Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

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Okay, I'll be honest. I picked this book because you can't just not pick a book to read right? I didn't really want to read it. It didn't stand out to me as my style of book.  But....

I really liked this book. D even looked at it and thought he would enjoy reading it and I think he would too.  If you like Dee Henderson and Janice Cantore, then I think you would like this book. I have never head of Dani before but this is her fifth book I believe.

It starts in hard and fast and plows headlong into the story. A body is uncovered at the Gettysburg Park and whoever killed her doesn't want the body identified. You are following the plot through, are convinced you know the killer and what is going to happen and then with about a quarter of the book left, she switches it around to a killer you never even saw.  Of course, there are close calls, but none of the main characters are killed though one is injured. It's still a fiction book!!!  But highly entertaining and catching fiction book.  I haven't had such a hard time laying a book down in awhile.

The biggest "struggle" in the book is this thing of forgiveness.  The three main guy characters were best friends growing up, but two are at odds with each other because of the murder of the one's sister while on her way to meet the other one. Forgiveness is eventually extended and fences can begin to be mended.  Forgiving oneself was also a part of the book. Griffin had to forgive himself that his sister died and also that his hesitation in a hostage situation cost a woman her life.

While I don't face such life and death situations, I still have to work to forgive those around me and to forgive myself at times. I can fight the mom guilt thing terrible. A is crabby and fussy and I think she just needs a firm hand and then she settles down to sleep half an hour after pain medication is given and you realize she must have been hurting. It's easy for me to beat myself up over these things. I do beat myself up, but I'm not sure that's the right thing. I think the right thing is to seek forgiveness from those you hurt, even if she doesn't understand yet, and then move forward. I can't allow one crippling mistake to hold me back from being the mom I need to be.

Okay that was a little bunny trail, but I think the application can be made from this book, with a stretch at least.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Amber's Birthday Gift Part One

So after exclaiming over something so excitedly there's always that hesitancy then when showing others because you wonder if they will find your idea/project/thought/etc. as exciting as you did. So we'll start off with a pick of the little munchkin which I see turned out a little blurry.

This is tin foil tube that she was able to stick in her mouth and hang on to with her teeth and no hands. She must have some seriously strong teeth. 

These are the blocks I made for her for her birthday. Many long years ago my brother made the plain wooden blocks. I painted them, covered them with scrapbook paper and then put a capital letter, lowercase letter, number that corresponds to that letter's placement in the alphabet, a shape, a picture that starts with that letter of the alphabet and a plain square. As you can also see they lean just a bit because of the layers on them. Next time I would maybe trying painting the letters on rather than using cardstock. I have some fun combinations I would like to try with these. So if anyone is looking for a gift for that youngster in their life, let me know. I would be happy to make you a set of blocks. There are 26 in a set just in case you don't know for sure how many letters are in the alphabet!!!!! Oh, I also should mention that there are four layers of Mod Podge on these things. I'm still not sure how they will hold up beings she is sure they are meant to be eaten. I think she will only be allowed to play with these under direct supervision until she learns not to stick them in her mouth. I am afraid her two little top teeth will still be able to work down through the layers of Mod Podge. 

And my helper while I was photographing the blocks. I see this one is also blurry. I think that next year one of my goals should be to learn some better photography skills. 

She disappeared into the pantry to see what could be found. I can only post this pic since it was taken after having cleaned out the pantry a few weeks back. Before that, that room was a scary place.

Well, that's all I have for this week. I'll be back next Thursday if not before or after.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

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This is one of those books that I'm left shaking my head and nodding it both at the same time. I'm simply not sure what to make of it.

First off, I don't classify it as a real Christian book. Yes, the character who died seemed to have a faith in God, but it wasn't mentioned a lot. The main character spend most of the book ranting at God. And the language wasn't what I expected in a Christian book published by a Christian publishing company. So in that regard, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for a bit more depth.

On the other hand, the depth of the friendship of these three women is a rare find. They did everything together, actually they did too much together in my mind. I have some really good friends, but there is no way they would accompany me to all of my prenatal visits and to the birth of my child. Sorry guys, no can do!! And there is no way I would go with them to theirs. Actually that whole idea is so preposterous it can make me laugh. But on the other hand, these three friends stuck it out through thick and thin and when one of them is diagnosed with cancer, the other two rally around and stuck with her all the way to the end.

