Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams

Reverends Faith and David McDonald



How do you define the help and love you receive from God? How do you define the work of a reverend and learn to ask for assistance when needed? How do you learn many lessons in life and embrace the love of God, understand his message and become a better person and lead a more productive life? As I read each of the amazing essays filled with honesty, humor, special messages and important insights for the reader, you take a seasonal journey through the many stories that authors Reverends Faith and David McDonald share in his thought-provoking book that will make you smile, think, and embrace God and his love for all of us. Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams will take the reader on a journey through the many seasons we encounter and learn how to focus and deal with some of the most difficult spots we as humans get ourselves into, the ways we try to worm out of a mess and find joy within the pages of this book and much more. This is my review of Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams by Reverends David and Faith McDonald.


The authors tell readers about Whole Heart Abundance Ministries( W.H.A.M.) and their work with them and receiving the word of God. In His Presence clarifies tit more and then Invisible Lines which will illuminate the reader’s understanding of social lines, learning lines, need lines, efficiency lines and much more. For further clarification you need to read the chapter. Next, “Three Stooges in Inner Space,” where the authors present a great dialogue among the Three Stooges: You have to love it. Imagine standing in a healing line and listen to these three discuss someone that came for help and needed to be healed. It’s hysterical yet sends a definite message: Point: If you ‘re not getting things done- who’s running things: GOD or the Three Stooges? You decide!

Winter has arrived and Christmas shopping is next on the author’s story list as they explain shopping for Christmas presents and your right to choose those you want to send gifts and those you should not. The explanations are simple, the thought expressed definitely correct as you should not buy presents because you have to or if you cannot afford them Don’t give gifts out of guilt or out of pride. Buy the person what they want or need and not want you think they want or need. The rest read page 69. Don’t make gift giving like Pulling Teeth! We more stories about W.H.A.M., Jack and the Beanstalk, Black Friday and “Are We Shopping for Gifts of Good Deals? “ the Perfect gift given is in perfect love is always the best deal.” My birthday video that my two nieces sent me for my birthday yesterday was more precious than anything anyone could have given me or bought. Read this story and understand the true meaning of the words giving and gift. They continue with stories about Santa, Blue Christmas, and include several original poems. “Are You A Smart Woman,” is great and I think after reading it you can figure out the answer for yourself. Moving ahead to Spring and the change of season with their favorite movie The Wizard of Oz, “Genie In a Bottle,” which brings back everyone’s memories about I Dream of Jeanie and when Major Nelson found the bottle and opened it. Allowing the genie to pop out and grant him whatever he wanted. But, God is not in a genie’s bottle and his job is not to grant you all of your wishes. But, he is walking on that beach line and he is carrying someone precious in his arms and that someone is YOU! I loved Ten Things God Wants You to Remember. This you have to read but I will whet your appetites and give you some hints as to why this short story is really special. “ I believe in you,” he says and “I will never fail you.” There is much more for you to learn and read.

Finally, Hot As Hell! Yes, you read it right! Dealing with daily stress, pressure and life can really heat things up for anyone at times. You need to deal with these three difficult factors of life and learn how to find you way. God: “What in the world are you doing to me?” One question we often ask or yell out loud or scream in the street or sticking your head out of the window and yelling these words. Find out the answer to dealing with life in general when you read this short story. I love Hope Happens When as the next essay I want to share with you in my review. Hope Happens when: I believe in promises again in God and humanity.” Hope happens when:  I quit allowing hopeless people to dictate my frame of mind.” Next, let’s listen in as Billy and God have a really interesting conversation



