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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Having a blog is like....

When I started this blog I reasoned it would give me a creative outlet. I felt like I just needed to write. Oh sure, I've tried my hand at writing a book. Many times. Have I ever finished? Nope. I thought perhaps this bloggy-sphere outlet was a more obtainable goal. Posts are short. Therefore, I could finish something.

I've finished lots of somethings.

However, since joining Pinterest [which is highly addictive and there needs to be a support group for us addicts!] and clicking on many pins which takes me to many blogs, I've realized I don't really have a goal or theme for this blog. And, I've heard from the "experts" one needs a goal/theme for a blog. By the way, ever wonder who "experts" are and who declared that title upon them?

Insecurity. I want people to like me. I want to be popular. I want, I want. [yeah, I agree...I need some professional help, huh?!]

So, to finish the title of this post....having a blog is like going back to high school. Shudder.

Recently I've toyed with multiple ideas on how to focus this blog. But then I realized, this blog is alot like me. We both have undiagnoised, unmedicated ADD. I'm okay with that. I'm not back in high school. I don't need to try to prove myself to anyone. I don't have to be like everyone else. Crafty. Chefs. Ministers.

I just need to be me. Although back in the day when little feet slapped the kitchen floor and nap times still ruled, I was quite the chef, and in the height of all craftiness if I do say so myself. And I did. Because this is my blog. So there! Wait, I think I may have digressed by to Jr High.....whoa.

When I imagine anyone reading my blog posts, I picture readers in their comfy clothes sipping tea or drinking coffee. Perhaps even munching on a snack, or pie, or chocolate, or...  Maybe giving a reader a laugh when he/she needs it most, giving the reader something to think about. Or, a reader's mouth watering when a recipe is posted. I imagine the reader relaxed and taken away to another place when reading a short story post.

I just don't want to limit myself to a theme or goal. I just want to dance through this world with Light.

I'd love to give you a peek at what the next post will be...but a) I would ruin your bloggy reading surprise and b) I haven't a clue what is coming next!

See ya next time!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Glory to God in the Highest!

Before the craziness of the Christmas season gets even more out of control, I want to take time to wish you a very blessed Christmas!


And, please remember those around you who may be lonely. Someone may not have family close by, or someone may have lost a close relative or friend through death, or someone is single and just wants a someone special in their life. Remember them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gift of Giving

For the last few years at Christmas, on my husband's side of the family, we've decided to forgo presents. Instead, we pick a charity to bless.

Last year, we gave canned items and toiletries to a local food bank. This year, we are giving items to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to distribute to others. We chose Newborn Kits. What is a Newborn Kit, you ask? Per their website:

"MCC distributes infant care kits to hospitals, clinics and refugee camps. Infant care kits are sent to assist mothers in giving their children a good start in Bosnia, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, North Korea, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine.
 
Contents (NEW items only, size 3-9 months)
  • 2 gowns/sleepers (flannel or similar warm, soft material)
  • 2 undershirts/onesies (short or long sleeves)
  • 4 cloth diapers (flat-fold preferred)
  • 1 receiving blanket (light weight fleece or flannel; minimum 92cm / 36 in)
  • 4 safety pins (5cm / 2in)
  • 1 large bar mild soap (leave in wrapper)
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 cap
  • Remove packaging material (except soap) and fold into the receiving blanket. Fasten together with the safety pins.
  • Contact your local MCC warehouse/activity center for a new design for hand-sewn gowns.
  • Note: Items can either be purchased or hand sewn. Packages of precut materials are available from some MCC offices."

Our family chose to bless a girl and a boy this year. It was an honor to pray over our kits as we folded everything inside the receiving blanket.

Kits being made for MCC
If you'd like more information on the other kits MCC sponsors, visit http://www.mcc.org/kits. Have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good for the Soul

"Laughter is good for the soul." How true. Picture this, you are having a rotten day. Terrible, no good, rotten day. Someone makes you laugh. Not just a giggle, a hard laugh. Don't you feel better already?

It got me thinking, how many other things are "good for the soul?"

Music. And, for me, whenever there is music, there is some movement going on. I may only be moving in my chair, tapping my fingers, or swaying but it is movement. A wise woman once told me to put on 'Christian' music loudly when having a bad day. Just try to stay in a 'bad' mood. She is right.

Since Christmas is approaching with the speed of light, here are a few of my favorites. Just a few, mind you.






I'm really quite over all the flash-mob videos but this one gave me chills so I had to share.



More 'good for the soul' things for me include friends, family, GOD, and encouragment.

What are your 'good for the soul' things?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guilt-driven Christmas

♫Christmas Time is Here....♪ ...finally. Our house is only now getting a little Christmas on. And, when I say little, I mean little.

Flashback to Thanksgiving. One of our girls randomly blurted, "Who does not want to put up a tree this year?!" Hands flew in the air. Admittedly, mine was one of them. Shouts of joy could be heard throughout the county...screech!...well, at least in my head there was a party going on! All I could think about was no climbing the stairs to the creepy attic where the decorations and tree is stored. No mess to make, no mess to clean up. Nothing to take down after Christmas. Yes, I admit, a major happy dance.

Now, before you judge me, Christmas is so much more than trees and decorations. It's about Christ. Remembering His birth, and what that means. He didn't have a Christmas tree. No wreath on the door. We, as a people, tend to get caught up in all the hub-bub of Christmas. Busyness instead of reflection take over.

Okay, now that we have that settled....

Guilt. That ugly mom guilt. We have a 14 year old boy. Yes, he is old enough to go without decorations and a tree. But, in years to come, I don't want him doing something so wrong he ends up on the national news. And, as the reporters dig to find out his "back story", it turns out he did what he did because when he was 14 years old his family did not care enough to put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house!!!!! I can see the therapy bills already accumulating! Welcome to how my mind works, people.

In all seriousness, my family had a grand laugh over that scenario. The 14 year old boy also promises never to do anything bad enough to get on national news. You heard it hear first, folks!

Without further ado, here are our decorations and pathetic tree.

I made this. Yes, I am crafty at times. I used Publisher and a cool font.
Printed on cardstock, cut out, and strung on string.


Shelf with a very small pre-lit tree and a snowman. Love the look at night.

On the enclosed porch for people to see as they enter.

A very Charlie Brown tree. Very. But it is a tree, people.

Well, that is all folks. Simple. That is the way I like it as I get older.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Time Marches On

Sunday will mark one year since this tragic accident. It is hard to believe. Hard to digest. Hard to know what the family is really going through.

I've lost loved ones in the past. But, I can't even begin to know what it is like for others who grieve. You see, grief is unique to everyone. Sure, we go through the same stages of grief. We all may experience the same feelings of sadness when certain dates roll around. But, no one knows the person who died like you do. No one can know the person like you do. We all know a person in our own way. Love that person in our own way. We cannot compare our grief with others. We all grieve in our own ways. And, believe it or not, that is okay!

