Journal

VETERAN’S DAY ~ 2013

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Blog, Journal, Uncategorized | 8 comments

 

What does Veteran’s Day mean to you? Is it just a day to be off work? It is for some government workers, banks and post offices. For others it is a day to hit the stores and take advantage of all the sales.

Many towns will have parades, and some people will hang their American flags prominently. Most of us know it has something

Admiral Henry G. Taylor- USN My Grandfather

Admiral Henry G. Taylor- USN
My Grandfather

to do with honoring those who have served or are serving in the armed forces.

 America’s observance of Veteran’s Day originated with the ending of World War I, also referred to as “The Great War” or “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, we’ve been in numerous wars in the intervening 95 years.

The ending of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The United States Congress resolved that the recurring anniversary of this date “date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”

 

Captain Joseph White - USN My Father

Captain Joseph White – USN
My Father

Veteran’s Day is a day of remembrance, and a day to honor and say thank you to all the men and women who have served, or are currently serving our country, often in difficult places and at great sacrifice.  It is also a time to honor the spouses and families of those serving, because “Those Who Wait also Serve”.

 

Some pictures of family members who have served in the armed forces.

I am thankful for them, and other family and friends, who have also served our country.

          

Sgt. Stephen White USAF My Brother

Sgt. Stephen White USAF
My Brother

                                                      On Monday, and every day,

remember to pray for our troops,

                                                   and give thanks for them.

 

My Sons - 2005 LCdr. Jeff Palmer - USN Capt. Jim Palmer - US Army Nat. Guard

My Sons – 2005
LCdr. Jeff Palmer – USN
Capt. Jim Palmer – US Army Nat. Guard

 

 

 

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COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY ~ A Fall Tradition

Posted by on Oct 9, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Journal | 2 comments

There are many things I love about this season of the year, but one of my favorites might surprise you. For nearly thirty years I have taken part in Community Bible Study (CBS) classes. Each autumn when the new class starts, I’m eager to begin whatever course my class is studying that year. This year our class is delving into Galatians, Hebrews, and PhilippiansCBS Course Material

Community Bible Study in an interdenominational ministry that offers in-depth Bible studies available to all. It doesn’t matter whether one has never studied the Bible before or if they’ve been studying the Scriptures for years.  It’s a place where men and women, children and teens from whatever religious tradition or denomination can gather in a friendly, accepting setting and study God’s Word. As CBS states on its website, they “concentrate on the essentials of the Christian faith, not on denominational distinctives.”

Many churches graciously host the classes even though the ministry has no ties to any specific church or denomination. There are now about 700 classes around the United States and many additional classes offered in 70 countries around the world.  There are day, evening, student, teen, after school, Inprison, and international classes. In addition, many adult classes have programs for children of all ages. The children’s ministry curriculum alone has blessed so many families. There is nothing more adorable than watching preschoolers quoting Scripture or singing songs of faith that will be remembered forever.

Community Bible Study even has material available that can be purchased and used in home or church Bible studies.

Classes typically run for thirty weeks with a few weeks off in December and another week-long break in the spring. People can join anytime, not just in the fall.

Over the years I’ve been involved in many different classes; I’ve experienced, and watched others, form life long friendships as well as casual ones. I love passing on information to people moving to another area about the CBS classes in their new locale, since it’s a great way to make friends and also to learn more about the churches in the area.

There are many wonderful Bible studies available through other para-church ministries and churches; I just appreciate all I’ve witnessed at Community Bible Study. If this sounds like some thing you might be interested in check out http://www.communitybiblestudy.org/index.aspx.


Praying Hands -Bible, etc.Once on the website, there are a variety of menu choices so you can learn more about CBS, as well as find a class near you.

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HONORING AN AMERICAN HERO

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Journal, Uncategorized | 11 comments

A couple of days ago, an old friend sent me an e-mail with a you Tube attachment about a 40th reunion documentary for the POW’s held captive during the Viet Nam War. It brought to mind an unexpected encounter I had with one of those POW’s shortly after their release, which in a surprising way, was an answer to prayer.

