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).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Money Saving Gardening Tips

Tuesday's Tips

by Barbara Latta

Spring brings gardening and any money-saving tips we can use are always helpful. Click this link from P. Allen Smith for some great advice.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Best Defense for Being Offended

by Barbara Latta

“That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).

It's All About Me
The prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be an offense to many because his teaching would prick the conscience of those who wouldn’t believe (Isaiah 8:14). So many in the world today reject Christ because to embrace him is to deny the god of self. People want everything their way so that nothing even remotely goes against their senses.

Every day it’s something new someone gets offended about.  Recently, some college students protested so loudly the school gave in to their demands and took the American flag down. Others have become so enraged over such trivial things such as a cell phone, a seat on a plane, or being cut off in line. 

I am not advocating giving up our freedom to speak and stand for our values. It’s the overt shout of the selfish that claim “I don’t like something so you shouldn’t have it or display it” which promotes “me-ism”. This attitude hurts everyone because the focus is on petty feelings. The rest of the population is forced to give in to the complainer to try to keep the peace. All this does is fuel someone else’s need to rant.
The Gospel Is Love

The best defense for offense is found in Philippians 1:11, “being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

If the fruits of righteousness are filling us there is no room for making such big issues out of small things. When the focus is on God and what he wants, desires that are wrong fade away and right ones take their place. When the Almighty One of the universe is at the heart of our feelings, we find out what is important.

When emotions rise over something that doesn’t really matter,  we need to put up our defense of righteousness and the offense won’t win.

How do you apply this solution for offense to your situations? Share your thoughts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Common Mistakes Writers Make

Book Review Friday

by Barbara Latta

Eva Marie Everson outlines the most frequent errors even seasoned writers can make in their articles and stories.

Proper use of phrases, sense descriptions and elimination of repeated words teach the writer to be aware of these culprits.
Avoid Writing Mistakes

"If you want English 101, get a seventh-grade grammar book", Ms. Everson says. But you can get rid of “the wazzies” (overuse of to be verbs) with the tips from her instruction.

This little book is filled with helpful insights to correct mistakes we commonly overlook and is available at Barbara's Bookstore.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How To Properly Wash Your Car

Tuesday's Tips

by Barbara Latta

Spring if finally emerging. Residue from road grime, de-icing chemicals, and weather can be built up on vehicles after battling winter. Here are some safe ways to remove those harmful particles from your car.

Start With the Interior

Loosen dirt before your vacuum
  1. Using a stiff brush, loosen any dried mud or stuck particles, then use a small air compressor to blow the dirt toward the center. This makes it easier to vacuum it up.
  2. Use non-ammonia window cleaner for glass. A microfiber cloth won’t leave lint.
  3. Leather should be cleaned with a compound containing an aloe conditioner. Ammonia based products used on leather and dashboards will dry out the material.

Wheels and Tires

Clean wheels and tires before the body of the car. I always thought I needed to do this last, but according to pros that is not correct. Non-acid products won’t cause oxidation or pit alloy wheels.

Paint Surfaces

  1. Hand washing is best because you can feel the surface and scrub off any stuck on grime. A cleaning solution designed for vehicles is safe for the paint while dishwashing detergent will strip off any wax coatings and leave the car susceptible to more scratches and dings.
  2. Hand washing cars is best
  3. Wax wears off over time. Replace the wax as seasons change.

As you start your spring cleaning, don’t forget your mode of transportation. Keeping it clean and new looking will give you more years of enjoyment as you ride.

What about you? Do you have cleaning and detailing tips to share? Join the conversation.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Responsible Pet Ownership

by Barbara Latta

Caring for abandoned dogs
After arriving home from a long trip, we were greeted by four adorable puppies climbing our back porch stairs. Woofs and howls echoed through the air as tails wagged and paws the size of my fist jumped up and down on my legs. The bowl we filled with dog food was quickly emptied and then turned into a toy to toss across the yard.

After talking to others on our street, we found out the puppies had been in our area for a few weeks, apparently abandoned by some irresponsible person. The dogs are being well cared for by us and our neighbors while we are all in the process of finding homes for them.

