Honoring True Freedom

by Sally Matheny

Honoring True Freedom
In my youth, I did not realize the full value of my freedom. My understanding only went as far as my own limitations.

“Why can’t I watch that T.V. show?”

“When will I get to drive a car?"

“Where can I go with my friends?”

As I grew, so did my perception of freedom.

I learned people sacrificed their own freedom for mine.

I may never fully comprehend the price some have paid, or adequately appreciate those who are still hammering out the preservation of my freedom.

One reason for my ignorance is because someone cared enough to protect me from that knowledge. I once heard a special agent say if an evil event didn’t make the news, because his team prevented it from happening, then their mission was accomplished.


The Treasures Found on Our Diamond Dig

by Sally Matheny

The Treasures Found on Our Diamond Dig
(Photos by Sally Matheny)
When I first heard of the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, I knew our family had to go. We are all into watching television shows of folks mining and digging for buried treasures. 
We have panned for gold before since it’s part of our region’s history.

Although today, gold is like an elusive family member in these parts. Diamonds are like aliens from another planet.

Maybe they’re not as rare as aliens, but the last diamond found remotely close to where we live was in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. And that was in 1893!

So we headed to Murfreesboro, Arkansas where thousands of diamonds have been discovered. Let me tell you about about the treasures we found on our diamond dig!

In route, we discussed what we would name our diamond, should we find one, because that is what you really get to do. It's officially recorded in the books.
Of course, my boy was coming up with crazy names while I was thinking how much of the gospel I could fit into a name. Don’t laugh! There has been a 2.93-carat “God’s Blessing,” a 5.16-carat “God’s Glory” (found after only ten minutes of searching!), and a 2.85-carat “God’s Jewel” which later sold for $20,000.
So, if the Lord blessed me with a diamond, you bet I was going to fit Jesus in there somewhere. 
Once we arrived, we paid $10.00 each to enter the world’s only “Keep What You Find” diamond site.
Our enthusiasm to “get rich quick” pushed us quickly through the informational section of the center. I tried to catch a few glimpses of an instructional video while the guys went to retrieve mining equipment. 

On average, one to two diamonds a day are discovered at the crater, so we wanted to get started and find one before anyone else. Oh, my, that does sound a bit greedy, doesn't it?

It's all fun in the sun until Mom gets hot and hangry.

Once on the field, my family’s search techniques varied. My husband picked a spot smackdab in the middle of the thirty-eight acres of plowed volcanic dirt and sat down to sift one bit at a time.
My son found a shady spot on the edge and I began walking. One of those quick glances at the instructional video mentioned something about just walking around looking for something shiny. I can’t stay in one place long, so I set out to meander through the plowed rows. 
My plan was for us to search from 8 -12:00, take a break and eat a picnic lunch, and then search again from 1:00 – 3:00. 
Even though we began early in the morning, the June day heated up quickly. We were glad we brought water. We carried it and the little shovel and hoe we brought from home in a white five-gallon bucket we purchased at the park. 
So, from time to time, we’d all gather at our white bucket of supplies, drink water and show our recent finds.

Are we searching wisely?
Our pockets quickly filled with rocks we thought looked unusual enough to hold onto. Perhaps they contained a valuable gem of some sort. 
While we knew most of the diamonds found are smaller than a pencil eraser, we also knew a 16.37-carat diamond had been found there in 1975, so if rocks were shiny, we shoved them in our pockets. We also crammed in a few just for their unusual green and red colors.

After searching for what seemed forever, I finally found my husband and told him I thought we must have worked through lunch and probably needed to stop and go eat. I’m one of those you don’t want to get “hangry.” 
I thought surely it was well past 2:00 when I asked my husband for the time. To my surprise, I learned all the toil and sweat occurred in only three hours. It was only 11:30! I was so hot, tired, and almost hangry. 
I wasn’t the only one. The guys said they’d had enough. What? But we have not found a diamond! I suggested we at least go to the sluicing station and rinse off our rocks so the park ranger could identify if we had any treasures.
And that’s when the truth hit us like a boulder. 

