Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Review: A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall April 29, 2013

*** A quick note. You will notice I will post a review on Thursday this week. Once in a while I might have to go off schedule due to dates of blog tours that book reviews must be posted. Just wanted to give you all a heads up.

51oF09elEaL

A Season for Tending

By

Cindy Woodsmall

From the back cover:

In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda’s odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden?
 
Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.
 
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.
 
Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
 
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?
 

My Thoughts:

This is a book that took me a while to fall into the groove of the story. I am not into gardening or anything along those lines so I wasn’t really sure what to think at first. But as I got more and more into the story I grew to care for the characters and the use of gardening and caring for orchards became a great part of the story.

Rhoda Byler has a gift from God. But it is gift that is misunderstood by those around her. Not only does she need to learn to trust God but she needs to learn to trust her gift.

I can very much relate to Rhoda and this difficulty in trusting her gift. As a worship leader I often get complaints about the music choice and there are just going to be people who don’t like how I lead worship. I have no choice but to get back up on the stage each and every Sunday and do what I know God has called me to do, even in the face of opposition.

Rhoda must do the same. She must ignore public opinion and so what she knows God wants her to. He doesn’t give us gifts just to bury them and never use them. Remember the story about the talents and the man who buried his so he didn’t lose it?

There are so many Genesis 5020’s in this book too. From Samuel’s sister Leah landing in Rhoda’s  vineyard to Rhoda’s vineyard being destroyed. But you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean.

On the last page Cindy has me crying, “Nooooo!” She ended the book with a major turn of events, one I didn’t see coming and that has me itching to read the next book, which I hope to review for you soon.

To order from Amazon click here.

To order from Barnes and Noble click here.

To order from Christianbook.com click here.

To order from the publisher click here.

To visit Cindy’s website click here.

An ebook of this book was given to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

Laura’s Story Part Two April 26, 2013

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:05 am
Tags: , , ,

We’re back with Laura’s Genesis 5020. If you missed the first part click here.

What’s your Genesis 5020? Share your story for God’s glory at 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com

nightclub-in-neon-108681294533967qk7The first few years of our marriage were turbulent as we had no true foundation of any kind to spring from.  Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll do not a marriage make! Not to mention the fact that our parents never modeled any kind of successful relationship behavior for either of us, so we were living out the only things we knew. 

Things escalated to the point of physical violence between us followed by numbness which caused us to feel hopeless. 

It was around this time that I starting working at a Christian school which enticed my curiosity about God. My parents were believers so I had been exposed to faith as a child, but my concept of God was connected to my sick father whom I feared and distrusted. And Steve was raised in an abusive cult so we both had a completely warped understanding of God.  

But this time we were learning some things about God we had never known, so my husband and I prayed for God to come into our lives and we were baptized

Unfortunately we did not yet have the tools to know how to apply any of God’s truths to our lives so we continued to drown in our circumstances. Steve and I separated and Steve began to delve deeply into a crystal-meth addiction

When I left Steve, I told myself that this was my chance to be free. I’d get back on the scene and would be the one in control of relationships with men and in control of my life! 

I started going to school and working out and even returned to the sport of skating which was a rare source of sanity for me as a child, and I thought I had it goin’ on. But since I no longer had a partner to share expenses with, finances were now a deeper concern. So I decided it was time to reach outside of the box and see what I could do to start making more money.  

I saw an ad for a “Hostess Club” where I wouldn’t be required to take off my clothes. Little did I know that God’s hand was on me even then. 

I cannot put into words what I went through to find that club. It was as if I were in some kind of crazy vortex preventing me from getting there.  I drove in circles for hours and my car even broke down, but I was determined so eventually I got there. 

It was amazing to me that during the day this little place in the heart of Los Angeles, looked like a broken down abandoned building in the middle of a vacant lot surrounded by a rickety metal fence. But when the sun went down, neon lights flashed illuminating a packed parking lot with limos lined up and patrons going in and out until late into the night. 

It seemed harmless enough. 

I sat with a group of girls hoping to get picked out of the crowd and escorted to the dance floor. After some conversation and a dance or two I’d be delivered back into the pool until I was picked to go with another. But it was definitely not as simple as that. 

