Friday, December 7, 2012

The Choice

The Choice by Robert Whitlow made for an interesting read.  The ongoing battle between "pro-choice" and "pro-life" is represented in this book, although through the eyes of a rather different protagonist: that of the teenage unwed mother.  Whitlow clearly makes the point that while some women choose to abort their babies, some women choose not to, and thus a choice is the fundamental basis regardless of belief.

Whitlow is a Christian author, and his Christian beliefs are woven skillfully into this piece of fiction.  The book was well-written and seemed very realistic.  I was given glimpses into the minds and hearts of a couple characters, in particular Sandy, the protagonist. The book is not simply about Sandy's choice and the consequences, good and bad that followed. It is about what happened years down the road for Sandy and for everyone whose life she touched. It is also about the prodigal found in every person.

Favorite quote: "Everyone is a prodigal in their own unique way." 

I would give The Choice three out of five stars.  It was a good read with some great food for thought.

Thanks to BookSneeze for providing a copy of this book to me free of charge in order to procure my review.  Please note that my review is original and any opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

On This The Last Day of November

Hello Friends!

Hard to believe we are in the very last day of November, 2012.  It seems every year as Christmas draws ever closer, I find it hard to fathom that time has more than inched -- yes, sprinted -- away and we are at the close of another year.  Where does time go?  That mysterious element.  It comes and goes, yet nobody knows . . . . . except of course God, how exactly it works.  It truly is a mystery.  I find it intriguing.

Anyhow, something of a segue there!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Our was pretty uneventful really.  Having no family nearby means, well, no family to spend Thanksgiving with! We did break tradition and have our turkey-day on the Saturday AFTER Thanksgiving! That was interesting.  But we have been busy on home improvement projects (think painting the walls of a room -- yes, it takes time and it's demanding!) and so the open days of Thursday and Friday just worked well for things needing to be tended to!  And when we did eat Thanksgiving supper, after I had cooked all day and was so tired and sore (yes I felt my age and then some!), it was well worth it.  The food was delicious!

So Christmas is right around the bend.  We have not even begun to put up any decorations whatsoever. Why? See aforementioned home improvements -- with the one room being painted, everything that room contained except the bed frame and springs has been transported to our front room.  The front room is where we usually erect the lovely Christmas tree and put out various little decorations, including one of my all time favorites, SNOWMEN!  Yes, I do love me some snowmen.  ;-)  At any rate, I know I will be glad when the room is finished up and all the contents moved back and the front room clear so we can put up our tree! THEN it will feel more like Christmas is coming again, for real!

What are your traditions surrounding the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Do you typically have your tree up and decorated before Thanksgiving is through?  The day after?  The week after?  What other decorations do you love to put up, and which do you dislike (thinking of lights on the eaves, or on the roof . . . . most shudder at the thought!)?  I'd love to hear!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm always glad someone takes an interest in my humble blog and am thankful for any and all who follow!  Have a lovely last day of November!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving in Light of God's Goodness

Dear Friends,

No matter what I face every year, as Thanksgiving and then Christmas draw close I become excited.  I see with eyes made new all the blessings I actually have, and with a heart full of love for God I give thanks and rejoice.  I pray this Thanksgiving finds you feeling the same way . . . . that you discover yourself surrounded by people you love and people who love you, that you know for yourself the awesome love of our Savior Jesus Christ, and that you give thanks from a heart brimming over with joy as mine is this week!  We have so  many reasons to be thankful in our home, and I'm certain it's the same at yours if you only choose to see!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men! 

Psalms 31:19 

Friday, November 9, 2012

When You Find Yourself Trespassed Against: God's Timely Word and My Broken Heart

My enemies say of me in malice, 
"When will he die and his name perish?"
When one of them comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it around. 
But may you have mercy on me, Lord;
raise me up, that I may repay them.
I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me. 
Because of my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever. 

- Psalms 41:5-6, 10-12 (Italics added by me)

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt led to read a certain passage of scripture in your morning quiet time with God, and then after reading it you thought, "Well, I don't know if that particular scripture applies for me at this moment.  But it's all inspired, Holy Word and absolutely important."  Then, before the day is even through, it hits you how astoundingly pertinent that particular passage actually is for your life?  Right now, at this moment?  

That happened to me.  Literally today.  I read Psalms 41 this morning.  Of course it brought me comfort, but I was also sitting there thinking, "Thankfully no one is acting like my enemy right now, at least not that I'm aware, outside of THE enemy of course.  Thank you Lord for being pleased with me, for helping me to have a kind heart toward the weak (that's how this chapter begins!), and for setting me in your wonderful presence forever."  

Little did I know I would find out that a person who does not even have the right to say they know me has recently spoken falsely about me.  And has actually gone out and spread it around (it's not nice at all to find out second or third-hand). 

These completely unnecessary, petty, rude, thoughtless and outright malicious actions simply baffle me.  I cannot fathom someone trespassing against another like that.  To put it simply, it breaks my heart into a million shattered pieces. 

What hurts the most is that a person would choose to be so ugly (putting it nicely) when I have done nothing wrong.  When I have done nothing to provoke or to give the impression that I am anything but enthusiastic about life, about loving others and showing that love, about living for my King, Jesus.  

And yet, I know deep down in my heart of hearts, that this world hates the light.  That the people who choose to live in darkness and not in the light of Jesus will never understand true love, true brotherhood, true harmony.  They will never attempt to refrain from speaking whatever they feel toward others, including malicious and untrue things.  They will not stop themselves from gathering slander and spreading it to others.  

Because I cannot and will not control others, I am left looking to a greater God.  And though my heart is literally broken right now, and fear is trying to pound down my door, I will look to Jesus.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that He loves me, that He will NOT allow my enemy to triumph over me, and that as I walk in integrity and in the love of Christ He will set me in his presence forever and uphold me so that I will not be taken down with all those who try to drag me down with them. 

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for Your Word and Your impeccable timing. Thank You for the protection You promise to give to Your children who seek Your face and attempt every day to live upright and in integrity, and to love our neighbors as ourselves which You said is the second greatest commandment after loving You.  Thank you, Lord. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chilly Weather, Election & Salted Caramel Mochas

Hello Friends and Happy Autumn!

