Thursday, December 8, 2016

Zach & Bre Kell; the Chip & Joanna of Restaurants

PART 1 -- Introducing Zach and Bre Kell

Okay, first of all, it was not Zach or Bre's idea to be identified as "the Chip & Joanna Gaines of Restaurants." No, I saw the resemblance from knowing their talents of taking rundown buildings and creatively fixing them up to be very popular places for fine dining. They have a gift, a knack to create an ambiance that makes you want to linger a little longer after you've received your check! Yep. It's a gift they've been given.

So please, let me be clear, the Kells are too humble and way too busy keeping their three casual-yet-classy, dining establishments going -- and with a fourth one under construction in Downtown Canton -- to think they're the Fixer Upper couple of restaurants. 

If you're not familiar with them, the Gaines are a dynamic, talented couple with a young family in Waco, Texas, who have taken distressed houses and turned them into gorgeous, cozy homes for their clients on HGTV's "Fixer Upper." 

The Kells are a dynamic, talented couple with a young family in Canton, GA, who have taken distressed buildings and turned them into very attractive, welcoming restaurants for families in our community. 

Zach and Bre Kell of Canton, GA

So what prompted me to introduce this story to you? I'm glad to share. Recently I was washing my car and our next door neighbor Bre was emptying her car of boxes that were overflowing with Christmas decorations. The thought came to me then, "Zach and Bre remind me of the Gaines who are making the community a better place by providing pleasant places for families to enjoy a great meal. So I called out to her and said that to her. She smiled and humbly shrugged it off. As she was carrying more boxes to her front porch she responded by telling me that she had just hosted a festive meal for her children's school, something she provides a few times each year. 

I said, "No, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your restaurants!" Then I thought, "Hey, this would be a great story to tell!" So I asked if I could write a couple blog posts about a small part of their ongoing adventures as restaurateurs, and they agreed.

The Kells create such a classy, comfortable atmosphere in their restaurants: from the gourmet dishes to the different trendy themes, and excellent service. They obviously work very hard and seem to passionately seek excellence in what they do! And the community benefits greatly because their efforts are being richly blessed by God.

Of course,  Zach and Bre do not do all of this alone, they have family, a staff and a team. There is so much more to this story.
I hope I've whetted your appetite to join me in sharing what they're cooking up next!

PART 2 -- of "Zach & Bre Kell, the Chip & Joanna of Restaurants." Y'all are invited to come back here to find out what else they've put on their plate of southern hospitality! No RSVP required. :)


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wazzup with US?

Wow. There is so much bashing, mud-slinging, and personal attacks launched on social media about the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election! Wow. It's like in Scripture where people in the same army turn their swords on each other! And we've been blinded to the truth that our REAL enemy is the devil himself and he's probably hilariously laughing at US (pun intended).

What happened to believing in the supernatural power of prayer to Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe? Are Scripture passages not applicable for us anymore because we have idols we love more than God?

Are we ignoring the Holy Spirit's whispers of wisdom because the machine gun-like media blasts are distracting us? Have we decided to just buy the lie the world is selling?

God's got this, (well, actually He's always got this no matter what IT is because He's sovereign) but it surely seems like we are ignoring Him.

 Look at the power and privileges He has promised His people:

  •  "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)
  • "IF my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14).
  • (In Matthew 17, when Jesus' disciples couldn't heal a man they asked Him why they couldn't do it.) "He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."'' (Matthew 17:20.)
  • "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
  • "You dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
  • "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (Ephesians 6:18)

And then we ask, "Okay, fine. So how do I know how to vote?"  Pray and keep praying to God for wisdom! Discover the truth about the candidates and their agendas, God's way. He is the best One to reveal truth to us!

"Any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:5)

Jesus is our anchor of HOPE. He said, "and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)

BOOM! There it is! 

And so we pray because He's already promised what He will do with our prayers... and he says, "IF." Do we believe Jesus is teaching us the TRUTH? Really? It's not about this generation...what about those coming behind us? What legacy are we leaving them?

With HOPE and with LOVE for HIS Church,
Psalm 34:3
Isaiah 62:1

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

telling my story for God's glory. period.

Everybody has a story. A life story. Ups. Downs. Roller coaster-type stuff of deep valleys and mountaintop experiences.  Christians believe all of these highs and lows are intentional from the hand of God. His sovereignty, the Providential plan of God. We believe the truth of God's Word -- He creates all things and controls all things. He always has and He always will. 

