Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Worth It All-Lessons From The Upper Peninsula (Part 1) July 31, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:22 pm
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Chapel Rock-2014

Chapel Rock-2014

Part of our vacation this year (and last) we visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I love this part of our state. So much untouched land. Trees for miles and miles (which can get a bit boring on long drives). But there are so many treasure hidden in this beautiful part of the Michigan.

One of these treasure we discovered last year when we visited was Pictured Rocks. Wow. Talk about seeing God’s glory. He totally out did Himself.

There are a couple of ways you can view pictured rocks. One is to get on a boat and see them from a distance or you can hike to get to them. Last year we braved it and hiked to Chapel Rock. It was a long six-mile hike but worth it and we decided to do another hike this year.

We decided to go to Mosquito Beach.

As we started our hike we start with a lot of energy. I remember even thinking to myself I don’t

Hiking the trail, following Dad

Hiking the trail, following Dad

know why I think this is hard, I have a lot of energy.

But, the further we moved from the beginning of our hike and closer to the middle the muddier it got. Those who live in Michigan know we’ve gotten an ABUNDANCE of rain this year. So much so farmers had trouble getting everything planted in time.

Patrick lead. the two kids were next and I followed behind. When we came to muddy areas Patrick would find a way around it. However, my nine-year-old son being a normal gotta-try-it-own-way-boy would often try to find HIS own way. Inevitably, he would end up having to backtrack and go the way his dad had gone.

All this extra maneuvering added extra time to the hike and about halfway through we were all wondering if it was worth it. We were getting muddy and tired.

Mosquito Beach

Mosquito Beach

Finally, the sound of water met our ears and we knew we were getting closer. Before we knew it there was a beautiful sight. A beach of exquisite rock and Lake Superior. Ah.

We walked around and then found a “rock bench” that we felt God provided just for us to sit and eat our lunch. We found rest and nourishment while being surrounded by our Creators handiwork.

This is like our spiritual journey. When we first come to know Jesus we are excited we

God-created bench

God-created bench

start out with tons of energy and think nothing can stop us now. But the truth is even if we know Jesus we will encounter mud, detours, things that will discourage us. Jesus never promised no troubles but He did promise to never leave us.

Just as my husband lead us around the yucky parts Jesus leads us around or through the yucky parts of life. However, we have a choice and we can go our own way. But like my son we usually find out our Father knows best and end up following Him eventually. For some of us we may wonder from the path longer than others but we do find our way back and our Father is waiting for us ready to lead us on.

2015-07-03 12.47.58The end will come, we must watch and listen for signs and maybe without warning you will be standing in the beauty of it all. You will see that all the muck was worth the end result, we did. You will find rest and nourishment in the presence of your Creator who made all for you. He was thinking of you the whole time, guiding, directing, loving.

Where you right now? Are you just starting out, full of energy, nothing can stop you?

Are you in the middle, walking through mud, trying to go your own way? Hows that 2015-07-03 12.12.17working out for you?

Or are you following your Father’s lead even though it’s hard, it’s not easy, do you have your eyes on Him?

Or are you on the beach, taking it all in? Sitting in His presence, resting in Him?

Whatever your answer know that Jesus is with you and in the end you can say, “It was worth it all.”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

 

Review and Giveaway: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund June 25, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:17 pm
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hearts made whole

About:

1865
Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

My thoughts and giveaway:

Jody Hedlund (sigh). I have never been disappointed with anything I have read of hers so far. I don’t know how she turns out book after book that captures me, keeps me up way past my bedtime, has me feeling so deeply for her characters but she does.

Hearts Made Whole is a wonderful story of two people dealing with different things and brought together by a lighthouse.

Ryan Chambers is introduced in the first book in this series. Don’t worry, if you didn’t read the first book you won’t feel lost. It truly can be read as a stand-alone. He is returning from the Civil War and he is broken, inside and out. We easily see his outward wounds but it’s the ones on the inside that Jody slowly reveals to the reader.

Caroline wants to take care of everybody but herself. So much is resting on her shoulders and she’s willing to sacrifice her own happiness to care for her family. But someone starts targeting her and strange things are happening at her home.

This book deals with the wounds that so many of us carry and coming to the One who can redeem and restore, who makes all things new.

Visit Jody here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by July 3rd for your chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen by random.org. (U.S. addresses only. I am not responsible for book lost or damaged in the mail.)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review and Giveaway: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund December 22, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:23 pm
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LoveUnexpected_mck.indd

About:

1859
Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He’s just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other’s dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

My thoughts and giveaway:

Jody Hedlund has written another beautiful book with well-developed characters that have flaws and a back story that she slowly reveals just as you need it.