Pet ownership requires time, expense, and discipline. If a person is unwilling to invest their life into the lives of the animal, they have no business owning one. It is not only irresponsible to abandon a pet, it is cruel. These critters depend upon humans for their welfare. They are not wild animals but if left unattended, they soon will be. And that spells disaster for the pet and for the humans around them.

If you have pet and can’t care for it, consider options instead of throwing them out.

  • Contact Rescue Shelters – find one at www.petfinder.com.
  • Place Ads in newspapers
  • Put Posters at veterinarians offices
  • Ask people you know
Cats need care
If you have an adult dog or cat, have it spayed or neutered. Unless you are a breeder, you have no reason to skip this procedure. Limiting the number of unwanted pets in communities is humane for the animals and protective of the homes and families. Some agencies will perform these surgeries at a reduced cost such as www.fidofixers.org.

God placed animals on the earth for our benefit and enjoyment. We are directed to take dominion over them and care for them (Genesis 1:28). Please take that commission seriously.

Do you have other options for finding homes for unwanted pets? Join the conversation and share.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Connections, Social Media And Networking Techniques for Writers

Book Review Friday

by Barbara Latta

Do you struggle with social media posts, understanding the lingo, or deciding which sites to join?

Are you contemplating beginning a blog of your own, or would you just like to know what a hashtag is?

Edie Melson’s book,Connections, Social Media And Networking Techniques for Writers will answer all your questions.
Connections by Edie Melson

Even if you are not a writer, you will benefit from great insights into the technological world of social media. Find the answer to navigating these electronic platforms through these detailed directions.

The elements described in this book have helped me in setting up my blog and learning how to navigate social media.

Visit Edie's blog at The Write ConversationConnections is available at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grout Cleaning Recipe

Tuesday’s Tips
 by Barbara Latta

Do you have ceramic tile on some of your floors?

Grout can be stubborn to keep clean and finding the right ingredients to accomplish the task can be challenging.

This recipe made from common household ingredients should do the trick:
7 cups water
Grout cleaning can be easier
½ cup baking soda
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ cup white vinegar

Mix together in a spray bottle and apply to floor. Let it sit a few minutes, then mop.
You should now have sparkling clean grout.

Do you have other ideas for floor cleaning?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Combating Negative Thought Patterns

God’s Garden

“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23NKJV).

Remove weeds before they take root
At the end of winter each year, I am anxious to get out of the house and into the warm spring air. My hands itch to get into the dirt and start planting flowers. Usually, some of the bulbs planted in the fall are already bursting through the soil to say hello to the sunshine kissing their petals. Unfortunately, there are unwelcome invaders there, as well.

Weeds that have been dormant all winter are also sprouting and making their presence known. These attackers on the landscape lay hidden among the soil until water and heat feed them. Then they grow among the flowers, unnoticed until it is too late.

Our heart is God’s garden. Discord, bitterness, unforgiveness and anger can get planted in our minds when we entertain thoughts that carry these seeds. Sometimes we may not even know we have allowed them in until the weeds are fed.

Bad thoughts can become weeds
A seed is a very small thing and some are so tiny they can barely be seen. But they grow into giant plants and gargantuan trees. Some attitudes seem insignificant and harmless, but listening to the world’s values can carry dangerous consequences. And if we aren’t careful they have taken up residence before we know they have been planted.

Weeds are harder to pull out the longer we allow them to stay in the ground. The roots become deep and strong and it takes a lot of effort to remove them. Bad thoughts can take root if we don’t eliminate them when they are small. Daily feeding on God’s Word will nourish our minds with good seeds and kill the bad ones before they can become a destructive force.

Cultivating a garden keeps it beautiful, healthy and enjoyable for all to see. A soul full of joy and peace will reflect the God who has been planted in it. We must guard our heart because it is God’s field. No one wants a garden full of weeds.

How do you keep the weeds out of your thoughts? Join the conversation.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Markers For Single Moms

Book Review Friday
by Barbara Latta

Terri Webster became a single mom 25 years ago when her dream of a perfect marriage was shattered. She remained a single parent for 19 years and during that time she learned to depend on God through the truths revealed in this book.