I apologize for the long gap of silence.  It's been a very busy autumn for me this year!  I am taking full time and a half of graduate school. That alone can keep a girl tied up!  I've also been working with my husband on organizing our home and paring down.  Speaking of which, if you live in the USA and don't mind helping to pay for a small shipping fee plus whatever we'd agree upon for the cost of the dress itself, I'm trying to sell seven of my beautiful nice gowns/dresses!  So if you're interested and wear a size 8 or 10, let me know!

Anyhow, the weather is finally beginning to feel like honest-to-goodness autumn.  It's taken a while!  But the temperatures are perfect during the day, and very cool at night.  Some of the leaves are turning, although many seem to have just fallen off leaving what looks to be a very large amount of already winter-bare trees.  Perhaps it was because of the hot, dry summer we had.  I will take any fall color in the leaves, though, I love it!

I discovered a new love: Salted Caramel Mochas from Starbucks.  Yes, friends, I think I've spent just a little too much money on a few of those this season!  haha  But they were absolutely worth it!  I always was a major fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, till I had one this time around and had a sore throat right afterward.  No idea why. Something in it didn't like me I guess!  But the S.C. Mocha doesn't do that to me at all . . . . and I really do enjoy the flavor blend!  :-)  So if you haven't tried it, do!  Tell me what you think!

The election is nearly upon us.  Where did the time go?  In some ways I'm sure many people would say that the last 4 years could not have gone by fast enough.  I would agree in some respects.  However, on the same token, I always find myself stunned to be facing yet another presidential election because that means FOUR years have gone by!  In the blink of an eye, really!  I would encourage you to vote responsibly this election.  I realize a lot is hanging in the balance for America.  And we the people need to take our responsibility to keep America on track seriously. . . . if we do not, there may not be an America as we know it for our children or grandchildren.  Yes, that's serious I know.  But I honestly feel we have a burden to bear!

On a lighter note, anyone reading anything spectacular, thought-provoking, inspirational or just plain idiosyncratic or odd this autumn?  I'm in the middle of several books (When am I NOT in the middle of at least two at a time, ever?!? LOL) and enjoying them all for various reasons.  A couple are non-fiction, a couple are fiction.  I did finish a novel by Jodi Picoult, a favorite contemporary author of mine, in the last week or so. "House Rules."  Very interesting read!  I liked it a lot and of course was hanging off the cliff until I read the last few pages, as always!!  :)

Have a lovely autumn, everyone!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas around the next corner after!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today is Patriot Day

Today, September 11th, is Patriot Day.  It was signed into law by President Bush shortly after September 11th, 2001 and the awful acts of terrorism and subsequent loss that our nation faced on that fateful day.

Do I remember that day?  Yes.  Like many people who were old enough to see the live footage and understand it, I remember it all too well.  I was stunned.  Absolutely stunned.  And I grieved along with many thousands as the number of lives lost rapidly climbed higher.  Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day, the majority of them, basically all of them, civilians.  People who should not have died -- that's what all of us left alive would likely say.  It was an awful, awful day.

There was one bright spot to me that day.  I thought of the people who were not truly alone as they faced the ultimate fear, the tragedy, the death.  I thought of those who knew that God was with them.  I also thought of those who did not know He was . . . . and yet, He was right there the whole time. Even as "strong towers," the mountains made by man crumbled and fell away and the works of man failed, He was there.  It reminded me of the verse, one of many that is such a profound and beautiful promise for the children of God, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."  Psalms 46:1  

It seems, as I prayed for all of those personally facing such a horrific scenario, that I was also reminded that there is no place that one of God's children can go that He is not there with them.  The scripture that always comes to mind for proof of this amazing fact is from one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible, Psalms 139. "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there....If I say "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."  Psalms 139:7,8,11

September 11th, 2001 was a dark day in every respect.  And yet, even in the midst of the schemes of darkened hearts being carried out in one of the most awful days in our nation's history, God remained the Light.  God was there through it all, for no one, not a single soul, can flee from His presence.  This knowledge helped me to feel at peace for all those whose lives were not lost in the eternal sense -- for all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)  Thank God for that, and for the peace it brings.

Remembering 9/11 with all who still remember.....with all who lost.....and in honor of all who perished.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All about 'cha

Having been tagged by my dear blogging friend, Kirsteen who lives across the world from me but still seems like such a good friend (kindred spirits as Anne of Green Gables might say, perhaps?), I have a fun little "about me" post to make today! Thanks, Kirsteen!  See the end of my post for a couple of folks I'm tagging! You could be one of them!  :)

1) Blueberries or cherries?
Honestly, I love both when they are fresh.  And I don't mind cherry pits, I just chew carefully! I also love, love, love some good raspberries, but as Kirsteen said, those aren't mentioned here! :) 

2) Vanilla or chocolate?
While I can definitely appreciate both and each has their rightful place, I am a chocolate lover. Especially a good, not too bitter dark chocolate! YUM!

3) What is your favorite song?
I am a musician and as such I think it makes it extra difficult to pick out just one favorite song!  If I had to choose a favorite from each genre, I could probably manage a little better.  :)

4) What is your favorite activity?
Varies a bit with my mood and a lot with how much "extra" time I have at my disposal. But overall, my favorite is definitely reading a good book!

5) Have you ever left your country?
Actually, no! That is something I'd like to do at least once in my life, though, as I long to "see the world!"  It's on my bucket list (see one of the last questions! LOL)!

6) What is on the floor of your closet right now?
Well, much less than before I just had a huge cleaning spree!  I organized it, so I'd have to say the only things on the floor are shoes (and not even all of my shoes), some stationery boxes and my exercise accessories I do believe!  Yea for me!! haha  ;-)

7) What did you do last night? 
I finished cooking for supper (made a slow cooker recipe that required cooking noodles on the side), ate supper with my husband, made some photocopies that we needed, watched a movie with my husband and then checked my emails and such!  Then I slept!

8) What are you most afraid of?
I honestly do my best to battle any fears that come my way, as my Lord tells me to not fear as He is with me.  But when I do fear, it would probably be the fear of not being remembered when I'm gone, or of not being important to at least one person in this world. Thankfully, I feel I'm important to my husband, at least! So that helps me, too.

9) If you had the option, would you choose a fun drink or an edible snack?
The answer to this also depends on my mood and my hunger levels! If I'm hungry, I need the snack! If I'm not, I'd probably choose a fun drink such as a coffee drink!

10) What is your favorite day of the week?
Saturdays usually.  Mostly because as long as we don't have anything planned for that day, we are able to have a bit of a laid-back day in which we can spend time together, the hubs and me, and do what we want including relaxing.  That's nice!

