June 21, 2016

Summer is here.... there should be goals right?

My life has been so insane lately that I have let summer sneak up on me with zero personal goals.  It seems the big obvious goal is to make it from one thing to the next right now.  We have had three major life events and a few smaller but important events lately with more on the horizon.  I am hoping there will be a respite at some point before my daughter leaves for college but for now I think I will just give you the rundown of all that is consuming us lately.... with photos.

Eagle Court of Honor

Youngest became an OA member

Girlie had a senior recital 

Youngest got inducted into NJHS

We made a trip to Texas State Solo/Ensemble competition where Em had two first divisions on a solo and an ensemble.... that brings her total to 8 gold medals and one silver for her time in high school.

We had a last day of school... with a senior, sophomore and sixth grader.

We had a graduate on June 13th

and we added a new daughter on June 18th.

I told you.... crazy!  LOL

Now, we are moving toward getting the girlie ready to go off to college.  If I survive the summer we will start over with a new school year come August.

There have been projects, too, but we will save those fun things for another day.

Happy summer...

What are you planning to accomplish this season?

April 22, 2016

Readathon TBR April 2016

Mostly working through the top three but the bottom three are just in case.

I actually bought Ruth Reichl's book today for 30% off at Barnes and Noble.  I had been waiting until I had coupons to get it.

Tomorrow will be a little insane with guys coming to replace two giant windows that are cracked on the back of our house and some running around of kids.  We also have tickets to the Harry Connick, Jr. concert for our family so there won't be as much reading as in years past but I will work some in as I have time.  I will be checking the reading website on and off, too.

Are you reading with us?

What are you reading?

April 21, 2016

April 2016 Dewey's Readathon is Saturday.... April 23

It is not too late to sign up so I am sharing here for those who want to join in...

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Blog Page - you can go sign up and check out some of the warm ups to do before the event starts or during the event if you like.

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

This is a modern day Christian romance novel set on the famous Prince Edward Island.
It is the first in a series by Liz Johnson with the second one due out in the fall of 2016.

The story revolves around Marie Carrington who is fleeing from her past.  She leaves her home in Boston to head north to Canada to escape the recent events that are haunting her and bringing her to full blown panic attacks at every turn.  Escaping is not enough, though, because she must hide her location from her family and former community, also.  Her father must not find her or he will drag her back to relive all of it again in a very public way.  She must not be forced to face it all again.

A kind stranger named Jack, an elderly gentleman, crosses her path and steps in to help her.  He is struggling with his own burden of trying to get a bed and breakfast up and running in his small community.  He is seeking to honor his wife, Rose, who passed away some time ago by opening a place that can shelter others from the storms of life and bring healing to all who stay there.  Jack offers Marie a job without knowing anything about her past and she reluctantly accepts the work and the place to stay.  The drawback is that she will have to work alongside Jack's angry nephew, Seth, to bring the bed and breakfast up to standard to get it opened on time.

Jack, along with a whole cast of characters, begins to take Marie in and treat her as family.  She begins to find her passion in life as God draws her closer and begins to peel away the layers of hurt and rejection.  

It is a familiar theme with a predictable but enjoyable romance or two along the way and a beautiful picture of how God the Father is the perfect Father unlike many of our own.  As Marie begins to see that God the Father is not like her own harsh father at all and that He really does seek to show her a better life full of love and forgiveness and second chances.

I did enjoy this book.  As many of you know, I am not typically a fiction reader but this one was a lovely read about a place so many of us long to see someday.  Prince Edward Island is spoken of so often in the Maud Montgomery novels and it is depicted beautifully in this novel.  Marie is a fan of the Montgomery novels as well.  

It struck a chord with me because it is set around a bed and breakfast and a small community with an antique shop, a scrumptious bakery that made me hungry every time it was mentioned and, of course, the beauty that surrounded all of it.  The characters from the community are absolutely charming and lovable for the most part.

I am certainly interested in reading the sequel to continue the story of the people in this story.

I would give it a 4 out of 5.

Want to know more about Liz Johnson and her books?

Check out 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.

April 06, 2016

A Woman's Guide to Knowing What You Believe by Patty Houser

This book is nonfiction. 

This is one of the most theologically sound books I have read in a long time.  It is full full full!  Patty Houser seeks, in this text, to teach us the importance of knowing exactly what you believe about God and His Word.  She encourages us to stay in the Word daily and to seek out the Truth of God.

