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Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

It’s Only a Pound

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I am very happy to share with you my latest article on Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love to bake, and this pound cake is easy and delicious. I came across this fantastic recipe several years ago in Southern LivingInstead of a bundt pan, I prefer loaf pans. I use three regular size pans, and freeze at least two of them. They thaw quickly, and it’s nice to have a dessert on hand.

This new column has been so much fun for me. Baking and cooking are a passion of mine. Pound cake came to mind right away for June. It made me think of summer when topped with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. Give this simple, yummy dessert a try. You’ll get a lot of smiles from this one. Make your life sweeter with some cake now and then.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-it-s-only-a-pound

 

Authors, Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Uncategorized

Fun Summer Read for Middle Grade ~ Free Kindle Book 6/20 – 6/24

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It’s my privilege to share Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale with you! This book is my labor of love. I poured myself into writing this story to give the kids in your life a fun, faith-filled, adventurous book. Check out my post Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?  to find out what drove me to write in the first place.

Here are a few fun facts about my book:

~Joey Flynn is my two boys middle names together, Dylan Joseph and Joshua Flynn.

~Most of the character’s names are family names. Joey’s little sister Theadora, is my mom’s name Dorothea backwards. Leo, Joey’s friend, is my dad’s name.

~My main influence for Joey was my two boys. When I started writing, Dylan was eleven. When I completed the story, Joshua was eleven. That was not planned.

~The fictional town of Argyle, Oregon is based on several small towns. Sandy and Corbett, Oregon, and Rosenberg, Texas were some of my inspirations. I have spent a lot of time in small towns, and wanted to incorporate the uniqueness and charm of small town America.

~The silhouette on the cover is my oldest son’s head. He does not like it, so he was a good sport to allow me to have his head on my cover.

~The beautiful cover was created by talented artist and friend, Nick Carrubba. He made it personal for me and had me take pictures around my house for ideas. I absolutely had to have a teal cover, since its a favorite color. And I knew I wanted a black silhouette to represent Joey. Nick took my ideas (and strong opinions) and gave me this gorgeous cover!

Please get your free copy today! Read it and share it with a child in your life. If you would like to leave a review I would greatly appreciate it. If you don’t, just enjoy the story and pass it along to another family. My hearts desire from the beginning of the writing process until now is the same; that Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale blesses and encourages each reader, whether a child or an adult.

Thanks for stopping by! I am grateful for each of you.

Love you all,

Meghan

The free promotion runs June 20th 12:00 AM to June 24th 11:59 PM. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Authors, Uncategorized

Q & A with Author Jessie Mattis

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I am so excited to introduce author Jessie Mattis to you! Power Up is her debut Middle Grade novel. She wrote Power Up to teach kids about the Holy Spirit. It’s a topic that can seem intimidating, or even a bit mysterious to so many Christians. We easily talk about God and Jesus, but what about the Holy Spirit who lives in every Believer?

I had the pleasure of reading Power Up and thoroughly enjoyed it. You will go on a journey of discovering the Holy Spirit through eleven-year-old Lexi. I found Lexi relatable and honest. You will be drawn in to the story and sweet family. It’s a wonderful book for kids and adults. I was encouraged in my faith. Jessie did a fantastic job explaining the Holy Spirit, and that God wants to use kids too. The Holy Spirit is for every Christian, regardless of age.

Jessie is a kind, humble, loving person. If you met her, you would want to hang out with her. She’s the kind of person you’d want to chat with over a cup of coffee. Her kindness, and warmth pour out of the pages of Power Up. How refreshing to have a family friendly book with such a delightful, faith-affirming message.

Thanks for stopping by, and please enjoy my interview with author Jessie Mattis.

 

 

Tell me about yourself.

 

My name is Jessie Mattis and I am a Jesus-loving, homeschooling mother of three, a wife, daughter, sister, friend…and now a writer. I grew up between cornfields in Potomac, Illinois, graduated from Greenville College with a BA in Social Work, and worked in child welfare for a couple years before becoming a stay-at-home mom (my real dream job).

 

Since college, I’ve been a ministry volunteer in church on some level, often working with kids. In 2013, my family and I joined a small team of people and helped plant Rolling Hills Vineyard Church in Valparaiso, IN, which was a wonderful, difficult, life-changing experience.

