Covering my angst with the soothing wisdom from my mother's prayer journals


My Beth Moore Season


The scripture says, “For everything there is a season”, and this seems to be a Beth Moore season for me.

It started a few months ago when my friend, Phyllis, called and said, “Mary, if you are home I want to bring you something. “

A few hours later she rang the doorbell holding the book, Whispers of Hope 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer by Beth Moore.

In her usual, no-nonsense, way Phyllis told me that it was her intention to read the book herself, and she was halfway through it when she felt a nudging in her spirit to give the book to me – today.

Her reaction to the nudge was, “But Lord, I’m not finished yet!” Still she felt sure I was supposed to have the book and because of Phyllis’ intentional obedience, it became mine. The next morning I started my ten week journey of prayer with Beth.

On the thirteenth day of our trip, we camped in Daniel 6:10 where scripture tells us that Daniel prayed three times a day and had done so all his life. Prayer was not new to him and when in mortal danger he did what came naturally he prayed. God’s answer came during Daniel’s greatest peril not before it. God didn’t prevent his crisis, He protected him during it.

Our modern world seems headed for catastrophe and Beth Moore’s observation  is  timely. She wrote, “We are living in a lion’s den and God, through prayer, will shut the lion’s mouth and deliver us.”

I rejoiced in what God revealed – the awesome power of prayer.

Well while I continue to enjoy my morning coffee with Beth and Our Father, I also get to join a group of ladies on Monday mornings to study Children of the Day (Beth Moore) a study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

The study is, again, a timely reminder that believers do not belong to the darkness we are children of light and of the day. What God’s people are experiencing in the world now is nothing new and Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica express the exact encouragement we need today.

I look forward to spending time with this group of ladies and learning what God has revealed to Beth in her study during the coming weeks.

BUT . . . the highlight of my Beth Moore season occurred on August 22 and 23 in Memphis when our choir sang at Beth’s Living Proof Conference. This blessing occurred because of Travis Cottrell the multi-talented worship leader at our church who for many years has also been the worship leader for Beth’s Living Proof Ministry.

One of the precious people sharing the experience was Phyllis who started this Beth Moore season for me. We shared a ride, a room and, with thousands of others, a taste of heaven at FedEx Arena.

Mother wrote in her journal, “Who of us in certain moments of meditation and prayer has not caught a glimpse of the heavenly gates? Who has not in the secret places of holy communion felt a taste of the blessed joy yet to come?”

My daily walk with God has been enriched by many wonderful teachers and preachers of The Word who gave me a taste of the blessed joy yet to come. This season Beth Moore provided and I’m so thankful for the blessing.



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A Thought for Today

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3

Do not be quick with your mouth.  Do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God for God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

I read in the newspaper today that a fifteen year old shot another teen over an argument they had earlier in the day. Apparently rash words were spoken and caused disaster.

The scripture tells us to turn the other cheek, and with guns being accessible to so many, it is healthier to take a punch on both cheeks than risk being shot.

Maybe if young people realized God hears every word uttered, they would be more careful in their conversations.

In her journal Mother wrote, “Let us learn from the examples in God’s word not to make rash vows.”

Dear Lord, Protect those you have given me to love.  Make them cautious with their words and strong enough to turn the other cheek rather than speak hasty words they will regret. Amen


I’m Hosting Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Author of Our Lady of Victory:The Saga of an African American Catholic Community

Our Lady of Victory


Since writing In My Mother’s Words, I have had the opportunity to meet many other authors, and one of them is Nonnie Jules whose books Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend and The Good Mommies’ Guide to Raising (Almost) Perfect Daughter’s have become hits with a wide range of readers.

This vivacious and generous lady is also the president of Rave Reviews Book Club, a wonderful place of support for independent authors.

When Nonnie asked me to introduce Shirley Slaughter on my blog this week so readers could get to know her, I was honored.

Author Shirley Harris-Slaughter wrote a compelling story of a growing Black Catholic parish, Our Lady of Victory, founded in 1943 in Detroit, MI. She highlights both the joys and struggles of  parish school and church during a difficult time.

This book gives insight into the journey of the parishioners in this community who persevered in their faith and the progress they made over many years.

When Shirley Harris –Slaughter wrote Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African American Catholic Community, she paid a beautiful tribute to the church that obviously made such an impact on her life.

