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Friday, December 28, 2012

Little One

Today is a day full of mixed feelings. Happy, sad, excited, anxious. And the obvious, tears.

It is time. Time for our little one to fly. Both literally and figuratively.
In a very short time she will board a plane and fly to places God has place in her heart.
Places she's never been. Places God has put a burning fire in her heart for His people.
God has provided.  It became crystal clear this is where she is to be in this moment in her life.

This momma's heart misses her little one already. At the same time, this momma's heart knows her little one is ready and a willing, obedient servant of the Most High. This momma's heart if full of mixed feelings.

Little ones won't stay little forever. It's a good thing. The next chapter of her life begins. It is exciting to see her grow physically, mentally, and Spiritually.

A part of me is remembering when she was perhaps 3 or 4 years old. I clearly see her standing on a chair decorating Christmas cookies with her big sister and me. Decorating our little hearts out, I finally looked up to see her so bravely trying not to take a bite of her just decorated cookie. She resisted but I could see the war within. I asked her if she'd like to eat one and with those huge, beautiful blue eyes and blond-hair bob nodding, I gave permission. Oh, the joy of that first bite of something she had waited so long to enjoy. I smile remember the scene unfold in my mind's eye.

This Little One has waited for God's directions. This Little One became obedient even though the thought of leaving home scared her. This Little One waited for permission to "go" from a God who loves her even more than I can imagine. She is taking her first "bite" enjoying every God-given taste of adventure in this season of her young life.

Even though I'll miss you, Dancer Daughter, with passion, I know you were born to fly. Go ahead. Take a bite. Fly as God planned and has given permission. Fly and enjoy the taste of obedience.


Monday, December 24, 2012

May Your Christmas



 
May your Christmas be filled with joy of knowing God sent His Son in human form for you.
May your heavy heart be lightened with peace only the Prince of Peace can bring.
May your faith be renewed as you reflect on Heavenly love.
May your sadness of missing loved ones who have passed be
lessened by imagining your loved ones celebrating
Jesus' birthday with the birthday man himself.
May you look heavenward and rejoice in all He has done
and will do in your life as well as all those around you.
May you ask Him to show you how to extend love and
service to those who enter your life.
May you always feel God's presence.
 
Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Abnormal Giving

It is November 30th. Twenty-four days until Christmas.
Gift giving is just around the corner.
Inhale aaaaaannnnnddd release.

As I get older and I do every December, I realize how much materialism we tend to get sucked into.

Sure, I love a good gift as much as anyone. But, what I love more is a gift that gives. There are retailers who give a portion of what you paid for an item to a cause and/or charity. And, non-profits, some of whom may not be 'famous' as others doing their best to be the body of Christ all year long. What would be better than giving that hard-to-buy-for person in your life a nice card noting a donation was given in his/her honor.

Here are just a few:

Spoil the Kids Our Dancer Daughter is involved right now with this amazing program. Very soon she'll head overseas and bless children who are orphans. For those who have so little, one day of being spoiled means the world to them.

MCC (Mennonite Central Committee), a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, shares God's love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. There are many ways to give through providing items for kits such as
AIDS caregiver kits, Hygiene kits, Infant care kits, Relief kits, School kits, Sewing kits, Comforters and blankets, Soap, fabric, towels

Kits are something fun & easy to do as a group. Church, family, work, scouts, you name it. Or there is a way to give financially-click on the word MCC above to give financially.

TOMS For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. "One for One" is their motto. Three of us in our family have a pair of TOMS. They are comfortable, stylish and you just feel good knowing your purchase is helping someone else.




Mudlove This is a little not-well-known company making a huge difference. Every $5 spent gives and African clean drinking water for one year. (see FAQ on their website for how only $5 does that!) They sell clay jewelry-bands, necklaces, magnets-and help others with fundraisers. And, if your item breaks, they will replace it. No questions asked. Details on on their site. It truly is a company who gives back. P.S. Everyone I've given a band truly loves it!

Pure Charity When you shop online...and admit it, you are doing more and more of that...a percentage of your purchase from participating retailers go to the charity of your choosing (as long as it is on their list of charities). You'll need to sign up on the Pure Charity webite, find a charity, give some other information and start shopping. For a much better explaination, click here.

There are many more to add to this list. Do you own little bit of research to find even more companies who give back. Better yet, leave a comment and share other companies/charities with us.

December 1st addition:
Twenties for Toby This morning I received a facebook invitation to this event. I do not know this family...only know friends of friends. While I was reading through the information it struck me how it went along so well with the theme of the video I posted below just yesterday.

Information on how you can help the Shaw family bring little Toby home: Donate Now, how Twenties for Toby got started, The Shaw's, and information taken from their blog and facebook invitation below...

“Toby is a 2 year old orphan in Guangdong, China. He was abandoned as a day old newborn because of his obvious special needs. Yes, boys are quite precious in China as the one child policy is still in place. Families want a son to carry on their family and to care for them in their old age. However this little boy was born with serious problems and his precious parents made a heart-wrenching decision. They left their tiny son for someone else to find.
 
Toby was taken at 1 day old to an orphanage to be raised. He has spent his entire life in that institution. He waited on a national orphan list for adoption for months and months. People advocated for his adoption and no  one chose him...then we saw him. God sealed this boy to our hearts and we knew we needed to bring him home.
 
Toby has AMC--arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. This means that his joints and muscles have been contracted and frozen before his birth. He is unable to bend his elbows (they are fixed straight) and his wrists are severely bent backwards and is unable to use his hands in the proper way. This is a permanent condition that does not progress. It was present at birth but CAN be helped with multiple surgeries. He is also missing toes. He is an overcomer though and has learned to walk! We cannot wait to bring him home and begin the therapy and medical intervention he needs.”

