The Best Day Ever - By Paula Rose Michelson

When Skip woke up it was early. That is early for a little boy who had only gotten a few hours sleep. He bounded out of bed with a smile as he remembered how easy it had been for him to make his mom see his side of things. “After all,tomorrow is the big day,” he had explained. "It's the last day of the World Series, and Babe Ruth’s batting first! I’ve just got to be there with his bat all cleaned, and spruced up! He’s counting on me to hand him his special bat!”

As Skip rushed to get dressed, and gulp down some breakfast, he smiled remembering how the big guy had come over to him when the Yankees arrived at Wriggly Stadium. He had looked him over from head to toe, handed him his bat, and said, “Sonny this here’s special,” as he, grinned, winked, and walked away to chat with his teammates’ who were gathered in the dugout.

That was all The Babe had to say because Skip knew what he meant. The bat was in his care. Babe had entrusted it to him, and it was his job to take care of it, and bring it to him when he was at batting practice, and when he headed to the mound. So every night of the Series, Skip took it home, cleaned it up, going to extra special lengths to make sure it was in pristine condition. Last night he took more time than ever before because Babe had to win one more time. If he did not win, Skip knew he was going to feel just awful for he was rooting against his own team. However, he pushed that thought aside as he reminded himself, Babe is counting on me, that’s what matters. At nine, Skip knew what that meant. He knew that without his favorite bat, The Sultan of Swat, as many of his fans called George Herman Ruth, Jr. the team would not, could not win the penitent! Yep Skip told himself as he sat down for breakfast, and gazed longingly at Babe’s bat, which he had rubbed to a high gloss sheen the night before when he had stayed up way past ten, without me, and this bat, the Wizard of Wham may strike out!

As his mom set a blow of cereal in front of him, he looked at her, pulled out a Babe Ruth bar he had been saving for the big day from his pocket, peeled back the wrapper, and took a big bite. His mom smiled, sighed, and sat down across from him. He knew he was going to get a lecture; Skip did, for mom did not allow candy first thing in the morning. In fact, as Skip sat there munching away he could almost hear her litany of reasons why. However, to his amazement, his mom put the cereal in front of herself, and began to eat. Wow, Skip thought, I haven’t left the house, or gotten to the ballpark, and this is already the best day every!

Mom looked at him, smiled, and said, “Big day today.”

Now Skip knew he had died, and gone to baseball paradise! For his mom never mentioned anything about the game, and she never ever used words like big, special, or grand unless she was talking about a Bible Study, church, or Pastor Ethan Smithers who in mom’s eyes was taking much to long to ask his sister Betty Jean to marry him. But, Skip reckoned, as he looked at the bat one more time, that has nothing to do with me, as he cautioned himself, keep your mind on the game, Babe needs you!

His candy bar done, Skip stood, and tossed the wrapper in the trash as he put on his official baseball cap.

“Have a good day,” his mom smiled.

Skipp picked up Babe’s Bat, nodded her way, and headed to Wriggley Field. Yessiree, Skip thought as he walked the five blocks to the field, it sure doesn’t get any better than having the New York Yankees playing in Chicago!

As he walked along the other batboys joined him, but none of them looked his way. They think I’m a traitor to the Cubs, the boy sighed. He nodded at the guys who used to swat him on the back when they came up from behind, and with whom he secretly wagered on the games as he whispered, “Don’t tell my mom or ill get a lickin.” As Skip looked around, he noticed that all the boys were as focused, and as determined as he was that their guy was going to pull it off. Yep! Each of the boys had their favorite, and until Babe had handed him his bat, Skip’s favorite had been Charles Henry Root. Hank, as Skip though of him when he fantasized about the friendship they would have one day. He had never missed a day when the guy born in Middletown, Ohio, was pitching, cause in Skips book he was the best there was! And Skip figured he should know since he’d been around the game all his life.

When the batboys got there, the stadium was empty except for the people that made the event what it was, like the guys that lined the field, and gramps who sold the hotdogs. If anyone had asked Skip about the slow peaceful start to his day, he would have smiled, I like it this way, kind’a helps a fella get into the swing of things before the guys start swinging. Ya know what I mean? Of course, he would never have spoken like that when his mom was around because she insisted on good manners, the correct use of words, and perfect diction. However, having lost his father in an elevator crash some years back, more years back than Skip could remember, he had learned to be the man of the house and save his boy activities, attitudes, and the use of sang, for when he was far away from home, and the responsibilities of being the man.

So as the stands filled up, and everyone settled down the game began. The pitchers pitched, and the players played. The boys did their job, and the crowed cheered. The vendors sold food, and the heat beat down upon the hushed throng as each one there rooted for their team, and their guy. In between at-bats, the boys traded jabs, and baseball cards, and while their personal favorite was at-bat, each boy said a prayer. When anyone one else got up to bat, they heckled them unmercifully.

Yet, as idyllic as Skips life looked to others, it was with a longing born of an unspoken need, that the batboy handed Ruth his bat on that fateful day. The boy knew that Ruth, and the team had been unstoppable back in 1927 when the Yankees were known as Murderer's Row because of the strength of its hitting lineup. Heck, Skip thought, as Ruth took his bat in hand, back then the team won a record 110 games! As Babe swung the bat a few times, as the boy wondered, can he still do it?

