Thursday, September 29, 2016

How is it Almost October already?

It's Fall, the air is singing that message. The mornings feel crisp. The furnace has been turned back on. The sweatshirts and slippers are dug out of the closet. The corn is chopped or combined. The beans are brown and hanging on full. The wind is blowing. But there's been no killing frost, the leaves really haven't changed that much yet. It's a bit odd I think, to be at September 29 with no killing frost, but I'll take it. I want to bring in some flowers to keep over for the winter and I haven't done that yet and am not really looking forward to the invasion into my house that already has almost too many plants in it for my liking.

Anyway, I don't have a big post today. I have about three running around in my head, but they haven't been formulated out on paper or screen yet, so they will have to wait. I'll give you some clues.

One has to do with the whole introvert/extrovert thing brought about by a discussion at the lake one day.

Another has to do with being a mom to children on earth and in heaven and some unrealistic expectations I had.

And yet another is just a random collection of things that I've been thinking about.

So I think I will move on and maybe find time or I should say TAKE the Time in the next week or so to work on them.

But to all the locals. Happy Cranberry Festing!!!

Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends by Rachel Anne Ridge

Product Details

Remember way back about a year and a half ago, I posted a review about Flash, a book about a homeless donkey adopted by Rachel and her family? I just looked, it was the last review I posted before Dad went in for his surgery, so April of 2015. I was and would still like to go reread that book and do some blog posts on it. It will be interesting to see how it affects me differently now. A lot has changed in the last 1.5 years.

Anyway, Rachel has come back with a children's book that she wrote and illustrated herself. Now to be a author or an artist is pretty amazing, but to be able to do both? Incredible. That gives an extra hats off to this book regardless what I think of any part of it. The pictures are great. A pig, chicken, goat, and of course, the donkey make up the characters of the book and they are illustrated so well. They captivated even my 19 month old who rarely sits still for a story longer than about two sentences. Of course, I had to keep my hand on the page pointing out things as I read, but still....

The story is of a donkey who has no home and wanders around the country with his wagon piled high with stuff. He has an accident and these three friends come to rescue him. He then helps them out and they adopt him into their group and name him Flash. My first thought on reading the story was of the Good Samaritan. They took him home and took care of him, but the rest doesn't apply really. The verse that Rachel used was Proverbs 11:30  "The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends."

At the end of the book, she has a page where the child could write his friends' names on hay bales and also a section to write how you and your friends care for each other along with giving some ideas on how to make friends.  The story is cute. I love the goat, he reminds me a bit of Eeyore, but he comes around and is friendly as well.

This book is going to get stuck in my bottom dresser drawer as a gift option. I think it will make a lovely gift.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Product Details

Living Loved when you Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely.

I saw this book on the review site as an option and I was like, Less than? Left Out? Uninvited? I don't really need that book, I guess. Then I saw there was a online study about it and giveaways associated with it and other people wanting to read it, so I was like why not? I've heard about Lysa, why not get the book while I have a chance?

So I did, and am I ever glad I did. I'm not sure if I'll know where to stop on this review. When I wrote the subtitle this morning, I was like how could I have thought I didn't need it? I can definitely struggle with feeling like I don't quit make the grade either as a wife or a mom or a friend or a relative, etc. No, I don't feel like I've suffered severe rejection, but there have been moments. Lysa had to deal with her dad walking out of her life, that's not happened to me. Yeah, my dad left, but I was older and it wasn't his choice. God called him home--big difference.

One of the first things that stuck out to me in the book was the concept of Living Loved. I am loved by God no matter what. If I live out of the love God has for me and not expecting others to fill that love void in my life, that will make a big difference. It will change how I respond to those moments of rejection or those moments where someone may criticize or even just make a comment that I want to take the wrong way and get all down in the mouth about. If I am living out of the love God has for me, those things won't pull me under.

Probably, in some ways, the chapter that hit me the hardest was the bonus chapter called "What's it Like to Do Life with Me?" Most of the book dealt with how people have hurt us and how we should respond, but this chapter turns it around and helps us to look inward and see where we might be part of the problem.  Not a really fun thing to do, but very, very necessary. The chapter concludes with a little assessment about how you respond to things that you are to answer true or false too and then get a close friend, spouse, etc. to answer as well and see how their answers compare. Lysa looks at four aspects of character taken out of Proverbs 4: 23-27, attitude (Am I a know-it-all?), propensity away from affirmation (Are my words building up or tearing down?), altitude (trying to see from someone else's vantage point and not just my own), and then actions (how have my past actions affected present relationships and do I need to backtrack, ask forgiveness and then show that I am willing and eager to change).