He turns darkness into light, sickness into wellness, ugly situations into beautiful outcomes. He's like that. He has this power of unconditional love for His people and no one can measure His passion because it is so great. God has unlimited power of His will and no one can stop His plans. He's absolutely awesome. 

And God gives everyone life stories to share with others so His greatness and goodness can be seen more clearly. This is how He is glorified. Christians love to tell these stories because no one can do what God can do! 

And I'm about to share mine with you. But first, I want to mention that I was invited to become a host of Cherokee Talk radio show on GRACE Radio 102.9 FM. It's a local radio station with a global worldview.  After I hosted a couple of shows, the station owner told me he wanted me to be interviewed so all the listeners who know who I am as the host.

Those who know me have already heard most of this story. But it's the story God has given me to tell. 

Whenever the lovely, godly Elisabeth Elliot  used to show up in Atlanta as one of the stops in her speaking tour, I showed up, too, because she was one of my mentors. (She didn't know me by name.) Her story is a heartbreaking testimony. Yes. Her journey very hard and very beautiful. She told it with so much grace.

But I recall her saying to thousands of women at one of the conferences I attended, "I asked the Lord one time, 'Why do you keep having me re-telling my story of the slaughter in Ecuador by the Auca Indians, Jim's death, and raising Valerie without a father? Why can't I share something else?' And God said to my heart, 'Because this is the story I have given you to tell."'  

So all of you sisters out there, God has given each one of us a story to tell for His glory. We show others who Jesus is by telling our stories! 

Here's mine:
Cherokee Talk radio with Polly Balint

Tell your story, Sister. Bring our Father glory.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

On. The. Radio. For. His. Glory.

Cherokee Talk is one of the features of the Cherokee County (GA) local radio station

Bob Alexander, host of "We Are Messengers" on GRACE Radio, and I were recently invited to host Cherokee Talk. The 25-minute show airs 7 am and 7pm, each Monday through Friday. 

We have the privilege and joy to interview God-honoring influencers from our Cherokee County community! We invite you and your friends to tune to 102.9 and listen in. 

For now, I have posted my first three interviews; all recorded at David Johnston's studio, D2ThaJ Productions, Inc. in Holly Springs, GA. Many thanks to you, David, for your gifts, your professionalism and gracious help to this girl cuz she's going through still another season of God's purposes stretching me! Oops. Did I say that out loud?

Okay, Brothers and Sisters, here are the first three interviews from GRACE Radio's talk show, Cherokee Talk:

Meet Diane Oberkrom & her son Augie. Diane is the founder of The Soul Food Market. She creates hilarious names for her scruptous cupcakes, cookies, cakes and snacks. She caterers weddings and parties, too. And she is a legal assistant for an attorney in Historic Downtown Canton. Augie is a freshman at Reinhardt College and has overcome a very dark season along with his mother. 

And now meet Brant and Julie Fountain, Global Year missionaries and staff members. This 20-something couple have been raised up to reach their own generation with the gospel through GAP year mission trips. This is a dynamic young couple with hearts humbled to willing and joyfully serve their Father in heaven, wherever He leads them! 

And finally here is: Bob Alexander interviews Polly Balint .

May we all continue building community for the glory of God...and for the good of others. We are the body of Christ. We are the light of the world. Let's encourage each other to keep on shining! 

Polly Balint
Isaiah 62:1
Psalm 34:3

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Still Missing Her, Still Thanking God for Her

My heart has been reminded that today, July 5, is the day my mother went to be with Jesus in heaven. She died in 2007 and I still miss her and I still thank the Lord for blessing me as her daughter.
The following is a page from my journal written May 27, 2007. I have published this before but I think it's part of the healing/grieving process and I want to honor the memory of my mother, Mary Elizabeth Gillette Brown. Here it is:


