Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Advent Virus

WARNING……WARNING:
ADVENT VIRUS


Be on the alert for symptoms of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

* A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
* A loss of interest in judging other people.
* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
* A loss of interest in conflict.
* A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
* Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
* Frequent attacks of smiling.
* An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
* An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please warn all your friends. This virus can and has affected many people!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Decorating My Computer Screen for Christmas

Yes, I am even decorating my computer wallpaper for Christmas.    With The Shabby Princess, I make a change to my wallpaper every month.   You know that!   hee hee

The wording on my desktop says:
All we want for Christmas is Mary Morgan & Kennedy to add to these photos!
(Mary Morgan & Kennedy are my twin nieces that are due to arrive on December 15th!   We are so excited and can't wait for them to arrive.  Can you tell?)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Is...

Gathering around the fire pit at night to roast marshmallows and hot dogs...

Seeing who can outdo the other on the marshmallow eating contest...
Playing paintball in the woods...
And take a few pics of the kids to remember the holiday and how fast they are growing...

The Two Keys to Thanksgiving



The secret of maintaining a grateful heart is contentment.

Key #1 - Thank him daily!

Psalms 68:19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits..."

Key #2 - Thank him no matter what happens.

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
1 Timothy 6:6, 8 "But godliness with contentment is great gain.... And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee..."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFW: Give Thanks!

This cute little Indian is my Big Guy. He was an Indian in his first grade Thanksgiving play.
Was that really five years ago?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have sooooo many things to be thankful for. Everytime I have ever looked at this Scripture I have always looked at the part that says, "in everything", but I haven't really focused on the part that says it is the "will of God".
All my life I have said that I wanted to do God's will, but I have been missing such an easy part of fulfilling God's will for my life. Being thankful in everything.
When should we be thankful? The only way I know to find that answer is to go to the Bible.
First it says, in every circumstance.
Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God..."
Philippians 4:6 "... in everything ..."
Philippians 4:11 "... for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God ..."
Second, while entering His presence.
Psalms 100:4 "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving ... be thankful unto him... "


Third, it says continually.
In the middle of the night...
Psalms 119:62 "At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to Thee ..."
Three times a day....
Daniel 6:10 ... "kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks ..."
Every morning and every evening.

1 Chronicles 23:30 "And they are to stand every morning to thank
and to praise the Lord, and likewise at evening."


I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We are SO blessed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cool Baby Luke

As promised, I am posting a few pics from my nephew's baby dedication on Sunday morning. Luke was born on August 5th to my hub's brother and sister-in-law. Above is a picture of hubs, me (Can you believe it? Me in a pic. I was forced!), Big Guy, Little Guy, FIL, MIL and my sister-in-law's parents.


Here is hubs holding little Luke. Hubs is a natural with any baby. He always has been. Although Luke really doesn't look like hubs' side of the family, he definitely has some of their very specific character traits already. He is very hot natured and if he gets mad he gets overheated quickly. He loved being talked to and especially liked male voices.

Here is a pic of the cousins. Big Guy and Little Guy both thought Little Luke was sweet and said they really wouldn't mind if we did some babsitting as long as they didn't have to change any diapers.

Can't Catch Us! We're The Gingerbread People!

When the holidays start to arrive, the boys start talking about the things that we "always" do... as in traditions.
With twin nieces about to arrive in three short weeks and a niece who is a junior in high school and a very hectic schedule, I decided to do one of our traditions a little early.      The kids love to be together so my sister and I established traditions early that allowed that to happen.     She has the kids over to decorate and bake sugar cookies and I have the kids over to build and decorate gingerbread houses.     Both traditions involve things the kids love.     Lots of laughing, giggling, candy and each other!

Last night everybody came over and we started by building our houses...

While the icing had a chance to dry and "set", we all went to eat a supper of ham and cheese quiche and cheesy chicken and corn casserole.     I am not sure when the kids have eaten so fast.
Jo, my niece and I, grabbed all the candy and put it on the table so that the kids could started creating their masterpieces.
The rules with these houses is anything goes.    Everyone has their own house and they get to build it however they want to.     Just have fun!
Oh, yea!   I think we accomplished our goal.    And all of us agreed.   Next year is going to be even more fun because we will have one year old twins digging into all the icing and candy.   Talk about lots of giggling and laughing!     Can't wait!    This is why I love traditions so much!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Going, Going, Gone!

I had been seeing the signs.    I knew there was a problem, but with the holidays and Christmas shopping I kept hoping that I could baby "it" until after the New Year.     I talked to it, babied it, and tried to give it first aid, but last Wednesday it finally gave up.      My laptop cord.     It was devastating.     As soon as I turned on my laptop I knew it had finally given up.    I tried all the usual techniques:   plugging and unplugging, wiggling the extension, checking the power box.    It had just gone on the technology heaven.

