Friday, May 29, 2009

Random Photos

While the boys were running around Fort Morgan, I wandered around taking photos of things. I really wish I had more of a photographer's eye. I am sure that someone who has that kind of talent could have really gotten some great photos.








Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pics at Fort Morgan

We took the boys down to Fort Morgan one afternoon. They love history and knew they would love exploring the fort. Of course, they would have loved it more if I hadn't been taking so many photos.





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WFW: Lack of Knowledge

We have been enjoying a wonderful week on the beach. I can't tell you how much we have needed this time together. Lazy mornings. Going to the beach and playing in the sand, collecting shells, building castles, splashing in the waves, etc.... It should have been totally relaxing, but for some reason I can't ever turn off my Mommy radar.

You see, the red flags were flying which meant that there were very strong undercurrents and very unsafe water conditions today. One Mom sitting near us had a two year old who was wearing a life vest but he chose to take it off. He kept running to the waves and I kept standing there on edge and waiting to jump in to rescue him. All the while his Mom kept saying as she read her book, "Honey, you might need your life vest."

As we walked back to our condo a couple of teenagers were grilling on their condo and the flames were getting quite high. There are signs everywhere saying it is illegal to grill anywhere but on the grills outside in the open areas, but apparently these girls failed to notice these signs.

I just couldn't help but think of this verse from Hosea in each of these instances. How many people are being destroyed today for lack of knowledge? Not about water conditions or fire safety, but about God's Word and His will for us.

When I look at our Country right now, I worry that it is a lot of people and its leadership.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

End of School Year Photos

Forgive me while I show you a few pics that have been stored on my camera while I didn't have a computer.


Little Guy singing the only solo in the Earth Day play at his school.


Big Guy playing with the band at Awards Day


Showing off their "growth" in the classroom


Little Guy showing me the eggs in their classroom incubator.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Feeding the Birds

Since my computer arrived, I have been uploading all of the pics I have been taking over the past six weeks.

We went out to lunch one weekend to "Cock of the Walk". Like most kids, the boy gathered up all the french fries and went out to feed the birds before we headed home. I enjoyed just sitting and watching them and snapping these shots while they enjoyed themselves.







Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jillian Dare



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Jillian Dare: A Novel


Revell (May 1, 2009)


by


Melanie M. Jeschke



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers  and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area  with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

Friday, May 22, 2009

Faith and Pop Culture


In Review: The Bible says very clearly that we are to be "not of this world". However every day we make decisions and are surrounded by the world.

This eight week study explores movies, books, television, sports, violence, "R" ratings, and entertainment for Christians. I found it very fascinating that the one area that was left largely unexplored in this book was music.

One of the positives about this book is the fact that it is written in a format that will work for both a small group as well as for a large Sunday School class setting. There are two options for a group leader to choose from in leading the discussion depending on the size of the group.

I would recommend this book for a college group or even a new Christian type Sunday School class as the information never wades into very deep waters spiritually. While it opens the door for discussion, it does not necessarily do a very good job at wrapping up with good solid answers. Considering how murky and muddy the waters of entertainment are in today's culture, I would have hoped for something a little more substantial out of a study guide such as this.

Another great resource to use with this book is the Small Group Exchange. Check it out!

Book Description: An eight-week study based on articles written by today's leading Christian authors and published by Christianity Today magazines; this remarkable study fosters deep, authentic, and relevant discussion that will challenge and grow any small group. Faith and Pop Culture takes on a variety of topics, including how God can speak to us through the arts, and how Christians should discern between entertainment that is meaningful and that which is destructive.

Citizen's Arrest!

Black Betty tagged me for the following question. Apparently an email is going around asking this question and the answers are quite interested. I am almost scared to hear what you are going to say.


if you saw ME in a police car
what would you think i got arrested for?



Oh, heavens, what am I doing? Ha!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist

Finding an Unseen God:
Reflections of a Former Atheist

by Alicia Britt Chole


In Review:

God loves us so much. He never quits pursuing us. Even when we are confused by the circumstances of our life and the surroundings we might have been raised in, He knows that He created us to desire Him.

