20 July 2018

Friendly Fill-Ins

This is a fun meme co-hosted by 15 and Meowing and Four-Legged Furballs. Be sure to visit and join in the fun!

New Friday_Fill-In_Badge

Here are the fill-ins:
  1. I tried __________________ and I liked it.
  1. Am I the only one who ___________________?
  1. _________ is my hero/heroine.
  1. If I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be ______.

korean-cuisine-1991580_640

Here are my responses:

I tried shrimp and I liked loved it.

Am I the only one who is not addicted to television? Just about every place in town has at least one screen and many have way more than that, all on different channels. Even the local mental health center refuses to turn them off. It is ridiculous.

Jesus is my hero. He gave everything for me, even His life, so that I could live. He is sinless, spotless, perfect and always ready to rescue me.

If I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be SHRIMP!



Our daughter Maggie has a new blog for her furbaby Martha. You can find it at: Martha’s Daily Mews


Have a blessed weekend, y’all!



Image Source: Pixabay



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18 July 2018

Press Release: Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Disheartened at Continued Imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson

 
Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Disheartened at Continued Imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson
Brunson Has Been Imprisoned Since October 2016; Trial Continues

WASHINGTON—Along with Christians and other faith-based groups, the Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition is expressing dismay today at the continued imprisonment of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained since the fall of 2016 on accusations of spying or aiding terror groups.

At his hearing in Turkey today, a court ruled that Brunson will be detained at least until his next hearing Oct. 12. Many have been working tow ard Brunson’s release, such as individual believers, groups like STPC Coalition, the Trump administration and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). More than 584,000 signed an ACLJ petition on Brunson’s behalf.

“With the news of his continued imprisonment breaking today, Save The Persecuted Christians calls on President Trump, the administration and our legislators to step it up and do everything in their power to bring home American pastor Andrew Brunson jailed in Turkey as a political pawn on false charges of conspiracy,” said Dede Laugesen, member of the STPC Coalition.

Earlier this month, a Turkish newspaper reported that Brunson may be released at today’s hearing because of the national and international attention Brunson’s case had received, according to CBN News. But Brunson’s trial now continues, HotAir.com reported, urging the White House to mobilize further for his release. Brunson was arrested by the Turkish government in October 2017 and faced up to 35 years in jail on charges of espionage and terrorism.

The Washington Post also reported today: “Brunson’s supporters and independent analysts have called the accusations baseless and say he is being used as a bargaining chip by Turkey to win concessions from the United States.”

The STPC Coalition, which advocates on behalf of 215 million Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, was also part of a protest organized last month in Washington, D.C. The Coalition continues to work diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those like Pastor Brunson who are being persecuted for their faith. Americans can lend support by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org and order a free banner to display in front of their houses of worship.

These simple banners feature the Arabic “nun” character, which has become an international symbol for the oppression of Christians ever since the Islamic State used this first letter of the Arabic word for “Nazarene” to designate homes of followers of Christ targeted for persecution.

Raising awareness is an important first step, especially as Christian persecution occurs so routinely it rarely makes headlines. For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked. Every month.

The STPC Coalition is a building movement, similar to one in the 1970s that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—so as to impel policy changes that will hold the persecutors accountable and increase the costs for their crimes against humanity. Building such a movement is necessary to provide American policymakers the leverage needed to influence change worldwide and to alleviate the suffering of those—like Pastor Brunson—who are being persecuted merely because of their faith in Jesus Christ.



Image Source: Pixabay


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Press Release: From Destruction to Creation

3lech lecha (2)

From Destruction to Creation

After tragic fire, renowned Israeli painter Yoram Raanan’s art book brings Torah to life

Art of Revelation, the forthcoming book by Israeli contemporary artist Yoram Raanan, brings the entire annual cycle of Judaism’s weekly Torah portions to life through an unprecedented array of paintings—emerging from the artist’s personal story of redemption and uncompromising faith.

