Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I have been a great big grump this afternoon. Grumpy because we missed Christmas festivities with family because of snow and my son had the flu. Grumpier because hubby is now sick for New Years. It is repetition for us from last year. We all had a stomach virus at Christmas last year and hubs was really sick with Bronchitis at New Years.

I am tired of sickness.

BUT, this post isn't about my disappointment, nor my cabin fever and my need to be out by myself without kiddos. This post IS about being thankful. Gratitude changes everything. Instead of being grumpy, I want to be happy. I control MY emotions.

I AM thankful that my family is healthy. Yes, we have our rounds of flu, our sniffles and coughs, but no major illnesses. No drawn out hospital stays. No diagnoses that change our lives forever. No struggling to pay hospital bills.

So, while I may be a little inconvenienced at this moment, I thank God that I have the family that I have, and that all I have to worry about is whether or not I have enough kleenex.......

Want to take part in Thankful Thursday? Join My Gratitude Adjustment (and myself). What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Measure of Mercy

A lot of people struggle with knowing God's plan for their life. So many people just wait and wait and never feel like they know their purpose. I think that is why Lauraine Snelling's book, A Measure of Mercy, will hit a chord with readers. Main character, Astrid Bjorklund, is torn between her desire to study medicine and returning to her hometown of Blessing and her newfound interest in Joshua Landsverk. Conflicted and confused, Astrid hears a missionary speak at her church of medical needs in Africa. What is God's will for her life? Can she determine His plan and choose to follow? Will the love between her and Joshua continue to grow?

The book is well written and I truly felt the conflict and anguish of the heroine, Astrid. She is a likable character and I was rooting for her throughout the book. This is book one of the Home to Blessing series, so be warned that the book is a set-up for at least one sequel.

The author writes in a way that I feel like I have missed something about the characters. Maybe a significant event in their lives previously or maybe they are characters from another series, I wasn't sure since this was the first novel I read by Snelling. Or maybe she just leaves some things to the imagination of the reader, and for that I can't fault her for giving her readers opportunities to exercise their imaginations.

Overall, a great read! I will be reading more of Snelling's books.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.

40 loaves winner

The winner of the devotional 40 loaves by CD Baker is S at Temple Transformation. Congratulations! Another great book next week!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Boy is 7!

Wow! Time does fly! My children are growing up in the blink of an eye!

Seven years ago today I was awaiting my son's entry into this world. I thought I had this parenting thing figured out! I had adorable 4 and 2 year old girls and I thought "How different can parenting a boy really be?" (All you moms of boys can now take a break for hysterical laughter.)

How wrong I was. This little guy had a different attitude from the beginning. (Not wrong, just different than I was used to.) He was loud (and still is). Things that seemed very unfunny to me sent him into hysterical laughter (yes, bodily functions included.) His need for rough-housing and super-hero antics also baffled me.

What a wonderful dimension he added to our family! Yes, he is loud and boisterous at times, but that means he is enthusiastic about life. His laughter and jokes help lighten the mood and bring joy to the house. His mechanical abilities (translated : his ability to take everything apart to see how it works) make for great springboards to discussion. Even his super-hero antics make me proud. Proud that he wants to be the knight in shining armor someday for the girl of his dreams. (okay maybe not the girl part yet, he still thinks they have cooties).

He reminds me of his Dad in so many ways. He is slow to anger, gentle and kind. He likes to tease his sisters and mom, but also fiercely protective if anyone else hurts them! He is a great big brother, too!

We know God has great plans for you and your life!

Happy Birthday buddy! We Love you so much!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

40 loaves review and giveaway

Why do I allow myself to get so upset by what other people think about me?
Why do I hate confrontation?

These are questions that I have asked myself this week.

All hard, soul-searching questions....

You know it's easy sometimes to coast through life just taking the punches as they come, but if we do - there is never any growth. Real and lasting change only comes when we ask the important questions.