We had not bothered to take time to listen thoroughly for instructions. Sweaty with exhaustion, we noticed people with more patience and experience working in the cool water.

They had carried dirt in their buckets to the station. The same kind of bucket in which we had only carried bottles of water and other things for our comfort.
They were sifting handfuls of dirt and TINY rocks, not at all like the ones bulging like tumors in our pockets.

After sifting in the water, their trays of dirt were lifted out, and quickly flipped over on a wooden board. Then, carefully, bit by bit, they studied meticulously, sometimes with the end of a knife, in search of anything reflective. The deceiving mica was flicked out and the search continued.
I sensed the seasoned miner in the safari hat trying to suppress a grin as he saw our empty bucket and bulging pockets.

Trying to save face, I announced, a bit loudly, to my son, to “go ahead and wash your SOUVENIR rocks.”
Yes. Yes, I did. 

And no, no my son would not do it.

My sweet hubby handled the situation differently. He said, “I’m going to go get a bucket of dirt.”
I sat in the shade, too embarrassed to pull the clunky rocks out of my pockets. I watched my husband dump his out in front of the pros. He washed them off and set them aside. 

Then, he watched the others and tried his hand at sifting. After a while, we called it a day and went on a picnic.
After I suppressed my hanger with food, we laughed about our experience.  The park ranger had kindly identified our pretty souvenir rocksThe "treasures" we found on our diamond dig were not what we had expected.


Chiming In With Humility and Grace

Chiming in with humility and grace.

After several days of rainy weather, a sunny afternoon enticed me to sit on the back porch.

Enveloped in the warm rays of sunlight, I closed my eyes. A faint, peaceful ting-ting stirred from the metal, wind chimes.

Burdened for a Christian family struggling to find peace, I began to pray. I did not know all the details, but apparently years ago, their miscommunication hurt some friends' feelings.


Book Review and Giveaway of LIVE FEARLESS by Sadie Robertson

by Sally Matheny

Live Fearless
What are you afraid of? At some point, I think we all have feared something. And we dealt with it in different ways. 

But, do you know someone who has an unusual amount of apprehension? So much so it regularly affects their lives?

I know a woman who is terrified every time the sky darkens with a pending storm. I have a friend who must have every detail prepared for Plans B, C, D, and E before even attempting Plan A. Another friend fears the worst whenever a family member isn’t feeling well.   

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “more than forty million people in the U.S., ages eighteen and older, suffer from anxiety issues.”

Sadie Robertson, daughter of Willie and Korie Robertson, was one of those but has discovered a way out of those statistics. She shares her journey from fear to faith in LIVE FEARLESS: A Call to Power, Passion, and Purpose, published by Thomas Nelson this year.

The book, while written for the young adult audience, packs enough ammo an even older audience can use it in their arsenal against fear.

The hardcover, 200-page book includes special features in each chapter challenging readers to consider and apply the things Sadie has learned to their own lives.

She includes helpful suggestions for those who may be new to praying.    

One of my favorite features is the “Work the Word” sections because as Sadie says,

“God’s Word is always able to change our lives, shift our perspectives, and empower us to live in freedom and victory” but “it won’t happen just because we have a Bible on a shelf or even go to church and open the Bible to read along with the preacher.”

We have to “work the Word” by reading it, studying it, and choosing to believe it’s true in addition to talking to God about it and asking Him to use it to transform our lives.

I also like the quotes highlighted throughout the book because they are true gems.

Here are a few.

“The key ingredient to overcoming fear is not just speaking to it, it’s speaking to it in Jesus’ name.”

“When we’re afraid, we have a tendency to pray and ask God for peace before we’ll step out and do what frightens us. But most of the time, we simply need to move forward.”

“The enemy is afraid of your becoming everything God wants you to be.”

In addition to asking questions for readers to reflect upon, Sadie includes hands-on practical advice such as how to find a godly mentor, how to talk with unbelievers, and more.  

