Saturday, December 31, 2016

Out with the Old

Wow 2016 is nearly history. It feels like it flew by rather quickly, but it was a good year. However, I love new years. They feel so clean and fresh and like a new sheet of paper just waiting to be written on.

For those of you who are wondering about the rest of the pics for the month of December? It didn't happen. Ha Ha. I nixed the idea of trying it for a year. That felt like a wildly overrated goal.

But now that it is the last day in 2016, I reorganized, got rid of last year's things and got out next year's things. That, along with this post, might also have been procrastination. Procrastinating against studying my Sunday School lesson. I have to teach tomorrow and I feel woefully unprepared to connect. It hasn't been that long since I was a youth, but forgive me if any of you youth girls read this, but they seem so much younger than we were at that age. I am sure we were more mature, more advanced, more everything at their age. HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!

My very messy desk, but also my stacks of books that were on the verge of putting me over the edge. A large portion of them are now tucked out of sight.

Speaking of out with the old or in this case dirty. Honest, I don't think my house is that dirty, but the proof is in the socks, huh? Why did I buy white socks for her? She trompsed around stocking footed out in our entrance, which due to the cold doesn't get cleaned much in the winter. In the summer, I blame it on the heat of course. :) :)

And to all, Happy New Year. My next post will show some of my new things.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Summer's List by Anita HIgma

Product Details

This is a sweet story of love, forgiveness, redemption, and second chances.  The story begins with Summer breaking an engagement and discovering that her dear Grandma, her last relative, is dying. Her Grandma had a great faith in God that she passed on to Summer.

Before she dies, her Grandma gives her a list she wants Summer to accomplish. The first thing on the list is to fine her old friend, Martin. Need I say anymore about where that goes? You already can guess.

But when she enters Martin's life, there are few thorns in the way, namely his brothers who resent Martin. The humility and forgiveness that Martin extended to his brother's could only have been as a result of God's love. There is reconciliation, even with their father who had, along with their mother, left them and gone to Europe with no communication for many years. Okay, I don't want to give away more of the story.

I really, really liked the story as long as the Grandma was alive, but once the Grandma died, the story turned a bit more sappy. It was still well-written and I like the underlying themes portrayed through the book, but that was my opinion of it. Grandma was a well-grounded, yet fun-loving woman who wanted to see Summer have the best life had to offer.

I believe this is the first book I have read by Anita and I would certainly read more books by her if the opportunity arises.

I received this book from Moody Publishers and am not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Days 19-22

Day 20: Faces of Loved Ones 
I'm only mildly prejudiced here that that little girl is the cutest in town. She was celebrated 22 months on this day. The only problem was neither she nor her mom remembered until the next day. 

Day 19: PJ's
As you can see, she wasn't that interested in posing or she was doing her lay on the floor pose. 

Day 21: Wrapped presents

Day 22: A mug with a hot drink
And yummy biscotti thanks to a wonderful sister-in-law

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Lord's Prayer by Rick Warren, Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

Product Details
Words of Hope and Happiness

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. That's what I have to say about this book.

This is a children's hardcover board book of the Lord's Prayer. Each page has a phrase from the prayer combined with a small explanation and a thank you prayer. For example, "Give us this day our daily bread. God has promised to take care of all my needs, so I will trust him and not worry. Thank you, God, for your gifts!" The illustration is a little girl feeding the birds. As far as the ages of children who might enjoy this book, that's a little hard for me to gauge. Because it is a board book, very young children could page through it, but is decent size. I would say 2-5 years maybe would enjoy the book. My daughter is almost two and I am thinking I might make it a last minute add-on to her Christmas gift or will save it for her birthday in two months.

The explanations were very simply and child-friendly. The pictures are nicely done. While the explanations are a bit different than I would generally think of when I think of the Lord's Prayer, I think they are appropriate for the age of the child and I love that there is a thank you prayer at the bottom of every page.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers. I am not required to write a positive review, but I am happy to be adding this to our library of books.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Love Unending by Becky Thompson

Product Details
Rediscovering your marriage in the midst of motherhood

I am not sure what it is with me and challenges lately or what God is trying to show me, but I didn't realize this book was set up as a 21-day challenge when I requested it. I didn't read it like that. I actually read it through in less than 24 hours, so it's a pretty quick read, but there are some good things in there.

I really like the advice Becky gets from her dad which is the premise of the whole book. Wake up each morning and act like it is the first day of your marriage. You know how you listened better, loved better, delighted to do things for your spouse back then? Act like you are back there and be amazed.

She has 21 different things to focus on, for 21 days, of course. Here's the list:
- Greet Lovingly
- Speak Kindly
- Touch Him Purposefully
- Listen Intently
- Thank Him Frequently
- Pray Continually
- Forgive Immediately
- Expect Gracefully
- Serve Joyfully
- Reach out Intentionally
- Fight Fairly
- Prepare Expectantly
- Honor Consistently
- Correct Sparingly
- Choose Wisely
- Connect Intimately
- Join in Willingly
- Profess Passionately
- Discover Daily
- Love Unexpectedly
- Interact Patiently

Each day has a personal story from her life, a prayer for you to pray and journaling lines to help you process the day's challenge.

I have realized that between this 21 day challenge and the last book's 31 day challenge, I have 52 challenges, one for each week of the year next year. We'll see what happens, but investing time in my marriage and working to make it the best possible is a big goal for 2017. More on that later.

I do recommend this book. The challenges are not time-consuming. Most of them are simply a switch in perspective and attitude.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Days 14-18

Day 14: A candy cane. 
And the picture is very bad.

Day 15: Stockings
Since we don't have any big stockings, I decided to grab a pic of Amber with her socks. Socks are a pretty big deal to her. As is putting chairs on a chair apparently.

Day 16: Baking
This is not baked actually, but it is so good. I have much to learn about food photography, but I would rather know how to make this stuff than take a pretty picture of it. Though it might be better for my waistline if I just took pictures of food. I have been into making Christmas goodies this year. So far I have made Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms with Candy Cane Kisses, Butter Toffee Popcorn, Peanut Brittle, these  Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzels, and Killer Crunch Brownies. I have another five things I want to make. Yes, I have no idea what I'm doing this year, but I have this storage room that is freezer temperature right now and so everything goes straight in there and seem to be keeping well, so I am hoping that we will have baked good for the next few months. 

Day 17: Favorite Christmas Book. 

I just don't have one

Day 18: Family Holiday Tradition
Again, we don't really have one. One thing we have tried was to get take out on Christmas Eve. But since moving to Hayward that has been very difficult as there is not much open except fast food on Christmas Eve. 

