God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Friday, February 27, 2015

When You Come Home

Book Review Friday
by Barbara Latta

When Daphne Abston met Raymond Kelley it was all over for her. She had met the man of her dreams, even if she did spill lemonade all over him at their first meeting. After several dates, they married, and life as a military wife began for Daphne. Traveling long distances to meet him when he had leave and then worrying when he had to go overseas took their toll on her.

When You Come Home
Daphne’s worst fears are realized when a poem she wrote and had given to Raymond before he left comes back in the mail and it is stained with blood. The yellow envelope containing the telegram with the fatal news confirms it was Raymond’s blood on the paper. Feeling the pain of loss and loneliness, Daphne thinks her life is over. How she overcomes her grief and has her faith restored in God shines through when she realizes one of her prayers was answered in the end.

Years later after Daphne had remarried, her adult daughter discovered the scrapbook where she had kept all the mementos of her life with Raymond and their story was revealed.

Daphne and Raymond's lives were highlighted in Tom Brokaw’s collection, The Greatest Generation. Nancy Cavin Pitts took her mother’s story to its completion in When You Come Home.

This book is available at Barbara's Bookstore.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Driving Safely in Bad Weather

Tuesday's Tips
by Barbara Latta

The United States has been encased in some type of bad weather within the last few weeks, with few exceptions. Even though authorities warn people to stay off the roads, some don’t heed that advice. If you are going to venture out anyway, or if you simply have no choice, here are a few tips to keep in mind to stay as safe as possible.
Stay Off Brakes In Curves

Snowy or Icy Road Travel
  • Slow Down – even an all-wheel vehicle cannot do everything. Reduce speed by at least 10 mph and more if needed.
  • Black Ice—be aware this can form on bridges, in shadows of buildings, or anyplace that does not receive sunlight during the day. The haze is hard to see and does not respond to the de-icing methods highway departments use.
  • Don’t Tailgate—stay at least a football field length behind the car in front of you, but close enough to see its tail lights. This will give you plenty of stopping room if needed.
  • Stay Off Brakes—when making a turn, simply slow down and feather the brakes, then coast through the turn with your foot off the brake and the gas pedal.
  • If You Skid—stay off brakes and gas pedal, turn into the direction of the slide and the car will correct itself. If you are skidding to the right, turn the wheel to the right.

Keep Proper Distance Between Vehicles

Car Trouble

  • Stay Out Of The Traffic Path—pull over as safely as possible to avoid being hit by passing vehicles
  • Don’t Leave Your Vehicle—stay with your car until help arrives. You are safer inside the car, than out wandering in snow.
  • Keep Tailpipe Clear—if snow is piled up behind your stranded car, clear the area around the tailpipe to avoid carbon monoxide fumes building up inside.

Hopefully, you can stay inside during inclement weather, but if you do get out, please do everything you can to stay safe. Next week, we will explore safe driving in rain and fog and share some tips to keep your vehicle prepared for whatever mother nature brings.

What driving tips have worked for you? Feel free to share your comments with others.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Kind Of Pot Are You?

by Barbara Latta

I love pottery. Anytime I find a shop with these beautiful works of art, I am drawn to it and mesmerized by the talent these artisans have in their hands. Each piece is unique and reflects the imagination and creativity of the person sitting at the potter’s wheel. I was gifted with a trip to Seagrove, North Carolina for Valentine’s Day. I was in pottery heaven.

While perusing the shops, I saw the differences and the purposes in each piece. The variety is food for the eyes and sates the desires of the purchaser. If each piece of pottery were the same, it would be boring.

It’s the same with us. We are the pots of clay formed by the hand of our Creator. He made each one of us different, with a specific purpose. Sometimes we complain because we don’t like who we are or what we have. We want to be like someone else.

But what if we were? If we were all the same, there would be certain tasks that couldn’t be completed because there wouldn’t be anyone left to do them. We would all look the same and that would be boring. How would we tell each other apart?

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but it is the same God who works all in all But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (I Corinthians 12:4-6).

God is the potter, we are the clay. He has made us each into a vessel for His glory. Paul goes on to compare the parts of the body to the functions of the body of Christ in I Corinthians 12, verses 12-27. Each body part has a reason to be here and we are all to uphold and support each other and to expand the kingdom of God with our particular function.

It’s up to us to pray and seek God’s direction to find the purpose He put into us.

What kind of pot are you? No matter what it is, you were made for the glory of God. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method

Book Review Friday

by Barbara Latta

If you are a writer you have read all kinds of how-to books on story, plot, and dialogue. They all have helpful advice to speed your story along.

How To Write A Novel Using the Snowflake Method has a different approach to aiding a writer in the task of competing a novel. Randy Ingermanson takes the tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and intertwines a writing school within the story.

It seems Goldilocks wants to be a writer and who knew Baby Bear was a writing teacher? I would never have thought Robin Hood would stop romping through the forest long enough to be still and listen in a class on writing. He does have some snide comments for the instructor. Old Mother Hubbard is still looking for that bone, but the Big Bad Wolf? His career as a literary agent is threatened by accusations from one of the Three Pigs.