 

 

What are you passionate about?

 

I have always had a heart for kids, and now that I have three of my own, I more clearly see the urgency in exposing them to the truths of the Christian faith at a young age.

 

I am passionate about raising my kids to love Jesus and reaching others for Him. Sharing the truth that they are loved by Him no matter what, even when life doesn’t make sense, is one of my main goals. Tons of people struggle with their faith as they grow, but if they can grasp this fact (God’s love and goodness) at a young age, it could save them from a lifetime of doubts and uncertainty.

 

What is your book, Power Up, about?

 

Power Up is the story of an eleven-year-old girl named Lexi who thinks she’s already learned all there is to know about God, until a new kids’ church teacher comes and shares some new ideas about the Holy Spirit. Through school struggles and a family crisis, Lexi must decide for herself if God is truly good and if this Holy Spirit stuff is for real.

 

Why did you write Power Up?

 

I decided to write this book when I was searching for something similar for my own children and couldn’t find it. I want all kids to learn and be comfortable with the Holy Spirit and the various ways he moves and guides us, but I’ve noticed that oftentimes adults don’t expect enough out of children. Kids are far more capable than we sometimes think, and most are perfectly able to think through matters of faith at this age (8 and up). Power Up is my way of telling kids “I believe in you, and know you are capable of actively hearing from and following God no matter your age.”

 

 

I felt that getting the story into the hands of “church-kids” might inspire them to view their faith in a new light, activating the Holy Spirit power that was inside them all along, whether they knew it or not. And for children who are already familiar with the activity of the Holy Spirit, I wanted to encourage them in their walks, helping them realize they’re not alone and aren’t “weirdos” or however else they may feel at times. For not-yet-Christians, the book also covers the basics of Christianity, woven into the story line, so they can come away from reading the book with a sense of what Christianity is all about.

 

Why were you the right person to write it?

 

Being active in kids’ church for years, in a similar environment that the story takes place, has given me a heart for reaching kids in this way. Seeing children explore and embrace their own faith inspires me, and I want it for my own kids as well as every other child. Right now my kids are ages 11, 9, and 7, so I’m right in the thick of the middle grade parenting years. This gives me an advantage in writing for children because I’m able to get inside their heads and understand their thoughts and struggles a little more readily than some.

 

 

How is Power Up different than other books in its genre?

 

Power Up is certainly more “teachy” than most in this genre, which may sound negative, but I don’t believe this is the case. It is a book intended for an audience of middle-graders who are taking their faith seriously and want to dive deeper. While my goal was definitely to keep it entertaining and relatable, there is certainly a lesson to be learned. It is a book that I can imagine Christian parents and children’s church teachers giving to their children/students, or even reading aloud and discussing as a family.

 

 

 

What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?

 

My hope is that children and adults alike will read Power Up and find the hum-drum normalcy of their current faith challenged. As they read, they will encounter new ideas and ways of living their faith out loud, and my prayer is that they’ll apply these lessons to their own lives, coming away with a more active, powerful, solid walk with God and a new understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. I want children to know it doesn’t matter how old they are—the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to guide, speak, and walk with them throughout their entire lives.

 

Power Up is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

 

 

View More: http://joyforlifephotographybyelaine.pass.us/chip-jessie-headshots

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

What’s Your Nickname?

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Meghan Magoo was my dad’s chosen nickname for me. It eventually morphed into Magoochi. Strange. I know. That’s how nicknames are. Whatever the particular name is, it’s meaning is something special to the giver, and the receiver. The message that’s being sent is you are special. Upon hearing my nickname from my dad, I knew it was a sign of affection.

We’ve got nicknames for our children, spouses, and pets. We love them, so the standard name just won’t do. An adorable name must do the job of saying, “I love you.” Bubbies, Bubba, Boo Boo, Dilly, Dilly Jo, Joshy, Joshaboo are just a few of the names my husband and I have given our sons over the years. These cutesy names say, “you are adored.”

Jesus was known to give out a few nicknames as well. He changed Simon’s name to Peter, which in the Greek means rock or boulder. Peter is The Rock. That is a super cool name. You can’t get a much better nickname than that. To be clear, Jesus Christ is the Rock, and Peter was used by God as a small pebble atop that foundation.