May 27, 2007
Journal Notes
By Polly Balint


When I was playing golf today with three friends, I started thinking about Mom and how she has given me such a wonderful legacy of loving life… and even in playing golf. While I was on the course, I started to remember what she was like on my last trip to Coral Gables…she had to be bathed and dressed. Couldn’t go to the bathroom by herself…couldn’t walk alone and barely can speak. She would shuffle to walk but it took two people to help her. BUT, she was still so pleasant and cordial and gracious and willing to do whatever was in front of her. She has always been that way…just accepting what she was given with thankfulness. I think the thing she loved to do the most is laugh. The last time I was with her --even when she was failing and medicated I could still make her laugh. It was a gift from God.
Growing up and even in my adulthood she always made everything in life an adventure; when we would be eating outdoors and she’d say, “We’re having a party!” Whatever it was, she made it special somehow; by her words and her attitude. When we were living in Pennsylvania on the farm, she’d load up a picnic basket and then load us in the station wagon and we’d drive down a pasture road and then she’d stop by our creek. She’d start a fire and get out her huge black iron skillet and make us fried egg sandwiches. We were having another party! Mom saw life as an adventure and always wanted to make the most of every moment with a joyful, thankful attitude.

She even handled the ripple effects of her tragic divorce with so much grace: Dad walked out on her with no warning and leaving her with five children. She had the heartbreak of him leaving and she obviously loved him, and then she faced the relentless struggles of raising the five of us high-energy children. She didn’t complain about our dad leaving.  She didn’t complain when she had to put food on the table (we had HUGE appetites). She loved us deeply and kept us all together. She made birthdays special. She made holidays special.  We took trips to Florida. We rented large cabins in NC for the summer. We took regular beach trips and beach-side vacations. We learned to play golf at young ages. We fished. We went boating. We had people over all the time for dinner.

 Press Photo of (then) Mary Gillette

One of her secrets is that she didn’t expect anything from anyone. She just gave from her generous heart. Everyone loved Mom and everyone in town knew her name: Mary Brown. She loved to entertain in our home and loved to dance and sing and loved to eat, especially ice cream! She had quite the gift of hospitality.
Another one of her secrets is that she did not care what people thought of her. She didn’t think about herself. She didn’t care if she got other people’s approval. That didn’t matter to her. She wasn’t impressed with nice things, even though that was the lifestyle in which she grew up: her parents gave her a convertible with her monogram on the car door, she had a pilot’s license and flew her own plane, went to a private school, lived the country club lifestyle and still knew how to run a farm. She wasn’t a snob. She just wanted to love people and make them feel good.

She had faith in God. But she was very quiet about it. It was like: She simply BELIEVED. She wanted to pray before we ate. She made sure we all went to church, Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. We grew up going to church. A few years ago she told me she prayed for things and prayed for us (her children) and she then would leave it with God and not worry about it after she prayed. We talked about what the Bible says about sin, forgiveness, heaven and hell.
But when I was playing golf today and thinking how calm she was when I last saw her and she just accepted what was going on:  her body failing and not able to take care of herself, it made me think: ‘that is the kind of abandonment God desires of me (of all His children) to just hand over my life to HIM and trust and believe He WILL take care of me, He will take good care of me.’ That’s the way she lived. She lived an abundant life. God gave that to her. God did it.
Mom was a freelance writer and author. She wrote "Fell's Teenage Guide to Winning Golf" and didn't use her first name --- only her first initial  -  because she was told it would  be better if people believed a man was the author. It was 1963. She also wanted to stay in amateur status as a golfer since she played in tournaments all over the southeast.

A few years ago she came to visit us and stayed with us a few days. It was obvious she was beginning to get very sick --her heart and her mind were weak  -- and yet she said, clearly and succinctly, “This house is you, Polly. This is where you belong. You should be living in a country club and you and Don and the girls should be using the pool, and the girls should be having their friends come over to the club and play tennis, too. You should use the golf course. You and Don should be going to the club for dinner. You should be playing golf, you love to play and you play so well! What do you need? What can I do for you? What can I give you?” 
I said, “Nothing, Mom. I have everything I need.” She just sat beside me and hugged me. When I showed her the Woodmont Bible study photo album I made she got tears in her eyes. She was so happy to know I was hosting Bible studies. She loved it. She loved it that I’m a free-lance writer, too. She acted so pleased to know what God is doing with my life. It is as if she prayed this all along! Maybe that’s what this is all about…maybe God is showing me I’m living the life she prayed for me and that’s why she was so happy about it.  
She strongly encouraged me to keep writing. I think encouragement was her strongest gift. She encouraged each one of us. She may be gone from this earth but God is still using her to encourage me. What a gift. I am thankful.

In honor of and in sweet and thankful memories of my mother:

Mary Gillette Brown

November 26, 1919 – July 5, 2007

All glory to God.
I welcome your comments.
I invite you to follow my blog.
Just sayin'.