At the end of the book, Lysa has a section where she lists all the Scripture verses she used throughout the book and then also a section where she lists the points she doesn't want us to forget. I thought that was a nice addition to the book. I didn't reread all the Scripture again, but it's handy to have available.

So just a few quotes, I'll see if I can keep it to a few.

"Honesty isn't trying to hurt me. It's trying to heal me."
"The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity."
"Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love."
"How dangerous it is when our souls are gasping for God but we're too distracted flirting with the world to notice."
"People who care more about being right than ending right prove just how wrong they were all along."
"We have an enemy, and it's not each other."
"People can't fix from the outside a perspective that needs to be rewired on the inside. Only God can do that."

As you can tell, I really liked this book. It stomped on my toes. I know I can be so easily offended and I think it's too often because I am depending on man to meet my needs instead of God. I definitely recommend this book if you are in the same shoes.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Top Reasons



So I missed a week here and might miss some more. Here are my top reasons.

1. I was in counseling for learning to deal with the anger of sharing my house with the mouse population.
2. I channeled that anger and went and had a meeting with all the mouse heads of home and recommended that they go to all of my neighbor's houses for the winter as I am sure the accommodations would be better.
3. I then spent the next couple of days distributing jars of peanut butter to the various mouse communities as their reward for leaving my house.
4. I'm back in counseling for conspiring such evil against my neighbors.

I'll let you know when my deep seated issues have been dealt with and I return to regular blogging. In the mean time I will continue to chase mice out of my house.

Home by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Product Details

How Heaven  and the New Earth Satisfy Our Deepest Longings

This is a book about what heaven will be like, at least to the best of the author's understanding. She works to clear up the image that all we will be doing is floating around on clouds playing harps.  She brings out that Heaven will be here on earth, but in a new earth, a perfect earth. I don't fully understand how it is all going to work out and I don't know if I fully agree with her, but I do agree with the fact that it will be beautiful, that we won't be playing harps all day, though I would like to learn to play one, I think.

One of the big thrusts of the book is that we are made for more. So many people, Christians included, are spending their life looking for something to satisfy. They are chasing the dream house, the fancy car, the Caribbean Cruise, the next rung up on the career ladder, etc. etc. in hopes of satisfying the longing in their heart. What they don't realize is that this world is sinful, this world falls short and until Jesus returns and brings perfection, nothing will satisfy. We are made for more. We are made for better and our "hearts will be restless until they find their rest in Thee (God)" I believe this was Augustine who said this.

She talks about the "bucket list" and how that's become such a hype these days and it's a great example of how people are trying to find satisfaction in the here and now. She says social media "has sprung up around our drive to share about how much we're enjoying life." We want people to believe we are having fun and living life to the fullest when in reality we are longing for more. "We've lost sight of our true Home, and are trying to find satisfaction and justification where it will never be found." So very true.

I want to live life to the fullest, to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way, to worship God in the process of all of this, but I want to always keep in mind that this is not my Home. My Home is waiting for me and I want to be ready when it's time to go Home. For me, Home takes on a bigger meaning too when you have loved ones waiting for you there.

She would also discuss Paradise as the waiting place for those who have died before Jesus has returned. I don't know where I go with all of those things. I think she would say they are with Jesus there, at least that's how I would understand it.

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets

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This is one of those books that takes you on a whirlwind ride, challenges everything you ever believed about prayer, raises some questions about the author's ideas, and hopefully transforms your prayer life.

I know that sounds like an oxymoron when you question the writing and yet it challenges you, but it's true. Dutch totally rearranged my thinking on prayer. I know my prayer life has been lacking for awhile, but I want that to change. Dutch talks about prayer that creates a boundary of protection around people, prayer goes between man and God and allows God to work. Sometimes, is it true, that God is simply waiting for someone to pray so that He can work, but nobody does? This was a challenging thought for me and at first, I wanted to write it off. But.... There's a verse in Ezekiel that says how God was looking for someone to build a wall and stand in the gap for the people, but no one could be found, therefore He poured out His indignation on the people. That has haunted me since I read it. Are people going to hell because I am not praying?

