Book Review for The Faith Of Mike Pence

THE FAITH OF MIKE PENCE by Leslie Montgomery

 

The 45th Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, is more than the president’s right hand man. In Leslie Montgomery’s biography The Faith of Mike Pence, we discover our VP is an affable, gregarious leader who knew he would serve in politics at an early age. And after reading her biography one might say he is the best man for the job.

The book closely follows America’s Vice President on his journey of faith. Born into a devout Catholic family, Pence conveys he had a personal experience with Jesus Christ in college. Through his education, early career, marriage to Karen and children he has grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Quick to give his testimony without beating it over anyone’s head, he is known for his authentic faith by everyone he meets. 

It’s no wonder his appointment by President Trump was viewed as a wise decision on our president’s part. Ms. Montgomery states throughout her book,our VP is a quick-witted, well-spoken,and strong orator. 

As a strong man of faith, V.P. Pence relies on his beliefs to carry him through a rough start to his call to serve. He came to his first elected position in a roundabout way. His first attempt to win an election he describes as “the most divisive and negative campaign in Indiana’s modern congressional history.” 

The humbling experience led him to wonder if he had ruined his chances for another governmental run. 

His natural gift of the gab made him a good candidate to host a popular radio show called “The Mike Pence Show.” 

When invited to try another run for Congress, he didn’t back down. This time he was doing it God’s way.

His successful time in Congress progressed to a stint as Governor of Indiana. 

The Faith of Mike Pence is thought provoking and jam packed with compliments to the man who helps lead the United States. Those closest to the VP and his wife reveal a couple dedicated to fulfilling their vow to serve the people of the United States.

Despite the negative press directed at them and POTUS our Vice President is lauded as a man of integrity and moral fortitude.  Mike Pence, we learn, is committed to his God, his family and his nation. 

This reader finished the book with a profound sense of relief for the future of this country. The Faith of Mike Pence is an inspirational book I’d encourage every American to read. A story of one man’s rise to the most powerful position in the world. And one man’s commitment to a sacred vow to make a difference to change our nation’s history.  

RUNNING TRAILS

“Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!” Proverbs 15:23 The Message

“Get that animal away from me!” A fellow trail walker screamed.

At six months old our golden/rottweiler mix was clearly a puppy. I pulled on her leash to calm the irate stranger.  “Okay.”

Enraged, the woman turned around and moved back towards myself and my dog, Layla. “I have been attacked by dogs. You should keep that dog away.” 

My family and I had just purchased the bouncing ball of fur from a local mennonite family. The picture of friendliness, we found her wandering near an adorable toddler boy dressed in full button down white shirt, shorts and black hat and we fell in love with her. 

On the trail I moved as fast as I could in the opposite direction from the woman. I  intended on leaving and not returning.  

At the end of the path we encountered another dog owner crouched down with her three cocker spaniels. 

 She looked up. “Can he play?”

I eased up on the leash and watched Layla scamper towards one of her dogs. 

We talked about the weather and the recreational area. I mentioned that I’d come to explore the trail for exercise and relayed the incident. 

“Oh honey, everybody brings their dogs here. Don’t mind her.” She waved her hand as if it was nothing.

I listened to the kind woman’s words that day and continue to enjoy the beautiful trail with our frisky pup.

It has been three years since we first visited the park. And, in that time, Layla has been trained while I’ve lost 25 pounds as a side benefit. It’s my peaceful place to pray and listen to the Lord. 

You never know what a kind word will do for someone. It may mean the difference between a bad experience or blessings that continue in their lives for years to come. 

GOD'S HAND

     “You mean the hair falling out kind of chemo?” I edged the seat across from the oncologist as my husband, Sam, gripped my hand in the chair next to me.

        Eighteen years ago this month we sat in  Dr. A’s office and heard the words of my greatest fear.  “We think you have cancer.”

     At the time I was a 40 year-old mother of three beautiful girls ages 14, 10 and almost 2. 

     Four months prior to this appointment we had learned I was pregnant with our fourth child. Though unexpected we grew to anticipate the newest member of our family with great joy. 