This humorous look at the writing world will stick with you while teaching all the basics about putting a story together, writing a synopsis, and an outline.

This book is one of the best writing helps I have ever read. It is available at www.amazon.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Prevent Pet Popsicles

Tuesday’s Tips

Unless you are in the desert southwest of the United States or you live below the equator, right now you are freezing. If you have pets, it’s important to take special care to keep them warm and safe during this kind of weather. Below are some helpful tips to help with the four-footed furry friends.

  • Keep pets indoors if at all possible. A walk outside every few hours will give them the exercise and relief they need.
  • If you do have dog that has to stay outside, make sure it has an enclosure big enough to stand up in and turn around. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and spread with straw. The opening should have a flap to keep out wind and rain.
  • Pets staying outside require more food to keep their body temperature regulated. Water should be in a plastic dish, not metal. Their tongue can freeze to the cold metal. Check it regularly to make sure the water is not frozen.
  • After walking pets, wipe their paws to keep them clean and dry. Road salt can build up on their feet and it’s not something they need to ingest. Protecting pads with booties can also keep feet warmer.
  • Remember that cats and wildlife may climb under a vehicle or inside the hood to gain warmth. Beat on the hood before starting your car to scare them away and prevent injury.

Animals are subject to frostbite the same as humans. Noses, ears, and feet can become frozen before other body parts. Help keep your companions as warm as you would like to be.

Do you have other tips for taking care of pets during cold weather?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do You Know Your Presidents?

 by Barbara Latta

How well versed are you in American history? Sadly, as time passes the education children receive in school is giving them a distorted view of our country’s founding and its patriots. History books have been altered to agree with political correctness instead of stating facts. While it is true there are dark days and tragedies in our historical record, wiping them off the printed page doesn’t take away their existence. We can learn from mistakes and we can profit from leadership accomplishments.

This week we recognize President’s Day, a combination of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. I would like to share some little known facts about these two great leaders because so little is known today about actual history.  I saw a survey conducted on a street corner asking people historical questions such as "When was the War of 1812?"  Hmmm, let me think now, DUH! The answers were so astounding it was embarrassing.

George Washington
  • George Washington did not have a middle name.
  • Washington did not throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River. This river is one mile wide and no matter a person’s strength, the feat could not be accomplished. Also, there were no silver dollars during this time period.
  • Young George contracted smallpox while on the island of Barbados in 1751. Surviving this disease gave him lifelong immunity which saved him during the smallpox epidemic during the American Revolution. During the war he also ordered his troops, who were dying by the hundreds of this malady, to be inoculated which stopped its spread.
  • At the battle of Monongahela in 1755, George Washington had two horses shot out from under him and four musket balls made holes in his coat but he was never seriously wounded in battle.

 Abraham Lincoln

  • Abraham Lincoln was the first president to have a beard.
  • He patented a system to alter the buoyancy of steamboats in 1849.
  • One week before he died, Lincoln had a dream of someone crying in the White House. When searching out the room where the noise came from, he asked who had died. The man in the room replied, “The President.” Abraham looked into the casket and saw his own face.
  • He created a national banking system in 1863 which resulted in a standardized currency.
  • Mary Todd’s parents did not want her to marry Abe because he was from a poor background.

Finding factual details about our country and its founders is necessary to have the correct view of our country.

What is your opinion of the way history is treated today?

Sources: www.mountvernon.org., www.alincoln-library.com. For further reading check out www.wallbuilders.com. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review Friday

by Barbara Latta

Becalmed is a southern story with a sailing flavor. Set in Beaufort, North Carolina a single jewelry making thirty-something runs aground when she meets a Northern sailor and his adorable daughter.

The seven-year-old red-haired pixie bonds with Tadie Longworth  and the relationship between the two threatens the handsome sailboat captain who is trying to raise his daughter alone. While Tadie’s heart is in turmoil over the feelings Will Merritt stirs within her, she is trying to avoid the advances of an old flame who thinks she still burns for him.

Normandie Fischer’s experience with sailboats is evident in her descriptions and terminology. Reading this book will bring saltwater and sand to your senses and weave a romance between a woman who thinks she will never have a family and a widower who doesn’t want another one.

This book is available at Barbara's Bookstore.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tame the Fly Away

Tuesday’s Tips

by Barbara Latta

Does your hemline stick to your pantyhose when you walk? This winter weather can cause havoc with static on our clothes, hair, and even that “ouch” when you touch something after walking across the room.

Rubbing a fabric softener sheet across the inside of your skirt will tame the beast. You can even smooth one across your hair if it is trying to go its own way.

I haven’t found anything to stop the shock except touching something with my coat covered elbow first.

What about you? Do you have any good ideas for lessening winter friction?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Heaven's Valentine

by Barbara Latta

Chocolate, roses, fancy dinners, and stuffed animals are the primary gifts given for Valentine’s Day. These are physical reminders of affectionate feelings for another person. But after the day is over, do we revert back to old ways and forget the loving things said and done because of a special holiday?