I took it down to my favorite computer repair guy and asked him to make sure it was the power cord and not the laptop adaptor before I ordered another cord.     He confirmed my diagnosis.  

In desperation I ran to a local electronics store, but they wanted me to pay $120 for what I could order online for $45.     So, I ordered it and now I am waiting.   Waiting.   Waiting.  

I wanted today's post to be about my sweet nephew's dedication Sunday morning and the precious pics I took.    But, I am going to wait until that cord arrives and upload them to my laptop.

For now, I borrowed my hubs' computer to let you know.... I WANT MY LAPTOP BACK!   Happy Monday, guys!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alone in the Dark?

"How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?" -- Psalm 13:1

Some people believe the words "Christian" and "depression" should never appear in the same sentence. They believe that a person whose Bible proclaims, "The joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10), should know better than to be unhappy.

It makes you wonder, though, if that was the case with William Cowper, author of such classic hymn lyrics as "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform" and "There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel's veins." Severe depression forced him early in life to abandon his career in law. If not for the patient mentorship of John Newton (composer of "Amazing Grace"), who knows how low Cowper's depression would have taken him?

Charles Spurgeon struggled mightily with depression, particularly after a false cry of "Fire!" set off a stampede in his packed-house congregation, killing several in attendance. He often talked about hearing his "own chains clank" as he delivered his sermons, comparing his feelings to a chariot stuck in the mud.

King David, we know, cried out in melancholy many times through the psalms. Paul, who wrote, "God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus" (2 Corinthians 7:6), certainly knew seasons of darkness and despair. Biblical figures such as Moses, Job and Elijah went through overwhelming valleys of doubt and fear.

So if either of you find yourself under the heavy weight of depression today, grappling to work free but not always able to win the fight, you're not alone in your struggle. Your suffering is not unknown by God. Your dark circumstances are not beyond His power to heal, restore and redeem.

As you seek God for relief, take a measure of comfort in your good company.


(Source: FamilyLife.com)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ready, Set... Doodle

After Big Guy's English test, his teacher told them they could take out a BLANK piece of paper and draw, write, or whatever while the rest of the class finished their test.    Can you believe all the stuff floating around in my Big Guy's head?      

It took me a second to realize that he didn't draw all that on a piece of notebook paper,  but that he drew it to look like a piece of notebook paper.       After he showed it to me he said, "Don't you think this would make a cool t-shirt?"

Why yes I do!   And I think you will find one just like this under the Christmas tree, Big Guy!     However I have to make that happen!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Maybe Rethink the Gift Cards!

If you are like me and tend to buy gift cards for some long distance relatives, then you will want to check out this post from Wilson Family Matters. She posted a list of stores that just announced that they will be closing between now and January 2009.

Gift cards may not be a good idea at these places!

Grandpa's Junk. My Guy's Treasure.

Hubs took the boys to the country to see my MIL and FIL a couple of weeks ago while I was at my women's conference.

You know what they say about one man's junk being another man's treasure? Well, that is so true. FIL has a body shop and he has a pile of scrap parts from cars out behind his body shop. Hubs said that the boys had the best time digging through that pile. They dug out license plates, rims, hub caps and all types of things. Apparently, they found a set of hub caps that are worthy some money and they are going to try to sell them on eBay. (Hubs has already found one set similar that people are bidding big money on.)

Big Guy found a bunch of things and showed Grandpa how if he welded together some tire rims and put a door on top it would make a great table. Hubs said that Grandpa was so impressed that he stopped and they actually built that table. Grandpa is now using that Big Guy-inspired table in his shop.

After a day of treasure hunting they all went inside for supper. FIL and MIL were asking about my baby sister and how the babies were doing. It was typical baby conversation until...

FIL: "Well, I'm glad to hear she is doing well. Do they know the sex of the babies yet?"

Hubs said at this point Little Guy's eyes got really big and he said in a firm voice... "Hey! There are children at this table!"

Hubs said he wasn't sure what was funnier. Little Guy's reaction or his Dad's automatic explanation of the XY chromosomes and splitting and fraternal/paternal twins, etc....