Are you looking for a book that can guide you through some of these questions? Questions that will make you examine yourself and scrutinize your motivations?

40 loaves, Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day
by C.D. Baker has short devotionals, all based on a tough question. Each devotional is followed by a set of questions meant for self-reflection and a prayer.

This book is a good resource and springboard for additional introspection. Scripture verses are used in an appropriate manner to make the points presented by the author.

C. David Baker founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah publishers.

Interested? Read more here. Leave a comment by Christmas Day and a random winner will be selected to receive a copy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

People pleasing versus God pleasing

I have been dealing with this a LOT lately. So I thought I should share this Joyce Meyer devotional that I've been reading...

Our pastor made a comment this last weekend that also stuck with me. Being in God's will doesn't mean that we won't have difficulty. That isn't the way to determine whether or not we are in His will for our lives.

Sometimes, I believe we face MORE adversity when we are in God's will. We do have an enemy that doesn't want us there. An enemy who will do anything, use anything, to discourage us and keep us from walking in God's will for our life.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I remember as a little girl being very nosy. (I often wonder now if my parents found it as annoying as I do now with my own 9 year old). I tried to listen in on conversations between the adults in the house, but I especially liked to pick through my grandmother's jewelry box and cedar chest. I loved to find the random item that seemed unusual and out of place. Anytime I started to think Grandma had lost it, she told me the story of why she had kept it. Reasons that were completely valid. There was some significance attached to the item in her memories.

Leigh McLeroy's book, Treasured Knowing God by the Things He Keeps, examines the significance of items mentioned in His Word and what they reveal about His nature. Some of the items examined in the book include a dry waterskin, Abraham's knife, a smooth stone and a scarlet thread. McLeroy applies her own personal experiences and feelings to each examination. She is perfectly transparent and lays her most intimate emotions and experiences out for scrutiny. It is very thought provoking.

The transitions from personal experience to the application to God's Word are fairly abrupt. Looking past that, McLeroy provides interesting material that could serve as a conversation starter. The discussion guide provided would work well for a small bible study or personal reflection.

Leigh McLeroy is the author of The Beautiful Ache and The Sacred Ordinary. An avid collector and recorder of everyday moments, words, and wonders, Leigh’s keen eye for God’s presence in ordinary life infuses her writing and living with a deep, insistent joy. A frequent conference and event speaker, the author makes her home in Houston, Texas, and posts often on and

Check Treasured out here.

This book was provided for review by Waterbook Publishers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

God Gave Us...... (Reviews)

This time of year can be meaningful as a time of remembrance of God's love for us. But, the message and the meaning can also get lost in the commercialism and materialism that surrounds the holiday too. I am constantly looking for resources to reinforce the importance of the true meaning of Christmas.

Lisa Tawn Bergren's book, God Gave Us Christmas is an excellent book designed to reinforce the fact that GOD gave us Christmas because of His love for us.

I was at a mom's group yesterday evening where many moms discussed Santa Claus and how their family handled Santa. I loved the quote in this book where mama bear tells her cub, "Santa Claus reminds us about many good things like generosity and care. But it is God and Jesus that we celebrate most come Christmas. We always want to thank God for giving us Christmas."

The illustrations are captivating and beautiful. This book is a treasure that I hope to keep and read as a holiday tradition for a long time!

I also had an opportunity to review God Gave Us Love by the same author.

While this book doesn't mention Christmas specifically, it does teach that love comes from God and God gives us love to give to others, which is certainly appropriate during the holiday season. It also tenderly explains that love is a choice and not always a feeling. The use of a patient Grandpa bear to explain these concepts to the cub is truly endearing.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

You can check out more info on these books here and here.

These books were provided by Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishers for review.

White Picket Fences Winner!

I'm a little late getting around to this, but the winner of the White Picket Fences giveaway, as determined by is Laurel! Congratulations! I will email you to get your address! Come back soon for another great giveaway!