Time after time, Sadie nails it by presenting the truth of God’s Word. And I’m not talking about one verse inserted at the beginning of a chapter. The book is saturated with scripture and Sadie dives right in talking about it and applying it to life.

The book is interesting as she shares her experiences and fears from her childhood, teen years, and her young adult days on Dancing with the Stars.

But the focus in the book isn’t on what Sadie Robertson has done. She continually directs readers to her Redeemer and points out what He has done.

I really like this book. It is a positive resource pointing to truth and the power to live fearless.

I’d love to give a copy of this book away to one of you! All you have to do is leave a comment below.

What to say?

Tell us an area of your life you want to live more courageously. Share a helpful scripture for those who may be struggling with fear. Or simply type another word (or more) that mean fearless!

I’ll draw a random name from all those who comment and announce the winner on Thursday, May 24.


Autumn Celeste! Congratulations Autumn! I'll be in touch on where to deliver your book. Thanks to all who commented. There will be another giveaway soon!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


How Can My Ordinary Life Make an Extraordinary Difference in the World?

by Sally Matheny

How can my ordinary life make a difference?
(Pixabay photo)
Ordinary. We all feel it.

As we age, we wonder. Are we making a difference in the world?

In the end, we want our lives to have mattered. To have lived with purpose and in such a way that brought about significant change.

Many people work like a whirlwind, searching and striving to accomplish some grand something.

Others have their life gauge set on survival mode or shift to mediocre living the rest of their days.  

There is another way to live. Our ordinary lives can make an extraordinary difference in the world.  


A Story About Two Famous LEGO Craftsmen

by Sally Matheny

(Part Christiansen and part Sawaya)
This is a story about two, famous Lego® craftsmen. It’s not meant to inspire you to build with colorful, plastic bricks—although it may. Read on and find your motivation. 

Have you heard of Ole Kirk Christiansen? Probably not, but I am sure you’ve heard of his company. 

Ole Kirk, one of ten children who grew up in an impoverished home, worked hard as a wood craftsman in Denmark. Years later, after focusing more on toys than anything else, he named his toyshop “Lego.” Originally, he made wooden toys, but later, in 1947, his company expanded to make plastic toys. 

Ole Kirk was well known for saying, “Det bedste er ikke for godt.” Essentially, that meant, “the best is never too good.” He insisted his toys be of the highest quality. Not all toymakers stood by that motto. But we know by their continued success, the LEGO® company, did and still does. 


Talking with Author Carrie Daws about A NEW HOME FOR ALLIE and a Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny
A New Home for Allie by Carrie Daws
This month, Ambassador International releases a beautiful children’s picture book, A NEW HOME FOR ALLIE. Carrie Daws penned the sweet story about a giraffe named Allie. Joanie Bruce painted the charming illustrations.

The main character, Allie, lives with her parents in Kenya. Her dad serves in the Animal Jungle Patrol. Allie learns her dad received orders and her family must move to Somalia. As her new journey unfolds, so do her concerns about moving.

I caught up with the author of this book in between her writing, speaking, homeschooling, and serving our military community alongside her husband at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. She kindly agreed to share some of her own journey with us.


Giveaway & Book Review of LIVE. SAVE. SPEND. REPEAT—The Life You Want with the Money You Have

by Sally Matheny

Are you ready to live the life
you want with the money you have?
Kim Anderson and her husband paid off 93,000 in debt in two years on ONE income. Then, she wrote this handy little book about it.

Good news spills out from the beginning with encouragement to start right where you are.

The book addresses many topics similar in style to that of financial advisors, Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey. How to set practical goals, create a doable budget, and how to make do with what you have.

Each chapter begins with a Bible verse or a wise saying. Helpful, “Thrifty Little Tips” and “Momentum Milestones” are scattered throughout the book. The chapters end with an easy-to-read bulleted recap of the content. Some chapters provide work space for budgeting and setting goals.