I love that Jody is a Michigan author and this is another book set in Michigan. It was fun to Google images of the lighthouse in this book and see it with my own eyes.

Emma is a lovely heroine who is just trying to find her way. She has no idea how beautiful she truly is and I love that humbleness in her. She is thrown into being a wife and mother and doesn’t find it easy at all since she has had no preparation as most women her age would’ve have been raised to have a family.

Patrick has embraced the amazing grace of Jesus but still struggles with the demons in his past. He has been running from his past and fears the day it will catch up with him.

Even though Emma and Patrick are married their romance is a slow build filled with tender moments.

If you are a Jody Hedlund fan I think you will be pleased with this book and even if you aren’t but enjoy a good historical romance this is a book I recommend.

Visit Jody here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

Leave a comment by January 3rd for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Diane Dean White October 23, 2013

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:58 am
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Diane1[1]I am very excited to introduce you to Diane Dean White. We met on the AFCW (American Fiction Christian Writers) critique loop and started critiquing each others work. It was also fun to find out she is originally from Michigan. I hope you will take some time and enjoy her interview.

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

My hubby and I are empty nesters…our children are grown. Our daughter and her husband and grand gals make their home in China, where his work took them for a few years. Our youngest son and wife are serving in Sochi, Russia presently…which leaves our oldest son, in South Carolina, but still too far away. I was raised in the college town of East Lansing next to the state capitol of Michigan. It was a great place to live! I started writing on an old black manual Royal typewriter in sixth grade. I wrote my first book in eighth grade, which was probably read by my grandmother only, and my friend who did the art work. I had a book of poetry published in my senior year of high school. I started working as a newspaper reporter in the late 70’s, and then took time to raise our family, and was a stay-at-home Mom. My best and favorite job ever! I continued doing stringer work, family history and eventually donor appeal writing for non-profit organizations. In the late 90’s I started to write short stories which were picked up by a number of publications and later two books. I became a weekly columnist for a magazine in Michigan and when we moved from South Carolina to Florida I started my book, On a Summer Night.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I always believed in Jesus and prayed often, but I didn’t realize the steps to salvation; the church I attended didn’t teach that. I was involved in a number of youth activities all my life, and counseled at summer church camp. It was after Steve and I were first married he led me to Christ and I made a personal commitment, and He became Lord of my life.

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

That we can make mistakes in life but there is always forgiveness, when we seek it from Christ. And when others are involved, forgiveness needs to be for them as well. This isSummerNightCoverLarge what sets us free, and unshackles our chains.

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

Oh, this new world of technology! I don’t blog, but I’ve had a website, www.DianeDeanWhite.com for a number of years. I presently have a new site called Simple Pleasures with Diane, Favorite Things, and my Facebook page. I don’t tweet or text and I don’t even have a cell phone…love my landline! Some times change is hard. J

What are you reading right now?

When I went to get a pedicure last week I grabbed my Kindle and started to read Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips. It looked like a fun read, and it was very humorous. I about laughed out loud and realized I needed to be careful, and not jerk my legs, I might get jabbed with an instrument from the gal doing my toes!

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

I can’t point to anyone time when I feel the enemy was trying to hurt me, but I know my faith has to be strong to keep Satan at a distance. I constantly find myself asking the Lord to keep Satan away and fill me with His undeserving love. After all he knows he has the world and non-Christian folk, so he has to work overtime on those who love Christ.

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

I often autograph my books and under my name write Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give thee the desires of thy heart.” I feel he’s done that with my writing.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.DianeDeanWhite.com

http://simplepleasureswithdiane.weebly.com/

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

I’d like to thank Melissa for having me as her guest. It’s not often I meet a fellow Michigander on the loop, and I’ve enjoyed Melissa’s blogs and sweet spirit. I also hope readers will feel free to ask questions on their comments, or email me.

Thanks for sharing, Diane. I know my readers love meeting new authors. I pray God’s blessing on your writing.

 

Meeting the Redeemer-Part 8 January 11, 2013

Filed under: Heather's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:11 am
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2185-1267672994pRs8The world needs your Genesis 5020. Don’t let anyone tell you your story isn’t big enough. That is a lie. Your story is big if God did it. Share your story with us. 5020genesisstories (at) gmail (dot) com

Back with Heather’s Genesis 5020.

While we were in route to my uncle’s house, John called and asked me where I was.  I told him I was gone and I wasn’t coming back. 

I told him I couldn’t live with him always threatening me and constantly being afraid of him.  He said he was only joking and wouldn’t actually do those things to me.  I refused to believe, my head was clear and I knew better this time. 

I stuck with my plan to go to my uncle’s house.

My friend dropped us off at my uncle’s house.  He was happy to see us in one piece. 