So that is the reason for the mixed feelings here. It was a good read, but...

I do want to share a couple of quotes from the book that I did think were inspiring and just very good.

This one was said by Laine, the lady that died, at a classmate's funeral. "'I know this is sad,' she said, 'and I'm sad too, especially for his family. But keep hearing people say, "Isn't it tragic because he had his whole life in front of him." But what difference does that make? It's not how long you live; it's what you leave behind. Ricky was a great guy. Everybody loved him. That's an amazing way to be remembered.'"

And this also by Laine, "You are responsible for what you do. No matter what you go through, no matter what happens to you, no matter how much someone hurt you, the choices you make are ultimately your own." As you can tell, she was the mature one of the bunch.

Those two things struck a chord with me. What am I leaving behind? I think of Cheryl Burkholder: I want to say the same thing--she had so much of life ahead of her. Her family needed her; her friends needed her, but she did make an impact in the time she was here. She was a great lady. Everybody loved her. She cared about people. That is a legacy I would like to leave behind me too. And Cheryl's life and the stories I hear now challenge me to make a difference as well.  Yes, I wish she were back here on this earth. I want to go hang out at their place, see Bentley, compare him and Amber, go garage saling together in Wausau again, but it's not going to happen. So I need to make the choice to go out from here, from this grief and become a better person for it. And that's not always easy to do because grief can be a heavy load.

This book was given my by Book Look Bloggers for the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

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Another fiction book review today. I just haven't been able to find nonfiction books right now that I'm interested in reading.

Anyway, I generally like Tracie's style of writing though they tend to be a little on the light side of things.  This is the story of a little boy who witnessed his mother's murder and was warned by the murderer to not say a word or his whole family would be killed. The boy stops talking from then on. The dad is accused of being the murderer but there isn't sufficient evidence to charge him. Then, of course, the dad hires a nanny to hopefully help the boy talk again and they fall in love with each other, yada yada.

The element of intrigue is the killer is still on the loose and attacks again, but of course they catch him.

So what did I like about the book? Or what can I take away from the book and be inspired by? One thing is the acceptance of the mentally challenged people in the world. Harry, was a 21 year old with the mind of a 7 year old. He is accepted for who he is and encouraged that he is not an idiot, he is not stupid, he has a lot to give. I'm guessing in that era, that kind of a mind set was a little more unusual, but it does show some of the business owners in town also taking time for the boy and encouraging him.

It is so easy to see the person who's is intellectually challenged either autistic or a chromosome issue or whatever and focus on the external, what you can see, rather than on reaching out to them and loving them and seeing how special they really are. I know I can definitely do better in this.

I did enjoy the book. It flipped from person to person and I wasn't always sure the days lined up like they should have, but I didn't study it out either so maybe they did.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Need a Pacifier

Yes, you read that right. I think I need to go on a search for an adult pacifier. You know you used to be able to get those candy pacifiers-- I don't know if you still can or not. I think one like that would work, but preferably more of a sea salt caramel and chocolate flavor rather than just hard candy.

Why do I want one, you may wonder or you may just conclude that I needed something off the wall for a blog post and came up with this idea. Both could be true, but here's is what made me think of it.

Earlier this week, Amber was having a rough evening of it. She had only taken a half hour afternoon nap and was just crabby. I was trying to make supper and she was crying unless I was holding her. It's really hard to stir stir-fry in a wok with a baby in one arm because of the whole heat aspect of it. So finally out of exasperation, I decided we were going to leave supper where it was and we were going to go upstairs and take a nap before we even attempted eating.  You have to understand two things about Amber and napping. For Amber, napping is equated with getting her pacifier and her blanket--both are sure to elicit happy sounds, but the blanket for sure. No other time does her blanket mean so much to her as when she's ready to climb into bed. So we got those two items and settled down in the rocking chair.

After a few minutes and a little struggle, Amber fell asleep, I thought. Every time I moved her eyes would pop open and about two to five minutes later, she was done sleeping, but voila! she was happy again. We went back downstairs leaving blanket and pacifier upstairs and she was a different girl for the rest of the evening.

So you see, I thought maybe that would work for adults as well: a blanket, a pacifier (disguised as chocolate) and a little rest and maybe, just maybe the world would like all different again.

