Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Surrender All


Book Review: I was contacted by Larry Ross Communication and asked if I would review a book written by Joni Lamb. It is my understanding that she has a television show, but I have personally never heard of her. The main reason I agreed to review this book was because of the title, "Surrender All".

Unlike the common saying, I DO believe in judging a book by its cover because of the fact that it reflects a lot of the publisher, author and sometimes intent of the book. Seeing Ms. Lamb's publicity shot on the cover of the book bothered me when the intent of the book was "Surrender All".

Ms. Lamb has a beautiful story and definitely an incredible testimony. All of us go through and experiences in our lives, but being able to develop a life of complete surrender is something that so many fail to reach. Ms. Lamb's heart for seeing others experience the freedom that can only come from Christ comes across in her writing. She states easily some of the foundational truth that each of us need to be reminded of during times of crisis: God will never leave or forsake you.; God's timetable is not our timetable.; God's desire is to see us love Him and accept all He offers us.

There were moments when I wish Ms. Lamb would have been a little less "self absorbed" in her writing, but overall this is a book that held great encouragement.


Book Description:
Incredible things happen when you give up control.

As a young wife and mom-to-be, Joni Lamb never imagined a dream and Duct tape could launch a growing television network and career as host of two programs that reach millions of viewers worldwide every day with help, hope, and wisdom. Then a simple act of surrender to God helped her use ordinary things to achieve her extraordinary dreams.

That same simple act can help you find unshakeable peace, incredible power, and confident purpose too. Surrender All contains practical know-how and Joni’s remarkable story of how giving up control to God can…

• deepen every relationship,
• buoy any career,
• strengthen all finances,
• restore your health;
• get you through great loss or failure.

Drawing upon her experiences as a wife, mother, and television personality, Joni also shares the inspiring stories of others, celebrities and everyday folk, who found fresh hope in difficult circumstances by surrendering all:

• the couple whose marriage was fully restored–two years after their divorce,
• the mother whose faithful prayers for her drug-dealing son received an unexpected answer,
• the romance novelist who surrendered her career and found a whole new level of success,
• and the renowned sportscaster whose alcohol addiction nearly destroyed his life…until he chose to believe that God had greater plans for his future.

You can step confidently into your own divinely-designed destiny, Joni’s story reveals; she comes alongside to show you the way to making real the dreams of a heart willing to Surrender All.

Getting Ready For The Weekend

Hubs' family has a reunion every couple years during the 4th of July weekend. Obviously, it is easy to decorate for the reunion with such a huge holiday.

I don't know what your reunions are like, but hubs' reunions are like nothing I have ever seen before. Your first reunion can be very overwhelming to say the least. Donald's family isn't just grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles. There are eleven "divisions" of the family. There is Harold, Henry, Edward, etc... I won't name them all. Obviously this means a LOT of people which means we need a big space. We stay at the family church campground WAY out in the country. If you have ever been to an old fashioned campmeeting where services are held under an open air tabernacle and people sit in chairs fanning themselves because of the Mississippi heat... you get the picture.

A weekend consists of lots of catching up with family, sweating, eating homemade ice cream, sweating, watching fireworks over the pond (which they say probably won't happen because of the burn ban), sweating, swimming, lots of good food, tours around the family homesteads and cemeterys, fishing, softball games, and more sweating. Ha!

We will stay in a cabin by the pond so I am looking for ways to decorate our porch for the weekend. Since we have gone so many times I have lots of decorations, but here are a few new ideas I have found:

I love this sign and think it would be great hanging in between the posts on our porch. Instructions Here


I don't have instructions for this, but Little Guy and I love to get in the kitchen and create. We intend to make another fireworks fruit display! This time I think we are going to dip some marshmallows in white chocolate and sprinkle with red and blue sprinkles.


The boys will love snacking on these....  (Instructions Here)



I love this simple idea for my kitchen table. Instructions Here (Since sand is so messy and you can't store it, I think I am going to use white and red beans to get the same effect. Plus we can eat them when we are done.)




At the end of weekend, the boys are going to stay with Grandma and Grandpa because hubs and I are going away to celebrate our 19th anniversary. I am going to be making these bags and filling them with little treats and notes as a way of saying, "Love you. Miss you. Be back soon." This ADORABLE treat bag is one of the cutest things I have found in a while! Instructions Here

Monday, June 29, 2009

Love's Pursuit


Book Description: In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.

In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's Pursuit, go HERE

In Review: "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." is a saying I have heard most of my life, but it was the philosophy that Susannah has been taught to live by. Her days are consumed with work to keep her mind occupied and hopefully distracted from anything that might cause her to stumble. She has also been taught that she must prove herself worthy through days of hard labor to make it to heaven. Just reading made me feel weighed down and oppressed by what an impossible task that would be. However, I realize that so many people are walking around living that today.