He had a lot of other good points in his book. He is from the charismatic Christian circles, so some of it I wanted to just chalk up to their style, but in actuality, I think some of it just stretched me too much and I don't want to think about the fact that God might call me to be that radical.

Whatever the case, I am purposing in my heart to improve my prayer life, to recognize more fully that we are in a spiritual warfare, that I am to be a watchman, and I am called to intercede.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed the book. Two things I wasn't sure about in the book and would love some opinions from people who have read the book. One, he never addresses unanswered prayer. All of his prayers seem to get answered. And two, he can almost give the idea that you have to pray according the Dutch Sheet's instruction book or it won't work. He gave an example of someone who had prayed for years, but was doing it all wrong and after listening to him speak, they changed their way of praying and in just a short time, the person had been saved. I think Dutch has some points about being specific and asking God to meet and pull down strong holds of addiction, etc. but I don't think there's a right and a wrong way to pray unless of course you are asking for things clearly outside of God's will or with very selfish motives.

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

Catching Heat by Janice Cantore

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This is the third in the series and I'm guessing the last.

Abby has been searching for hard evidence to who killed her parents 28 years ago. At times, she has let the search consume her and become her driving force. She threatens to allow that to happen in this book as well, but when confronted with someone who has allowed obsession with a situation to consume her and eat her, Abby is able to take a step back.

In the end of course, there is mostly closure, but the murderer is never charged for that crime. The thing that stuck out to me in the last few chapters of this book was the theme of trust.

Being able to trust that God is a God of justice and even if justice is not taken on this earth, justice will prevail. While I'm not investigating a crime scene, this can be so true in my life when things don't go my way as I wish. God can be trusted and He sees the bigger picture. He knows what I really need and I need to let Him lead me that way.

A quote from the book:
"What's funny?"
"Just that I didn't get what I wanted, but I guess I got what I needed."

That is how it works when we trust God and leave it all in His hands.

I really enjoyed this book again. There was riveting parts which you knew would work out because it's a fiction book, but did keep you turning pages waiting to see exactly how.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gratitude

Product Details

A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

This is a fun looking hard back journal that incorporates praise, coloring, prayers, sketching etc. all in one book.  There are pages to color that maybe have a verse on them. There are lined pages and there are blank pages for whatever you want to do with them.

A few examples: There's a page spread with one side saying "I am grateful" and the instructions are to draw or sketch people and things you are grateful for. Now obviously, I would choose writing because otherwise even I wouldn't know what I drew. And the other side is a picture of various birds to color.

There's a page spread that has a title of "learn to DANCE in the Rain" followed by a prayer and a Bible verse. The other side has "He will wipe EVERY TEAR" and some lined journaling space after that for writing down thoughts.

It strikes me as a thought-provoking journal. I use a journal to write down the thoughts or struggles I'm having currently. This journal would be more down the line of consciously choosing to think and journal about different topics.

I really like it and again think it would make a great Christmas gift. I love books like this and I haven't decided if I'm going to hang on to it and go through it myself or if I should pass it along as a gift someday.  We will have to see.

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

365 Pocket Morning Prayers by David R. Veerman

Product Details

What a beautiful book. It's got a leather like cover with a pretty design and just feels classy to hold. Now granted I think someone has to have a pretty big pocket to carry this around, but the idea is it's small and compact.

The content? Very good. I haven't read all the prayers, but I plan to use it and then possibly pass it on as a gift. It would make a beautiful Christmas present. I also like how it's not set up my month and day, it's just numbered, so you can start whenever you want. Every 6th and 7th day are shorter for the weekends, but it wouldn't have to be used like that. There is also a topical index in the back if you're looking for a prayer about a particular issue. Now, I don't recommend this book in exchange for a personal prayer life with God, but I think it can be a helpful asset.

When I do reviews, I often like to quote a few lines, especially if I really liked the book. I randomly flipped the book open when I sat down to write this and this is what I read:

"Restrain me, I pray. I am so slow to listen and quick to speak." Wow, that fits was my initial response and it does. I'm trying to learn, but I think I'm a slow, slow learner.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kissed by a Mouse

Mouse Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...Mouse Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...Mouse Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...Mouse Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...