To some, it may look like a person is "moving on" (bad choice of wording but one people use...new normal may be a better term) too quickly or not fast enough. We can't think that way. We all grieve differently. Some may be hiding behind a mask in public but when alone...it is a whole different story. Some may want and need to "move on" or "find a new normal for them" because of small children they need to parent or any other reason. It doesn't mean they didn't/don't love that person they grieve. No.

Don't judge with a critical eye or tongue. Be kind and gentle with those who are in the grief process. Talk about the loved one lost to those grieving. Or, saying nothing with the mouth but so much through a hug.

Grief is hard. So very hard. Finding a new normal with a loved one is hard. So very hard. Life may get a little easier as time marches on. But, you'll never get "over it". You'll just know how to survive your new normal and still miss that special person(s) forever. Memories and love help get us through.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Storybook Advent

When our children were younger, we found a book we all loved. Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide was the first book in our journey during the advent season. Jotham is a young child so it made the story kids could relate to the story well.

Each day or night part of the story is read. I remember the kids not wanting us to stop reading when it was the end of the section. Each section stops just when the suspense builds and we just wanted to know what happens to poor ole' Jotham next.

Other children are in Jotham's story which makes the next two books like coming back to an old friend. Bartholomew's Passage was used the next year followed by Tabitha's Travels.

For three years I can honestly say we had the best advent ever! In fact, it spoiled us in trying to find another advent book. We've never been able to find one like this.

In the back of the books you'll find years, and dates when Advent begins. Simply start on that date and you'll be done the morning of Christmas.
I will warn you, it has a few trials in it that I re-worded or skipped since our youngest was pretty young and our middle child was prone to nightmares. The author recommends his books for children over seven. But, you know your own child(ren).

You can use it with or without an advent wreath and candles. I would recommend the candles even if it is only lit when reading the stories. It just gives the kids something extra to remember about the experience.

Have fun and I hope you check out these fabulous books for yourself!

Do you have a favorite advent book or tradition? Please share in the comments...I'd love to hear what others are doing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 7


Phew! 7 days of thanks. Some days I really had to think about it...isn't that sad? We have so much to be thankful for...so many. I'm thankful for those who inspire me. I'm thankful for words that inspire me.
The joy of God is experienced as I love, trust and obey God-no matter the circumstances and as I allow him to do in thought and through me whatever he wishes, thanking him that in every pain there is pleasure, in every suffering there is satisfaction, in every aching there is comfort, and in every sense of loss there is the surety of the saviours presence, and in every tear there is the glistening eye of God.
 The above quote came from a friend of mine. I'm not sure who wrote the quote but I'm assuming it came from a devotional. ?? My friend's daughter has been suffering with a lot of health problems for years. Pain. Lots and lots of pain. Digestive issues. The list probably goes on. But, if you just looked at her smiling face, you'd never suspect the pain she is in. Surgery number 8 (I believe) is coming up after the first of the year. Her daughter is overseas in missions at the moment. They were hopeful she'd be able to stay in missions for about a year, but her body had other plans. So the plan at the moment is surgery here then going back to finish her mission work. I'm thankful for her faith. I'm thankful I can lift her up in prayer.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
 Isn't that just one of the greatest Bible verses of all time? Be still [chill out dude!] and know [believe like you've never, ever believed before...know in your head and your heart] that I am God [I'm here for you babe! I've suffered, died, love, forgive and just want to hold you! Let go of everything and just let Me guide and walk with you, cry with you and just Be.] The [ ] are my take of that verse.

The verse is also a song w/many verses. When my mom was in the hospital and later died, the verse of the song "I am the Lord that healeth thee." I knew the healing was either going to be here on earth or in Heaven. She is in Heaven, restored. But want a comfort that song was on constant repeat in my head.

I've been a little overwhelmed with something lately. Something I really don't have control over and just wonder how in the world it's going to happen. Today I rediscovered 'Be still and know that I am God'. So, I'm gonna 'chill out dude' and let God orchestrate this God-size hurdle. With Him 'here for me', I'm sure we can clear that hurdle and keep running!

Share in the comments who inspires you and/or what words inspire you.

If you are in the USA, happy Thanksgiving on Thursday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 6

Appliances. Yep, I'm thankful for appliance.

I know this sounds petty and materialistic, but hey, I'm thankful for the modern conveniences!

You know that line, "You don't know what you have until it is gone"? Well, up until last Friday, I took my clothes dryer for granted. I'm sure my dryer felt like I do some days...work, work, work and not one ounce of appreciation. I'm sorry, dryer. I promise to give you a little pat or maybe even hug your door every now and then after the parts come and hubs fixes you.

Until those parts are delivered to my doorstep, I'm washing here at home and then taking the wet, heavy, wet, and did I say heavy, laundry over to my dad's to use his dryer. Now that I think about it, I may even kiss the dryer!!

And, this isn't the first appliance to decide enough was enough and stop working. Oh, no. We've have our share of "fun" times around here. The stories I could tell.

Whenever I hear people say they'd love to live in the times of the wagon trains heading west, I just want to slap them silly. Yes, I realize I'm sounding materialistic. But, can you imagine all the work we'd need to do? Okay, now I'm sounding lazy. Think about it though. No washer and dryer. Just one long day at the wash board scrubbing and scrubbing. Want to cook up something quick because you've been at the wash board all day? Good luck with that....the stove isn't hot enough yet because you forgot to put in an extra log! And, what about a hair dryer?! Come on girls!

Well, the wash is done and now I need to lug the heavy, wet, heavy load to my dad's. Seriously thankful for my dad!

Monday, November 21, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 5


Friends. I'm so thankful for friends.

I know it may sound cliche' but I don't care.

Friends encourage, stand by, comfort, cheer, laugh with, and understand.

Friends get it when you call them crying. They get it when you aren't feeling well. They accept you with all of your "stuff" and still love you anyway.

Friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some older, some younger and some....just a kid at heart!

Friends can come and go in a season or be life-long. So life-long that she starts to introduce you as a sister. I love that sister-friend! And, all my other sister-friends!

While you are thinking of it, go call your friends and let them know how thankful you are that they are in your life. I hosted an in-home party for my niece recently. My niece started the party by asking that everyone say something encouraging about me. What?! At first I was a little apprehensive. But as more and more shared, I got a little weepy. It was such a neat experience to hear what people thought was encouraging about me. Me! The one who feels like she is so needy in friendships. I still think about what was said.

And, to all my friends...I love you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 4

Music. I am thankful for the gift of music.

