Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Website

I am so glad you found me here, but this is my old blog. I have updated my space to a new address and a new look.

Please visit me at:

LindaChontos.com


Photo by S. Etole, copyrighted All Rights Reserved. Used with special permission.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Whodunit?


In the seven years I've been blogging, I don't think I've ever mentioned the fact that I love mysteries.Perhaps I've felt a bit frivolous after reading the book lists, filled with deeply spiritual tomes, of other bloggers. I do read those books. Nevertheless, I confess. The only thing I like better than a good cozy mystery is a good cozy mystery series.

My shelves are filled with Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Katherine Hall Page, Alexander McCall Smith to name a few. Some of them are brand new hard covers and others are paperbacks whose pages have yellowed with age. All of them dear friends.

I love searching through used books stores for the old mysteries that have been relegated to the clearance tables or piled in corners to collect dust. One of my best finds was a full dozen Anne Morice mysteries. I nearly did cartwheels in the aisles. I love Anne Morice!

It isn't easy to find her books any more. She was born in 1918 and died in 1989. Her first mystery, "Death in the Grand Manor" was published in 1970. She went on to write twenty-two more Tessa Crichton mysteries. Did I mention the fact that I especially love British cozy mysteries? Anne Morice perfectly fits the bill.


The heroine/sleuth is a young actress named Tessa Chrichton. Tessa is married to Robin, a detective with the British C.I.D., which comes in very handy when you are forever tripping over dead bodies.

Tessa tells the stories in her own delightfully witty way. It isn't unusual to find yourself chuckling while reading about the death of the old Nannie. She has a definite way with words.

I just reread for the I don't know how many times "Nursery Tea and Poison." It loses none of its charm in the retelling.

On a visit to her godmother Serena Hargrave's home, Tessa finds herself in the middle of family upheaval. Pelham Hargrave, twin brother of Serena's late husband, has returned to England with a very young and rather neurotic bride. Has he some darker motive for returning after all these years than merely visiting the old estate?

Serena's ungainly daughter has harbored resentment for years over the loss of what she considered to be  her rightful inheritance. She is decidedly unhappy when the heir and his young wife return.

At the very center of all the trouble, ensconced in her nursery suite upstairs, is Nannie. She rules the household, has for three generations, and is the keeper of far too many secrets. She tries desperately to reveal the darkest of those secrets to Tessa with her dying breath.

Someone has poisoned poor, old Nannie, and before Tessa, with Robin's help, can unravel the mystery a member of the family is found shot to death.

Morice gives us plenty of cleverly placed clues and any number of suspects, but it's never easy to figure out whodunit.

If you're looking for a well written mystery series, I highly recommend this one. You may have to do a bit of detective work yourself to find them, but it is absolutely worth the effort.

Blessings,
Linda


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Love Idol


Dear Lord,

Here we are at the beginning of the Lenten season again. Although it wasn't something I understood until just a few years ago, it has become a special time for me.

You've seen what Jennifer is doing. I read about it the other day, and it spoke to my heart. But it's a busy time for me, and I thought I would just read her book and let the others join the movement she's started.

You had other plans. I've come to know your plans are infinitely better than mine. Besides, it's just about impossible to ignore that still, small voice.

So here I am. I need to identify the love idol in my life and allow You to sweep it out of my heart. I don't need to spend a lot of time pondering and digging deep. I know what that idol is. After all, You have been working with me on this one for a very long time.

I believe I'm making progress, but just maybe this is the time to banish it once and for all.

It's time to stop:
  • worrying about what others think of me
  • comparing myself to others and always falling short
  • lying in bed at night rehashing every encounter and conversation
  • allowing discouragement to keep me from doing the things You've called me to do
  • trying to be all things to all people
  • feeling as though I am constantly letting You down
  • laboring under the weight of the shame and guilt of things past

It's time to stop trying so hard to win the "approval of others." It's time to know, deep down in my heart of hearts, that I am PREAPPROVED by You.

It's time to stop trying to be a good girl and know I am already perfect in Your eyes. You gave me that priceless gift when You gave Your Son to die for me.

I'm surrendering that idol, Father. I'm accepting Your grace and love. With it comes the freedom to trust You in all things and to be all You created me to be. And best of all, the knowledge that You approve of me. What could be better than that?

With love,
Your Daughter

Please go here to read about the movement Jennifer has started. Perhaps there's something you know you need to let go of. Sometimes it's a little easier knowing you're in very good company.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Trail of Glory



We celebrated her fifteenth birthday on Saturday. She is the fourth grandchild in a line of seven. Three older; three younger. And where have the years gone?

It has become such a common saying among those of my own generation. We look around and suddenly the teenagers we once worried and prayed over are worrying and praying over teenagers of their own. And truly, where have the years gone?

