"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"FINDING PEACE and REST ... " ...

in the

[credit image: faith gateway]

actually the title is

"Devotions from the Garden"
Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life

By Miriam Drennan 

... who doesn't want to "find peace and rest" whether your life is busy or not; however the reason I found this to be the key part of this title that drew me into choosing this book IS because as you read the devotions, you can actually find this peace and rest. 

Miriam Drennan starts each 2 page devotion with a passage from Scripture, then a daily reading drawn from "gardening" with a spiritual application to our life, really wonderful analogies in so many of the devotions, ending with a simple personal prayer, filled with breath-taking, full color gorgeous photographs of garden scenes and nature. Just the cover itself invites one to "come to the garden alone and fill your soul with His Presence" as you sit awhile on this welcoming garden swing. Such a delight as you take in the imagery of the words and photographs as you read each beautifully written devotion of the 90 included, that can be read in a brief amount of time, or you can linger over them on a wonderful walk in the garden. It is there you encounter Him, and the peace and rest.

As I anxiously began reading the book, I thought I would sample just one a day to get the feel of using this as my daily devotional, but I found myself continuing from one to the next, and I could not put this easy reading book down. I was totally inspired and in awe of how close I really felt to God with an amazing sense of peace and desire to want to connect with more and more of the awesome insights that Miriam Drennan illustrates from the Master Gardener and our growth. I could certainly see that Miriam Drennan was more than just an author writing daily devotions, she actually knew her topic of the garden very well along with spiritual and biblical inspiration. Even though I am far from being any kind of a gardener with a green or otherwise thumb, she was able to help me understand and learn not just about a wide variety of gardening themes but also deepening my spiritual growth and understanding. This book would be a great gift for the avid gardener or anyone that appreciates the beauty of God's nature like me. The author's own garden knowledge and her explanations are extremely helpful, informative and her analogies from the garden to our own lives are inspirational, insightful and indicative of Miriam's expertise and my own need for growth.

Each devotion covers so many different gardening topics and spiritual themes that I would love to list them but there are 90 so ... let's just begin with some of my favorite ones which fit in so perfectly with my "Gardens of Grace":

 "God's Transforming Grace" 
"Grace in the Garden"
"The Riches of Remnants"
"Blooms but No Fruit"
"The Forgotten Crop"
"Neglected Beds"
"Grafted to Him"

Other gardening themes include: Perennials; Crop Rotation; Soils; Roots; Drought; Weeding; Pruning; Seasons; Fruit; Harvesting; Companion Planting; Seed Cleaning; Mustard Seed; Mulch; various kinds of Gardens - Butterfly, Herb, Rain, Straw bale; and Gardening - Pallet, Rock; and of course, the insects like Ladybugs, the Mantis, Honeybees, Earthworms; and so many more that enrich our lives and our gardens. Beautiful photos make her words spring to life. Miriam has such a way with words and connecting garden themes to our lives as she plants, nurtures and tends to our spiritual gardens. I have so many highlights throughout this devotional which seems to point out that my garden was in such a need for attention and that I have such thirst for so much more by the Master Gardener and Miriam Drennan's capacity to tend to our gardens, the areas in our lives that need tender gardening skills and care: from our soil and our roots to the blooming parts and harvest. I knew that there are many spiritual themes from or in a garden, I just didn't have the touch or knowledge of expertise only the love for the Master Gardener and His daily care. 

This is absolutely one of the most beautiful, inspirational and timely devotionals that I have had the pleasure to read, for whatever season you may find your personal life to be. It is one that I will go back to read often to soak in the beauty of God's design in the garden and us in His Grace! Miriam Drennan refreshes our souls, encourages our hearts and cleverly communicates God's peace as we find rest in the garden. Our relationship with God through these daily feedings breathes afresh in us as we deepen our quiet time with walks in the garden with Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Book Description~ from Book Look Bloggers

"Come to the garden alone, and fill your soul with His presence.
There's nothing on earth like the peace and loveliness of a magnificent garden. It's the place where Adam and Eve first fellow-shipped with God, and where you, too, can escape from this chaotic world into His loving arms of beauty and serenity. Devotions from the Garden takes you to that place where senses are restored as dewdrops settle and butterflies gather to witness the miracles of God's creation bloom and grow. These ninety devotions explore the parallels of life with the elements of the garden to help you see God, to sense His presence, to soothe your soul, and to rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day. Included are striking photographs with a fresh, contemporary design for timeless appeal.
About the Author
Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. 
Drop her a line at www.that-writer.com. " Published by Thomas Nelson

Saturday, May 2, 2015


What more can I say to express the pure delight to read and so enjoy 
"Flash the Homeless Donkey who Taught Me about Life, Faith and Second Chances"
by Rachel Anne Ridge
I am
"... looking at my life in a fresh way and seeing that the "donkeys" that show up are actually extraordinary gifts in disguise."
(which is what Rachel Anne Ridge hoped we might gain and wrote as a response to a question
 she answered about the core story of Flash from her perspective)
I've gained so much through her heart warming "donkey" tales in these 13 chapters.

Sunset. It's been a good day.

And "Flash" indeed is an extraordinary Gift!