Our tokens of love are emotional. Feelings aren’t wrong, but we can’t depend on them to guide our lives. Sometimes we don’t feel like being loving, we would rather be grumpy or rude. But real love does the action without the feeling.

This is God’s unconditional love. He loved us while we were still dirty, rotten sinners (Romans 5:8). He showed the one and only kind of real love when he gave Jesus to us as a gift wrapped in a little baby to grow into the man who would have all the foul sin of the world placed upon him.

That was action, not emotion.

Because He loved us, we can love Him. (I John 4:10-11). And because He loved us, we can love others. Not with a feeling, but with a showing, a doing, a becoming what He made us to be.

Our works don’t bring us into a relationship with God. Faith does that. Receiving grace does that (Ephesians 2:8-9). But to bring someone else into that grace requires showing them the love of the Father. And that is where the action comes in. Not retaliating against someone who has mistreated us, being kind to someone who was rude in the shopping line, keeping our mouths in line with the word when we get “blessed” out. These are the actions of love despite the opposite feelings rising within us.

The valentine of heaven wasn’t a card sent through an angelic mailbox. It was blood running down a wooden cross to soak into the cursed earth. One drop would have been enough, but he used it all to show us He goes over and beyond and does much more than we need.  He paid the highest cost and we were given the freest gift.

Happy Valentine’s Day—from Jesus.

What does this love mean to you?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Once Beyond A Time

Book Review Friday

By Barbara Latta

It’s 1968 and a family has just moved from the metropolis of Philadelphia to the mountains of North Carolina. Adjusting to country life is difficult enough with the added stresses of a marriage crumbling and financial issues abounding, but now the family is being visited by people from another time.

Ann Tatlock brings the past to the present in this novel of a family learning to live together and forgive. This is not a paranormal story, but one about different time periods where two families lives intertwine and friendships are bonded.

The loving hand of God shows up in unexpected ways.

This book is available at barbaralatta.lpcbooks. com. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

All Dogs Go To Heaven

by Barbara Latta

Super Bowl Sunday—the long awaited championship game of the year is on the agenda today.

But for some the highlight of the game is not the points on the scoreboard, but the anticipation of the commercials; especially those focusing on animals. Whether the star of the ad is furry puppies, cute kittens, funny ducks, or talking cows, these commercials always seem to be the most popular. Critters become superstars of the Super Bowl overnight while making us laugh or creating a tug on our hearts.
Weenie and his "thug" look

If you are a pet owner, your animals are your super stars even if they are not on TV. That’s why it’s so hard to lose one. Last week I wrote about the grief we feel when a loved one passes on. But there is another kind of sadness we suffer when we lose our four-legged friends.
While our pets are not the spiritual beings we humans are, we still have a soul connection with them and when they die we hurt. We come to care for them as family members even though they cause us frustration, make messes to clean up, and cost us money. But these additions to our household also make us laugh and bring joy into our lives. Without them, life just wouldn’t be the same.

Take some of the antics of our mini-dachshund, Rusty, for example. Have you ever known a dog to eat a whole bowl of peppermint candy? (After seeing the effects of this, which was red coming out all over the place, I ran as fast as I could to the vet because I thought it was blood.) Or a dog who could get the door off a locked kennel and get out of it? What about a dog who likes to ride in your lap on the lawnmower? Rusty has been gone for over 7 years and we are still talking about him.

We have two dogs now, a snoodle, Buster, and a half-snoodle/ half dachshund, Peanut. 
Buster and Peanut
While visiting our son and his wife in Florida last year, we left our dogs in the backyard with Kato, their German Shepherd and Weenie, their Chi-weenie, while we went out one day. After returning to the house for something we forgot, we saw Weenie and Peanut in the front yard wagging their tails like we should be glad to see them in a place they didn’t belong. Peanut had dirt all over his face because he had dug under the fence and Weenie just followed the leader. Peanut looked up at us as if to say, “I didn’t do it.”

Last week, our son and daughter-in-law lost Kato. Less than 8 months ago they lost Weenie in an accident. Both will be greatly missed and talked about for years to come. It’s tough to say good-bye to our pets no matter when or how it happens, but losing two in
Pop and Benji
the same year just doubles the pain. And last year, my father-in-law lost his beloved Benji after many years of companionship.

Our animals are companions and comforters and those of us who love them think whatever we go through because of our furry friends is worth the cost. If you have recently lost a pet, my heart goes out to you. I know what you are going through.

These suggestions may help you do something positive with your pain:
  • If it is financially feasible and your location allows it, try to get another pet as soon as possible.
  • Think about visiting a rescue shelter for adoption and give another lonely animal a home.
  • Share funny stories about your pet with other pet owners who understand.
  • If you can’t get another pet now, try helping friends who are dog or cat owners when they go out of town or just need to have the  animal looked in on during the day.

Weenie, Kato, and Rain the cat
Years ago, there was a cartoon movie called  "All Dogs Go To Heaven". I think maybe they do.

If you would like to remember your companion here, please feel free to share your stories.