A New Adventure and Give-Away

From the time I knew how to put sentences together on paper, I loved writing.  I wrote poems, short stories and journal posts with as much gusto as a November wind under an oak tree.  I’m always looking for good words, phrases and illustrations to describe what is in my heart.

The dream of my life has been to write a book, and I’ve been putting much prayer and a little bit of ink into a project that has been burning in my heart for years.  I’ve been stumped, however about an editor, a proofreader, and all the in’s and out’s of it all!  But I have continued to write.

While in the middle of taking time to work on my book this summer, I was asked to join a collaboration of other writers who were adding to a book entitled, The Extraordinary Woman. Debbie Vaughan was the one responsible for putting the book together, and she asked if I would help by writing two or three chapters from verses in Proverbs 31 – the chapter about The Excellent Woman.  Would I help?  Of course!!!  So, pausing on my own book, I was assigned three topics, and I began to put my prayers and thoughts into this joined effort.

Anyone who is familiar with Proverbs 31 can sigh and wonder how in the world we could ever attain all that she is praised for.  But this new little book, The Extraordinary Woman, can serve as a tool to know how to take those virtuous attributes and flesh them out in a practical way. Each chapter is short and easy to read, ending with points to ponder and apply.

Extraordinary Woman

I’m excited to say that that book is now published!  I only had a small part in it, but I count it an honor to join with many godly, wise women who added their chapters to make it a book that can serve as a mentoring guide for a women. This isn’t about me – it’s about this book.  I’m thankful to have a tiny part in it, and I think it will be a blessing to all the women who will read and apply its truths.  I’m thankful to Christ Life Ministries for asking me to participate in this project!

If you’re interested, you can go here to order a copy of the book.  I hope you will. I get no kick-back or remuneration for the sale of the books, only the joy of knowing that it’s being used to point women to Christ! Perhaps you could go through it with another woman and encourage one another to obey the principles from this special chapter of Scripture.

Extraordinary Woman 2

Aaaand, I’d like to give away a copy of this book to one reader.  Here’s all you need to do – just leave me a comment stating that you’d like a copy of the book!  That’s it!  If you share this give away on Facebook, let me know in your comment, and you’ll get an extra entry!  I’ll leave this open until next Wednesday, November 8 at midnight The winner will be chosen, announced and contacted next Friday, the 10th.

“My” book is still sitting unfinished, dangling like a broken arm waiting for surgery.  I pray I will get it written and find a publisher for it – just like this adventure was opened up to me…a Divine act of God!

Have a refreshing weekend,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life


If you’ve followed my blog since last summer or before, you’ll know that one of the loves of my heart is the mentoring ministry, Apples of Gold.  It’s a fun means of mentoring  using cooking, teaching and fellowship.  We meet for six weeks, three hours each session.  I’ve had two full six week sessions in the last two summers, and it has been both a blessing and a blast!

I decided before our next session starts in July that I needed to have a reunion with the first two groups.  So, our first reunion was held this past Monday in my home.  I asked each lady to bring a dish to share and I provided the main dish of Pork Tenderloin with Brown Sugar Balsamic Glaze (one of my favorites of the recipes we made!).

We had quite a spread!  They brought salads, vegetables, rolls, and desserts and they were all so delicious! We enjoyed a great time of fellowship around the table as we ate our supper.

After the meal was over, I asked everyone to bring their chair to the dining room table.  Then we pulled out Jenga.  Are you familiar with it?  Little pieces of wood are all stacked up – one row going one direction, the next row going the other.  The object of the game is to pull or push out a piece and then set it on the top without knocking the stack over!

It gets very quiet when each player takes a turn.  We hardly breathed until the piece was safe and the tower of blocks still from its swaying.  And even though we were each competing against one another, there was a collective sigh and applause when the opponent was successful!


Jenga 1

There was even some coaching going on~

“No, don’t move that one, it has no support underneath!”

“You can do it!”

“Careful!  It’s shaking!”

One of the players would playfully say,

“I pass!”

She could see that it was risky and she wasn’t sure she wanted to be the one who caused the crash!  We cheered her on and kept her in the game, however!  And guess what?  She wasn’t the one who pulled the wrong piece out!  I did!  But it was fun and we laughed at even the ending of the game.

Following Jenga, I asked everyone to gather in the living room.  I shared with them that there was a method to the madness of us playing that game.  You see, the real reason I asked all those women over to my home in the first place was to try to encourage them to in their spiritual lives (okay, and I wanted that tasty meal!).  I wanted to challenge their hearts to have a strategy to keep them moving forward in their Christian walk.  I reminded them that, just as we cheered one another on in the game, the mentors and I were cheering them on!  We want to see them succeed in being a  godly woman for the glory of the Lord!  We don’t want to find one of them “dropping out” because the challenge is too great!

We ended by pairing off and praying together for the burdens on their hearts.  It was such a blessing to me.  They’ll never know what a joy it is to see them continuing on faithful and dedicated to growing in God’s Word, in prayer, and in serving our great God.

We all do better when we work as a team.  With whom are you accountable?  Who is cheering for you and challenging you?  If you don’t have someone, pray about it.  The Lord will bring an encourager along for you!  Whom are you encouraging?  Maybe it’s time to check in with them.  Teamwork is better than going it alone!

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Stay encouraged with the help of your team!

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baking · cat · mentoring ministry

Beauty, Bosom Friends, Baking and Bad Milk

Here’s a peek back at my week:

The unedited view I saw from my back porch…

I am blessed that all I do is step out my back door to see such beauty! I never tire of it!

My favorite picture of Liza from the week. I hope you can stand the cuteness!

wpid-wp-1439241007579.jpegWhere I’ve been…
Carter on Main in Elizabethton, TN.  Wow!  It’s beautiful in there!
We had a lunch date with dear friends we don’t get to see often. This was a good place to visit,
since it was quiet and such a lovely setting.
The food was very good, too!  I will definitely be returning!


What I’m loving…


The dear ladies standing with me here have become so very special to me during the weeks of our mentoring ministry.  Apples of Gold is a greater blessing to me every single week! It’s the joy of my heart to have my house full of these  mentors and the young women every Saturday!  We are having a blast, learning much and having the best kind of fellowship!  Only two more weeks remain, and I’m pretty sure we’re all sad at the thought!

What I’ve been baking…
In truth, this is only one item of many that I’ve baked in the past week, due to Apples of Gold
new neighbors, and company, but it’s one of the prettiest!
This is Southern Living’s Strawberry Sheet Cake.  I made the layered version last year,
but decided to simplify it this time around for the Apples of Gold group.
It was yummy!


The cake above almost met with disaster!  When I was making the icing during our cooking class, I opened the heavy cream that was purchased the night before (and had an expiration date of September), only to find MOLD on the top of the cream!  Ahhhh!  Thank the Lord, my husband was home and was able to run to the store and replace it with a fresh one! I had to  finish the icing just before we ate lunch, but it all worked out fine. Whew!  Cooking disasters do happen!  I think it’s a good lesson when these things take place during our cooking class.  My response to it is another lesson – Yikes!  That’s a scary thought!  But it is true!  If all else had failed, I would have just topped the cake with Cool whip and strawberries. We HAD to have that cake for dessert!  But it did all work out, and was a good lesson and memory for us all!

There’s my week!  What have you been up to? Anyone else have a near cooking disaster story?  I’d love to hear!

With love from my country porch,