March 01, 2017

Preparing for the church season of Lent

To begin with I am not Catholic....  There is a large Catholic community here that observe this season.  I have been asked the question for many years about what I would be giving up for the season so that started my journey to know more about Lent.

I am a protestant pastor's wife in the Southern Baptist tradition.

We don't do Lent in the traditional manner with Ash Wednesday and fish on Fridays and such.  Lent is something I came to terms with as an adult so I don't tend to be traditional in my approach.  I don't celebrate or observe it out of any obligation but more out of a respect for how it can focus our thoughts on the coming Resurrection Sunday observance.  It is the biggest day in the Christian list of observed holidays.  

Some years I give something up and some years I add a new habit or goal to work through.  I am currently reading the Bible through again this year in the NASB translation.  I have completed Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and will complete Deuteronomy by the second week of March.  I decided on a list of three things this year that I will focus on.

Over the forty days of Lent I will...

1.  Give up clutter  
I am taking the challenge of 40 Bags in 40 Days and will be cleaning and clearing my home of one bag of trash, giveaway or donate items, or boxes of books per day.

2.  Read a book per week 
chosen from this stack of books.... I am starting with the Prayer 101 by Warren Weirsbe.

3.   Focus on healthier eating
trying some new recipes each week and working through some new menu planning to get back on track with my eating.  I am moving back toward a more paleo way of eating... with the exception of potatoes and rice and maybe the odd bowl of granola from time to time.  

I have added a daily green smoothie to the morning routine.  

I have reestablished my nutritional supplement routine, too.

February 17, 2017

Alive in the Spirit by A. W. Tozer

This book is a compilation of writings on the Holy Spirit by A. W. Tozer.  I have to be honest in saying it is not the kind of book I expected but it was still beneficial.  Most of the book is devotional with short chapters that can be read daily in just a few minutes.  Each chapter ends with a few key questions to help you focus thinking on the Holy Spirit in your own life.

I tend to be one who likes a more substantial read when it comes to theological things.  That being said this is still full even though it is lighter reading than most of the theology books by Tozer I have read in the past.  It is very personal... filled with personal testimony and experiences from Tozer's life.  It is not packed full of scripture but it does have some that help make some of his points.  I like the use of testimony.  It can build up the body, too, and his stories are full of the hand of God in his life.

Since it is a compilation the writing does not flow well in some places so it is a bit disjointed but the topic is valid and the information is truth so I would give this one a 3.5 out of 5 and tell you that if you enjoy devotional reading this is a good fit for you.

This book was provided by Bethany House free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

February 16, 2017

What is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul

I have been a Christian for over 40 years.  I grew up in a church that taught certain ideas based on a widely popular theology of the day and I never questioned that until I left for college and started studying on my own.  In college I began to hear more and more about God's grace and mercy.  Those two things drew me in... I had to know more about these ideas.  I joined a local church there in Abilene and attended like I had growing up but I began opening my own Bible more and tuning into some teaching on a local Christian radio station.  I started having spiritual conversations with other students.  I began to pick up books on these ideas by theologians and comparing what they taught to what my Bible actually said.  The more I studied the more important I realized the study of God was.  Theology is just that... the study of God.

 As Christians we are commanded to study and know God over and over again through the Bible.  It breaks my heart to hear Christians say things like, "I don't like theology because it just causes arguments." or "Theology is really not important as long as we just love God and love people we will be ok."  The study of God is how we get to know who He is and His nature and will for us.  The world is full of misinformation and misconceptions on the study of God and His word.  It is so important for us to know the truth... know what the Bible teaches us regarding Him and His Son Jesus.  The world does not hold those answers for us.  My mission to know Him truly started when I sat in that first Old Testament Bible Class at Hardin Simmons University and it continues still.  It is a lifelong journey that every believer should take.  

This book is a great start.  It is chock full of scripture and church history!  R. C. Sproul does such a beautiful job using scripture to show us what reformed theology is all about and why, based on that scripture, it is where he falls on the theological spectrum.  I have come to so many of the same conclusions as I have grown as a Christian over the years.  This is what I believe!

