Monday, December 12, 2011

A Giveaway I Have to Tell You About!

Hello All!

My blogger friend, LeAnna over at ThoughtsnWhatnots is having a marvelous giveaway!  I just wanted to tell you all about it.  You can check it out by clicking on the link above.

Her blog is fun(ny) and enjoyable, poignant, interesting, and very down-to-earth.  Ever since I started following LeAnna's blog, I have been stuck on it.  It's like having a laid back but very real conversation with a very intriguing, vibrant young lady over a cup of coffee or mug of chocolate or whatever beverage you so desire!  I would recommend reading her blog, yes I would!

Have a lovely day everyone! Christmas is in the air and we are officially starting the "12 Days of Christmas" today, if I am not mistaken! (If I am, please be sure to tell me so in the comments! lol)  Now for some of that white powdery stuff they call snow which I'd gladly take over another rainy gray day . . . .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Out of Control: A Fun Read by Mary Connealy

Out of Control is book one of the Kincaid Brides series by Christian historical fiction author Mary Connealy.  The two main protagonists are Julia Gilliland, a fiery redhead in love with God and natural science (something rather unusual for her point in history!), and Rafe Kincaid, a sensible, grounded man who has built a wall around his wounded heart.  When they meet up, sparks fly and the adventure commences!  The book is a light read, but fun and entertaining, with likable characters and an interesting plot.  You may be surprised by how this book ends, or you may not, but I think you will enjoy it either way!  I know I did!

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this title in order to provide a review.  The thoughts above are my own and entirely original. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From Thanksgiving to Thanks Giving

Dear Friends!

Has it truly been nearly a month since I last posted on my own blog?  That is sad, I know!

As for me, I don't have too many excuses for being so slow to post except that I was first in the throes of midterms then just making sure I kept up with all of my papers and class projects and now, I'm about to be smack dab in the middle of FINALS!  Yes, it is a joy to be pursuing a Masters.  No, I'm serious about that statement! It is a joy.  It is also a trial at times, as most good things worth pursuing are!  Don't you agree?  :-)

So, I think that I will make this post a tad lighthearted if it leans that direction . . . and a little newsy in the sense that I will just catch you up a bit on me and my life right now and hope that you return the favor by commenting here!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I haven't been married all that long, so the thrill of celebrating a holiday with the man I love is fresh!  Of course, I hope it always is fresh!  I am so grateful for him! He definitely is at the top of my Thanksgiving blessings list . . . . 2nd only to God of course for Whom and to Whom I find I must always be thankful and am so grateful to BE thankful!  Anyhow, we ate plenty and are still feasting off the leftovers . . . . yes, that's right, I'm actually enjoying some pumpkin pie with whipped cream as I type this!  The traditional Thanksgiving meal to me is just super scrumptious!  I made it all from scratch, except the rolls this year.  And it was a big success!  We were fortunate to celebrate with a very good friend and her parents this Thanksgiving and all enjoyed themselves to the hilt!  Just a great day to relax, chat, laugh together, say thanks for many blessings, and bask in the warm light of good friendship!  That's the spirit!

I titled this post "From Thanksgiving to Thanks Giving" because as we move from the holiday at the end of November and into the Christmas season, this is the heart attitude we should truly have . . . we aren't moving from a holiday centered around giving thanks into a holiday centered around giving gifts . . . . instead, we are moving from Thanksgiving into Thanks Giving for the One, Jesus Christ, Who gave the ultimate gift of His life, His all for every single one of us!  This is the true meaning of Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Savior of Man and as for me, I want to keep this truth fresh and in the forefront of my mind and heart as I greet this cheerful season!

I realize that the Christmas season is actually a very difficult time of year for many folks, as well.  For some, it is not overflowing with obvious love from others or gifts, good food, bright and colorful decorations.  It is instead riddled with the pain of grief, loss, lack.  My heart goes out to all of those who are suffering this season and I pray that every one of them is touched somehow by the love of Christ in a very special way.  Because without Jesus, there is no true joy in life for any person on this earth.  I love the scriptures below, as they speak to these very needs, these very griefs and burdens that so many face in a magnified fashion at Christmas! May they offer the hope and peace to you all that they never fail to do for me every time I read them!  They also set me to humming Handel's Messiah as these verses comprise some of my favorite sections of that beautiful music!

May you find you move from Thanksgiving to Thanks Giving this year!  Blessings!

 For to us a child is born, 

     to us a son is given, 

   and the government will be on his shoulders. 

And he will be called 

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

 Of the greatness of his government and peace 

   there will be no end. 

-- Isaiah 9:6-7

Monday, October 31, 2011

Love You More by Jennifer Grant

' "She knows she was adopted," I said. "We talk about it. And, you know what, I am the lucky one.  I'm lucky to be her mother." ' (pg. 183, Love You More)  So says Jennifer in her poignant and realistic book, Love You More. In this heartwarming account, Jennifer tells of her initial desire to adopt a child into her already full, happy family of five and takes us through her life from before her desire to the fruition of her desire in the form of Mia, her adopted Guatemalan daughter.  This is a precious book.  Very down to earth and engaging, easy to read, you feel as if you've stepped in the lives of the Grant family and into Jennifer's own heart and thoughts all at the same time.  You feel as if you're chatting with her over a cup of steaming coffee in her kitchen, with the sound of happy kids playing in the background.

This is a beautiful real-to-life story of how adoption truly should be.  And what a wondrous world it opens!

Thanks to BookSneeze for my review copy of this wonderful book for free in order to write a review.  Please note that all opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where has Autumn Run Off To?

Dearest Friends,

Happy Happy Autumn! And Happy October (what is left of it that is!) I am so sorry for such a prolonged absence.  I have been very busy but really, my internet was just being a beast and for some reason would not let me work on my blog, respond to comments, etc. for a very long while.  It seems to be working finally today, so now that I'm thinking of writing a blog, I'm giving it a try!