Yes. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Little Guy could give my FIL a run for his money if they were around much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WFW: Stick Close, My Friend

"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
You probably all recognize Little Guy in this picture, but the other member of the family that you haven't met is "Soft Tailed Baby". Soft Tailed Baby joined our family when Little Guy was only about 10 weeks old. He was born with esophagus problems which meant he had to be hospitalized for an extended stay. Hubs' office sent Little Guy this sweet little leopard with a big bunch of balloons attached. Little Guy would sit and stare at those balloons and just touch the soft fur of the leopard. When we came home with the NG feeding tube, Little Guy would endure the weeks of feedings, tube placement checks and a anxious mom by staring at those balloons and touching that little leopard.
Little Guy is now seven and he and Soft Tailed Baby are still "buddies". Especially when Little Guy isn't feeling well or is tired. I remember the first time Little Guy was old enough to be aware when I had to give Baby a bath in the washing machine. He was frantic that Baby was going to drown. I literally had to hold his head above water and hold his nose while dunking him under the water to make sure he got a proper bath.
God comforts me the same way that Baby comforts my Little Guy. He is willing to listen when I am distraught. He talks when I need help or words or love and encouragement. He gives me a shoulder to cry on or His big arms when I need a hug. He holds my hand when I am scared. And I believe He jumps up and down in excitement when I am excited about something.
I have also discovered that God has given me friends to stick close to me as well. This week I made a decision that I have regretted. I second guessed myself in blogging about a prayer request that I wanted you guys to pray with me about. The reason I did this was because the last time I shared with all of you about a prayer request, I received a rebuke from someone in my family who felt I should just get a journal and quit sharing my life on my blog. When this situation came up this week, I decided not to post my request because I didn't want to frustrate my family member. However, what happened was I went through the experience without all the support I knew I would have had. (Trust me, I had support from my husband, wonderful sister and best friend.)
Despite the fact that most of us have never met, when I have my prayer time I spend time praying for Black Betty and Alice's babies, Willow and Wifey's new job-to-be, Sandi's new job, Mayberry's health, Felicity and Wyatt's new relationship with God, Lizzy's financial situation, Belle's approaching one year death of her father and so many, many more.
So, now I tell you, my friends who stick close. Last night the doctors called and told us that the tests are ALL CLEAR! Praise God! Big Guy had a tumor removed from behind his ear two years ago and he had been having some symptoms over the past week that led us and the doctors to be concerned that it could be growing back, but this time underneath the skull instead of outside like before. We had scans run this morning and when they called tonight they said that there were no tumors, no brain bleeds and no signs of problems. Have I said "Praise God" yet? They told us to come Thursday to check for possible nerve involvement from the previous surgery that might be causing the symptoms, but THAT I can handle much more than our previous fears.
Thank you my blogging friends. For being here even when you didn't know you were. And for the small group of you who actually knew about what was going on and kept me sane the last two days. Thank you for truly sticking closer than a brother.
My God is great and greatly to be praised!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

White Christmas Pie



Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:



In Review: When my first son was born, I developed a real concern and it developed into a prayer that God would let me live long enough to raise my sweet baby. I just couldn't imagine leaving him alone without a mother. God helped me to deal with that fear and helped me to realize that He loved both of us very much and He would always take care of us, but every once in a while that little fear just creeps up. Kind of like when I picked up this book.

Will only thought his life was turned upside down when his Mom died. It really turned upside down when his Dad and he spent the night in the home of a very nice Amish family. The next morning when he woke up his Dad was gone and he had been left there without a note or explanation or anything.

Like most children, Will adjusted to life with this special couple who took him in as their own son. He grew into a wonderful young man although his heart never lost the ache for his father who abandoned him.

Just as he is getting ready to get married, his Father finds him. The ending of the book showed me truly just how God can work together for our good. It may not be today or tomorrow, but He does. Always. In His time. Sometimes it is over a delicious piece of pie!

The Moon Shines Down


If you are a Mom you have probably read "Goodnight Moon" about a 1,000 times. You have every word memorized. Just picking up the book brings back the memories of snuggling up with your sweet one after a bath. How sweet they smell just after their bath all warm and cuddly in their pajamas. Curled up beside you with their bedtime cuddly.

Don't you just love Margaret Wise Brown for creating these special memories for you and your child? I do! Now I am so glad that one of her manuscripts has been discovered and was recently published. The Moon Shines Down was discovered in an old trunk on her Vermont farm. That is pretty incredible to me considering Ms. Brown died nearly 56 years ago.

This beautifully illustrated book reminds me of the song that says, "Jesus loves the little children. ALL the children of the world."

I think it is really special that this book arrives just in time for the arrival of my precious twin nieces. I intend to give them this special book for their bookshelf. I hope that this new book which is based on a classic prayer which says "God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me" will be a memory maker for them and my sweet sister like "Goodnight Moon" was for me and my boys.
This book will definitely be going in my "gift closet" for new babies in my life.
Buy the book here: Christian Book or Amazon

Dear Teachers, I Want My Thanksgiving Break Too!