Early in 1973 my father startled me with an idea he, and I suspect my mother, hatched to stretch my social skills. They knew the previous year had been a very difficult and painful time in my life and they were concerned that I had cut myself off from people, content to go to work and avoid all other social contact.

Seabee emblemMy father and maternal grandfather had been career naval officers, both serving in the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), also known as the Seabees. Each year Seabee Balls were held at various locations around the country. Retired officers as well as those currently on active duty would frequent these festivities with their spouses or dates. It was always a fun time for them to connect with old friends. A queen, often the daughter or wife of one of the engineers, was selected to “reign” over these festivities.

Dad had put forth my name and I was selected as the 1973 Seabee Queen for the Western Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command. I knew my selection had absolutely nothing to do with me, or any of my accomplishments, attributes, or abilities; it was merely a way of honoring my father and grandfather for their sixty years of combined naval service.

When my father told me what he had done I was stunned. Always shy, the quintessential wall flower, I had never even been asked to a prom in high school. How would the Lord help me carry off this royal role and be the center of attention for an entire evening?

The weeks leading up to the Seabee Ball were exciting, but for an entirely different reason. In January 1973, the Vietnam War turned a corner. With the Paris peace accords signed, negotiations progressed to free the remaining 658 POW’s held captive. Like most people, I watched the return of these American heroes on television. It was humbling and so moving to see these men arrive on American soil, some who had been absent from our shores for six and seven years. Vietnam was still a raw and very real memory for me. It had taken a toll on many of us, directly or indirectly. But now, those who had survived captivity were coming home.

March 7th, the day of the Ball arrived and I was the only one there without a date. Somehow I Seabee Queensurvived everything associated with the ceremony, though I felt unbelievably awkward seated at the elevated head table with the Admiral, his wife and several other dignitaries, including my parents. From there I could easily see a room full of people enjoying each other in conversation. As I sat on the dais and watched the smartly dressed assembly, I tried not to let my self-consciousness show.

Then I glanced to the opposite side of the room and noticed a man standing in an open doorway. He was wearing a khaki uniform, definitely not the dress uniform or dark suit the other men were wearing. One of the guests went to the door, spoke with the young man a moment and headed quickly to the Admiral seated beside me. The man standing in the doorway with the “deer in the headlights” look was Gary Thornton, one of the POWs who had just returned from six years of captivity. He was suddenly being ushered into the room, and as news spread throughout the room, a receiving line automatically formed. Everyone wanted to shake Gary’s hand and welcome him home, including me. When everyone finished greeting Gary, shy Janet forgot herself, and asked him to dance. I have never seen such a joy-filled face; here was a person who understood freedom more than anyone else there. I no longer feared being the center of attention because I wasn’t  it wasn’t about me ― it was about him and a well deserved tribute to an American hero. God had the evening well under control and it turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined.

Come back later this week for a shorter postscript to learn how God answered two more of my prayers concerning Gary Thornton.  

Referenced youTube attachment http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=LemllfcAY8A&sns=em                       

See more about Gary Thornton and a photo http://projects.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=23959

 

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A WRITING CONFERENCE ~ What’s That All About?

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Journal, Uncategorized | 9 comments

A WRITING CONFERENCE

What’s That All About?

 

Earlier this week I returned from the 2013 American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) Conference in Indianapolis, IN. This was my second ACFW Conference. The first one I attended was in 2011. A friend (not a writer) asked me some pointed questions when I told her of my three day odyssey. “So you like to write, why do you go to a conference for that? Do the attendees get together and sit around and write?” It was evident she thought my trip to Indianapolis was more than a bit odd.

Her questions brought to mind a comment I heard while I was at this year’s conference.  It was announced early on that those of us who wanted to dress in the clothing of our genre* should only do this for the Friday evening dinner because there were also normal people registered at the Indianapolis Hyatt. Hmm, was that a subtle suggestion that writers aren’t normal folks? But hearkening back to the 2011 conference, I do recall seeing tables of inter-galactic creatures obviously representing the speculative fiction genre. Perhaps we are a “little different”.