Autumn is almost over already.  For our region, it will likely still be around another month or so. Maybe a bit less.  But I recall many Thanksgivings when it was hotter outside than inside....and we felt we were roasting ourselves instead of the turkey!  ;-)  Haha! But seriously, it can be very warm on Thanksgiving day. Personally, I like a crisp, cool fall day for Turkey Day because it just feels right to me, and makes the warm, savory dishes and scrumptious turkey and steaming hot mugs of cocoa, cider or tea just that much better. Can you tell I am anticipating Thanksgiving? Yes! I am. I admit, it is probably my favorite holiday of all, though it is tied with Christmas. Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of all. Has been long as I can remember.  Thankfully, when I attempted my first full-blown Thanksgiving dinner as a newlywed all by myself, it was a fabulous success! Just as my husband!  :-)  We had enough leftovers to feed an army and most of it freezes quite well so we had work lunches to last us several days, too.  So yummy! I'm getting hungry now.....

I haven't read much lately just for fun.  Rather sad I suppose. But I do read a ton in cycles, really.  I love to read and just read and read and read until I can hardly stand to see a book . . . then I read some here and there. Then I start the process all over again.  :-)  I have enough reading with my full time Masters program just starting up, that in my free time I'd rather do something unrelated to reading or writing usually!  However, I will finish the books I started in due time. And will do so gladly!

What's up in your end of the world? I have missed reading the blogs of all my dear bloggy friends. I've really only read one here and there and have such a lot of reading to do! But it's delightful! They are all so good!

If you care to leave a comment or just a nice "hello," please do! It's reassuring to see you are all still "out there" and that you have noticed that I've posted again and am back on the grid! ;-)  Have a lovely fall day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Figured Out the Song I Couldn't Remember!

Hello Friends!

First off, I did indeed get my haircut as I said I was going to!  And it's a nice cut, after all.  It actually looks basically the same or at least highly similar to the shortest cut out of all the photos I told you to refer to on my husband's blog, when I last posted!  Thanks to everyone who commented, gave advice, and gave me compliments!  You are all so sweet!  I did not go "too short" as my hair is right about the top of my shoulders or a tiny bit longer and I like it.  Nice and buoyant and healthy and VERY curly!  :) 

Ok, so, the purpose of this post is actually to tell you . . . I figured out the song I couldn't remember enough of weeks ago to post about in all of its glory!  Do you recall that post?  It was the one I wrote about "The God Who Raised the Dead to Life Calls You to Rise" or something like that?  Well, it has to be this song by Phil Wickham, because I was listening to it on the radio again and realized the lyrics were the same.  It is entitled "Safe" and it is beautiful!  So, check it out! Go to YouTube or go to Itunes, etc. and listen to the whole song.  It truly speaks to your heart and soul!  Just had to share a good thing!

Hope everyone is having a great week! I'm going to check comments in case there are some I need to respond do as I have been behind . . . . Check out the verses below -- These really, really spoke to me today for various reasons and I'm sure they are applicable for many if not all of us at one point in our lives!

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great
conflict full of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

-- Hebrews 10:32-36  (Italics added)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Going to Get My Haircut -- Opinions Please!

Hello Friends!

Hope this little post finds you all well and living life happily and gratefully!  We are enjoying a rainy day here in my neck of the woods, which is fine by me as I rather like such days now and then. :-)

So, I am going to get my hair cut tomorrow!  I haven't had a cut/trim since late January of this year.  No, my hair typically does just fine for 4-7 mo. at a time without a cut.  But it's starting to look a bit "different" as the previously cut layers have grown out and don't quite match up as well any more.  LOL 

Thus, I thought I would ask for opinions on what type of haircut (as well as STYLE) to get . . . .because I am sure you all wouldn't lead me astray!  ha!  I will add that I prefer easy-to-style haircuts, the less time spent on my hair the better and the less time it is under the blowdryer the happier/moister it seems to be. 

Now, I don't have pictures to put up right now on my blog to give you an idea of how I looked in the recent past with longer or shorter hair.  However, my husband has a few photos of me on his blog.  The top photo is the most recent, when I had my hair cut shorter so it just hit top of my shoulders (originally that's how short it was, as it had grown by about 3 inches in this pic) and of course was it's cute, curly natural self.  It had been layered some to appear the way it does in that photo. And the others are when my hair was longer, still naturally curly/wavy of course but about the same length as my hair is now.  My hair doesn't look quite like those photos, however, due to the layers growing out differently -- thus the need for a cut!  The longer it grows, the less curl it sustains, also, though the wave is VERY strong and never subsides.  :-)

You can see the photos on my husband's blog, Portraits and Perceptions.  Once you've taken a gander, can you just comment on this post with your opinions/ideas?  All will be heard of course!  And considered! Length, style, etc. I get my hair cut tomorrow morning by a senior stylist, the one who did a beautiful job for my wedding hair, actually!  Thanks, all!  :-) 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Feel I Have Been Away Forever . . . .

Hello friends!

I apologize now and ahead of time for the fact I have often been--may often be--absent from my blog nowadays.  My life has taken on new aspects and the accompanying "fuller than full" schedule and life.  And yet, I do not forget my dear online friends and the blogs I like to follow and I will check in and will write my own posts -- I love writing!  How could I not blog still?

I hope you are all doing splendidly!  I for one am thrilled that the weather is about to start becoming milder and more like fall . . . .I celebrated by enjoying my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of this autumn season at Starbucks last week!  Can we say dee-lish?  Oh yes!  I love all things pumpkin and it just smells and tastes like autumn!

Also, I have post quite a few new photos on my quilt site, so please, check those out!  They are of a new blanket I was asked to design/create/personalize as a gift for someone and their newborn son.  It turned out ADORABLE if I might say so . . . . and I'm grateful and pleased to say, the blanket is a big hit with the recipients!  :-)   You can see the new photos here: Hoppy Hoppy XL Receiving Blanket

I have to be going for now, but till I blog again, have a wonderful life! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Hope Is In You

My hope is in you Lord
All the day long
I won't be shaken by
Drought or storm
The peace that passes understanding
Is my song 
and I sing
My hope is in you Lord

(Aaron Shust, "My Hope Is In You") 

This is the chorus for a song that I loved the moment I heard it when it was recently released.  It spoke to me in so many ways . . . and I realized, yet again, that the reason it spoke so strongly to my spirit and my soul and my mind, is because it is pretty much entirely based in scripture!  I love songs like that, because when I fall in love with the song and know it's ministering to my spirit, I can sing it over and over and over and listen to it and memorize it and feel the words strengthen and encourage my troubled heart . . . and know, without a doubt, that I am indeed feeding on the Word of God!  How could you go wrong there?