What a refreshing read of one woman's journey from a life of atheism to a discovery of just how much God loves her. Alicia writes to share her story not to try to convince anyone that she is right or wrong which makes her testimony all that more compelling.

Alica did not come to her faith easily. She prefers fact to emotion. Alicia says she "is a fierce realist who prefers unanswered questions over fairy tales."

This book is presented with a crossword theme and the chapters are numbered randomly which immediately put my mind into a tailspin. My well ordered world was trying to make sense of this crazy book, but in a way I felt that was what Alicia had been trying to do all of her life. Her life was in a tailspin until God was introduced and she realized that He had all of the answers that she was looking for.


Book Description:

Truth is dead.
God never lived.
Life is filled with pain.
Death is the end of life.

These beliefs formed Alicia Britt Chole's worldview as a young woman. "I sincerely believed that there was no God," she says. "As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales."

Then one day, without warning, Alicia's Atheistic worldvew was shattered.

Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia's surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him.

Finally Here!!

It has been forever, but it is finally here.     I thought my boys were going to go ballistic when the UPS man drove up yesterday and they saw the box in his hand.      He was FINALLY delivering my COMPUTER!

My old computer broke back at the beginning of April.    It took me a few weeks of stalking bargain sites to find a laptop I could afford and that would fit my needs.      I placed my order on April 27th and it is just now being delivered.

So, blogger friends, here I sit on my couch typing you my first post from my new computer.    I am so glad to be back online and not having to borrow my sweet husband's computer!    

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WFW: No Stumbling Block


My Big Guy just finished his first year in middle school. We will be leaving town this weekend to go to the beach for nine days to rest and recuperate from what was a long, completely draining year. Middle school is nothing short of a nightmare.

In addition to adjusting to the pressures of middle school, we are definitely starting to discuss more and more the social pressures: drinking, smoking, drugs, bad language, cheating, plagarism, pornography, etc... Anytime you begin discussing these things, your children ask you how you made your own decisions.

So many things influenced me in my decisions about all of these things, but Scripturally, none influenced me more than the verse above:

Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer,
but rather decide never to put a
STUMBLING BLOCK
or hindrance in the way of a brother (sister).


Like it or not, I know that people base their opinions based off what they see. I did not want to reflect poorly on my Lord because of words that came out of my mouth due to cussing or because questioned my faith because they saw me walking in a liquor store.

Now that I have children I know that my decisions not to do all of these things are playing a role in their decisions also. Will they make the same decisions as I have made? I am not sure, but I am praying, guiding them and leaving their decisions to them and God.

Ultimately, every person's relationship with God is between them and their Heavenly Father, but I feel strongly convicted that I am need to work as hard as I can not to be a stumbling block. I fail miserably... a lot... but I keep trying every day with the Lord's guidance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ulterior Motive



In Review:   There is a LOT in the news right now about the use of various forms of torture to get viable information from terrorists.    What if our government decided to not use physical torture, but decided to use spiritual "torture"?     To friend and ultimately sway terrorists into changing their religion to Christianity as a way to find information.     

This book delved into just that possibility!    It was scarily possible scenario that truly will make you think about the possibilities for our future or what possibly could be going on right now!


Book Description:  When an al-Qaeda email is intercepted, threatening an attack on America, it leads to the capture of the group's leader. Yet even under fierce interrogation, the terrorist clings to his jihadist beliefs and refuses to divulge any information. Desperate, the Army resorts to extreme measures--a controversial protocol designed to break a subject's resistance. But the attempt must be masked as an offer of clemency and rely on an outside party, someone who is unaware of the protocol's aims.

They find that someone in Greg Cahill, a disgraced soldier who now serves in a prison ministry. Lured by the chance to restore his reputation, Greg befriends a man the entire country despises. And the result proves combustible, the two men having to flee for their lives. With both in need of redemption, they set out to prevent a major catastrophe...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ulterior Motive, go HERE

Shock and Devastation

On Saturday morning, I woke up to the news that a childhood friend had not only lost her home, but her children in an nighttime fire.    I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.   