16 “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18, ESV)

Jesus saw more than just Simon the fishermen. He called him Peter because He was calling him to something different. Peter was the first leader of  the early church, and he didn’t get there overnight. It took a lot of mistakes and maturing in his faith along the way for old Pete. He thought he knew better than Jesus and rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). He loses faith (Matthew 14:30). And, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). But Jesus calls him to greatness before Peter was even ready. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and He sees our potential too. He’s calling each of us to something greater than ourselves.

The Son’s of Thunder were brothers James and John.

“and to James the son of Zebedee,
and to his brother John,
He gave the name “Boanerges”
(that is, “Sons of Thunder”);” (Mark 3:17 HCSB)

Once again, Jesus is calling them into what they will become. These two had a lot to learn as well, before they were up for the challenge of leadership. James and John’s mother asks Jesus to have her sons sit on his right and left in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). The brothers also asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:54). Not exactly signs of maturity.

Peter, James, and John were the only disciples to experience the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). With all of their mistakes and shortcomings Jesus still calls them to greatness for His kingdom. It gives me hope. I can be used by God in spite of myself and so can you.

There are other instances of name changes in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob becomes Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Saul becomes Paul. (Acts 13:9)

These name changes signify a change in their calling, and identity. Abram, Jacob, and Saul each were given a new mission. They had encounters with God that changed them.

Have you had an encounter with God that changed you? Are there old habits or old ways of thinking that need to go? Do you have a nickname that’s negative? Maybe a parent gave you an awful nickname, or a sibling, or teacher, or fill in the blank. It was long ago, but that name comes in your head, and you believe it.

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are a son or a daughter.

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

Sons and daughters of God are chosen, forgiven, set apart, free, accepted, loved, protected, blessed, and highly favored. Sons and daughters have a new identity in Christ, no matter what nickname has been given to us negatively. God loves you and is fiercely committed to you. He’s calling you and I to something greater than ourselves. Let’s answer that call as His children.

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: BRRT from Pixabay

 

 

God, Jesus, Prayer, Trials, Uncategorized

Praising God in Prison

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“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,”

Luke 4:18, NIV

 

Have you ever been in a prison? Maybe you, or a loved one has served time in prison. I was in a prison once as a little girl, watching my mom’s tap dance group perform for the inmates. I don’t recall giving it much thought at the time, or being fearful. They were trying to do some good for the incarcerated.

Prisons are terrible places. They are supposed to be. They are designed to punish. Prisoners spend countless hours inside tiny cells. Freedom is gone. Our modern American prisons look like a hotel stay compared to the old Roman ones. Ancient Roman prisons were horrific.

The most famous Roman prison can still be visited today. It is located just outside the Forum Romanum buried at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. It was Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome, who, sometime during his reign (640-616 BC) constructed this dark, damp and foreboding subterranean structure.¹

Roman historian Sallust described it as about twelve feet deep into the ground. “Its appearance is disgusting and vile by reason of the filth, the darkness and the stench.” It was into this room, 6 1/2 ft. high, thirty feet long and twenty-two feet wide, that prisoners who had been condemned to die either by strangulation or starvation were thrown. One attributes the phrase “to be cast into prison” had its origins here.²

Roman prisons were not used to punish criminals, but instead served only to hold people awaiting trial or execution.

 

Paul and Silas in Prison

While in Philippi, a slave girl who had a spirit that could predict the future was following Paul, Silas, and their entire group.

17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:17-18, NIV)

The slave girl’s owners were angry since she made them a lot of money. They grabbed Paul and Silas, and brought them to the authorities. (Acts 16:19)

20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” (Acts 16:20-21, NIV)

The crowd goes crazy and joins the attack against Paul and Silas. They are flogged, and thrown into the inner cell of the prison. Their feet were placed in stocks. (Acts v.22-24)

Paul and Silas were wrongfully accused, stripped, beaten, and severely flogged. Their backs would have been bloody, raw and ripped to shreds. The pain would have been unimaginable. After being beaten, almost to death, they are thrown into a horrible Roman prison. Things were looking bleak. If that were me, I would have given up. I would have asked, “Where are you God?” “You have abandoned us.” “You don’t care.”