The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn

Product Details
Thirty days to Improve any Relationship

If you don't want to be convicted about improving your kindness quotient, don't read this book. There are three elements to this challenge. Number one, you may not say anything negative to or about the person you are doing the challenge for. Number two, you need to say something positive to the person you trying to be kind to and to someone else about that person. Number three, you need to do one kind act a day for that person.

Reading through this book, I have been made aware of how critical and negative I can be and how much I can feel the need to correct things that I view as "wrong". It has challenged me to think, think, think before I speak. I am convinced if more of us would do this kindness challenge, the world would be a better place and there would be better relationships all around.

Shaunti has done extensive research and surveys on this and a huge majority have stated the difference it has made in themselves, in the relationship they are trying to improve and in the other person as well.

To quote part of what Shaunti quoted, "I've had many issues in my own marriage, in my own life. I know it works. Your choice starts the process. I told you, 'You have to start somewhere, and this is it. You have to be receptive, forgiving, and kind.' She said, 'But it's not changing him!' And I said, 'You're right. But it is changing you. And the change in your heart has the ability to change the atmosphere in the room. And then that changes his heart. Almost every time." This was in context of a woman saying she can't forgive her husband. The lady told that yes she was right, she couldn't because she was running on empty. She needed the Holy Spirit to help her. That is so true for all of us. I need to let the Holy Spirit do a work in my life and choose to allow Him to lead me and guide me and teach me to speak kindness and to be quiet at times.

So if you are looking for a life-changing, relationship-building new year's resolution, I would recommend reading this book and trying this challenge. There is a chapter dedicated to an alternative element for husbands that includes really listening to their spouse and staying in the game during an uncomfortable exchange longer than they would normally. I didn't read the chapter. I heard once that when reading things like this, don't read what the husband is supposed to do because it can make you discontent and so I chose not to read that chapter. When we're talking kindness, my husband beats me 10 to 1 every time. At the back of the book there is a section of tips for wives doing the challenge for their husbands, husbands doing the challenge for their wives, and for anyone doing the challenge for someone other than their spouse.

There is also a website Join the Kindness Challenge that offers assessments, surveys, etc. Beings the book does not release until December 20th, the website doesn't look like it is totally up and running yet.

I am definitely going to put more effort into nixing the negative in my life. I know I need a lot of help in this area.

This book was given me by Blogging for Books. I am not obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

Product Details

by Troy Schmidt

If you are looking for encouragement, then this is the book for you. Filled with 100 verses and small devotionals for each one, this book is meant to give you courage to face the journey. Be it a terminal illness, loss of a loved one, financial disaster, or something else, this book will point you to the One who is able to bear you up and sustain you through your difficulty.

There are the common verses that you would expect like Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses....." , Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.", and Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;...."

Then there are some unusual ones that you don't think of when you think of encouraging Bible verses, but which are very good as well. Verses like: Genesis 21:6 "And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.'" The encouragement with this verse was to find the humor in your situation. "Laugh at the unusual things God is doing and get ready for the uproarious surprises."
Exodus 2:25 "So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them." God is concerned about the situation you are going through and He sees you.

While I just read through the book cover to cover, I would recommend taking more time to read it. Use it as a daily devotional and read through it slowly, taking the time to get the context of the verse listed, etc. I think it would be a very beneficial book used in that way. For me at least, just to sit down and read it through you miss a lot of things because you forget one verse and the encouragement it provides because you're moving on to the next five verses in rapid succession.

Troy has two more books like this: The 100 Best Bible Verses on Prayer  and The 100 Best Bible Verses on Heaven.  I think these would make nice gifts for people who are going through a tough time or have just lost a loved one, etc.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day 7-13

Day 7: Wrapping Paper

Day 8: Favorite Christmas Decoration
This is a sign from KLH Design Shop on Etsy and it was given by Cheryl Burkholder

Day 9: Something that brings you joy
I love watching Dave and Amber interact together

Day 12: A cozy blanket
This is Amber's night-night blanket. Why is she on the floor? I have no idea, but lately whenever I say I want to take a picture she lays on the floor like that. I think she's seen too many Bible School pictures

Day 10: Christmas lights
Yep, I have the days switched and it doesn't appear that I have Day 11 which was supposed to be a lit candle. We were going to go look at Bentleyville in Duluth, but it was cold, so we went out to eat and then Dave and Amber had a snack when we got home.

Day 13: Favorite Christmas ornament
This was a new discovery this year, that we have a little shelf above our stairs and it is just right for putting a few decorations on it. It makes me smile.

And there you have it. I don't have Day 14 yet because I haven't taken the picture yet and am not going to get the picture taken today. 

After the Cheering Stops by Cyndy Feasel

Product Details
with Mike Yorkey

An NFL wife's story of concussions, loss, and the faith that saw her through.

This is the story of Grant Feasel, who played center for the Seattle Seahawks for most of his career and his downfall into alcohol and prescription painkiller addictions after he retired from playing football.

This is a great story to raise awareness of the dangers of head injuries incurred by playing contact sports. Injuries to the brain can cause CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a "progressive degenerative disease of the brain found mainly in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including concussions and concussive hits to the head."

Because Grant played center, he was hit on pretty much every play. He was also a long snapper which resulted in hits even on special teams. This led to the development of CTE. He also had multiple aches and pains and was an old man before his time. After a lot of games, if not all, he would come home with a baggie of Vicodin to help with his pain.

He went from an easy-going loving man to an occasionally physically abusive and definitely verbally abusive husband who was the complete opposite of the man Cyndy married. She lived with this for many years until her divorce, which actually happened within a year of his death. Grant became financially unstable, had poor memory, and basically drank himself to death. Cyndy would still go in and visit him in the hospital until he was moved to hospice five days before his death. I think she did still love him and in some ways I think, and this is just my opinion, he might have been more the man she married in those last few days. He acknowledged and apologized for the pain he put her through and also commented that had he known football would take everything he loved, he never would have played.

The storyline was very good. I think raising awareness of the dangers of brain injury is very important. There were some aspects of the writing that I struggled with, but I can't really lay my finger on why. It was told in a very blunt, honest manner which is good, but I think it felt a little hard on Grant and yet I don't think the truth should be sugar-coated. I also need to recognize that I have no idea what a wife goes through living with a husband who struggles with addiction to that degree. So with all that in mind, it was a good read.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and am in now way required to write a positive review of the story.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Days 7 -11

Okay, due to extreme frustration on the part of getting my computer to upload pictures, I am suspending the picture a day for the month of December on my blog. I may post them on Instagram if you are interested. If sometime I can get my computer and this blog to cooperate, I may post some of them later.