Sproul's writing is so thoughtful and logical.  He spends the first five chapters showing us where the idea of reformed theology started and how it developed over time through men like Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.  He shares how Luther came out of the Catholic tradition and the conclusions he came to based on his study of scripture.  

The second half of the book is spent addressing the five basic tenets of Reformed Theology using the TULIP acronym (check out the link for a series on this) to open up the dialog.  I won't go into detail here on each one because the book is so beautifully thorough on each point.  I encourage you to read the book for yourself to learn more about why churches teach certain ideas.  It might just answer some questions or clarify some ideas you have wondered about yourself.

Sproul has a real gift for bringing this history and explanation into layman's terms so that everyone can read and understand these ideas.  Martin Luther was doing the same thing when he tacked his 95 Theses on the church door.  These men felt that the masses should be able to know and understand the things of God 500 years ago, today and all the years in between.

As we are coming upon the 500th year since Luther's stand for reformation took place this book and the ideas contained in it are as relevant today as they were then. 

I give this book a solid 5 out of 5.  

This book was sent to me free of charge from Baker Books and all they ask in return is an honest review.

Learn more about R. C. Sproul and his Ligonier ministry.  He has written many great books over the years and as we come into this 500th year celebration of Reformed Theology he has some great resources to check out.  He also has a daily podcast/radio broadcast that you might be interested in checking out.

February 04, 2017

Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson - Ukulele Tutorial - How To Play Begginer...

I so totally want to learn this one!  

I am "borrowing" Emily's uke while she is away at college. I have started learning some chords this week.  I found this video (among many) while wandering around looking for ukulele tutorials today. Here is my mini axe...

If I get brave there might be a video by the end of the month.... maybe.  I think the video idea scares me more than actually learning a new instrument!  LOL

February 03, 2017

InCoWriMo... February 2017

Why have I never heard of this before now?  I am coming late to the party but I love this challenge!

For the month of February people all over the world are mailing letters, cards, care packages to people for no apparent reason.  It is called the International Correspondence Writing Month.

This challenge is of the vintage kind.  It is the original social media.  There is even a website!  You can find out more here.

I am taking the challenge but I am not sending something every day.... I am shooting for one or two per week for this year and then I will up my game next year.

Here is what others are sharing on the challenge...

Instagram page (#InCoWriMo)

Are you joining in?

February 02, 2017

Day One of No Facebook...

It never ceases to amaze me that I go for weeks at a time with no substantial private messages and the day I decide to take a month off I got FOUR!  LOL  That means I went on FB but I did not do anything more than find a video my daughter asked for and answer the four private messages.  

I also spent a few minutes looking for a way to get the private messages without actually going on FB and I figured it out!  Woohoo!!!  You simply go to and sign in and then you can add notifications to your PC and voila... no more FB checking!  

I did spend some time on Pinterest and Instagram today looking at some bullet journal stuff to inspire me as I am jump starting my BuJo daily use.  

Other stuff I got done today (Feb. 1st) include but are not limited to...

Two loads of laundry
Menu planning
Sam's Club run
Some writing including edits on a book review
Started Leviticus (finished Genesis and Exodus in January)
Started gathering stuff for a birthday box for the girlie
Answered a bunch of e-mail

Oh, I discovered a new tea I really like, too...

No one else is off FB in my house so I did have the question..... "Did you see what (insert random poster's name here) posted?"  To which I answered.... "Nope.... and I won't until March."  LOL

I did decide that I will continue to send Instagram posts to FB but I don't have to go there to do that.  I had a request for happy posts from afar so that is my solution.  LOL

February 2nd will contain WAY less computer tasks as I go to work and then have the afternoon set aside for reading and dinner prep... there will be lasagna.  I miss my girlie. (she loves lasagna)

So, that is what is happening from my little corner of the world today... boring... simple.... I loved every minute of it!

February 01, 2017

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

A sweet Christian romance (not overly preachy) just in time for Valentine's Day!