Paul and Silas never curse God.

Paul and Silas never question God’s will or His plan.

Paul and Silas never give up.

Paul and Silas trust God.

Paul and Silas pray and sing hymns to God!

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:25-28, NIV)

And the best, most exciting part is God did a miracle! All the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Not just Paul’s and Silas’ chains. Every prisoner who was in the prison that night experienced a miracle. Their chains came loose. Prison doors flew open. What were all these prisoners thinking? What were Paul and Silas thinking? I can only imagine the unexpected joy they all must have felt. God showed up mightily.

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. (Acts 16:29-33,NIV)

In the morning Paul and Silas get released and everybody lives happily ever after. At least for that moment.  If you want to read the entire story it’s Acts 16:16-40.

Because of being wrongfully accused, beaten to near death, and thrown in prison, a bunch of people accepted Jesus Christ as savior. Paul and Silas remained faithful. God answered their prayers and did a miracle. The jailer, and his entire family, and all other occupants in his house got saved. Who knows how many of those prisoners and guards came to know Jesus as their savior. They all witnessed a miracle. How could you not be forever changed. They experienced the mighty hand of God.

Do you have chains of affliction? Are you in your own kind of prison? You’ve prayed, and prayed, yet feel trapped. Hopeless. You stopped praying. Stopped believing.

Your prison has a purpose. God wastes absolutely nothing. Whether you put yourself there by your choices, or circumstances out of your control put you in that prison, God is still able to make a way. He opens prison doors.

God is a chain breaker.  

If you are bound up in chains then pray, and sing hymns to God. Look to Him. Declare the truth of His word over your life and circumstance. Surrender everything to God and wait to see what He does with your mess. No one can do for you what God can. Keep trusting Him.

Jesus came to set prisoners free. 

 

Father God,

I love you and praise you. Thank you for being in the miracle business. There is none like you. I lift up every person who is in chains right now. They are trapped in their own prison. Comfort them. Reveal yourself to them. Open those prison doors and loose those chains. Set all those captive, free. And for those in actual prison, set them free too. Even if they have years left of incarceration, they can still experience your freedom. Come Lord Jesus to the prisons, and to homes, and hearts. You came to set all of us free.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen!

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit Pixabay Desertrose7

  1. &  2. https://www.unrv.com/government/roman-prisons.php

 

Family, Food, Uncategorized

Check Out My Brand New Column

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I am so excited to share my brand new monthly column “Meghan’s Corner“, featured in Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love writing about my faith on here, but this new column will have a variety of topics, with my faith woven through. This first article is about my love of cooking. It’s something I am passionate about. Cooking is a fun, creative outlet for me, when I’ve got the time. I’ve included two very easy recipes. I was inspired by spring, and the fresh ingredients available. I used the cilantro from my garden for the pico de gallo.

It’s a blessing for me to have an opportunity like this. I am truly grateful to Joanne, the publisher of Mustard Seed Sentinel. Thanks for dropping in, and sharing in my good news. I hope you enjoy my article and recipes. Your support means so much to me.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/single-post/2019/05/22/Meghan%E2%80%99s-Corner-For-the-Love-of-Cooking

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Bible, Faith, Family, Uncategorized

For My Mom

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“I begin to love this little creature, and to anticipate his birth as a fresh twist to a knot, which I do not wish to untie.”

Mary Wollstonecraft  

(1759-1797) English Writer

 

A mother’s love is unending. It begins in the womb, with the anticipation of a new life growing inside. Excitement, and fear at times too, as a baby develops in a mother’s body. Mother’s feel the great responsibility to care for the fragile little life on board. Taking vitamins, going to the doctor for checkups, and dealing with morning sickness, stretch marks, weight gain, swelling ankles, and countless trips to the restroom are just a few of the sacrifices mother’s make for our precious babies. “It’s worth it” we are told. Our hearts grow as the baby grows. It’s all part of God’s plan. Mother’s already love our babies before we see them.