He had heard the rumors, and read about arguments before the Series began, and as the game progressed the fans heard the two teams throw verbal barbs at each other, which his mother would have spanked him soundly for as she insisted, “My boy does not speak that way, not in my house or anywhere else!” But, this ain’t home, it's Wriggly Field, shrugged Skip with a smile, this is baseball!

If he had taken the time to look at the bleachers, Skip would have seen fifty thousand cubs’ fans that agreed with him. However, rooting for the other team, he kept his head down, and did his job. Except for earlier in the day when the teams were still warming up, when he had looked up, it was to watch Ruth, and Lou Gehrig put on an impressive batting display during practice. Ruth launched nine balls to the outfield stands while Gehrig hit seven, then as quickly as Skip had looked up, he hunkered down again. That is until he handed The Bambino, his bat.

The Babe must have sensed that Skip needed something from him, though the boy never asked The Colossus of Clout, why he smiled at him, winked, and whispered, “This ones for you son,” as he called the shot, and pointed to the center field bleachers during his at-bat.

Skip knew it was Babe’s declaration that he would hit a home run out of the park. As Skip nodded, smiled, and stepped away, the man that was called, The Sultan of Swat, The King of Crash, The Colossus of Clout, The Babe hit what for want of a better word, was dubbed a “Ruthian!” As everyone stood to watch that beautiful, powerful, ball sail into deep center field, past the flagpole, and into the temporary seating in the streets, and the crowd went wild!

At that momentous moment, Skip witnessed a miracle! It wasn’t the miracle of the shot Babe called, and it certainly wasn’t the fact that he had won his bets even though his mom could certainly use the money, since he needed new shoes. No, the miracle that Skip witnessed that day had nothing to do with the shot ‘the home run king’ called. It had everything to do with the fact that before the Titan of Swat headed out to slowly jog around the field savoring the joy of being able to shape the game one more time to his liking, George Herman Ruth, Jr. turned to Skip, handed him his special bat, and smiled, “Thanks son for helping me today. I wish I had a boy like you. Your dad’s a lucky guy!”

Skip waited until The Babe left. Then he headed home. The other guys had left earlier. After all, he thought to himself when he headed back all alone, who’d want to hang around with a guy who rooted for the other team, the team that won. Nobody, that’s who.

He tried to pretend it didn’t matter to him if they all walk back together or not. However, it mattered terribly. You see Skip had always thought that life had given him a raw deal. Which is a hard way to feel when your still in elementary grade school, and don’t know how to get over losses so profound, but never spoken about as having no father. Yet this time as he ruminated on all the things he and his dad would never do, the face of Babe Ruth smiled at him, and he heard, “Thanks son for helping me today.”

As he turned down his street, Skip was joined by the other batboys who had felt sorry leaving without the little guy, and retraced their steps to meet him.

“Okay, my guy won, so what of it,” he said nonchalantly as they walked along together. The others were surprised because they knew that Skip liked to harp on every good thing that happened to him. They tried not to mind because they knew how tough Skip had it, and all of them realized that what happened at Wriggly Field was the biggest, and best thing that had ever happened to the kid. However, when they asked Skip about the game all he did was smile, and say, “This was the best day I ever had.”
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Dear Mishpukah & Prayer Warriors

The MJAA Conference...

When I look at all that God achieved regarding Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing – Yearning, at the MJAA Conference, I am amazed! I had no idea where my table would be, since I left that in our Lords capable hands, I had never sold anything at a conference, and I was asking people to walk by faith not sight because there wasn’t even the mockup of the cover to view. Yet God met me there and while Elizabeth prayed me through the event, we met some amazing people and 11 who visited my table pre-bought 13 books.

As much as I wish I could tell you about each divine appointment, the sudden urgency of doing a final edit on the second novel "Fulfillment" precludes that. Therefore, I will tell you about a few. Before I do let me share that for me this conference was as much about making contacts so that people who live in other areas might hold Casa Events for the book as it was about selling the novel. That goal was accomplished in more ways than I could ever imagine when a woman from Australia purchased a book and I asked her if she would like me to deliver it to her (as I did with everyone who purchased). When she said “Yes,” I smiled and asked if she would set up events for me and provide hospitality and to my delight, she agreed! I believe that was a devine appointment!

Several women who bought the book listened to my “Year of 5,000 Book” plea and committed to hosting events. When I mentioned that events could take place at a congregation or church, coffee shop or mall, home or park another woman became interested in helping me. When I added the library, which often invites authors who write historical fiction, she asked why a library would invite me. I explained how my year of research interests librarians who are committed to helping people understand the many uses they offer and that, that coupled with the fact that Casa de Naomi is a good read makes my library program one librarians will want. This statement that motivated her to commit to having venues for me at three locations in one weekend, if that is the Lords will.

By this point, I was ready to exclaim, “What more can Yeshua do to bless me for walking by faith!” However, more blessings came my way as I visited with many friends I had not seen in 18 months since Ron and I are now fellowshipping at another congregation, and ministered to a few of their grown children who stopped by and needed to hear a word of scriptural encouragement, and at times I found myself listening to others while I prayed for their needs.