Friday, November 13, 2009

White Picket Fences (Review & Giveaway)

Do you ever look at the life of someone else and think, "Wow, they have it all together! Their house is beautiful, they are healthy, they have adorable and well-behaved children. Life for them is so easy!" You know you do! I do. But we also know appearances are deceiving. It is like seeing two pixels of an entire computer screen, or even better, do you know those pictures that are made up of thousands of other smaller pictures? It is like looking at one tiny panel of one of those.

Susan Meissner's White Picket Fences is about a family that appears to have it all. Wonderful careers, great kids, and a perfect life. Amanda Janvier agrees to have her niece, Tally, stay with the family when her father disappears. Tally and Amanda's teenage son, Chase, work together on a school project about the Holocaust. Chase becomes troubled. This project unlocks secrets that have been carefully hidden in his family. But secrets always have a way of coming to the surface. Can this family survive the turmoil and stick together?

Meissner's characters are very developed and believable. About halfway through the book I couldn't put it down. I tend to avoid Holocaust books, because of the heavy subject matter. This book deals with it thoughtfully and tastefully. Facades and secrecy aren't glorified. The importance of relationships and communication come through. A very interesting read!

Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.

Buy it here.

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Press.

Interested in your own copy? Leave a comment by Friday, November 20 on this post (or on facebook post) and I'll give one away!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dear Santa....

I know it seems a little early, but my kids have been working on their wish lists for some time, so I figure, why not?

I know I should ask for world peace and food for the starving kids in Africa.
I know I should ask for love among my brothers and sisters (and a hammer, probably showing my age there).

But I'm all about keeping it "real" these days.


for Christmas I would like,

A Family Celebration of Christ free from arguments, strife, and guilt.
5 more hours in every day
A housekeeper
A landscaper
A personal chef
A live-in babysitter (well, I do have an 11 year old who is good for short stints).
A dumpster
A weekly date night with hubby

If you can't deliver, don't bother stopping at this house.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My heart today

Caught in the half-light, I'm caught alone
Waking up to the sunrise and the radio
Feels like I'm tied up, what's holding me?
Just praying today will be the day I go free

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

Made in Your likeness, made with Your hands
Made to discover who You are and who I am
All I've forgotten help me to find
All that You've promised let it be in my life

How about you?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Leaving Yesterday review

I always enjoy reading fiction that makes me think about my life and things close to my heart. Currently, that involves parenting. (Big surprise with four kids, I know!)

One of the dilemmas of parenting is walking the fine line between protecting your child and making them take responsibility for their actions and the consequences that stem from their actions.

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman follows Alisa Stewart. A mom and Christian who says and does all the right things. She leads the women's ministry at her church. She leads grief seminars to help others find healing, but she feels like her life is falling apart. One child was murdered for sharing his faith. One has become the prodigal. Her marriage is in trouble. When it looks like the prodigal has changed his ways, a police officer starts asking questions about an unsolved murder. Was her son involved? Alisa is torn. Her son has changed, he is a new creation, doesn't he deserve to move on with his life? But if he was involved, should he face the consequences of his actions? Is it her responsibility to make sure the truth comes to light?

This is the first book I have read written by Kathryn Cushman. I really enjoyed her writing. It is easy to read. Actually, I was hooked. I kept wondering, if I was in that situation, what I would do. I would like to say I would help my child face reality and consequences, but without actually being in that situation, I'm not sure I could accurately guess my actions....

It was a page turner. Alisa's internal struggle and ultimately dealing with the consequences of her own decisions was captivating!

Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. Her two previous novels were A Promise to Remember and Waiting for Daybreak, a finalist in Women's Fiction for the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, CA.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House publishers. No money was received for this review and the opinions expressed are my honest opinions.

Newest winners!

S from Temple Transformation wins a copy of Extraordinary by John Bevere.

Heather from Sugar N Spice Mostly Nice wins a copy of The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall.