     After experiencing migraines and unusual symptoms during this pregnancy my ob/gyn took more blood tests and ascertained a problem. He was concerned enough to send us to Dr. A.                

     “Less than 1% of the population are diagnosed with choriocarcinoma. A cancer of the lining in your uterus.” When Dr. A left the room, Sam and I held each other and cried. 

     How was this possible? I was young, healthy and busy wife, mom and sometimes counselor. 

     The series of tests that followed were intense and painful. 

     My arms were bruised from needles and a pic line that had been inserted for the chemotherapy. The pic is a wire that they run from an opening in your arm to get the medicine in without damaging the veins from constant probing. As painful as the physical injustices on my body, there was no comparison to the raw emotions of loss. Grief hit me like a tsunami. Loss of my dreams for another child,  my health, and our newest little blessing. It seemed an impossible situation to endure. 

     Things became graver still when an MRI revealed that the systemic disease had traveled from my uterus to my liver. Three spots specified tumors had started growing. 

     In spite of the danger to my life I could not shake the doubt that our baby may be alive. If that was true, could we try and save her by holding off on the necessary chemotherapy that would save me but, most assuredly harm a fetus?

     Time flew by as Dr. A’s office scheduled me for a D&E. The same procedure used for abortions. We were told that the condition in my uterus had so softened the lining it could be dangerous for me to wait. 

     A dilation and extraction was not an option for me. 

     As a Crisis Pregnancy Counselor I knew unborn babies were often referred to as “tissue.” Now, we were told, this baby was a lump of tissue?

     A registered letter arrived at our door threatening me with the possibility of death if I failed to follow the perinatal doctor’s orders. Finally, he agreed to give me an ultrasound so I could see there was no living child.  

     The ultrasound picture delivered the final blow instead of the typical outline of a baby mine showed a fuzzy mass.

     That night I dreamt of a baby’s coffin and the reality of what we were dealing with sank in.  In 16 weeks we’d gone from  the joy of expecting a child to a scary cancerous situation

    About eight weeks into the stringent rounds of medicine, my hair began to fall out. We struggled with the knowledge that we were dealing with a deadly disease and there was no guarantee I’d make it. 

     My husband coped by researching the disease and I spent as much time as I could with our sweet girls. 

     In need of hope I traveled to a nearby city to attend a conference where prophetic prayer was available.

     I remember laying on the chairs nauseous and weak as I waited for the team to pray for me. I was the last person in the room when it was my turn.

     Without explaining my situation, the first woman stood in front of me and said my full name. Then she said, “The Lord says, ‘I know your name.’”  I won’t ever forget those precious saints who told me the cancer would be gone in three months.

     Encouraged, I played the taped prayer at home for my husband. We stood on that word. And, three months to the day of my diagnosis, I was declared cancer free. 

     What a miracle! After my first test results came back we were told instead of an expected 10% drop of the cancer marker there was an incredible 98% drop! We often share our story to those who are going through difficult times.

     As wonderful as the miracle of the healing had been a greater change had occurred in me. I would not ask to go through cancer. However, I no longer judge those who have faced a similar situation. 

     It’s not for me to judge whether a woman makes a choice to have an abortion.  And, though I am thankful that I didn’t have to choose between my life and my own child’s,  I have compassion for those who do.  

     

See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
— Isaiah 49:16 NIV

5 TIME SAVING LIFEHACKS FOR SPRING

Longer days of Spring bring welcome rays of warm sunshine but also work projects, lawn maintenance and activities for the kids. 

One of the ways busy families find time for more important priorities has been to take advantage of restaurants and delivery service. On average for this nation we eat takeout 4 to 5 times a week. 

As our youngest foodie recently told me, there’s no greater love than a home cooked meal. 

  1. Creative Cooking 101

Who says we have to use the same formula for cooking every night? Over the years we’ve found some time saving techniques as alternatives to eating in restaurants or take out.