The second day of the event I met a decedent of the first governor of New Spain, a Jew baptized into the Catholics faith during the Inquisition. Because of my research, I had thought all the members of Luis Carvajals family were dead, but Phillip was before me. Yet I would have never known who he was if I hadn’t taken Dr. Martin A. Cohen’s seminal work, "The Martyr-The Story of a Secret Jew and the Mexican Inquisition in the Sixteenth Century," and placed it on my table. Although, I had many research books to chose from, it was this tattered book which I almost left behind that bridged more than 500 years and linked us together when he made an offhanded remark as he turned to leave while mentioning his last name. Upon hearing that name, I opened the tome and showed him his family tree. We spoke throughout the remainder of the conference and he gave me his phone number and asked me to stay in touch.

Since I had brought Dr. Dell Sanchezs book, "Aliyah! The Exodus Continues," many Sephardic Messianic Jews stopped to visit. One woman mentioned working with him and I found myself wishing that at some point in the future our emails might be replaced with actual audible conversations. Yet without Dells work, I reminded myself, my research would have taken longer and the evidence would not have been as conclusive or significant.

Ron popped in an out of the conference as he was able and when Elizabeth needed to leave Ron joined me at the table. After a few hours where no one stopped by I sent him home. I must share that I was somewhat disheartened. However, that was not a bad thing because I found myself rejoicing for the other vendors while I prayed that if anyone one else needed to connect with me they would visit the book table that had four books none of which were the book I was selling. Strange as it might seem, the next person to visit was man who wanted to take my copy of The Decree of Alhambra, which began the Spanish and later the Mexican Inquisition. When I explained that it was the only one I had printed out he walked away. He came back a short while later and explained that he was working on his doctorial dissertation and needed the information. We spoke at length and I committed to sending him that document as well as the bibliography for the Casa Series. He in turn offered to send me, once his dissertation is published, his bibliography which will be invaluable to my work on the next series!

Lastly, I must share that I saw that the Lord was active in my affairs. For he placed my table next to Lederes’ which as many of you know, was the publisher I originally wished to use. Lisa and I struck up a friendship and before the conference was over, we both knew that we would be dear friends sharing life’s joys and concerns with each other.

I count myself very lucky to have gone to the conference. I reconnected with friends and their children meet wonderful believers, had my work affirmed by readers and scholars, and sold enough books to cover the cost of the table and books. Women committed to hosting events for the novel, I spent time with Elizabeth, and my husband Ron supported me while each of you faithfully prayed for me throughout this event. I could not have done any of the things mentioned above without your prayers for who would ever buy something they could not see from a person they did not know except by the prompting of the Ruach Ha Kodesh!

The blessings I experienced this weekend belong to you and the Lord! Thank you for partnering with me in His work! So that you will be equipped to pray for those I met I am sending you the information I sent to them.

Yours in Messiah,
Paula Rose Michelson – Author
Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing – Yearning – fall 2011

PS - If you are reading this blog and wish to receive the information I mentioned above become a follower of my blog, send me your actual email address through this site and I will send the information to you as well.
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The MJAA Conference, Colossians 3:18 and Me

Last year I had intended to stay away from the MJAA Conference because I was not volunteering my time and having attended this weekend event for year’s and recently become involved in Congregation Ben David in Orange, CA, I wanted to use my time and efforts there. However, when I heard that my friend Marlayne would be selling her novel "The Victor" during the conference, I offered to help her.

I was glad I did because while at the conference I reconnected with people who live in other place - some as far away as Israel, and others as local as the next city. One of my local friends that I had not seen in a while, Olivier Melnick, who is a published author and had encouraged me in my writing had a table there, saw me, and said, “You’ll be here next year!”

His words were almost palatable yet seemed unattainable. I grabbed hold of them as if I were drowning and needed someone to pull me into a boat. As dramatic as this sounds that is how I felt. For having completed the rough draft of Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing in 2008, I was still looking for a publisher. I know that sounds odd because I had already contacted Tate and knew they wanted my manuscript. Yet my husband Ron insisted I search for a more known publisher so I put their offer aside and did what he asked.

I remember nodding my agreement to Oliver as I greeted another woman I knew who dropped by Marlayne’s table.

Now, a year later, what Olivier said is a reality! I have a table and am pre-selling Casa de Naomi - The House of Blessing - Book One - Yearning. What happened during the year that transpired from Olivier’s statement to today, is a journey I would have forgone were it not for my husbands wishes. In the year between that conference and this one, I visited critique groups, had a well-known Christian author befriend and help me understand how critical point of view is, discovered that less is more, and edited the novel. When I thought I was done, I read about writing and reviewed the manuscript with what writers call the "third eye," which means I read the book as if I were the reader and asked myself if I had shared too much or if important information was missing.

I can now say with confidence that the novel I would have sold before would have been a poor version of the one Tate Publishing will release this fall. However, my confidence is not in myself but in the Lord and the Ruach Ha Kodesh who showed me - a sometimes very willful wife - that submitting to my husband has rewards beyond my understanding.

If you are like me and find yourself sometimes running ahead of your husband who provides your spiritual covering I hope you will remember my story which is based upon choosing to live as we are directed in Colossians 3:18 where it says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
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Subject: Carl, sent to me by Bobbi Skinner, author unknown

Before you read this posting, I must share that yesterday while meeting with my prayer partner of over 15 years I confided that I would not be posting anything new to my blog until the MJAA Conference had ended. I had planned to post a follow up to that event next week so that my loyal followers could see how God used the conference to further his gospel through literature. However, Bobbi Skinner emailed me this story, which spoke to my heart, and I know it will do the same to yours. Enjoy…

Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.

Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity. When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?”

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a malevolent little smile.

As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him.

Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. "Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday." His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?"

"I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm reply.

Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later, the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

"Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time." The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

"What's this?" Carl asked. "It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet."

"I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?"

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate." He stopped for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular, the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read, "Person needed to care for Carl's garden." The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him." The man went to work, over the next several years, he tended the flowers, and vegetables just as Carl had done.

During that time he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it. One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday.”

"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?"

"Carl," he replied.

At the end of this piece I read the usual, “Email this to 10 people.” However, by posting this to my blog I know it will be viewed by many more if you will invite your friends to drop by which I hope you will do.

There was a further comment about this being the gospel in 60 seconds. For believers that is true. Yet for a world led astray, what is obvious to us is nonsense to them. Always remember that as those who strive to emulate Messiah what we do shines forth as brightly as Carl actions did. You may be the only gospel your non-believing family member, friend, or associate might ever see. Be prepared in season and out and search for material that will help them hear what you are saying in a way they can receive. And I know that God will be with you as you labor in his garden!
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MJAA Conference February 18-20th Remembering the Past - Pressing on Towards the Goal!

For several years, Ron and I were the couple in charge of hospitality for the MJAA Conference in Irvine CA. During that three-day conference, if you were a volunteer, hospitality was open for you 24 hours a day. Whether you needed a meal, wanted to grab a snack or have a hot cup of coffee, we made sure everything was there. A few years ago, Ron’s missionary schedule precluded our continuing to serve in this way.

Remembering the Past…

As a result, I had not attended this conference, which always seemed to fall on Valentines weekend until last year when my friend, Marlayne Grion, announced that she would have a table. Because of our work at the conference and our association with Chosen People Ministries, people knew me and I felt I could help her become visible to those she had never met so I offered to help her. When I arrived I realized that I was right…She needed my help! For although the conference had begun on Friday afternoon and I did not arrive until two o’clock on Saturday, only a few people had stopped by her table because it was hidden behind a pole making her invisible. Lucky for me, God had always given me an extra measure of chutzpah (lack of fear) when I was faced with situations like this. Sizing up my friends situation, chutzpah took over and I walked around meeting and greeting people I had not seen in a while. Then I invited them to visit Marlayne.

Pressing on Towards the Goal…

Exactly one week from now, I will be setting up my Year of 5,000 Books table at that same MJAA Messianic Conference in Irvine CA. Unlike my friend Marlayne, people know me. However, where my friend had a physical book to sell, I am pre-selling Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing – Book One - Yearning. Though that might seem odd to some it is what the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) has told me to do…So I press on towards the goal! If you are wondering why I have not completed Philippians 3:14 scripture I sighted above which ends, “ win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus,” it is because I want you to understand what a huge undertaking of faith it is for me to do what no one else has done! So let me explain by posting my “Dear Friend” letter that is on my website and accompanies my promo package.

Dear Friend,

Because my husband is a missionary, we spend many Sundays in churches and revisit them often. When we do women have confided how relieved they are that we have come and how difficult it is to get their non-believing spouse, relative, friend, or associate to attend the service. Though they know the Lord wants them to speak about the gospel, they fear loosing these relationships and remain mute.

I wrote the Casa Series so that men and women could use the gift of literature to reach the lost. These novels reveal a unique people and their history. Both you and those you gift the books to will enjoy the romantic, historic, fiction. In the first volume, Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing - Yearning the reader experiences Naomi’s problems, which multiply as she hides who she is and marries Chaz, a man she believes to be Catholic without sharing her secret with him. When she is unmasked as someone other than what he thought her to be, she flees.

As Chaz prepares to leave town, a friend challenges him invoking Gods name. Our hero responds, “Leave God out of this!” This startling conclusion to book one will cause those who have read that novel to read Fulfillment, the second book in the series to discover how our star-crossed lovers’ story ends. They will be surprised to discover the novels name indicates Naomi and Chaz’s desire, which is in Messiahs…Jesus hands. The culmination of their individual salvation stories will guide the reader from our characters journey into their own and show them how to enter into a relationship with Christ our Kinsman Redeemer and experience Gods love for them.

I have signed a contract with Tate Publishing. Casa de Naomi ~ The House of Blessing ~ Book One ~ Yearning will be released in the fall of 2011. While in prayer, I discovered that the Lord wants to get these books into the secular bookstores. That is a tall order since secular bookstores do not carry Christian or Messianic books. However, there is a plan that will accomplish what most believe to be impossible - pre-sell 5,000 books. To my knowledge, no one has pre-sold this number of novels. When we accomplish what most believe to be undoable, the secular booksellers will call the publisher and order the book. And that my friend will get our Lords message spread! I cannot do this by myself. Please join me. Together we can accomplish the impossible, which will cause secular booksellers to order the series.


If I had attached this letter to my prom package or you had visited my website, you would discover how you could help me and that is important. With the conference uppermost in my mind, I have added new requests. What appears on the letter follows. However for this conference, please pray that:

1. People stop by my table to visit, buy the novel for themselves and other believers.

2. People determine how many gifts they will give this year and purchase the book for these people.

3. People buy books to keep in their trunk to hand out to those who do not know the Lord or give to the Angel Fund so I can do this.