There’s a dark variety of behaviors, activities, and deals being made in locations all over those clubs. Men take advantage of the “new girls” in some very disgusting ways and the goal of the girls is to quickly learn the ropes in order to take advantage of the men and score the big bucks.  

I left early that first night feeling overwhelmed by men’s cologne and women’s perfume, cigarette smoke and the reality of what I was getting myself into, and I literally vomited from my car as I drove away from the club. 

But as the night wore on I just told myself that if those girls could do it then I could do it too and I returned the very next night.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

 

Write to the Point with Elizabeth Maddrey April 24, 2013

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:55 am
Tags: , , ,

Today we get write to the point with Elizabeth Maddrey.

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshotTell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I’m a nerd at heart, that’s probably the first thing that has to be said. While I’ve been writing forever (truly – I don’t really remember ever not writing little stories), I’ve also been interested in computers since 1980 when my dad brought one home. My sister and I used to sit and program games (in BASIC) and then play them for hours. That was in Los Alamos, New Mexico. My dad worked for the National Lab there – so nerdiness runs in the family, too. Regardless, that nerdiness took me to through a science and technology magnet school for high school and onward to a PhD in Computer Science.

I met my husband the first day of our freshman year at Wheaton College in a computer architecture class (he’s a nerd too). We got married the summer between his junior and senior years (I’d just graduated on the 3 year plan). Now, almost 18 years later, we live in the suburbs of Washington DC (close to where my family moved when I was in the 6th grade) and I get to stay home with our two boys (5 and 1), homeschool the oldest, teach programming online, and write. It’s pretty awesome.

Sounds very nice. And I am a nerd too, just a different kind. As my husband would call me, I am a choir dork. I never played sports but was involved in any and all drama or music I could find.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

Growing up, my mom always had backyard Bible studies for the neighborhood kids during the summer. Part of each would be an invitation to accept Christ. When I was three, I told her I wanted to do that. She made me wait until after everyone went home and then talked to me more about it because she wasn’t sure I really knew what I was saying. But I did, so I prayed with her. I’m grateful to have had the blessing of growing up a Christian in a Christian home!

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My recent release is my second novel – and it’s the second in the Grant Us Grace series. (Book 1 is titled Wisdom to Know.) The second is Courage to Change – here’s the back cover:

Should you be willing to change for love?

When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife Brandi divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians shouldCourageToChangeFront never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.

Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.

As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, both must reevaluate their convictions. When Brandi discovers Phil’s new relationship, she decides that though she doesn’t want him, no one else can have him. Can Phil and Allison’s love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives?

What I hope readers take away at the end of my stories is that God’s grace covers us – no matter what and that sometimes the choices we make have consequences that are hard to bear, but even so, God walks along side us if we are faithful. I also aim for that happy sigh moment that you get at the end of a good romance – when you know that the people who belong together have found a way to be together.

I just need to chime in here regarding Wisdom to Know. I have read the book and it is so real. I could very much relate to the story about a young woman who had an abortion and her life goes downhill from there. If you follow my blog you know this is my sister’s story. And Elizabeth has some snappy dialogue, love it!

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I make every effort to blog Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ll admit I’m not perfect at keeping to the schedule, but I really do try! The content is…random. I post tidbits about family life sometimes, Spiritual insights I’ve had, behind the scenes (or deleted scenes) from my books, announcements, book reviews. Really whatever I can think of to fill a few paragraphs.

What are you reading right now?

I’m actually between books right now. I just finished Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore and am trying to figure out which of the many books on my pile to grab next.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

When my husband and I first started looking into adoption, we had the opportunity to be considered for a placement through some friends of my mother’s. Ultimately, the birth mother ended up choosing a different family because I don’t scrapbook. At the time, I was devastated to lose this opportunity simply because of a craft I didn’t enjoy. As time progressed, my mom heard stories here and there about the baby and her new family and the troubles they were experiencing due to conflict with the birth mother. The details of the situation made it so clear to us that we were not the right family for this situation and though it hurt to miss out on the placement, in the end we would not have been able to deal with the details down the road as well as the family who was chosen did. Additionally, having seen that side of placements, it made future missed placements and our two successful adoptions so much easier because we were able to rely on the fact that God would bring us our children in His time.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

