Winner Wanted

Winners being sought!

My blog has almost 1000 email followers. When we hit 1000,Grace Galore: Gifts, Books and More has graciously offered to donate a prize to a randomly picked follower.

There will be a prize for male or female winner.

Current email followers just leave a note in the comments with your blog and email address and whether you want a male or female gift basket. Also, note if you like tea or coffee better.

If you are not a follower, just click on the follow email tab to the right, then in the comments section include your blog, and email address. Also include whether you want male or female basket  and your preference for coffee or tea.

UPDATE:  Due to international rules this will only be open to US residents.

More info about the basket in a future blog.



This drawing has already occured.



“Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seat beat light. Please fasten your seatbelts as we are about to encounter severe turbulence. Please do NOT move from your seat. Thank you.”

Between the medicines wacky symptoms and my now having a severe kidney and diverticulitis spell, we are encountering major turbulence in the form of highly emotional bouts.

“Uh, Houston, I don’t think I signed up for this!”

Pic blog

Monday Missive

Recently, I was given a copy of a blog titled “The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine,” by Phil Johnson of Grace to You about the books Heaven is for Real and The boy Who Came Back from Heaven.  (Link to article here:

I will say for the record-I am not a Bible scholar in the sense of having graduated from a Bible school or seminary. However, I am a Bible scholar in the sense that I have read my Bible all the way through MANY times (and constantly read it on a daily basis) and during the times I have been enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks, I usually devoured my Bible.  Having read one of the aforementioned books, and from my limited gleanings, I had to comment.

I have read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. Tod Burpo is Colton Burpo’s father, the little boy who went to heaven. See link below:

(, I have not read The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven by Kevin Malarkey.

Phil Johnson feels that books of this ilk should not be given any credibility. He states they give contradictory descriptions of heaven and/or do not agree with themselves.

I cannot speak for any of the books except those I have read, obviously, but I would like to make several observations.

In having read 90 Minutes in Heaven:  A True Story of Death and Life, by Don Piper and Heaven is for Real, I feel I can at least throw my two cents in.

Most of the differences in the accounts (though Piper’s and Burpo’s have similar undertones) I suspect are due to age, maturity and educational differences.

Johnson goes on to quote a verse from the Bible:

Proverbs 30:4 as follows “Who has ascended to heaven and come down“; then answered it with verse John 3:13 (with an emphasis he added)” NO ONE has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man”.

Now, like I said, I’m not a Bible Scholar but I take umbrage with this usage of John 3:13. I am not sure what version of the Bible he used, but he obviously did not use the entire verse.  The verse (and context to verse) follows:

John 3:10-13 (KJV)

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Nowhere, in my way of thinking, did the aforementioned verse state emphatically (or otherwise)-“NO one . . . except the Son of man. It reads:  “no man. . . EVEN (my emphasis) the Son of man.

The article calls into question even more questions about Johnson’s Biblical learning. Johnson seems to have a desire or need to “protect” himself from stories that do not fit his own preconceived notions. He is too certain Heaven is for Real cannot be real. He “overreaches”, invidiously linking evangelical accounts of heaven with “New Age”, “occult” and “psychic” stories

There are many instances where others in the Bible went to heaven and returned unlike Johnson’s assertion.  One example is:

2 Corinthians 12:1-5 (KJV)

12 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Perhaps the man in 2 Corinthians was prohibited from speaking, but perhaps Colton Burpo (Todd’s son), Don Piper and others were not.   I know there will be people claiming untrue things (the Bible even warns of false prophets).  We all need to be especially wary of after life experience anecdotes but those that bring comfort, joy and salvation to a hungry, weary and sad person should not be categorically stamped untrue, heretical or pagan.

What do you think?  Am I way off the mark?

Have you read either book?

Saturday Silly

A man walks into a restaurant, sits down, and orders a big dish of brown rice and stir-fry veggies.

He grabs a handful of peanuts from the bowl on in front of him and as he starts to chew he hears a voice say, “That’s a beautiful tie. Is that silk?  NICE choice!”

Wondering who would make such an unusual comment, he looks around and doesn’t see anyone near him. With a shrug, he pops a few more peanuts into his mouth.

Then he hears, “Those shoes are styling. Are they Italian leather? They look GRRREAT!”

He turns around again but sees no one near him. Glancing nervously at his shoes, he self-consciously tucks them under the stool.

Feeling weird, he grabs another handful of peanuts. This time he hears, “That suit looks FANTASTIC! Is it an Armani? Very nice!”

He calls the waiter over and tells him, “Look. I keep hearing these voices telling me how great my tie, my shoes, and my suit look.  Am I going CRAZY?”

“Oh,” the waiter  replies nonchalantly, “those are just the peanuts.”

“The PEANUTS?” the man asks, staring at the bowl beside him.

“Sure,” replies the waiter, “they’re complimentary!”


peanut man 2

Friday Forgiveness

When I think of forgiveness, my first thought is naturally of Christ’s forgiveness toward us but what about our role in forgiveness.