I apologize if anyone was greatly looking forward to seeing any of them.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Momentum by Colin S. Smith

Product Details

Pursuing God's Blessings through The Beatitudes

Okay, I know I exclaimed over the last book I reviewed too, but this book, this book is worth reading.

It's fairly small, but very compact. Colin describes the Beatitudes as being rings the we must pass through in order to get to the other side. Think of it at those monkey bars at a playground where you swing across with your arms to get to the other side.

The first ring is the first Beatitude: poor in spirit. It's when we recognize that we are nothing without God and can do nothing on our own is when we can start to recognize our sin and mourn it. Then we are able to submit to God, to each His will and to each other. From there we hunger and thirst after His Word which leads to forgiveness, pursuing one thing wholeheartedly and living at peace. Because of our commitment to God we can expect to suffer for being a Christian.

Almost every chapter lists steps that help in becoming more Christ-like. I could go on and on and quote extensively, but I will try to limit it to one or two quotes, just to whet your appetite.

This quote is from the chapter on Spiritual Mourning: " Heartfelt sorrow over a particular sin grows when you see what it costs. Take a long, hard look at the cost of this sin to you, to others, and to Christ, and you will enter more deeping into spiritual mourning." And the six elements of spiritual mourning include: naming particular sins, heartfelt sorrow, arises from humility, is infused with hope, happens at the cross, and leads to forsaking of sins.

I am planning to read the book again as part of my devotions in 2017 and look at it more closely.  But as you can tell, I really enjoyed it and was blessed and challenged and I hope to be changed by reading it.

This book was given me by Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Day 6: Fireplace

And in my dreams, it would be a beautiful white brick fireplace, but until then, this nice little candle will suffice. Plus there is so little maintenance here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 4 and 5

Day 4: Book You are Reading

I am actually done with this book now, but it was worth reading. All those little tags you can just faintly see sticking out of the sides of the book? Those were to mark those quotes that stuck out to me. There were just a few of them.

Day 5: A Hug

Polar Bear Mother Hugging Her Baby clipart

So I'm not that much into taking pics of hugs and posting them on the world wide web, so I substituted with these cute little guys.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Product Details

Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted

This book was a fast quick read. Why? Because Shannan's way of writing kept you coming back for more. She will challenge your thinking, make you wonder if you should be moving to the inner city, whether you should empty your savings account, or how to create community with the most unlikely people.

I really enjoyed this book. I want the thoughts to stick with me and challenge me and cause me to rethink how I do life. No, maybe I won't move to town, but I do go to  town, generally at least once a week or more, so how can I reach out to the people I see?

I'm not going to say a lot more. I will let a few quotes from the book speak for itself. Tomorrow, I will probably post a picture of my book and you will be able to see all my sticky notes sticking out from between the pages.

"In a world where we possess the power to distract or buy our way out of most discomfort, can we ever really mean it when say God is all we need?....
"Faithful and capable folk, we parrot familiar phrases from a place of theory rather than practice and warm ourselves by their feel-good, holy glow. But please don't press us. We don't really know if we actually believe them."

"Afflicted with relentless humanity, we view the world with person-eyes, then project what we see onto the flawless creator of the universe, assuming he operates as we do. We trick ourselves into thinking God is just a holier version of us--our brain, our worldview, none of the sinfulness. We forget that while we bear his image and harbor all his love, we can't comprehend the scope of eternal reality from our anthill vantage point."

"It should go without saying that, often, letting go is not our idea. We're conditioned to receive, not to relinquish. God wants dominion over every area in my life. Even worse, he has made it clear he already has it. It is his. Always has been. Basically, I can lay it down willingly, or he'll wrestle me for it. But he wants what is his--namely me."

Okay, that was only three sticky notes. I still have seven more to go, so I think I will just stop and recommend that you go buy the book or if you live close to me, ask me and I will loan you my copy.  It's worth it.

I was given this book by Book Look Bloggers and am not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day 3: A smile

I'm not very likely to post videos of Amber on social media, though I enjoy seeing videos of other people's kids, but I've been wanting to get a video of her excitement when her dad comes home. The other night I heard him before she did and so I was able to capture her in her finest moments, better than some nights.  It makes me smile to see her so excited about seeing her Dad.

And I suppose I could wax all eloquent and make a spiritual application, but I'll let each of you ponder and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Day 2: Favorite Slippers

Well-Worn and Well-Loved

Ah, what comfort slippers seem to embody. To me, they seem to tell of warmth and home and even a bit of cheer on a dark dreary day.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Day 1 of the Photo Challenge

So today's photo is to be of a favorite holiday movie. Well, about the only holiday movie I can remember seeing is Elf. I am hoping to change that this year and so I decided I would go with my favorite song.

Now I did cheat for today's picture and I'm going to post it off the web, but beings that will require me taking a little time to do it, I am going to consider it an intentional picture. And when Amber gets up, we will take some time to watch the YouTube clip of it again.

Christmas Shoes

Welcome to Our World

And then for a fun Christmas Song The Drummer Boy

So yup, that's three songs instead of one. Christmas shoes makes me cry about every time I hear it and really listen to the words, especially if I watch the music video with it. It's so much what Christmas should be about, thinking of others and giving to them. Children can be such a good example of this.

So what are your favorite movies or songs?

Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller

Product Details
Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World

For those who are feeling overwhelmed and burdened by life, who feel like they go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and never have a break, this book is for you. Shelly is big on finding a rhythm of rest that is a part of your life. It doesn't matter how busy you are, take a day or start with an hour or two, plan it into your schedule, prep your meals in advance and take the time to rest.

Rest can be different for all of us. For some crafting is rest, for others it's a drudgery. For some cooking is restful, for some it's a necessary evil. For some reading would be rejuvenating, for other it would be a job to plod through. Take the time, be still, let your mind rest and just soak up Sabbath and God and what He is telling you.

I'm not sure if I agree with everything she shared in the book, but I find the theme and the various components of it so necessary. Our bodies need rejuvenation, our souls need rest and worship and if we don't take the time to make those things a regular part of our lives, too often illness will make us take a forced Sabbath and that can be doubly hard. This is not to say that if you rest, you will never be sick.

So when I read books like this, I have started to put sticky notes throughout the book at places I want to quote in my book review. The problem is now to find the sticky note and then to remember what stood out to me at the time. I need to decide that reusing the sticky note (when I literally have a drawer full of them) is unnecessary and so I should write my thoughts out on the sticky note so I have them. Anyway, let's see which ones I can find.