Music is personal. Not everyone likes the same style. Some like jazz...but not me. Some like country...but not me, unless it doesn't have that twang. Some like the old crooning....but, again, not me (sorry, sister Jean, I really did try to like him...just.couldn't.do.it.). But, that is okay. I'm fine with it...unless I'm forced to listen to those genres over a long period of time. Then, you may find me in the fetal position in a corner!

Music one enjoys is calming. It soothes the soul after a long, hard day. It takes one places. For me, nothing beats a choir to make me sit back and smile. Or a Christian band singing praises to our King.

Right now, I'm diggin' JJ Heller. Love her voice and her songs. A couple of favorites at the moment are 'Your Hand' and 'Boat Song'.

Gotta love 'Cannons', 'One Thing Remains', and so many more I can't name them all.

What are your favorite songs at the moment? Don't worry, I won't judge!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 3


Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Taste buds for tasting.

I am particularly fond of the senses. What would life be like with out them?

My grandma lost her sense of smell which in turn somehow affected her sense of taste. Bummer! Last night I made supper...insert applause here... Our two oldest children were not home from work by the time the rest of us had eaten and cleaned up. Our oldest came home first. The first thing she said was, "Boy that smells good!" Our middle child came home about half an hour later. The first thing out of her mouth after she inhaled deeply, "Wow, that smells really good. What is it?"

When I see a sunset, I really feel sad for those who have lost their eye sight. When I hear a baby laughing, which is the most wonderful sound in the world in my humble opinion, I am thankful I can hear the sound that makes me smile.

I've read when one sense disappears, other senses are heightened. It would be difficult to loose one of the precious senses. But, isn't it amazing how another sense is kicked into high gear to make up for the loss?

I am thankful for my senses; smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. Thank you, God, for that special gift that gives us such joy. You have made the body into a wonderful masterpiece...thanks!

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 2

I am thankful for a loving, faithful, merciful, grace-filled God. He is someone who I can run to, turn to, cry out to, talk to, rest under His wing and so much more.

I'm thankful I had the opportunity to grow up in a home with parents, grandparents, and family members who didn't just talk the talk. They showed me the hope of believing in our one and only God. For this living-out-loud-faith, I'm forever grateful.

There may be those reading this who roll their eyes, laugh, or say I had it easy. In a way, I did. However, there were struggles. Being laughed at or made fun of as a kid, loosing what little self-confidence this shy girl had, loosing a beloved uncle, and then a cousin soon after are just some of the life changing struggles I was dealt. I questioned God. Oh boy did I question. But I held onto God throughout.

If you are struggling, cry out to God. He is there....all the time. All.the.time.

What are you thankful for today?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

7 Days of Thanks || Day 1

Learn how to make this sign
http://laura-digiartcafe.blogspot.com/2011/11/give-thanks-art.html

To those who have gone through a tough, unfair, bumpy-road time and still show faith and grace, I thank you.

There are many who have experienced life altering experiences and even death sentences when a doctor says there is nothing more to do. First reactions might be disbelief, anger, and/or grief. But those who have a belief in a loving God, quickly hold onto the hope and knowledge that this earth is their temporal home.

I have witnessed many who have had great trials this year and it gives me hope. Yes, there are tears and even 'why' moments. Those moments make them human, not weakness. I see their faith, and hope as they cling to God during the most awful times.

Recently, I read a book in which the author went through some bad times. How could she be thankful? Most of us have heard or read the Bible verse, "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5 There it is. Verse 18. "Give thanks in all circumstances"

Oh, I've dreaded that verse in the past. Oh sure. Give thanks when someone looses a child or spouse (or both). But, the author's husband told her when she struggled with this verse, "It doesn't say give thanks for all circumstances. It says give thanks in all circumstances."

How could I miss that little word? I need to give thanks in not for. I'm not thankful for that accident almost a year ago. But I can be thankful as I go through grief. Thankful for the faith I see in those closest to the death of loved ones. Thankful a life was spared even though two were lost. Thankful to see the family rally around one another.

Thankful. What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why Can't We All....

...just get along?!

Have you heard that saying before?

We had a friend many years ago who enjoyed saying, "Why can't we all get along?!" In fact, he said it quite often. So often it became a joke.

Today, I thought of that saying. It came to me after reading an article. The article had to do with homeschooling and parenting. The problem I had with the article, you ask? Well, thanks for asking!

The article, although well thought through and articulated, lumped a group of people together; homeschoolers. Stereotyped is the strong word which comes to mind. There were points I whole heartily agreed. However, it isn't just homeschoolers who have these issues. There are plenty, and I mean plenty, of those who are NOT homeschoolers who have the exact same issues.

I came away from the article disappointed, discouraged and a little enraged. The author of the article was a former homeschooling parent. It was his point of view from where he was sitting and looking at others. It would have been a much better article if he would have left the bias he felt about failing as a homeschool dad out of it! If he would have done that, an excellent article it would have been.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because of what happened with two of my children this afternoon. We needed a few groceries and dog food. Our twenty year old licensed-managing cosmetologist had the day off. She volunteered to drive to town for me. Her freshmen brother volunteered to go with her and help her with the shopping. I was pleased since I hate shopping. And, even more pleased they were doing something together...happily!

Something happened at one of the local stores. A cashier wondered why they were not in school. Our twenty year old told the cashier she graduated a long time ago. The cashier then looked at our son and he replied he is homeschooled. Usually that is enough. In fact, I haven't been asked that question in a very long time. There are many in our area who homeschool. There are many in the nation. Sadly, that wasn't good enough for this cashier.

She continued to belittle by telling them they look like they should be in school. And continued her own private investigation. Now, our twenty year old is petite. She actually cannot stand it when someone thinks she is younger than she is. I keep telling her when she is older, she'll love it. But, for now, it is an insult. They both felt insulted by this rude woman who apparently thought it was her duty to look out for truant children (which mine were NOT!).

What did I do? I called the manager...I very nicely told him our problem. He asked what the cashier looked like and pretty soon he was supplying her hair color. He knew exactly who we were talking about. He apologized. I told him would continue to shop for dog food at this store but didn't appreciate how our children were treated. It was insulting and didn't look well for his store to have an employee treating customers like they were guilty of something.

My point of this long post? Don't judge. Don't lump everyone together (stereotype) when you have no idea what another person's life is like.  Don't think you know it all...no one does. Treat others how you'd want to be treated. Have a problem, talk with that person in love...if you need a few days to cool off, do it...love will come out instead of frustration. Love people you don't like (I'm saying this one for me...oh, boy am I). Know God and believe in His love.

And, guess what. I have to work on ALL of those points above. All of them. Let's be kind to one another, okay?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Christmas Singing Review

If you are looking for a nice, quick read, I would suggest The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall. With the Christmas season quickly approaching, it is nice to have a short book (189 pages) that is packed with content to read.