Less than 15 months after his art studio and about 2,000 of his pieces were destroyed in a fire as Israel was hit by a nationwide wave of blazes, Raanan’s new book showcases his 160 exquisite original paintings on the 54 Torah portions, accompanied by explanations that help readers see layers in the art that may not initially meet the eye.

The weekly Torah portion—a section of the Bible that is chanted by a designated reader in synagogues around the world on the Sabbath, as well as studied privately or in public lectures—is the de facto drumbeat of the Jewish faith. Ranging from the stories of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, to the Exodus from Egypt, to the 613 commandments, any given week’s portion (also known as a parshah) reminds Jews—and by extension, all of Western civilization—of both their millennia-old roots and their practical daily concerns.  

Art of Revelation engages the mind while being a digestible book that will capture the hearts and imaginations of experts and novices who appreciate fine art. Raanan’s paintings reflect the inner dimension of the events, people, laws, and stories of the Torah, speaking in metaphors that slip into viewers’ minds and touch them in a visceral way.

“In the biblical account of creation, we hear repeatedly the words, ‘God said, Let there be...and there was...and God saw that it was good’…God saw and wanted us to see the goodness and beauty of the world,” writes Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the U.K., in a letter of support for Yoram Raanan. “[Yoram] helps us ‘see that it is good,’ showing us the light of holiness and the beauty of being.”

Raanan was commissioned to provide, over a three-year span, a new painting on the subject of each week’s Torah portion. But disaster struck in November 2016, when the fire at his studio in the Judean hills destroyed 40 years of his work.

“My first words to my wife and a few others still trapped inside the village were, ‘well, there goes the studio,’” the artists recalls. “As we were able to evacuate and drive through the still spreading fire in the smoky night air, I realized that this was surely the work of God, and that only good would come from this—even though included in this disaster were all the 160 parshah paintings of the previous three years.”

The result of his strikingly optimistic attitude is the new book, which Raanan calls “the actualization of my desire to share this collection with the world.” This sharing would not have been possible without the foresight of the painter, who before the fire had scanned digital copies of all of his pieces on the Torah portions.

The artist praises the work of his wife and co-author Meira Raanan, who spent “years researching and writing about the biblical understanding and artistic nuances that these visual representations convey. In the year since the fire she has put her results into final form, and now they are here to share with you.” Meira, a teacher of religion and meditation, is working on another book, The Lights of Fire, on the subject of the blessings that have emerged from the fire that destroyed Yoram’s studio and artworks.

“Few artists in the Jewish world today better capture the beauty of holiness, of service of God, and of Judaism as a faith than Yoram Raanan,” writes Rabbi Sacks. “His paintings have inspired me for many years, and I have been moved by the way he has rebuilt after the tragedy of losing his life’s work in the arson attacks that engulfed the Judean Hills outside Jerusalem in November 2016. I am delighted to see Yoram’s work showcased in this way.”  

About the author-artist

Yoram Raanan  is one of Israel’s most well-known contemporary artists. After graduating in 1975 from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, he traveled and studied throughout Europe and the Near East. He moved to Israel in 1977 and opened his first studio in Jerusalem. Inspired by Israel’s beauty, heritage, and people, Raanan’s art has brought him international acclaim. His paintings are on display in museums, galleries, and collections worldwide. His work often reflects the Bible, nature, and the land of Israel.  

Meira Raanan has been teaching and writing about meditation, religion and art for many years. Her interest in the Biblical narrative began with a degree in Jewish studies at McGill University (Montreal) and developed into the study of Chassidut and Kabbala. She is currently working on a new book, The Lights of Fire about the fire that burned down her husband’s studio and a lifetime of art work, and the blessings that have emerged from that disaster.  