"When we abide in Jesus, all our questions about how we Sabbath are answered in who we worship....What begins as a sacrifice of time becomes a willing surrender the more we choose it. We long for rest, and the Lord of the Sabbath longs for communion with us.

"God is less interested in how we spend our Sabbath than that he has our undivided attention."

"Sabbath is a time to transition from human doings to human beings." Matthew Sleeth, 24/6

"I'm learning that when we say yes to God and let go of the need for certainty, that doesn't mean he'll grant our every wish or provide rescue with instant security. God cares more about our transformation into his image than immediate relief."  Ouch, this is not a popular thought in today's culture. We want to be like Christ, yes we do, but we want it right now without anything bad happening to us, thank you very much.

I did enjoy this book. I think for me, Sunday has always been a day of rest for me, so the concept was not new, but the taking time to be quiet and think and reflect is definitely something I could do better on. Sunday is often the day that I spend the least time in quiet and reflection. And I don't think both have to be done on the same day either.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers. There is no requirement that I write a positive review.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Heavenly Birthday

Happy Birthday Cheryl and Dad.

I started this post a few weeks ago now. It was one I had thought about writing, but wasn't sure if I should or not. It's one of those not-so-pretty posts, one that delves into sadness and tears and such like.

I was prompted to start it after reading my friend Jennie's post on Cheryl's upcoming birthday. I had forgotten Cheryl's birthday was coming and that in itself made me sad. But just reading her post and then reading the comments, I was struck all over again with the reality that Cheryl is really, really gone and there is nothing I can do to change that fact. In my heart I know she is so much better off, the grief is still there. I still want to go back to those days of stopping off at J and Cheryl's house to hang out. Having another couple that both you and your husband relate to is not something to be taken for granted. It's more rare than you would think.

It just feels like there are so many special people in heaven that I would like to be enjoying life with down here. Just yesterday, for one brief moment, I heard Dad's footsteps on the basement stairs. It was plain to me, just like they sounded when he would come down the steps to see what Mom and I were doing downstairs. I thought, "there's Dad" and in the next second, I knew it wasn't. But it was a solid reminder again that he is gone too.

And my own little family, December 21 marks 4 years since our first baby went home and now half of our family is in heaven. I want to ask God why? Why me? But I do know that's not right question. Why not me? I'm not any more special than the next person. I don't deserve preferential treatment. People have suffered much worse than I have.

And this is where I can stall out. Where to from here? I can wallow in my grief and despair and have it turn me into a whiny, self-pitying person. Or I can follow Jennie's example and do something for others. Don't get your hopes up, I don't have a giveaway planned, though that would be a lot of fun. I spent my time wallowing. It isn't pretty for me or the people around me. I'd like to say I have overcome and am now the most giving, cheerful person you could meet. That's not even close to true either. I hope I have grown through these storms of grief, but even that feels like a wish some days.

I think it is good to feel and to grieve. This is my own philosophy now, but in order to grieve you have to first lose something precious to you. If you have never grieved, then you have never lost something precious and that is sad. Now if you truly have cherished relationships and they are all still intact, Praise the LORD!!! But that seems a little unlikely. So maybe I should be looking at grief as a blessing. Because I miss Cheryl, because I miss my Dad, because I miss my babies, it means I had something there to miss. I had a relationship with Cheryl, a friendship that meant something to me, so of course I miss her. If I had only viewed her as a surface friend or refused to allow myself to enjoy our friendship or to let it mean anything to me, than her death would be an event, not a process. I would have gone to her funeral and then been done with grief. What a sad, sad way to live.

Now, it's not that grieving is fun, but I am realizing it is a result of having had something really good. Cheryl was a good friend, my dad was the solid fixture in my life from the very beginning, my babies were my heart and soul and dream.

I don't know if I am explaining myself very good or not. Let me just say that for those people who do not really live and truly treasure relationships and live intentionally with the people around them, my heart goes out to them. Yes, maybe they are sheltering themselves from grief, but they are also keeping themselves from a treasure trove of memories and moments that make the grief bearable. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't distance myself, I would plunge even more headlong into these relationships knowing they were only going to last for a too short of season.

Then the question for me becomes, why am I not doing that for the relationships that are still in front of me? Ah, yes, my goal for 2017. To live intentionally and with purpose and to make the most of every moment with every person.

So I wrote the above part last week. This morning in my devotions, I was reading from Romans 8 and the triumph of the verses caught my attention. So often in Romans, we get hung up on Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good...." I am not doubting the validity of that verse, but sometimes in grief it can feel a little trite and cliched and you wonder if the people quoting it have ever really gone through what you are going through. Sometimes when you find it on your own and read it, it makes more sense and you can see it for what it is. But that's not the verse I want to point out.

Listen, just stop and breathe deep and let these words soak into your soul. I hope they will provide an anchor for you like they did for me this morning when I read them. It's coming from Romans 8:26-39

"For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

God is on our side, He's praying for us when we don't even know how to utter words, when our souls feel barren and our words unutterable, He is there and He is interceding on our behalf.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?.....It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress,.....? yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I don't know if this brings salve to your hurting heart like it did for mine this morning. God is really for us, He loves me, nothing that happens is going to change that. He will pray for me even when words fail. That is such a huge comfort to me and I pray it does for you as well.


Monday, November 28, 2016

A December Challenge

December is just around the corner and the busyness of the holidays can take away from the meaning of the season. I found a photo challenge that I am going to try to do for the month of December and I am inviting you all to join me. I have a list that I downloaded from some printables I bought that I will post and each day you need to take a photo of that item. Now if you don't have a photo of that item, which I don't of all of them, then you can post a picture of something else.

The goal of this is to take the time to stop, look, and capture the feeling of the season. I want to enjoy each day and sometimes I can get so caught up in my list of to-do's that I forget to stop and pause, so this photo a day challenge is to make me stop and pause. And, I am going to endeavor to post my picture on a daily basis, possibly with some thought that stuck out to me during the day, if my brain computed anything worth sharing.

I'm not sure if you can do this or not, I will have to check, but hopefully you will be able to upload your photo in the comments section of this blog. If you can't do that, you can post your picture under my blog link in Facebook.

So here's the list and the date to go with them.