Watch the video below. Be prepared to move. We are all called to move in either prayer support, financial support or called to be the one to physically move for a season of life.



Monday, November 26, 2012

When the Angels Sing "Ode to Carbs"

"Thanksgiving is a holiday of sides and more sides. If there is no turkey, I can live with that."

I do not know who said that brilliant quote but I think I love him or her. Turkey is just a fixture. Give me dressing/stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and pie...mmmmm...my dad's peanut butter pie...slurp! {cue angel music}

Although, I will say I did have a love-hate relationship with turkey this year. This was the very first year I roasted a turkey...ever. She turned out beautiful, moist and flavorful. I'm proud of myself as evident of me telling a male co-worker today how great my first turkey tasted. I think his eyes may have glazed over in the middle of my brining debacle though. He obviously does not realize the importance of this major feat in my life.

What did I do to deserve such a great first-time turkey? I think I read every recipe listed online. I may or may not have watched multiple videos on brining and roasting. Or it may be from the oven bag I used when the brine started to leak out of the bag and I gave up on the brine after 10 hours. I did a little of everything everyone suggested and it was delicious!

Where is the lovely picture to prove the beautiful-ness of the bird? Three states away in my daughter's camera. I forgot to ask her for the picture. Of course in the excitement carb-drunkenness of the day I forgot to have her take a picture of the turkey before we carved it. I may or may not be still a little carb-drunk still...there are leftovers, you know.

The "hate" part was handling the naked bird...ewww...hunting for the giblets bag...how was I to know there are two ends to look in for that bag?! It required a flashlight and lifting up a flap of skin to find that durn thing...ick! May I just say those manufacturers need to have directions on how to find that dumb bag of guts.

We had a lovely day. At noon we had my dad over for our Thanksgiving meal of carbs. After everyone was stuffed like a fat teddy bear, we watched Singing in the Rain. People, it's a comedy. Seriously, who knew?!

I found the DVD of Singing in the Rain at a box store for a decent prices. Since my Dancer Daughter was coming home for the holiday, I decided to treat her to this movie. I assume everyone has heard of Singing in the Rain but how many have watched it? All six of us sat in the living room laughing, smiling and a few of us were directing the music as well. It was great. Have I convinced you to find it and watch it yet?

After the movie, we went to hubs side of the family. They had eaten roughly the same time we did. There was much football watching in one room and talking in the other going on. Plus a few of us drooling over looking at Thirty One products and catalogs. Hubs got a little concerned until he found out I was "Christmas" shopping. [wink, wink]

Today. Well, today I realized maybe wearing my special stretchy pants most of the weekend was probably not the most well-thought-out plan. I think the dryer shrunk my jeans! That is my story and I'm stickin' with it.

I hope your holiday was excellent and many memories were made. Until next time!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Can it be?

Can it really be November 18? Really? And, can my last post be dated October 31? Can it?
Sadly, it is true. Time flies as we get old are busy.

What have I been doing the last few weeks? I'll say what I told my son as I was starring at the calendar as he happened by. "There's way too much written on this calendar!" To which he agreed.

How does that happen? I always think of a sermon years and years ago from a beloved pastor. We need margin. We need white space. We need to be able to say yes to the Lord and not have busyness hamper what God is really calling us to do.

[names have been blurred]
As I look at the calendar squares [yes, I have a real paper calendar on my fridge...non-electronic], I realize most of my busyness involves other people. Lunch or coffee with friends. Those times are filled with laughter but also filled with prayer requests and just crying on each another's shoulder. Doctor appointments fill other squares on my calendar. Not appointments for me, but appointments for loved ones.

As I look at my calendar and wonder where the time has gone, I wonder the reasons those squares are inked in. The white space is filled with names and times. A few margins filled with notes. And, I discover I really am saying yes to God because He has allowed me to minister to those in need. Can busyness be from God? In these situations, I have to believe He is saying 'yes'.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take some time to hang out with my family and rest. Have a wonderful Sunday.

And, if I don't post again until after Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful day! And, in the busyness of that day, don't forget to thank God for the blessings--no matter how big or small.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Awakening

Do  you ever wake up from a good nights sleep and find a song floating through your mind?
For me, it's songs of worship. Some, myself included, often wonder how we know if we are hearing from God or if it is us hearing what we want to hear. But, when I awaken to quiet with only a song's melody and beautiful words, I know I've heard from God. I know.

The song this morning is Holy (Wedding Day) by The City Harmonic (featuring JJ Heller). Enjoy the video with lyrics below.




This is the story of the Son of God
 Hanging on the cross for me
 But it ends with a bride and groom
 And a wedding by a glassy sea
 O death where is your sting
 Cause I'll be there singing
 Holy Holy Holy
 Is the Lord
 
This is the story of a bride in white
 Waiting on her wedding day
 Anticipation welling up inside
 While the groom is crowned as king
 O death where is your sting
 Cause we'll be there singing
 Holy Holy Holy is the Lord

Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy
 Is the Lord Almighty
 Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy
 Is the Lord Almighty
 Who was and is and is to come
 Who was and is and is to come

This is the story of the Son of God
 Hanging on the cross for me
 And it ends with a bride and groom
 And a wedding by a glassy sea

This is the story of the a bride in white
 Singing on her wedding day
 Of the God who was and is to stand before a bride who sings
 Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Older Man

Eyes in the crowded waiting room fell upon us as we stepped in the room. Oh great. Dad will certainly win our bet.