11) What is your favorite breed of dog? 
I am a dog lover. I admit!  So right now, my favorite would probably be the type I have, Australian Cattle Dogs! They are gorgeous! And smart. And cute. LOL  But I also love the type of dog I used to own, a cross between an Australian Shepherd and Border Collie, both very intelligent breeds as well as lovely to look upon!

12) What is your favorite genre of literature?
Oh wow, I have eclectic tastes. But if I had to narrow it down, I suppose the general overall genre is fiction.  I like historical fiction, most Christian fiction, suspenseful and poignant fiction, etc.

13) Diamonds or pearls?
They both have their place, I'm a woman, I love jewelry! haha  But I guess if I had to choose, it would typically be pearls. They can be quite beautiful and I love how they come in different shades, not just white or cream, but that beautiful charcoal shade or the copper shade.  It's fascinating!

14) What is your favorite type of flower?
Also a very hard decision to make, as I love flowers in general!  But for a garden flower, pansies typically win.  And for cut flowers, I appreciate alstroemerias, also known as Persian Lilies.  And I love roses that have a sweet scent, but many that are cut do not compared to those grown in a garden! So I love garden roses and old-fashioned roses that have retained their wonderful aroma!  :)

15) What is one item on your bucket list?
To see the world! I love to travel and want to do it for the rest of my life!

Okay, that was fun! I'm tagging Heather from Mrs Southern Bride, Evelien from A Glimpse of Me, Rachelle from Inspiring Daring, and Carissa from lowercase letters!   Ready, set, go girls!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Orphan King

Thomas was raised hearing about the "Immortals," and knowing his destiny was intertwined with the destiny of these mysterious people.  Yet he has no idea who the "Immortals" really are.  All he knows is that he must set forth on a journey to accomplish the one task that is set clearly in front of him, and to conquer all that seems unable to be conquered in the process.  Along the way he meets several very interesting and mysterious characters in their own right; a knight, a pickpocket and an attractive young woman.  Will Thomas fulfill his destiny or die in trying?

This book is the first in the series Merlin's Immortals by Sigmund Brouwer.  The second book is slated to be available early 2013.  I would highly recommend this book both to teenagers (recommended for ages 12 and up) and adults.  The plot is well thought out and the characters are engaging and do not seem trite.  I give The Orphan King a 4 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program for giving me a free copy of this book in order to obtain my review.  Please note that all opinions expressed in my review are honest and are my own.  If you care to take just a moment and rate any of my reviews on the Blogging for Books site including this one, please visit Blogging for Books and search for me under the title of this book on the right hand side of the main page. Thanks! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dwelling on the Greater God

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me--
a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalms 42:5,8

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

I John 4:4

It has been a rough few days in some respects, and today has started as another rough day.  Yet I find my spirit wanting to draw closer to God, to find His love as my great and consistent sustenance.  To tell my soul, my body, my spirit -- all of which feel downcast at one point or another and sometimes all simultaneously -- to not be disturbed, but to hope in God.  Because His love is directed toward me, and even at night his song is with me.  Because I am a child of the living God and have overcome what is in this world because He who is in me is greater than the one in this world.  Because I know, in my deepest heart of hearts, that God loves me and will take care of me in a better way than I could ever ask, no matter what may come. Thank you, Lord. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Confronting Jezebel: Review

Confronting Jezebel by Steve Sampson exposes what is often referred to as "The Jezebel spirit," or the spirit of control.  In this less than 200-page book, Sampson delves into two examples in the Bible, namely Queen Jezebel and King Ahab, her husband, in order to show us what someone who has allowed the spiritual stronghold of control to take over their lives and their hearts looks like.  He also uses many real-life examples of the terrible consequences that happen when a person or people choose to control others in an ungodly way, sowing discord, confusion, rebellion, passivity and more. The harvest is one of pain, broken relationships, clouded judgment and loss, even to the extent of churches breaking apart.

I found this book to be highly interesting and also convicting.  Basically everyone has some controlling aspects to their personality, but it is imperative that we do not allow ourselves to be controllers as Sampson reinforces in his book over and over.  Walking in the light as God is in the light implies we are not to be controlling others . . . . rather we are told to be responsible for ourselves, our actions, our words and our choices. This is a godly attitude. This book really hit home even as it was enlightening, helping confirm what I believed I had glimpsed in some of the dreadful scenarios I had seen played out as people -- even those claiming to be Christians -- controlled or attempted to control others in a way that no human being should be controlled.  I would recommend this book if you are wanting to learn more about walking in God's Holy Spirit, and keeping your eyes wide open and your heart functioning in spiritual discernment rather than out of the ache to control others! If you want to be prepared in the spiritual battle we are engaged in, you need to know your enemy!

Like my reviews?  If so then please go to  and search for my name, Rachel Rudin, under BLOGGERS and "rate my review" of this book and any of the others you see listed under my name!  I would deeply appreciate you taking a few moments to rate my reviews!  

Thank you to Bethany Books/Chosen Books for giving me a copy of this book in order to obtain my honest review.  Please note that all opinions expressed in the review are mine and are not influenced by being given the book for free. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Review: Crater

Crater, book one in the Helium-3 series by Homer Hickam, is about a young man named Crater who lives on the moon.  I thought the book would prove an interesting read.  While not entirely unhappy with choosing to read and review the book, I have to be honest in that I was a little disappointed in it after reading the reviews of others.  Perhaps it is just not "my type" of book so much, but it seemed to move along far too slowly, and was for the most part rather uninteresting I thought.  I hate to give a more negative review, but the book did not really capture my attention as I hoped it would.  Maybe it's a more appropriate fit for pre-teen boys interested in sci-fi. Crater was an interesting character and I felt a bit more in step with him, but not with the other characters. I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to BookSneeze for the free copy of this book in order to obtain my honest review. Please note that all opinions expressed are genuine and are my own. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Dear Friends,

I'm taking a bit of a break from my furious house cleaning and organization to sit down and talk to you all.  Why?  Because I love to talk to friends.  And because I'm sure you love to read what I have to say, trivial or not!  ;-)  haha!

So lately my husband and I have been working on our home.  Wish I had some before and after photos to show off.  Sorry to say, I didn't think to take any. Does it count that the before and after look is in my head?  At any rate, we have made considerable progress, enough that it is quite easy to visually see a difference in practically every room of our entire house!  That gets me excited!