1. Favorite Holiday Movie
2. Slippers
3. A smile
4. Book you are Reading
5. A hug
6. Fireplace
7. Wrapping paper
8. Favorite Christmas decoration
9. Something that brings you joy.
10. Christmas lights
11. A lit candle
12. A cozy blanket
13. Your favorite ornament
14. Candy Cane
15. Stockings
16. Baking
17. Favorite Christmas Book
18. A Family Holiday Tradition
19. Pajamas
20. Faces of loved ones
21. Christmas Tree
22. Wrapped Presents
23. A mug with a hot drink
24. A natvitiy set
25. Christmas morning JOY
26. Weather outside
27. Something new
28. Journal
29. Nap
30. List of goals
31. New Years Eve Prep

Faith Filled Parenting

A Primary Decision

Product Details

By Dr. Kevin Leman and Jeff Nesbit

The Worthington Destiny

This is the third book in the series and I think some things would have made more sense if I had read the first two. The book was still very good and very well-written, but just would have made more sense if I had read the first two first.

It's the story of the rise of the first female President, which I find a bit ironic considering our recent election. I'm guessing some of that played into the story line for the authors as well beings the book is brand-new.

The book is classified as contemporary fiction. I am not sure that it is Christian. God is never mentioned. The Bible is a time or two, but the principles the Worthingtons lived by seemed to be Bible-based. It was a paraphrase from Luke 12:48 and it was this, "To those who are given much, much is required." There is also a theme of forgiveness and doing the right thing no matter what that runs through the book. In some ways the book has stronger Christian elements than books that spout Bible verses at regular intervals. I was challenged by the concept of doing the right thing no matter what. In the world of politics, that's a foreign concept. Also the idea that family is first and very important and you protect each other no matter what as well.

The principles of the Worthington's should definitely be emulated in each of our lives. Yes, there were some major mistakes made, like a child from a one-night affair, but the forgiveness and grace that was extended? It seemed to me that it was nothing short of God's grace.

This book was given to me by Revell Publishing. I am happy to write a review giving my honest opinion of the book.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


I think I must be getting older. Yes, I know that's a given. I'd like to say I'm getting more mature too, but I can only hope on that one.

But the reason I said I must be getting older is this, we are nearing the end of 2016, about 35 more days to go and I find myself evaluating my year, looking at my life, considering what I want to change in 2017. I find myself almost struck with a frantic feeling of both there's so much I want to do in 2016 yet and there's so much I want to change about myself in 2017. I can almost feel overwhelmed with the thought of it all.

In 2016 yet, there are Christmas gifts to DIY, fun food to make, some bucket list things I'd like to do for Christmas, some traditions that I'd like to think up and start making a pattern in our family. One of them has been established in our family, but then we moved up here and it became very difficult. Since the first year we were married, I believe, we have gotten take out or gone out to eat on Christmas eve. It was easy in Spencer, AppleBee's actually stayed open on Christmas Eve. Then we moved up here and we ended up with fast food Chinese the one year and I don't even remember what we had the other year. So I think we are going to need to switch it up a little if we want good food this year. There are other projects I'd like to do yet this year as well, but I'm trying to remind myself that people are more important than projects and being able to be spontaneous will make me more pleasant to be around than doggedly sticking to a list regardless.

Then there's 2017 and I find myself writing down potential goals for next year, thinking about my word of the year and how I'm going to live it out. I'm not going to do the 101 goals that I did this year. Yes, 101 is an exaggeration, but I'm going to limit it a bit more this year, though I enjoyed last year's goal setting craze and didn't do too terrible at it even.

Does anybody else find this happening? This looking back and looking forward with almost like a heavy weight because of all there is to do and all there is to change in my life and character? Or do you all float through life, grabbing it by the horns as needed, but not compelled to make lists and set goals and develop discipline? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Which one are You?

Take life as it comes?
Or charge headlong into it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth

Product Details

I haven't posted a book review in over two weeks, I must be lazing off!!! Actually, I had two books going at once and also read a non-review book in between. Not that I think anyone missed me or anything. But just to be clear, I am back and have about six books to review in the next few weeks.

Okay, "All the Pretty Things". When I started this book, I loved it. I thought it was an amazing story and it is. Edie was born to an alcoholic father. She rarely saw him sober, but she loved him and enabled him until his dying day. She missed that father figure in her life and attempted to salve that wound by working hard at everything she put her hand to except her marriage. She was raised in rather extreme poverty. Her parents divorced and both remarried, but divorced again. She was abused as a child, though it became a repressed memory that came out through recurring nightmares. She was introduced to Jesus and would often respond to altar calls to make sure she was saved. She went on to become a family practice physician.

She married young, had two children, got caught up in an affair and successfully ruined two families through the affair and the ensuring divorce. She remarried and had two more children. She regrets her bad decisions and went through a very dark time of depression and learning to deal with the loss of her dad and seemed to grab hold of faith in God once again.

Now, I don't know if you've caught on to my hesitancy yet or not, but there are certain parts of this book I struggled with. Overall, seeing the story as that, a story of someone having the courage and the strength to rise above their circumstances and make something of themselves, it is excellent. It's a well-written story. I enjoyed reading it. It's just her view of God and death bother me a bit. She mentions her dad finally being at peace when he died and one time she mentions him looking down from heaven, but yet there is no mention made that he ever accepted Jesus or even recognized the sin he was living in. Also, the whole divorce and remarriage issue is a big thing for me. I am not going to judge Edie and her husband and say they are not Christians.  That is not my job and I am glad it isn't, but I don't believe remarriage is sanctioned by God and so to me that ruins a good piece of the story.

So in conclusion, it was a well-written story and very interesting. And to read it as just that, a true story, I would recommend it. However, I would caution against believing everything as being Biblically-based and would challenge the reader to search out these things for themselves, which really should be done with every book you read. No author is doing it perfectly and everything should be taken out and lined up with the Bible.

I would like to give one thought that she gave at the end of the book that struck me. "Whether we work or don't, whether we homeschool or not, whether we've had nurturing marriages or not, we walk in humility--knowing that we are dependent on God to use mostly our failures to teach us something of what it means to be a parent, to be a human being.

"We fumble around in the dark, begging for wisdom, praying that our children know how much they're loved, trying to be willing to admit when we're wrong--because we so often are. Parenting and living require more faith than knowledge, more grace than rules, more trust than answers."

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House and I am writing a review based on my own opinions of the book.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

Product Details

I'm not sure what to write here. This is a story of gangs and a big cartel against law enforcement. Add to that a few moles in the law enforcement and you have the makings for some plans to go seriously awry.  It is definitely suspenseful, but it's not really my kind of story. Which is a little hard to believe since I read the book in 2 days. But this is not the kind of book I would want a steady diet of. I find myself looking behind doors and freaking out of the dark and imagining the worst after I read stories like this.