It seems the majority of this song is based upon the Psalms, one of my absolute favorite books in the Bible, because it ALWAYS speaks to me . . . no matter how happy or sad I am, how despondent I may feel or how grateful and at peace I find myself, the Psalms really is an applicable-to-all-situations-book.  Do you think so?  Check out this song on Aaron's site for free: And if nothing else, most definitely read the passage below . . . because I can say with all confidence, that it will not go into your spirit to return void, as God promises His Word never goes out to return void!  May you find your hope is in the One who will never fail you . . . never leave you . . . never forsake you . . . do not hope in man, but hope in GOD.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.

 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.

 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people;
   pour out your hearts to him,
   for God is our refuge. 

Psalms 62:1-2, 5-8 

Monday, August 29, 2011

And the Winner of the Book Giveaway is . . . . .

Callie Nicole!

Using a random number generator, we find Callie Nicole is the winner of my book giveaway for the novel "The Girl in the Gatehouse"!!  Congratulations, Callie Nicole!  And thanks to everyone who participated and left comments, etc.! That was fun for me and I hope for all of you, too!

Callie Nicole, if you could please email me (see my email listed on the r.h. sidebar) your mailing address and full name I will be sure to get the book mailed to you within the next week or so.  I anticipate that since you said you are a Jane Austen fan, you will derive great enjoyment from this novel! You will definitely have to tell me what you think of it when you read it.

Will post again soon, but for now, ttfn!  Have a great day everyone!  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

There's New Post and Info on My Quilt Site!

Hello All!
Just a heads-up that I made a post with some details about what all I am able to offer as far as quilts, blankets and x-large receiving blankets go!  I don't only design and create baby and toddler quilts, I can take orders for larger quilts but they are first-come-first-serve so please, don't hesitate to contact me if interested! There are a lot more details at my quilt site, so go to a{R}tisan Quilts!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

George Washington Carver by John Perry: Book Review

This book proved to have a lot of information on George Washington Carver, a man whose name I knew but little else besides the fact he had something to do with inventions surrounding cotton and peanuts and loved God.

I enjoyed learning a lot more about his life (the book went into a lot of detail about everything, not the least of which Carver's views on God, His Creation, etc).  I didn't know he was such a beloved educator at the Tuskegee College for Colored Folks, and I did agree with much of how he viewed the purpose and thus direction of education. However, the one drawback to me was the book seemed a little "dry."  I know not all biographies are going to be suspenseful or thrilling, but this one came across to me as more factual rather like a textbook.  I appreciated the information, but the style just seemed dry.  Perhaps it's just me, I don't know!  I would recommend it, with the warning that it is rather dry and longer than you'd think at under 200 pages.

A couple passages I really thought were interesting and uplifting . . .  "He [Carver] wasn't there to spoonfeed his students, but rather to encourage and guide them on their own journeys of self discovery. In an introduction .... Carver wrote that 'every teacher should realize that a very large proportion of every student's work must lie outside the classroom . . . The study of Nature is both entertaining and instructive' . . . " (pg 57)  And I also really appreciated this insightful quote from Carver: "To me nature in its varied forms are the little windows through which God permits me to commune with him, and to see much of his glory, by simply lifting the curtain, and looking in."  (pg. 61)

Thanks to BookSneeze for the free copy provided me for the purpose of my honest and original review.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Come See My Book Giveaway!!!

Hello Friends!

Recently I read a good and interesting book that I purchased on sale at Barnes and Noble (my favorite store of ALL stores thus far in my short life!).  It was entitled, "The Girl in the Gatehouse" by Julie Klassen.  Klassen is a Christian author, published by Bethany House.  And I want to give it away to one of you!!!!

This novel has a Jane Austen air to it, so for those of you who love the classics by Austen, you need to read this book!  It was sweet, as well as interesting because there are a lot of elements that keep you in relative suspense until very near the end!  If I tell too much more I will give it away I think.  But suffice it to say, the female protagonist writes novels in secret (it was frowned upon for women to write in her time), everyone she meets has a colorful past and secrets of their own beside her particular circumstances . . . and it ends with a bang!  :-)

I enjoyed reading "The Girl in the Gatehouse," but I want to pass it on to another person who would enjoy it as much or even more than I did! So . . . here's the scoop . . . to enter this giveaway, you will need to do just a few easy things:

1) Leave a comment on this post and tell me if you've read a novel by Julie Klassen yet AND if you are a fan of Jane Austen novels, or if you just want to be and so this novel is how you'd begin that lovely obsession!

2) Head on over to my other blog, a{R}tisan Quilts and leave a comment in response to my latest question/post on there, the one about what would you like to see featured in a quilt (can be anything, but in particular, what fabric designs, colors, or block designs etc).  Then check out the photos page on the same blog, go to the bottom of the page and tell me simply which of the fabrics featured on there so far (more to come!) is your favorite and why!

Easy enough, right?  :-)   I appreciate all of your input and I am excited to see which of your names will be drawn when the time comes!  You have until August 27th to enter!  In the words of a favorite novel I recently read, "Let the games begin!"  (courtesy of The Hunger Games of course!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

To Love . . . and Love Again

Have you ever had a situation in your life that made you want to run and hide and recoil from any human contact, simply because you had been so severely wounded on a repeated basis by someone you used to trust and love? Then you will likely be able to understand some of what I have dealt with for a while now.

How am I to love . . . and love again?  I have asked myself this many times.  It's not that I do not desire to love the person who has repeatedly wronged or wounded me.  On the contrary, I want to love them and make that love an obvious, every day thing.  But they will not allow it.

Perhaps you are thinking, "Not allow it?  What could that mean? A person cannot possibly disallow someone from loving them, can they?"  Unfortunately, it seems they can.  Now I want to clarify: I do not mean that, in choosing to not be around this person and to instead love them from a necessary distance, that they are not loved at all. What I mean is, you can try and try to love another all you want until you have reached the end of your rope . . . until you cannot possibly stretch out toward them any father for fear of falling off the precipice yourself, but it doesn't guarantee that they will feel loved.  It doesn't guarantee that they will know love.  Even real, genuine, godly love straight from your sincere heart, from every fiber of your being.  It is my belief that, inasmuch as we must choose to love others, we must also choose to be loved.