John continued to call, I ignored his calls.  He finally left a message saying that he left my place but had taken my computer.  I didn’t care, I was glad to be free of him.  We spent the night at my uncle’s house.

The next morning, my uncle had suggested I call my parents and see if they would help me get back home.  I agreed to do that. 

It must have been the Holy Spirit leading me because I always said I would never go back home, never.

I called my parents and explained my situation and told them that I was about 4 weeks pregnant.  They quickly offered to pay for plane tickets for my daughter and me and even for my 2 cats to come back home. 

It was hard to talk to my parents since I hadn’t spoken to them in 2 ½ years but just talking to them brought about some healing.

Later that day I arranged for a police escort to meet me at my apartment so I could gather some of my belongings.  I didn’t know if John had really left my apartment and I wanted protection from him just in case. 

My uncle took me to my place, John was not there, thankfully.  I packed as many of my things and my daughter’s things that would fit into my uncle’s car and left the rest behind. 

At my uncle’s house, while packing my things into suitcases so I could take them on the plane with me, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was doing the right thing by leaving this life I had known for 5 ½ years behind me and going back to live with my family. 

It was a hard reality to swallow. 

I felt like a failure, I couldn’t make it on my own in the big city, I had to go back home to mom and dad and accept their help. 

That was what the enemy wanted me to believe.  I didn’t see it then but I do now, God was drawing me back to Him, I was that prodigal daughter who had squandered her inheritance. 

How could my family and especially God, welcome me back with open arms? 

I didn’t understand it but I was grateful.

Before I even got on the plane to go back to Michigan, my mom informed me that my brother’s ex-wife had a job for me at a company I had worked for when my daughter was a baby. 

How could that be, I had been looking for a job for months and months in Vegas and found nothing, and now I had a job waiting for me in Michigan

That was all God right there.  Again, I knew I was doing the right thing.

I called my best friends and told them what was going on.  They were shocked as I had always said I would NEVER move back to Michigan.  We promised to keep in touch.

I boarded the airplane in Vegas a dead woman

I was tired from the life I had been consumed by.  I was so out of touch with my daughter, I had no idea how she felt about any of this.  I was completely disconnected on my end from God. 

I just knew I had fallen too far from Him to be saved.  I was dirty and used up and had nothing to offer. 

And there I was, carrying a new life inside of me, I surely did not deserve another chance, not me, a prostitute, drug addict, drug dealer, stripper, whore, horrible mother, a murderer. 

How could I be getting another chance? 

How could anything good come from me and the things that I had done? 

I just didn’t understand it.  I completely underestimated God and His power to redeem ANYTHING.

Don’t you just want to go “yahoo!!!!!” I still get overwhelmed with God’s sovereignty when I read this.

He is so amazing. He loves us all so much. He goes wherever we are and reaches in and pulls us out. We just need to lift our arms and faces to Him, He will do the rest.

Love it!

 

Bought with a Price-Part 2 November 30, 2012

Filed under: Heather's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:58 am
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Today we continue with Heather’s Genesis 5020. If you missed last week’s you can find it here.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

I slowed down on going out to the clubs for a little while until I found another friend to hang out with. 

When I was 26 years old, my boyfriend at the time suggested I try dancing to make some extra money as I was struggling to pay my bills.  I dismissed it at first but then considered it after a man I met at a night club suggested the same thing.  So I looked into it. 

I obtained my business license and sheriff’s card and found a job working as a dancer at a well-known strip club.

My first weekend working at the club, I made more money than I made working 2 weeks at my day job.  I thought it was fun. 

I was able to drink, dance and make money at the same time.  I was getting all kinds of attention from men that made me feel so powerful.

A few months after I started dancing, I quit my day job and just danced full-time.  The money was great at first

I was able to buy my daughter all the things she wanted and I was home more during the day so I could be more involved in her school activities.  At least, that’s how I justified what I was doing.

It didn’t take long for drugs to be introduced to me. 

I thought it was harmless. I would only do them before going to work to give me that extra boost of courage to do what I had to do to make money, because drinking just wasn’t enough

Soon I needed the drugs to get through the day, any day, working or not. 

Drugs are expensive and sometimes there weren’t a lot of men at the club so I had to take things a step further in order to maintain my lifestyle. 

I became a prostitute

For me, it was easier to sell myself than to sell a lap dance. 

I could usually make more money in less time that way, too.  It was fun and easy at first, since I had always been promiscuous anyway, now I was getting paid to do something I used to do for free and generally enjoyed.

The summer after I turned 27, I visited my family in Michigan.  It was a short visit. 

My dad and I had a huge fight over things that had happened in my childhood.  He refused to see my perspective and I his. 