Trey and Jennifer woke up to their home totally engulfed in flames.    Trey, an assistant fire chief, grabbed his radio off the nightstand and called his fire station frantically to let them know that his own house was on fire.    Immediately he put his fire training to use and kicked out the air conditioner unit in their bedroom to get Jennifer to safety.     He began to crawl to get to the rooms of his 22 month old and 4 year old sons: Tyler and Hadyn.     Unfortunately, the smoke was so thick and the flames so overwhelming that it was already too late.   Sweet Tyler and Hadyn had already died due to smoke inhalation.

Fire and police units from around the county arrived just 3 minutes after Trey called in to his own fire house.    When they arrived they said smoke and flames are coming from every window.

Today at 1:00, Trey and Jennifer have to face the awful nightmare of burying their two precious boys.     I can't wrap my mind around it.    

I know I don't even have to ask you to be surrounding them with prayer today.    They are going to need every ounce of strength they can get to make it through today, and even worse, the days ahead without their precious boys.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Higher Hope

In Review:    Hubs and I have been hooked on Robert Whitlow books for a LONG time.    Whitlow has a John Grisham type writing style which makes Hubs' very happy.    Despite the fact that I have never met a Grisham book I liked (don't shoot me), I LOVE Whitlow's books.  

"Higher Hope" is a court drama about Tami who is a law clerk.     Tami is also a Christian.    A Christian in the law profession?   Isn't that an oxymoron?!?    Anyway, Tami is very dedicated to her relationship with God and isn't willing to compromise.   However, she finds that her faith will be challenged and potentially either grounded or shaken when a high profile case involving a preacher who is thought to have unusual and even supect ways in reaching people.     

In Tami's personal life, she has two men pursuing her.     She takes both of these men home to meet her family and you get a lot of insight into why she is the way she is during these visits.    

Despite the fact there are two parallel story lines going on, it is very easy to read and you will find it very difficult to put down because just when you thought you had it all figured out, you will realize that you were WRONG!

To see all of Robert Whitlow's AMAZING books, visit his website.

Book Description: The Tides of Truth series follows one lawyer’s passionate pursuit of truth--in matters of life and the law.

Competition is tough at the Savannah law firm where Tami Taylor serves as a law clerk. But Tami’s work sets her apart--and the firm’s partners see something special in her. So they assign her to a libel case against an abrasive, outspoken preacher who is either a prophet or a lunatic.

On the surface it appears to be an open and shut case; the preacher seems fully outside the bounds of law. And Tami’s strict religious upbringing could be the firm’s ace-in-the-hole. But as the investigation continues, Tami is troubled by the preacher’s uncanny prophetic abilities. And their client seems to be hiding something.

Tami returns to her hometown, struggling with several critical choices--as two very different men from the firm vie for her heart. Just when the challenges seem insurmountable, hope for Tami arrives from a surprising place. And it’s a higher hope than she’s ever imagined.






Friday, May 15, 2009

Beloved Counterfeit


In Review: This is the third book in the Fairweather Key series. Ruby O'Shea is trying to hide from her past. It is a lot to try to hide from --- once a prostitute and sister-in-law to one of the most well known pirates in the Keys. The last person she wants to catch the attention of is the new pastor, Micah Tate, but unfortunately he has already noticed her. They come to an agreement to marry. A marriage that begins as one of mutual benefit gradually grows to one of respect and then love. However, as with all marriages this one is complicated by Ruby's past and her difficulty dealing with her past sins. Finding the way to make the "head" decision move to "heart" proves to be one that is very difficult and provides for an excellent read!

Book Description: Washed ashore on Fairweather Key, Ruby O’Shea and her three nieces─the offspring of the pirate Thomas Hawkins and Ruby’s late sister─have a chance for a new beginning as Ruby takes a job in a boardinghouse and the girls are passed off as her daughters. But will Ruby be able to confess all when she falls for Micah Tate, a widower, wrecher, and soon-to-be preacher?