To be honest, I tend to stay away from "Amish" books. I'm Mennonite and I've found a lot of authors do not distinguish the differences between Mennonite, Old Order Mennonite, Amish, etc. Author Cindy Woodsmall's pages were refreshing to me as she distinguished the differences. I cannot tell you how many people intertwine Mennonite and Amish when there are huge differences. (Amish broke off of the Mennonites...not the other way around as some think...but that is a difference story for another day.)

The Christmas Song's story is well done. Although I have never read any of the author's other books, I am assuming at least the main characters, and, probably more, are from other books. The beginning was a little slow for me as the author gave a back story so I'd know the history between Mattie and Gideon. I understand the need for the back story so I patiently waded through the first few chapters. I really became hooked as soon as the story started to take off about five chapters in.

The story picks up three years after a nasty break up between Mattie and Gideon. Mattie and Gideon find themselves in the same town again after a fire destroys Mattie's business. Mattie has to move back to the same town Gideon now lives. They are continually thrown together even though Mattie's hurt is evident to all around. Can they both get past the hurt caused three years ago? Will lies told back then ever be forgiven?

The Christmas Song is a story of twists and turns, lies, betrayal, forgiveness, and love. I recommend this short story during any season of the year.

This book was sent to me by the publisher, Waterbrook/Multnomah, for review. I am not required to give favorable review.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

International Meal | Recipe

Oh, the place we go. Canada, France and the good ole USA. A multitude of miles to cover, but, we did it!

Last night our international meal consisted of Canadian Cheese Soup, warm French bread and apple pie.

If you googled Canadian Cheese Soup, you'd find a different recipe than what I have below. I added a few things....it works for us. I hope I don't start an international war over this!


Canadian Cheese Soup

½ c butter
1 c carrots, diced
½ c celery, diced
1 sm onion, diced
3-4 red potatoes (depending on the size), diced
6 T flour OR 3 T cornstarch
3 c chicken broth
3 c half-n-half or milk (whatever you have)
2# Velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes OR 2# shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 c smoked turkey OR turkey bacon.

 Melt butter in large pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery & potatoes and sauté until tender. Add flour (or cornstarch) and stir until blended into butter. Cook until mixture begins to turn a light color (light roux). Increase heat to med-high and add the chicken broth a little at a time. Continue to cook & stir with whisk (a balloon whisk works best to keep all the veggies out of it) until a thick base is formed. Add half-n-half (or milk) being careful not to let it boil. Add meat; stir. Add cheese, stirring until cubes (or shredded cheese) are melted. If too thick, add more half-n-half or milk.

Serve w/warm bread.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Home Sweet Porch....???

So, we have this porch. An enclosed porch.

We have no garage. Just a small shed with a dirt floor.

Where do you think 'stuff' that would normally end up in storage in a garage ends up? Yup, the porch and/or basement (shudder...I'm not even going to think about that mess right now!)

I'm on Pinterest. You know, that addictive thing called Pinterest. Wowzers. I need to monitor myself on that site for I can get lost for hours.

I'm telling myself I'm mainly using Pinterest to bookmark things so a) my favorite list isn't so long and b) I'd really love to re-do the porch and "I shall save all the good ideas there in one place!".

I'm great at excuses, people! By the way, did you know that chocolate is really a vegetable? Yes.it.is. Where does chocolate come from? Beans. There. I rest my case! But, I digress....

My porch is a disaster. And, guess what. It is where everyone enters my home. There are shoes (b/c we like to free our poor toesy-woesy as soon as we get home), there are sporting things like balls, bats, Frisbees, etc, etc, etc. There are things we don't know quite what to do with....so they sit. On.the.porch. Sigh.

A few years ago we moved an old couch onto the porch. I know. A couch on a porch. I know what you are thinking but it works for us. A place to sit to put on those shoes, a place to curl up or lie down with a book. There is a small adjustable table with a lamp....umm, there used to be a plant but I, well....ummm, killed it with my awesome black thumb. Sigh. My grandpa's rocking chair is out there as well since our babies have all grown up and are too big to rock (tear). And, don't get me started on what it looks like in the winter! (de-icer for the sidewalk, snow shovel(s), snow pants, wet gloves, scarves.....sigh)

But I'd LOVE a gorgie-pooh porch! I think I'm dreaming but I'd love a nice place...free of clutter! But, it has to be done as inexpensively as possible. Well, I made a few steps in that direction.

I started going through all the sports equipment. Fail. Apparently someone in this house *cough, cough, son, cough** isn't quite ready to get rid of the balls that don't hold air anymore. What?! Anyway, I cleaned off an organizing shelf unit we have out there and put two empty vases (one yellow, one black) on it to go with the black star I have on the wall above it. It made me happy to walk in see those. I know, I'm weird. Well, that lasted a week. THEN helmets started piling up on top of the unit....all around my vases. Last I knew, my vases didn't really want the helmets as company! Sigh.

Do you see my poor vases? Look for the yellow one behind the red helmet.
The black vase is in-between the red helmet and baseball mitt.
There! Can you see them?! Sigh.
And, seriously...how many helmets does ONE boy need?!

Today, I finally took my $2 Goodwill purchase and hung it on the wall on the porch. I originally purchased it to convert it into a chalkboard. I even bought the chalkboard paint. Then I figured out it would be easier just to cover the picture in wrapping paper and then use dry erase markers to write on the glass. Yup, I'm also lazy! And, best of all? When I find either wrapping paper or material I really would like on the picture I can just change it out. Yea for easy!

I know the writing isn't the neatest in the world and I'll need to work on that but here it is hanging on the porch!

Pardon the glare. Obviously I need curtains as well.

Isn't it sort of cute?! I figured I'd change it up with sayings and verses.

Small steps. Right?! ☺

Monday, October 24, 2011

Run into Your Arms

The chorus of the song, Forever Reign, has been been on constant repeat the last few days.

Enjoy.


Chorus:

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shadows on the Sand ~ Review

I love books.
I love the smell and the crispness of a new book.
I get giddy when a new book arrives.
Books take you places.

It breaks my heart when I need to review a book that I can't love.
I don't like being a "Negative Nellie".
I like to encourage, not discourage.
However, I need to be honest.
But, my review is my honest opinion. Mine alone.
Read the following review but make your decision as whether to read this book by looking at other reviews....not just mine.

Here we go.....Shadows on the Sand -- A Seaside Mystery by Gayle Roper is a fiction/suspense tale.

Carrie Carter owns a diner is a small town known for a busy tourist season in the summer months. The story begins after the tourist season is over and we meet many locals at Carrie's diner. Too many, in fact, I had a hard time keeping straight who was who.