Nancy did a good job of writing. It was interesting, just not really my style. There are a few things that I want to take away from the book.  One is your past can go with you and affect who you are today. Mercy, the heroine of the story, had a father who left her mother for another woman. Her mom turned into an alcoholic, dependent, whiny person. This caused Mercy to lean on no one and open up to no one, especially God. Faced with losing those she loved in this story, her best friend since childhood and her ex-boyfriend she broke up with because of fear, she realized that working through her past was necessary. Most importantly she realized that opening up to God was the only way to make it through life.

The other thing about this story is the young people that get caught up in gangs. They don't necessarily mean to, they don't necessarily want to, but they are taught to believe they are victims and nothing is their fault.  They grow up in bad settings or just make some bad choices and one thing leads to the next. There was a boy like this in the story. He was willing to get out and help the good guys but was accidentally shot by another member who I also believe was forced into the situation by his father the ring leader behind the whole thing. The compassion that the law enforcement showed for this boy in recognizing him as one that wanted a chance was impressive to me as well. In this day and age where law enforcement are made out to be the bad guys, we need to remember that there are many there who do what they do to make this world a safer place and to help protect young people like this.

I don't know if that made any sense or not. One thing that bothered me about this book was in the acknowledgements she mentioned the law enforcement who have died shining as stars in the sky and also in her thanks to Jesus, she only mentions him as her Best Friend, which could mean anyone, and none of the personal pronouns are capitalized. I know that may mean nothing, but it's not something I really liked.

This book was given me by Bethany House. I am happy to write a review stating my own opinions.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Riley Unlikely

Product Details

With Simple Childlike Faith, Amazing Things Can Happen

Written by Riley Banks-Snyder with Lisa Velthouse

This is an amazing story. It feels so much unlike my teen years that I can almost find it hard to believe and yet it is inspiring and impressive because it all began with a 13 year-old girl and her dream to go to Kenya.

And for five years in a row they went bringing school supplies, hygiene kits, etc. to those who needed them. They helped establish a school and were working on buying property to establish a safe house and maybe teaching classes. The building was equipped with an apartment that Riley hopes to make her home someday with her husband Graham.

At 14 years old, Riley and her family established a non-profit organization called Generation Next. They established this basically so they could get donations from department stores who wouldn't donate without being able to write it off for a deduction. The non-profit grew into more than they ever expected.

In the middle of this, at age 16, Riley was diagnosed with a medical condition that would prohibit her from having children. She struggled through this for a little while, but once again felt God's call to her for the children of Kenya and threw her energies into it.

I'm not going to say much more. Just go read the book. It's a quick read, but very interesting. And challenging. For a young teen to donate so much of her time trying to secure donations and money to help the people in Kenya is just amazing.

For more information the non-profit organization Riley is in charge of go here

This book was given me by Book Look Bloggers. I am happy to write a review on it.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

Product Details

This book is full of some of my favorite verses. Liz takes apart each verse word by word or phrase by phrase so that it is easy to understand. Each verse  is printed in the NIV version, but she quotes numerous versions throughout the chapter which give different word pictures to help better understand the verse.

This is fairly small book that can be quickly read, however I do recommend taking the time to memorize the verses, at least a few of them, I don't know if I will memorize them all, but I want to write them out, at least parts of the verse, so that I can have it on display to think about. Like I said, there are a lot of favorites in here that I have memorized already.

Just a few examples of verses:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline."    2 Timothy 1:7

I did enjoy the book. It is fairly light reading, but there are some good truths hidden in here.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books. I am happy to write a review giving my honest opinion.

I Never Saw This Before

I've been working on reading through the Bible in year. I've done this before possibly from front to back, but also with a little Old Testament, a little New Testament, and a little Psalms and Proverbs mixed in. This year it was front to back. I have to be honest, the Old Testament prophets got a little much. I apparently did not inherit my dad's love for these books of the Bible. That makes me a little sad. I'm sure I could cultivate that love though. There were definitely nuggets of gold that I found throughout these books, but I am enjoying the New Testament now.

So we all know the story, a rich man comes to Jesus and wants to know what to do to have eternal life. Now here's the first thing I see and I actually didn't even notice this until right now when I'm hammering out this post. He came running to see Jesus. He was excited. We run when we are either scared or excited. Yes, I know people run for the sheer pleasure of running, but I can hardly be friends with those people. I run to get away from something or to get to something if I'm in a hurry. So this young man running to Jesus gives you the idea that was either excited to talk to Jesus or desperate for an answer to his question.

He wants to know what to do to inherit eternal life? I'm going to assume here that he was fairly confident he was going to get a stamp of approval on his life and be told, "You my young man are doing just fine. You keep doing what you're doing and you'll get to heaven." Jesus starts out by saying "Keep the commandments." Can't you see the young man heaving a sigh of relief and thinking to himself, "I knew it. I knew I was a good man. I knew I was on the right track." "Yup, Jesus, I've done all these things since I was a baby."

Then Jesus drops the bomb on him and tells him to go sell all his stuff and give the money to the poor. "Then you will have treasure in heaven, but then you also need to come and take up your cross and follow Me." We know how this story ends, the rich young ruler leaves sad because he was rich.

Now there's a phrase or two in this story that, I think, often gets overlooked. I don't know if I've ever really noticed it before today or ever heard anyone else discuss this story and mention it, but I think it's vital to take note of. Listen:

"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him," First Jesus looked at him directly. He wasn't using him as an object lesson for the crowds, he was looking at the young man, listening to him, hearing him and then secondly he loved him. He wasn't just trying to get rid of the man by giving him a command he knew he wouldn't want to keep. Jesus really loved this man and because of this love He gave him the hard command. He knew how hard it was for people to give up their things. He knew the trust we all place in our money and our possessions, but He also knew the secret to true happiness and eternal life was to place all this in God's hands.

I think when we are talking to others and we have some hard stuff to say there are two things we need to do. First we need to look at them, we need to see them as an individual loved by God and deserving of respect. We need to give them our undivided attention and really see them. Secondly, we need love. Hard things said without love are just that: hard things. Hard things softened by love can become palatable and doable. Now obviously the rich young ruler walked away and maybe the person you will talk to will walk away too, but you can let them go knowing you followed Jesus' example by seeing them and loving them. And that's hard to do sometimes.

But I want to take the time to really see the people God puts in my path and then to love them as an individual created by God and loved by Him.

Just my ponderings from the Book of Mark, chapter 10, verses 17-22.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When Others Shuddered by Jamie Janosz

Product Details

Eight Women who Refused to Give Up.