Rachel Anne Ridge has carefully taken the ordinary and woven them into extraordinary tales learned in lessons from "Flash" and applied them to her life and ours, both in the spiritual and relational aspects. She captures our hearts as she journals how "Flash" came into her family's life and became family, making us almost want to go out to rescue and get us a donkey ourselves to experience this firsthand. Rachel Anne has a gift of writing humorously and interestingly, illustrating with words each scene so we can clearly imagine them, among her other gifts of artistic nature and beyond. She inspires us to look and "find God in everyday moments" (a webcast that she, Priscilla Shirer and Flash shared) and relates to us honestly "wearing her donkey heart on her sleeve". Rachel is real (bar none) and doesn't hold back.

I laughed out loud at her vivid descriptions of Flash's antics and wiped away tears welling up in my eyes as I identify with the lessons that Rachel stirs up that strikes a chord deep within me too. In retrospect through each of the 11 lessons depicted in the 13 chapters of this book, I no longer can select just one because it's the composite of ALL of these that make "Flash" all he is and all we can be by grabbing on to his spot-on lessons that Rachel has craftily assembled as we read: knowing whose we are, knowing where to find refuge and finding our sanctuary in God alone, pursuing excellence to conquer fear, finding our passion which leads to purpose, becoming a trail blazer with persistence making pathways for grace to follow, living a well lived life as an authentic life, choosing gratitude by standing where the fruit is falling to learn the secret of abundance, serving others in love, embracing change and moving forward fearlessly, making the most of each chance to make things right through forgiving, accepting and loving, making our life journey not about fixing our "donkey" problems but being transformed by them (my paraphrases of Flash's 11 Lessons). Of course, every "unexpected guest" in our life was chosen to pass through our life for a reason in each season, if we carefully examine God's plan and listen carefully to the lesson. I'm not focusing so much on the arrival of this "unexpected guest" as the book descriptions tell about instead I am leaning in closer to God's heart and voice through Flash and Rachel, with the my departure being what I take away and make mine. How can a wounded, abandoned donkey change me?

The book's description fills us in adequately on the background of this shaggy, wounded, lost donkey's arrival showing up on the Ridge's driveway yet more importantly accepted in their hearts and lives but no description can ever complete better what the author has vividly depicted in living color of the impact of "entertaining angels unaware" as in Hebrews 13:2 of strangers that just show up. Not that I'm comparing "Flash" to an angel, but he still is a "messenger", a gift given by God, at just the right inconvenient time, to convey some much needed messages and perhaps entangle the Ridge's life with some unnecessary "messes" as Rachel has penned for us in the lessons that even we can take to heart. Like or unlike Biblical and other donkeys, Flash comes into our lives, through Rachel, with a unique purpose through these messages. Maybe "Flash" isn't the glorious "angel" aware or unaware, but because of Rachel, God has met me in the pages of their book through Flash and her words, her message, her gift ... a "Flash" of God's!

Reading all the well deserved accolades and endorsements from other more 'famous' people than I, certainly speaks well for Rachel and Flash, with each one giving an accurate truth of this entertaining and purposeful addition to your reading collection of books, so "Flash" and Rachel did not need me or my review, as much as I needed them. "Flash" is easy, endearing and enjoyable to read, making it so hard to put down (so of course, I had to read straight through to the end and still want more). Although I read "Flash" as a digital copy, I loved the photos and glossy cover of "Flash" front and back, but in between while reading, I was amused with two of these ^^ to break between tales (tails) --- no, they're not tails, they are representative of those silly, long ears (I think) that mark this sweet 'adopted' donkey not as an art fixture in their family's acreage but truly as a warm part of their life and hearts. Rachel (Tom and family) have a gift and make an impression upon us to last a lifetime (not just artistically or literally but spiritually) in the way they open their hearts and life to an "unexpected guest" showing us that interruptions can become opportunities ... inconveniences most certainly can be used by God and insignificant moments might be a chance to see the simple things of life as miracles in the making!

Personally for me, this is the most delightful book I've just totally enjoyed in quite a while.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Also for being a part of the "Flash mob" with Rachel Anne Ridge, I have a hard complimentary copy of the book back home in MN. 

I'd like to express my "Thanks to Tyndale and Rachel!"

Tyndale Book Description

I truthfully sought out this book and being part of the famous
after stumbling across Rachel's blog
"Home Sanctuary"
looking for 'The Beauty of Grace'
I have come away with so much more!

How could I not dedicate this first week of this exciting book release to
Rachel Anne, 
Tom and Ridge family
They truly have made their Home a Sanctuary!
{against all odds in the tough seasons of their life and Flash's}

This has been such a blessing for me!
Yee haw Texas!

Last day to enter the
a Rafflecopter giveaway
this book
May 9th, 2015

I'll announce the winner perhaps 
May 10th
which here in Mexico is always 
Mother's Day
but this year it just happens to also be
the same day for USA too

just had to add this new video of Flash here
 a few other Flash video links because the one that I had on my blog won't be there forever
Rachel Anne Introduces Flash
Meet Flash the Donkey
of course, I want to save and treasure
Rachel Anne Ridge's You Tube Channel
Blog: Home Sanctuary;  Facebook
Flash, the Donkey; Facebook

To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!