We are in the sunset of our lives. It looks as though it would linger long, a great golden orb hanging over the horizon. It colors the world in magnificent hues, and we think we have a while to watch. But blink and it is gone leaving only a trail of glory.

I don't long for more days than are written for me. I only long to live them well. To rest a while and notice the beauty, to work a while and give from my heart. To leave a trail of glory captured from the Son.

Joining my dear friend Laura:


Blessings,
Linda

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Burden



For as long as she could remember, even before she knew its name, the longing for approval resided in her heart. She tried her best to please everyone in her little world, chastising herself whenever she fell short.

Her longing did not go unnoticed. People named her "nice" and "kind." But it didn't fill that empty spot in her heart because she knew better. She knew there were dark places no one saw - things that would cause them to withdraw the approval she cherished if only they knew.

She confessed those things and understood they were forgiven, but her heart would not forget. She even began to correct people when they called her "nice" or "kind." Perhaps she thought the confessing would  be its own means to getting their approval.

Still, when she lay down in her bed at night, the silence and darkness closing in around her, she picked up those confessed things and felt crushed beneath the weight of guilt and shame.

She went on a Christian Retreat and packed the guilt and shame along with her Bible and notebook. She sat on the straight-backed chair in the large room and the lady began speaking. She had never seen her before, but she spoke as if she could see right straight into her heart.

When she finished speaking, she asked everyone to write down on a piece of paper the thing they thought could never be forgiven - the one they carried like a lead weight in a fragile heart. She took her little pencil and put the words on paper - the words that had kept her bound for so long.

"Now," the speaker said. "I'm going to collect all of the papers. Then, after you go back to your rooms tonight, I'm going to take every single one of them out to the big camp fire and throw them in. They will curl in the intense heat and burst into flame. They will be gone forever - powerless."

She could hardly see for the tears, as she walked into the night. But she walked lighter. Something inside had been released. A weight had lifted. In the darkness, she felt the light of His love and the warmth of His approval.

It had been there all along. She had only to open her hands to receive it.

"Let me not dwell so much within
My bounded heart, with anxious heed-
Where all my searches meet with sin,
And nothing satisfies my need-
It shuts me from the sound and sight
Of that pure world of life and light."
    Anna L. Waring

Joining Jennifer today. Please come visit. She has something very special to share.



Blessings,
Linda

Monday, February 24, 2014

They Sing



My favorite form of exercise is walking. It's the one thing I've been able to do consistently over the years. I confess, some days I feel too weary to put on my tennis shoes and walk out out the door, but once I get started I'm glad I made the effort.

Some days I walk with something streaming into my ears. Every once in a while I grab the camera on my way out the door. Most days my little stack of index cards comes along for the ride - my time to put the Word in my heart.

Every once in a while, I take my reading glasses off and step outside empty-handed. On those days I am much more aware of the sights and sounds around me. Especially the sounds.

There is the ever-resent sound of birds singing their uniquely beautiful songs. Even on the very gloomiest of days, their pure notes fill the air. A cardinal calls to his mate, and the answer comes back crystal clear and pure. A mockingbird perches on the wire above my head and proudly runs through his repertoire. The notes flow in and around one another. You can hear a majestic song of praise if you listen carefully.

I walk and wonder at their trusting nature. Don't they know the sunny day will be blown away by a cold front scheduled to arrive by late afternoon? Shouldn't they be flying around and doing something? Haven't they heard it will be a colder than usual winter? One would think they would make some sort of preparation.

Instead they seem to glory in the moment and leave the rest to a Father they somehow know is watching over them. "Why fret about the future?" they trill.

He has always taken care of them in the past. He is with them even now. He will be faithful tomorrow. Let's live this one moment and be thankful.

Joining my sweet friend Laura at Playdates With God.



Blessings,
Linda

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Small

The word for this Five Minute Friday is:

Small

start:


I am drawn to small things. Bouquets of tiny wild flowers are more apt to find their way onto the old kitchen table than a more flamboyant mix of larger blooms. Tiny tea sets make their way onto the shelves of the old hutch my father crafted. I hunt for little salt cellars in antique shops and flea markets. I cannot resist diminutive china animals and birds.

How is then I find it so difficult to find the beauty in being small myself. Oh, not my physical size to be sure. The me that resides inside. The self that prays to become less yet fights this longing for "bigness." The size that says I matter to you and your opinion of me is of utmost importance.

He, who is larger than anything I can possibly imagine, looks at this "bigness" stuffed inside the small and gently reminds me that I am perfect in His sight. Just the right size - even in my smallness.

stop

I'm hopping over to Lisa-Jo's to add my small post to the others. Won't you join us?

Five Minute Friday

Blessings,
Linda