I’ve had a number of friends (and lost several as well) who were confused because they couldn’t understand why someone intelligent would be willing to have faith in God. And while I don’t really get their confusion, to me the two are not in any way opposed, I do know that when you’re smart and consider yourself capable, it’s very easy to start relying on your own knowledge rather than remembering that God’s wisdom is beyond our ability to understand. I always loved this passage because it helps me remember that being a Christian won’t always make sense to those around us – and it has soothed the hurt of losing a friend because of their inability to understand my faith.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website (where I blog, plus other fun info): http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Twitter: @elizabethmaddre

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emaddrey/ (I have a board for each book as well as homeschool links and things I think are funny or interesting – another random collection.)

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

Nope, thanks for having me!

So glad you could join us today, Elizabeth.

Readers, Elizabeth is giving away a copy of her book, Courage to Change. U.S. residents only and we need at least five comments to have a drawing. So leave Elizabeth a comment by April 30th at 5:00 pm to be entered.

 

Review: Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett April 22, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:01 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

cover27747-small

Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel

by

Ginger Garrett

From the back cover:

Beyond the Drama, Her Heart Was Real
 
From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse. As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.
 
My thoughts:
 
When I first saw this book I hesitated to read it. One of the first rules of writing is to write about characters who are likeable. I have read the story of Jezebel in the  Bible and I knew I didn’t like her already. But curiosity won out. I wondered how the author, Ginger Garrett, would make Jezebel a sympathetic character.
 
As I read I found myself having mixed emotions about Jezebel. The back story Ginger gives her helped me better understand Jezebel’s brokenness and even feel sorry for her at times. Other times she made me so angry, but never to the point I wanted to put the book down.
 
Ginger has managed to take a very unlikable person and pull me into her story, along with her husband, Ahab and his assistant, Obadiah.
 
Jezebel is like the rest of us, broken and looking for hope. Her hope is misdirected, as ours can often be. She places her hope of finding love in a false god and not Yahweh. But don’t we do that even now? Maybe not with something we call a god but with things, people or relationships? We hope to find love in things that were never meant to love us completely, that can never satisfy us.
 
Only God completely satisfies us and Jezebel rejects Yahweh. She does ask some questions I am sure we have all asked. How could God withhold rain from a people He claims to love? She notes the other consequences God unleashed on the Israelites in the past. But we know we serve a just God, not a God who is okay with making sure we are comfortable all the time, He is more concerned with growing our character.
 
This is not a light read in any way. Heavy stuff happens and things we find repulsive (such as the sacrifice of infants) as Jezebel’s people worship her god.
 
Overall I loved this book, I had trouble putting it down. I know the story but I wanted to read how Ginger would portray the events. 
 
This book does not release until May 1st, so add it to your wish list or pre-order it now.
 
To order from Amazon click here.
 
To order from Barnes and Noble click here.
 
To order from Christianbook.com click here.
 
To visit Ginger’s website click here.
 
An ebook of this book was given to  me through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
 

Laura’s Story Part One April 19, 2013

Filed under: Other Genesis 5020 Stories — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:22 am
Tags: , , ,

Before we get into our Genesis 5020 I wanted to share with you that I did a guest post on Cleo Lampos blog this week. She is the author who shared on Wednesday. Her blog is about teachers. I shared how God used my current teaching position in a way I never imagined. If you have a minute stop by, it’s a short post. Click here.

Our new Genesis 5020 is given by Laura Urenda, the founder of My Sister Song. This is the out reach Heather (my sister) in now a part of. It is an honor to have Laura share her story with us.

I hope you will once again be touched by God’s goodness, mercy and grace as you read her story for God’s glory!

I grew up in a little city here in MI and was raised by simple parents from the South and I’m a coal miner’s daughter to be specific. My parents left the mountains and treachery of the mines to come here to the Motor City in order to build a better life in the 50’s. 

First came my sister and the old black and white family photos reveal a “Leave It To Beaver” type of life that was soon to change when I came along thirteen years later in the 60’s. 