The story centers around Carrie and Greg Barnes who lost his family in an explosion. An accident which haunts him. From the beginning of the book, you'll know Carrie has a crush on Greg. Greg, is a little slow to catch on although he has his suspicions of this crush.

There is a death/murder of Carrie's employee in the first few chapters but then we seem to get sidetracked by someone trying to run over Greg, which no one knows if it was on purpose or an accident. The incident with Greg begins too many pages talking about people tweeting about who saw what. And, the death/murder of Carrie's employee is not mentioned for so long I almost forgot there was a death/murder. We do come back to this death but I felt the flow was inconsistent.

I felt a little confused as we went into the past and present of both Carrie & Greg's lives. There are happenings in both of their lives that we need to know because it effects the story. I just found myself wondering a few times how we got from "here to there".

To be honest, if I'm going to read suspense, it has to grab me from page one. This, sadly, did not. I read reviews of this book before I even requested it from WaterBrook Multnomah and many gave it high reviews. I feel guilty for not enjoying the book more. But, I can't lie. I found myself mentally drifting to my to-do list instead of focusing on each page.

If you like suspense, by all mean, read other reviews by others at places like waterbrookmultnomah.com or amazon.com. Others have enjoyed this Gayle Roper book and you may be one of them.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Reviews are my own honest opinion.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time

Time. Where in the world does it go? I'd say "time flies" but I know you'd just roll your eyes. I know because I just rolled my own eyes!

My family went on a trip last week. Writer/Cos Daughter had to go to a city 3 hrs away to take her boards, which she passed!!! PTL!!! Phew, that is a huge weight lifted off her and our shoulders. She even has a job. Now, to get clients!

We went to a large zoo [in which I totally embarrassed my children...yes!], shopping [which I will admit I hate to do...I know, I know, someone out there needs to pray for me!], eating out and more eating out. It was a fun time of swimming at the hotel and just vegging out at times. We all needed some time away.

While we were gone, I started a book called There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones. It's genera is young adult Christian fiction but this non-YA just loved the story. I felt sad, happy, excited, joy....you name it. It's story line is a little different than how she normally writes. However, I never regreted buying this book. Go get your own copy, demand your local, friend librarian stock the library shelf with this book, or, download it on your e-reader. Don't just sit there, do one of those options! :)

Those of us in this family who have jobs need to return to that place of work tomorrow. Ugh. I'm not ready. Can't we all just plant money trees in our backyards?! I'm not ready for the pile of work waiting for me. I still want to do what I want, when I want, how I want. Oops...sort of sounded like a toddler, huh?

Well, have a great week!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pink Tinted Glasses

Playful puppies and kittens. Sun shining brightly each and every day. Dancing down the sidewalk with an orchastra playing in the background because things just always work out for you. Birds weaving a silk.....shreeechh!

Ah, life through rose colored glasses!

Reality. Sure, we could have all those things above but it doesn't take away the painful truth of life. Life stinks sometimes. I was reminded of that today.

Miscarriages suffered by people we know. One already had a surgery to rid her body of a baby without a heartbeat. One had surgery this morning and, depending on the outcome, may never be able to have another child.

Depression. The silent disease. The one others think one can 'snap out of'. The one that others think one should just have a little more faith. The one that is not understood. The one that brings to mind of suicide.

Cancer. Oh, the handful of those we know with cancer. Some still fighting, some who have lost their fight and other who won the fight. Or those with chronic diseases that we don't see them struggling with because their bodies are fighting them on the inside.

But in the midst of all of this, a new grandchild has been born into a family we know. And, life goes on as usual around us as people fight cancer, a chronic illness or depression.

I know we can't go around with rose colored glasses every minute of the day. Think about it. We live in a fallen world. God didn't say we'd have a life of bliss after we follow Him. But He did give us hope in our trials. I'm certain God is with all those people we know going through a hard time. He is crying with them and hold them tighter than I ever could.

I hurt when people hurt. My heart is heavy now and I've prayed a lot today. But, I also need to put on my pink tinted glasses and see the world as it was meant to be seen. Yes, a caring heart for those who hurt but also see the joy God has given us.

The joy of laughter coming from your children. The joy of the sunshine after many days of rain. The joy of those who have won their long battle with cancer or any other illness. The joy of just getting up in the morning and having another day to 'start over'. [list could go on and on]

Hurts, yes. But, oh, the joy is there. Sometimes we just need to slip on our pink tinted glasses and remember to look.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees Review

I was able to snag this book before its release through Blogging for Books [Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing]. The author nor the publisher have required a positive review.

When I looked at my choices on Blogging for Books, A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner wasn't my first choice. I read the description and didn't know if I would really like the book. Honestly, I tend to shy away from books that have a war in the plot. But, I had read Meissner's earlier book, The Shape of Mercy, a few years ago and enjoyed it. So, I clicked I wanted to review this book.

A Sound Among the Trees is an enjoyable book even though the story line at times (a minority) is a little heavy. But, after all, the story takes place during the Civil War. Meissner did an excellent job of moving the story along while still placing historical facts about war amongst the action.

The basic story line takes place in our modern era with flashbacks to the Civil War era through a great-great Grandmother's letters. The story involves multiple generations and you begin to fall in love with each quirky character. At one point in the book all you are reading are the letters of the great-great Grandmother, Susannah, who was a teen when the war started. It reads like a journal. I personally thought this section dragged a little. However, I understand the author's need to unfold the mystery through the eyes/pen of Susannah. I just wanted to get to the part that would answer my questions about the mystery! [I'm not known for my patience so it isn't the author's fault!! ☺]

There is mystery, heartbreak, sadness, confusion and love. Most of the characters are likable. I found myself feeling sorry for a few. I wasn't thrilled on the ending but understood the reason for such an ending.

Over all, it is a great book and worth your time reading.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Confessions of a Wanna-Be-Good Housekeeper

I try, people, I really do. But today, well, it is true confession time.

You know you are a lacking housekeeper when you......
  • find a letter inside an enveloped postmarked over three months ago. Yes, it was opened and read at the time but then it entered the world known as dining room table clutter.
  • can't remember the last time you actually vacuumed the house. Oh, I've used the spot cleaning little vac but I mean actually a real sweeping.
  • had to have your son clean the bathtub because if you had to use the required amount of strength to scrub all the soap scrub, you'd end up in the hospital from over exertion and every muscle pulled in your back.
  • realize you don't have a "home" for everything.
  • keep hearing your bed calling you to come for a visit and you are seriously contemplating answering your bed.
  • are overwhelmed so you go on facebook when you should be cleaning.
  • are overwhelmed so you distract yourself by creating a post about how you wanna be a good housekeeper.
  • go on your blog and write a post instead of cleaning.
Well, I'm off to set a timer for 5 minutes and see how much I can get done. Not that I'm expecting that to work. I'm SURE my self-diagnosed, unmediated ADD will kick in and I'll get distracted again and won't complete one thing before moving on to another. Story of my life. Sigh.