Teachers all around wait for the holidays just like students, but I believe they have a different reason, a more sinister reason. I believe they plan their revenge for their holiday excitement. Revenge for all the kids who drive them crazy during the first weeks of school with their incessant talking, back talking, late assignments, crazy questions, and rudeness.

How do they do this? Over the holiday projects!! Oh, I hate them (projects... not the teachers)! Since Big Guy started school I have dreaded this part of the holidays. I dread opening his backpack and seeing the words "Project Due Date" at the top of the page.

Wednesday Big Guy has to recite "The Pilgrim's Came" for a major test grade in his history class. Maybe I am being petty, but when I was in school we had to memorize "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, The Preamble to the Constitution and The Gettysburg Address. Those things seem a little bit more relevant and educational to me, but that is just me.

As of right now, Big Guy has two major projects that are due as soon as we come back from the Thanksgiving holidays. Get that? They were assigned to be worked on during the Thanksgiving holidays. As if I want to do think about or encourage my boys to do homework over the break.

The other thing that drives me crazy? If they are going to assign a project, I think they should have a reason. A point. An educational purpose.

One of Big Guy's project to create a poster about dirt. The theme is "Dig It" and it is for the Hinds County Soil Conservation Project. They don't have to do any research on any particular theme. Just draw a poster that fits the theme. This is a MAJOR test grade. Why have they been assigned this project? Honestly? Because teachers who have a student with a winning posters will earn rewards and recognition for their classroom.

The other project is for Big Guy to create an autobiographical timeline including a writing and a timeline creation. This has to include milestones from their birth to present and predictions of their life through 2013. The purpose of this project? I have no idea, but whatever it is did it have to be done over Thanksgiving?

Maybe Scholastic Scribe can shed some light on this situation since she is a longtime teacher.

All I know is that parents want their Thanksgiving break too! Waaaahhhhhh!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Election Results Are In

Sometime Friday afternoon Big Guy casually mentions that they FINALLY had their class elections.     Errrrrrcccccckkkkk! (That was supposed to be the sound of car brakes.   Ha!)   

Me:   "What did you say?"

Big Guy:   "We had our class elections."

Me:    "And........"

Big Guy:    "I didn't win."

Me:    "Oh.   O.K.    Well....   I am glad you decided to run."

I thought that was the end of the conversation, but a few minutes later he walks up.

Big Guy:   "Mom, I forgot to tell you who won the election."

Me:    "You are right.   Who won?"

Big Guy:   "Sarah."

Me:    "I don't remember her."

Big Guy:    (explains to me who she is and then says...)  "Yea, it would have been a tie between me and her, but I voted for her instead of voting for myself.    I just don't understand why people vote for themselves.   That seems a little arrogant to me to vote for yourself.    I thought Sarah would do a good job so I voted for her.     Some of my friends teased me for not voting for myself, but Mom it just seemed really.... not right.    You know?.....    I am starving."

Me:     I didn't answer because I was so choked up with pride at my son's choice that I couldn't find my voice.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seek First

"Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "
--Matthew 6:33
I want to spend just one more day wrapping up these seven non-negotiables of life--because when you see them together like this, it becomes much clearer what they're all about.


Seek God, not sin.
Fear God, not man.
Love God, not the world.
Believe God, not the deceiver.
Obey God, not your appetites.
Serve God, not self.
Worship God, not comfort.


We know in our heads that we should put God first and ourselves last. What we're not always sure about, though, is how to apply that theoretical truth in real life--during a routine business meeting or a normal Thursday afternoon or an encounter with a child.

That's what these seven simple action points are all about. When every intersection of life begins with an eye toward God--the way each of the statements in this list does--our lives begin to more closely resemble our professed beliefs.

Keep these seven non-negotiables close, put them in your pocket or purse and discover how often they apply to the choices you make in the course of an average day. They'll help you not just remember your need to put God first, but also see how to do it.


(Found at: FamilyLife.com)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

G.R.O.S.S.

The other night hubs walks in with a little piece of paper and says, "Hey! Have you seen this?" On the little scrap of paper was written this:

G.R.O.S.S. Membership
I, Little Guy, would like a membership to join the super awesome G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid of Slimy Girls) Club. This membership has been approved by Big Guy (Supreme Dictator for Life). Meetings are held in the G.R.O.S.S. Club fort. Welcome Aboard!
My boys are hysterical! I hope they think girls are slimy for a looooonnnnggggg time. Well, except for me. Hee Hee

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WFW: Write Them On Your Doorframes

When I was growing up, the Gideons would come to our school and hand out Bibles if you wanted one. If you went to a hotel, you would always see a Bible on the nightstand. A Bible could be found in any doctor or dentist waiting room. Graduates of high school or even military boot camp would be awarded brand new Bibles for their accomplishments.