I know a very special mother that I call “Mom”. My mom is the best mother. There I said it. I feel better now. Sorry to all the other mom’s out there. The best mom role is taken. Let me tell you a little about this very special woman. Dorothea Louise Tanyer was born in Jeanette, Pennsylvania a few years back. OK, more than a few, but that’s beside the point. She grew up with both of her parents working. It was uncommon to have a mother work outside of the home back in the day, and my mom was left on her own a lot. Little Dorothea had to get herself ready for school and pack her own lunch at six years old. This would set her up to be strong, and face adversity with courage.

Her family called her “Peaches” because of her beautiful skin, which she still has. Seriously, the woman has the most gorgeous skin. No wrinkles! Pretty incredible for a woman in her seventies. Oops! I gave away her age. My mom always looks beautiful and put together. Even when we were little, and she would wear curlers out in public (the horror!), she looked great. Oh, and she loves hats. She wore many a hat on Easter, or Mother’s Day, or Saturday. And she looks great in them. I would look like a fool in a hat. She has the class to wear them.

Mom always made dinner every night for all seven of us. We sat down together as a family with Mom’s great home cooked meals. Many times she was working a full-time job as well. I have no idea how she accomplished this every day. God gave Dot (that’s what most people call her) an extra dose of energy. He knew she would need it to handle five children and a demanding husband. (You can read about my dad here I love you Dad! )  Mom is very organized. I remember coming home from elementary school, and in the kitchen there were little bags with our names on them containing after school snacks. That is some serious planning right there.

When we had horses and farm animals Mom would give them their shots. She would have made a great veterinarian. If we found stray dogs and cats, Mom took them in. Sometimes people we knew needed help, Mom helped them too. Her heart is as big as her non-stop energy. Like a lot of mother’s, Mom wore a lot of hats. Taxi driver, chef, counselor, cheerleader, doctor, nurse, horse trainer, vet, maid, disciplinarian. I can see the wooden spoon now. I don’t recall getting spanked, but I’m pretty sure one of my brothers felt the end of that spoon a few times.

Dancing is something she has loved since her childhood. Mom tap danced in her 30’s and 40’s with a few other ladies her age. They would perform around Riverside County in Southern California. I watched many of my mom’s performances as a little girl, always impressed with the colorful costumes. Not long before her tap dance years, she was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease. Most of her lungs are covered in this awful disease which makes it hard to breathe. This never stopped my mom. She danced, took care of five rambunctious children, and my alcoholic father, and took care of horses, and all our many animals, and worked, and helped a whole lot of people along the way.

Mom loves singing and has been part of several church choirs over the years. She loves playing games, especially card games. She is a talented artist who can draw and paint very well. Mom loves to decorate. Many times we would come home from school and the living room would be completely rearranged, or painted, or wallpapered, depending on her mood. There are so many things to tell you about my mom, but there’s not enough time to cover it all. She’s kind of a go-getter, jack of all trades type of lady.

I came to Christ because my mom did first. Actually, my whole family came to know Jesus as savior because Mom led the way. I shared this story in my post My Bible. I can vividly see my mom diligently reading her Bible. She was part of an evangelism team at our church where they would go door to door sharing the Good News. I would get so embarrassed when her gospel music was blaring in the car if she was picking up me and my friends. I was an immature junior higher. Now I get it. Mom was excited about Jesus, and she still is.

Mom lost two babies before I was born. One was a miscarriage, and the other a stillborn. Her baby boy was named Patrick. Mom will meet both babies in heaven. I share this not to make anyone sad; Just to show some of the difficulties my mom has faced with dignity. Mom’s a fighter. She’s had to be her whole life. Right now, she is fighting lung cancer. Her attitude is positive. Mom has a strong faith, and trusts God. She is resilient. Mom has faced many, many difficulties in her life, yet she gets up. She keeps going. She looks to Jesus. I admire her strength and her fight. I hope I’ve inherited some of that.

A mother’s love never ends. It’s part of the deal. That’s just how God made us. We fight for our children, always. Mother’s never give up. I know that I am loved by my mother, and that she loves all five of her children. I am grateful for my mom.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed,” (Proverbs 31:28, ESV).

 

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the whole wide world!

I love you Mom.

Meghan

 

Please say a prayer for my mom as she battles cancer. Thank you!

 

Photo credit: Pixaby

‘The Child’s Caress’, oil on canvas c. 1890, Mary Cassatt