Confession is supposedly good for the soul. "You know you are a lacking housekeeper when....." Share your list in the comments. Come on, people, I need to hear I'm not the only one out there lacking in this department!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Something About That Name

Something happens when a person quietly, and reverently says, "Jesus."

Jesus soothes the soul.
Jesus calms.
Jesus relaxes.

There is just something about that name.

Enjoy.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm here...I think

The last few weeks I've been quiet here. I've had a visitor to contend with. I've tried to ignore him but he persists on letting his presence known from time to time.

His name is Jabez.

Not the Jabez from the Bible. We just adopted his name because the meaning of Jabez is so perfect.

Jabez is my 6mm kidney stone [for those most fortunate souls who have never experienced a stone...and pray you never do...that is big]. Jabez means 'painful'.

Jabez is comfortable in my kidney....again. Let's just say I had surgery to grab him and he retreated back into the kidney [coward!] Later this week I will have him blasted to pieces. Yay [said with lots of hand clapping]!!!!!!!

This has brought me to reflect on a few things about my life. Things like, why everything seems to need to be so complicated. I really don't strive for or like drama. But, it happens, people, it happens. In fact, a woman I know had a stone a week after my trip to the ER and two days later, her 2mm smaller stone was gone and that was that. While I was thrilled for her, I struggled with jealousy.

Jealousy is a hard thing. It is hard when you feel like everyone has it easier than you. Everyone doesn't have your troubles. Everything is easier for everyone else. Everything that happens to me costs so much money...money we don't have...while everything is easier for everyone else. [insert the "cheese with that whine"!] Wow, quite embarrasing, huh? My "problem" isn't even that big.

Then [a few weeks later...I'm a slow learner] I slap myself silly and remember, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.....". And, while I don't particularly care for the plans right now, I know He has everything under control. "God will meet all [my] needs..." yes, all. God is big enough to "cast all [my] cares on" because He "cares for [me]". And, yes, I will "give thanks in everything"! Positive attitude and perspective...it's what the world needs!

Verses used in the last paragraph as follows:
Jeremiah 29:11
Philippians 4:19
1 Peter 5:7
1 Thess 5:18

Are you going through something and feel alone or jealous of everyone else? Hold on to Jesus...He is holding you!



Don't hold me responsible when you can't get this song out of your head or it is on constant repeat! Love this song!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From East to West

I traveled from the East to the West this week. Yup, it was a great adventure. Plus no dime was spent. Just a lot of hard work, determination, sweat, and tears.

The excellent, fantastic, fabulous, wonderful The Doctor's Lady by author Jody Hedlund made a perfect traveling companion transporting me to another era as we traveled to the untamed west.

My ever so gracious hosts on the trip were Priscilla and Eli, the doctor, plus a few other tag-alongs. Priscilla let me in on the secrets of her heart. While Eli slowly showed me glimpses of his past and hopes for the future.

Priscilla wants to follow God's leading in the missionary field. The missionary board wants her married or it is a no go. Eli has a passion for the west but he encounters the same problem with the board. Both have secrets. Both have desires to follow God. But, trouble is brewing when they decide to get married. In name only, of course. A business partnership. I wondered just how long this "business" partnership would last.

I found it funny to watch Priscilla, ever a lady who doesn't want to make a scene, interact with the good Doctor. He loved making a scene. I found them both entertaining as we traveled and camped. It kept my mind off of the uncomfortable days and sore feet!

As we all traveled west, we came across many trials. Dangers, both of the human and animal kind. [it was a good thing we had a doctor along on this trip!] Broken hearts and triumphs abound. And, step by step we become the first women to cross the Continental Divide! I allowed Priscilla cross it first, of course. I mean really, don't you think that was a great way to pay her back for her kindness?

Will we make it to our destination in Oregon country? Will we all make it there alive? Will we learn to trust, forgive, and love one another? And, most importantly, will we follow God's leading even if it isn't what we had in mind?

When you run out to buy your own copy, tell Priscilla and Eli that Deanna sent you. They will show you a grand time...one you won't regret!

Stay tuned for an interview with Jody and a cool book giveaway in the future!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Mercy Come Morning

How many of us would like an undo or do-over button of our very own? Everything we'd say something we shouldn't have or did something we should have done differently, we'd push a button and poof! Ah, wouldn't life be grand to have second chances to get things right?

Re-released Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a book full of second chances.

Krista Mueller lived a hard life. Never feeling loved or wanted, she does what I, honestly, would do--she distances herself from the one who hurt her the most. Her mother's final days with Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure finally bring Krista back home. Reluctant as it may be.

Going back "home" after years away brings back many memories, pleasant and not so much. Little by little the story unfolds into a beautiful story of forgiveness, grace, redemption, understanding and love.

I found the story a little slow in the beginning but as it progressed, I was hooked. Shocked to find I was over halfway through the book, I was actually sad the story was almost over.

Whether you have a family member with Alzheimer's or not, you will enjoy this book.

Enjoy the first chapter of Mercy Come Morning here.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their BloggingForBooks program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shhhhh.....Listen

What do you hear?

Really listen. What do you hear?

I hear my computer fan running, keyboard clicking, our son stomping up the stairs with a clunk of the dog food server, the door shutting as he goes out to feed the dog, a train rumbling in the background, my cell phone text alert chiming.....  And, if the house windows were open, I'm sure I'd hear that same bird who thinks it is his job to annoy me in the mornings while I'm trying to sleep! [I guess this is where I am thankful for hot, humid weather and an air conditioner!]

We used to play a game when our children were younger. It was the listen game. We would tell the kids to be really quiet and listen. Then, they were to tell us what sounds they heard. Why did we play this game? Sometimes it was played so I could hear something other than loud, playful children [a sound I normally love but there were days when three children grew to deafening decibels!]. But, most of the time we played the game so our children could learn the art of listening...hearing things that are always there but we end up never hearing because it is common occurance.

Saturday, our son and I were in the swimming pool. Normally on a Saturday it is pretty noisy outside. Lawn mowers, cars and trucks going down the road. Neighbors working on weekend projects, a farmer in his field.... However, for around five minutes there was none of that...except for a mower in the far distance and the trickle of water as we floated.

No wind whistling through the trees, no hammers or electric tools, no cars/trucks, no birds squawking, and no train whistles and rumblings. Nothing. Just us and the clouds.

I was afraid to break the silence but I wanted to make sure our son really 'heard' the silence. He did.