In the meantime, however, I unfortunately took up a bad sinus infection which seems to be exacerbated by all the dust we've been stirring up, however great or little. (before you worry about me, please be assured that I did go see the doctor right off so I'm on medication for the infection, but so far it doesn't seem to have made too much of a difference, I'm sorry to admit! I hope it does soon!) Oh well. The sacrifices one makes to have an organized, clean home!  Just hoping for a face that feels normal again in the near future . . .

One of the reasons I've had to work with more furiously than before is because I recently found out I have a list of allergies that can provoke something referred to as contact dermatitis.  Perhaps some of you know what that is?  I had the most thorough testing available done to be certain of what I truly could or could not use on my skin, skin I already knew was more sensitive than some.  Turns out I was allergic to more than I thought, unfortunately!  Thus I have had to go through every single personal care product (trust me, the list is soooooo much longer than you can imagine when I say "personal care"!) and literally throw away or give away pretty much every single item in my stash.  No, I am not kidding.  Let's just say that out of the shelves in my bathroom, my products if put all together would take up a container of approximately 12"x12".  Easy to move, anyone?!?  That's the positive side of the picture, I guess?!?  I have three grocery bags of things to toss and another 1.5 bags of items to give away.

Has this been trying?  Yes, in a word.  As you may recall, I also started taking physical therapy a few months ago.  I just realized I never mentioned it again after I first said it was another obstacle to overcome.  Therapy went well, now I just have to keep it up for the rest of my days.  Do I sound discouraged?  I feel that way sometimes.  Do I sound like I'm complaining?  I certainly do my best not to . . . . because I realize that, although these obstacles I face are anything but common to the majority of folks out there, and I have had to face a few more unique situations than others my age, it is my life.  My life is what I make of it, and most of all, what I choose to let God make of it.  Is it easy?  Rarely ever.  I'm being honest here. It has been anything but easy, especially over the last several years of my life.  But somehow, even on the hardest days, God gives me grace.  He holds my heart, my life, my body in His hands.  I have to remind myself of this truth sometimes.  But it gives me just enough strength to make it through each day, and to face whatever may come . . . . including annihilation of my bathroom storage and pain through physical therapy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The first time I saw the title of this book, I was totally intrigued!  I wanted to know what such a title could mean and when a good friend of mine, Heather, mentioned that she'd seen the book and wanted to test it out someday, then I knew I should try it! Our taste in reading is often identical!

The story follows four "gifted" children who each respond to an ad in the newspaper that reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"  I think one of the aspects I like best about this book, without giving anything away, is to say that individual gifts, talents, personalities, etc. are emphasized and celebrated as a good thing, even as the possibility for greatness when combining the efforts of individuals is also explored.

I am now so very happy I gave in to my curiosity and read, "The Mysterious Benedict Society."  It is a delightful book! I highly recommend it. What a refreshing change of pace! I have tried to think of what this book reminds me of, because facets of it do remind me of some other book I've read, but otherwise it seems original enough that it is difficult for me to compare it to any other book.  I think this would probably be a great read for anyone who loves a wonderful young teen/early YA book with a flavor similar to bygone eras, yet nothing outdated or difficult to understand in the least!  Stewart uses fun vocabulary and his plot is truly brilliant. You come to appreciate and love the main and supporting protagonists.  Loved reading this book, did not feel like it was too young for an adult to thoroughly enjoy and I'm looking forward to the next three that are out!  These are books I would hand to my children in a heartbeat!  :) 

Have you read The Mysterious Benedict Society?  Thoughts? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Raindrops on Roses

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with string,
These are a few of my favorite things . . . . 

This rather famous song from the Sound of Music likes to prance through my head just about every time it rains here!  And guess what, it's raining this very minute! And I'm loving it!  An unexpected summer shower.  Although it is exceptionally dark outside since this cool, moist front moved in (think dusk in the middle of the afternoon!! wow!), it's a pleasant break from the standard hot, humid weather we've experienced for some time.  I don't know about how it is where you live, but when it decides to get down to business and rain here, it gets DARK out there!  It never ceases to amaze me!  Some parts of the U.S. don't get so dark out when it rains, for instance, I don't remember it ever getting to dark and ominous up in Montana.  Something unique about here I suppose.  That and how hard it can rain.  My word! Talk about raining cats and dogs! I think they should add in horses, here! It's raining cats, dogs AND horses today, folks!  :-)  Just sayin'!

So what comes to mind first thing for you when a rain shower begins?  Do you have a song that pops into your head as I so often do? Or do you have a different reaction entirely?  I love the sound of rain falling on my roof! It is soothing, a beautiful sound of nature at work.  :-)

Have a lovely day, and may the best rain showers be yours this summer!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Harvest of Grace

Just as she did in the first two books of the Ada's House trilogy, Woodsmall takes us into the lives of the Amish but also of everyday, struggling, yearning people in Harvest of Grace.  The main characters have made mistakes and grasp for anything resembling peace and grace, discovering the hard way that we live in a fallen world.  But they also discover that grace, forgiveness and friendship abound.  And maybe even true love . . . .

I would give this book at least 4 out of 5 stars!  Excellent just as the first two in the trilogy!

Thank you to Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book in order to obtain my review. Please note that my review is original and in now way influenced by the fact that I was given a copy for free. 

Friends -- please note that you can go onto Blogging for Books, look me up and rate my reviews including this one! I'd be so glad if you did!  Go to Waterbrook Multnomah's site and search for Blogger, Rachel Rudin!  :-)  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review for Christian Fiction: Submerged

Submerged  is a thrilling, suspenseful and poignant piece of Christian fiction, book one of the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey.  I truly enjoyed this book! The characters including the protagonist seemed real with real flaws, real challenges, real triumphs, and real feelings!  The story had a touch of romance, a great deal of mystery and definitely a dose of suspense!  It didn't take me long to read this novel, because I enjoyed it so much I could hardly stand to put it down! If you're looking for a fun yet engaging read, I'd check out Submerged!   

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book to me in order to have my review.  Please note that all opinions expressed are my own, and my review is in no way influenced by the fact that I was given the book for free. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Dear Friends,

Is it hot where you live this summer? Because it is here, although I 'm very, very, VERY thankful that it's not nearly so treacherously hot as it was this time last summer!