4. People invite me to speak, do a reading, or develop a unique Casa de Naomi event for their church or friends.

5. Lastly, since one does not have to be attending the conference to drop by the Messianic Marketplace, encourage those who live in Orange County, CA to stop by the Hyatt in Irvine and visit my table.

Since many of you live far from me and others have already made plans for this weekend, I have posted my original appeal below:

You can assist me in two ways. First, order Yearning from my website or blog. Second, invite me to speak or do a reading for a group of your friends or your church or any other group setting which you deem appropriate. Since the goal of my visit is to pre-sell the novel, response cards will be available, and I will ask those attending to purchase books.

Yours in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ),
Paula Michelson ~ Messianic Author ~ The Casa Series
Due fall 2011 - Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing
Email or call me at 949-310-3360 to set up an event for your church or group
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Come, Experience the Butterfly Grove - by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors Comment – By now some who have been checking my blog are probably wondering where the stories are since I had said there would be stories on this blog. My answer to that question is, come experience the butterfly grove and enjoy…

Fran had not been outside much, what with preparing to get her eldest, Analise off to her second year of college, and settling in for the fall. She was a practical woman, with brown hair and such a petite stature that many thought her no more than a teen. Yet, once one got to know her, they soon realized that she was a force to be reckoned with. She, like the house she ran, did things in a no nonsense sort of way. Underneath it all, she was one of those sweet souls who had devoted herself to hearth and home. Because of this, it was surprising to her two daughters who still lived at home and her husband when she looked up from her Sunday read and sighed, “The Fall Festivals on this weekend.” She waited for a reply, even a smile will do, she thought, but no one said a word. Her husband turned to the next page in his Wall Street Journal’s financial section and continued to read.

Setting her paper aside, Fran stood and began to clean up from breakfast. She did not harp on the matter for she understood how much everyone needed to rest on Sunday since the week was full of commitments and their Saturdays were busy with their Messianic congregation, family, and friends. Still, she thought to herself as she washed up the dishes and set her kitchen to rights, The fall is a beautiful time of year. Nature is arrayed in her very best. The leaves of the trees are changing color from dappled green, to burnt-orange as the season ushers in the winter. Thinking that it had been a long time since she waxed poetical, she took the trash round back, and was hit with a blast of frigid air. Her face numb from the unexpected unsought she closed her eyes and hoping her picture of the day might somehow be realized though, the air turns crisp, not fridge, and the days grow short. However, as much as Fran tried to keep her thoughts from the festival, she found herself again wishing to go. You are not traipsing out there without your family, she scolded herself as she headed in, pulled her warm coat out of the hall closet, and headed out again determined to walk off her desire. She took her usual route past the city park that was five blocks long with its beautiful marshes, past the parks trails, past the manmade beach, jogged around the high school, and headed back home.

Looking up she saw a flock of birds flying off to warmer climes, and smiled as she thought, It is a time of making taffy, and curling up with a good book. Feeling better already, she hurried her pace as she walked along until she found what she called, for want of a better word, her center. She thought of the day Renniha, her second daughter and the most inquisitive of the three had asked, “How do you manage to always look and answer appropriately?” Well, she remembered admitting rather shamefaced that she did not have a grand bible teaching to impart, I ask myself how I would like to be treated, and treat the person I am with that way. Fran had noticed that Renniha had stared at her, just as her family had done today. Pondering her daughters reaction, for perhaps the tenth time since the incident happened, Fran wondered, Why does it matter to you what she thought, as long as she behaves properly I have done my job!

By now, Fran was in a sweat, whether from the weather that had warmed up as the sun reached its zenith or from her own musings, she was not sure, as she hurried back home. All she knew as she opened the front door and put her coat away was that today she would take her own advice and treat herself as she would others.

As she hurried upstairs to get ready to leave her husband hollered, “Where have you been? I have been looking for you!”

Peeking out from their bedroom door, she smiled, “Walking, thinking, and now I’m getting ready to go the festival!”

Before she could utter another word, Fran saw two bedroom doors fly open as her daughters whined, “But mom, you promised…”

Fran had never, for as long as she could remember interrupted anyone. However, she had, had enough! So with as well modulated a tone as she could muster, she insisted, “The weather has warmed up, and it’s a wonderful day for an excursion!”

The sister rolled their eyes. They had learned long ago that when their mom spoke that way, one or both of them, was going to have to do whatever she wanted. Without saying a word Laila looked at Renniha, and nodded in their mothers direction, as if to say, ‘you’re turn.’

Renniha sighed resigning herself to the outing. However, Fran was aware of all they were not saying and announced, “I don’t want any of you to put yourself out on my account!”

The girls looked at each other, shrugged, and turned way.

Ten minutes later, Fran was behind the wheel of their station wagon and heading out all by herself. She felt a little sorry that her brood had decided to forgo the event. However, as she pulled onto the level graveled place where the sign directed visitors to park, her sprits revived reminding her that this was her day, not theirs and that she deserved to do something for herself every now and then.