Congratulations! The next giveaway will start the week of Nov 9th!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My 11 year old dear daughter's christmas list

I thought I would share Sha Sha's Christmas "Wish List" (her title, not mine).

Divided into two parts, the first part is predictable and has seven reasonable items.
I won't bore you with it.

The second half is titled "Wishful Thinking", and subtitled "(probably won't happen)". This will have you laughing. I'll refrain from commentary on it...

1. an email address
2. A facebook account (I know this won't happen).
3. A Nintendo DS
4. My own room
5. On/off switches for my 3 siblings
6. a car
7. to be allowed to babysit

A couple of these are reasonable. But I certainly got a good chuckle out of a couple of them too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Well-Behaved Child review

I have been a parent for 11 years. I have read A LOT of parenting books. Within the last few years I've grown disenchanted because they all started to blend together and sound the same. I admit I wasn't sure about this book when I first heard of it. BUT - after I started reading, I was captivated! John Rosemond writes in a practical tone and to the heart of every parent. Using specific examples, practical techniques and frequent questions drawn from his years of Family Psychology and personal experience as a parent, Rosemond addresses techniques and parental attitudes toward discipline. He writes as if in the room with you, chatting over a cup of coffee. My favorite part of reading this book was the realization that ALL kids misbehave. We so frequently feel like failures as parents because our children misbehave. Children are born with a sinful nature, just like the rest of us. Rosemond's straight-forward approaches are likely to offend the sensibilities of those who believe that discipline stifles children, but parents who are dedicated to shaping their children's behaviors, to eliminating "negotiations", and to raising truly well-behaved children will find a treasure trove in this book. The book includes -

Seven Fundamentals of Effective Discipline
Seven Discipline Tools You Can't Do Without
Seven Top Behavior Problems of All-Time
Seven Tales of the Strange and Un-Expected

Intrigued? You should be!

John Rosemond is a family psychologist, popular speaker, featured guest on major televison talk shows, and syndicated columnist for more than two hundered newspapers. He and his wife, Willie, married forty-one years, have two adult children and seven grandchildren.

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson publishers.

The Secret of Indigo Moon review

We have all heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." I suppose that might be why manga art comics have become so popular. The Secret of Indigo Moon from The Doppleganger Chronicles by G.P. Taylor combines manga comics and novel in an interesting read for young adults. It is a good combination of the two that can encourage belligerent readers.

The book follows the escapades of three youngsters who are labeled as troublemakers and seem to be in the right place at the right time to be unlikely heroes. The illustrations are well drawn. The plot is easy to follow and somewhat interesting. This book is the second in a series and frequently mentions events that happened in the first book. Since I didn't read the first, it was a tad frustrating. If you have a young adult that is interested in the genre, it is worth checking these out!

A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include Wormwood (another New York Times best seller which was nominated for a Quill Book Award), The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias the Oracle, and Mariah Mundi. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.

This book was provided for review by Tyndale publishers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

I know that I have mentioned before my fascination with Amish novels. So it should be no surprise that Cindy Woodsmall's new novella, The Sound of Sleigh Bells, had me riveted! I am glad it was a novella, or I would have been up all night!

Beth Hertzler has been emotionally wounded by a horrible tragedy and her family is worried. Beth occupies herself with her work, actually, she hides behind her work. Beth's Aunt Lizzy notices a change for the better in Beth and seeks out the source of the change. Will her aunt's attempts at drawing Beth out work? Will Beth resent the very person who could provide her a second chance at love?

If you are at all interested in Amish fiction I have to recommend Woodsmall's books. They are riveting and filled with characters that are so dimensional that readers will find themselves crying for and cheering on the characters as if they were real people.

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

And yes, I have a copy to give away! Leave a comment by Wednesday, October 28 for a chance to win!