I tried to explain the reasons why I, and many others, attend writer’s conferences. This is by no means an exhaustive explanation:                        

1. Fiction writing, or any writing, can be a very solitary endeavor. Most of us spend a good portion of our lives in front of a computer, or with a tablet, sharing life with our imaginary characters. Some of us spend just as much time doing research which

Sarah Ladd, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Melanie Dickerson

Sarah Ladd, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Melanie Dickerson

may be an activity we do alone. Being with other people who enjoy the same pursuit is energizing. It’s also a wonderful time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. (Old friends might be other writers we hardly ever meet face to face since our friendships might be initiated or grow over e-mails and the internet.) Attendees at the conferences come from far and wide; this year I know of some who came from Australia and Norway.

2. Writer’s conferences can provide an opportunity to network not only with other writers, but specifically with those people who write in our particular area of interest. Ten different genres were represented there. It is also a place to meet and have appointments with literary agents and publishers who have come from all over the country to meet with writers and listen to our

My agent, Linda Glaz with Hartline Literary Agency & me

My agent, Linda Glaz with Hartline Literary Agency & me

“pitches”, manuscripts we are hoping to publish.

3. Like other conferences, ACFW provides workshops for every learning level. These are taught by experts representing various aspects of the industry, whether it’s learning more about the craft, what is involved with working with literary agents and publishers, and what the present and future book selling market looks like.     

 4. Since ACFW refers to itself as The Voice of Christian Fiction – a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction, it is a venue that provides inspiration and encouragement. There are wonderful times of worship, prayer, and fellowship, inspirational talks given by the keynote speakers (This years was Robin Jones Gunn **). 

5. The last night of the conference is the awards gala, a time to recognize some very special people.

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award (awarded this year to Frank Peretti ***)

    Frank Peretti

    Frank Peretti

  • The best Literary Agent of the Year
  • The best Editor  of the Year
  • The Mentor of the Year
  • The winners of the 2013 Genesis contest (pre-published writers) in each genre
  • The winners of the 2013 Carol Awards for the best Christian fiction published in each genre by traditional publishing houses in the previous calendar year.
  • Other awards were given for service to ACFW

So it was an exciting, inspirational, affirming, and challenging three days for a bunch of folks who may not be normal, but we are a lot of fun.

 

*Webster’s defines genre as: a particular type or category of writing literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.

**Robin Jones Gunn is the best selling Christian author of over 82 books including The Christy Miller Series for teen girls as well as Christian fiction for older women and a few non-fiction books.

***Frank Peretti generated an interest in spiritual warfare with This Present Darkness and Piercing The Darkness, his first two books. He’s gone on to publish many more books with 15 million novels in print.

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God is Faithful

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Journal, Uncategorized | 6 comments

God is Faithful

I’ve been reminded of God’s faithfulness several times over the past few days.

 

On Sunday morning at church:

~We heard several testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the lives of people.

~We were reminded of His faithfulness in providing for a debt free facility during a time when

people’s jobs and finances took a big hit.

~We sang O God, Our Help In Ages Past, Isaac Watts’ ancient hymn, based on Psalm 90, that has brought comfort and encouragement to many over the centuries. It’s a reminder that the same God who has been with us through earlier trials will continue to guide us through whatever sorrows and challenges life will bring in the future.

 

Earlier Sunday morning:

~Our daily devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young reminded us that each day we can turn to God at any point and He will not reject us. He will encourage us, give us the strength for each moment and all we need for each day. We can trust Him by relying on His empowering presence.   (my paraphrase)

On Saturday:

God is Faithful

~I read

“God’s voice has never misspoken…

His faithfulness has never betrayed…

His care has never faltered…

His kindness has never disappointed…

His love has never failed.

His love will not fail you now.”

– Roy Lessin

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

 Jeremiah 31:3 ESV

 

On Friday:

~We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary  

~a marriage designed in heaven

 

The Man

Widowed after a happy marriage of 34 years.He prays and asks God to select a wife for him, and to prepare her heart and identify her.

God selected the wife and identified her in a crowd of about 750 people.