Inasmuch as we must choose to love others, we must also choose to be loved.  Well, that is a rather bold statement, don't you think?  Perhaps this is how you feel.  But please, pause and think about the statement.  Do we not have to choose, every day of our lives, to love those God brings into our circle?  You are not human if you haven't experienced, some point in time, the exasperation of trying to love someone deemed "unlovable," or if you haven't felt what it's like to just about not love someone anymore because they are "old news" . . . and then make your decision to love based on your feelings.  All of us at some point have faced such situations.

My hope is that you choose to love.  Love and love and love yet again.  But turn that back on yourself.  Do you accept love when it is offered to you from another? Do you truly accept and gladly receive the love they offer you, big or small, bold or subtle, instantaneous or gradual?  Or do you wave it aside and move on as if you were never faced with the gift?

You can take it from someone who knows: giving your love over and over to someone who refuses to choose to be loved by you hurts.  It hurts terribly.  And it shouldn't ever, ever, I repeat ever have to be that way.  Not if we all choose to walk in love and to not only give God's genuine love to others, but choose to be loved whether in return, or simply as a complete gift with no strings attached.

Please think on this today.  Please think about the people in your life, those God has brought to you in one way or another.  Which of those choose to be loved by you?  Which are you choosing to be loved by?  Love . . . and love again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Convenient Fun of "The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" by Kathleen Y'Barbo

If you would care to rate my book reviews on Blogging for Books, I would be grateful as reviews can help me increase the variety of books I can choose from and make various formats more readily available to me!  Just click on the "review here" highlighted line that accompanies every book review here on my blog, including this one!  All you have to do is mark the stars you think my review deserves, and your input is anonymous as well. Thank you! :) 

I didn't realize until after I completed this novel that it was actually the 3rd and final book in a trilogy about Charlotte Beck.  Apparently it is a good stand-alone novel, as well!

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is a fun, easy, interesting read.  The faith parts become denser about 3/4 of the way through the book and into the end, without ever getting into much detail; they were rather skimmed over as far as how faith in God would affect Charlotte or her special man.  I think it would have been good to make faith a bit more of an "issue."  Otherwise, it was just fine.

The story is different in plot than any I've read before.  While there are definitely familiar aspects such as romance, struggles for power, the hard-headed and opinionated girl antagonist, etc. it is a different plot than one might expect.  I knew how it would end, but I did enjoy the book.  It took me a short time to read it all and I did catch myself laughing aloud a few times!  I would recommend this book as an entertaining, easy read that will lift your heart. To rate my review click here.

Please note: I was provided a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing for the purpose of writing a review.  All opinions expressed in my review are original and honest.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Your Opinions are Sought!

Please drop on in my blog for quilts to give me your opinions on some questions I've posed on there about quilts and what you want to see featured in a quilt!  I want to see what folks look for and prefer!  You can read this short post and drop your opinions by way of comments here:What do you want to see featured in a quilt.

Thanks and have a great day! Talk to you all soon! :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photos have been added to a{R}tisan Quilts!

Hello Friends!

Wanted to give you a heads-up that some photos have been added to my newest blog, a{R}tisan Quilts!  There are photos of a quilt I recently made that is bright and cheerful and an excellent weight for warmer months, especially.  There are also photos of some current fabrics I have.  There's a new post with additional details about what sets my quilts apart from your average blanket/quilt for your special little one! So please, stop in!

See you all soon!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stop in and See My Newest Blog! All about Quilts!!

Please stop in and see my newest blog.  It is still very much under construction with photos and descriptions and details to be added in the near future.  But I am selling the quilts that I design and craft, and they can be very personalized!  I will be working the most on baby/small children quilts at least for the foreseeable future.

Please stop in and also spread the word amongst friends and any folks you think might be in the market for buying personalized, beautiful, artisan quality quilts!  See you later . . . here and at a{R}tisan Quilts! 

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann: It is True to Name!

"'I'm just the weird one who remembers what I see. Especially faces.' 'Why faces?' 'In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.'" (Indelible)  This is what Natalie, the intriguing woman who crosses paths with the equally intriguing Trevor, faces every day.  To many, this unique eidetic memory she possesses is an intimidating and awful gift. To Natalie, it poses a handicap.  Till she meets Trevor.

Trevor is haunted with his own ghosts, past and present.  When he begins facing these ghosts he never tried to summon forth, his world -- and Natalie's along with him -- comes crashing in.  Will they both be able to face their own demons to see themselves and each other through to the other side, more whole than they were at the start? You will be surprised at how this book ends!

This book was, to borrow a cliche, a page-turner for me!  It had just the right amount of suspense, mystery, spine-chilling elements without being totally "spooky."  It also incorporated real faith - the kind that has questions and asks them - in a straightforward, yet quiet and non-preachy way.  The characters were solid and believable, really drawing me in.  The plot line was excellent.  The setting was beautiful.  The artistic and outdoorsy/sports elements discussed gave the impression the author really knew what she was writing about.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, man or woman, for a great, thrilling, satisfying read.

****If you would care to rate my review (it's super easy, you just follow the link and give my review however many stars you think it merits! That's it!), please do so by clicking here.  I appreciate an honest rating of my reviews, how well you think they are written, the content, the interest level, etc!  :)  

Please note: I was provided a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah publishing (Blogging for Books) in order to write a review.  All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Say "Yum" for the Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen!!

I will admit that initially, I was thinking perhaps "The Chocolate Diaries" would be only slightly original and a lot like the stack of devotional-type books I'd read; a bit trite or something, or too superficial. Yet, I really wanted to give it a try. Being visually drawn to lovely and eclectic book covers, I found the cover of this book particularly cute and whimsical and it made me want to read what was inside all the more.  SO glad I did!

This book is very down-to-earth and not theologically deep in that you don't have to try to wade your way through it.  The format, to me, is much like a good girlfriend, sharing her stories -- humorous and touching both -- with you over a cup of coffee and (of COURSE!) a piece of good chocolate or two!  There were times in this book I found myself giggling.  But there were also many, many points, stories, suggestions, and lists that touched me at the heart and either helped convict me or encourage me or both!  This was an enjoyable and helpful, REAL read from a truly genuine woman.  I loved reading it alone, and am quite sure it would make a fun, lighthearted and yet profound shared read for a Bible Study or such!