This particular doctor's appointment most certainly ends up with an extreme wait time. As we were pulling out of my dad's driveway a half an hour earlier, I threw down the gauntlet and made my best guess on how long we were going to have to wait. I wagered forty-five minutes. My more optimistic dad laughed and countered by waging an hour and a half.
 
While we were waiting [and waiting some more] I noticed a woman helping her mother with her jacket and telling an older man it was nice to meet him. I soon discovered this older man was waiting on his wife, she is 85 years old, she's an artist, she is beautiful and how long they've been married. I smiled to myself as I continued to read my book.
 
Soon another person came in the door and he started an interrogation process. I was ever so glad I wasn't the object of his interrogation. "Where are you from" "Why are you here" "Who are you picking up" "What are you having done" and on and on. Phew, I was glad I had my nose in a book and he wasn't talking to me.
 
It wasn't long until I felt eyes upon me. I looked up and this older gentleman and a few others were looking my way. Apparently I was supposed to be paying attention to their conversation??? This is where it got a little weird. He soon turned his attention to my dad. He asks my dad if I was with him. As in if I was his wife or girlfriend. Ick. My dad doesn't like to give out personal information, especially about his health. Nor does he like it when someone asks way too many personal questions. I just kept reading my book and let the two older men talk. Well, it was more like the older man doing all the questioning and my dad giving one word answers. Awkward.
 
Soon I heard him commenting that I must be rude and find the book more interesting than him. Excuse me? I looked up to see him leaning across my dad staring at me. I smiled and mentioned I thought he was having a nice conversation with my dad and didn't want to intrude. Well played, Deanna, well played.
 
He soon turned his attention to another person who was reading a book. I began to wonder what this man had against reading. I honestly wasn't paying attention to their conversation until I heard him say, "That is not what God's Word says." I tuned in at that statement.
 
Apparently he found out this woman used to work in the school system and thus began children’s' behavior 'now-a-days' conversation. Soon the woman said she can't talk much about that because her daughter had a baby when she was twenty-one and she wasn't married. Oh boy here we go. However, soon his wife's appointment was finished and she was at the receptionist area making another appointment and his attention turned to her and proceeded to tell my dad how beautiful she is and she's an artist, she is beautiful, she is eighty-five...
 
To be brutally honest, I was glad he was leaving. Although he seemed to be a delightful man, I wondered about his tactics. He told everyone around him, "God bless you." as he finished his conversation with them. Even grabbed a nurse’s hand and told her. But, I wondered if his approach was a turn off to some.
 
If you are representing God, do you tell a stranger that having a baby out of wedlock is not God's plan when you don't know her daughter is that "sinner"? Are you representing God when you ask 101 questions? I'm not sure. I just know it was a turn off to me. Yes, I was polite when he talked to me but one must remember we are all created differently. He, obviously, an extrovert. Others in the waiting room, introverts.
 
I'm a representative of God. How do I represent Him in the waiting room? I don't have the answers. I do know God made us all different. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.
 
I have nothing against this older man. He seemed sweet. Others may love his approach. Perhaps God used him so I could think and search how I represent Him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Little Fun

During this time of an election year, things can get a little nasty.

I'm not sure about you but I get tired of it. I want to go into hibernation mode so I don't have to answer the phone only to find out it is a political call. I don't like to see commercial after commercial of political ads of candidate bashing one another like little boys (or girls) on a playground fighting over a ball. I don't like facebook/fakebook/farsebook (whatever name you call it) status updates when it consists of anything political. Call me cynical or apathetic. I'm sure I've been called worse.

So, let's forget about all that is going on in the world at the moment...even if for a short period of time. Let's have some fun with our children or neices and nephews or neighbor kids. Play. Remember what it was like when you were a child without a care in the world. If you are in a fall climate, play in the leaves. Curious about something? Find the answer. Shut off all the noise and just be. Be with God. Be with a loved one. Be with yourself. Just be.

And, for a laugh and/or a huge smile check out 1:31,  1:47 & 1:53 on the video below.




“If life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like ‘whaaat?’” (get it? hahahaha! You're welcome!!!)

Phil Dunphy on Modern Family (1:47 on video)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mmmmmm...Sandwich

Sandwich--With a Side of Romance by debut author Krista Phillips will satisfy your hunger. In fact, you'll push away from the table (comfy chair) with a smile that will light up the kitchen (your reading spot) and everyone will know you've enjoyed every morsel. Sandwich is more than a fluffy marshmallow...it's a full fledge sink-your-teeth-in meal.

Spunky Maddie moves to Sandwich, IL to start a new life. One of stability that includes a job, an apartment and hopes of bringing her eleven year old brother, Kyle, out of foster care and into her loving arms. She fights an uphill battle when ever-so-serious Reuben, the owner of The Sandwich Emporium falls asleep while Maddie, a hairstylist, cuts his hair as he nods off in her chair. The result? You guess it. A new shorter hairstyle for Reuben and a job loss for Maddie. How will she ever move out of her car into an apartment large enough for her and her brother without a job?

Reuben hires Maddie to erase a little of his guilt--Maddie helps Reuben discover his guilt just in case he wasn't aware of it! And, you won't believe the trouble hiring Maddie causes. And, to top it off, Kyle's foster parents are petitioning for his adoption. Will Kyle be taken away from her forever?

Maddie is head-strong and won't take handouts from anyone. In walks Reuben's family who have made Maddie their person mission. Will Maddie see God's love for her through Reuben's family's actions? Will she accept the unconditional love they offer her and her brother, Kyle?