There are many times that we find ourselves in a serious quandary over how we should handle certain situations. So, why is it when asked if we need help we shy away or turn it down. Some feel uncomfortable to accept help while others refuse to admit even to themselves that they could use assistance. Do we feel inadequate? Are you offended when asked if you need help? Those that ask to help you should be trained and equipped to handle the situation that requires their assistance. Ministers are asked for help and gladly give it upon request. As Reverend Faith McDonald states, “ Ministers can only do that which we are equipped, allowed and empowered to do.” Believe it or not the requester can handle most requests for help if they take the time and put the effort into it. But, some prefer to flounder, wander and drift in many directions and before finding where they are really supposed to go. In the second story this message is explained, as many need to find direction, many must learn that if “God is moving you in a new direction, then GO! Remember it is God who created his own GPS to help guide us and get us on the right path. (God Positioning Saints.) But, what about if God decided to show up in Mayberry leading Barney, Goober, Ernest T and Otis into having what they might consider a philosophical discussion or the rest of us a comedy of words. Imagine if Otis saw God dressed in a cop’s uniform. Now, that might be what he thinks he saw but then who knows the reality that Otis sees. Ernest T things that this might be possible and Barney chimes in with his own thoughts as Goober feels that God would not wear a regular uniform but that of a state patrol officer. Well, after careful deliberation and discussion they come to their own conclusion. Just whom they think God is? Read it to learn the answer.


Betrayals come easy to some. There are those that endear themselves to you, ingratiate themselves into our lives and then take it all away for some reason that gives them pleasure. Read “Judas,” Kiss”, but make sure you go not get too close or allow that person to plant one on you. Judas: You know his final outcome don’t let it be yours!

“Stranger that Fiction takes two young boys on a journey they will never forge. Fearless is next when our author relates the true meaning of the word, the reasons she was named Faith and what fear does to a person and how she learnt to cast it off.


Each story, essay or teaching poses a questions we all face in our lives, teaches us a lesson or explains “our relationships or lack of,” with God. Failures come and successes too, but how you work through them, embrace the victories knowing God himself, gave these victories to you, is just part of what the authors want to impart to all readers. Each offering in each chapter is unique, presents a situation that the author’s have lived, a proverb explained or an encounter they’ve shared adding in a real life experience and a strong touch of humor and you have the Heavenly Gems for Earthy Jams filled with just the right recipe for a five star book of priceless gems to read when you need to understand life’s mishaps and how to deal with them and work them out with God’s help.

Finding a place in this world for yourself and not feeling isolated or alone is what some feel each and every day. Read, “Where’s My Space,” to understand how to deal with this and more.


The authors tell the reader about W.H.A.M and their work with them and receiving the word of God. In His Presence clarifies it more and then Invisible Lines takes the reader inside the world of what we need each day to survive: Need Lines, Social Lines, Efficiency Lines and even Initiation Lines. Next, imagine seeing the Three Stooges in a healing line trying to help those in need of help! Picture Moe, Curly and Larry trying to help someone that needs help! This is hysterical. But, there is a definite message: If you’re not getting things done: Who’s running things: God or the Three Stooges? Think about it before you answer!


The season of winter is next and Christmas shopping is on everyone’s mind including the authors. So, you want to give presents and you are not sure what to do. Never buy a present or give one out of pride or guilt. Never buy someone something that you want him or her to have or think they need. Buy presents for a person that they need or you know they might want. Don’t buy what you cannot afford and if you cannot afford to buy gifts then don’t. The nest story dealing with this same issue is: “ Are We Shopping for Gifts of Good Deals?” The perfect gift given in perfect love is always the best deal! The video my two nieces made for me yesterday for my birthday just priceless and the best gift I have ever received. The rest read it. Read Blue Christmas, the many different original poems the authors include, “Are You a Smart Woman?” which asks this question of not just woman but men too! The answer you can figure out for yourself after reading it.  Moving ahead to spring and the Wizard of Oz, “ Genie In A Bottle,” which reminds us and brings back memories of that beach where Major Nelson found Jeannie and all his wishes came true. God walked on that beach line too and he carried someone precious in his arms and that someone dear reader is YOU!


Finally, Ten Things God Wants You to Remember, which includes: I believe in you and I will never fail you. Hot as Hell tells how we need to deal with our daily stresses in life and when things get really tough. Ending with Hope is What Happens when: I quit allowing hopeless people to dictate my frame of mind. Or God is for me not against me. There is much more. What would this book be without a conversation between a young boy named Billy and God. Listen to the conversation and learn the most important lesson: Just open side the eyes of your faith and of your heart and you shall see me. GOD!


