Friday, June 16, 2017

Anthems of Zion

Anyone who knows me know that I love books and am an avid reader. Christian fiction, books about PR and marketing, cookbooks, self-help books, historical fiction, many types of non-fiction, including biographies and more....each member of our family has their own library card, and we are all usually maxed out on checkouts. I prefer to read real-deal paper books instead of reading on a device.

And there was that time I co-authored a book. And that was so much fun. :)

Today, I'm here to talk to you about a book series that is a must-read. (It's especially a must read if you are LCMS Lutheran like I am, but it would truly be enjoyed by almost any reader).

Enter Anthems of Zion - the fabulous book series by author Katie Schuermann.

Katie's writing is enough to make this journalist have author envy. Her writing is so effortless, so descriptive, so perfect. Sigh.

Several years ago, my husband gave me the first book in her Anthems of Zion series (House of Living Stones) for Christmas. I fell in love with all of the characters in Bradbury.

Being brought up in the Lutheran church (and still a member of the same congregation!) I could so strongly relate to the descriptions of potlucks, the hymnal references, the portrayals of the different types of members that seem to be in every church congregation (the well-meaning but cranky busy bodies, the overwhelmed tired moms, the singles trying to find their place in the dating world, the dear but quirky clergy and on and on.....)

Soon after reading the first book, I received the second...again a gift from dear hubby - good man! (The Choir Immortal).

And then I joined the launch team for Katie's third book in the series, The Harvest Raise. I had the honor of receiving an advance digital copy to read.

Despite my dislike for reading books on a screen, I plowed through Katie's newest offering in a matter of days (despite my crazy schedule as a freelance marketing consultant and busy wife and mom....I may or may not have set aside other duties just to read....ahem!)

All of the books in this series will remind you that you are not alone in this crazy, mixed up world.  We are all God's children, and we are blessed to be part of a beautiful community called the Body of Christ.  None of us are perfect, but all of us are forgiven. We all have the opportunity/blessing/challenge to daily deal with folks like our crazy neighbors, the zany choir director at church, a challenging boss, a well-meaning but harsh friend and so many others.

You will feel right at home in Bradbury, whether you're a city slicker or country folk.

Thank you, Katie, for sharing the gift of your writing with all of us. You are a blessing!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Guest Post: Help the Kitties!

Help the Kitties
By EGC, 9 years old

Hi! This is E telling you to Help the Kitties! This idea popped into my mind as we left an animal shelter called Plano Animal Services. Here, let me tell you about it. 

So, we came in to donate food. We wanted to take a look around, so we did. First, we looked at the kitties. I thought it was so sad to see cats or kittens cooped up in what looked like a tiny glass box. But I knew that was the best thing… for right now at least. They were strays, hurt, sick or depressed. Cats can die if they are depressed, you know. Then we looked at the dogs. They were big, small, tiny and so cute! You can meet the cats and dogs in a room. The really BIG dogs are outside. 

Of course, we wanted to adopt 9,000 of them, they were so cute. We adopted a cat there who died. He was very sick and we did not know it. But we took care of him. 

Okay, on to the next thing! This is the story of how we got our cat, Percy. One day, while I was at school, my mom went to PetSmart to get food for our old cat,Thomas. While she was there, she looked at the cats available for adoption. She saw a cute little buff colored tabby in one of the bottom cages. His original name was Lampshade. She thought he was very cute. 

After school, she talked to daddy and I about the cute kitty. She also talked to his foster mom to learn more about him. We agreed to let him visit our home to see if he liked our cat, Thomas. We decided to adopt him. Sadly, Thomas died shortly after that, and Percy took over the house. 

We like to pretend he talks and is my brother. He calls me Sissy. He liked to drink water out of cups! We think it’s weird. But he doesn’t! 

Please help the poor cats and dogs at animal shelters all around the world. They want you. They want love. And they know that you want them too!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Crazy days of summer...

We are at that oh-so-critical point of the summer...

...It is officially a bazillion degrees outside.
...My house is terribly dirty from all of our comings and goings.
...I am horridly behind on client work.
...My sweet girl goes back to school in two weeks, and I'm not ready!
...There are so many things left on our summer "to do list".
...I am sick of cooking and nothing sounds good anymore....except wine. And chocolate.

This point of the summer always brings such a mix of emotions. Did E have too much screen time? Oh no...I am not ready for her to start the next grade!? I will miss her when she goes back to school! I will have to pack lunches! (wah!) My clients are going to fire me because I have been so unresponsive! Did we do all of the things on our summer to do list? Do I have all of the school supplies? And on and on and on...

And this year, there are new challenges...

...Two of E's best friends at school moved away.
...The neighbor's granddaughter down the street moved away. The neighbors are moving, too.
...E starts Latin this year and will have much more homework. She is excited (right now.) I am apprehensive.

As we end this summer and head into a new school year, I pray.  I ask God to give hubby and I the wisdom and strength to guide E through each new day and to truly be present for her during these crazy days.  I ask God to give me the discernment to know when to tell my clients "no" and when to tell my daughter "yes". I ask for patience, peace, strength and understanding.  I cannot do this parenting thing alone.  I am thankful for my faithful husband, and my perfect Savior who are both with me every step of the way.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When there is no peace . . .

“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the LORD.
Thus says the LORD:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
-Jeremiah 6:13-16

Where do you find rest for your soul?

Life is crazy. Kids are cranky. Spouses are tired. Work is demanding.  Satan is prowling. Sin is certain.  Tragedies happen.  Disappointments abound. Failure is frequent.

God never promised us that life would be easy or that things would be fair.  That is sometimes so hard for us to remember. (Believe me, I know)  But when deadlines are looming, kids are screaming, the phone is ringing, dinner is burning, the car is in the shop, tragedy strikes and the computer is on the fritz, it is important to remember The One who gives us all things....The One from whom our help comes.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
~Psalm 121

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!

Being a grown up really stinks sometimes.  I mean, you spend a lot of childhood thinking that life will be rosy when you are "just a little older".  But because we live in a sin-filled world, things are never perfect.  There are many blessings, to be certain, but there are lots of tribulations, too.  The older I get, the more I love the below hymn...for a variety of reasons. No matter how challenging life can be, I need only remember that "I'm a child of paradise."

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It

Stanza 1

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!

He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.

Do I need earth’s treasures many?  I have one worth more than any

That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!

Stanza 2

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!

I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.

Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me

In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

Stanza 3

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!

Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.

Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled,

And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!

Stanza 4

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!

When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!

Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:

Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.

Stanza 5

There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!

Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.

Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising:

I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Busy, busy, busy...

April and May are always very busy around here. 
Lots of birthdays and celebrations. The end of school is looming.
 Plays. Recitals. Special events.  
Freelance projects. Yard work. Special celebrations.

Last Friday, E and her entire school put on a walk-a-thon 
to raise money for a local homeless shelter. 
(E's efforts raised $200! She was so excited!)

  I've really seen a spirit of philanthropy 
developing in E as of late....
wanting to help others in various ways. 

Raising funds. Sending a special card or a note. 
Sharing a hug or a smile. Showing Christ's love.

So proud of my sweet girl.  
Her heart for service is growing in the midst 
of these busy, busy days. What a treasure!