Maddie and Kyle's past haunt Maddie. Her life has never been pleasant and is tainted with mistakes. She accept Christ six months prior and is attempting to put her past behind her. Memories of torment haunt her and someone close to Reuben finds out the deep secrets she has put behind her. Will everything she's worked hard for blow up in her face?

Pick up your copy of Sandwich at your favorite book seller today. Author Krista Phillips characters are loveable, quirky and real. Your book appetite will thank you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Sauce for Stir-Fry

The other day what to make for supper was lying heavily on my mind. I didn't have to work that day and when that happens, I like to make a good supper. Well, I was stuck. I remembered a pan I hadn't used in a while. A stir-fry pan bought on clearance. At the time I had all kinds of uses in mind for this steal of a deal. Yeah. Didn't happen. 

I went on a quest for a good stir-fry sauce to use with chicken. I found the following recipe at cooks.com and tweaked it to our family's taste. While reading through the comments about this recipe, one commenter mentioned it was more of a beef than chicken sauce.

Ding! I had leftover roast in the refrigerator from two nights prior. Sounded like a great way for us to use the meat before it became a questionable fuzzy subject in the fridge!

It.was.a.hit! Well, to everyone but one who said he could eat it. Obviously there is a distinct difference between able to eat and liking the said food. I told him to just eat it.

Without further commentary except for the italics, the recipe.


Garlic Sauce (marinade)

2 lg garlic cloves, minced (or 2 t store-bought preminced garlic...in a jar in produce section)
1/4 c soy sauce or Bragg All Natural Liquid Aminos (I think healthier and less sodium)
1/4 c water
1/4 c honey (I added a good extra 'squeeze' more to mine)
1 T vegetable oil
1 T cornstarch (I used flour so a child with corn allergy could eat this)


Combine all ingredients and whisk.

1 # boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips OR
left-over roast cut into thin strips and cut into bite size pieces (we used left over beef)
Veggies of choice cut thinly: onions, carrots, peas (we didn't have snow peas), mushrooms, etc. (I wouldn't used water chestnuts because it tends to take over the dish in my humble opinion)
1 T oil

Stir your meat of choice into the marinade and mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, stirring once or twice.

Very easy! Very yummy!
When meat has been marinaded, in a large skillet, heat 1 T oil. Saute onions and carrots until tender-crisp. (I added a touch of salt to this to let the sugars come out of the onions) If your meat is raw (not left over from a few nights before like I did), using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to skillet. Stir-fry about 5 minutes or until chicken is done(if using leftover meat, just dump meat and sauce in all at once) Add reserved marinade; continue to cook and stir until thickened. If adding peas and mushrooms, add them during the previous step. When everything is warm, either serve with rice or lo-mein noodles. (I had linguine and spaghetti on hand so cooked those to use)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Don't Mind Me

Don't mind me...just testing the new 'follow by email' gadget to see if it really works. I've heard mixed reviews.

Testing, testing....1,2,3....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It Won't Hurt, I Promise

Do you see the change? To my blog page. Do you see it?

My lovely niece asked me if there was a way to get automatically emailed when I and Dancer Daughter publish new posts. So, because of that question I set off in search of the answer.

And by 'in search of the answer', I mean Mr. Google. He has become a constant friend who makes me look smarter than I really appear.

So, without further babbling.......I present ------>>>>

Just enter your email address in the box and hit submit. You'll then receive an email asking you to verfiy that you really did want to get posts from little ol' me into your inbox. And, when you think about that last statement, you may need to take a moment to look deeply into your life. If you still decide you want to get posts from me into your inbox, then click on the link in that verifying email. I'm sure you'll want to know the minute I post something so go on...don't be afraid....

In my research with Mr. Google, Blogger will not sell your email addy to anyone. You're welcome. Now you can sleep tonight. Phew!

When I mentioned this new discovery to Writer/Cos Daughter, she did her best not to laugh at her old mother. She knew this. She has utilized this gadget on her Mod Style Lounge blog. I could feel her pity. But, yet she never told me of this handy-dandy tool for the public. Yeah, what's up with that, Daughter?!

In other news more worthy than a little box with a submit button besides it....

Dancer Daughter who is now serving a term with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) has a blog to keep us all updated on her experiences with YWAM. You can check it out here. A box with a submit button will be coming to her blog in the near future. I'm sure you'll enjoy seeing her blog posts pop into your inbox.

Well, have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm Glad You're Here

Today's post is sprouting from a post I just read by Sarah Markley over at (in)courage. It's a lovely post indeed. Go ahead and click on over to read about Five Little Words.

I've been hurt in the past by words. In fact, many words have hurt me. But, have I forgiven those who speak the words which hurt deeply? To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. I think I have but when I read a post like Five Little Words, I just don't know. All the pain and hurt come flooding back like a tidal wave. I can forgive and still keep my distance from those who hurt me, right?

Well, looks like I have some praying to do to figure it out. Isn't that what life is all about? Growing. Seeking. Living. Loving.

If you haven't clicked on over, I really encourage you to do it now.

I'm oh so glad you are here!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Adventure is Out There

 Saturday morning we left home with five in a vehicle. Sunday, we came home with four.

Sunday was the big day for Dancer Daughter. The time in her life where she hugged us goodbye. She was/is so excited. She could hardly wait to get to the YWAM base which will be her home for a season of life. When asked if she was nervous, she replied a confident, "No". There were no long goodbyes. Hugs from all and a kiss from this momma and out the door we went for the long trip home without her. She was ready to start this new season. I could tell she felt 'home'.

I won't lie. I've been crying off and on for a few weeks now. I cried a bit on the way home. But, I was crying for me because I'll miss her tons. She's in a great place. God has lead her all her life and she has been amazing in her obedience.

