Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just Ten Things (Everyday with God)

(And Book Giveaway!)



We're home from vacation, and I'm getting back to my usual morning routine.

I get up when my alarm clock, er, the dog, wakes me; Grab a cuppa and sit outside and soak in my vitamin D3 while my doggie does his stuff; pick up after said doggie (on a good day); and then, the best part?

Talk to God.

Most days I have my daily devotional with me and I read that first, and then talk to God (Some call this PRAYER. I try to keep the line open so it's a conversation.) One of my favorite ways to start that dialogue is by thanking God for at least ten things.

My journal is another vehicle for a good list of "just ten things" (to be thankful for). Have you tried thankfulness as a discipline in your life? It is such a good exercise for increasing your sense of well-being. If NOTHING else changes, no matter what you're going through, the exercise of gratitude in itself is a game-changer.

Below is my list of ten from this morning.(Some days I want to go on for 20 or more. It's amazing that when you choose to be grateful you begin to realize you have incredible blessings to be grateful for.) If you do this exercise often, you will slowly start to live with an attitude of gratitude. Take it from me: a reformed worrier.

Are you a pessimist? Counting your blessings should be a mandatory routine! Gratitude leads to praise, and the Bible tells us that "The Lord is present in the praises of His people." Think about that: the Lord is present in praise! (Psalm 22:3)

"Draw near to me," says God, "and I will draw near to you." (James 4:8)

Don't know about you, but I'll take that any day.

JUST TEN THINGS

1. This beautiful, not-too-hot morning, with a clear sky.

2. The yard work that's been done (yay). (The yard work that WILL get done, yet!)

3. My family, despite the work a family requires.

4. My puppy, Ruffles. (More work, but more joy.)

5. Our country, which is still a better place than so many other spots on the globe.

6. Our recent vacation to the Smokies, and the wonderful homes of dear friends.

7. Dear friends.

8. Our church and it's leadership; our small group.

9. The work the Lord continues to do in me.

10. Life, breath, and the honor and capacity to commune with my Creator God!

What's on your list, today?

Leave a comment and share your top two with me and I'll choose one commenter to win a free book. It'll be your choice of one of my books (autographed to you, if you like) or a different Christian fiction read of my choice that I'm sure you'll love.

Don't forget to leave your email in a form such as this: Linore (at) LinoreBurkard (dot) com, so I can get in touch with you if you win!

Comments accepted through August 7th!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

For My Fellow Jane Austen Lovers:

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

This is, perhaps, more about Jane fan-fic than Austen herself, but I couldn't pass up letting you know about a current giveaway by Indie Jane, a blog that highlights new fiction based on Jane's books or characters. 

 Stop by and enter to win a New Kindle Fire, pre-loaded with a selection of fan-fiction. Please note: I cannot verify that all of these books are as clean as JA's, but for anyone to aspire to write in the Austen tradition, I would hope that keeping it clean would be a prerequisite. In the event that you win and don't enjoy any of the books that are pre-loaded, you can just delete them from your device. I have a Kindle, but I'd love the Kindle Fire as it has color! By posting the giveaway here I get an extra entry, so it's a double benefit. I share the giveaway with you while earning an entry.

Good luck in the contest!

Warmest Blessings,

Linore

What are you reading, lately? For a quick read in one sitting, try my short story, Coach and Four: Allisandra's Tale. Romantic suspense from the days of Charles II. (England, late 1600s.)

 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beautiful Life Wednesday

(posted a day late)
I've written two book reviews for you today. Broken Down House  is one I'm reading along with my small group, and it's so good I wanted to share it. The Enchanted Barn was a recommendation by one of my readers who has become a friend, Lois Zellars, and I'm glad she pointed me towards the book. 

I haven't missed the irony that both titles include dwellings of a sort. Tripp's "broken down house," is the world we live in: nothing works like it should, nothing is as easy or obstacle-free as we all feel deep down that it ought to be. Why? Because we live in a broken-down house, a world stained by sin. Tripp makes so much sense that you wonder why you didn't think of things he points out yourself.

The Enchanted Barn, on the other hand, is fictionalized heart-candy. Everything seems to go just about right for the heroine once she discovers an old stone barn. It's fun, light reading but if you get either of these books but only one, please make it Tripp's. You won't be sorry.

 Broken Down House

Book Review

Broken Down House, by Paul Tripp

Non-fiction, Christian living, Christian apologetics

 

You don't get far into this book without realizing that Tripp is a guy who really gets it. He understands what life is like for modern Christians and he nails issues on the head with keen precision. You'll find yourself saying, "Yes! Right!" as well as "Ouch. That's me." My (church) small group is systematically studying each chapter together and there is no shortage of thought-provoking, cogent material. This is a must-read for every believer who wants to live a productively God-honoring life, and perhaps especially for those who think they already are. Tripp's knack for framing an argument in startling ways that ring true will nudge you to take a fresh look at yourself and your life with new perspective. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

The Enchanted Barn

Book Review

The Enchanted Barn, by Grace Livingston Hill

Romance fiction, Christian romance

This is sweet romance with a capital S. Hill's characters have such strong moral fiber that you'll wish you were more like them, despite the fabric getting so thick at times that it threatens to turn dorky. Just when you're sure where the book is headed, Hill excels at inserting a good surprise here and there with enough plot-fuel to keep you happily reading. Sweet, nostalgic, and painless, the book also offers an utterly believable conversion done effortlessly by the author, (a good lesson for would-be evangelistic authors). Light summer reading by a master of the genre.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--


That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

>He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

>He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

>He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

>He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

>He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

>He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

>He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

>He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

>He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

>He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

>He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

>He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

>He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to
their Acts of pretended Legislation:

>For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

>For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

>For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

>For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

>For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

>For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

>For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

>For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

>For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

>He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

>He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

>He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with
circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

>He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

>He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

- John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
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