August 27, 2016

You Are Forgiven Study... beginning August 29th

I have been leading a group for the Love God Greatly studies for several years now.  I have a FB group that studies and prays together each session.  We have had some ladies leave and some join later throughout our time there but, for the most part, we are still the basic group we started with.

For most of that time we have been downloading the free study guides and reading plans along the way but this session I decided to actually get the book.  I had a little extra in savings I could use on such a splurge so I did.  I don't think I will go without from now on.  The books are great resources and hopefully, will keep me on track a bit more this time through.  I tend to get behind sometimes.

We begin our study on Monday and I am planning on blogging it a bit more than in the past.  I suppose ANY blogging about it would be more at this point.  LOL

If you are looking for a study they usually have great ones.  Another place for study is one hosted over at If:Gathering.... on their If:Equip page.  Jennie Allen started that ministry and it is fantastic.

So, what are you studying this Autumn?

Do you have a local group or do you study online somewhere you want to share with us?

August 26, 2016

Still On the Journey... September Plan for Food

I am heading toward another Whole30 journey for the month of September.  This time I am adding the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) restrictions.  I just finished this book to help me with my planning.  Eileen Laird is the AIP blogger at  This is not an all inclusive guide but it is very helpful for those who are starting and want to understand more about the Autoimmune Protocol for reducing inflammation in the body.  If you have an autoimmune disease/disorder then you, likely, suffer with some kind of inflammation on a regular basis.  

I have Lupus (SLE) and Fibromyalgia and my biggest battle seems to be with the arthritis that comes with it.  I have triggers that are external such as the rise in barometric pressure, excessively hot summer days, lack of sleep, and overexertion.  

I have food triggers, too, that I discovered last May (2015) during my last Whole30.  I struggle with soy, wheat, corn, dairy and a whole slew of preservatives and chemicals found in many prepackaged foods.  Since May 2015 I have struggled to keep those things out of my diet and have found that I seem to be sensitive to the nightshade plants as well.  I need to be back on track after all the crazy summer eating while we were traveling and dealing with a bazillion changes in our lives as a family.  Well, maybe not a bazillion... but it felt like it.

The book gives a good overview of what you should NOT be eating and then an extensive list of things you can eat in abundance.  It gives you helpful information for setting up your kitchen before you begin.... which is what I am doing this next week.  It gives you a basic grocery list, how to deal with spices that may be causing issues and how to make your own blends.  She addresses eating out at restaurants and travel tips, and my favorite... HOLIDAY EATING!

She encourages you to write everything down.  Keep an eating journal and a symptom journal as you go.  She even shares common mistakes and how to troubleshoot as you move through the changes you are making.  I wish there had been a more extensive list of resources because I know they exist but she really just shares things from her website and a few friends that she has worked with in this realm.  She has loads of personal experience so it is all great information.  The book is very practical and can help you right away as you start your journey to feel better.

I will be using this book in conjunction with the Whole30 book and website resources and It Starts With Food from Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  I highly recommend everyone read It Starts with Food before you dive into the Whole30 plan.

Something you need to remember is that this is not a diet to be sustained longterm.  It is meant to be a 30 day elimination plan.  Once you get the junk out of your system you start reintroducing things back in.  The goal is to see how you tolerate them until you build a healthy eating plan for you that does not trigger inflammation and sickness in your daily life.

If you have any questions on this please feel free to ask and I can answer or point you to an answer.  We should never have to be on this journey alone.  I am grateful for my fellow sojourners that encourage me daily.  No man is an island.... 

I will be sharing, in the coming days, about two other resources I will be using through this, too.  They are from Amy Myers MD and address Autoimmune and Thyroid issues specifically so stay tuned for those resources.  She certainly warrants a separate post.

PS.  This is not a book sent to me for review.... it is just one in my stack that I wanted to share.  I paid real money for this one!  LOL

August 24, 2016

They Were Christians by Cristobal Krusen

One of the first things I do when I get a book with an author I am unfamiliar with is search for the author on google.  Maybe I am a huge geek but I want to know more about who wrote the book I am about to read.  I knew absolutely nothing about Cristobal Krusen when I got this book.  I suspect many of you don't know who he is either so I will tell you a bit about him before we get started with the book review.

Cristobal Krusen is a director, writer, producer and actor.  He has two degrees in film arts and has a lifelong love of classic literature and writing as well as photography.  One of the first entries I found when I did a google search on him was a link to IMDb!  He has worked on a few Christian biography projects on film.  The projects include a biographical movie called Undaunted: the early life of Josh McDowell and one about the early settlers to Jamestown called First Landing.

It seems only logical that he would write a biographical resource such as They Were Christians based on his love of history and writing.  This book is full of short biographies of some of the most influential people in history.  The subtitle says "men and women" but there was only one woman represented in this text.  It also speculates that some were Christians who may not have actually said they were but the fruit of a relationship with God was there according to Krusen's accounts of their lives.  I believe this book is well researched and historically accurate.