When we travel, we usually have something major happen. One time it was something with our vehicle. Other times (yes, plural), something would happen with my dad and we'd have to cut the trip short. This time, we had a boy get car sick. This isn't new to us. It just hasn't happened in a long time. However, being the awesome mom I am (*cough*cough), I did have some Dramamine and a bucket along...just in case. We stopped for an hour or so and then got back on the road. Not too terrible. After another hour or less he was feeling himself and ready to navigate again. He is a navigating-machine, I must say. Even when we missed an exit, he expertly steered us back to where we needed with very little back tracking. Who knew?!

So, today is laundry day and a mental health day. Both hubs and I took the day off of work. I felt like the kind people at my work would not like to see my ugly cry...again. I miss that girl something awful She was a constant in our house for almost 19 years. (minus a few weeks here and there on trips with the youth group) Saying "see ya" just doesn't seem right. It is a necessary transition and I accept that...it is just painfully hard. Each day will get better. God's got her and He's got me as well.

We'll "see" each other through Skype dates and will take through texts and phone calls. I haven't lost her for good. I think of all the parents who have children pass away due to illness or accidents. I am extremely fortunate.

We'll physically see her around Christmas. Have I told you how much I look forward to Christmas this year?! ☺

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A New Winner....


Due to the previously announced winner already winning the book on another blog, I redrew a name by using random.org's generator. And, the new winner is......................................................................................................................................................

Amy Campbell !!!!!!!!
 
Congratulations!!!!!!!

Thanks, everyone, for visiting and to those who entered.

If you didn't win, I strongly encourage you running or clicking over to your favorite book retailer. It is a book with a message you'll mull over long after you've finished the book.

Thanks, Jody, for offering the blog tour and a signed copy of the book for the contest!

 

 
Here is Unending Devotions book trailer recently released. Enjoy.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Countdown

Dancer Daughter has been counting down the days until she leaves for YWAM. I'm so excited for her. Sad for me, but excited for her. She'll have three months of training and then after a very short time home for Christmas, she'll fly off to another country to love on some children who are orphaned.

She has a blog and I thought I'd share it with you so you, too, can shoot up some prayers on her, the other missionaries, the staffs behalf, and for the people they will come in contact with during their months together. She'll update it when she is able during training and hopefully a few times during outreach. But, it depends if she has access to an internet cafe on outreach. Anyway....

Check out:
http://livingonlyforhim.blogspot.com

Thanks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Secret Revealed...Jody's History-Making Moment


Secret #3: My participation in a history-making moment

I am so excited [eeee!!] to have the pleasure and honor of participating in author Jody Hedlund's Secrets Revealed tour. Read all the way to the bottom to see how YOU can win a free, signed copy of her latest book. Now, here's the kind, talented and beautiful Jody Hedlund...[insert thunderous applause here]  Winner has been announced....Congratulations Amy Campbell!!!
Author Jody Hedlund
By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
I don't have many claims to history (other than that I write historicals!).
But I can lay claim to participating in one important and exciting moment in history: I was in Berlin around the time when the Berlin Wall came down.
I even brought home a piece of the Wall.
I was visiting Germany after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in early 1990 with a group from college (which means I'm dating myself!).
Our group drove through what was then known as East Germany in order to reach Berlin. The entire area was still controlled by the Soviets, and we were unprepared for the poverty, the under-development, and the lack of modern conveniences.
The East German cars were identical, tiny, and looked like they were made out of cardboard. The buildings were old,  the stores nearly empty, and the toilet paper coarse (funny what leaves an impression—no pun intended!)
The Soviet soldiers patrolled the streets and borders. In fact no-man's land still existed between sections of the east and west Berlin Wall.
It was as if we'd been transported back fifty years into a war zone.
It was gray and dreary—almost like stepping into a black and white photo.
I could feel the sadness, the weight of despair, and the lack of hope that came from living behind walls.
From time to time, I pull out the broken, spray-painted portions of the Berlin Wall that I brought home those many years ago. I like to boast to my kids that "I was there" during that special time in history.
And those pieces of crumbling cement remind me all over again, that walls are oppressive. Whether those walls are built by a government, someone in authority over us, or even ourselves—walls keep us from moving forward and accomplishing our potential. [Whoa! Let's re-read this paragraph, shall we. I may need to write this down where I can see it. Every.single.day.]
We need to ask ourselves: What walls have we built in our lives? What walls have we allowed others to build around us? And what steps can we take to start knocking them down?
After all, we want to live freely, move forward, and accomplish all that we were made to do.
So, how about you? Have you (or someone in your family) ever been a part of a history-making moment? And what walls are holding you back from achieving your potential? 


 Publisher's Weekly calls Unending Devotion
 "A meaty tale of life amid the debauchery of the
lumber camps of 1880s Michigan . . .
exciting and unpredictable to the very end."
To celebrate the release of Unending Devotion, Jody is giving away a signed copy. Leave a comment (along with your email address) to enter the drawing. Valid only with US or Canadian addresses. Giveaway ends September 12, 2012 at 9 AM ET.  Winner will be notified immediately. 
Read what I thought about Jody's book here! Plus check out her first two books here and here.
For more secrets about Jody and additional chances to win her newest release, visit her Events Page to see where she'll be next in her "Fun Secrets About Author Jody Hedlund" blog tour.
Also join in the Pinterest Photo Contest she's hosting. Find more information about it on her Contest Page.
Jody would love to connect with you! Find her in one of these places:





Thanks so much for stopping by! If you don't win the free book, run to your favorite book seller and purchase! You won't regret it.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dance Away, Dear Daughter. Fly.