Title: Art of Revelation: A Visual Encounter with the Jewish Bible
Author: Yoram Raanan and Meira Raanan
ISBN: 978-965-572-500-1
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 237
Price: $ 120
Pub Date: June 1, 2018



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17 July 2018

Book Review: Welcome to the Kingdom: How to Live a 21st Century Kingdom Life by Dana Carson

Welcome to the Kingdom: How to Live a 21st Century Kingdom Life by Dana Carson

Welcome to the Kingdom: How to Live a 21st Century Kingdom Life by Dana Carson is not a book for new Christians.

This is a very academic and, some would say, redundant book. The author goes into great detail about what words were used in the original text, their root words, their translations, and the significance of all of this.

The book is very detailed and might be considered to be a very dry read. There were points while reading this book that I felt the author had succeeded in beating a dead horse for quite some time.

However, for those Christians who are really seeking to sink their teeth into a Bible discussion, this is the book. It would make a great text for a somewhat advanced small group discussion.

We give Welcome to the Kingdom all five stars. We feel that if one can stay on track and follow the point Dr. Carson is attempting to make, they will benefit greatly from the experience.

We were sent a complimentary copy of this book. We are under no obligation to write any review, positive or negative. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.  

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Book Review: Beauty Redefined: How to Feel Authentically Beautiful in Today’s World by Seline Shenoy

Beauty Redefined: How to Feel Authentically Beautiful in Today’s World by Seline Shenoy


Beauty Redefined: How to Feel Authentically Beautiful in Today’s World by Seline Shenoy is a fairly short book at only 144 pages. At first, I wasn’t so sure that I was going to be able to give it a good review. Ms. Shenoy seemed to be putting a woman’s view of herself fully in her lap and not making those feeding her insecurities responsible for their actions.

As I read further, my thoughts changed. I understood that she was looking to help society overall, not just the women themselves, change its view and how a woman’s beauty is defined.

We are brought up being told that it is what is on the inside that matters. However, what is drilled into us out in the “real” world is completely the opposite. The world tells us we can’t be both old AND beautiful. We have to be young, skinny, and perky to be worth love and admiration.

Ms. Shenoy seeks to help women find that inner beauty that we were raised hearing about. This book includes an Assessment for Negative Self-Image, as well as a quiz titled “Define Your Beauty Archetype Quiz”. There are explanations of each archetype after the quiz.

There is also an awesome section called “The 10 Characteristics That Define a True Beauty”. I printed out the ten characteristics and taped them above my computer as a daily reminder that beauty isn’t about looks; it's not that shallow. True beauty is really about what is on the inside. Even if this book were no good otherwise, it would earn the five stars based on this section alone.

I think it is a book that every woman needs to read and take to heart.

We were sent a complimentary copy of Beauty Redefined. We are under no obligation to write any review, positive or negative. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.  

Notice: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, we may financially benefit from your transaction, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.
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15 July 2018

To Our Baby Girl

baby-1512011_640 

Dear Baby Girl, my sweet Dorian, 
Twenty-five years ago today, you were born into Heaven. My heart died that day right along with you. I prayed for you, to have you, to hold you. I wanted you so desperately. I only had you long enough to know that He heard my prayers and then you were gone. Born asleep, never to know the pain that this life holds, but to also never know my complete love for you, which grieves me to this day. 
What would you have been like? Would you have had my eyes, my hair? Would you have liked to watch the birds, too? Would you have been a bashful beauty? Or, would you have been like your daddy, blue eyes, a sense of humor, an outgoing personality, and able to speak in public? These are things I will never know. 
What I am sure of is that you would have loved to read, just as your sisters and brothers do. I think that you would have loved My Little Pony, too. Maybe. The others are three against one on that one. 
On this day of I miss yous and what would have beens, I wanted to let you know that you are still very much a part of my heart. The two weeks of grief that I was allowed to have and still be considered normal and not a mental case are long past. Saying good-bye to you has become a part of who I am. You are not here. I won’t see you again until Heaven, however long or short a time that may be. Until then, my heart cries for you. 
I love you, baby girl. Have a beautiful birthday up there with all of our family. Please hug the folks for me.  
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” –Washington Irving 


 Image Source: Pixabay








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