Then I read this verse this morning in my reading and it said to this effect, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest." Now that's the perfect kind of time out-- to rest in God and allow Him to go with us and to meet our needs.

May you have a restful week.

Joy moments for the week: I must get better at remembering to take pictures.
- Amber's only word so far, "Oh" when she drops things which she has started to do with abandon
- Watching her and her daddy play together. This never ceases to make me happy, partly because I love that she loves her daddy and partly because it means I can be sitting on the couch doing my own thing while she is happily playing
- Getting my sewing machine back and putting it to good use.
- Finishing part of Amber's birthday present. I will try to post pictures of it next week. I'm quite tickled with how they turned out, so stay tuned. If you are looking for a nice birthday present for a little person, I would be happy to make more of them to sell to you. Is your interest piqued yet?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Egyptians

One of the things I might do on my blog this year is talk about the various goals I have set for myself for 2016. I probably got a little carried away on goal setting, but so far I'm loving it.

I did realize yesterday, after feeling like a very bad mom, that I need to do some rearranging of my priorities. I'm not sure quite how that will work, but I'm going to work on it while still continuing on with my original goals. I think it's possible. It just requires me to be more intentional and disciplined. Oh, grrr!.

One of my goals for this year is to read through the Bible in a year. Likely there will be updates throughout the year as something I read strikes me and makes me want to share.

I just finished reading about the ten plagues and the Israelites leaving Egypt. The Egyptians have pursued them, but haven't died yet. That will happen tomorrow.  But here's the thing: how dumb were the Egyptians? Reading the plagues, what was left of Egypt? The plagues had taken out a lot of Egypt's prosperity, it had to have. People were killed during the hail storm, then all the first born die. What is Pharoah thinking when he charges after the Israelites intending to bring them back? Wouldn't he have caught on by now that God really wanted His people out of Egypt and that it would be wise to let them go?

But then, what about us? I'm sure sometimes it seems like God has spoken plainly to us about what He wants us to do and we still try to sneak and connive and whine our way to a different ending. What happens? Nothing good. How much better to just have followed God in the first place.

The other thing right now is I"m rereading the book "Longing for Paris" by Sarah Mae. I had readt and reviewed it last July. It had struck a chord with me and I wanted to reread it and let it sink in and take root.

The chapter I read today was on adventure. What is your soul longing for? Adventure doesn't mean jetting off to Paris, though Sarah Mae really wants to go to Paris someday. Adventure can be as simple as perusing your town for the best croissant or going on a scavenger hunt with your kids. To me, in reading this chapter, adventure is awaiting me if I'm just willing to open my eyes to see it. It's taking time to do something out of the ordinary. It was passing out Thanksgiving breakfasts to the homeless for Sarah Mae. Maybe for me, it would be having the person I don't know very well over for coffee. That would be out of my comfort zone, but I think it would be a good thing to do. Am I going to do it? I  don't know. The idea only just now popped in my head. My point is, adventure doesn't have to be selfish. The point is to be fully alive and aware of what's going on around you and then responding accordingly.

And finally, some joy moments of the last two weeks:

Because I'm forgetful and and unaware I don't have a picture for this, but coffee with two very good friends is definitely at the top of the list.

Watching Amber grow and develop and learn new things. Her utter delight at life.

Finishing a quilt with Mom. I can't show pictures here because it's a gift.

My 11 month old baby.  She's not so little anymore and definitely not interested in posing for pictures anymore either. Though if she's in the right mood, she can ham it up for the camera. I have no idea how she has learned what a camera is.

Monday, January 18, 2016

All Aboard the Ark, Designed by Cindy Davis

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After reading this book, I thought three things. Nice book. Cute rhyming. Completely unrealistic. The rhymes are cute, I love rhyming books, but as far as Noah and the Ark story? It's not really there. It's written from the perspective of the animals and one picture shows them in a big tub in the ark. Okay? I wouldn't say it's unbiblical, just not at all what I would expect it was really like.

When they come off the ark, it shows them coming off down a hill, which is correct, but when you get to the bottom of the hill, it's just water all around. How did they get off the hill?

It is a nice board book that I am happy to add to my collection, but I definitely am not going to use it to tell the story of the Flood. It is definitely a children's book, very young child, I would say.

So, all in all, as a book, it's nice, as a Bible story, not so much.

This book was given me by Book Look Bloggers for the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed are my own.