I took my daughter and left my parents’ house in anger.  I didn’t speak to them again for 2 ½ years.  My daughter didn’t understand why she couldn’t see her grandparents anymore but I didn’t care, they had wronged me and I didn’t want anything to do with them. 

I didn’t realize it then, but see it so clearly now, the enemy had a grip on me and was hard at work helping me destroy my life.  He loved every minute of it while it grieved God tremendously.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 NIV

Although Heather wasn’t speaking to any of us and I did not know the extent of her darkness, I was on my knees daily. My prayer was that God would bring her back to us, no matter what. I asked Him to do whatever it took to bring her to us.

I say this to encourage those of you who are on your knees praying for lost loved ones, our God’s love never fails, never gives up. Keep praying.

If you have someone you would like prayer for leave a comment and I promise you, I will lift up your loved one.

 

Write to the Point with Cara Putman April 4, 2012

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:43 pm
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I’m so excited about this week’s author and giveaway. The book is set in my all time favorite place, Mackinac Island. Michigan readers will love this book and non-Michigan readers will love getting to know this unique destination. Cara is giving away a copy to one lucky commentator. Let’s get write to the point with Cara.

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

I’m a native Nebraskan who lives in Indiana with my husband and four kiddos. I’m a second-generation homeschooler, so my days are filled with my kids and watching them learn. On the side, I write books, practice law, and teach at the local community college or Big Ten University depending on who needs me when. I love staying busy with my fingers in lots of different things. A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island is my 13th novel since October 2007. God has been so good!

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I was raised in a Christian home and loved God from an early age. Around eight I made the public declaration that Jesus was my Savior. I honestly can’t remember a time when I haven’t wanted to serve and please Him. My greatest pleasure comes when I feel His smile.

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

In this month’s release, A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island, Alanna Stone is an attorney who has run from an event in her past. That event casts a shadow over everything in her life. Now she has to confront the past and its hold on her. My hope is that readers will find through Alanna’s journey the strength to stand up to the things in their pasts that control them. Sometimes it’s a person or an experience. It might be a memory. Whatever it is, God is waiting to remove the power from that.

A great takeaway and something God has done in my own life.

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

I blog at least three times a week. I say at least because I love talking about Christian fiction and so there are weeks that I’m on four or five times. But people can always find me at http://blog.caraputman.com on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I talk about my faith, parenting and homeschooling, and books. Lots about books.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

I adore reading. Just this morning I was at a Christian bookstore and ended up with a stack of books—even after putting half back. One that I’ve read lately and adored was Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer. As an attorney I love a good legal suspense, but I’m also pretty critical because I catch errors. Randy writes AMAZING stories that are so compelling my husband and I race to grab the book when it arrives. He is truly a great writer!

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

Melissa, that verse has so much meaning for me. In 2009 I started down a valley that I never anticipated. After our first two kids, my husband and I struggled to get pregnant again. Then we did, and out of the blue lost the baby. I say out of the blue because no one in either of our families had experienced the pain of miscarriage. That resulted in a valley of pain and confusion that took the candy coating off my faith. One promise I have clung to through the miscarriages is begging God to create a Genesis 50:20 out of the situation. That Satan would regret the day he messed with me because of all the glory God is getting from this. And I also begged God to show me some of that good this side of heaven. He has been faithful. So very faithful. I may never understand why I have two children that I won’t meet this side of heaven. But God has turned my pain into ministry – both for me and my family. We have a tenderness that God has used over and over – that grew out of these experiences.

Your Genesis 5020 touches me. I have a few friends who have experienced the loss of a child. Through their pain they have started a ministry called Tiny Purpose that is bringing healing and hope into many women’s lives. It’s great to hear that you are using your pain to minister to others, I believe it is needed.

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

My life verse is Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Where can we find you on the web?

Readers can find me all over the web J

Website: http://www.caraputman.com

Blog: http://blog.caraputman.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraputman

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_putman

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/caraputman

 

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

No, this was a great interview. Thank you so much for hosting me, Melissa. I so appreciate it!

Thanks for giving us your time Cara. I enjoyed learning more about you and I am sure my readers will too.

Readers, here is the deal; this book is fabulous. I had the honor of receiving an advance copy and have been reading A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island. Not only is Mackinac Island my favorite place but the writing is great. I love that I can open a book and be transported to downtown Mackinac, I can hear the clip clop of the horses, the sound of bikes whizzing by and the chatter of the tourists (fudgies). If you love Mackinac Island you will love this book. And if you have never been to Mackinac Island you can travel there instantly through this book.

We must have more than 15 comments to have a drawing, so get commenting for your chance to win a copy of this great book. All comments must be in by 5:00 pm on April 10.