LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

200th post! Christmas in photos!

Please share my 200th post with your friends and invite them to share in our Christmas photos, which I will also post on Lynnette's site!
The Syler family farm in Lynchburg, TN.













Macie loving her some Santa and Mrs. Claus

Carleigh in her cupcake hat












Benj and his long desired sub-woofer

Mimi and Macie "snugglin'"!

















"Goin' to the chapel, and Britney's gonna get married...she was engaged on Christmas night!"












"Happy accidents" with the camera....kinda fun!


Merry Christmas, again, and here's wishing you blessings abundant in 2011!





















































Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review of The Gospel According to Jesus

The Gospel According to Jesus

By Chris Seay

The title of this book alone intrigued me! Assuming it was a modern-day synopsis of the Gospel message, I passed it by. However, something within my spirit kept repeating the book title. Discovering that The Gospel according to Jesus is a detailed study of Romans, a book I sometimes struggle with, I again doubted this was a book I would immerse myself in. I admit that is the case! It is an excellent and in-depth review of a survey done by Chris Seay and the Barna Research Group relating to Christians understanding of the basics of their faith. As stated in a book review: “Imagine a church were 84% of Christians are completely unfamiliar with the essential tenets of their faith, with a crippling misunderstanding of the word righteousness and, in turn, the gospel of Jesus.” It is not a book I read straight through; rather, I picked it up periodically and read another chapter, followed by some time to digest and ponder my thoughts.

Seay writes in an interesting style of information, personal stories and interviews with leaders in the church The general premise of the book is that most Christians have a false sense of understanding of what it means to be righteous, which is the message of the Gospel. He feels that most believers think of righteousness in terms of moral standards, which is not what the message of Jesus to His followers is about. Seay spends the entire book detailing the righteous and restorative gift offered by Christ alone to those who follow Him.

I found myself marking little quips that I want to write down and post around various places, to remind me of the Gospel message. These include:

“Brothers and sisters, there can be nothing worse than Jesus knocking at the door while we are so busy with our own agenda that we can’t hear him. Every area of our lives must recalibrate around the work of Jesus” (p. 29).

“You were rescued! You’ve destroyed your life with sin and you’re living in destruction by your own choice. You deserve to die. But God, the Creator, has reached into that destruction with love, saying, ‘I’m here to pull you out.’ I hope that you and I would respond like many of the people rescued in the first days after the tragic Haitian quake. Those people, just rescued, some with broken bones, went back to pull other people out. That is who I am called to be. That’s who I want to be” (p. 55).

While to me this book is not a “feel good” kind of read, it is an “aha” kind of read~ much relevant information, many personal stories and views, and an in-depth look at the true Gospel message! I recommend this book to anyone wanting to go deeper in an understanding of the concept of righteousness and/or the book of Romans and anyone who in a pastoral or teaching role in the church. Because the righteousness of Christ is so central to the Christian life, it is essential that those in leadership be prepared to answer questions relating to the concept and to help people understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of righteousness!

*******************************************************

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from

Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm still here/Merry Christmas/Let it snow!/Light of Grace

Merry Christmas!
video

Thanks, Jenni, for sharing the notes from Justin's sermon today on "The Gift of Grace!" It was very though provoking and powerful!

The Gift of Grace by Justin Davis

Matthew 1:18-25

You can’t have Christmas apart from grace.

God desires us to not only receive His grace but to give it to others.

We have a tendency to receive God’s unconditional grace but we put conditions on extending grace to others.

We experience the fullness of grace most when we extend it to others.

Grace Givers:
1. Surrender their rights.
2. Resist public opinion.
3. Believe the impossible.

Grace can make the impossible possible.

The supernatural ability of grace is for it to transform you when you give it.

Often, grace is more about obedience than it is about feelings.

Grace doesn’t excuse others’ wrongful/hurtful behavior, it prevents it from hardening your heart.

God has given me the gift of grace so I can extend His grace to others. Is there someone you need to extend grace to this Christmas? *********************************************************************************
The first snowfall of the year at the Syler home! I love it!!!!










Wednesday, October 27, 2010

4 more to 200!

I am 4 posts away from my 200th post...not a big deal to most, but a big celebration to me! That is, following another celebration of my 55th...


My sweet sister made my favorite meal, our Mom and Dad's spaghetti recipe!

And it was super-duper delicioso...followed by fudge pie, or peach pie, Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream and/or vanilla ice cream! What is your pleasure?!?!?!?!

I only wish that my granddaughter, Macie had enjoyed it!









And let me not forget this good-looking son of mine, Benjamin, who is so amazingly creative, even with this chenille stick my eldest granddaughter, Carleigh, had included with my handmade gift!
Brought a smile to your face now, didn't I?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color My World...


Only the Master Artist could create this beauty~




~for our pleasure and enjoyment~




~but mostly for His glory!



Psalm 33 (NIV)
1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-
15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hearts...