Evangeline Booth
Fannie Crosby
Virginia Asher
Emma Dryer
Mary McLeod Bethune
Nettie McCormick
Sarah Dunn Clark
Amanda Berry Smith

Eight ladies, few names I recognized when I started the book, but each totally committed to God and sold out for His purpose. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Did their families and marriages suffer? For some of them yes and that can bring up a different dilemma that I won't discuss here. Did they make a difference in the world around them? Absolutely.

We all know Fannie Crosby, the blind hymnwriter who wrote many, many songs in her lifetime.

Emma Dryer was influential in helping to get the Moody Bible Institute started.

Nettie McCormick was a wealthy good friend of Emma's who contributed financially to many, many good causes in her lifetime.

Sarah Dunn Clark and her husband started Pacific Gospel Mission, a place I visited when in Chicago helping with street meetings.

Amanda Berry Smith helped at hundreds of camp meetings world wide

Virginia Asher was concerned for the "lost girls" in the seedy places of Chicago. She would be asked to visit brothels to pray for the sick. She was known as an "angel of mercy". Her motherly spirit helped to break through even the toughest hearts.

Evangeline Booth, the daughter of the William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army, followed in her parents footsteps

Mary McLeod Bethune started a school for Negro children.

It was an interesting, informative, and challenging book. These women gave their all, they served wtih faithfulness despite opposition, despite society's rules. They found their value in Christ alone.

The book also has a study guide at the end of it that I skimmed through and found it to be very thought-provoking and good. Where sometimes I think study guides can be a little redundant, these questions came back to the reader and challenged me to look at my own life and views on life.

Questions like, "What world events have broken your heart in recent days?" "How can women today influence younger women to follow God?" and others.

This book was given to me by Moody Publishers. I am happy to write a review giving my honest opinion on the book.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Product Details

I have liked Lynn's books, so I was happy to get this one.  At first I thought I was going to be a bit disappointed as the book felt a little disjointed as it hopped back and forth between two people, both of which were written in first-person and then also one person's younger years. So it felt like three stories going on together. But in the end, it turned out to be one of the best fiction books I've read in awhile. I like a good chick flick, but sometimes I feel almost silly writing about them because I can feel shallow and silly for spending my time reading things like that. But I still read them because sometimes it's nice to just escape for awhile and get lost in a story that you know is all going to turn out good in the end. And yes, there is a whole line of thought about the horrors of reading what's called romance novels.

Anyway that doesn't have anything to do with this book. This book is good. This is not your happily ever after story. It does have it's that couldn't possibly ever happen in real life moments and yet you know how they say truth is stranger than fiction, so I think some of this could have happened in real life.

It's the story of a young wealthy woman, Anna, whose fiance broker their engagement because she went to a church he didn't approve of. She takes a vacation on Lake Michigan to deal with her heart break. There she meets a man, of course, who is studying to be a minister. She confides in him, he gives her a Bible and she spends a lot of time reading it. He, Derk, wants her to meet his "aunt" (she is the other half of the story both in her younger years and in her older years, both stories are told). Eventually an amazing discovery is made that I will not disclose here.

Now what you all were thinking I was going to say too is that Derk and Anna fell in love and got married, but I'm not going to say that. They did fall in love, but they parted ways. The book ends in a very disturbing place because there are so many questions. The "aunt" tells Anna that she needs to go back to her wealthy life in Chicago. There is a purpose, a reason that she was placed there. The relationship between Anna and her fiance had been patched up, mainly for the sake of her father's business, but she has committed. Anna wonders if she will ever learn to love him and aunt Geesje says this and I think it's so good. "That's up to you. It means making a decision to love him day after day, one loving act at a time. Love is a very powerful emotion, Anneke, but it's also a decision--one you can choose to make." She goes on to talk about the good that Anna could do for the poor in Chicago.  But I like that part about love is a choice and it requires effort. It does sometimes even if you are married to the best man ever. I think this also applies to other relationships as well.

There were a few other things that stood out to me in this book. I don't think I can take the time to list them all, so maybe one more.

"'When my parents were gone and God was all I had,' I said, 'I discovered that He is enough. I survived malarial fever, so I knew He must have  a purpose for me on this earth even though I couldn't see it. I kept moving forward, one tiny step at a time, clinging to Him in faith. And isn't that the definition of faith--moving forward through the darkness, clinging to God?'"

I like that, just moving forward clinging to God even though we can't see what is going on all around us.

In case you can't tell, I really, really enjoyed this book. Geesje didn't have perfect faith, she struggled, she made some decisions she regretted for years, but she, through her many hardships and griefs, had continued to move forward clinging to God's hand. That is what I want to do.

This book was given to me by Bethany House. I am privileged to write a review giving my honest opinion about the book.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lord, I Believe; Help my Unbelief

The story is familiar, but short. A man who's tired and weary with the constant vigilance required to keep his son safe and alive.

"Imagine the pain of the father. Other dads could watch their children grow and mature; he could only watch his suffer. While others were teaching their sons an occupation, he was just trying to keep his son alive....

"He was desperate and tired, and his prayer reflects both.

"'If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.'

Listen to that prayer. Does it sound courageous? Confident? Strong? Hardly." -Max Lucado from He Still Moves Stones

I needed this story this morning.

The other day I was discussing this thing called faith with a friend. What is faith? I know the Hebrews definition, "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.". That sounds good, but how does it convert down to practicality in the hearts that have been struggling, the prayers that have seemingly gone unanswered, the tears that have fallen unheeded, and the hopes that have been crushed under the negativity of life?

How do we, how do I grab hold of faith? Am I supposed to be praying for a miracle every day? Yes, I know every day that I wake up alive is in itself a miracle. Every time I stop and ponder and gaze at my little girl, I am in awe of the miracle that God gave us. I don't always think of it as a miracle, but when I stop and think I am brought to tears at the gift of life that God has given to us. Isn't that enough? Should I long for more? Should I just accept this miracle as my miracle from God and not expect anything else? Or should I go on longing, wondering if there are more miracles on the horizon? And what about my friends who never seem to experience a miracle, who seem to have to plod slowly and steadily through each day wondering when the sun's going to break through? Are they just missing the miraculous? Have we become calloused to the standard definition of miracle that we are missing the little everyday miracles and so our faith is not as strong as it should be?

Should I be viewing every new word, every new accomplishment that Amber makes as a miracle? I will say potty-training does seem to require a miracle in both the child's heart and the mom's to have the patience!!! :) :)

Am I looking at faith completely wrong?  How is this supposed to look?