Finally: their websites, information about W.H.A.M. and final thoughts. Lessons that are invaluable that can be used in discussion groups, religious classes, character education and parents with children at home.






Reflections: My Review

Reflections: Fran Orenstein

Look inside the true reflection of a mirror and what do you see? Within the mirror you see your image and the way you look to world right now. But, if you look deeper within that glass what you might find is your history and your life from the time you started school until the last time you put on your makeup and fixed your hair. Life takes us on many different journeys and our physical appearance changes greatly over the years. Journeys take on different meanings to each of us. From the time we can walk, go to school, enter our first classroom we all have vivid memories that we will never forget. As you hear the voice of author Fran Orenstein as she takes us on a journey of our life, her memories, the places she remembers, the changes that occurred to some she wished had remained unchanged we share her joys, triumphs and sorrows in her collection of poems Reflections. Each poem starting from the first tells a story of an event or place that she holds dear.


Children perceive things in their own way and often create worlds filled with wizards, ships, dragons and mystery. Poem one brings the author and the reader back to her childhood and her dreams. Angel wings and fairy dust, unicorns and magic swords are her world and that of many books whose pages you open and read about these amazing worlds. Next, we take a tour of Brooklyn through the eyes of the young author who remembers the Brownstones, playing stoopball, the ice cream man, mothers gossiping and the images of these Brownstones, which often mirrored those that lived in them. Coney Island- Nineteen Forties: I never went there in the 40’s but later on but Coney Island and reading this poem brings back so many great memories that my sister and I had on Sundays. The Steeplechase with the fake horses, screaming riders holding on and praying they’d make it until the end of the ride. Mermaid Avenue was where my grandmother lived, the amazing boardwalk, and of course Nathans. Home for me until recently was my favorite borough the Bronx. The author creates a picture of the Grand Concourse, Yankee Stadium, sneaking into the stadium, the IRT subway and the sounds of the city that bring back so many great memories. Of course two of my favorite Bronx Landmarks: The Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens are still there, so different from when we were younger, but so amazing. The Grand Concourse has changed a lot but the smell of the Kosher Pickles and those amazing and decadent Charlotte Rousses that were my one treat every week brought a super smile to my face as I read, “The Bronx, N.Y. 1947-1952. She continues with Maroon Memories, The Wurtsboro Hill, 1940’s and Greenfield Park, N.Y. 1948-1951.


The Catskill Tea Party that she describes when she is eight is truly priceless. The cups, the leaf plates filled with special plants and the organic natural food that she ate. You can see that her imagination was limitless. Let’s not forget the bullies in our lives or those that scared us just by entering a room or coming in our face. Big John, the handyman was really scary and described as this huge stone statue face that towered over them. The description would make anyone cringe and the end result as to how she overcame her fear you need to read for yourself. Now, of course Frogs hits home. My nephew and I would hunt frogs every summer. We went to the Catskills every July and remained there until after Labor Day. My nephew till this day loves frogs and although as the author brilliantly describes these slimy, ugly, amphibians that often leap on you when you least expect them to, my nephew loved them and had some for pets. Well, that is the ones we caught in the woods and brought back with us. Imagine as the author describes them as cold, wet, disgusting and having boys chase her with those lovely green things in their hands.

Headlights you may think refers to the ones on your car. You would be wrong. Girls that were well endowed and the boys thought worthy of more than just a fleeting glance, but a second look, will love reading this poem. Age 13 most girls laugh, have mood swings and still hug their teddy bears. But, then they start to change and their body’s look different and they start to find that boys are really not awful anymore but dreamy and when our author turns 15 well: He likes her headlights a lot and guess what he’s 16. To find out what Headlights are read the poem on page 35. Next is a poem about High School 1955, Maternal Love, Indifferent Love and Consequences.