The man, not expecting to hear God’s voice, says, “Now what do I do?”

And God helped the man and showed him the way to win her heart.

 

  The Woman

Alone for 10 years and not interested in dating much less getting married.

When caring friends suggested re-marrying might be God’s will for her, she would answer, “if it was God’s will that she married again, God would have to send the man, God would have to prove He sent the man, and God would have to change her heart.

And God sent the man, proved in numerous ways that He sent the man. And God changed her heart. 

 September 6, 2003

God is Faithful

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Shirley Plantation 400th Anniversary

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Blog, History, Journal, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Julian Charity and Carrie Fancett Pagels

Julian Charity and Carrie Fancett Pagels

Last week I had the opportunity to tour Shirley Plantation with Carrie Fancett Pagels, author of “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” and several other writers. Historian and tour guide Julian Charity and Carrie gave us a fascinating tour of the property and the Great House. This beautiful home is occupied by the 11th generation of the Hill Carter family that dates back to the 1650s. Shirley Plantation, and many of the others, is located along the James River in Charles City County, Virginia.

King James I of England granted 4,000 acres of land on the banks of the James River (named for him) to Sir Thomas West, Virginia’s first royal governor in 1613. The property was initially named West and Sherley Hundred, incorporating his name and his wife’s, Lady Cessalye Sherley. “Hundred” was a term in the 17th century used for many of the outpost settlements.

Cotton

photo courtesy of Carrie Fancett Pagels

The plantations in Virginia in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century were used for agriculture, first worked by indentured servants and later by slaves. Tobacco cultivation was Shirley’s original crop. That changed over the years to include corn, wheat, barley and oats. Cattle, Sheep and hogs were also raised. As we drove in for our tour we observed beautiful fields of cotton in bloom.

Shirley Plantation

Shirley Plantation

Sir Thomas’s heir and wife sold the property in 1618 upon his death. The new owners changed the name to Shirley Plantation. Captain Edward Hill I purchased the property in 1638 and built Hill House for his family. Captain Hill served in the local militia, as Speaker of the House of Burgesses as well as other positions in local and regional government.

Shirley Plantation continued to pass down through the generations of the Hill family sons. Since Edward III lost his only son during childhood, and the oldest daughter moved to England upon her marriage, the plantation would ultimately pass to his youngest daughter, Elizabeth. While this young lady might have been a target for fortune hunters, she married John Carter, the attractive and educated son of the wealthiest man in North America, Robert “King” Carter. Robert Carter attained that nickname because it was said that his wealth rivaled that of the King of England. When these two great families were joined in marriage in 1723, they began construction of the Great House on the plantation. It has remained in the family ever since. Many other familiar names are part of this family such as Light Horse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee, Mary Nelson, daughter of Thomas Nelson, who was governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Shirley was used as a supply depot late in the Revolutionary War, when Lafayette’s troops traveled to Yorktown. During the war of 1812 the lead roof from the Great House was sold and melted for bullets. During the Civil War, the James River was a strategic route to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. When General McClellan took over the land of Shirley Plantation and used it as a field hospital, Louise Humphry’s Carter, wife of Robert Carter, provided care for the Union solders encamped in her yard. In appreciation for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of his men, General McClellan issued a Federal Order of Safeguard protecting the residents and the plantation.

Other than the metalwork, stone and marble, all the materials for the Georgian and Queen Anne style Great house and outbuildings were produced onsite. One remarkable feature of the house is the remarkable four story square-rigged “flying staircase” in the front hall. The only other “flying staircase” I’ve seen is a circular one at Carter Hall (part of the same family) located in northern Virginia near Millwood. These staircases have no visible means of support, yet they have stood the test of time.390 Year old Willow Oak

I was also intrigued by a magnificent Willow Oak, now estimated to be 390 years old.

Shirley Plantation is one of 33 plantations listed in the National Register of Historic Places located along the James River and its tributaries in southeastern Virginia. Many are open to the public and provide a rich view into America’s past. To learn more about Shirley Plantation or to plan a visit, see: http://www.shirleyplantation.com

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