Try it for yourself -- and don't forget some chocolate!!  :-)

If you'd like to rank my review for "The Chocolate Diaries" on Blogging for Books (I would love it if you did!), please do so by clicking here.  To rank my other reviews, please click here for The God I Never Knew and here for Out of a Far Country.  Thank you for taking the time! 

Please note I was given a free copy of this book in order to write a review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.  All opinions are honest and are my own. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The God Who Raised the Dead to Life

Today on my way home from dropping my husband off at work, I was listening (as I usually do) to a local Christian radio station.  A worship song came on, and though I cannot even tell you the title of the song or the group who sings it (I must find out now because this song was simply brimming with exhortation and truth!) I can tell you one simple yet profound phrase from it that has stuck with me like a burr to my pant leg all day long today: The God Who raised the dead to life, calls you to rise. 


Selah because selah means, "Pause, and think of that."  That's exactly what I did the moment I heard that phrase.  Why?  Was it a new truth to me?  No, it was not.  I know the God I serve.  He is great.  He is good.  He is full of love because He IS love.  He is merciful.  He is just. He is faithful . . . the list could go on and on.  But when I heard this phrase today, I nearly cried.

Do you know why I cried? Because the words struck me like an arrow to my heart. Yet it was the godly conviction that I felt, the same kind one senses when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our life, or of our deep and utter need for the mercy and grace of God to fall upon us as we repent and turn to Him.  It was that sort of feeling. Followed by an immediate and overwhelming flood of gratefulness to God.

This is what I was thinking the moment that phrase hit me and am bubbling over with even now: The God Who raised the dead to life calls me to rise.  How could I ever, even for a moment, forget the boundless power of the God Who calls me to rise?  How could I allow myself to be held captive to the fear that He has rescued me from?  How could I ever doubt that my needs have been met already through Him Who knows my every need, down to the smallest and most trivial? He made the dead to live again, He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the leper spotless and without blemish . . . and yet, in my day-to-day, with what I see as huge, mountainous obstacles always getting between me and my dreams and my desires, I forget just how great is the God I serve.  How much power is in the name of Jesus.  How I should never put anything past Him and His wise plan for me, and the ability to see me through EVERYTHING that comes my way.  How could I ever forget, even for a moment?  He is calling me to RISE!  Rise out of these ashes with which I have let myself become besmudged; out of this sackcloth, the heavy clothes of mourning and sadness and burdens.  Rise because He is stronger and greater than ALL that I face and I must find the powerful faith in these truths that have been, are and always will be: He that is in me is greater than anything in this world!  I serve the God who made the dead to rise!  

What are you facing today that would seem smaller than the tiniest speck of sand if you were to choose to look at in the light of God's power?  What would seem so much smaller, so much easier to overcome or to get past if you were to look at in the right perspective?  The God Who raised the dead to life, calls you to rise!

Matthew 17:19-20:

 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21]

2 Chronicles 14:11:

11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. LORD, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.” 

Isaiah 54:10: 

10 Though the mountains be shaken
   and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you. 

John 10:28-30:

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All About My Marvelous Self ! A-ha!

Hello Friends!

I really dislike being so far from the blogging world, reading your lovely blogs and of course, making posts on my own.  But I'm taking a few moments now to answer the questions that three of you so kindly asked me.  If I wait much longer, I'm concerned you might think I forgot you all which is never, ever the case! So, thank you for asking, and here goes . . .

Q: What is your favorite go-to meal if friends or family are coming over? A: Good question!  I have to honestly say, that I try to make meals that are "friendly" to the people coming over.  While we don't entertain all that often at this point, when we do I attempt to ask, ahead of time, if the guests have any allergies or just extreme dislikes. Typically I will also go for something that is tried and true.  My mom used to tell me, "Don't try out a new recipe when you're having company!"  I don't take quite the same stance, as I have experiment a few times with at least moderate success; however, I do take a similar stance and like to utilize my favorite recipes when possible. Also, I have a friend who must have a gluten-free diet.  So when she comes to visit, if we plan to eat, I find I stretch my creative horizons to make food that is okay for her to also enjoy! A couple faves so far include chocolate dipped raspberries and homemade slow cooker spinach dip with corn tortilla chips when she visits!  :-)  Otherwise I love soups and stews and casseroles, good for bigger groups and easier on the chef.  Wow, that was a long-winded answer!  I would be interested in hearing what other people use as their go-to meal for friends and family coming over?  Always open for new ideas!

Q: Do you have a "signature" scent? You know . . . a most favorite perfume that you always keep around?  A: Actually, I do not.  The simplest answer for this is, I have what is termed multiple chemical sensitivities, or in my wording, an allergy to chemicals and chemically-based fragrances.  I cannot use your typical cologne, or perfume, air fresheners, scented laundry products, scented shampoos, etc. due to this allergy.  I cannot actually thrive when exposed to any of them, either.  I live a mostly "unscented" and "all natural" lifestyle.  Which is actually just fine with me! However, I do utilize pure essential oils, some of which I wear on my person. A few favorites over the years have included rosemary, lavender, orange, lemon, and frankincense and myrrh.  :-)  You'd be amazed how green you can become when you have no other choice!  I like to think I'm leaving a smaller "carbon footprint" from being forced to live differently than most.  That's encouraging.

Q: When did you first come to know Christ?  A: When I was about six years old.  I don't know the exact date, but I am 99% certain I came to know Him when I was in church, the church where my family held membership.  I also re-dedicated my life to Christ at age 13 when I was having a "teenage crisis of faith" and wanted to be certain that what I had was "real."  And again, after another crisis of faith, at age 19, I turned my life and focus back onto Christ like it had been before!  Honestly, though I felt distant from God (far too distant I came to find) when I was 19 and that was one awful void that prompted me to return FULLY to Him at that point, I do not realize the extent of ever living without knowing Christ.  All I know is, I wouldn't want to live without Him . . . EVER.

