Just Getting Started Book Review

Just Getting Started by Wendy Peter is not a book to rush through. At least it wasn’t for me. Filled with helpful information and encouragement to reach for dreams which may have become hidden, or which feel out of reach, Wendy shows ways to move past your false finish line and re-imagine the next season of your life, identify and awaken your true purpose and step with courage into your calling, and create a road map to get your dreams off the ground.

Her hope as you work through the book by reading and answering the chapter questions, is that God does three things:

  • Changes the way you think.
  • Resurrects some old dreams.
  • Conceives some new dreams in you.

Some of the material in Just Getting Started may not apply to where you are at this point in time, but I believe there may be enough information within the pages to make the book worth your while.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Half the Battle: Healing Your Hidden Hurts Book Review

As is true with most things, there are good and not so good. I found this to be the case with Half the Battle: Healing Your Hidden Hurts by Dr. Jon Chasteen.

First the good.

Dr. Chasteen points out most of us are engaged in a battle of some kind, saying we all have hurts and wounds. Before we fight external battles, he says we must fight the internal battles we hide and cover up.

He states the only way to truly rid ourselves of the shame and guilt of these hidden wounds is to invite God into them, allow him to take his knife to the wound, and let him remove it.

The majority of the book talks about wounded, rejected people. In the final chapters Dr. Chasteen compares the World War I and the story of Gideon to facing our battles today in the light of Jesus as our guide, in the unity of believers, and with praise.

There is a study guide at the back of the book with additional questions for consideration.

Now the not so good.

I found the way the author wandered back and forth through various scriptures to prove his point extremely disjointed and distracting.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blog About Bloggers Network for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave. Leave a comment between October 8, 2020 and October 14, 2020 for an opportunity to receive a free copy of the book. Winner will be notified by October 20, 2020.

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Women Who Met Jesus

In her book, The Women Who Met Jesus, Dorothy Valcárcel compares her life struggles, and the struggles of those around her, with struggles she believes women who met Jesus struggled with. Through these encounters with Christ, the author sets out to show how just as Jesus met these women’s needs long ago, he continues to meet our needs today.

Before beginning, the author states the women in her book didn’t get to the point of transformation by reading self-help books or by following the latest advice fad. She says each woman began the healing process when she met Jesus.

While I didn’t always see the connection the author tried to make, or agree with the label she placed on each woman to identify their need, I understand her point that Jesus meets each of us where we are in the middle of our need and guides us toward the path he has for us.

Each chapter ends with several sets of questions for self-reflection.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.


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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.


Pilot and I were in the living room recently, when I glanced at the ceiling.

“Wilma Flintstone’s on the ceiling,” I said. Pilot put down his book, and looked at me.


“Wilma Flintstone’s on the ceiling.”

Okay. I was not eating weird mushrooms. Honestly. I avoid fungi. Pilot moved next to me and held my hand. He looked in my eyes.

“Don’t worry. I’m not crazy. Look.” I pointed to the ceiling. Sure enough. Wilma was staring back.

Our ceiling is textured. While I am sure the person who applied the plaster did not intentionally put Wilma there, there she was, nonetheless.

Once Pilot was convinced I had not crossed over into a land far, far away, we searched our ceiling for other identifiable shapes. Just like you might look for formations in cloud banks. We found a whale. Yogi Bear’s bud, Boo-Boo. Mickey’s friend, Goofy. I saw Barbra Streisand in her permed hair days, but Pilot couldn’t see it, so it didn’t count.

Those swirls and curly-qs have been on our ceiling for decades, but we had never noticed them before. We had to be intentional about finding things we could identify. We had to look for them. How many times does God place things, people, situations, in our path, but we walk right passed them? Oblivious?

It could be someone God wants us to interact with. It could be something He wants us to benefit from being a part of. It could simply be a joy He intends to bless us with. But if we don’t have our eyes open, aren’t looking, watching, expecting, we’ll miss it.

We’ll only see the dust on the ceiling fan, and miss Wilma.

Sometimes we find God’s magnificence unexpectedly. Serendipitously. Like the evening

last month, when I looked up, for no particular reason, and discovered Jupiter cozying up to the Moon. Conjunction, astronomers call it. Serendipity, I call it. We’ll have to wait until 2026 for these two heavenly bodies to be so close again.

