
I received this book free from Baker Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.