Each new school day would begin with prayer by the principal over the intercom. Football games would begin with the teams huddled around the referees saying a word of prayer over the players.

Today? Often times the only place a child will hear Scripture is when they go to Sunday School. That is one hour a week (if you are lucky). One hour to teach our children, impress on their hearts and imprint on them God's life plan.

Church is not supposed to teach our children. If you want to know the truth, I don't want church teaching my children. It is my responsibility to be the spiritual mentor for my boys. God told my husband and I to talk about Scripture -- when we sit in our house with our family and when we are in the car on the way to school or at social gatherings. We are to talk about God’s word when we lie down and when we rise — in other words, from morning to evening, all day long!

When Moses wrote and told his people to write the words on their doorposts and gates it was because they did not have book binding as we do today. The books of the Bible were written on large, cumbersome scrolls. It took 22 to 24 scrolls to hold all the words of the Old Testament alone. Since they didn’t have Bibles like we do today, God told them to write the words on the doorposts and the gates of the house.

Even still, I believe in the concept of placing God's word on the doorpost. I have Scriptures on the boy's bathroom mirror, the headboards, the refrigerator, inside their closet doors, inside my closet door, and anywhere else I think it is appropriate. Some of these Scriptures are picked to be encouraging for certain challenges or struggles that one or each of us may be going through.

It is our job as parents to hide this Word in our children's hearts so that when Jesus stands at their door and knocks, they will be willing to open it to Him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Heroes


We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.


My thoughts are filled and overflowing today. Growing up, Veteran's Day was for "older" people. It was hard for me to relate and understand. Now it is all to understandable to me. All too real. These are people that I know. These are friends and family.



  • Specialist James A. "Andy" Burnett. Andy was wounded while serving as an airborne medic in the US ARMY in Afghanistan on Thursday, July 17. Andy was shot in the back of the neck by a sniper in what we now know to have been the most costly battle that the US forces have seen in Afghanistan in the entire length of Operation Enduring Freedom. The round severed a portion of his spinal cord and has, to this point, left him with several injuries and without the use of his legs. Andy has been in rehab in Tampa. His brother and best friend, Daniel, has been there with him. Both are amazing men and remind me so much of David and Jonathon in the Bible in the way they look after each other. Andy is beginning to go on outings from the hospital to the mall. Andy was just awarded his second Purple Heart for his service to our country.

  • Master Sgt. Denny Pettway. When you look at the picture to the right you see my friend, Denny, and his beautiful wife dressed up and ready to go to the Marine Corp. Ball. When I look at it I see the guy whose locker was down the hall from me in 7th grade. That killer smile and those dimples. Girls all over school were "in love" with him, but I was lucky to be friends with him. We are still friends today. I get choked up when I think about him serving on the fields on Iraq. I get tickled when I hear him say that he served two tours of duty in Iraq without injury, but he thinks he needs full gear serving in the public school system. Just this year he has been head butted and bitten.

  • Master Sgt. Brian McAnulty. Denny and I went to school with Brian. He was always smiling. He had such a mischievous streak in him. Soccer was his sport and he was talented. I can imagine him surrounded by Iraqi children playing a game of soccer. It is still difficult to look at that picture and realize that December 11, 2006, will be the two year anniversary since the CH-53 helicopter crashed just after take off in the Anbar province of Iraq.

  • My Daddy. He would just hurt me if I posted his picture here, but my Daddy served our country in the Air Force. His time in the Air Force not only helped our Country, but helped prepare him for some of the work he would do in his "civilian" life. My Daddy is one of the most incredible men you will ever meet. A man of honor, integrity and loyalty. This Country was lucky to have him.

  • There are so many more that I can think of: Mike McCollum (Director of Public Works for our small town who has served many tours), Randy Germany (BIL who was in National Guard), Jay Germany (cousin who is active duty pilot), and many men who we go to church with who are in the service.

On this Veteran's Day, I say what is most appropriate, but also so inadequate....


Thank you!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Until We Reach Home


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Until We Reach Home

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)

by

Lynn Austin



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. She has published twelve novels. Three of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, and Fire by Night have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, and 2004 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005.

Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

Among her lastest books are A Proper Pursuit and A Woman's Place


ABOUT THE BOOK

Life in Sweden seems like an endless winter for three sisters after their mother's and father's suicide. Ellin feels the weight of responsibility for her sisters' welfare and when it circumstances become unbearable, she writes to her relatives in Chicago, pleading for help.