Q: What inspires you to write?  A: Excellent inquiry!  Let's see . . . . as you may have concluded from reading my blog, my inspiration for writing is actually varied and voluminous!  It can be anything from one key phrase as I'm listening to our pastor on Sundays, to sunlight on a raindrop, to the encouragement of a friend, to glad happenings and devastating experiences.  I have to say, that just about anything can inspire me to write.  I think the biggest reason for this is, because a long time ago, I decided I would choose to be one of the most observant people one could come across in life . . . to never take anything for granted, to notice everything including the "little things" that are so often overlooked but speak of His majesty and the wonder of His creation.  I decided that writing was also therapeutic for me as an individual.  That even if I was the only person to set eyes on my writing, ever, it would be okay. Because it was like having a running dialogue between me and God all of my life . . . and it still proves to be a balm for my soul, today! ;-)

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?   A: Hmm. . . this question has been posed to me numerous times in my short life.  And to this day, I don't feel strongly about an answer for myself.  I have tried to figure it out.  If there was a someplace-in-between-owl option, I'd have to choose that I think.  I am not an early-morning type, so I suppose that rules me out where early bird is concerned.  And I certainly have never been able to stay up as late as my friends and acquaintances who are self-proclaimed night owls.  My eyelids weigh heavy usually by 10:30 pm if not earlier!  I get sleepy in the early afternoons.  So if I could be a late-morning-early-evening-owl then I would be set.  Those are the times I'm most awake I think!  How is that?  I just invented a new type of bird I guess.  haha

Q: What is the biggest change that "growing up" brought to you?  A: Oh my, if I were to answer this question fully it would take much, much more than a handful of blog posts and it would be much deeper than these fun Q&A sessions could delve into!  So I will choose a simpler response.  Obviously, a very big change was marriage.  Is marriage.  As every day brings its own joys as well as challenges.  And that is a big part of what growing up has brought to me.  The other change would likely be my perspective.  It's constantly shifting, changing, maturing as I live my life seeing everything around me through a slightly different filter . . . growing up and seeing things around you is a LOT different than being a child and seeing things around you, more often than not!

Q: What is your favorite memory from your childhood?  A: Oh my goodness! Can I narrow it down to just one?  I suppose I will have to choose one from many.  Going fishing with my Grandpa.  Some of my earliest memories were of spending time with him and my grandma.  And he taught me how to fish, along with making me the world's best blueberry pancakes when I'd visit him, and letting me ride "the bear" (ride on his back while he was on all fours) around the living room.  He photographed and videotaped my every move any chance he had, he thought I was the best little granddaughter ever as I recall! My own fan club.  And he would sing for me to dance for him and all my family, which I was more than willing to do.  So many good memories.  But those are a few, all clumped into "one" -- my Grandpa!  I miss him terribly!  Someday I will see him again and we can share laughter and smiles once more.

Q: How/why/when did you start blogging?   A: Very recently.  I have kept a journal since age 9 or so, and have engaged myself in other types of writing.  But blogging I didn't begin in earnest till last year and VERY earnest early this year!  I enjoy it!  It's a new world to me in many respects! I was prompted to start blogging by a dear friend of mine, MrsSouthernBride.  And I wanted to do it not only to get my name out there and connect with other people, because I am, after all, a "connective" sort of person, but to try to reach out and help folks who could be experiencing (good and bad) life as I am!

Q: Favorite summer outfit?  A: Something cool that breathes!  haha  Seriously though, our summers are very, very, VERY and did I say VEEEEERRRRRY hot!  And humid!  And anything that isn't made of cotton can be pure torture.  I love skirts and dresses.  Or a comfy pair of bermuda shorts or capris.  Some of what my "favorite" outfit is depends upon what I can fit, too!  My wardrobe is not always vast because of that.  LOL

Thank you again for all your great questions, friends!  Hope you enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed typing them up!  That is, if you're with me yet at the end of this loooong blog post!  :)  TTFN!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Would You Ask Me? An Invitation to Ask Whatever You'd Like . . .

Okay, I couldn't resist.  But I was inspired to do this after following the posts my blogger friend, LeAnna from Thoughts and Whatnots made in response to so many questions her blog followers asked her when invited!

I thought, what a great idea!  I realized that while I've had my blog, I haven't really invited any of my followers to ask me anything they wanted about me!  So, here goes.....putting myself out there for you all to ask me anything and everything you want, and I promise I will answer with the only exception being if I am concerned with privacy!  Have a great day, ask away and I look forward to answering your questions! :)

Books and Summer Go Together Like Hand and Glove

Hello Friends!

Let me start by saying how very much I have missed you all in the blog-o-sphere over the past week and then some!  It seems as if I just haven't had the time to make any blog posts of my own.  Which I will tell you, does bug me.  I have had the chance to stop in, albeit briefly, at a couple of the blogs I follow.  Literally a couple.  And literally only a couple posts on those couple blogs.  So . . . is there such a thing as "blog deprivation"?  Because I think I've suffered from the same for the past 10 days at least!  haha

Though I haven't had much time outside of my full time summer job and all the other things I have to try to get around to that are just a part of life and keeping a house, etc. I have had a bit of time to read over my lunch breaks at work.  You might notice I posted a review on one short book I recently finished, "A Place Called Blessing."  Well, I also recently finished. . . . *drumroll* "Mockingjay"!  Yes, I have officially completed the riveting Hunger Games trilogy!  I think I actually finished the aforementioned novel days ago, maybe almost a week, just haven't had the time to write about it.  But it was excellent!  Took me a little longer to get into it than books 1 and 2, but by longer I mean nothing more than the first chapter or so.  And I loved the book!  It was engaging and my, how the plot thickened and took some unexpected turns and the ending was awesome but also might find a few of you who choose to read the trilogy at a loss for words!  I don't know.  Depends on how good you are at guesstimating how a novel with so many twists and turns and such raw emotion and courageous rebellion might turn out in the end!  haha  Have I piqued your interest, yet?  I would be running to the local bookstore or library now if it were me reading this short and compelling review!  ;-)

Other than some reading, like I said, I have been busy working outside the home.  Also working on some things to help me with home organization and homemaking skills.  Yes, yes, I am a work in progress.  I am pretty certain I shall always be a work in progress, and not the least where homemaking is concerned! My husband and I are working on a chore chart this very weekend.  Visual aides can be a major . . . well, aide!  Somehow having a "list" or chart for household duties makes sense.  We are going to attempt it.  Hardcore here people.  Chore chart experience 101!

So, here are my questions for you all today: what have you experimented with in homemaking, housekeeping, organization, etc. that was really a "flop" for you?  And what have you tested that was a success?  I love to hear other people's ideas because it helps me to re-evaluate and improve my own!  And as you probably all know, the person next to you may not think of organization in the same light and their way of keeping up with life and all the messes it throws into our path could be entirely oppositional to your own, yet work just as well!  Please, dish it out! I love comments from you all!  And have an amazing week! 