Even before she locked the car door, Fran spotted the old farmhouse, which someone had bequeathed to the town. As she walked toward it, she was taken back to another time, a time when life was simpler. It was only upon reaching the place that she discovered the grand Victorian nestled in the trees, some distance behind it. Wanting to inspect it more closely she headed out and spotted a meticulously calligraphied sign that read “Butterfly Crossing” on a pristine field of white with raised letters of forest green. I saw one just like this when I parked, she thought to herself aware that the place had so captivated her imagination that her practical nature had taken a backseat to her sense of joyful exploration.

Feeling unfettered by obligations, she walked up the winding path to the Victorian and as she neared the place, Fran realized that it had been built to look much like the brownstones in San Francisco. She paused for a moment, and thought about the people that might have once lived, or visited the place, which was adorned for the season, resplendent in all its Victorian trappings. Interested in the buildings architecture, she mounted the wide veranda that enwrapped the small but pristine Mans, and walked around, as she peered within to view its rooms. She wanted to go in but trying the door, found it locked. Thinking there might be someone about with the key, she turned intending to search for them. She heard the sound of children’s laughter, and headed toward them. As she did, she spotted another “Butterfly Crossing” sign. All right, she thought, I get the message! Yet, as she neared the children, she laughed inwardly as she told herself, Butterfly crossing, why that is silly!

Perhaps if she had not discounted the words, and thereby found herself needing something else to think about, Fran might not have looked up to gage the weather front that was slowly approaching and noticed that the trees across the field, were aglow with moving, shimmering, and varied colors. As she happily exclaimed later, “I will never know for sure what drew my attention toward the fallow field, for I was interested in the Mans, and did not look at anything else once I spotted it!”

All Fran knew at her moment of discovery was that as she stepped on to the field, her feet began to sink into the moist brown earth. An old gray haired gent in a wagon filled with hay pulled up along side and asked, “Do you want a closer look at the butterflies?” Suspending her version of reality, Fran nodded her head excitedly, got into the wagon, and watched with baited breath as he brought her within a few inches of the beautiful and varied array of the butterfly grove. She watched in wondered awe as the old gent lovingly explained, “This grove of trees is in their flight path. They stop here each year, eat till their full, and fly off to continue their migration to warmer places where they winter.”

As she listened to his soothing voice, Fran felt herself surrounded by Monarchs, almost as if she was one of them. She felt the beauty and serenity of their rhythmetic wings that moved the leave of the trees to stir ever so slightly, causing them to look, for want of any better observation, like a living organism. Fran found herself wishing to be one with them, and suddenly aware of that idea, she paused to think. Nevertheless, not being fashioned to be other than she was, at some point she heard the gent’s voice continue, “When they stop here they bring a blessing, and because of that people come to see them from miles, and miles around. In fact,” he smiled knowingly, “that’s why the family that owned the place left it to the city, and made certain that this place was marked as a Butterfly Crossing. But,” he cautioned, “you won’t find many town folks here because their used to the butterfly days. Besides,” he chuckled, “sometimes the pretty little things are nothing more that a darn nuisance!”

Fran looked at him quiziqually. The old gent must have sensed her unasked question because rather than swat the teams rump, and direct them back to the bale of hay where others waited patiently to be taken to the trees he sighed, “Having them here is an amazing experience. Until they get in your path, causing you to chose a different route. Worse yet, they make it impossible for life, to continue in any orderly fashion because of all the visitors. Then, he sighed sadly, as he swatted the horses rump with his reigns and they headed back to the hay bale, “As quickly as they come, their gone. I think their about ready to fly away, since they’ve been here for a week and that’s about as long as they stay.”

She understood more than the old gent said, for having said goodbye to Analise last year as she headed off for her first semester at Stanford, and facing the same ordeal with Renniha’s leaving after the holidays to take up residence in Palm Springs where her grandparents and fiancĂ©e live, Fran knew she was facing another loss. Yet, as Fran, headed back to her car and turned back to glance longingly at the grove, she reminded herself that she had learned to let go, as she unlocked the door. As she started the motor, she turned back for a last look and sighed, Their have been only a handful of places in my life that I have regretted leaving, and I most assuredly I have never allowed myself to regret leaving a place I can visit again. Nevertheless, even as she told herself that, and turned her gaze away from the Cypress trees and focused of the road, she felt a pang of sorrow that reminded her of how she had felt and would feel again.

Years later she would admit but only after her husband of sixty years had died, that, in the comfort of old age she had learned to let go of each member of her family, and many other things, and learned how to say hello to the unexpected with a smile.

Yet when she left that grove the first time, Fran found it hard to shake off the feeling that in leaving it she was loosing something special. “Perhaps you have felt that way at times too,” she told them, her aged voice resonate with the joy of her discovery thirty-some years before as she continued, “It's, to hard to put it into words because they still fall short, yet if I had to explain it I would say, it's like a leaving when one should be cleaving.” However, that first time, as Fran hurried home to get dinner started; she realized that she was glad she had taken the time to steal away.

As she hurried in the front door a chill wind came off the Back Bay, and Fran sighed bidding a fond farewell to fairyland fantasies as she hung up her coat. Renniha, her very grown up nineteen year old greeted Fran, and listened as her mom waxed lyrical about her experience. While she did, Renniha realized, yet again, what a gifted poet her mom might have become if she had not married and devoted herself to her family.