Joining sixteen million other immigrants who left their homelands for America between 1890 and 1920, Ellin, Kirsten, and Sophia begin the long, difficult journey. Enduring the ocean voyage in steerage and detention on Ellis Island, their story is America's story. And in a journey fraught with hardships, each woman will come to understand her secret longings and the meaning of home.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Until We Reach Home, go HERE

Extraordinary

Have you ever gotten something to drink, but didn't realize just how thirsty you were until you started drinking? However, once you started drinking you couldn't stop drinking until the glass was empty? That is the way I felt about this weekend's Extraordinary Women's Conference. I knew I would enjoy it, but I just didn't realize how thirsty my soul was until I was actually there.

Here are some highlights from my experience at the "Extraordinary Women" weekend:

  • After chatting on our blogs, Conservative Belle and I have been trying to find a time to get together and this was the perfect opportunity. We laughed and laughed Friday night at Chonda Pierce. We also had so much fun chatting and talking about just "stuff". Since we live so close to each other, I followed her home. When she says she has found her inner "Nascar"... she is NOT kidding!! hee hee
  • Looking around the sanctuary at 3,000 other women who were laughing, giggling and taking some precious time to refuel.
  • Listening to Karen Kingsbury. I love her books. Karen talked about how wrapped in the characters of her books she becomes. She became so wrapped up in one of her characters that she cried when it became time for that character to die. When her husband came in and found her crying he panicked and asked what was wrong. When he realized it was just a book character he said, "Well, you killed her!" Karen says that each of us have characters in the stories of our lives. Some are easy to love. Some aren't. Unfortunately though, we can't sit down at our laptop and rewrite their personalities or how they are going to act and react.
  • "The last time that you catch a frog back in that old backyard pond. The last time that you run barefoot across the fresh cut lawn. Silly, scattered images will represent your past. I will keep on taking pictures never quite sure of your "lasts"...." Oh, yea, I was crying like a baby when Karen Kingsbury was reading her book "Let Me Hold You Longer".
  • I could have listened to Angela Thomas all day long. Oh, and to have God tap me on the elbow and say, "You are beautiful." Ahhhhh....
  • Thelma Wells is right. God is definitely not through with me yet. You go, girl!
  • By far the highlight of the weekend for me was the Children of the World choir. This choir is made up of children who have lost their parents due to illness and death. Seeing these children completely and totally surrender themself in praise to their God was just totally a humbling experience for me. I found a clip on You Tube so you could see a little of them for yourselves. There is no wonder why Jesus said a little child shall lead them.



It's you I live for every day, Jesus!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Review: The Chronological Study Bible

I am a Bible "scribbler". As I study, listen to sermons or discover new words from God, I write notes in my Bible. Because of this habit, I find it necessary to purchase a new Bible occasionally so that I can study fresh and new. If I don't do this then I will find myself studying the same things over and over in the same way.

The Chronological Study Bible appealed to me when sent to me by the Thomas Nelson family because it was presented in chronological order or rather, the historical order in which they actually happened. Because of my historically challenged mind, I was anxious to dig into the Bible and read things in this perspective.

As soon as I opened the Bible, I was immediately drawn in. This is what a Study Bible is supposed to be.

Some of the features which I found incredible were:

  • New King James Version - I am very picky about the versions I ready and study so I was very glad that this study Bible arrived in NKJV.
  • The top of each page is labeled with the time periods.
  • "Time Capsule" boxes give you newspaper type headlines of historical events.
  • Everything is arranged in chronological order which means this isn't the Bible you want to take to church, but when you are ready events, such as the birth of Jesus, you have all of the accounts in one place.
  • I loved how visually pleasing the entire Bible is not only in the layout, but in all of its illustrations, maps, and pictures of artifacts.
  • Explanation of world history and culture
  • "Daily Life Notes" which explained how people lived in Bible times

Understanding the culture, history and being able to read things in chronological order made so many more things fall into place for me.

I would highly recommend this Bible for anyone in your life who needs a study Bible, who loves history or has never explored the Bible from this perspective.

Everything to Me

Marc Schultz was one of the featured musicians for this weekend's Extraordinary Women Conference. I love his music so much.   I really love this song of his. It is a beautiful song of love about his appreciation to his birth mom for giving him up for adoption.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Reason I Would Take Karate


Rain Song



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Rain Song


Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


by


Alice J. Wisler



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alice sold her first story to David C. Cook for a take-home Sunday School paper called Sprint. The year was 1988, this was her first submission to a paying market, and the check sent to her was for $125.00.

She was on her way!

Since then, Alice has sold articles and devotions to the Upper Room, Alive Now, Standard Publishing, ByLine magazine and others.