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah publishers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Extraordinary (review and giveaway)

Do people long to be normal or ordinary? Not really. I believe we all have a desire in our hearts to excel at something. God placed that desire in our hearts for a reason. We all have abilities and gifts that were given to us for an explicit purpose. Are those best utilized to achieve normality or commonness? John Bevere's most recent book, Extraordinary, is a great encouragement to those who are tired of being average and living only in the day to day. It encourages us that God created us for so much more. Our salvation doesn't depend on works, but because we have a God who cares about others, and we have a desire to please our Father, we should WANT to carry out His will on this earth! He has given us EVERYTHING we need, all we need to do is embrace it and put in into practice! Bevere does a great job of backing everything up with scripture.

John Bevere is an internationally popular conference speaker, teacher, and author of bestsellers, including The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near, and Driven by Eternity. His award-winning curriculum and books have been translated in over sixty languages and his weekly television program, The Messenger, is broadcast around the world. John and his wife, Lisa—also a bestselling author and speaker—reside with their family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit his ministry website at

If you are ready to be encouraged and equipped to do and expect the "extraordinary" in your life, leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy. I'll select a winner on Wednesday, October 21.

You can also read more about the book and buy it here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If God is Good...

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You Were Born For This!

Over the last few months I have heard several people mention their frustration with their life "calling". What I have mainly heard is something along the lines of "There has to be more...." More what? More to dream? More to accomplish? More to keep us occupied?

For me, it is more peoples lives to touch. I have always known that I was given a gift of compassion by my Creator. At times it makes life hard. I hurt for others, not to mention being wounded easily, whether the wounds were intentional or not, but I stray off subject....

God has more for each of us. What does he call us to besides utilizing our gifts and talents? Besides the Great Commission? Besides loving Him with all our hearts, minds and souls? How about becoming a miracle delivery agent?!!! You heard me right!

Wouldn't it be wonderful to point others to God by helping them experience His love firsthand?

I was so excited to read Bruce Wilkinson's newest book, You Were Born for This, 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles.

This book can help shift your mindset to make you expect divine appointments, to ask for them, to recognize God's "nudge", and to direct the credit back to Him. One of the most significant things that I have had to deal with is fear. Wilkinson points out that fear can actually be confirmation that we are doing the right thing and we need to overcome our fear with faith.

My only concern with the book is that it all seems a little formulaic. An all-powerful God doesn't need "Step one" to follow "Step two", etc. to prove Himself mighty. But don't get me wrong, this book is full of great keys and freeing concepts.

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado.

Buy it here.

Stray Affections winner!

Well, I only had 3 commenters (1 on FB) this time around and that greatly improves your odds, people! So, I had the Random number generator generate numbers 7 times and #1 came up 3 times. Once again, congrats to S from Temple Transformation. Look for a new review tomorrow!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Much too busy...

A lot of our 'busyness' is a way for us to avoid thinking about what is most important. There's a difference between being busy and being productive. ~ Kristen Lippincott

Busy, Busy, Busy. Every night of the week. Monday - soccer, Tuesday - football, Wednesday - church, Thursday - soccer, Friday - football, Saturday - soccer x2. Not to mention bible studies, choir practices, laundry, grocery shopping, supervising homework, cooking....whew! I'm tired just writing it all down. And that's not all of it either. I know some of not being defeated by all the "busyness" is attitude, and trusting God to show me the "best" and not just the "good". What's the difference between the two? Read this devotional from Joyce Meyer.

I once heard a speaker (I think it was probably Joyce) that talked about how we often wear our "busyness" as a badge. "Look how busy I am!" "I'm important because I'm busy."

The truth is that "busyness" as Martha showed us in Luke 10:38-42, can often be a huge distraction. A distraction to the point that we can't see past it to what is truly important. Not that we have to become hermits and live in caves and divorce ourselves from every activity and ministry that we are involved in, but that we focus on our God and what He has in store for us. We allow Him to order our day, show us what is important and rely on Him to help us.

We can still be "busy" and do this! Every soccer season I usually have a bad attitude about all the busyness. I am trying hard to stay away from the bad attitude this year! God knows what has to get done. I have laundry right now that needs to be folded. I have dishes in the sink, but yet I felt God speaking to my heart to rest.