A Place Called Blessing by John Trent, PhD with Annette Smith

A wounded boy grows up to become a distrusting, self-critical, despondent young man.  A boy facing unfortunate life events grows up to become a model of character, selflessness, hope and real friendship.  A girl, sweet and kind but burdened with a past she manages to carry into her future. What do these three have in common? A place called blessing.

I recently read a short book entitled "A Place Called Blessing." Within the pages we follow the life of a young man who is haunted by the solitary event in his broken childhood that led him to believe things about himself and his future that were not true.  He encounters others along this journey who press him, over time, to re-evaluate all that he had held onto for so long -- both true and untrue -- through the ways they choose to treat him and pour themselves into his life.

I would say, honestly, that the novel wasn't a difficult read by any means.  It took me very little time to finish it.  And I probably would have liked it more if it had been a little more interesting; it was realistic but not entirely "meaty" or always thoroughly "engaging" in my opinion.  Just the same, I enjoyed it and appreciated what it was meant to get across! It presented some very strong points.

This novel, though fiction, is very realistic.  It is that type of novel that will leave you feeling your heartstrings tugged, your eyes tearing and your hope rising. It just might leave you wanting to make "A Place Called Blessing" a place you can also call your home!

Please note:  I received a free and complimentary copy of this book to read and review from BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Seems to be Blog Day

At least, for me. The only time I've gotten from this past week, is now in which to blog!

I am actually starting to wind down for the night!  It's past my usual bedtime. ;)  But really, I just wanted to stop in and let you all know that I am indeed still alive and present!

I also wanted to make a short post about something that was really great for me this past week.  I had to take a major, major exam.  No, being forced to take a major, major exam was NOT the great part of my week! *snort*snicker*laugh  HA  Who are we kidding?!?  But, the results were great.  And so was the process, though more looking back upon it than during the process! Because I understood, yet again, how very much God loves me . . . . how He really does listen when I pray . . . . how marvelous it is to know that in my weakness (and trust me, I was feeling VERY weak especially in math a certain part of the exam!!) He is able to show Himself strong.  Let me tell you friends, the power of God's Word in your mind and heart is beyond description.  I can personally testify.  I knew better than to ever doubt that fact, anyhow, and even better than to doubt myself if I had maintained full focus on God the entire time instead of mostly the day of my exam. Yet, He was patient with me.  And when I chose to start recalling and speaking aloud those precious scriptures I knew applied to my situation (sort of like a mantra, except no mantra could ever begin to compare to reciting God's Word to yourself and really, truly taking it in!), to my anxiety, to my nervousness, to my fear of failing the exam and having to pay all that money again and study even more and let myself and others down, it changed everything.  I not only prayed.  I meditated on His Word.  His Word was hidden in my heart, and it didn't go out to return void!

I told God that morning before the exam, I knew He could see me through it.  I knew I could pass with His help.  And I told Him that when I did, I wanted to give Him the brunt of the credit.  Sure, I did my part at least to a certain extent.  But I am more than willing to say, "Thank You, God!  I couldn't have done this without You!"  And I say it with sincerity.  After the exam, after passing so I never, EVER have to take it again (squeal!) and being so excited about it, after thanking God, I wanted to share it with you all because I believe we are to share our experiences of God's faithfulness!  And I wanted to be able to encourage you today . . . .

So, are you facing a test of any sort?  A trial? A temptation? Call on the name of the Lord, and you shall be saved, His Word says so!  It also says for us to write His Word upon our hearts, our minds, our foreheads even . . . . so that we never forget His multitude of beautiful, true, real promises!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Once Again!

Hello Friends!

So sorry if it seemed I'd disappeared off the face of the earth this past week!  I realize my last post was on Sunday when I was feeling profound and contemplative and pondering all that I pondered in that blog post!  But here I am, again at Friday when it seems to me I just posted about Friday (really it was a couple weeks ago), in Friday is Fun Day!  Yet there have been several posts since that Friday and now I find I am facing the First of July! Already?  Please tell me if you know, where has the time flown?  I have no idea.  Seems I never really do.  :)  Yet I try to make the most of it!  Happy First of July everyone!

I wanted to let you know that I may not be able to post with great frequency over the course of the coming 6 weeks.  But I will do my best to post as often as I can!  I love blogging!  It's so fun and it's good for me, too. I truly hope it's "good" for you to read my blog!  That would be such a wonderful bonus.  Anyhow, segue there.  LOL  I was going to say, I just started a Full Time Temporary summer job for the next 6 weeks! This is wonderful for me, after having been unemployed except for a short two-week stint of a very enjoyable time working as a floral designer in February!  It's been a LONG time since I held a job lasting more than those two weeks, a job that is full time and outside of the home!  So if you think of it, send warm thoughts and prayers my way!  I am excited.  It's a job related to music, and for me, that is a plus!

Also, I just finished "Catching Fire," the 2nd book in the Hunger Games Trilogy a couple days ago.  Excellent read, just as it's predecessor was!  I started the third book, "Mockingjay" but am only a few pages in since I haven't had a great deal of time to read for any reason let alone fun in the past week.  However, I am sure I will enjoy this third and final book of the trilogy as much as the first two!  Will let you know once I'm done!

To wrap up for today, I want to give a shout out to two people.  First off, to my wonderful husband and best friend, Joe!  You can read Joe's blog at Portraits and Perceptions.  Joe is a recent blogger, but he's got some interesting contributions including a recent 3 or 4 part series of posts on the topic of Love!  Yes, Love!  Great topic for anyone and everyone alive today! :)  I also wanted to shout out to Sarah Elizabeth over at Daughter of the King. I have truly enjoyed following her at her blog, and though I recently joined, she was kind and welcoming and has even made me a beautiful blog button so that I can be amongst her list of blog sponsors or something like that!  haha I am SO new at all this!  Anyhow, I have a button on the right side of her blog.  And it is beautiful and creative.  Hope to have a button for her on my blog soon, right Sarah Elizabeth?  :)  Thanks!