In 2006 she sent her novel Rain Songto Bethany House...and the rest is history! She signed a two -book deal and the second, How Sweet It Is will be out in 2009.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his emails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rain Song, go HERE

Friday, November 7, 2008

Renew, Rejuvenate, Refresh

Don't be jealous, but I am going to be spending the weekend with Chonda Pierce, Avalon, Angela Thomas, Karen Kingsbury, Mark Schultz and several other famous people.       Well, me and several thousand other women who will be attending the Extraordinary Women's Conference.     

Thanks to K, we bought our tickets early so our seats are on the main floor.     Which is another great thing about this conference... I get to go to this amazing conference with K and Conservative Belle.     K and I go to church together, but we never really get to spend a lot of time together because she is busy using her amazing voice in the choir and I am busy with the middle school ministry.      Conservative Belle and I have been building a friendship over our blogs, but we have never actually met.   We are going to solve that tonight!

I was joking yesterday that this is my SURVIVOR weekend.     However, instead of "Outwit. Outplay. Outlast."   This weekend is for women who need to Renew.  Rejuvenate.   Refresh!

Ahhhhhh!     I can't wait!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Out of Her Hands



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Out Of Her Hands


Tyndale House Publishers (September 22, 2008)


by


Megan DiMaria



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and raised in New York State and have since lived in Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and now I live in Colorado. My husband and I have three delightful, adult children and an old Jack Russell Terrier named
Belle who seems to find her way into my novels. My resume will tell you I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in Communications, and after graduation I worked as a radio and television reporter, freelance writer, editor and marketing professional.

I'm a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and am assistant director of Words For The Journey, Rocky Mountain Region.

But what's most important to know about me is that I am a follower of Jesus, wife, mother, friend, reader and writer.

Life’s a journey, enjoy the adventures!


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children's future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Out Of Her Hands, go HERE

"No sophomore slump for DiMaria! This novel (Out of Her Hands) is as engaging and meaningful as her first, Searching for Spice. Her realistic portrayal of the characters' lives should endear them to readers and help Christians to feel less alone in their daily trials."
~Romantic Times Magazine, 4 ½ stars TOP PICK!

“Life in Linda's world is messy...but filled with love, laughter, struggle and faith. Megan has created a most real heroine for us to love...and I adore her!”
~Deena Peterson, reviewer: A Peek at my Bookshelf

“Megan DiMaria crafts a novel so compelling, so real, you forget you're reading fiction.”
~Darcie Gudger, reviewer: TitleTrakk

"This is a great read for a quiet afternoon or in those times when you feel your own life spinning out of control and need the reality check of knowing you're not in it alone."
~Amazon reviewer

In Review:     The older my boys get I am discovering the hardest part of parenting is letting them go to make their own mistakes.      It is also hoping and praying that I have taught the what they need to know and that they have listened.      I mean, sometimes they don't listen then I tell them to pick up their socks off the floor.     How can I be sure they listened on the big things and that it "stuck"?    

I really felt for Linda in this book.     Not only is she struggling with cutting the apron strings, but now her son has decided to introduce *gulp* a girlfriend.       The other woman has other ideas and other things begin to happen that Linda can't control.     

Linda does what every Mom does.    Goes into panic mode because things are OUT OF HER HANDS!   And let's face it.   That is not where any of us wants to be.

When Mom's Away...

My boys play! And boy did they have fun. Last weekend when I was with my sisters, Hubs, Big Guy, Little Guy and "A" (my nephew) were having a BLAST! Hubs woke up early Saturday morning and went out and set up an elaborate paintball course in our back yard. He spray painted targets on plywood and cardboard and even the bottom of a trashcan. He found some old fundraising signs and painted those too. (Don't tell Amanda, Amusing!!) The boys were in heaven.

After all those hours of fun, he loaded them up and took them to grab some lunch and went to a park for them to have even MORE fun.

Can you say "BEST DADDY IN THE WORLD?" I can. Hubs, I love you so much. For this Thankful Thurday, I am so thankful that God blessed me with you. You are still the "one".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WFW: Iron Sharpens Iron

I love to cook. When you are cooking you want to have a good set of knives. It is important to have a good, sharp set of knives. Using dull knives is not only a lot more work, but actually very dangerous. A dull knife can cut you a lot faster than a sharp one. It is harder to control because of the amount of force it takes to cut.

It is kind of the same way with friends. I can look at my friends and identify a specific character trait that they have that has "sharpened" me. One of my friends is very wise. One is very loving. One is giving while another is a very good Spiritual mentor.

One the other side, there have been a few friends in my life who have been "dull" knives. Constantly complaining, bickering, whining and gossipping, I felt as if I were being whittled away at with a dull knife.