Too soon, the silence was broken and we continued to play the cloud shape game with laughter.

Four days later I am still in awe of that silent moment. It makes me think of being silent before God. I am not good at that. I sit or lay and try...really. Then, the piles of laundry, dirty house, and 'oh, I forgot to put that on the grocery list' keep popping in my head.

God is waiting here. Waiting to talk to me....and sometimes just being silent with me. Waiting for me to talk to Him. I fail. But, God in His perfect ways does find ways to talk to me. I just think I need to be more available in those silent times.

Aren't you glad we can fail and God still adores us?! Is it hard for you to be silent and listen?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Run!

This is not a book review.

It is more like an announcement.

A friend of ours has recently self-published a book.

Libbey is on a very long journey with scoliosis...very long.

Pain is her constant friend even though she has gone through seven, yes seven, surgeries.

To look at Libbey, you'd never know how much pain she is in...she has everyone fooled with that gorgeous smile of hers and beautiful personality.

My writer daughter/cos daughter wrote about her in a two part story here and here.

And until today, I didn't know Libbey was even writing a book let alone publishing one.

Libbey is a real testament to faith in our Almighty Creator God. Does she have doubts and questions? You betcha! Don't we all.

If you asked her if she was blessed, she'd say yes. When I was going through some painful days and the doctors didn't (and still don't) know what is wrong with me, I'd think of Libbey and her family. If Libbey can handle the pain constantly every singe day, how can I complain.

I ordered a copy of the book a few minutes ago. It is easy. It is quick. And, even though I haven't read it yet, I know the family and I know you'll love her story. Go here to order one today. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Never the Bride

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge knock my socks off. It was good people. Real.Good.

This is another book I received from the Blogging for Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. When I was looking at the available titles, I really wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book. Never the Bride...hmmm, let me see if I can guess what happens....She is always a bridesmaid but never the bride....one day she meets someone, gets married and lives happily ever after. The end and boring.

I read the description and still wasn't convinced until I read about the authors. The authors both had a hand in the movie, The Ultimate Gift. I really like that movie so I hit the button to get Never the Bride for review...even thought I had my doubts.

The book came and it sat. I finally ran out of things to read so I picked up Never the Bride while my daughter was giving me a manicure. I started to read it out loud as daughter painted my toes a lovely shade. We both laughed on the first page. Hey! This book might be better than I assumed.

I was so wrong about this book....yes, I judged a book by it's cover and title...she admits as she hangs her head in shame. I.loved.this.book. Period.

Yes, the main character is 34 years old and has never been married. Yes, she has been a bridesmaid...a.lot. But it is much deeper than that...really deeper. I'm having a hard time right now deciding how to write a review without giving anything away. Hmmm....

What I can tell you is this book is more about a relationship with God than the main character, Jessie, finding a husband. I found myself mentally yelling at Jessie. Again, don't want to give a lot away. But, the book involves a purple feathered pen, helping men with the most perfect proposals ever, God of course, and a very surprising ending.

Even though it is categorized as fiction/romance/contemporary, Never a Bride made this old married woman think about her relationship with God. I longed, really longed to talk to God and feel God's presence like Jessie did...even at the most inconvenient times. I found myself zoning out during the sermon on Sunday [shhh....] and thinking about my relationship with God all because of this book. [that is a good thing y'all!]

Should you spend your hard earned money on this book? YES! And, do I think this book should be made into a movie? You bet!!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dreamy Orange Cream

Every now and then, I receive an email from Eat Better America (I signed up for it). They have some delicious looking pictures in those emails. The one that really stood out was the Dreamy Orange Cream.

I made it this afternoon and here it is in all its delicious glory. The dessert dish is from my Grandma. Isn't it pretty?

Sorry it is sideways. Blogger would only upload this picture in landscape and not portrait. :(
I guess you'll have to stand sideways to get the full effect to see my Grandma's dish.
Our son, Mr. Picky, even said it was wonderful. Note: the recipe called for granola on top but that totally grossed me out. So I omitted the granola. And I believe I will use more oranges...maybe some around the sides.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Invisible

Do you ever feel invisible?

You talk, but, no one seems to hear?

Your ideas, your thoughts, your feelings seem to not matter to others.

Oh, you know not every idea or thought is a good one.

But, that doesn't matter.

Respect; that matters.

Everyone just wants to be heard.

Everyone wants to feel heard.

Everyone wants to feel like someone.

Some say you do not have confidence.

Some say you need to work on your confidence.

But, does "some" ever wonder why you need to work on confidence when "some" treat you as invisible?

This isn't a rant.

This isn't a vent.

This is just one person trying to figure out why sometimes she is invisible to others...or at least feels that way.

I try to be kind.

I try to express myself in a way that isn't "hard-nosed" but gentle.

"People" may say that this feeling of invisible is "my" problem.

What shall I do, yell or get into their faces?

Rude.

"Come out of your shell," some say.

I'd love to tell them to "go back into their shell" because not everyone needs to steal the show.

But I don't.

Although one day I may blow if backed hard enough into a corner.

So, I try to remember, and you should too, that when you feel invisible, just remember...

God sees you.

He is proud of you.

He is pulling for you.

Isn't He the only one who truly matters?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Too Rich for a Bride Review

Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson is an easy summer read.

The plot revolves around a strong, independent women, Ida, who only wants to be a businesswoman at the turn of the century. She needs to be strong in order to accomplish her goals. Ida finds herself traveling from Maine to Colorado not only to be near her sisters and their husbands, but to make a fresh start in the west. And, become a businesswoman.

Surprise...(not really) enter two men into her life.

Personally, I couldn't connect with the characters of the book~~not to say others who read the book won't connect. I have nothing against strong, independent women. Nothing. But I found it a bit wearisome.

I did find myself giggling or smiling in certain situations the lead character, Ida, found herself. I felt the lead male character, who was a preacher, was a little easier to connect with than Ida.

I received this book free from the publisher, Waterbrook, for review and was not required to write a favorable review.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Change.

Change.

Does that word send shivers down your spine or do you jump for joy?

Depending on your definition of change, it could do either. For example, I think I'd jump for joy if I found change in the bottom of my purse or in a can't fit into forgotten  pair of jeans. However, if change meant something that just uprooted me to the core, then shivers down my spine might apply.

Change can also mean I need to work on me. You know, change me...phew, just got a shiver! Change the way I do things, the way I see things and yes, change my a...a...a...attttt....attitude (huge shiver).

But, I'm comfortable with me. And if people don't like me...tough, it is their problem not mine. Oh, reader, aren't we good at believing that lie?