Needless to say, I have spent as much time hiding away in the air conditioning as possible.  Honestly, folks, I was just not MADE for hot, humid weather!! I am so serious!  I cannot handle it. Give me cool temperatures any day . . . . I will put on my sweater with a smile!  :-)   I like warm weather, but when I say warm I'm talking 65-80 degrees.  Most definitely not 105!

So I was trying to think (or rather, gather my thoughts into one arena! LOL) about what I could post over this time around, knowing that it has been a while since I posted and knowing that I honestly do want to post more frequently.  It just doesn't always happen!  And so I thought, why not talk about something that I've been actively dealing with and/or working on for years now, and had to utilize yet again just this week?  Boundaries!

First off, let me begin by saying that boundaries have been made much clearer to me through reading certain books such as "Boundaries," by the Christian authors/psychologists, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  And I highly recommend the book if you haven't read it!  It's a lifesaver and transformer!  And I don't recall reading anything that goes against the grain of the Word or Christian living, it just empowers you to live a more fulfilling life with healthy boundaries if you listen to what they have to say!

Anyhow, the book has helped me many times. I may put a couple quotes at the end of this, just because they are pretty powerful, at least they are to me!  But the other method of learning for me that is a sure shot every single time is simply experience. You know, where you do what you think you should then you feel you've totally messed everything up and you go back again to try and fix it only to realize that it was never your issue to fix and you've just made yourself more upset and flustered in your attempt?!?  *out of breath*  Yes. That sort of experience.  And others.  Some experiences have been good for me, in that I did what I knew I should or said what I knew I had to say, and I came away feeling happier, lighter, stronger.  That's when I knew that I had done things the way God would want me to -- I felt the witness of His Holy Spirit telling me it would be okay and I'd done my part -- to relax now and let Him do His.

This week I had to emphasize boundaries again with people I love.  Perhaps some of you are reading this and thinking, "Boundaries and people you love? Should those really go in the same sentence?"  If you're thinking that, it's because you're thinking that boundaries are an evil thing, or at the very least, not an advisable thing to have with the people you love.  But on the contrary, they are vital.  Healthy boundaries built out of love both for others and for yourself are crucial.  I have been learning this now for a long time and I have no doubt I will be learning more about it for my entire life.  (not always a pleasant conclusion, but hey, it's life! We'll be learning till we move on to eternity, and I'm not sure we won't still be learning something even then! :)

So, tell me, if you've made it this far (I applaud you if you did -- as I know I can be verbose!), have you ever had to put up boundaries in a relationship?  Has it worked out?  Was the response of the person you put up boundaries with been a positive one?  Negative?  Hostile?  Grateful?  Resistant but then understanding?  Because reactions from the people you have to make boundaries with vary along a very broad spectrum.

As you go about putting up healthy boundaries, I wish you the best.  I encourage you to not give in, to keep the boundaries you know are healthy, vital, essential. Because of the fact that God did not create us to hurt one another, boundaries are one of the tools we need to truly love, honor and respect other human beings. There needs to be greater respect and strong, "tough" love between Christians, in my opinion.  Sometimes a lack of boundaries causes great instability and illness in relationships. I cannot see that being part of God's vision for His people!

Boundaries help us ‘guard our heart with all diligence.’  We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside.  In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out.”  (pg. 33, Boundaries)

God also limits what he will allow in his yard. He confronts sin and allows consequences for behavior. He invites people in who will love him, and lets his love flow outward to them at the same time. The “gates” of his boundaries open and close appropriately.”  (pg. 35, Boundaries) 

Monday, July 2, 2012


This morning the insulation guy came to our house and blew insulation into our entire attic!  We have been needing this since we moved into our home, since it was built over 60 years ago and what insulation was present was minimal and pretty much ineffective!  Needless to say, we're very excited to have a cooler house this summer and to have (hopefully drastically) reduced heating and air conditioning bills!  

Otherwise, I'm on the last day of my almost-two-week break between summer terms.  I successfully pulled off the first summer term and so now have one less graduate course to complete and am one step closer to getting my Masters!  Can you tell I'm excited? Because I am! I start my second summer term tomorrow, and it is certain to be an interesting class. The last one was! 

I have been reading some, mostly books that I chose to review.  One I am enjoying currently is a novel from Bethany House Publishers, called "Submerged." So far, so good!  

As the summer is now upon us, I try to find methods of cooking that don't require running our oven and stove for longer than necessary, if at all.  It makes the already warm and stuffy house HOT and almost unbearable! We are just so grateful for the wonderful gift of a grill from my husband's parents and my amazing parents-in-law, so that we are able to cook at least some of our meals outdoors!  I love grilling!  Some favorites so far have included burgers, grilled asparagus and steaks with grilled baby portabellas!  YUM!!! 

Hubby and I have been working around our house lately, organizing, sorting through clothes and odds and ends to see what needs to be kept and what needs to be given away.  I'm delighted to say I have unburdened myself of (ahem - several) boxes of clothes that I won't be using and if I did, it wouldn't be for quite a while!  It feels so good to be better organized. Definitely a work in progress, none of it is accomplished overnight, especially when you're still merging two households (his and mine!).  But we've made a dent and it's encouraging!  :-) 

So what are you up to this summer?  Stay cool! 

And Happy Independence Day!!  (it's only 2 days away!) 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Healing is a Choice: Book Review

I have recently been reading slowly through "Healing is a Choice" by renown Christian author, Stephen Arterburn.  I chose to read this book because I could receive a copy if I reviewed it, but also because the title and synopsis intrigued me. 

Arterburn has written a classic about personal healing, and the personal choices involved.  His writing is both insightful and down-to-earth, profound yet easy to grasp and mull over.  I deeply appreciate this book written from the depths of a Christian's heart and life experience.  There is also a lot of scripture to back up what Arterburn writes.  I'd recommend the book for anyone who is searching for answers about healing (don't we all have questions at least one time in our lives?) of various types, even emotional.

Thanks to Booksneeze for the complimentary copy of this book in order to obtain my review.  Please note that my review, including all opinions, are my own. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Ultimate Father

As Father's Day approaches tomorrow, I am led to thought of the ultimate Father.  The Father Who always is there for me, never fails to be the best role model any human being or young lady could ask for.  Earthly fathers are to be reflections of our Heavenly Father.  Sadly, it does not always work out that way.  Sometimes, it does work that way for a season and then, for one reason or another, our earthly father isn't there for us anymore.