While searching for a Rich Mullins video for a past blog post, I stumbled upon this video of him doing the cup game to Screen Door. Way cool. But if I hadn’t had my eyes open, I would have missed it.

Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing. It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.

Keep your eyes open. You never know when serendipity, a happy accident or pleasant surprise; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it, will happen.

What serendipitous joys have you stumbled upon lately?

I wish you well.



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Ever on the Level

Among the variety of things that bug me, are un-level wall hangings. Pictures. Mirrors. Plaques. Whatevers. I can’t help it. I notice them everywhere I go.

When I see pictures in our house that need straightened, I must straighten them. Do you have any idea how much restraint it takes not to reach out and straighten things in others’ homes or offices? Especially all those crooked posters in doctor’s offices. Sigh. Although, I will admit, if I’m staying in your guest room, and something is crooked, I will straighten it.

There is an incident, from my teen years, that I doubt I’ll forget. Like many families, our family had a large painting on the wall behind the couch. When I walked into the living room one day, I told my father the picture was crooked.

He looked at the painting, and replied, “No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No. It. Is. Not.”

“It is to-oo.”

I know…Bad, Sandy. You do not argue with your parents.

My dad left the room, and returned with his large, metal level. He placed the level on top of the picture frame. Dad looked at the level. He looked at me. Dad shook his head. Then he straightened the painting.

It was off by some miniscule amount, but I noticed. It was crooked. It needed to be fixed.

Cute story, but where am I going with this, right?

Well, just like it bothers me to see things hanging on a wall that are not level, I am sure it must bug God to look at our lives, and see them deviate, even by a miniscule amount, from his “level”. His truth.

We might look at ourselves and think we aren’t that bad. We’re only a little off-kilter. It isn’t that big a deal. No one will notice.

But God notices. It’s a big deal to him. So much so, he went to great extremes to make sure we had a way to get level. To get straight. To be pleasing to him, through our acceptance of His son, Jesus, as our Savior and Lord.

Maybe we’re un-level because our foundation’s cracked. Maybe we’re un-level because we’re lining ourselves up with those on the wall beside us. Maybe we’re un-level because we’ve been jarred by knocks we’ve taken, or because our frame is warped. Whatever the reason, the solution is to pull out God’s level – the Bible – read the directions, and measure ourselves against it. Then, and only then, will we be able to do what I often heard my dad say, “Straighten up, and fly right!”

So what bugs you? What’s that one irritating thing you have trouble looking passed? I’d love to hear what it is.

I wish you well,


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New Jerusalem

Recently, one of my dear friends and I were discussing a subject that often weaves its way into our conversations. Heaven.

Like many other folk, Girlfriend and I both deal with significant health concerns. We know we aren’t exceptions. So, maybe because of our health difficulties, there are days when we think of our true home. The home we long for. The home Jesus is preparing for us.

I don’t want to get too comfortable here on this planet. I don’t want to think of this as being the best there is, because it isn’t. I don’t want to “lay up for myself treasures that moth and rust will destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) I want to long for home.

In this video of Caledonia, Dougie MacLean speaks of the love he has for his homeland, Scotland.

Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time…But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad…

Oh, that our hearts should long for heaven in such a way, and we would speak as lovingly about it.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” Revelation 21:1-4

Are you looking forward to being “home”?

I wish you well.



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Bless the Lord O My Soul


Happy 2013, Everyone!

365 days of opportunities stretch out before us.

Opportunities to refine skills. Gain new knowledge. Explore new ideas, and new places.

Opportunities to be nicer, kinder, more loving, more gracious.

Opportunities to fix the things that need fixing. Leave the things that need leaving. Embrace the things that need embracing. Finish the things that need finishing. Start the things that need starting.

Lots of opportunities to accomplish lots of different things.

In this video, Matt Redman suggests what should be a top priority everyday. 10,000 Reasons.

I wish you well.



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Holiday Gatherings

Ahhh, Christmas. The Norman Rockwell pictures of loving families, beautifully decorated homes, where laughter, and gaiety abound. Is that a picture of your family gatherings?

Or is your family more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or Robert Earl Keen’s song, Merry Christmas From the Family?

Would it be accurate to say there were one or two in the crowd, who either carry a

decades-old grudge, they make sure everyone knows about – again, or who believes it is their responsibility to point out others’ short-comings and flaws, in case anyone forgot?

Maybe there are unmet expectations. Unintentionally hurt feelings. Losses. Squabbling relatives. Sullen teens. Painful scars. Secrets. Denial. Resentment.