“Please come to the butterfly grove,” Fran begged, her eyes bright with the possibility of sharing one last outing together before the daughter that was, became the woman that was to be. As Renniha aquesied, Fran thought, It might have been my not taking no for an answer, I will never know for sure! However, she did not care as they headed back together. All she knew was that they were headed back; just the two of them, and that was enough for her! When they arrived, Fran discovered Renniha was placating her. At least that is how it seemed to her when they reached the bale of hay, found the kindly gent gone, and had to wait until he returned while Renniha silently fumed.

However, it was all worth it to Fran when her daughter spotted the Monarchs. As her daughters face lit up, Fran took a silent photograph and stored it in the memory of her heart as she etched Renniha’s expression of delight upon her mind. This moment she sighed will be one of my favorite ones to remember because it will remind me of our precious time together! As the butterflies did their colorful dance for Renniha, mother and daughter stared in wonder, speechless yet united in a way they had never been before. Then as the sun waned, the two of them headed home, savoring the memory.

As they got out of the car, Renniha turned to her mother and exclaimed, “Thank you insisting I come, and see!”

Fran smiled back thinking that was the end of it, but it was just the beginning. From that time until Renniha left, everyday whether it was good weather or fowl, the two of them headed out to the grove. It was a season of sharing, and carrying. Of growing close to each other as they prepared to say goodbye, for her second daughter was intent on heading down south, and Fran was saying put keeping hearth and home for her and Mort, happy to be there whenever either of their gown daughters could visit or drop by.

Yet as surely as the seasons came around again, the butterflies came back, and this time Fran made the pilgrimage with Laila, her youngest. However, knowing she would be her last child, and that the teen was just a few years shy of flying the nest, instead of watching the array of color as she had before, and allowing herself the fantasy of wondering what it would be like to live the life of the Monarch, Fran watched Laila.

The years, and the cycles of life ebbed, and flowed and before anyone knew it, Fran and Mort were old. Then one day quite unexpectedly Mort died. However, when the daughters returned for the funeral, and spent some time with their mother, and asked about their fathers last words, Fran smiled, “He said I will meet you there.”

The sisters did not know what that meant, but sensing it was something private between their parents, they chose not to pry. However, rushing to their mothers bedside eighteen months later to say goodbye as she prepared to leave them Fran asked, “Remember coming to the butterfly grove?”

Each of them nodded, for visiting the grove had become a family tradition and even though the family was disbursed, at least once a year they all came home with husbands and children in tow to head out too the old farm.

Seeing her brood nod, Fran smiled, “That my children is how God looks at you and me. He looks at us as any loving parent would, for we are His whether we believe or not.” Seeing some of her grandchildren look at her questionly Fran sighed, “How do I know? I cannot explain it all, but in the same way I found myself drawn to the Butterfly Grove, God is drawing us to Him, even now. Even now, he is calling to each of us through the Ruach Ha Kodesh, “Come and see.” Even now, the women are racing to the tomb. Even now, the angel is saying, “Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.”

Analise, Renniha, Laila, their husband, and children nodded as grandma Fran continued, “Even now, the butterflies are flying away. Even now, it is time to decide what you will give your life to, the world, or the Messiah. Even now, before the sunsets, and all is hushed, even now there is time before the last butterfly flutters by. Even now Mort waits for me there.”
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God at Work - author unknown

I received this from my friend, Joyce Cardoa with a request that I pass it on as one would a chain letter. Since I have never participated in those, I was tempted to delete the missive. However, the title, “God at Work,” caught my eye and I’m glad it did because the true story contained within in is precious and priceless. That’s why I posted it, hope you enjoy it, and ask you to invite others to the blog so they can experience “God at Work.”

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times even, the total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

“And what do you want,” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He's really, really sick...and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don't know,' Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have,” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents--the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven the faith of a little child.

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. I know you'll keep the ball moving! Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!

A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you've granted to me.

Today I pass the friendship ball to you. Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.


When you are sad...I will dry your tears.

When you are scared...I will comfort your fears.

When you are worried...I will give you hope.

When you are confused...I will help you cope.

And when you are lost...and can't see the light,

I shall be your beacon...shining ever so bright.

This is my oath...I pledge till the end.

Why you may ask...because you're my friend.

Signed: GOD
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Diana Kilgore’s “Can I???” touched my heart and I know it will touch yours as well

Paula’s Comment…

I have known Diana longer than any other friend and thought I knew just about all there was to know about her since we have prayed for and supported each other through thick and thin meeting weekly for so many years that neither of us remembers a time without the other. However after I read her story about the first book that mattered, I realized that if we do not ask the right questions those we hold close to our heart and consider dear, remain forever distant to us in areas that matter. As you read I hope her story resonates within your heart as it did mine and causes you to ask those you love questions whose answers will deepen your relationships. Because if we truly believe that God knew everything about us and loved each of us enough to send his son to pray for us as we read in John 17:17-19 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified,” then for us to do as Messiah prayed and pray for others to do the same, we need to know each other so we can pray as he did.

I received Diana’s story in two parts and I believe it best to post her story in this manner because it shows that relationships and answers evolve. Although Diana’s answers might sound simple, they are anything but. Enjoy…

Diana’s Book…

A book I loved as a child and still do is "The Little Pony Engine" also know as “The Little Engine That Could.” This is the first book I remember reading over and over when I had just learned to read. "I think I can..., I think I can..." was a very self-empowering and self-controlling phrase for this little girl to learn. When I met a situation that was difficult, I would remember the phrase and it gave me strength. About this time in my life, I needed to be strong. My Dad was overseas in the Korean War and Mom and I missed him very much. I still have my original book torn and taped, which I keep in a safe. I bought a newer copy to read again the story that still encourages me. I love the little train that although its size was small its determination was big enough moment by moment.