Have a lovely Friday, everyone! Stop in and tell me whatever you want today, be it what you've read lately and loved or hated, either one (LOL) or what you plan to read or if you stopped in at Joe's blog or Sarah Elizabeth's blog due to my shout-out or if you're working a summer job you love or any job you love, etc!  You know how much I enjoy hearing from you and your comments brighten my day!  Each and every one! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Speaking the Truth

Have you ever had to speak the truth to someone in love? You know what I'm talking about, the manner in which we are directed to live and to speak to others by God in the New Testament, "15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Ephesians 4:15-16)

This verse is beautiful, part of a chapter in the Bible that give us explicit directions on how to walk as Christians, and also provides a vivid illustration of what it would look like for us if we chose to follow these directions and truly connect as one body under the head, Jesus Christ. Let's look at what comes before the "instead" that starts in verse 15, because otherwise, it can be difficult (at least for me) to fully grasp what these directions mean (italics added):

" 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

We are told that Christ gave us the equipment to be built up until we all reach unity and become mature.  Until we attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Those are some strong, strong words.  By no means do I consider myself a teacher when it comes to God's Word or how to interpret or understand it.  But I do try to meditate on His Word, and find the meaningful throughout the verses.  And today, I am thinking about what it means to speak the truth in love . . .  what it takes to do so, how difficult or easy it can be, how we feel about it and the repercussions (as we are still part human even as we are spirits), etc.

I will tell you in utter honesty, that I've had more opportunities to practice speaking the truth in love to several people in my own life in the past couple of years than I think I ever had, collectively, in my entire life before those years.  While I am the first to say I have often made grave mistakes in relationships and in how I've spoken or acted or reacted, I want to also say, there have been times I am thankful that I've chosen to speak the truth in love.  But I would not be speaking truth to you, friends, if I told you that speaking the truth in love is a walk in the park or a piece of cake.  In fact, it takes almost a painful amount of effort and focus, because at least in my experience, the times when I had the opportunity to do so were the times when I was already facing frustration with another person.  When I was angry or hurt or just plain upset and everything in me was screaming to lash out, to retaliate, or at the very least, to defend myself verbally.  I confess, I am not always soft and kind in my responses. I do think I've matured some in the past several years, thank God.  But in reflection, I see that regardless of the sweat beading on my proverbial forehead when I strive to speak the truth in love, all the pain I feel in choosing the right way is nothing compared to the regret and self-condemnation I feel when I choose the wrong way, instead.  Does this make sense?

I had to make a choice again, today.  And yes, it was difficult.  Yes, speaking the truth but speaking it in love is not as easy as just bluntly speaking the "obvious."  However, I will tell you something; when I chose today to speak the truth in love toward others, there was a peace that settled over me like a cloud.  I truly believe it's the peace that passes understanding, the peace Jesus gave us when we chose Him and His way of doing things, " And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7)  I struggled with myself and my natural, carnal desire to see the wrongs made right, to see what I would consider justice be carried out, to have my way and my say.  And it's entirely possible there was still too much of "me" in my response.  Yet I know that, overall, I chose to speak the truth and I spoke it in love.  And I felt the peace of God come over me and wrap me up in His arms, like a loving father would a scared, uncertain and feeble child.   There is no comparison, friends.  Nothing can compare to walking in God's love and being upheld and surrounded by His Peace.

Here's praying and hoping that you find the strength in God to choose to speak the truth in love; that you find for yourself what a reward of peace and contentment choosing to obey Him in this one, seemingly small area can bring!  Have a lovely Sunday! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Hunger Games!

I give this book 5 stars!

Oh my! I almost consumed this book! It says on my Goodreads that I started reading on June 18 and finished June 22, but truth be known, there was one day in there I didn't read in the book at all and yet I read the entire novel in less than the time it took me over 3 days! Yes, it was that good! I typically would sit and read over 70-100 pages in one sitting. I loved it! And it was unlike any book I'd read, up to that point. I so, so, SO want to read the 2nd and 3rd books! I'm going to have to hunt them down immediately now . . . .

I would recommend this book not only to Young Adults (as it's listed as YA Fiction actually), but to adults. If you think you aren't a "fantasy" fan and so that's what's keeping you from reading this, don't let it! I don't always like fantasy myself, but this, this book is different in a good way! The story line is great, the emotions are raw and true, it's just outstanding!

Thanks to Heather @ for recommending this book to me! Yet another thing you've gotten me attached to, Heather, after coffee drinks and Nutella and Twilight! LOL ;-) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Don't Settle for a Life of Cheese and Crackers!

My most recent book review -- please read as this is something I'd love for more Christians to be aware of!

"Every day I encounter Christians . . . They live without the blessing and provision available to them as born-again children of God on the journey of life.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as a wonderful gift--a gift better than having Jesus Himself with us . . .The Holy Spirit came with all the other amazing blessings of salvation.  But some believers never receive and unwrap the gift. Instead, they live lives of cheese and crackers Christianity.  They muddle through this world powerless and deprived of the richness of God's presence . . . " (ppg. 194-195, "The God I Never Knew")

In his book, "The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life,"  Robert Morris offers candid, heartfelt examples from his own life and from the lives of others as he tells us that there is often something missing in the lives and hearts of Christians around the world: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an often misunderstood and understated person of the Trinity, and in this book Morris helps dispel many common myths and incorrect assumptions regarding Who this person is, What He can and will do in the lives of those who welcome Him, When His role in Christianity came to the forefront, and Where He is supposed to reside when a person is born again and after they are born again.  Morris backs all of his writing with scriptural truth to prove this book is biblically sound.  He illustrates there are in reality three baptisms, not just two as is commonly believed (this is also backed up and shown in scripture).  He heavily emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is to be our Friend . . . and as Morris begins to unravel the tapestry of ill conceived beliefs about the Holy Spirit, he weaves another displaying the beauty and wonder of choosing to make the Holy Spirit a very real, very active best Friend in your life, as well as Comforter, Guide, and more!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever had any questions about the Holy Spirit.  It is an amazingly straightforward book, easy to digest even as it is profound and full of truths.  Morris makes it easy to see how much every Christian should desire more of the Holy Spirit to enable them to be all the stronger, even while he is far from condemning anyone who has ever experienced doubt, discouragement, incredulity, or resistance.  This is a must-read!

Please Note: I received an advance reading copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for the purpose of review.   All opinions and reviews expressed above are honest and entirely my own.