Forgiveness, I believe, is one of the most misunderstood and misconstrued precepts of the Bible (also one of the hardest to follow).

Most of our issues for forgiveness stem from a wrong done by someone we care about i.e. family members, church family and friends-which is what I am focusing on today. Because of this, it is especially hard to let it go sometimes and forgive. Yet the Bible tells us to forgive.

Just a few examples of our call to forgive are:

 Matthew 18:21, 22(KJV)

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 Luke 17:3, 4

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

We do not want to let the person(s) off lightly so we stew, fret and create an imprisonment of bitterness within our hearts and life.

The thing that we forget and is easy to discount is forgiveness is not for the other person(s) but for us. Forgiveness starts to thaw our frozen heart and allows us to grow.

Forgiveness is NOT an emotion but a very intentional choice we must make.

Forgiveness does not mean the other(s) have to forgive, too.

NO, forgiveness is for us, for our growth and maturity and our peace of mind.


Thursday Throwback

The RodJudy

The Rod by Judy Johns Heathcoe is an intriguing book with an even more interesting premise.

The story-line picks up rapidly after the first few pages of character descriptions, so much so that at times you don’t even realize you are holding your breath until you have to exhale.

The book centers primarily on two characters: Heath Morgan and Harland McGowan.

Heath Morgan, a security guard, is a family man; he is married with three stepdaughters, which includes a set of twins. His wife, Julie, met and later married him after a frightening experience involving one of her children.

Harland McGowan is an archaeologist who stumbles across what he believes to be Moses’ staff, or rod, if you will – hence the title of the book.

Everything is set in motion when Heath and his family stop at the estate sale of the now deceased Harland McGowan. Heath finds what he thinks is a great walking stick and decides to buy it. Soon he realizes something is very different about this “stick” when he tries to saw it down to a more manageable size. He is unable to, because the wood is strong as steel and causes the saw to jerk away, injuring his arm in the process. Beginning at this point, more and more strange things occur in Heath’s life, each involving the rod.

From the point of Heath’s purchase the action really begins. The story is written from Heath’s and Harland’s perspectives. Heath’s is in current day; Harland’s is from the 1970′s. I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but it is a remarkable story. Plan to take several hours out of your day; because once you get into the story, you won’t want to put it down until you are finished.

Harland McGowan is one of the few students at Pepperdine University in California chosen to go on an archaeological dig for a Field Project in Jordan. While on the project Harland stumbles across the grave of Moses and comes away with Moses’ rod. Harland, too, experiences many bizarre episodes caused by the rod.

I want to thank Judy, the author and a friend for the chance to read and review The Rod.


The novel, though not categorized as speculative Christian fiction genre, would have no problem falling into the category.

Though The Rod has some strong Christian themes, there are a few curse words scattered throughout, selling of drugs and allusions to drug use that may be bothersome to some readers.

I wrote this some time ago but have re-written parts and omitted others.

Monday Musing

There have been a lot of deaths in our family (ies) lately. February alone saw three.

Even though I know, pets and other animals are not the same as humans; they can get under your skin and become a part of your family.

We had a beautiful cat show up at our house Thursday. It curled up in a soft chair we have outside and seemed to be chilling. We knew something was wrong though because it barely moved when we passed it by. I prayed mightily for the poor thing.

This cat did not become a part of our family. I noticed on Friday it seemed to be weakening and put some food out for it. Nevertheless, it passed away.

I have had so many struggles lately, and the cat seemed to me to be a symbol of all that’s been happening. In addition, when it died, I cried buckets. I am even now, as I write this, and I didn’t even know the cat.

There is a medicine I have been taking for close to 10 years. Originally, the prescription was for PTSD, depression and anxiety.  As time went on and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and a myriad of other physical maladies, it was an antidote for those, too.

I noticed, however, that I have been having a lot of weird, strange and bothersome (translated painful) symptoms-all random and without logic.

I decided to start investigating the medicine.

WOW, double, triple and higher WOW.

This drug is insidious. There have been NO trials on long-term effects. The manufacturer even lied about parts of the minuscule, virtually non-existent trial studies. Still the FDA approved it for consumption.

Now that it has been on the market for 10 +/- years, people are discovering more and more disconcerting and unsettling information. In fact, one forum I found had several Drs’ comments and without fail, they said this was a sinister, ominous and evil drug.

The really bad part is the withdrawal-it causes psychosis, severe depression, severe pain and lots and lots of other symptoms with no way to alleviate or mitigate them. So, guess what? I came off and brother what a pain-literally and figuratively.

Instantly, I started having horrible, horrible symptoms and MAJOR depression manifestations.

So, the poor cat dying was sort of the last straw. It didn’t help that just before that I received a copy of a DVD memorial of my Dad—I picked a bad time to quit!

I am having an extremely terrible time. I want to scream, hit things and break something. I am trying HARD not to let things get the best of me.

So, dear friends (and a few laughing enemies!) I am going to pour myself into my blog-get ready for a real, raw, random and hilarious ride.