Diana’s emailed addition…

What I did not include were the trains that were to busy or proud to help the load of toys that desperately wanted to get to the children who were excitedly waiting their arrival. It just did not seem to flow with such a negative thought. This really influenced me too as I saw these traits in others. I did not like them either. I guess that is why I am a "helper" not a leader. Possibly, because of this influence at such an early age I try where others do not. I find I often succeed eventually and it feels so good to know I did something that was pretty great.


Diana ended her missive with, “You might want to insert this aspect, or not. I was sort of in a hurry to get this to you.” A true friend, Diana has given me the option of adding, deleting, or changing what she sent. I love that about her!

As I pondered changing what she sent to make it one unified submission, I realized it might take away from the emotional reaction I had experienced when I read the pieces as written and received. That led me to wonder if I had watered down other things like abhorrent behavior, mine or others difficulties or our Lords Gospel. After all each of us can probably recite John 3:16, which was the first bible verse Diana learned when she was in the first grade. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Yet we leave the best out when we do not add verses 17 – 20 which complete Gods missive to us. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”

Here is the crusted of what I learned from that “Little Engine Who Could,” this time around….Since God has told us that his word is active and will accomplish his purpose, do we, by choosing to shorten his message cause people to misunderstand him. Worse yet, do we create a barrier to the message, which did not exist when it was first preached? These questions from a “Little Book that Could…The Bible,” if only we would not change or shorten the message…
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Morning Prayer - Keeping Our Eyes on The Lord

I posted one of Ron’s favorite pictures of us on my Facebook page yesterday. Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered that friends had posited their high fives. That led me to post the following, “When one looks at others with the eyes of God we see love. Therefore, let us befriend ourselves for if God loved us, and we know He did, then why should we discount or doubt how we look or our worth! My prayer for you today is that you receive what is good, disguard what hinders, and rejoice!”

A moment later, I remembered Psalm 64:10, which speaks of rejoicing not over a picture but in the Lord. It says, “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!”

My prayer for you and me today is that we rejoice in what lasts forever and keep our eyes on the Lord.
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My conceptual editor contacted me! Now the on Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing – Yearning, Begins!

Because I call this blog, the year of 5,000 books and my book is now in conceptual edit I have post the email I sent to my mishpuka (family) in Messiah.

It’s finally happened! My conceptual editor contacted me! I never knew I could get so excited about receiving an email from someone I have never spoken to or met. But I did and so will you when I share that this is the phase I’ve been waiting for and praying about! I am grateful that the Lord has given me a woman who probably speaks Spanish since her last name is Rivera. I must admit that I’m thrilled because I asked them to give me an editor that spoke and read Spanish and/or Hebrew. Since there is more Spanish in the text than Hebrew, having this editor work with me feels like an added blessing.

So that you will better understand what is entailed, below you will find the outline I received which shows what will happen so that you can continue to pray me through this process.

1. I will edit the entire manuscript, watching for things such as grammar, consistency, plot, description, etc.

2. I will send you the edited manuscript, which will have problem areas and my suggestions highlighted. You will look through those (I'll explain this in more detail at that time) and approve, disapprove, or modify in a different font color.

3. You’ll return the manuscript to me, and I will "combine" our edits.

4. I will return the manuscript to you with our Content Approval Form.

5. You will look over the manuscript thoroughly, sign the form if you are content, and return both it and the manuscript to me. Again, I'll explain more as each step approaches.

Please note that delays or missed deadlines on author's part will result in at least a month delay in book production.

Here's what I need from you:

1) Please send me a quick e-mail confirming the exact title of your manuscript as well as the name you wish to use.

2) If you have anything else you need to add to the manuscript (Dedication, Foreword, Acknowledgments, Epilogue, Addendum, etc.) or if you have not yet completed your Book Teaser/Author Bio, please send those items to me as soon as possible.

3) Send any endorsements to me as soon as possible to include them in/on the book.

Also, you should have received an author questionnaire from our director of copy editing a couple weeks ago. If you have completed the questionnaire, please send that to me.

I have sent her everything as requested and will hear from her within six weeks. At that time, she will send me her editing suggestions, which I will review. When the text is corrected I will send the manuscript to her. Ideally, this would take a few weeks. However, do to ministry constraints and other variables it might take longer.

Once she has received my corrections she will merge the texts and send the corrected manuscript to me. That might take a month. Then my work begins in earnest because I need to examine every dot and tittle to make sure the manuscript reads well, has retained its flavor, and accomplished what God asked me to do.

Since I am wise enough to know my editing skills are lacking and aware that having read and reread the text so often I might think something is there that was deleted I have asked two very gifted friends of mine to read the text at this point and let me know if something seems amiss.
That might take time but I would not want to move ahead until I hear their comments and read their notes. Therefore, I will let you know when the manuscript goes to them because their feedback is critical to the success of this project.

Thank you again for partnering with me. If you plan to attend the MJAA Conference at the Irvine Hyatt on February 18-20, please drop by my Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing pre-sale book table and say hello. Invite your friends to stop by as well.
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