And so I am comforted by this desperate father. He came to Jesus and he didn't even necessarily believe Jesus could heal his son. He says, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." He was talking to the Son of God here and he questions whether Jesus can really help him. We know better than that. We know, in our minds and our brains, that God is able. He is able to heal the sick little boy that was born too early, He is able to heal the father tragically wounded in a senseless accident, He is able to take the interrupted pregnancy and make it last all nine months, He is able to provide the funds to pay the endless bills, He is able to have the birth mom sign off on a child so empty arms can be filled, He is able, so is it our faith that makes it unable?

I'm not sure if this man had faith and yet he must have had a little. He had tried the disciples first and they had been unable to help him and so he had turned to Jesus. It makes sense why he might have questioned why Jesus could heal.

Jesus says, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believe." Ah, there it is. I do have to have faith for things to happen. But look at what the man says next. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

That right there is the core I want to grab onto with both fists. I do believe, but my faith is lacking, and so I cry out to Jesus, help my unbelief I say. Help me know how to pray. Help me to believe that You are able and that You are even willing and ready to help. Help me to believe. That is what I want to cling to, that desperate but faith-filled prayer. I believe, but help me.

I wonder, this is more of a side note, if God weeps at the fallen state of this world that causes us to struggle with our unbelief, the sickness and death that are a result of sin. While God is able, I do think we can learn more trust and faith by clinging tenaciously to what we can't see when the bottom is falling out of our world, than what we would learn if everything was always smooth sailing.

I want to have more faith, I really do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ready, Set, Find Christmas

Product Details

Text and illustrations from Scandinavia Publishing House

This is a beautiful glossy hardback board book. Each double page has a few sentences telling the story of the birth of Jesus in very simple form on one side. The rest of that page contains pictures of objects you are supposed to find on the other side of the double page spread. I hope that makes sense. It basically is a spot the object book, with the birth of Jesus as the story.

Okay, before I make you all more confused than ever, let me just move on from the explanation. The book is beautiful. The pages have tabs that stick out featuring main characters of the story. Amber immediately wanted to look at the book.

The book is geared to young readers and I would agree. Upon looking at the book, I thought it would be perfect for Amber, it's a board book, sturdy, and a nice small size. But the objects can be pretty hard to find. Things like a bag or a rake or a water pitcher, etc. take a little looking. She can find some of the bigger objects like the donkey, but for the most part she won't enjoy the real purpose of this book for a couple years yet I would guess. In that respect, the childish design with it being a board book and all seems a little out of place with the age appropriateness of the objects that you are to be looking for, but I still think it would provide fun entertainment for the older ones as well. That was just my observation when critiquing the book.

I am pleased with the book and I think it is a book that Amber can grow into, first looking for the bigger, more obvious objects and then the smaller ones as she gets older.

This book was given me by Book Look Publishers. I am pleased to publish a review stating my honest opinion on the book.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


So I was thinking sometime I am going to do this nice little post of random things in my life complete with pictures and snappy little captions and everything. Well it turns out I really don't like taking pictures off my camera nor am I big fan of uploading pictures to my blog. It takes time and patience and the pictures don't always cooperate on here like I like them to, so that post will continue its meanderings through the endless maze of brainwaves until either it dies a sad, forgotten death or it comes to life beneath my fingertips.

Which will it be? It's unknown at this point. Beings I really do need to upload my pictures to my computer, having small child and taking lots of pictures and things, there's a chance it may happen. But until then.... I am signing of for today. My brain space is at an all time low. It's been taken over by thoughts on mothering and friends and why we need mom friends and other things from the book study this morning.

The Beginner's Bible - KJV

I'm not sure what size I was expecting, but this is a pretty good size heavy Bible. While I realized my daughter was too young for it yet, I was imagining a Bible that she could maybe start taking to church in the next year or so. This Bible is too big for that. I would say she will need to be closer to 4 or 5 before she will be ready to take this to church. The back of the Bible does say for kids 6-10 and I would find that age to be very appropriate.

This is nice hardcover Bible, but it is pretty thick and of pretty good size. Like I said in the title, this is the King James Version. That is what our church uses for the majority of Scripture reading in church so that is why I chose this version. The pictures are nice, though as you can tell from the front cover, not very realistic at all.

The font is of a decent size, but I will be honest. When I opened it up, it struck me immediately as being hard to read. It's not actually hard to read, but I think it's the font and the spacing. They made the font a nice size, but then the spacing between lines is very narrow so it gives the impression of a really full page. The words of Christ in red seemed much easier and more visually appealing to read. So I think the starkness of the black along with the narrow spacing must be some of the problem. Now nobody else may even think this is an issue and may not even notice this, I'm just sharing what my initial impression was.

I do think this is a nice first Bible for children. I am impressed that it has a concordance and even a little introduction to each of the Books of the Bible.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Your Marriage Masterpiece by Al Janssen

Product Details

Transform Your Relationship Through God's Amazing Design.

This book is really not like any others I have ever read on marriage and I enjoy reading books on marriage. It was good. It was not a list of dos and dont's and how to love your wife and respect your husband, etc.

Al approached it in a completely different way than I have ever thought about marriage and God, etc. He viewed that story in Genesis where God made the covenant with Abraham where He walked through the animals as God marriage to us. And then approached the book as looking at how God loved Israel and how He did relationships with them to how we should do marriage. It was an interesting approach. About every other chapter was a vignette either from an angel's perspective or a Biblical marriage or a modern take on a Biblical story to emphasize the point he wanted to bring out.

I think the biggest takeaway for me from this book is marriage is not about my happiness. It's about my husband and I doing life together with God. It's a three-fold-cord so to speak. God sacrificed His Son for us, I am called to sacrifice my wants and wishes for my husband. I am called to submit to him all because of Christ's example.

Marriage is a covenant relationship, not something you back out of if the going gets rough. You have to view it as being for life. There is no other option and I think then we are more likely to give it our best as well. It is too easy today to just find another spouse rather than making it work. I really appreciated the emphasis Al put on marriages being a covenant and there is no room for divorce in a covenant marriage.

We are showcasing Christ to the world in the way that we do marriage, let's make it a positive show.

I enjoyed this book. It was given me by the publisher. By receiving the book, I am consenting to write a review that honestly reflects my opinions and thoughts.

Big Trucks Getting the Job Done Together, Illustrated by Sergio De Giorgi

A dozer, a digger, a crane and a dump truck work together to get the job done. Written in rhyme, it reminds me a bit of the book "L...