The Bible says that "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." I have come to realize that the people I surround myself with and the friends I choose are very important. They are molding me and sharpening me into the woman of God that I am meant to be.

A Historic Moment

We have a new president.     It is definitely a historic moment for our country.   For our world.    However, my heart aches that our country chose money over life.    It definitely says a lot about the spiritual state of our world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do A Little Shopping On Election Day

Kohl's is offering an extra 15% off everything
from 11am - 4pm Central Time
today only with
coupon code WIN15.
This includes 99 cent shipping!
MomAgenda is offering 40$ off mini-planners and
free shipping on orders over $75.
They have GREAT stuff!

Get Your Exercise Today... VOTE

I don't care who you are voting for.... just get your exercise today!

Go VOTE!

Plus, look at all the great free stuff you get when you vote!

Vote and get a FREE Krispy Kreme Donut! If you vote and get a "I voted!" sticker, you can get a FREE star shaped red, white and blue donut on November 4th! Yummy!!

Won't Joe The Plumber be happy to get a FREE Cup of Joe after he votes? Starbucks will be giving away a free 12-ounce drip coffee on election day. No sticker needed. Just say "I voted!"

Chick-fil-a is also fulfilling their patriot duty with a FREE Chicken Sandwich for all voters.

On Election Day, Shane's Rib Shack, an 85-unit chain based in Atlanta will give voters the Shane's Vote America Meal which includes three chicken tenders, fries and a 20-ounce drink.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Punk'd

I spent the weekend with my sisters. With my having kidney stones and my baby sister fighting a terrible sinus infection, we felt like we had been punk'd. We had been planning this weekend for months and all our shopping, coffee shop, movie plans got chunked and we wound up curling up in blankets on my sister's couch watching a movie and giggling together.

Genesis, my sister's cat, slept in my bed with me which is highly unusual since she is not usually a lovey cat. She just curled up in a ball and put her head in my hand. Soooo sweet!

Saturday morning we all crawled up into her king size bed and took turns alternately petting Jack (dog) and Genesis (cat). I think they were in pet heaven!

Of course, part of our time was spent sitting in the girl's nursery going through all the sweet stuff that my baby sis has been given at her various showers. I can't wait for M and K to get here. I got to feel them moving around and it was so amazing.

Changing subject... I found one of those websites that lets you upload a picture into a template and it gives you a new wacky picture. I loved these NYC billboard and sidewalk chalk pics.

Doesn't that look real???



Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Am Longing...

I love the group, Sierra. I don't even know if they are a group any more, but the words of their music just pull me into a spirit of worship.





Lyrics to this song:

So quick to anger
And so rarely slow to speak
My best intentions
Pick the worst of times to leave
Lord, make me stronger
Help me stand up to the test
I want to give my all
Instead of just what's left

I am longing
For a heart like Yours
Full of goodness
Faithful, pure
Leading a path
Straight to Heaven's door
I am longing
For a heart like Yours

The robes of mercy
Are what broken people need
But chains of judgment
Seem to come more easily
Lord, take this pride
That's always standing in my way
So I can see a different world
Through eyes of grace

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Wallpaper

Freebies for 2nd Digital Scrapbooking Day


If you haven't discovered digital scrapbooking yet, today is a great day to start! One of the best things about digital scrapbooking is that you can download so many freebies to play with and if you don't like it then just hit "delete" and start over!


Digital Freebie Blogs

DigiFree - The Digital Scrapbooking Search Engine blog

DigiScrapper Corner - Freebies, kits and more on this blog

Ellie Lash - Love the Rugrats Playground Freebie (A boy is noise with dirt on it.)

Faith Sisters - Great ideas and kits for blogging your faith.

Scrapbook Day Sales

Weeds and Wildflowers Design - 30 - 75% off entire shop

Shabby Miss Jen - Sale

Scrapbook Graphics - Sale

Free Digital Scrapbooking - Good site!

Freebies

GREAT free kits from Shabby Princess (You could scrap for days with these!)

Free Corner of Tea Peas In a Bucket

Free Doodle Kits from Digital Design Essentials

Startup Pack from Pickleberry Pop

Free Downloads from Digital Scrapbooking

Free Downloads from Peppermint Creative

Free Samples from Cottage Arts

November Desktop from Shabby Miss Jen

Embellishments from Funky Playground

Various Papers & Kits from Raspberry Road Designs

Digital Freebies - Featuring the Original Freebie Friday

The Best FREE Photoshop Brushes

Tutorials

ScrapTutor - Free Online Classes

Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners

More Beginner Tutorials

Tutorials from Cottage Arts


Where are your favorites? Share, share, share!! Please?