I've had headaches on and off this last week. Had my neck adjusted, taken naps, taken meds, still suffering. Talking with someone today, they asked me what had changed this last week. I thought back, I had dental work, probably not the culprit. I added a storytime, 2 soccer practices, 1 football practice to my already busy life with 4 kids....Hmm! I had a check in my spirit...."you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about". The person I was talking with asked if I had relinquished it all to God. Yeah! Um...honestly....NO! I haven't. So, here goes, "God, you know my heart, and I am searching for yours, I want to be effective in my home, in my family, in my world. Please show me the "best" every day, help to pull me back on track when I start to go astray. Keep my heart tender to your voice and your urging. Make me stop to enjoy you, and what you have made, the people you have put in my life, and the comfort of your Holy Spirit. Thank you God for your great mercy and love and that no matter where I am you can lift me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the Rock!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stray Affections review and giveaway

Some people talk about being a victim of circumstance. We all have met them. Every bad thing in their life is the fault of someone else or some past experience. They have allowed that experience to shape their person. But sometimes, we meet a person that has overcome their circumstances. Someone who understands that circumstances aren't everything and often, aren't even what they completely appear to be.

OR we meet someone who has in the past allowed these things to shape their life and then there is a single moment that changes them.

Cassandra Higgins is that person. A bad relationship with her mother, a busy life with four children and Cassandra has a moment that changes her life. She gains perspective and relationship.

Cassandra becomes infatuated with a one-of-a kind snowglobe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. The globe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange–flurrious, as Cassie deems it–moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.
With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.
“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

Charlene introduces you to her book here -

Buy it here. OR
You can leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy. Please comment by Wednesday, September 16!

Meltdown giveaway winner!

S at Temple Transformation! Congrats! (in case you are wondering, she is on facebook and I have my blog linked to facebook, she commented there.) I add the FB comments to these and number them consecutively.

I'll contact you to get it to you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Toddler sleeping delusions

Our last Saturday before soccer begins. No where to be, nothing pressing to do....Gray skies, cool weather makes for great sleeping in...

Except, we have a sweet toddler girl who would sleep until 7 or 7:30 on school days (yes that is sleeping in around here), but today has to awake before 6! Hubby went in and tried to reason with her! Yeah, that worked!!???!!

So I picked her up and brought her into our bed, with hopes of more visions of sugarplums. Yeah....not happenin....

First she struggled free from my arms and touched Dad's face. Dad rolled over and ignored her to which she began chanting, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" 10 million times.
I snuggled her, she kicked me.
I tried giving her some space, she grabbed my arm and pulled it back around her.
She kicked me and jumped on the bed.
She used the bed as a drum.
She talked. What's with all the repetition?
She has some kind of a secret conspiracy going on with the cat too. He was meowing and running all over the house.
Why did I think she would go back to sleep? She is 2, and a bundle of energy....

I gave in....and got up....took her down to which she said "Dark in here, mommy?!" and I very calmly stated, "That's because the sun is still sleeping and I wish we were too!"

Oh well, plenty of time to sleep later,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Girl struggles

For the past year or so I have struggled with some insecurity and worrying about what others think about me or "perceiving" disgruntlement, real or imagined. I have come to a point that I know that what truly matters is how God sees me.

I need to focus on Him, what His Word says about who I am in Him and what He thinks of me. Whether or not others want to be around me or not should be irrelevant, as long as I am listening and following His direction and calling on my life.

But, as a woman, we are easily wounded. I see this as my oldest daughter enters junior high age. She has just started 6th grade and is struggling a little with girl relationships. She isn't the popular one. She is the hard worker that does well in school. She is the one who everyone wants to be friends/partners with when a project is due, but is rarely invited over to "hang out" or sleep over. My heart aches for her and even as I type this I know that as much as I want for her to be "included", it is so much more important that she feels God is her source and not "others". Excuse me while I grab a tissue...