Our Dancer Daughter soon will dance away with the choreography of the Great Composer. He most certainly choreographs the music to which she dances. He has her heart. And, she is His. Each step, each movement is beautifully choreographed. She only needs obedience and quiet to hear His next wondrous step He has designed just for her.

Twelve days until she begins to fly on her own. She'll grow even deeper in love with the Lover of her soul. She'll yearn even more for His presence. She'll know what it is like to trust and rely on Him, and Him only...not the comfort of having mom and dad there to scoop her up. Knowing she can trust others even though others have hurt her in the past. Stretching beyond her limits to grasp ahold of the One who loves her most.

She'll love on children who are orphaned. Children will see Jesus through her love, caring, humor, laughter, and beautiful eyes. May she and they be a changed people.

Twelve days to hold my 'baby' and wonder how I can let her go. Twelve days to cry out to God to help me be strong as I let her go. Twelve days to wonder if I (we) have prepared her as we should. Twelve days to figure out how not to cry that ugly cry.

Twelve days of being proud of our 'little' girl. Twelve days to love her and help her. Twelve days to support and smile and laugh.

Dancer Daughter, you have become an amazing woman of God. We can't wait to see what He does through you.

XXOOXXOOXXOOXX

Sunday, August 19, 2012

At Least Not Tonight

"Now, Oren, there's no need to kill him." She patted the man's arm. "At least not tonight."

"I agree." Connell said. "And really, I don't see that there's ever going to be a need to kill me."

Lily is a spunky 18 year-old who is searching for her sister in the newest novel by author Jody Hedlund, Unending Devotion. Connell is a 26 year-old man in charge of three lumber camps in northern Michigan who doesn't want to make waves because his father worked too hard building the business.

Lily seems to need someone to rescue her when she charges full steam ahead into situations. Her motto: act first, think later. And boy, oh boy, does her motto get her in trouble...multiple times. Lily is passionate about others, especially freeing girls enslaved in prostitution. Dangerous men threaten and if Lily makes the wrong move, she and others could get hurt or killed.

Connell wants to please his father, who owns the lumber camps, to the point of turning a blind eye to all the wrongs happening around him. Connell struggles to confront the truth in front of him. 

Connell and Lily are drawn to each other. But, will their different worlds collide and destroy, will there be harmony or cost them both everything?

Author Jody Hedlund has done it again. Hedlund draws the reader into the story in a way the reader feels as if she/he is in the midst of the action. Frame by frame the story is revealed. The characters come alive as you hold your breath as Lily and Connell are attacked. Feel the passion as they confront their feelings for one another. Strongly dislike those who try to hurt enslaved girls. Fall in love with Lily.

Connell and Lily's budding relationship will make you smile as they spar with one another using words of playfullness. Watch both of them grow, not only in maturity, but in their relationship with God.

Put this book at the top of your list of books to read this year! Or, better yet, skip on over to a seller of your choice and purchase Unending Devotion today.

Do you have a book group? Discussion guide is available here.

Well done, Jody, well done.

I'm looking forward in reading more books by the talented Jody Hedlund in the near future. Next April, A Noble Groom hits bookstores. I, for one, cannot wait to get my eyes on those pages!

I recieved Unending Devotion free from Bethany House Publishing. I am in no way obligated to write a complimentory review...only an honest review.



Don't forget to come back here on September 5th to see a secret revealed about author Jody Hedlund.



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Breath Holding Moments

By now, I'm sure you've watched or heard about Aly Raisman's parents reactions during her Olympic gymnastics performance on the uneven bars. In case you missed it, watch and enjoy.

(I just discovered this video is no longer available. The International Olympic Committee has blocked the video on youtube due to copyrights. I guess this video may be some sort of breech of security, huh?! ;-P Sorry if you didn't get to see it. The parents are so into their child's performance they do not even know they are holding their breath and moving like they are on a roller coaster ride without being seat belted in!)



Yes, it is quite humorous. Yet, it got me thinking.

How many times have we, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, held our breath while our child has performed? We squirm, inwardly groan or nervously tap our foot. We want our child to succeed in life in general.

Is it the same way with God? Is He holding his 'breath' as we go out into the world? Does He cheer when we accomplish something we only dreamed of doing?

And, dare I say, I bet He is shoutin' so loud He scares a few angels?! :)

God is our greatest and best cheerleader. Smiling down on each one of us. Throwing us a good measure of grace when needed. Picking us up when we fall. And, perhaps even crying all the while He is wiping our tears.

Smile and let your heart be filled with joy. God is smiling down on you!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Bride Wore Blue Review

The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson is the third of four books in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series. (4th book due out in October)

The baby of the family, Vivian, makes her way from Maine to Cripple Creek to join her sisters. Adventures happen one after the other starting with a train robbery. Enter the sheriff, Carter. Carter clearly is smitten with Vivian but something in Vivian's past effects every relationship including her relationship with God.

It is a story of feeling unforgivable and how that not only affects Vivian, but, those around her. It is about forgiving herself as well as letting others forgive and love her.

The story is very predictable. I found myself guessing what was going to happen and it did. There weren't any surprises along the way for me. Just my humble opinion. However, it is a good, easy read and is well written.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for review purposes. I am not required to give a positive review, only an honest review.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Those Pesky Silks

It is that time of year when fresh sweet corn is just a slurp away. Well, normally. We've been hit hard by the drought that seems to be going around like the common cold.