Monday, July 4, 2016

some things will never TRUTH

America, as a nation, is willingly turning her back on truth, light, and life and choosing to walk right into captivity. The United States of America needs to be rescued.

It will not be more programs, more institutions, political clubs, social clubs, or even bigger church buildings that will set America free. It will be God's grace toward a remnant of faithful Christians who will regularly gather to fervently, faithfully cry out to God in prayer for repentance. That is what God will use to save America. It is PRAYER to God...but He says, "If."

It's written in Scripture:  
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will heal their land." 
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

"The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective."
(James 5:16)

How spiritually dark does it have to get for Christian families in America before we give up our worldly ways and fall on our faces before our Holy God and ask Him to forgive us for our unfaithfulness? 

The truth is, Jesus is our only HOPE.

Jesus said to Peter, "Upon this rock [of faith] I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18). BOOM! There it is!

We are the body of Christ. We are the light of the world. We are called by God to carry on the work of our Lord Jesus. He is looking for faithful worshipers who will live as His light-bearers. He will find them, too, and He will bless them as they serve Him.  

"Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." 
(Psalm 34:5).

So far, Lady Liberty is still standing and still shining the light in America. Hallelujah!
Glory to God.

Isaiah 62:1

Monday, June 27, 2016

generations of girls gonna gather. you comin', too? xoxo

"Because she competes with no one, 
no one can compete with her." 
THIS. It's FREEDOM, Girls! 
Yep. How to we get that place of FREEDOM in Christ?

We've gotta BELIEVE the TRUTH: GOD has glorified Himself by the way He made each one of us wonderfully special.

Why are we always trying to be an imitation of someone else? Are we absorbing too much social media streaming of selfies, maybe? Where is our focus? What or who are we really seeking? It's not working is it, Sister? Nope. We still don't know who we's an identity crisis for some of us.

There is a GRAND REASON why there is only one YOU! What is it gonna take for us to believe each one of us has been created by GOD and endowed with glorious gifts, talents, and abilities that we're supposed to JOYFULLY share with the world? 

When will we believe the truth that we were created to glorify God and ENJOY Him forever? When will we believe God loves us unconditionally and eternally? 

What if generations of God's girls to gather to be encouraged to RISE UP & SHINE? How about coming to a LADIES NIGHT OUT at The Canton Theatre on October 3, hosted by Mt. Zion Women? 

Come and let us serve you, Sister. 
Ticket sales open July 30.
 Only $5 each, includes dessert & coffee. 
More details coming soon. 
For now, please save the date.

"Glorify the LORD with us; let us exalt HIS name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Thursday, June 9, 2016

for the daughters of the Property Owner

To all the daughters of the Property Owner,
Hey, Farmer Girl, we can't stop NOW! The heat may be turned up (physically and spiritually) but we've got to keep on plowing through each day, mowing down negative thinking, and sowing the life-giving seed of the gospel!

Our God, the Property Owner, has magnificent plans (see Jeremiah 29:11) for each one of us to bring glory to His Name. We have to prayerfully keep on loving and serving Him and others.  We must be daily studying and meditating on His Word. 

If we have been faithful in sowing prayers into heaven -- you know, pouring our hearts out to Him in fervent prayers...well, then we may be in a fruit-bearing season of those cries to Him! We must stay alert and obedient to see the fruit flourish! 

Come on, Sister, you are not alone. That "no one cares and you're all alone" junk is not from God. It's all a lie. Besides, whenever I believe that lie, I host a pity party and no one ever comes!  :)

The truth is we are the body of Christ. We are the light of the world. We are a sisterhood of women who follow Jesus! He has already promised to love us and take care of and forever!

So let's encourage each other to rise up together! Let's do this to glorify God!
For now, just SAVE THE DATE of October 3 for a girls night out hosted by Mt. Zion Women. This is a community-wide gathering. Seating is limited. Tickets will be $5. Coffee & Desserts (yes, chocolate) will be included. More info coming.

I love me some Sisters for the glory of our Father!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Don't have time for that....

Think about prayer for a moment. 

We have to deny ourselves in order to pray. 

It's work to pray. But as Christians we should be seeing prayer as a labor of love; love for God and love for people.

To pray we have to give up the temptations that call us away from spending devotional time with God. "I don't have time in my busy schedule to pray." Really?  Wow.