Sometimes, getting together with family and friends, can be a trying time. Don’t you think?

In Romans 12:18 the apostle Paul said, “As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men.”

Do you think Paul meant for us to do that even during holiday get togethers, when stress is at an all time high?


Maybe, Paul meant especially during those times.

So what should we do? A friend of mine suggests we all, “Get over yourself.”

Here’s what Paul said.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14.

Forgive as the LORD forgave you, and put on his love.


There is a line in Dougie MacLean’s song, We’ll Be Together Again, that I absolutely love. I  need it engraved on my heart.

…and the venom stays asleep in the tooth of the snake, and we don’t hold against us the mistakes that we made, we’ll be together again.

How many times has the venom left the snake’s tooth, and spewed, unchecked? Past mistakes brought up, and played over and over again; ad nauseaum? What keeps us from being together again?

In as much as it depends on you.

In this video, Jill Phillips, sings Andrew Peterson’s song, Labor of Love, while her husband, Andy Gullahorn, plays the guitar. God’s gift of the Redeemer, and Christ’s sacrifice, continues to be a labor of love.

There were no mid-wives to be found, on the streets of David’s town, in the middle of the night.

May your holiday gatherings be filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and patience. And may all venom be kept in the tooth of the snake.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.



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Comfort Your People

As a former elementary school educator who has sheltered her seven-year-old second graders during lock-downs, while the thump, thump, thump of police helicopters hovered overhead, my heart is broken for the loss of the precious souls killed on Friday, December 14, 2012, in Connecticut.

As a mother who prays daily for her son’s well-being, my heart aches for the mothers whose children were taken from them.

As a member of the human race, my heart is torn apart at the pain we inflict on each other.

Such evil.

Such innocence lost.

Such horror.

As parents, family members, and friends are left to mourn, and wonder at the senselessness of the tragedy, my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this  violence. May they be comforted in their sorrow.

There will be a day.

I wish you well.


Read the Guidebook

When Pilot and I visited Oahu, one of the things we did was hike through Diamond Head. It was quite a hike.

Straight up.

0.8 miles one way, if you would like to know. A 560 foot ascent to the 750 foot tall volcano.

99 steep, concrete stairs, after you have wound your way upward, through the mountainside for half an hour.

Did I mention it was straight up?

Then we reached the tunnel.

225 feet long.




No lights.


The tunnel was pitch-black. Really. You could not see your hand in front of your face.


I had read the guidebook. I was prepared. I had a flashlight!

Once we passed through this tunnel, there was another, shorter tunnel. We climbed up a three-leveled spiral staircase, and ended up in a bunker. The only way out? Through narrow slits that were designed for guns to slide through. Not people.

It really is that narrow. I was afraid I’d end up like Winnie-the-Pooh, when he ate too much honey in Rabbit’s house. I wasn’t sure whether to have Pilot go out first, so he could pull me through if I got stuck, or stay behind, so he could push me out.

Once outside the tunnel, there were still 54 more stairs to climb to the summit. Yes. I counted!

For goodness sake.

And we’d have to do the whole thing in reverse to get back down the mountain.

This hike is not for the claustrophobic, those afraid of the dark, or those unable to crawl through a tiny bunker slot-window.

Was it worth it? You bet it was! The 360 degree panoramic view, from the top of Diamond Head Crater, of Waikiki and beyond was, literally, breathtaking.

We made it through the dark tunnel without serious injury, and without needing to turn back, because I had read the guidebook. We weren’t sure when the darkness would end, but we had a light with us, so we weren’t afraid. It was tough going at times, but definitely worth the effort to get to the other side.

If we hadn’t gone through the tunnel, if we weren’t willing to go the distance, and take each challenge as it came, we would not have reached the summit. We would not have seen the splendid view.

Same with life.

We have to read the guidebook. God’s word. The Holy Bible.

Life is tough. When the way is dark, straight up hill, or so constricted, we don’t think we will get through, our only hope is to hang onto the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Just like getting through that 225 foot dark, scary, winding tunnel, when you walk with the Light, things aren’t quite so bad. The final reward, the end prize, the splendid view, will all be well worth the effort it took to get there.

Have you visited Diamond Head and gone through the tunnel, or had a similar experience? What was your experience like?

Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. Psalm 119:105 (TLB)

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.