May 13, 2017

Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in It's Proper Place

This is one of those books that I wish I had read 15 years ago.  It did not exist when my children started using social media and technology.  As a middle aged parent of adult and teen children we spent a big chunk of our time navigating blindly for the start of this social media age.  Looking back I realize that I was making decisions about things as they came up rather than making a plan to avoid the pitfalls of this world we are living in now.  Andy Crouch's book will change all of that for parents and families today.

This book gives 10 excellent strategies for, as the title says, putting technology in it's proper place. Crouch even goes so far as to encourage us to turn it off completely for part of each day.  Sound hard?  With Andy's 10 strategies you might find it easier than you think.

This book is not about trashing our technology and moving out into an isolate cabin somewhere.  Crouch fully believes there is a place for technology in our world today.  He just feels, as do I, that we should step away sometimes and be a family.  We should have meals together with real conversations and game nights indoors and out, and spend time reading stories or listen to music together.  He boldly says that maybe we should even PLAY music together.  I love that suggestion, by the way.

The book is loaded with results from the latest Barna Research Group study on how technology is impacting our lives and families.  Crouch takes that data and provides some very practical ways to change the trends we see toward isolation and addiction caused by our overuse of such devices.

By paying just a little more attention to our habits we can make changes to have more meaningful family and friend time.  All it takes is realizing we need to set these devices aside for part of our day, week and even for up to a week or two a year.

Crouch is very candid at the end of each chapter with a personal evaluation on how his own family is doing in each realm.  He is very honest in saying that sometimes they are still struggling to make some changes but that it is a work in progress.  His family is certainly better for these 10 strategies, though.

He addresses something that I have continually seen in my reading this year.... Sabbath.  It is not only important for us to take time to rest but to let our devices rest, too.  We don't let them rest for their sake.  We set them aside for our sake.

This book is not a giant thick read.  It is divided into very practical chapters that are quick to read and will have you thinking about how you can be more present in your own life.  I hope you will take the time to read a copy of this book and focus more on what is really important in this world.  Let us all put technology in it's proper place and live our lives with more focus on the most important things in this lifetime while we can.

You can read more about Andy Crouch and this and other books he has written on his website

This book was sent to me by Baker Books for free.  All they ask in return is that I read and review it with my own personal unbiased opinion.  I absolutely loved this book and will be recommending it to every family I can.

I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

May 08, 2017

May Photo Challenge... in progress

I started the month with this challenge... it is a two year old challenge that was for competition purposes but I just liked it so I decided to do it for myself.  I am one day behind because I was in travel mode.  I am hoping to work through the list at my leisure instead of being strict with days at this point.  Want to see days 1-7?  Head over to my Instagram and friend me, if you have not already, to see all my photography endeavors.  I think Instagram might be my favorite Social Media outlet because I love all of the creative photos without all the chatter of Facebook.  It is truly a happy place online for me these days.  

Are you an amateur photographer, take photos of your sewing, crochet, artwork etc... too?  

Do you share your creative work online?  

Leave a link in the comments so we can all have a gander 

(keep it clean, though... no inappropriate photo linking please... 
you will be deleted and blocked from this blog)

You can see more photo and other crafting classes and mini challenges from Craftsy at their site.

April 29, 2017

Halfway There....

Mid-Event Survey! 

1. What are you reading right now?

Still working on Tech-Wise Family and The Tea Planter's Wife but have not gotten far in either.... too much noise in the house today.  

2. How many books have you read so far?


3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Just going to keep plugging away at the two in progress...

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

All dang day but I figure I will read more once the weekend is over and the boys are all back to school and the house is quiet.... not so much today.  LOL

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I have done a lot of instagram pics....  that has been fun.  

Couple of links for fun...

All the Read-a-thon happenings can be found on the blog...  Check out the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon link for more information and an hourly update.

Also check out the challenge going on over at Instagram from Amanda at Fig and Thistle Books Blog

There is also a Facebook page, a Twitter page and a GoodReads Group.

Hope you choose to join us somewhere along the way!

You can find me on mostly the blog and Instagram today.

It is that time of year again.... Welcome to the 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

The Introductory Survey...

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

El Paso, Texas... the desert southwest.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Working on some unfinished books but I must start the Tea Planter's Wife... I need to get a good amount of progress on it today.  Here is the stack, though...

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Definitely this...

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am a new grandmother!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I have been a long time participant and I always want to read more than I get to... it is the life of being the mom.  I am delighted that today turned off rainy and cold, though.... that is a big chunk of motivation for me to read since we rarely get this kind of day around here.  LOL

April 24, 2017

A Joyful Update...

There has been a lot of life happening around here lately.  

I have a ton of things to share but let's start with the fact that... 

I am a new Grandmother!

The new grandson was born April 1st... no, I am not kidding!  LOL  He was 8 pounds 5 ounces and has been growing steadily for the last 3 weeks.  Mom and Dad are doing great, outside of a lack of sleep that is.  I made the trip out to meet him and got a week with my kids and that precious boy.  I am over the moon!  I think I am going to love being a grandmother most of all my roles.  

Just thought I would log on and share that with you guys.  I cannot wait to hold him again soon!

March 26, 2017

Murder is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart

Michael Keane, the deputy sheriff, is on the case again for this third mystery in Hidden Springs.  He is a young single man who helps out in his local church with the youth group as well as looking out for his older aunt who raised him after the loss of his parents and other folks in town.  He has an ongoing complicated relationship with a woman he has known from his childhood who is a lawyer in Washington, D.C.  

I have all three books in the series... I wrote a review for the second one and loved it so much I bought the first one to go with it.  The third one is hitting shelves now.  They can definitely be read as stand-alone books but I have enjoyed getting to know the people of Hidden Springs very much through the series.
Gabhart jumps right to the murder in this one from the opening.  It pulled me in right away and I have a hard time putting these books down because they are paced well and are written well.  These books are kind of "Mitford" meets "Jesse Stone and Paradise" for me... I love both!

Fifteen year old Maggie Greene assists her mother in cleaning the old Chandler place in Hidden Springs.  The home belongs to a woman with dementia named Miss Fonda who currently resides in the local retirement care facility.  On occasion Maggie sneaks in to spend time in the tower room to get away from the world and write, read or just gaze out the window.  On this particular day she realizes that she is not alone in the house.  She quietly waits and listens as she hears footsteps and voices.  She did not want to be caught and be accused of breaking in and trespassing.  

In a matter of minutes she hears angry voices and then a commotion on the stairs.  A woman shrieks and then there is a thump that shakes the upstairs.  Maggie hears a door opening and closing.  Once she emerged from hiding she saw the body of a local realtor Mrs. Geraldine Harper lying lifeless at the bottom of the top staircase.  She knew she needed to get help but she could not let anyone know she was there.  She looked around and took Mrs. Harper's phone and dialed 911.... the operator on the other end prompted Maggie to "respond if you can" and all Maggie could say was.... "She can't. She's dead."  She hangs up the phone and then puts the phone down by Mrs. Harper's purse.  Maggie makes her escape unseen... so she thinks.

The body is discovered and the conclusion is made that it was an accident but Maggie knows better... will she come forward to tell Michael Keane or anyone else what she knows?

Join this cast of charming small town characters as they uncover surprises along the way to discovering if this really was an accidental death or if this is something more sinister.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest read and review.  

Giving this one a 5 out of 5!

Check out A. H. Gabhart's website for deals, freebies and upcoming book news.

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.


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