It is very well written.  I think I would enjoy reading more by Krusen.  I see potential for a series of books like this from him.  The book is not intended to give huge in-depth biographical information but, rather, it is designed to show faith in action in the lives of those he has chosen to write about.  

If you love reading biographies this is perfect for you!  I think it would lend itself to a homeschool library very well.  It is definitely for the older student.  The book is full of faith accounts and I believe it will strengthen our own faith to read about the challenges and faith during hard times in the lives of these historical figures.  My favorites were Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens and Frederick Douglass.  There were a few that were new to me, too.  I always love meeting new people in history!

This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for reading and honestly reviewing it by Baker Publishing Baker Books Division.

I recommend this book highly and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

August 02, 2016

Murder Comes By Mail by A. H. Gabhart


This is a modern day mystery written by a Christian writer and published through a Christian publishing company.  It is clean in language and presentation but it is not overtly religious.  It is very well written and suitable for all audiences from high school age up.

It opens with a small town deputy sheriff, Michael Keane, doing a favor for his aunt.  He was taking a busload of women from her church to a neighboring town for a performance.  On the drive there a most unexpected event happens.  Keane has to make an emergency stop along the way to talk a suicidal man off a local bridge.  Just shortly after pulling the man back from the brink of suicide against the man's will a simple threat sets things in motion.  Days after the rescue the mystery begins with an envelope that is delivered by mail with photos of a dead girl that no one can identify readily.  Keane is forced to begin his investigation even though it is out of his jurisdiction... an investigation that will, hopefully, save the lives of those closest to him and eventually his own life.  A colorful cast of characters includes a newspaper man, a lawyer friend from Keane's childhood, a feisty aunt and a neighboring police chief and his assistant who all come together to work it out before more people die.  

My Thoughts

This was my first murder mystery to read for review and I was pleasantly surprised at how addictive and enjoyable this book was.  So many quick read mysteries tend to be predictable and cliche but this was not like that at all.  I did figure it out before I got to the end but it kept me surprised and guessing all the way up to the moment I realized who did it!

I really loved the writing.  It was not complicated with lots of new vocabulary words but it was certainly a book I had a hard time putting down.  It was the perfect vacation book for me this summer.  I enjoyed it so much I came home and ordered the first book in the series for my fall reading list.  It is the second book in the series and there is a hint that more are coming in the Michael Keane stories.  I look forward to enjoying those, too.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest read and review.  It was sent to me by the publisher.... Baker's Publishing Revell Division.  I clearly enjoyed it and purchased the first in the series on my own.  LOL  I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it highly for all those murder mystery friends out there.  It was a great read!

August 01, 2016

More Change = More Stress Ahead!

Mt. Rushmore - Summer 2016

As another month begins I am living with a constant knot in my stomach!  There has been a LOT of change this summer and we are not done.  I mentioned before that there was a graduation and a wedding and then we had a giant trip to 8 different states over a month's time.  After that we have had a diagnosis of congestive heart failure for one parent and a failed bypass valve with another.  I am done with drastic!  Middle boy has started back with summer band for high school and he will be a junior this year.  We have a girlie leaving for college in 13 days and neither one of us is feeling ready yet.  I may never.... children leaving is just hard.  I am, however, so very excited for what lies ahead for her.

With a new month comes new goals and plans and August is especially full of those kinds of things. Once we get girlie settled we head straight back to prepare here for the start of another school year and the hubby going back to work full time.  I am looking forward to some structure and routine again.  Summers always make me feel discombobulated!

I have books that have been started to finish and new books to begin.  A new Bible study is beginning on August 29th with Love God Greatly and my book has already been ordered.  There are cleaning projects that have been in progress all summer that will continue.  I have a ton of photos of the changes around here. There is furniture to move and some to give away. I have lined up some painting projects and photo sorting projects to keep me busy come August 22nd when I have an empty house again.  Oh, and there are always new menus to plan and a new schedule to coordinate.

I am hoping to be here more... to write more... to share more.  It is in the list of goals for a new semester.

There are also eating and exercise changes coming for me.  It may sound harsh but as I have watched our aging parents struggling with health issues this summer I have determined in my own mind that I will make my future different by being attentive now to the things that can keep me strong and healthy as I age.  I cannot stop everything but I can stop some of it.  The kids and I have all had doctors appointments, dentist appointments and vision testing for new glasses so that is behind us come this Friday.

Dan has been diligent in getting much of his stuff done this summer in regards to his health.  I am grateful that he is concerned with that.  I have watched as others in our family have not been so thoughtful of their loved ones.  It is important to care for one's own health in order to spare such stress to those around us.  You cannot take care of those around you if you don't put your own "oxygen mask" on in a plane emergency and that goes for the rest of your life, too.  I plan on making sure I am able to continue to care for those around me well for as long as I am able.

With that in mind I am also preparing for another Whole30 in September... with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) restrictions this time.  I will spend August getting ready to hit the ground running for that.

I hope someone is still out there to share all of this with.  LOL

Do any of you have big plans for a reboot for fall?

I would love to hear from you!

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?


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