I think this hits particularly close because I was the same way and distinctly remember how much it hurts.....

In fact I still feel often like the same insecure girl on the periphery, trying too hard.... Actually, sometimes, it is easier to not try at all, because rejection hurts too much. UGH!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meltdown giveaway!

Ready for a thriller?

The global war on terror has reached catastrophic proportions, leading the U.S. Special Operations EOD team—Task Force Valor—to Chernobyl, where ghosts of past disasters are nothing compared to the nuclear nightmare about to unfold.

With CIA Agent Mary “Phoenix” Walker heading her first Special Ops mission and Master Sergeant Bobby Sweeney fighting demons on and off the battlefield, Task Force Valor races to stop a terrorist threat in the Ukraine before Europe is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

But when the terror reaches American shores, the team is powerless to help until they can save themselves. And when they finally track down the source of the chaos, what they find is worse than anything they could have imagined.

Chuck Holton has traveled the world, experienced combat, served in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment, and is the author of six books, including Allah’s Fire, Island Inferno, Bulletproof, Stories From a Soldier’s Heart, and A More Elite Soldier. His journeys have taken him from the depths of the Atlantic, to the mountains of Burma, from the dogsleds of Alaska, to skies of Iraq. Chuck lives in Appalachia with his wife, Connie, and their five children.

Interested in a copy? Leave me a comment and I'll have the random number generator do it's thing. Please enter by Friday, Sept 4.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scenarios winner!

The random number generator has selected a Scenarios winner! The person is commenter #3.
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 6 Result: 3 . Congrats to Chaos-Jamie! This is the friend who turned be on to blogging and book reviews! Only fitting, dontcha think? Stay tuned for more great reviews and giveaways!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Operation Organization Week Four!

If you are interested in Operation Organization visit Melinda's blog Coming Clean: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent.

This week has flown by! I found myself scrambling today to complete my week 3 goal. If you missed it last Friday, my goal was to tame my spice cabinet and utensil drawers in the kitchen.

So without further adieu, here are the before pics again -





And the afters -

I have filled up my spice rack. I changed the bottles to reflect the spices I use most frequently! I love my Dymo labeler!


I also have separate baskets for Italian, Chinese, and Mexican spices. I have a basket for sprinkles and extracts, etc. I purchased baskets at Target and Dollar General and spent a total of $14.


I plan to used my labeler to label the baskets too, but I haven't had a chance today.

The utensil drawers still seem a little cluttered to me, although they are better. I washed them out and pitched pacifiers that haven't been used since last summer! (Among other things!)




So, what's next weeks goal you ask? How can I find anything else that needs organizing? I've already done the linen/art closet, tamed the shoe mess, and now the spices and utensils. What could be left you ask? I am warning you that this isn't pretty and these images may be disturbing.... My "pantry" cabinets need some work! Here is the before -



Come back next Friday to see my progress!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hope of Refuge winner

So, drumroll please....The Random number generator at has picked our newest winner! The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall goes to commenter #5 who was Shelley! Congrats!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Operation Organization Week Three

If you are interested in Operation Organization visit Melinda's blog Coming Clean: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent.

You may remember that my goal this week was my art supply/linen closet. Here are the before pics I shared last week.





So I buckled down and spent hours cleaning out this closet! I threw away two bags of stuff, have a bag of old linens to donate, and here are the after pics.




One problem I had was keeping all the sheet sets together. I heard someone say recently that they folded the fitted and flat sheet and put them inside the pillowcase! Brilliant! Used that idea!

My goal for this week -

Three kitchen utensil and gadget drawers and my spice/baking supply cabinet.

Here are the ugly before pics -




I love kitchen gadgets, now I need to find a way to find what I need easily.


This just needs to be cleaned and purged!