Patty is a master communicator and writer!  So many books in the Christian realm are so fluffy these days with no substance and depth but this is CERTAINLY NOT ONE OF THOSE.  Patty is highly educated and well researched on matters of theology and Christian apologetics.  She lays the facts and information out very clearly for both the novice and the seasoned theologian.

For this year I have seen a recurring theme as God has spoken to me about how we should we live.  

The passage in Mark 12:30.... 

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and 
with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."  (ESV)

has been at the forefront of what I keep hearing and reading.  Patty's book addresses this theme over and over again.  

I mentioned apologetics and I have heard women (and men) say that they do not put stock in apologetic and feel that apologetics are divisive.  They clearly have no idea what apologetics are so I will not assume here that everyone knows that word.  Here is the definition of apologetics from the source carm.org...

The word, "apologetics," is derived from the Greek word, "apologia," which means to make a defense. It has come to mean defense of the faith. Apologetics covers many areas: who Jesus is, the reliability of the Bible, refuting cults, Biblical evidences in the history and archeology, answering objections, etc. In short, it deals with giving reasons for Christianity being the true religion. We are called by God to give an apologia, a defense: "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence," (1 Pet. 3:15).

More simply put in the book by Patty in the glossary section, apologetics is... a rational defense for the truth-claims of Christianity.  

I feel that apologetics are essential for all Christians and to say otherwise is a cop out.  Patty agrees and in her book she lays out how we should know what we believe and then how we should reach out to the world around us with the Truth of God's Word.  She encourages us to have a personal relationship with Christ and to KNOW HIM and His Word intimately.  

Her challenge to us is to KNOW what you believe...  

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approveda worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

and then go into the world and give them the Truth to bring them to Christ.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

This is an important book that will go on my shelf next to writers like C.S. Lewis and J.I. Packer because it is that valuable to our daily walk with Christ.  No, it is not the Bible but it exalts Christ and the Bible in a way that many modern day Christian writers completely miss.  It is a great resource for every Christian.

The book ends with a checklist of what we believe.  It is intended to show us where we might be unsure so that we might focus on those beliefs and really study them for ourselves.  Lifelong study is key and we can never know all there is to know about God but we should constantly be in search of His Truth.

Add this one to your resources if you are serious about your relationship with Christ and studying the Bible.  It is something for both new believers who are trying to figure out this journey and more mature Christians who have read and reread the Bible throughout their lifetime.  

Get it for yourself... gift it to a fellow Christian or new believer.... it will bless you both!

I give this one a solid 5 out of 5!

This book is published by Bethany House: a division of Baker Publishing Group.
This book was provided to me free of charge for an honest review.

March 16, 2016

The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

This book is a nonfiction gardening resource. 

This is one of the most beautiful and practical gardening books I have ever seen!

Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn are two scientists and gardening experts on a mission to educate us about bees and their importance.  

This book starts by educating us about bees and their role in nature.  They address why they are important and how we can help to repopulate and save them from their recent plight.  

Once we are aware of the importance of bees they open up about plants and gardening practices that encourage the re-population of bees.  This book is packed with beautiful photographs of the different kinds of bees and many kinds of plants and flowers that are both beneficial and harmful.  I love that they identify both sides for us.  

Once they have educated us they share information on designing gardens that draw bees to your yard.  This book is loaded with information, resources, definitions, photos and it is so timely!

If you are a gardener I am sure you will love this book.  I certainly have.  It will become a mainstay in my gardening resources stack for years to come.

I gladly give this book a 5 out 5!

It is published by Ten Speed Press.
This book was provided to me free of charge for an honest review.  It was provided through the Blogging for Books program... http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/

Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs

This book is nonfiction

This book tells how even the smallest things in our lives can matter for the Kingdom of God.  It is an engaging book with stories from the author's life.  She uses her personal experiences to tie her points together to show us how she has learned to see God in the small things and how you can, too.  

Deidra Riggs writing style is friendly and encouraging.  She elaborates on a concept I heard 20 something years ago from Henry Blackaby.  God is at work around us and He invites us to join Him in that work.  She lays it out simply for us that He is calling us even in the midst of our everyday lives.  He wants to use us in powerful ways right where we live.  She encourages us to live each day for Christ.  What we read in God's word should be lived out in our daily lives.  