Weekends are a great time for the family to buy groceries and prepare food items for the coming week. Our girls loved to select veggies for salad for one night. Leftover vegetables can then be thrown into a pan for stir fry the next. Leftovers are great to throw together on those nights when the families activities cut into dinner. 

The local produce stand or farmers market are great fun activities for all and for seasonal produce you can’t beat going to the local orchards to pick your own. By using the time to do it together, it becomes more of a time saver than a burden.

Most markets sell fresh caught wild fish which can be broiled or sautéed in less time it takes to order a meal online. 

2. Clean Up

One of the greatest motivators in our family is fun. When it comes to laughter and joking our family takes it seriously. So, as the kids were growing my husband and I included them in on the daily chores of the household. This cuts down on the hours required to clean house and gave us more opportunities for the business of play.

Start them young and it becomes a habit for life. Even a toddler can learn to pick up his or her puzzle pieces as part of the “game."

3. Containing The Chaos

Individual schedules and busy lives plus life’s surprises can lead to chaos. 

My husband used our dinner times to talk with the girls about their needs and our expectations. I didn’t always want to take that time to discuss “business”. But, years later, I see how his attention to detail helped shape them into responsible young adults today.  As a self employed writer, I was able to teach, guide and direct them during the “teachable” moments of the day. When they woke up we’d talk about their day and what they needed to have done. When we drove to an extracurricular activity, I’d stay in the car to wait for them and used the time to write lists, work on projects for my writing,  or clean the car out. 

In our home, everyone pitched in and had clear boundaries for getting their jobs done. That way, when something wasn’t done, we knew who to call. 

4. Calendars
From day one we used a calendar to help the girls visualize time management . We used a fun magnetic one as toddlers which showed their accomplishments and rewards for the day. This gradually became a large cork board/white board we kept in the laundry room for everyone’s schedule to be posted. 

It was their jobs to keep their school/ sporting events up to date, and social activities posted as well. This helped save time when sports, school outings and social activities are at their peak.

5. Controlling the Budget

We keep our financial records and receipts in one place in a desk in our home. This helps to save time on money management. We also save time by agreeing to a limit of money we want to spend for any given item.

That way when the bills come around there is less confusion and enough capital to cover the expenses.

Hope these simple tips help you to have a happy Spring! 

Share some of your family’s tips in the comment section below. 

DIAMONDS IN WINTER

“ALLOW GOD TO USE THE DIFFICULTIES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS IN LIFE AS POLISH TO TRANSFORM YOUR FAITH INTO A GLISTENING DIAMOND THAT TAKES IN AND REFLECTS HIS LOVE.”

ELIZABETH GEORGE

Rays of sunlight turned the icicles hanging from a tree into a sparkling jewel against the creek’s green froth. The frozen tree tips had turned an average outing into an illustration of God’s steps to make me sparkle. Hadn’t I asked him enough times to make me a shining example of his love?

The fanciful sight may have been hidden to me had I not been picking my way through the icy side of the waterway as I walked our golden/rottie mix on a break from being indoors that day.

The slush covered dirt pathway made it tricky to traverse the narrow path of the Monocacy Trail.

But, warmer temps and blue skies were too much of a draw for me to venture out with our housebound pet. Had I not stopped to look more closely at the natural wonder, I would have missed out on the pristine picture right by my side.

Winter Seasons are times when we see little movement in our heart’s desires or our unanswered prayers. They can be times of great temptation to be discouraged, depressed or lethargic in doing what we know is right.

Some of the questions I have asked during my winter time are “where are you God?” “What did I do wrong?” and “Please make it stop.”

The last statement may sound exaggerated, but, as I’ve been in that time of seeing little fruit for the hard work of my labor, it has not been fun.

So, these clear crystals hung swaying just above the turbulent white ripples of the high waters in our creek. These nature’s gems stood out to me in the size of the orbs first of all. They must have been hanging out there for some time forming layer after layer of water build-up to produce the golfball sized orbs.

And, then when the wind caught them in a spinning dance, how the light sparkled off of them. They appeared to be diamonds.