A relative bought some at the grocery store since he can never pass up a good deal. If you cannot read between the lines, he overbought. So, we became recipients of eight ears of sweet corn two days before we were to leave on vacation. Great timing. Did you note the sarcasm in that last sentence? I didn't want to mess with corn even if it was for a meal in the midst of packing. My self-diagnoised, unmedicated ADD is funny that way.

I remembered seeing someone's pin on Pinterest on how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave. With the husk on. And, the silk still intact. Skreeech...back the truck up! I know, right?! This might be the answer to my laziness small dilema. I hate those pesky little silk strings. And, I've come to the conclusion the feeling is mutual.

After googling it since the person who originally pinned it didn't link to the post, but, only the blog site which is really quite annoying to me, I found a recipe. Sorry, no pictures since I was already lazy overwhelmed. But, it worked. Shockingly good when then corn isn't tough from being too old. I think we had maybe 2 ears that were tiny and tender...yum. Hmmm, sweet corn on sale and most of the corn is old...hmmmm.

The recipe I used was a combination of two recipes I read. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Fresh Corn on the Cob
(the microwave edition)
source: Cooks.com

Corn on the cob still in the husk and silk intact

Run each ear under water just to get the dirt/dust off the outside husks.

Place three to four ears (depends on size of microwave and your ears...the corn's ears, not yours...ewww...that would just be wrong in so many ways) on dampened paper towel(s). Turn ears (again, the corn's) over after 1/2 the cooking time.

1 ear: 1 1/2 min
2 ears: 3-4 min
3 ears: 5-6 min
4 ears: 7-8 min
(if you can fit more than four in your microwave, you're on your own with a cooking time!)

Using a hot pad/mitt, remove from microwave after the annoying beeping sound chimes. Either wrap the cooked ears in foil or put them in a pan and cover (that is what I did). Let stand for 5-ish (or less) min. With a knife, cut the a tiny portion of the bottom of the cob off. (makes husk removal so easy!)Remove husks and silk (it will slide off...seriously!) and serve with butter, salt and pepper.

Try it. Let me know if you like this method or the "watch-pot" boiling method.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Knockin on Heaven's Door

I've been talking to (praying) God with a ton of requests lately.

[Updates in green]
A little five year old boy fell and hit his head on concrete. After 2 surgeries, he is now in an induced coma. Yesterday was his worse day. It wasn't looking good and his mom requested prayer....now! He is making a miraculous recovery! Parents, family and friends are shouting thanksgiving praises to our Mighty God. He has a long road of recovery a head of him but things are looking good!

A co-worker's father just entered Heaven yesterday morning after a battle with lung cancer, his family by his side for almost two weeks. Keep praying for her as I know how hard it is to look a parent. Also pray for unity as the family makes decisions.

A young woman who is still struggling with her health after either ten or eleven surgeries in roughly six years. The surgery in January has really taken its toll it seems. Still struggling to feel better. Praise be to God she is feeling better. She even came to church a couple weeks ago. She hasn't been these since this all started back in January!! God is just awesome! Keep praying for pain. She is in constant pain and digestive issues are still huge. The family will travel to NY soon for pain managment for her back.

A team from our youth group at church has been in Africa. They should arrive safely at home tonight. The highschoolers and sponsors have been in some tough conditions which have stretched them in every sense of the word. They arrived home safely and had lots to say about God and His working through the African people. It is great to see young people on fire after such a trip. Pray for that fire not to be extinguished as they go to school and college.

This isn't even the entire 'list'. It seems to grow with more and more situations.

Do you ever get weary? Do you ever wonder if God is listening? I do at times. But, then I mentally slap myself up-side-the-head and come back to reality! God listens. Yes, He does!

Isaiah 40:28-31:
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

God is always there. Always listening. Always walking with us. Always ready to carry.

Care to join me in prayer for those listed above?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Moment When...

The moment when you're in the middle of a drought and you hear rain pounding on the church roof during a sermon and the congregation roars with applause. (I think our pastor was slightly jealous as we've never burst forth in applause for his sermons! ☺)

Thank you, Lord, for rain.

(Is the drought over? No, but every little bit helps! Thank you, Jesus!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Adventures of a Misty Monday Morning

We have way too many cats. Want some? It is a community of cats made up from at least two different neighbors. And, we haven't even talked about how many litters of kittens were born this spring.....sigh. 

Now that you have some background on our cat population, I have a true story to tell.

We have a pool. Not a 'real' pool that costs a ton of money. One of those blue sided pools. Not the kind with the blow up ring on the top (although we did start out with one of those) but one with the poles holding it up. Yup, we are livin' the life. When we had the cover on the pool this winter, some of the cats would leap up on the cover and sun themselves. Drove me nuts! I kept picturing pin holes in the cover from their claws because I knew how much the cover cost me! Put try as I might, like pounding on the window in the house or telling one or more of the kids to go get them off the cover, I could not win this fight. [I think it was more like a fight with myself.]

We have two different locations in the backyard where the cats and the dog can drink water. But we have at least one cat who thinks it has to go to the pool and get a drink. I was walking past a window and saw this cat eyeing our pool. I, of course, did the only logical thing and pounded on the window. The cat just looked at me. Then, as if it were thumbing his/her nose at me, proceeded to climb up the ladder, go down a step [paws in the water] and drink the water all the while swallows are swooping and screeching mere inches away. The cat's tail would flick every now and then as to say, "Away from me you dirty bird."