Markers for Single Moms
Through a series of events she became born again and found new life with Christ. Her healing journey was a step by step process of learning to rely on God for all her needs.
Markers for Single Moms: Finding God’s Direction in the Chaos will guide a single mother through the journey of hoping again and learning to let Jesus fill all the emotional holes single parenthood can leave in her life.

Terri uses an experience she had on a hiking trail where she went to be alone and talk to God. She followed rocks on the side of a mountain that led her down the opposite side. After realizing these were markers to direct hikers, she looked ahead but couldn’t see all the stones at once.  Only after she reached the one in front of her could she see the next one, then the next, and the next. This allowed a hiker to stay on the trail and not get lost.
She knew then God was directing her life the same way. He gave her markers for her life to follow and as she trusted Him with each step, the next one was revealed.

This book will help the reader find these thirteen markers for her own life. The first one is "Meet Jesus", others include "God is Your Provider", "Victim or Victor?", and "Pressing On". 

Terri's passion is to help women who have suffered through the difficulties of raising children alone. She has started a ministry for single women located in Covington, Georgia called Spring Ministries.

Terri’s blog is My Writing Well.  Her book is available at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Driving In Bad Weather - Part Two

Tuesday's Tips

by Barbara Latta

Foggy and rainy weather can be as hazardous as driving in ice or snow. Limited visibility is dangerous not only for you as the driver of your vehicle, but also for those you are approaching.
Stay safe with these tips:

Use fog lights
  • Use fog lights—the yellow color cuts through fog better than white and also are closer to the road than headlights. This helps illuminate the area in front of your car.
  • Slow down—especially before approaching a hill or curve. There may be other vehicles in the road and will not be visible until you are upon them.
  • Pump your brakes—when approaching a foggy area flashing the tail lights will alert others behind you.

Slow down in rain

  • Slow down—this can’t be emphasized enough. Any type of bad weather requires adjusting speed. Cars can hydroplane on wet roads, slowing down helps prevent this.
  • Avoid Flooded Areas—don’t drive though large puddles of water. It is impossible to estimate how deep they are. Many people have been swept away by trying to drive through water they thought was shallow.
  • Check Your Brakes—after your car has been splashed with water, feathering the brakes will create heat which will dry them out.

It’s inevitable we will sometimes have to drive in bad weather. Please be sure to do everything you can to stay safe.

Share any other tips you use when approaching hazardous driving conditions.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wisely Using Our Time

by Barbara Latta

 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 NKJV)

Reading can be shared
Do you ever board a plane then hope no one will bother you? I use flying time to settle down for some  (hopefully) uninterrupted reading. However,the last time I squeezed into one of those mini-recliners with the attached table that will barely hold a laptop, God had other plans. The lady in the next seat wanted to chat. And chat, and chat. Without taking a deep, annoying sigh, I tried to listen to her. Finally, I got the message and closed the book. When she saw the title I had yet to read, we struck up a conversation about God and I was able to give her my book as we left the plane.

My time on that plane was not my own. God had put me in the seat next to this woman so I could learn to listen and so she could hear His message through the book I gave to her.
Each moment and each day is a gift. What we do with it determines our future and can ultimately affect the future of someone else.

Close contact on planes
We are all so busy with the things of life. Jobs, school, errands, chores, hobbies, and activities all absorb time. We aren’t aware of the seconds ticking by as we go about our business every day, but as each one slips past, it is a day we will never re-live. We can’t put time in a piggy bank and save it like we do money.  Minutes can’t be earned like our salary. Days are not going to be there when we go back to get them. Time passes and then is gone.

If we take a new perspective and treasure each moment as if it were a gold nugget, how differently would we spend our time? Yes, things have to be done. We can’t ignore jobs and school. But if we savor the moments and use each one to glorify God and bless someone else, our time is redeemed. We can praise God even when we are doing ordinary things.
Time is a gift
If I had listened to my first impression while on that plane, I would have “nicely” ignored the woman sitting next to me.  But thankfully, I yielded to God’s whisper and put my agenda on hold while I let my time become someone else’s.

We do need to redeem our time, because the days are evil. Jesus will return soon. 

How do you value your time? Feel free to join the conversation.