A mother’s heart yearns for her child’s heart to be protected, cherished and loved…

…respected as worthy , admired as a man after God’s own heart…

…no pretense, no emotional game playing

…integrity and maturity…


Yet things aren’t always what they seem…and it hurts……

But God…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LOST!

So…this past weekend my friend, Vicky, and I attended a “True Woman” conference in Indianapolis, IN., and it was incredible! Well, let me rephrase that: the speakers were incredible, the music was incredible, the accommodations were incredible and the conviction brought upon me was NOT incredible except to show me that I am not the true woman I thought I was/hoped I was! In other words, it was a slap-you-in-the-face stab-you-in-the-heart convicting kind of thing! You know what I’m talkin’ about~ you walk away convicted, determined to change, and on a high for the Lord! Though our brains were mentally fried from absorbing so much info, it was a good tired.

After checking out of the hotel (Omni, no less, attached to the Circle Center mall-WOW! What a mall!) We decided we HAD to have a Starbucks “no water Chai, extra Chai and soy, extra hot” for me; same for Vicky except iced! I turned on my trusty Magellan GPS, clicked on “POI” (you know, “points of interest”), entered Starbucks, hopped on I-70 just as Gertrude (that’s what I used to call her! What I call her now is not allowed on this blog!) instructed, and went to the appropriate exit. Seeing a sign for Cracker Barrel made us realize we must eat before the 5-hour drive home, so we went there first, followed by a round the world trip to a Starbucks for our necessary Chai Lattes! Gassed up, buckled in, and ready to go.

I again turned “Gertie” on, hit our home address and touched “Most use of freeways”! Who calls them “freeways” anyway? They are interstates where I’m from! So let me briefly abbreviate…

Followed the directions…
…drive for an hour…
…felt like it didn’t look right…
…reset Gertie, shows same directions…
…keep driving another 30-minutes…
…see a freaking “Welcome to Illinois” sign…
…are you kidding me?!?!?!...
…($&%((*#)(Y#_***^#&*#**!!!!!!...
…take the next exit, pull over on shoulder and reset Gertie again, this time showing
“fastest route”…
…same ole same ole-says we are due home in 9 hours! RIGHT!...
…Vicky suggests I put her address in and see---same directions but arrive
Home 3 hours earlier…she lives 10 minutes from me!...
…$_(*&#*&$$^(%*$&_(**!!!!!..
…Called hubs and asked him to get out a real map…novel idea!...
…he does, tells me to turn around, go 2 exits and take state route 46…
…I do so; guess what! A 10,000 mile garage sale on both sides of road…
…ok, so that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!...
…slow going, finally clears….
…until road construction....
…UNBELIEVABLE!...
…hurry up and wait!...
…90 miles later a sign for I-65 S! HURRAY!...
…too late to go to son’s performance…
…arrive home and tell hubs to put Gertie under back tire so I can
back over her a few times and crush her to smithereens!

Spiritual implications? Absolutely! How often do I get comfortable depending on my own resources to get me through any situation? I hear the voices in my head telling me which way to go, how to respond, when to and not to act, etc. I've got it all under control! Until...it all falls down around me. Then what do I do? I go to the only true source of directions for my life, the one and only guidebook, the Word of God, where there are words of guidance no matter the situation I may be in. When and IF I will seek those out, I will have the "right way" before me, and life will be so much easier and much more fulfilling! See, God desires to be my Guide, but I must get out of His way, invite Him in, and truly relinquish control to Him. Not 99.9% but 100% control given over to Him, trusting by faith (not by sight) that He will take me where He wants me, safely, and bless my socks off in the process! Do you want to know which path to take? Seek His Word. Want to stay on the right path? Stay in His Word! God's Word is our GPS for life...and it never needs updating, it doesn't quit working, it doesn't sometimes take us to wrong places...it's timeless and true!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review of "Out Life Your Life" by Max Lucado


Ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary places with other ordinary people~ all created by an extraordinary God for ordinary purposes. The Bible is full of examples of such folks; you are one, I am one…ordinary people called to serve the God of the Universe. What will your living legacy be as you “out live your life”?

In his newest book Out Live Your Life-You Were Made to Make A Difference Max Lucado, master storyteller and lyricist, challenges the reader to step out of the comfort zone of ordinary to a lifestyle of extraordinary compassion. Using Scripture, practical prayers, real life examples and good-old fashioned communication, Max invites us to examine our hearts against the plumb line of His calling~ to die to self and live for Christ. “He (God) has a heart for bikers and hikers, tree huggers and academics. Single moms. Gray-flanneled executives. He loves all people groups and equips us to be his voice. He commissions common Galileans, Nebraskans, Brazilians, and Koreans to speak the languages of the peoples of the world…God outfits his followers to cross cultures and touch hearts” (p. 27).

Referencing the book of Acts, Lucado paints a literary comparison of the New Testament church to the church of today. The work begun in the establishment of the first church is yet to be completed, and as Christ followers were are commissioned to get out of our shells and to be about His business in our sphere of influence. No one of us can touch the lives of everyone; yet each of us can serve someone, some place at some time, making a big difference in that one!