This book is the second in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series by Liz Johnson.  I shared the first one, The Red Door Inn, with you guys a little less than a year ago.... here.

Continuing the story of the inn Marie and her new husband, Seth, have hired a local baker, Caden.  Caden is also a sweet friend to Marie.  She is hired to run the breakfast part of the new bed and breakfast.  Caden is a local resident who grew up on the island.  Her family owns the local bakery and Caden worked as her father's assistant there until Marie hired her.

The story opens with Caden making her locally famous cinnamon rolls.  A stranger, named Adam, shows up at the kitchen door that morning as she is working.  He seems to be a day early for his reservation at the inn.  There is not one room available for him but Marie offers him a roll away bed in a storage closet.  He had no choice because everything else in town was full also.  He gladly takes the option until he can get into his regular room the next day.  As the story moves forward we find out that Adam is a freelance writer with some secrets in his past.  His editor has sent him to the island for a mandatory vacation following a particularly trying assignment.  Adam does not realize right away that his editor has an ulterior motive in sending him to this particular inn.  As Adam's story unfolds Marie and her husband Seth are dealing with more trouble from Marie's father (see the review from her first book).  In the midst of all of this the inn is struggling with some unexpected financial issues, Caden is battling her own confidence issues, a variety of guests bring their own stories into the mix and there is the ever present community full of colorful local characters  A surprise call comes letting Marie know that a travel writer will be doing a surprise visit and possibly giving them a great write up in a popular travel magazine with the chance to be on the cover.  The summer is not dull as people are in and out of the inn with an element of confusion ensuing.  To top it all off Caden's nemesis, Bethany... a professionally trained chef from Toronto and former classmate, arrives in town just as a local lobster cook-off is coming up.  Let the crazy summer adventure begin!

The story is very foodie friendly with all the delicious things that come from that B&B kitchen.  Caden's story is full of food and cooking adventures and I really loved that aspect as a foodie.

It is a sweet story and it kept me guessing all the way through about how all the loose ends would be tied up at the end.  I loved Caden.... she reminded me a  lot of Sookie from Gilmore Girls and I adore Sookie!

The other two books in the series.... 

The Red Door Inn - Book 1

On Love's Gentle Shore - Book 3 
coming July 4, 2017

Learn more about Liz Johnson on her website.

This book was sent to me free of charge by Baker Publishing Group's Revell division in exchange for an honest read and review.

Can I Have a Do Over?

I missed it... 

I totally missed the whole New Year hoopla of setting goals, making plans, lists and all that comes with a new year.  

I spent it, instead, flat on my back in pain for a week with muscle spasms.  LOL  
I am much better now but the healing time was longer than I anticipated.

It's ok.... I am ok with that because we just had the Chinese New Year this past weekend.  
New Year 2017 is saved!  

I have come to the conclusion, over the last several years, that plans and goals should be ongoing year round and I can start and stop anything I want anytime I want.

So, enter a new plan... starting in February!

I am taking some time off of social media.... 
Facebook specifically, for the month of February so I can do the following.  I am, however, going to be here.  I like my blog... it is a happy place for me.

For 2017... 
The details are in my Bullet Journal so this is the overview version.

1.   Read more... 2 to 3 books per month is the goal.

2.   Write more... blog more often here plus restart Morning Pages and work on a few short stories this year to practice writing fiction more in preparation for the NaNoWriMo 2017 challenge.

3.  Memorize more scripture

4.  Refine the diet more to be AIP compliant and gluten free completely... no cheating.

5.  Walk 4 days a week (or more but let's start there)

6.  More crochet and sewing and get the Etsy shop back up and running.

7.  More canning

8.  Picking up the Korean language study again.

9.  Learn to play this ukulele sitting in the closet.

10.  Reduce the stuff in my house more than I did last year.  It is an ongoing process...  

11.  Take a class in photography and play way more with my camera this year.

12.  Control the technology monster!

That will get me started.

Anybody else doing a reboot in February or maybe doing what 
I am doing and just kicking things off a month late?

What is something big you are tackling this year?


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