But our Heavenly Father never leaves us, never forsakes us.  He never changes.  His love is steadfast, His mercies are new every single morning.  He upholds us, protects us, and under the shelter of his wings we find peace and rest, knowing with utmost confidence that we are safe in our Daddy's loving arms.  He always, always, always has our best interests in mind.  He is always wise.

Friends, this is the God I serve.  Perhaps He is the God you serve, also. As His children, we are blessed to call Him Abba, Father.  He is as compassionate as He is just, as loving as He is mighty.  He is the world's best Father, and this Father's Day, I just want to reflect on HIM. 

                 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
 for he knows how we are formed, 
    he remembers that we are dust. 
 The life of mortals is like grass, 
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children 
 with those who keep his covenant 
    and remember to obey his precepts.

-- Psalms 103:13-18

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nothing is Impossible

I don't have much to write today.  I am dwelling on the following verses as I face some extremely difficult circumstances in my personal life.  Since the Word of God is always quick and powerful, always timely, I just wanted to share these verses with you today in the hopes that someone else out there needs to be reminded of these truths. 

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

-- Mark 10:26-29

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] [a]

-- Matthew 17:20-21 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

He Said

Dear Friends,

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  There are times I've felt overwhelmed in a positive sense; my life has had ups and downs, but I can most easily find many, many blessings for which I'm grateful and sometimes, I just feel overwhelmed with God's goodness in my life!  And yet, there are days when I have felt if I try to take even one more step, I might just collapse.  If I have to present one more upbeat, optimistic response that I might be sick.  That if I am told to count my blessings or think about how far I've come I just might pull my hair out!

Now, perhaps you think I couldn't possibly feel this way.  But let me tell you, I don't know of a single human being who has not at some point in their lives felt overwhelmed.  They may choose to never admit it is so, but I can guarantee, if it hasn't happened, it will.

The good news is . . . . while I may feel overwhelmed, I am not overthrown.  While I may stumble, I will not fall.  While I might bend, I will not break.  While I might (and do!) cry, I won't totally collapse into a heap never to recover.  And do you know why I can say these things with such conviction? Because I know God's Word is true and His Word is where I find my strength.

There is a song that I am honest-to-goodness LOVING lately, it just speaks volumes to me! And it's all about facing a point in your life where you are sure that you are done, a goner, overwhelmed beyond repair, falling apart and at a point of no return.  It's all about feeling that way and then being encouraged to NEVER forget what "He Said."  What God says.  I cannot tell you how much I need to be reminded, over and over and over and over and over and . . . . well, like a broken record, really, that God has told me He will never give me more than I can handle.  Because you see, I don't have to handle anything that comes my way on my own. I never have to face another crisis alone.  He is always there with me, holding me up, bracing me, walking with me through storm and through fire, holding my hand every single step of the way.

Do I always feel Him near?  Honestly, there are times I have felt He wasn't there.  But He never leaves.  He never forsakes.  He has promised that and He cannot lie.  And so though I have had brief periods of my life where I felt I couldn't sense Him with me, my heart, my spirit knew the truth: that what He said still stood and that He was right there, no matter what.

So today, I want to share this wonderful song with you.  I have said my bit.  I have bared my heart. But I truly hope that I have felt I should share this song, this inspiration, these bare bones of my deepest heart's emotions, because God wanted to touch someone today.  If that someone is you, I pray that you will read this and listen to the song and know God in a new, fresh way that will boost your faith in Him and in His wonderful plan for you!!  God loves you so, so much!

Friday, May 4, 2012

99 Things . . . .

So, a dear blogger friend of mine recently posted these 99 things she's done on her blog, borrowed from a blogger friend of her own, and I just loved reading about what she had or had not done, yet!  Thanks,  Evelien!  So I also looked over all 99 and those I have done are in bold.   As you can see, many of the things I have done are in "clumps" for a total so far of 42/99!  None too shabby I suppose!  I have never done a few of the most "bold" of the 99 and since I haven't yet visited Europe (though I dream about it!), that rules out quite a few on the list for me! 

If you want to borrow this and use it on your blog, please do but also stop in here and leave me a comment, any type and tell me you're doing it because I want to see your list of 99 things that you've done!  :)  It's fun! 

99 Things (those I've done in bold)
1. Started your own blog 
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland 

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child 

16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort 
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie 

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, April 27, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having . . . Fun?

Dear Friends,

I gasp in shock as I realize that not two, not four, but SEVEN weeks have passed since I last posted here on my little blog!!  *gasp*   How could I leave you all for so long?  I am sure that all sorts of things have happened in everyone's lives in the past seven weeks and now I'm terribly behind on reading blogs as well as posting ...... the upside of the scenario being that I love to read your blogs, anyhow, so I will have fun "catching up" over the next week or more!

In my life, much has happened in the past seven weeks.  For one, I had spring break. Well, a semblance of a break, at least.  They call it spring "break" in the graduate world, but what they truly should call it is something along the lines of spring break-your-neck-working-on-all-you-haven't-done-yet-week!!!!  Yes, I am serious.  However, I did manage to enjoy myself and have a bit of R&R for a few days in there, as I recall.......we had a couple we are good friends with down to visit and stay with us on the last few days of my break.  And the highlight was, we all got to see The Hunger Games newly released in theaters that weekend!!  That was fun!!  I enjoyed the movie.  Typically I am not a fan of movies made from the books I had loved (such as the entire Hunger Games trilogy), however, I felt the movie was mostly on target with the book so I didn't despise it!!  LOL  I still love the books best, though.  I'm a diehard bookie.  :-)

Far as classes go, I have just on presentation left in the next week and two class meets, then spring semester is over!  Of course I signed my happy self up for summer classes, so I literally start those only eight days after spring semester is complete!!  What did I do?  haha  It is hard even for me to realize that I have already completed a full year of my Masters!  How exciting is that?  Very, I say!  It flew by!  Time flies when you're having . . . . fun?!?

I am still in physical therapy.  Wow, talk about wearing a person out!  Of course I speak from only one person's perspective, but honestly, it has been a rough road!  And it's not over yet.  Been pretty painful but I'm hanging in there, hoping for good results and improvement!  I have seen a little change in a positive direction, which helps to encourage me and keep me motivated.