A companion “Discussion and Action Guide” prepared by David Drury offers questions for small group settings and ideas for action~ taking the knowledge attained and putting it into action! This power-packed book will give you pause for reflection and personal assessment, hopefully followed by increased faith put into action, the results of which will be your legacy that will outlive your earthly life!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

God''s love....

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..."

"Oh, how He loves you and me!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World~What on earth should we do Now? By Dr. David Jeremiah


Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World is undeniably one of the most timely books for those who claim to be Christ followers in these days of economic and political chaos and uncertainty! Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor, radio Bible teacher and best selling author of numerous books including the New York Times best-seller What In the World is Going On? answers questions about how to survive these stormy times with a calm spirit, trusting in a righteous yet loving and merciful God who created the universe and promises, in the full counsel of His Word, to “work all things together for good to those who love the Lord, who are called according to His purpose”.

With unemployment rates tenuous, at best; with tension in the Middle East rising and the direct effects on our own shores; teetering our economic perils; with catastrophic events occurring more frequently in the form of fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. people are living on the edge, desperately seeking answers to seemingly impossible questions. How did we get in this mess in the first place? Can we get out of it and, if so, how so? Is God still there and does He really care about us as a nation, about me as an individual? How can we find rest for our weary souls?

In a constructive and thematic way, Jeremiah first identifies the signs of our times, followed by ten strategies to help us confidently learn how to live victoriously in spite of external circumstances and naturally following internal responses that often perpetuate alarm and anxiety. By learning to “stay calm, compassionate, constructive, challenged, connected, centered, confident, consistent, committed and convinced” we become more than conquerors through Christ. This book is filled with priceless pearls of wisdom from Biblical writers like Paul, Peter, John, James, even Jesus Himself to modern day authors including Philip Yancey, Stephen Ambrose, Charles Spurgeon, Eugene Peterson, John Ortberg and many others. Dr. Jeremiah has an imposing way of combining facts and statistics with stories from his life and from others whose have shared their personal testimonies.

This truly is a book I will read again, not only for further understanding, but also for the reminder of God’s personal interest in and impact on the state of our world as we know it today, and the promises of his omniscient presence in the routine of my life, which comforts me in these uncertain, and perhaps frightening, times. Jeremiah writes in a simplistic yet commanding way that speaks truth tempered with hope! I encourage everyone to read this book and share it with others ”for such a time as this”!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review of The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews


In this brief, yet amazingly inspirational book, Andy Andrews reminds us that we, like butterflies, have the power within, through our actions, attitude, and words to impact everyone we encounter. Having survived homelessness, Andrews, through a man named Jones, was offered guidance that would radically change his life. ‘“With a little perspective,” Jones said one day, “you can live a life of permanent purpose….When you know that everything matters—that every move counts as much as any other---you will begin living a life of permanent purpose….(which) will make you a better parent, a better spouse and a more valuable friend.”’ (author’s note).

In 1963 Edward Lorenz presented to the New York Academy of Science a hypothesis stating that a butterfly could flap its wings and cause air molecules to go into motion, which would in turn cause other molecules to move, and so forth, until eventually, on the other side of the planet, a hurricane would form. His idea was deemed ridiculous; that is, until some thirty years later several physics professors turned Lorenz’s hypothesis into The Law of sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions (p. 80).

So Andrews shares examples of how the butterfly effect works through the lives of ordinary humans who, because of their fortitude and courage, have impacted our world. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a colonel in the Union army in 1863, fought to keep the Confederate Army back. In spite of losing most of his troops, in the end, Chamberlain’s decisions and actions caused the rebels to win at Gettysburg. “Which means: When Hitler swept across Europe in the 1940s, had Chamberlain not charged on that afternoon so long ago, there would not have existed a United States of America to stand in the breach.” (p. 50).

In 2004 Norman Borlaugi, age 91, was honored by ABC News as “Person of the Week”. Ever heard of him? Neither had most people at that time! Yet, Norman generated corn and wheat in arid climates, saving more than two billion lives from famine. However, Norman was not really the one who saved the lives; rather, it was Henry Wallace, VP under Franklin Roosevelt, who created a business in Mexico to hybridize corn and wheat for those climates, and hired Norman Borlaugi to run the company. Was it really Wallace that caused the butterfly or ripple effect… or was it really George Washington Carver who, being interested in plants from a young age, eventually developed 266 things we use the peanut for today? Or was it a boy named Moses….

“Is there an ending to this story? Exactly who was it that saved the two billion lives? Is there a specific person to whom we could point? How far back would be have to go? How many lives would we need to examine in order to determine who it really was whose action saved two billion people…a number that continues to increase every minute? And how far forward would we need to go in your life to show the difference you make?” (pp. 100-101).

In a companion book for children of all ages entitled The Boy Who Changed the World Andrews delightfully shares the same story, which not only entertains, but teaches the principle that “You have been created in order that you might make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world.” (p. 105).

Great book to give to those needed encouragement…or those graduating…or anyone you care about!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”