To pray we have to momentarily put down our cell phones to keep from checking for social media updates.

To pray we have to stop our treadmill life --if only for a moment--to move our attention heavenward in seeking the face of God.

To pray is a heart choice. Will we plan to pray and choose to postpone that tempting trip to the outlet mall, resist the self-induced urgency to recolor roots at the hair stylist, miss a favorite TV show, or schedule that date with a friend at a time there isn't a prayer gathering that is calling our name? 

Or will we say that we just don't have the time? But I know we humans always seem to be able to find the time to do what we really want to do, don't we? 


"Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show 
them that they should always pray and not give 
up...And the Lord said, "Will not God bring about 
justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day 
and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, 
He will see that they get justice, and quickly." 
(Luke 18:1, 7-8).

God makes our prayers powerful.  But we've got to pray to see this promise fulfilled: "The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

Love my Sisters,
"For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch."
Isaiah 62:1

Monday, May 23, 2016

overcoming unbelief

 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
(Mark 9:24)

The passage of Mark 9:17-27 is the gripping story of a father’s agony and the relief Jesus brings to him. The man’s son, since childhood, was tortured by an evil spirit. He took him to Jesus’ disciples and they couldn’t heal the boy. So Jesus stepped into the situation. ‘‘‘O unbelieving generation’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you. Bring the boy to me’” (Mark 9:19). The father asked Jesus if He could heal his son, “If you can?” (Mark 9:23) was Jesus’ response. Whoa. The father believed there was a limit to what Jesus could do!

Jesus said to him, “Everything is possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).  Then the father’s agony increased because he realized his faith was weak and was afraid it was his lack of faith that was keeping his son from being healed. He said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)! It was as if he was responding to a wake-up call. Hello! He was so distressed. 

No matter how spiritually strong we are, our faith is imperfect. This father was crying out to God to strengthen his faith. He knew even his faith comes from God. The disciples had the “authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:15) through their prayers. Why didn’t they drive out this boy’s demon? They had the power from the LORD through their prayers to do it. Did they forget to pray?

So it is with us today. The deeper we go with God, the more we can see His love, His greatness and His compassion for His children. And then when a crisis arises, all of a sudden we panic and we can’t find our faith. We try to take the disastrous situation in our own hands and we fail. Then we anxiously cry out to God for help and we see our own unbelief; that is, we don’t think God is big enough to take care of our hardship, which is why we panicked in the first place.
Am I speaking from experience? Ahem. Yes.

When we ask, Jesus His time, in accordance with His will and purposes. The father asked Jesus to help. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit. “‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ’I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up to his feet, and he stood up” (Mark 9:25- 27). 

Jesus is not intimidated by anything. Jesus is always greater than our circumstances. Jesus is sovereign over the universe, He “…who has gone to heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

We are still in our fleshly bodies and are desperately in need of our Savior, every moment.  We must believe – overcome our unbelief --in the only One who “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). 

Jesus want us to be free. We want to be free. If we're not free, we have to get to the root of the reason why we're not free. Our unbelief is agony! It is despair. It is because we are looking at the physical circumstances and not at the power of God within us.

We have to believe He is who He says He is. We have to believe God has given us the ability to overcome! "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:1). 

Okay, according to the word of God, we have the ability to overcome. So let's rise up, shine the light, and overcome evil with good!  

He's already given us the power to do it, Sister. 

Love & blessings,
Psalm 34:3

This devotion is a revised version of my second book,
Totally Devoted 2, in preparation for a Kindle version!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

We are highly-valued cracked pots!

Dear Sister, do you see your personal identity as a 'woman who follows Jesus?' He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made...our imperfections are so beautiful to Him! (Psalm 139) Yep. Think about this: He chose us to be His! (John 15:16)! He says we are rare and precious (1 Peter 2:4-5)! We are His blessed girls forever because no one can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29)!

Yep! We are highly-valued cracked pots. 

As we confess our sins to Him we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. We are free. Free! To live. To love. To laugh.

He has made it so His light in us shines through our imperfections and frailties! Yep. (2 Corinthians 4:7). 

Own it, Sister, you are one blessed girl, forever!

And now it's time for us to rise up and shine for the glory of our Father! (Matthew 5:16). 

Psalm 34:3
Matthew 6:33

A full devotion on "treasures in jars of clay" appears in my first book, Totally Devoted 1. All of my books are available online.