When I was born my father was deep into his alcoholism and our home was an unpredictable nightmare filled with everything from watching my mother being beaten down in front of us, to a vast array of other graphic images and inappropriate behaviors that we had to endure. 

old-child-swing-1358169948FsnI realized later in life that I suffered from chronic anxiety as a child, as there were many late night emergency room visits often times by ambulance.  I would awaken from sleep unable to breathe or swallow and was eventually told by a doctor there was nothing wrong with me so I must be faking. 

When one doctor finally thought to bring the idea of abuse into question, my parents quickly smoothed it over and the subject was tucked back away safely behind closed doors where it would continue to breed. 

Fast forward now to my teen years in the 70’s. My sister being 13 years older had already been on her own for many years, so I struggled in that house alone with the belief that I was unlovable, feeling desperate to be free from the ongoing stress and confusion of living in such depths of dysfunction. 

It seemed like I went from playing with baby dolls and Barbies right into sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. 

In my early teens I already had an insatiable appetite for almost any drug I could get my hands on and was swept away by the first guy who gave me any attention and was quite a bit older than me. He spent most of his younger years in some sort of juvenile lockdown and was very heavily into PCP . 

So I ran away from home and moved around a lot and was basically a street kid crashing with my boyfriend wherever we could. It was during this time that he pressured me to give up my virginity to him with the threat of leaving me if I didn’t, so naturally I did. This was the first of many sick, unfulfilling relationships that would follow for many years. 

Fast forward to my 20’s in the 80’s. 

At this point I had my first unwanted pregnancy that I immediately terminated and I was involved in criminal activities with another convict. Back then we “rolled guys” which meant I lead them on and ripped them off.  

My boyfriend and I would enter strip clubs separately and I’d zero in on a target. Then pretending to be intoxicated and very interested in him, we’d leave together with my boyfriend near by.  I’d grab his wallet containing cash, credit cards, and pictures of his wife and kids and took off with my boyfriend.

Eventually we were busted for another scam we had going at a major department store so I was cuffed, stuffed, booked, and had my first police record.  

I was so sick of my life at that point that I decided to do something different so I joined the Army. I was an active Army Medic for 3 years which proved to be a good experience that gave me an opportunity to see another side of life, and to have some unique experiences that allowed me to begin to grow at least a little. 

Unfortunately I was still using drugs and had my second unwanted pregnancy that I dealt with the same as first. 

After spending most of my tour in Germany, I finished my time in service here in the States where I met Steve, the man I would marry after knowing him only 4 months and we moved to CA where he’s originally from to begin our life together. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Write to the Point with Cleo Lampos April 17, 2013

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:36 am
Tags: , ,

Today we get write to the point with Cleo Lampos. Enjoy as share shares her journey with us and reflects on Genesis 5020.

Picture 001 (2)Life for me began in Greeley, Colorado. My father died when I was three years of age which left my mother with a senior in high school son, a kindergarten daughter, and me. She had not worked outside the home and did not receive social security. We lived on savings for a while, but then the money became scarce. My mother married a man who steadily abused alcohol until it overtook his life, and ours. During my childhood, I attended nine schools in three states trying to hide the family secrets by being an overachiever.

 Several years during my teens, adults sponsored my way to church camp. A week away from the realities of home bathed my soul with the Word of God and the healing from the Holy Spirit. Many salvation decisions were made at camp. At age 21, at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in the library, I committed my life to Jesus Christ to live only for Him. That commitment holds even to this day.

 The verse from Joseph’s life follows me throughout mine. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20. The years our family endured living in a dysfunctional alcoholic family were difficult, but they prepared me for the work of my life. For twenty-six years, I taught in a school district described as “an urban school in a suburban setting.” Many of my students lived in conditions similar to those of my childhood. Half of my teaching years were spent with behavior disordered boys. Their emotional disturbances reflected the homes from which they came. As a teacher, I related to them and understood why they reacted as they did, but never let their backgrounds be an excuse for bad behavior or failure. Together, we worked on making wise choices on a daily basis. God had prepared me to teach to a group of children who are sometimes written off by society, but who hold great untapped potential.