The illustration reminds me that even when the landscape of my life seems to bear no fruit or, the work of my hands appear to be for nothing. All of the hardship I’ve experienced during this time like the turbulent waters, freezing winds and harsh elements are actually forming a cluster of treasures. I only needed to open my eyes to see.

SCALE THE SUMMIT

How can a heart thumping mountain climb on a rock strewn trail be restful? When you reach the summit of course.

Just like life, anything good is worth working for and a brisk paced ascent on the closest public peak will merit that kind of goodness. 

In Southeastern Pa it’s a couple hour ride in either direction and our seasons are built for the beach on the warmest summer days, and as close as a one hour drive for a trek on the Blue Mountain range that surrounds our valley.

The park system in the Lehigh Valley is wide and varied. On any given day there are choices of

a well kept city park or a dirt packed winding path next to a trout sourced creek, or mountain trail. Either way, it’s easy to spend time every day outside.

Our Golden/Rottie mix dog is a natural runner, and on days when I can run, I will. Which got me thinking of the health benefits of outdoor fitness. 

Did you know one hour of trekking can burn off over 500 calories?  

According to Forbes.com, exploring in nature elevates mood, improves sleep, promotes bone growth, helps strengthen the immune system and lowers blood pressure.

 In addition to the physical benefits, research shows that a few hours walking, hiking or running can be healing for the emotions. A study of breast cancer survivors showed that those who spent time doing these activities were more likely to heal faster from the trauma of the disease. 

It’s cheaper than a personal trainer, easier on the joints than exercise classes and equipment, and more fun. 

Some studies have shown that this type of outdoor activity works to help promote health and immunity towards preventing skin cancer. As a cancer conqueror that is great news for me!

So take your favorite people and furbabies and load up a backpack with treats this weekend to head for the closest nature trail. 

Do me a favor when you reach the top of the mountain or end of the trail take a breath and enjoy the view. Sometimes all you need is a new perspective. 


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GOD'S FAITHFULNESS

My husband and I walked the trails at Jacobsburg Park last Sunday. As we hiked through the beautiful wooded paths, my mind went to the years of bringing our little ones there.

The tree lined route wound closely by the sparkling Bushkill creek swollen from the recent rains. We brought our Golden Retriever Rottweiler mix, Layla, with us and enjoyed a break from the typical August heat.

As usual, I had my iPhone out taking pictures as I soaked in the loveliness of the place while my hubby patiently watched nearby. He's a patient guy.

One particular shot ~ a man-made pile of stones sitting in the middle of the creek sparked my interest. And, I haven't been able to get rid of the image from my mind since.

I tried to "spin" this blog post with a title like "3 WAYS TO SPOT THE HIDDEN TREASURES IN YOUR LIFE" or something like that. But, I could not ignore the niggling thought of how we have seen God's loving faithfulness through 36 years. And, how very blessed we are as a result. 

Isn't that why we are here after all?

Just as the rocks and the trees and blue sky can't help to attest to God's faithfulness neither can I. 

Reminds me of one of my favorite songs which I'm listening to at this moment. Interesting, huh?

It's called 'So Will I (100 Billion X)' by Hillsong. If you get a chance to listen I highly recommend it. 

"If everything exists to lift you high, so will I. If the rocks cry out in silence so will I. I will sing again 100 Billion times....God of salvation chase down my heart through all of my failures and pride... And as you speak a hundred billion failures disappear. For you left your life so I could find it here. If you left the grave behind you, so will I."

The pile of stones, a memorial to his goodness. A place to stop and remember all he has done for me. To praise him for his mercy and his faithfulness to me. I can't let this be left unsaid. Unwritten. Unspoken. 

I have to share the testimonies of why I am here. And, that is why I write. Whether you agree with me or not. That is why I am here. And, why I write. 

If you have a God story to share and have never published it, I'd love to hear it. Post it in the comments below, I know it will encourage another person who needs to read it. Or if you want to share an encouragement, I'd love that too. 

Be blessed!