 Her research and attention to details provide an interesting glimpse into the events of the church, the school, and the community.

I am honored to host Shirley on my blog this week. Here she shares the story of a fallen hero – her brother.Author (2)


He’s my brother and I miss him terribly, especially around the holidays; in particular Memorial Day. This past holiday had me in a depression again because there was never any closure. So I found myself writing my congressman a FB letter. Here is the gist of it…

Dear Congressman Peters:

Today is Memorial Day and it pains me once again, that I never hear anything about what happened to my brother killed in the line of duty on August 24, 1965. There were 75 men aboard a plane that exploded over the Hong Kong River and Ronald’s remains were never found. There was a military funeral without a body which was the most horrific experience of my life. Only a dog tag was in the empty coffin.

I tried over the years to alert someone about his story. I joined the Michigan Vietnam Monument Commission out of Lansing – nothing there. I told them his story but nothing ever came of it.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) featured him in a memorial on Facebook and that’s about it. They ask for donations every year and I sent a letter once on August 28, 2012, to attention Jan C. Scruggs, but she never responded back. Here’s brother’s information.

  Lance Corporal Ronald Louis Powell

Killed in Action August 24, 1965

Cause: Plane Crash over Hong Kong River

Assigned: 3rd Service Battalion, 3rd Marine Division

Name is listed on Wall in Washington DC (Panel 5E/Line 60)

Detroit News ran the story August 27, 1965

 I keep wondering (except for the Detroit News article) why there were never any stories or news or memorials about this catastrophic event. The other men’s families must be wondering as well.  Michigan (Oakland & Wayne counties) had the only soldier, my brother, to die like that in that year. There are no memorials mentioning these brave men. My brother’s name is carved on the “Wall” in Washington DC and I got the chance to visit it once in my life in 1992. I burst into tears. It was very emotional.

I’m emotional right now because I feel all alone in my grief but I am not going to plead anymore for somebody to take notice of this event.  Somehow it never occurred to me to contact my state representative until now to help me find out why no one is talking about it – not even the military.

Needless to say I got a phone call the very next day and the congressman’s office started an investigation. It’s going to take some time but I expect to hear back from them with a full report.

In the meantime in the age of the internet, my niece went online and discovered that it was pilot error that killed 56 out of 75 men on board. Funny, my family never heard anything about an error. Nor were we aware of any survivors. As a matter of fact we got no explanation as to what happened period, and therein lies my problem with this whole matter.

Ronald was an amazing person and a natural leader. Everybody respected him because he could stand up against the best of them.

Details of my brother’s amazing story can be found in the book.  There is a photo display of the Wall with Ronald’s name and details on the military funeral. Click here for your choice of a Hardcover Limited Edition(s) or paperback.

In her journal Mother wrote, “The school of sorrows graduates exceptional scholars.”

Thank you, Shirley, for sharing this with us. I look forward to reading  more of your work.

Book Trailer:


A Child From an Orphan Train and the Book, Orphan Train


Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline..

The book parallels the lives of a wealthy elderly woman, Vivian, and Molly, a teenage foster child. It seems unlikely that the two would have anything in common, but when Molly must complete fifty hours of community service for stealing a book from the library an unexpected bond develops between the two women.

As it turns out, Vivian was one of thousands of children who road from New York City to the Midwest on orphan trains from 1824 through 1929. Through the author’s use of a dual narrative we gain insight into the similarities of the childhoods of children decades apart.

When the author writes, “It is a pitiful kind of childhood to know that no one loves you or is taking care of you.” She’s expressing a feeling both characters know too well.

Monday night our club gathered but instead of discussing the book, we invited a friend whose father and uncle rode an orphan train.

Our friend told a moving story of a five-year old who, after a station stop, was left to ride the train alone after a family chose his older brother but didn’t want him.

Riding to the very last station, the boy and all the other children still  on the train went to live with a  doctor and her husband in a small rural Nebraska town.

He lived there for two years and one day she told him they were going to see another family who had a horse for him. The doctor took him to the family that would eventually adopt him and left him there with no explaination.

Realizing the child’s musical talent, his new parents gave him lessons and demanded he practice. He became an accomplished musician, and as a young man during World War II became a member of General Patton’s band.

He married and eventually became a high school band director.