While teaching, the stresses of the day played on my heart and mind. By journaling the day’s events, a lot of anxiety was released in the writing and thinking process. Reflecting on the written material sometimes helped me to realize the problem and find a solution. Eventually, these entries became the basis on my devotional book, Teaching Diamonds in the Tough:Mining the Potential in Every Student(Lighthouse of the Carolinas, 2012). Hopefully, the series of vignettes will inspire this generation of teachers to look beyond the surface of a child’s behavior to their heart.

This summer, Oak Tara Publishing is releasing the first in the series of books Teachers of Diamond Project Schools:Diamonds in the Rough. Second Chances is essentiallydiamonds my story of coming to Chicago and teaching after living my high school years in a small town in Wisconsin. In this romantic contemporary novel, the first year teacher confronts the difficulties of teaching children of poverty, gangs and drugs. Her personal faith is challenged, but she learns to rely on the Lord to make it through each day of teaching. She longs for the unconditional love shown by the fifth grade teacher whose husband suffers from MS multiple sclerosis. Eventually, she falls in love with a police officer who is chaplain in the jail. My personal background prepared me to write this series of books. In the fall, Book Two, Miss Bee and the Do Bees will be released. It is the story of a special education teacher in Diamond Projects.

My husband of 43 years, Vernon, has shown the unconditional love needed to sustain a marriage. We now are retired, volunteer at the Bible League Thrift Shop, grow produce in our garden for Share the Harvest, pack meals for Children’s Hunger Fund, and teach Children’s Church. I write for the Worship Team in our local church. Three grown children with spouses and ten grandchildren join our two cats for fun. In my free time, I devour historical fiction like Lynn Austin writes or biographies because the evidence of providence is seen in a person’s life.

God has been good to me.

Join me on the web. My blog is Teachers and Other Everyday Heroes and is found at www.cleolampos.com, I try to blog once a week, and write about people who are ordinary but have done something extraordinary in their lives. Check out the blog about the Dutch Garbio(or Garbagemen )on my blog. They typify so much about the immigrant work ethic. Or the blog that is guest written by a mother catapulted into the role of caregiver to her high school daughter.

Please e-mail me at clampos@sbcglobal.net with your comments and concerns.

Cleo, thanks so much for sharing with my readers. I pray God’s blessings over your writing journey.

 

Book Review: Only God April 16, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:00 am
Tags: , ,

cover21606-small

Only God

{Change Your Story Change The World}

By

Dwight Mason

From the back cover:

Experience firsthand how Only God can use you—and the local church—to transform people, communities, the world. . . in an extraordinary way! You’ll come away with a renewed sense of purpose, as you read Dwight Mason’s powerful, life-altering message of hope. Get ready to let God work in and through you to change your world!

My Thoughts:

I have a non-fiction book for you today.

Only God begged to be read by me. This book is what this blog is all about. Sharing your Only God story with the world so others will see there is hope for them. Our stories are not for us but for others to encounter the glory of God.

Dwight gives practical steps to take so you can write your Only God story. At the end of every chapter are Action Steps. I recommend doing them because they will enable you to really think through your story and maybe even discover something you never knew was buried within you.

Think you don’t have an Only God story? You would be wrong. We all do and Dwight addresses that in his book.

I think my favorite chapter was Chapter 9: Helping Your Children Write a Great Story. I loved this as it gave me ideas about how I can point my children in the direction of writing a great Only God story right now.

There is also a chapter on building a team God story, I am thinking of elders in the church, or different ministries. It made me reflect on how am I building up the worship team I lead, am I helping them construct an Only God story?

I am in total agreement with Dwight as he shared his passion in this book because, as you know if you read my blog, I love sharing my Only God story.

I hope you’ll grab a copy of this book and start working on your Only God story and then share it right here on this blog!

Your Only God story is a Genesis 5020 story.

To purchase the book from Amazon click here.

To purchase from Barnes and Noble click here.

To purchase from Christianbook.com click here.

To purchase from the publisher click here.

To visit Dwight’s website click here.

An egalley of this book was given to me from netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.