Micah is determined to marry the young woman who has captured his heart despite knowing she has something to hide. But will he be able to remain true to his vows when his lady love’s shady past comes to light?

Captain Thomas Hawkins will go to any length to discover the whereabouts of his daughters. What will his determination cost the folks of Fairweather Key?

When Ruby finds herself bereft of her newfound love and protector, will she run away in an attempt to escape her present as she did her past? Will Micah’s love cover the multitude of Ruby’s sins, or will Ruby’s duplicity cost her everything?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Counterfeit, go HERE

Field Trips With Friends

Little Guy is in the gifted class at his school. He has the most amazing gifted teacher ever. Recently she took them on a field trip to the planetarium and the Natural Science Museum to see some exhibits and movies that supplemented some things that they had been studying.

Here is Little Guy with his friends on the nature path at the Natural Science Museum looking for things that they have been studying.

Little Guy and J. This is absolutely his best friend. They share the same birthday and love exactly all the same things. They are teased all the time about being "boyfriend/girlfriend" but they don't let that bother them. They are friends "ONLY" as they say and are glad to have a friend who like the same things.

The group!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just Add A Monkey

Big Guy is not the only one to take a trip with our church. Little Guy went to New Orleans zoo with our children's ministry.

This picture cracked me up because it looks like the leopard is on his head and his expression is just goofy.

Little Guy loved all the unique pathways and places to explore throughout the zoo.

If I could be any animal...

By far his favorite part of the day was the dinosaur exhibit..

They apparently spent a lot of time at the hands-on part of the zoo.

Time to go home, but Little Guy says we need to go back soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WFW: Be Joyful

Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

(I borrowed today's photo from my friend
Amy Deanne who hosts each Wednesday's Word Filled Wednesday. )

So many of us wonder about what God's will is for our lives. We think complicated and materially, but God thinks very differently than we do. In fact, He very plainly tells us of His will for us in His Word. Just like in this verse:

Not just to be joyful, but ALWAYS.
Not just to pray, but CONTINUALLY.
Not just to give thanks, but in ALL circumstances.

That verse is easy to say, but very different to live. As someone who has lived through life changing challenges this past year, I know that this verse is one that seems to mock you in the moment. You have to choose... lean on the everlasting arms or dwell in the mire of your situation.

As someone who has been leaning... I can tell you that there is no better place to be.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taking Tuscany



In Review:     Need a vacation?  How about taking one to Italy?     It is as easy as relaxing on your front porch and slipping into the pages of this book.      Such an easy read about a wonderfully humorous family that reminds you what family is truly supposed to be about.


Book Description:  A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country... until her family decided to stay. It's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her blonde hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J., but she's going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe - and a few wise words from a friend - for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Taking Tuscany, go HERE

Father Son Weekend

Imagine being a guy and stepping on a bus and having the leader announce, "O.K. guys, this weekend is all about us.   You can do all the offensive things you want to and no one is going to say "ewwww!"    Let loose and just be guys!"      Can you imagine how great that would be for a bus load of middle school boys AND their Dads?   

That is the weekend my Big Guy and hubs embarked on when they went on our Annual Middle School Father Son Retreat.     Silly me thought thought the main event of the weekend was canoeing, but that was just what the Moms thought.   

The real fun?   The cabin which was built to hold 250 people.     Which meant 250 mattresses.   Which meant the 50-60 people that went with our group had a LOT of fun.

Here is Big Guy (2nd from left) with a group of his friends watching some of the action...


What do you do with 250 mattresses?   Build a HUGE wrestling pit!!!


Or you pile them up to see how high you can get them before you can't jump over them anymore.   The answer?    11 matresses high


The front of the cabin.   They could play basketball, ripstick or skateboard.  The guys said it was awesome!


 The view from the front porch drinking your morning coffee or chocolate milk...


Even with all that fun at the cabin, they went canoeing.     They came home bruised and banged up.   Not from the canoeing, but from jumping in all the shoots and "waterfalls".    

Based on their stories and all the laughter, I think the trip was definitely a success.