Once upon a time in the beautiful land of "NeverRains" there lived a handsome man with his equally stunning young bride and their adorable little cherub. They lived in a quaint, charming cottage at the edge of a luscious and prosperous corn field. They were madly and deeply in love and would race all over the house in an effort to be the first to do something for the other. Meals were always sumptuous affairs, but never did anyone over eat. Evenings could find them peacefully rocking on their porch rockers or going on a leisurely walk out the back, twisting, winding road.

One day this lovely couple decided to go on a little vacation to "SunAlwaysShines", so they packed up their minimalistic belongings and loaded it into their chariot and off they went. On the way to their destination, they stopped at a specialty store where free donuts were being offered on Saturdays and where there was fresh baked goods and also dented and bented items for sale. After making several wise and frugal decisions and loading the products into their chariot, they were once again off and away.

They had a lovely weekend with the prosperous brother and his immaculate housekeeper wife and their lovable bunch of kiddos who were fast growing up to be charming young men and lady. Also in attendance was the very stunning younger sister who had just returned from a far country in order to begin her duties as a school teacher. Much ado was made over the ruddy younger brother who was the same weekend, in another part of the country, getting to know a lovely young lady of whom the rest of the family knew nothing about. This caused some consternation among the brothers, but they were also equally happy for them. Time was spent laughing, playing games and catching up on the local news from that part of the country.

At last the weekend was over, and with much love and laughter, the extended family parted ways with well wishes and promises of meeting again. The handsome man turned his chariot toward home and the happy, much-in-love couple reminisced and related happy experiences the whole way home. A small stop was made for some health food so that a meal would not need to be worried about immediately upon their arrival home.

They reached their charming cottage and everything seemed calm and at peace. Belongings were unloaded and it appeared that the minimalist had turned maximist, but stuff was unloaded and everything was being appropriated to the correct location.

But then, the mouse appeared and the clock chimed midnight. Mouse turds were found scattered through out the house, bark from the orchid plant was strewn about and other plants had been rousted from their home of dirt. Suddenly the in-love couple in their charming little cottage began to worry that their cottage might not be so charming.  The mouse traps seemed to have diminished in supply. The grumpy, whiny wife yelled up the stairs at her handsome husband saying that there was a mouse in the storage room. Handsome husband wondered how he was going to deal with it and in the meanwhile, charming cherub starting working the peanut butter in a different mouse trap.

Finally, all was calm, traps were set and there was potential for the handsome couple to return to their charming cottage, and then "snap" went the mouse trap. The chubby wife went to go see what was up and came upstairs to inform the man that there were two mice caught already and no, she wasn't going to do anything about it, but she did pull front the microwave cart so man could get behind it.

Again, at 2:30 a.m. wife checked one mouse trap and confirmed dead mouse and then went back to bed, leaving man to check and empty ALL THREE  of them.

So finally morning dawns. Handsome husband is gone to work where he provides well for his household and the Proverbs 31 wife oversleeps a little and then lumbers downstairs, bleary eyed and ready for her coffee. But lo and behold, can you believe it? All Three of the mouse traps are full.

Now, you must note that once upon a time when said handsome man and beautiful woman tied the knot there was an unspoken agreement in those vows that the beautiful woman would never have to empty a mouse trap, so tired and crabby woman calls husband who only tries to remind her that she has life good while he, on the other hand, is left to go out in the pouring rain to provide for his household. Good byes were said and said woman cries at the lack of caring that seemed to be exhibited for her extreme predicament.

So, she prays for courage, looks on YouTube for how to set a mouse trap and proceeds to empty and reset three mouse traps. Then she admits it only to herself that it really wasn't that bad and goes to town and buys 8 more because she has no intentions of running out of traps again while handsome husband is gone working. Because bad or not, she wants to return to her charming cottage and become that beautiful, skinny woman with the handsome husband and the adorable cherub and she just wants to live happily ever after, except for the newly discovered leaking kitchen sink and the pipe from the roof that leaks in beautiful woman's closet when it rains too hard.

Then the clock strikes 8 and 12 hours have passed since the last mouse sighting and peace reigns once again in the charming cottage.

Then this post was written and published early because handsome husband requested it and all charming wife wants to do is please her husband!!!

And they lived happily ever after.