I have read a few interesting books in the last two months.  A biography of Steve Jobs (if you have read anything about him, you'd understand when I say he was a highly creative and inventive genius but sorely lacked in the social skills/interpersonal relationship department! Quite the character!) was a long, long read but interesting overall . . . . then there was "Confessions of a Shopaholic" that was a light, very amusing read I took with me for our short vacation to Florida (also very enjoyable and much-needed respite!).  I read the first two books in the Ada's House series of Amish novels by Cindy Woodsmall, also very good.  Well I should say I read the second book in the last eight weeks, that's the truth of it.  Now I'm starting the second Shopaholic book in my "spare" time (does that exist?!?) and enjoy it as a welcome relief from otherwise serious and often very research-focused reading found in my graduate studies.  I mean, don't get me wrong, typically I actually find the majority of my required school reading fascinating, and at least educational . . . . but it does not remotely resemble "fun" reading!  :-)

So, dear friends, what is up in your world?  I know I can have at least a partial answer to that question by reading all of your blogs, which will take me a while to catch up on . . . . but just the same, I thought perhaps you'd like to stop in a leave a wee comment for me?  I'd love that!!  I always get so excited when I see that someone has taken the time to read my rambling posts and leave a word or two!  Comment on anything above, if you wish!  What have you read and loved or despised?  Seen any interesting films?  Done anything interesting in school?  Physical therapy?  ;-)  Well I suppose that last one isn't as common, which is a good thing!

Have a lovely day!!

p.s. do you like this new template for my blog? I rather like this one, it looks like a watercolor painting!  Let me know your thoughts. . . . .  :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brevity is My Blogging Word . . . Giving Thanks

As you may realize, I am not always one for brevity when it comes to blogging.  I love to write.  Truly, I do!  I also enjoy blogging most of the time.  But lately, my life has been very full and I find blogging lengthy posts is not on the top of my agenda.

Just the same, I love to check in with the blogs I follow and I do enjoy posting and of course, I absolutely am thrilled when any of my friends comment on my blog! Makes my day so much brighter! :)

So, here is my rather brief post today . . .  I am thankful.  Though I face so many challenges now and some days it seems so much harder to forge on through, I am thankful.  Here are some things I can think of that I'm thankful for, even in the face of so much adversity and so many hurdles . . . .

* I am thankful for a God Who never leaves me, never forsakes me, promises His love and guidance and comfort as I keep Him in the forefront of my life, promises to be the strength of my heart when I face physical, emotional and mental challenges as I am so very much right now!

* I am thankful for a dear, sweet man that I love to call my husband, a man who loves me and is gentle with me and shows me patience and kindness, even when I get tired and whine, or when I'm really tired and frustrated, get snippy!

* I am thankful that, even as I face starting physical therapy to help me with basically my entire body and issues with weakness and tension and pain, I do have that option. That I have what seems to be a kind and capable therapist, and that somehow, the money needed to pay for the therapy to help me become strong again will make its way to me!  My God is the God Who provides!  And He can help me gain and keep strength, too, which I need to keep in mind!

* I am thankful for two adorable, frisky little dogs and two sweet, soft, timid but friendly little rabbits, all of which I call my pets and who make me smile every single day!

* I am thankful for a roof over my head that does not leak, running water in hot and cold, good nutritious food, and electricity!

* I am thankful for the ability to get on my blog and write out my thoughts to share, and to be able to read the posts of others who help me know "where it's at"!!

May you find at least as many things to be thankful for today as I do!  Trust me, it helps!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Last Days of February

February 2012 is nearly at a close. Two more full days after today. Then it's done. Oh, where does the time fly?

As for us in our part of the nation, we haven't had much of a winter.  Not even enough to sneeze at.  Seriously.  We had ONE 1-inch dusting of snow, for one day, this month.  That was it.  That was IT people!  I'm so disappointed.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I love moderate temps, sunny days, weather like we've had for the most part since early January!  But I also like a bit of winter.  It just makes spring sweeter, somehow.  Not to mention, today my seasonal allergies are going BONKERS!  Too much pollen, my eyes and nose scream!! TOO much pollen!!!

In my corner of the world, most things are going the usual way.  Nothing too exciting.  There are a few new things that my husband and I are facing with every new day  . . . and prayers are always appreciated.  Some are good, some are so-so, some are not so great.  But whatever I face, I know I am not alone! I have a wonderful, loving husband and I serve and am loved by an AWESOME GOD!

So, this post will be brief. But I would still love to hear from you! It seems my blogger friends haven't visited and left me comments here in some time . . . it is honestly a wee bit lonely here in my little patch of the world wide web!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Biographies: Recommends, Anyone?

Hello Friends!

Wow time just has a way of slipping past us in our full lives, doesn't it?  I didn't realize January 25th was the last time I made a post, though I knew it was a while ago!  Well, I'm back!

Truth of the matter is, I have been doing a fair amount of reading.  Most especially due to taking a more than full-time course load in my graduate studies right now!  Talk about a LOT of reading!

So this post actually is about . . . . . *drumroll* . . . . reading!  Yes that's right.  And no, I'm not insane, I promise.  I do have an assignment, however, that requires even MORE reading on top of all I already have each week.  Specifically, a biography.  Or autobiography.

Here's the deal.  I have read more biographies than I can remember in my lifetime.  But that was when I was younger, I haven't read all too many in the last several years.  And honestly, for this assignment, I'm thinking a bio of someone I'm not as familiar with could be fun, possibly.

It's for my Family of Origin class.  Simply stated (or understated, rather), this class involves putting together family trees.  Yes, family trees.  But they are much more involved than your average family tree, and they are called genograms.  Professionals in the counseling/psychology field make use of genograms fairly regularly.  Thus, my assignment involves reading the biography (or autobiography) of someone, preferably relatively well known or famous, and making a genogram of their family from all the info I find in the book.  I'd need a pretty good book where talking about their siblings/parents/grandparents is involved.  Please keep that in mind.

Here's where you all come in . . . . recommends!  I am asking for you to recommend to me any great biography or autobiography that you've read.  Especially if it was about a fascinating person (I'll leave the definition of fascinating up to you in this case! haha) or if it was very well-written and engaging.  AND if it's not terribly long . . . . have mercy on a graduate student with chapters upon chapters to read every week, already!  :-)

Thanks for the help, everyone!  I greatly appreciate it and am excited to see what everyone recommends in their comments.  Just throw 'em out there folks.  I'm waiting and I have to start reading sooner than soon!  All recommends will be considered.  :-)  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Sky is Crying

I awoke far too early this morning, unable to fall back asleep though the sound of rain pattering on our roof often acts as a sleep aid for me.  Perhaps the numerous thoughts prancing about inside my head are partly due to waking up too early and feeling sleepy at present, but just the same, I felt the need to make a post. To share some of the thoughts so that they will run off onto this "page" and out of my head.  Perhaps then I can take a little nap and truly rest!  :-)

The sky is crying today. I know not what for.  Its tears have been falling since last night, apparently there is something to cry about.  The yard is land of miniature lakes now, every leaf awash and twigs acting as lonely ferries as they slowly move across the face of the each tiny pond.  The air looks heavy even from my window, and the heavens sigh as the tears fall fast.