 

HIS LAVISH LOVE

Even the strongest among us slip up once in awhile.

We assume life will go on as usual in an unconscious attempt to control the universe around us.

Then the unthinkable happens and our crown slips. Just a little. The bills are paid, somehow. Our child gets over the flu, hopefully. Work issues are resolved, eventually. And then, we move on to the next best thing.

Everything is 'doable' at some point. We face the shadows of the valley of death and lose our loved ones. Prayerfully, we hope to see them again on the other side of the veil. 

Our faith can weaken after hits from life's trials. Or, as love would have it, our faith grows strong. 

That is the ultimate in the purpose of our time on this earth. 

We can cover up painful feelings of abandonment, loneliness, or feeling out of control. But, our father is always there. 

Whatever you are dealing with right now~ maybe you are even thinking ... "where are you God?" "Have you forgotten me?" "What possible good could come out of the fiery trial I'm in?"

I guarantee these questions are inevitable. They are also valuable and even necessary to face. 

And, it's not a symptom of weakness to bring your deepest doubts and heaviest sorrows to him. He is rather waiting for you to bring them to him. 

How do I know? Because he tells me so. "Come to me..." "Cast your cares..." "I love you." 

So when all you do is like spinning the wheels on a hamster wheel and your hopes are running dry. Know that this is the time to pour out your soul to the soul keeper. YOUR soul keeper. He will listen, he will answer, he will attend to your wounds. And wash away your weariness. Rest your head on his shoulder for he knows your deepest desires. 

Then straighten your crown, pull back your shoulders and keep going. You've got this! 

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MAKING A POSITIVE MARK ON THE WORLD

“When can we eeeaaatt?” “What’s for dinner?” “I’m so hungry!” “I don’t like that food…”

When my kids were little, they didn’t always care for the dinner I chose to prepare. Five different individuals with five unique tastes can be an interesting challenge to overcome.

After what seemed to be endless complaining, my solution to the problem came by deciding to teach them that whining would not produce the change they desired.

“Mommy can’t hear whining.” I would tell them. 

Young children often need a repeat of the lesson you try to teach them. 

“We’re not whining!” 

“Oh, but, you are.” I would say as I worked on dinner. “One or two times is a request, repeated times turn it into a whine.”

My point is that complainers never win. Whether it be about dinner, a new toy or their bedtime. Or anything else in life. 

We often set goals and work hard towards them until we reach a setback or obstacle in our plan. 

Circumstances change. Life often doesn’t go as planned. We can either allow the setbacks to be motivators in our lives to continue towards our life goals, seek counsel on making necessary changes or stop us in our tracks.

One surefire way of stopping progress is by getting caught up in the negative and allowing it to control our minds and our mouths. This in turn bleeds into our actions. 

Sometimes just choosing to focus on the positive or positive thinking is not enough. Sometimes we need to take a long look at our routine to see what we’ve allowed to creep into our life to bring on the downward spiral of complaining.

Are we hanging around with negative people? That includes the news, social media and even co-workers. Research has shown that negativity from complaining can actually change the healthy function of our brains.

Are we looking at the current administration and blaming the shape of the current economy, world events, and hate mongering on the political system of the day?

It’s tempting to look at the shape of the world and cast stones at the other person, system, or organization to rationalize our setbacks. But, in reality the only person who can choose the outcome of our lives is ourselves.

Some effective measures to end the destructive cycle of complaining~

  1. Go to God with your heart issues, worries, complaints. If anyone can help you it’s the King of the universe.
  2. Ask him to show you scripture which deals with the problems you are facing. Then look for verses in the bible that deal with that topic.
  3. When your problems become overwhelming go back to these verses and read them, think about them, speak them out loud. 
  4. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and focus on these things. 
  5. Do what is in your power to do. Continue to grow and learn new ways to use your gifts and talents. Then trust God to perform the rest. 
  6. Praise and worship God for being good even when life is not. 
  7. Sing and laugh. A lot! 

When we apply these steps liberally our mark can be remarkable.