Oh, but that isn’t the best part. The cat then decided to do a ‘high wire act’ along the side of the pool stopping to amuse itself by the filter. I’m watching the thing thinking, one of these times the birds will startle it enough to have it fall in the pool. I’m wondering how long it would take for a cat to drown and wonder if I should wait that long to scoop it out or wait until two of the kids get home from volunteering at Bible School and have them scoop it out. Can you tell cats and birds are not my favorite things? Anyway…..The cat starts to move again, this time with something in its mouth. Something white and big for it…MY POOL SKIMMER SOCK!!!! The dumb cat stole the ‘sock’ out of the skimmer!!!!! I proceed to pound on the window since it obviously helped the last time. It just kept prancing off toward the field like it was carrying a mouse instead of the sock. What in the world?! We have a psycho cat!!!


What to do, what to do. The cat was headed for the field...with a skimmer sock. So I did what any good mother who is deathly afraid of birds would do; I yelled for our oldest to get downstairs. She came down and I told her to go get the sock away from that freak of a cat!!! She did as any dutiful daughter who isn't afraid of birds did. She went outside and walked toward the cat while her hands were covering her hair. She wasn’t worried about the birds swooping. She was worried about her hair….it was misting. It was a sight to behold. I'd like to embellish the story here and say she 'wrestled the sock away from the cat' but it basically dropped the sock when she got close to the cat. Wrestling it away would have been so much more romantic, you thing?! ☺


Did I put the 'sock' back on? Nope. Did I even go out to the pool to 'check' things? Nope. I did actually open the back door when I thought I was brave. Two birds swooped and I promptly did what a mature forty-something woman would do. I slammed the door shut and decided tomorrow would be a good day to check the pool. I really am afraid of birds. I like their songs....but from a safe distance.

So, we have psycho cats and swooping birds. How was your day?!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter

Bethany Quinn is a young, driven architect who specializes in remodels. Haunting childhood memories surround her when tragedies strike and she heads home. A home she escaped as soon as she turned eighteen. A home she never wanted to return to. Guilt over leaving her best friend, Robin, in the town she hates. Hatred for a pastor who did more harm than good.

Evan Price has been living with her grandfather and taking care of the farm for five years. Bethany and Evan do not agree on many issues. The farm being one. God being the other.

The “universe” keeps throwing the two together. Will one of them finally let go and realize it is God rather than the ‘universe”? Will Bethany and Robin find their way back to the friendship left for dead ten years ago? Will Evan and Bethany finally agree on something?

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert [her debut novel!] is a lovely read. Author Katie Ganshert weaves the story to make the reader feel the story. Not 'see' but 'feel' the story. There were times tears flooded my eyes. Times I could relate to Bethany’s questions of life.

Although I’m not found of the title, [minor details!] I am fond of the storyline and this new author. Should you run out and get this book? You bet! I can’t wait until Spring of 2013 when her next book, Wishing on Willows, is released.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing through their Blogging for Books program. I am not required to write a favorable review, only an honest review.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Online Grace for the Good Girl Study

Want to be part of something big? Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman is going to be an online study. We'll 'get together' cyber-ly and talk, discuss, and question.

Author, Emily P. Freeman will post on her blog every Thursday about the chapters we just read for the week. There is a reading chart and more information here. It is my understanding that we may either comment in the comment section of her blog or through a 'closed group' facebook page. All you need to do to join the facebook group is ask to join on the facebook page. Again, you'll find all the information by clicking on the word 'here'.

I've read the book and blogged about it in a post titled "Grace". I look forward in re-reading it and exploring with others through the online study.

Hope you'll consider joining as well! Let me know in the comment section if you are going to participate, too!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dancer Daughter's Day

Our second child, Dancer Daughter, graduated high school. What would you like for your party was the question asked. Ice cream was the correct answer.

Trying to turn a room at church into an ice cream palor 'look' was the mission. I sort of think we accomplished that mission as well as we could. What do you think?



It was a long, exhausting day but one that was also joy-filled. Dancer daughter has accomplished a mile-stone and we are proud. She is such a joy and we are proud to call her our daughter. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zucchini Overload

Well, it is about that time of year. People who planted zucchini appear from nowhere begging you to take some zucchini off of their hands...pllluuuueeeease! And, so you do. Now what do you do with it?

The old standby is to shred it and freeze it in two cup quantities so you can make zucchini bread this winter! [yes, you heard sarcasm in that sentence starting with 'so you can make...] I have thrown out frozen bags of zucchini because I've come to realize I will never...did you hear me?...ne-v-er make zucchini bread in the mist of winter. Honestly, I forget it is the in freezer until we are defrosting the freezer, oh let's say every 3-5 years that happens. I figure by then, it is a space waster.

Zucchini relish anyone? This is basically just like sweet pickle relish. Use it on hot dogs, hamburgers or anything you eat with sweet relish. Taste just like pickle relish. Here is the recipe:

5 c zucchini, ground (it is roughly two big zucchini)
3 c celery, chopped
2 c onion, ground
2/3 c green pepper, ground
6 c water
1/4 c salt

Mix these together and let set of 1 hour. Drain. Then, if you don't like you relish runny, SQUEEZE water out of the zucchini. Do not squeeze it dry though. You'll want a little liquid. Add to this mixture:

3 c white vinegar
6 c sugar
2 T mustard seed
1 t celery seed
1 t turmeric

Bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Place relish in jelly canning jars and seal by placing in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

My sister-in-law thought she was fooling us one year and made an "apple" pie with zucchini. It was delic! My kids had no idea but I was cutting the pie thinking...this is so zucchini. And, as any good mom would, I didn't tell the kids until after they ate a piece. They had no clue. She told me she just used her favorite apple pie recipe and used thinly sliced zucchini instead of apples. Thinly sliced is the key.

And, to all my friends and neighbors....no, I do not want zucchini this year. But, thanks for thinking of me!