Our friend made a point of reading  Orphan Train before coming to tell his father’s story, and he posed this question, “So is it just human nature to believe that things happen for a reason – to find some shred of meaning even in the worst experiences?” and followed it with this observation,

“My father was a man of faith and I believe he would say that the hand of God was in the whole experience from being orphaned in New York to being adopted in Nebraska. That being said, his experience left a mark so deep that he was unable to share it with us until four years before he died.”

Mother wrote in her journal, “The Lord watches over us in all the different places, and He will not allow even one trial that is too much for us.”

After reading Orphan Train, I did some research and found that many of the children went on to become public officials, bankers, lawyer, ministers and teachers, wives and husbands.

I choose to believe that He watched over them in all their different places and I pray He will continue to protect and guide all our children.








Gideon’s Fleece and God’s Patience

Judges 6:37

Then Gideon said to God, “Look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.”

Gideon was a brave and godly young man listed as one of the heroes of the Old Testament.

When God chose him for an enormous task, Gideon had the audacity to question Him.

God told Gideon what He wanted, and Gideon responded in verse 37 by “putting out the fleece” which is saying, “God, if you will(do a certain thing), then I will trust you.”

God was not offended.  He did what Gideon asked and Gideon had the nerve to put out another fleece, and that’s the trouble with relying on a fleece, it becomes a substitute for faith.

In her journal Mother wrote, “Putting out the fleece is a poor decision-making method.  Those who do this put limitations on God.  Don’t let a “fleece” become a substitute for God’s wisdom that comes through Bible study and prayer.”

Dear Lord, Thank you for being patient with us, even when we question you.  Help us to grow in faith so that we don’t need to put out a fleece. Amen


From Niagara by the Lake to Anchorage by the Sea


My computer crashed. Poor thing got a virus from a link and went down like the Titanic. Our computer doctor said, “This is a particularly nasty illness, but I can save most of your stuff,” and he proceeded to do so.

If there is a good time for a computer to be felled, this was it.

In fact, my last blog post was about the trip we took to St. John the last week in May. We went with a group from church. The memories we made will last a lifetime, and I would have been content to spend the rest of the summer out here on the farm watching the humming birds battle it out around the feeders.

But life is often full of joyous surprises.

Last winter my sweet friend Polly and I talked about a road trip to Niagara Falls and a few weeks after we returned from St John we again discussed taking to the highway.

Polly says she has “White Line Fever” and is ready for a trek at a moment’s notice. The more we talked about the trip the more excited we became and our excitement infected our husbands so after being home barely three weeks, we took off to Canada to see Niagara Falls.

With passports at the ready, we crossed the Canadian border. During our visit we walked through Queen Victoria Park, where we admired the roar of the plummeting waters and enjoyed the mist that kept us cool; rode a boat, with hundreds of people from all over the world, that took us nearly under the falls, and we visited the quaint town of Niagara by the Lake.

After two days in Canada we arose early, crossed back into the USA and drove ten hours to reach Ogunquit, Maine by midafternoon. We resided for the next three days at Anchorage by the Sea and it was as picturesque as everything else we saw that day.

The next morning we drove to Kennebunkport. President George H. W. Bush recently celebrated his 90th birthday and several banners bearing birthday wishes were still up in the yards across from his family compound.

Having appreciated the perks of old money, we drove south to Rye Harbor NH to get tickets on the Atlantic Queen for our whale watch.  We were not disappointed. Forty miles at sea we spotted two blow spouts at eleven o’clock (the location not the time).

The ship sped to where we spotted the massive creatures and then ran alongside them until they dived. It was exciting. When the captain turned us toward home we had spotted six fin whales.

Dinner that evening was at The Lobster House near the Nubble lighthouse, and we spent the next day walking the Marginal Way to Perkins Cove, the inspiration for Cabot Cove in the TV series, Murder She Wrote.(Jessica Fletcher is my hero.)

For the next two days we traveled down the east coast and then west back to Tennessee. By the time we arrived home, we had traveled 2400 miles.

Mother wrote in her journal, “Each time we pray for a fellow Christian, the bond of love in Christ is strengthened (March 5 – Open Windows)”

Before our trip my prayer was, “Lord, be with us on our trip, guard and protect us. Let us stay in our lane and others in theirs, and please don’t let us get on the nerves of our dear friends.”

Well, God is always faithful and the bond of love in Christ that we have with our travel buddies was strengthened even more.




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