It is all written from a biblical perspective.  The only qualm I had about any of it was the use of the Message instead of a more reliable biblical text to add emphasis to her points.  That is a thing with me because I believe we should strive for accuracy when sharing God's word.  It was not a deep theological book but more for the layperson.  I liked that she encourages us to be open to being used by God wherever we are in our spiritual walk.

I give this book a 4 out 5.

It is published by Baker Books: a division of Baker Publishing Group
This book was provided to me free of charge for an honest review.

February 19, 2016

A new toy for me...

I have recently been on a search for the perfect cooker. I had two crock pots that worked brilliantly for years but over time they have begun to wear out and parts have begun breaking so I started the search for a new replacement.  

I mentioned to a friend that I was looking and she asked if I had ever considered a multicooker.  I was intrigued.  I had never heard of this thing of which she was speaking before.  I was at her home one day and they were doing a demo on television and she showed it to me.  As I left that afternoon I was rolling the idea around in my head when she sent me a message that she had purchased one for me.... in purple!  It took about a week to arrive and I have been using it almost daily since.  I think she had some ulterior motive here...  LOL  I take her jambalaya on a regular basis these days so that was one of the first things I tried.  Before you ask... I have already taken her a batch.

I have made jambalaya, pork tenderloin, chicken and veggies, yogurt, and a casserole in it.  I know they have several on the market but the one I have is from evine.com and it is the Cook's Companion brand.  She is a beauty...

So far so good.... I will be using it several times a week to try out new things.  My family is certainly not complaining.  It is super easy to use and has a small booklet of recipes to get you started.  I am not trying to sell it and I don't endorse things for their company but it is just a joy bringer in our home I just thought I would mention it.



There are a couple of things to remember when using items like this.  Use plastic and rubber utensils so you will not scratch the surface of the cooker.  Always unplug it before any cleaning is done.  I hand wash all the removable parts and especially the lid.  I have sent lids through the dishwasher before but it wears out the plastic parts and can sometimes rust the metal because of the harshness of dishwasher soaps.

I cannot wait to try more recipes using this and hopefully, I can share some more things with you as I explore the possibilities.

January 29, 2016


Ok, I want to start doing one of these a month if I can.  We will start with a winter set...

This is a crocheted hat and cowl.

This is what it looks like on.
Made with this yarn

If you are interested in getting this please leave a comment below telling me about a special homemade gift you received sometime in your life.

I will give each person a number and draw for a winner on Friday of next week.  Once I draw a winner I will contact you and get your address and then mail it to you....ALL FREE FOR YOU!

Feel free to share this with your friends!

Only one entry per person please and United States residents only.  :)

Well, that month just flew by!

January started with a bang and then just flew right by me but not before I made a few goals and worked on a few projects so I thought I would jump in and share a few things that went on in January.

First of all, my word for the year... 2016... is healing.  No, really.... that is the one I got.  I have no idea where this will take me but I am embracing it.  

This is somewhat ironic since I started the year sick.  I have been sick for almost the entire month and finally started a course of antibiotics just yesterday to rid myself of this plague.  It started as an innocent cold that sent me to bed for a few days and then kinda snowballed from there.  This is typical of most people with autoimmune issues.  Illnesses that take most people a few days from which to recover take me about one to three weeks and I often wind up on an antibiotic to kick it.

In the midst of sickness, though, I was able to do some fun new dishes in the kitchen to start the new year and I knocked out a few crochet projects.  I also did some cleaning and clearing in anticipation of some more work on the house soon.  We are on the list for repairs with our "guy" so that we will, hopefully, have some new living space soon as well as some repairs and paint on damaged areas around the outside from last summer's hail damage.

So, I know you came for the photos.... here are some crochet things I have done.

This was a gift for my cousin

This was the first one I did using this pattern and 
I really love how it turned out so I did more for gifts for Christmas.

A set I will be giving away in another post.... so stay tuned!

My pale purple bobble hat made with this pattern 
which is a free Ravelry download 
and it works up very quickly!

another quick cowl

This was my very first triangle shawl and it is cozy warm!

another view... I LOVE these colors!

a heart coaster for a friend who ADORES orange

a Valentine Sock Monkey cozy for my girlie

A daisy heart dishcloth (there will be more of these)

I will share more on some goals and some things I have put into play since the new year started.  I know it is late but it is never too late to make changes.  I got a little carried away working in my Bullet Journal on all of the new year stuff but missed sharing it here.  It is coming...


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