I love a rainy day.  I do.  Many folks I know hate rainy days.  But I have never seen the sense in that.  We could go with the old adage (I think it's an actual adage? Or perhaps I just thought of it? I don't know honestly), if we never had rainy, gray days then we'd never fully appreciate the dry and sunny days.  But I love the rainy days for themselves.  There is something almost magical about a rainy day.

I wouldn't want to have rainy days all the time. After about 4 days to a week of rain, I also grow weary of the gray, dull light and the constant wetness that seems to seep into every corner and sort of absorb you into its cloak.  But for a few days, even, I can love it.

The sky is crying.  I know not what for.  But as I sit here and listen and watch its tears fall, soft and steady from the swollen clouds above, I hope that it knows that someone appreciates its tears.  Someone listens, watches, is grateful and understanding.  For whatever reason, the sky is crying.  And it is a soothing sound.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Life is Good?

Hello Friends! 

Life is Good.  We hear this often enough.  A phrase toted about by people in a good mood, when everything in their life is falling into place and they couldn't be happier if they took a free flight to the moon. Right?  Life is Good.  There is even a company that makes their living mainly off this phrase with their apparel and accessories. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the stuff that company makes, I have a little backpack and a shirt of theirs and both are sweet, optimistic, and cute.  But here is my thought today, as this statement becomes more of a question: Life is Good?

What about Life is inherently Good?  Nothing.  Now before your eyes grow wide and you gasp in shock at this "pessimistic" pronouncement, let me explain my line of thinking here.

Life, in and of itself, is not good.  Think about it . . . how many times have you found yourself battered, broken, barely breathing and clinging on to the last piece of driftwood floating by you on the tumultuous "sea of life"?   How many times have you been dealt a sudden blow by "life" that you couldn't have seen coming in a million years?  What about when something dreadful has happened to you or to a loved one of yours and someone shrugs it off with a simple, "Yeah, well, that's life"??

Life, in and of itself, is rarely ever good.  That is just reality.  I have been there, seen that, and am sure you have too.

Now for the bright side of this thought: GOD IS GOOD.  God is Good ALL the time.  Life CAN be good because GOD is good.  Without God, life is nothing, life isn't pleasant, life is extremely far beyond difficult, life is often unkind, and even more often unfair.  Am I right?

So as you go about your day today, do us both a favor.  Don't simply think to yourself when things are looking up and the sun is shining and your relationships are smoothly sailing along, that "Life is Good," as if Life has any way to contribute anything worth having on its own.  Let me re-emphasize, on its own.  Rejoice in the fact that life is going well for you . . .but think about the ultimate fact that the only way our life is good is because we serve a God Who is inherently GOOD.  Think to yourself today, "God is good! That means my life is good! I can rejoice in God Who makes my life good!"  And give thanks to the One who makes our lives good.  Good even when the storms are raging, and when we are tossed about with the latest squall and feel like we cannot take another step in the right direction. Good when we wake up with a song in our heart and words of sweet encouragement on our lips. Without Him, the phrase Life is Good would be an appealing phrase but ultimately, a lie.

 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:16,17

(italics my are my own)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

11 Facts About Me! And Check Below in Case You Have Been Tagged!

My dear blogger friend, Evelien from A Glimpse of Me tagged me when she recently made up the list of 11 facts about herself!  So I'm going to attempt it too and at the end will tag 11 people so look for your name to continue this fun post!  :-)  Thanks, Evelien!

So here are the rules of this tag:
1. Post 11 things about yourself on your blog
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you and create 11 new questions for the
people you tag
3. Choose 11 people to tag and link them on your post
4. Go to your page and tell them you've linked them
NO tag backs! 

11 Things About Me . . . . . 

1. The state wherein I reside is also the place I have lived for the longest time of anywhere, EVER! 
2. I am married to a wonderful man, namely my husband Joe who loves and inspires me.
3. I do not like to say goodbye . . . so I say "see you soon," instead.  
4. I actually like precious gemstones such as ruby, emerald and blue sapphires MORE than diamonds! 
5. I am an avid reader.
6. I like to play Sims 3!  :-) 
7. I have TWO dogs and TWO rabbits for pets!  And, random fact - rabbits have DOUBLE chins! They're just called a "dewlap"!  hahaha 
8. I love Jesus! 
9. I love the color purple almost as much as I do my favorite since I was little, the color blue! 
10. I want to visit Italy someday. 
11. I would be THRILLED to live in San Diego, California or close by! 

Now for the questions Evelien asked me. . . . . 

1. My favorite dessert is a toss-up between Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake and Lemon Cake.  
2. I am a full time graduate student studying to be a counselor (psychologist). 
3. I do have a husband! Married almost two years now! 
4. I celebrated the New Year by watching the ball drop in NYC on t.v. and snuggling with my husband!
5. I live in the Southern USA. 
6. Definitely prefer reading the book 9/10 times!  However, I can also enjoy a good movie! 
7. My favorite room . . . .probably living room. Because I can snuggle on the couch and read or watch tv!
8. I play piano!
9. Oh just one blog for a favorite? That's hard! Well I love LeAnna's blog, ThoughtsnWhatnots.
10. I guess I do like tag-posts! This is my first! 
11. The only thing I might not like about blogging, is when I do NOT blog due to time constraints, or lack of energy or motivation!  :) 

Here are my questions for the folks I will tag:

1. What is your favorite breakfast food?
2. What is your least favorite food? 
3. If you had to pick the worst color you could wear, what would that color be for you?
4. What is your favorite genre in books? 
5. What is your least favorite genre for movies?
6. When was the last time you gave someone a hug?  Who did you give it to?  :-) 
7. When did you last see a sunrise? 
8. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
9. Where do you live? (again, no addresses please!) 
10. Are you married or do you have a special someone? 
11. Do you have any pets or wish that you did? 

Now for the people I am going to tag!