I'm a mean girl some days. I gossip and then only after I gossip I realized I did it. [hangs head in shame] I don't get why people annoy me so I become annoyed with them. I can blame it on horrormones but I can't blame all of it on that. [even though I try my best to blame it on that!] I don't love people well when I don't like them. [there, I said it.]

God calls me to love my neighbor. Not love only the ones I like and are easy to love but love those who are not easy to love as well. Sigh. I try, people, I really do. Some days, I'm just not good at it. Other days, I take a deep breath and really try.

The biggest thing I need to change? I think I really need to learn to love myself. Accept me. Really believe God loves me and chases after me when all others fail me, leave me and reject me. I'm not good at rejection and it really hurts. And, changing the way I think of myself...well, wow, that is harder than it seems. I mean really, it sounds a little selfish to talk about "me, me, me." If I can't love me, can I love others well?

So, here is to changing. Learning to love others better, love God better, and believe God better. If you are in the midst of change, I'm pullin' for ya!

Because I care, I'm letting you in on what I've been listening to for about a week straight. I am particular fond of tracks 5 & 6...


Third World Symphony by shaungroves

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Already?

I can't believe it is Friday. Oh, how I love Friday and Saturday and Sunday...

Would you like to join me in a campaign to make the work week 3 days and the 'weekend' 4 days? And, in my perfect world, we would get paid the same amount of money (work) as if we had worked 5 days a week. And, I'd be very thin and very beautiful....oops, guess this isn't all about me...

I've got a whole lot of nothin' to tell you so I will just leave you with this great video I found. Love the music, love her voice. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck Review

What's up with book reviews all of a sudden? Good question...and one I shall answer.

I was contacted via email [I have no idea how this person found me] to see if I would be interested in doing reviews of books from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Free books and I get to decide which books from the book list provided? Um, yeah. And, I am not require to give a positive review if the book doesn't 'float my boat'. This is the third book from the program and I'm loving it so far. If you'd like to check into this program, go here.

Now...on to the review.

The latest book I chose was The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo. It is a fun book. Although it didn't make me laugh out loud like some other books I've read, I found myself smiling at Charlotte antics. Her Grandfather had a few one liners as well.

Charlotte is anything but a conventional woman of the late 1800s. She reminds me of our one year old puppy--always getting into mischief. Charlotte wants to go to college and study business so she can work for the family business. Her step-mother tries to tame Charlotte through etiquette classes. Her father wants her married.

The Beck family, from the west, and the Hambly family, from England, have a long history of not getting along. And lo and behold, the two families are at the same social event when the mischievous Charlotte climbs out of a window and Alex Hambly needs to rescue her. Thus, Charlotte and Alex's lives are turned upside down...literally.

Y'Barbo does a great job of weaving a plot. However, there were times I was confused as other characters came in and out of the story. Then, I discovered this is the third and final book in a series. That would account for the characters comings and goings. Because of this, I got a little frustrated. I thought perhaps I missed something as I was reading.

Early in the story, Charlotte's biological mothers is brought up. The reader is lead to believe this theme will flow throughout the story. It didn't until toward the end chapters. I was a little disappointed.

The dislike/romance between main characters Charlotte and Alex is fabulous. And, the ending is not to disappoint.

Even though I became confused and frustrated with figuring out who was who and why they were mentioned, I give this book three and a half out of five stars. I believe if you start the series at the beginning, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, and Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, you won't be disappointed and may give this book a higher rating than I.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Friday, June 17, 2011

More Than A Number

I glanced at caller ID as I answered the phone.

"Good Morning, Sunshine" I said to my good friend.

She was stricken. Stricken with something that strikes fear into the lives of women everywhere...she had a doctor's appoint. An appoint that requires you to step not one, but both feet onto a scale that was calibrated by satan himself. You all know the kind. The kind that adds 10 pounds more than your scale at home. And, as a side note, the nurse takes your blood pressure right AFTER that...what is up with that all you nurses out there!

She was in a tizzy as I gently tried to remind her of all the weight she has lost recently. Yay, friend!! It is just a number and she is going to keep that scale going down and so on.

All of a sudden she cried, "I'm more than a number! I'm more than my weight, more than my blood pressure, more than my blood sugar level, more than....... My identity is not in a number but in Christ!"

YES! Why do we tend to look at the numbers in our lives and put our identity in those numbers?

Your identity is more than a number. It is more than:
• your height
• your weight
• your social security number
• your school or work locker number and combination on your lock
• it is more than the number of freckles on your nose
• your blood pressure number
• the number of facebook “friends”
• the number of followers on your blog
• the number of hair products and eye shadows you use
• the word count on your essay or your next novel
• your grade point average
• the number of followers on twitter
• your blood sugar level
• how many words per minute you can type
• the number of times your boss doesn’t or does praise you for your work
• your paycheck or what you get paid per hour
• your ACT or SAT score

Your identity isn’t in the millions of number we see and use every single day. Your identity is in Christ. You, my beautiful reader, are chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)
 
All of these numbers are on the "outside". But God sees our beauty, and the mess, on the inside and can't get enough of us.
 
Let go of all the numbers holding you back. You are more than a number!
 
What 'number' can you add to the list above?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dream

I first heard this song on Dancing With the Stars when a young lady dreamed of dancing ballet and started quite late in her dance career with lessons.

I think the song is beautiful. And what a beautiful voice.



And if you'd like to hear the story and watch the young lady dance to this song...here you go...dance starts around 1:35.



What are you dreaming today? And as a friend always says, "Dream big; God does."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Indelible

I discovered author Kristen Heitzmann's works at our local library a few years ago. I couldn't get enough of her writing and quickly read all the library had to offer. My daughter and I quickly became fans of her writing that promptly sucks the reader into the story.

Heitzmann weaves stories through major suspense, psychological drama and romance. The author takes a person on a roller coaster ride making this reader want another ride.

Indelible was not to disappoint. This is the second book in a series with the first being Indivisible which I previously read. It was nice to meet up with characters from the first book. While I could follow "who was who", some who did not read Indivisible may not fully follow a few of the relationships from the previous book.

I did not  could not read Indelible before going to bed. Some themes would keep me thinking long after my brain needed to shut down for sleep. Some of the themes are difficult to read and imagine but definitely realistic.

As I continued to read, I found myself wanting to know 'what happens next'. It was a difficult book to put down as Heitzmann keeps the reader guessing and trying to figure out the "bad guy". There are many twists and turns along the way to keep readers thinking and guessing.

I felt the ending may have been rushed. After all of the anticipation, I felt a little let down since the ending moved too quickly. I was expecting more suspense in the end and it felt like either Kristin or the editor cut some things out. But overall, I give this a 4 out of 5 review for its suspense and drama.

Great job, Kristen. I'll definitely keep reading more of your books so keep them coming!

Click here to read a few chapters of Indelible.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"