Come back next Friday to see if I succeed!!! Happy organizing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

40 minute Bible Studies by Kay Arthur

The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:

•The Essentials of Effective Prayer
•Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost
•Building a Marriage That Really Works
•Discovering What the Future Holds
•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past
•Having a Real Relationship with God
•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk?
•Living a Life of Real Worship
•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret
•Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment
•Rising to the Call of Leadership
•How Do You Know God’s Your Father?
•Key Principles of Biblical Fasting
•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation
•What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

I received the copy of "How Do You Know God's Your Father?", and although I haven't finished it, I have already gained insight from the first few lessons. I like the Bible text being in the margins of the study book, so you can mark it up like crazy!!!

Kay Arthur, executive vice president and cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

The Friends We Keep

Making friends has always been difficult for me. I even struggle now with rejection and so I don't try. I tell myself that's okay, because I have my husband and my kiddos and most importantly, my God! But I do know that I still have a longing to be liked and when in a room full of women, I often feel like the shy wallflower I remember being in junior high.

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Sarah Zacharias Davis is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Learn more or buy it here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scenarios series for girls

When I "met" Nicole O'Dell several months ago in blogworld and found out that she was publishing a series for girls that emphasize choice-making, I was so excited! I immediately asked to be involved in promoting these books.

I have 11-year-old and 9 year-old daughters and they are growing so fast. One of my goals is preparing them to consider their options and make good, educated decisions. These books present girls with dilemmas common to teenagers and gives them the opportunity to choose as the character. I like the fact that the books stress the idea of facing consequences for our decisions.

My 11 year old daughter read "Truth or Dare" after I read the books for this review. I wanted to share her thoughts with you -

The book Truth or Dare is a story of Friendship and temptations. The Truth or Dare sleepovers start as harmless pranks but soon the Dares get bigger and more risky. When Lindsey promises to choose Dare, her friends choose something that could disappoint her parents and God. With friendship on the line, YOU have a decision to make, what should Lindsey do?

I think she summed it up nicely, didn't she?

We also discussed the book when she finished and she told me, "It's really easy to say what you would do in that situation when you are reading a book, but real life is a different thing."

Truth or Dare and All That Glitters are the first two books in the Scenarios series. The series is targeted at 10-15 year-old girls.

Nicole O'Dell lives in Illinois with her husband and SIX children, three of whom are triplets. With a heart for young girls and a special passion for the relationship between mothers and daughters as they approach the teen years, Nicole created the Scenarios: Interactive Fiction for Girls series to help girls develop sound decision making skills, Her writing also includes devotionals and Bible studies for women of all ages. Check out her website here.

If you are interested in an autographed set of these two books, leave a comment here telling me about your decision-making as a teen! I'll use the random number generator to select a winner on Friday, August 21st.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Grand Finale

Day 6 is here! The Finale of the 2009 family staycation!! It was a good and busy day again today. First we went to the old Union Station building that has been renovated into a Museum and entertainment complex.

She liked the echo of her voice!


The architecture is beautiful!



We went to the travelling Narnia exhibit which unfortunately would not let us take pics inside the exhibit.



Then courtesy of the internet, we enjoyed a free visit to the Science City Museum for kids. It is fun! Two floors of science related interactive exhibits.

She tried to take a bath with the ducks!

This bike is on the second story - it was hard to watch them do this.

Hubs and the boy really enjoyed playing this pipe instrument with flip-flops.

Aren't they cute?

Then we crossed the street to Crown Center and had lunch at Fritz's. The food is just diner hamburgers, but the delivery style is unique.

Yep that's a train.

And here are my engineers.


We visited this free exhibit of "lego art" All the mosaics and sculptures are made completely of legos!


Then we went to the Crayola store. There are lots of fun things in this store.



Then it was back home for another mandatory rest period. Then we had a pizza indoor picnic and watched a movie.


We also had an impromptu beauty session.


Now, we are ready for school to start. Well almost. We need to get a little rest first! Thanks for sharing the fun with us this last week! Anyone need a travel agent?