>>Many parts of this story have been embelished for the sake of a store

Friday, September 2, 2016

Random Thoughts

I know this is title, or a version thereof, is one I use when I'm simply going to ramble in my post. But that's what I'm going to do today. I have a few things tumbling in my head, some is inspirational, some is domestic, and some is probably worth absolutely nothing.

This thing of what we deserve.
Last night I was in the kitchen doing domestic stuff, which will be in a further paragraph and Amber was there being just as good as she could be, playing and "helping". And the thought went through my mind, What did I do to deserve such a beautiful, adorable child? (Yes, I'm prejudiced.) And the next thought was, I did nothing to deserve her. This is about blessing, not what I deserve. I deserve nothing, but God has blessed us so abundantly. We have two beautiful little girls, maybe three. We only get to enjoy one now, but someday.....  I am so abundantly blessed.

Domestic. I got a pound of organic cacao powder this week from a review program I'm a part of. I get stuff for free or greatly reduced prices in exchange for writing a review about the product. If it's not free, I try to make sure it is something I can use or can pass along as gifts to others. I had to put a little bit for this cacao powder, but I was curious how it would compare to regular cocoa powder. My understanding of Cacao Powder is it's what cocoa was before it was refined. Did that all make sense?

Anyway, it came and I wanted to test it. So last night after getting home from a day at Mom's, I went on a walk, then came home and decided to make yet another batch of Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies using this cacao powder. This is rather out of character for me to start baking after 7 in the evening, but I was in the mood and thought nice, warm brownies would be a peace offering for D after giving him leftovers for supper when I had gone out to eat. Well, cacao powder does nothing to hinder the wonderful flavor of these yummy brownies.

This is actually the second pan of those brownies I made this week. The first pan would more rightly be called, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, White Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies. I was in the middle of making them when I remembered I was out of chocolate chips except for about an ounce. This is unheard of for me. I stock up and stock up and never run out of these things, but alas and alack, I did. So we used the rest of the peanut butter chips that were laying around and then finished it all out with white chocolate chips and the result was still very delicious.

I also tested some Denture Cleanser this week!!! D wondered who has dentures in this house that he didn't know about!! I got them because they were free and because you hear of them being a good cleaning hack. I'm not sure. I wasn't quite as impressed as I could have been. I think they made the coffee pot look a little shinier maybe, but did nothing for the toilet bowl or the crock pot insert.

Now I have some almond oil coming, so I'm going to try some sugar scrubs and see if I can actually use them in the shower. It's a good thing I don't wear make up--I'm just sure I would do the awfulest job at it. For one, I would be too cheap to buy good stuff and for two, I wouldn't have the time or patience to apply it correctly. We'll see how my sugar scrub works. If it helps my dry hands and my calloused feet, it will be worth it. Supposedly almond oil has some anti-aging properties as well, so the next time you see my, I'll probably look 18 again. I wonder if it helps gray hair.

It's turning to fall around here. The nights are cooler, the geese are honking, and the pumpkin drinks are coming out. I think the geese are honking, it sounded good in that sentence though. I need to find me a good pumpkin spice drink. Speaking of drinks, I saw on the internet that DQ is offering free small oreo coffee drinks on September six to celebrate summer's end. I think it's from 2-5 in the evening. I also saw that some DQ's have a happy hour every week day and some of their coffee drinks, etc. are pretty cheap. I'll have to check out our local one which I'm doubting has this, but maybe......

Okay, I should move on. I keep hearing Amber, so I think she's waking up to a new day. And I have Cinnamon Swirl bread to make today. Oh my everyone, you have to try that. If you let me know in advance you are coming, I will make you a loaf. It smells wonderful while it is baking and the taste is just yummy. Today I am going to make a couple loaves Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread to see how that tastes.

Seriously this domestic, kitchen streak in me is almost scary. I've baked more bread in the last few weeks than I have in years, which isn't saying much because I think last month was the first I made bread since we moved up here. But I'm loving it. I've made flatbread, regular bread, cinnamon swirl bread and what's amazing is it is actually turning out!!!!!!! I'm also having fun baking brownies, etc. Now I need lots of people who would like to come and take samples home with them. It's too hard on my waistline to keep too many of these things in the house. Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies? Yum yum, except I actually think they would be better without the chips.

Okay, randomness is done now.

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy by Dorcas Smucker (It's Giveaway time)

Ah yes, this was just what the doctor ordered. I've wanted to review Dorcas' last book or two and was always too chicken to ask, b...