Part Two: she titles the Emerging Woman as we leave part one Childhood or Early Years. The author creates a simple but intricate timeline of her life and the important moments she wants to share with the reader. Read Page 45 to understand her definition of Emerging Woman.

There are many poems in part two but I will highlight just a few because they all represent a time in her life but certain ones I feel warrant the spotlight of this reviewer. Poem One: Freedom really creates many pictures within the reader’s mind as the author takes herself and other women on a long walk down a twisted path of the path of life. Each of us, we hope has some positive impact on those we meet. Technology has changed greatly, pods, pads, tablets and phones have entered her world as they did most others. Feeling her age, obsolete at times, after all she started with radio, then television came later and of course she remembers heels, stockings and those infernal girdles that my mother wore. Let’s not forget the gloves, the hairstyles that made you look taller and dressing for work with accessories that made you look the part and of course let’s not forget the different mores that we have now when it comes to marriage and divorce and of course motherhood. This is a great poem that everyone will definitely take something different from it.
“The Path,” is a short poem with many meanings. “ The path of life’s journey is imbedded with stones of experience.” Elaborating by stating that each colorful step an adventure and that at every turn we all have some successes and failures. She continues to describe life in many interesting ways as she ends with the path wanders on, infinitely patient. We have the power to choose our own direction and hopefully we will find the right path and follow it reaching our own plateau or mountain. There are so many poems that are in part two that describe the many changes in her life, her feelings, her rise to adulthood and much more. But, “The Corner of Free Will,” really says quite a bit. Choices are made everyday but those choices often mold the direction we take what were we go from the moment we are able to speak until we take our first steps and head in the direction we hope will yield success. Every crossroad she states has a sign clearly marked. “This is the Corner of Free Will you have the choice to stop or go to turn or move ahead or not; decisions made at your own risk.” Very well said and definitely something kids today and adults should think about. Just where this corner takes the author and what you can learn read page 55.


The Mirror of Duality, The Soul Mirror and the Mirror of Truth round out this part of the book. But, the one I want to spotlight is The Mirrors on Her Wall, which I think most will identify with in some way. As you look into the mirror from many different angles you see the many sides of you not only your face but your entire world from many different places, The powerful woman, the bright and funny woman and of course the one that we hope stays within us all the one that is mischievous, fun loving and each one a different role for the author or person looking within the soul of the glass to reveal or hide. The Middle Years Follows and then The Elderly Year are the last two parts of this book.


A Quest is the first poem in The Middle Years. Everyone searches for answers in their lives and hopes they will find their own direction. The author calls herself the Wanderer as she searches the life for answers, reaches out to heal the wound that befall her and understand the meaningless words and gestures of false friends which is difficult. As you go through life many will betray you while others will not. The Quest is never ending. Next, The Faces of Friendship, Endings, I Wonder and my favorite: Recipe for Writer’s Lament which includes the ingredients we all need to create that amazing novel, poem or short story. Just some of the recipe: A cup of ability, a pinch of credibility and a teaspoon of humility and much more. The rest of the recipe and how it all blends when mixed together read page 93. The Elder Years defined on page 108 begins with The Forward March which discusses your decent and her decent into the elder years with the forces of aging taking control the memoirs and the fading dreams.


Seven decades of her life are shared with the reader in so many ways from early childhood until the present. But, in this last part I love Creaky Knees that most people at any age just might identify with as she walks and her knees lock, arthritic, groaning hips, running to the finish line when she was spry, aging joints and crooked backs. You could never make this up if you tried but you can feel each ache and pain described so vividly you want to give her something for relief. But, remember you can complain and carry one but you reached this age and it is truly worth it. Silent World and how it feels when you are alone and no one calls. The rest of the poems focus on her life, motherhood and her family. Going out alone to dinner or playing solitaire or making your own decisions are showcased in the Veil of Loneliness. There are so many poems each telling a story that you must take the journey with the author from start to finish and enter the amazing world of Dr. Fran Orenstein. Life begins at any age and yours dear friend is far from over there are many more stories, novels and poems that you need to pen and keep readers wanting more and teens reading your work.


Fran Lewis: reviewer