Susannah meets a man who is sent to their village to help protect them from "savages". He introduces to her the simplistic idea of appreciating God's beauty such as a sunset which is something that she has never been allowed to do. Every area of Susannah's life and faith is tested as she begins to view things through new eyes. Ultimately, she will witness him "lay down his life for his friend".

A beautiful story. Although set in early America, it is one that will challenge you to look at religion vs. relationship with Christ.

A Special Weekend

Every year, hubs takes the boys away from Father/Son weekends.     This past weekend hubs and Big Guy had their weekend away which meant Little Guy and I had the weekend together.

One of the fun things about this time is that I let the boys have almost all the choice in what they want to do.    This is quite a privilege considering that most of the time we stress the fact that we have to consider each member of the family when making decisions.

Friday night, Little Guy really wanted to go swimming but he wanted to invite one of his friends to go with us.     So we did!    They swam, played, did canonballs, as long as they could stand it.    Little Guy said, "What time do we have to go?"   When I told him that he got to pick the time he turned to his friend and said, "You let me know when you are ready because you are the guest."     I was proud of him because I knew after swimming all those laps he was exhausted..   


 
 After grabbing some supper, we took J back to his house and spent some time with his family.    They are very good friends and fun to sit and chat with.

Saturday morning we got up and drove to Crystal Springs for Tomato Fest.      As we were driving out of town we noticed a Sidewalk Sale at one of our favorite shopping spots so we stopped to browse for a little while.    We bought several small items including a kitchen gadget which I am in love with (I'll tell you about it tomorrow!).      One thing I really, really, really wanted was a 1800's double bench school desk.    The antique lady had had it in her home and had just unloaded it from her truck.    I was sooo tempted.

Little Guy always challenges me with his conversation topics and our drive was no different.    He wanted me to explain the Interstate system.   He was so impressed he started naming all the highways and Interstates he could remember us driving to figure out which direction they went.

We arrived at the Tomato Fest and were so glad we had taken water with us.    It was so, so hot.  

 Little Guy was immediately attracted to all the booths with games.     He asked to play and I agreed, but after he played the first game he turned and said, "This is one big fat waste of money."    Smart boy!


When you are about to melt into a puddle, there is nothing more appealing than the sound of someone calling "Homemade Ice Cream!".      When we found the source of that call I thought I was never going to drag Little Guy away from looking at the ice cream "machine".    He thought it was the coolest contraption he had ever looked at.    I could see his wheels turning trying to figure out if he could do something like that.

 
We made a trip by Christie's family's booth to buy a daylily.   I don't have a picture of it, but I really should take a picture of it because her Mom promised me I could grow it.     I am going to feel really awful if I kill that daylily.    You should have seen the photos of all the beautiful different varieties.     I am going to need to contact Christie to see about getting Little Guy a Spiderman daylily.    He was kind of disappointed those were sold out.
Little Guy considered it a bonus that there was a Civil War display and gentleman more than anxious to talk to him about that time era.
Wow!   What a tomato!
Despite the myriad of food carts,we both decided that we wanted some place cool to sit and something good to eat.     We both noticed a little sign on the interstate advertising a new restaurant in Terry so we decided to give it a try.    They were having their grand opening and holding a family day with popcorn, sno cones, face painting and balloons outside in their courtyard area.
Inside it was nice and cool and we ate heaping plates of catfish, green beans, cajun rice, potato salad and cornbread.   The restaurant was run by a big family and managed by a woman named Meme (hence the name of the restaurant - Meme's Cajun Cooking).     Meme was a great woman and quite a few people referred to her as Madea which I thought was awesome because it kind of summed up the feel of the place.    She was just thrilled when we told her that we came by because we saw her sign.
After a quick nap, we rounded out the day by playing in the water hose and then trying to catch fireflies.  
It was just about the most wonderful weekend.     I can't wait until Big Guy and I have our weekend together in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Hole In The Gospel


The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us?
By: Richard Stearns
Thomas Nelson / 2009


Book Description: The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life. He uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel was always meant to be a world-changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with you.

In Review: My cousin, Hannah, is about to return from her summer mission trip to Uganda. Our youth pastor just resigned to accept the call to be Director of Aid Sudan. They have not only heard God's whisper in their lives, they have stepped out of the boat and taken a step of faith to follow God.

Richard Stearns did the same thing when he felt God nudging him as he sat in a mud hut listening to the story of an orphaned child. What he heard God whisper were startling statistics: "26,500 children died yesterday. 26,500 died today. 26,500 will die tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, all due to poverty-related causes. But each of these deaths is preventable, provided those with means each do a part to combat the poverty and hunger that is rampant in many parts of the world." Richard made a decision that would take him from the corporate glitz of leading the Lennox corporation to walking dusty roads on a mission that would eventually lead him to be the president of World Vision.

Richard believes that twelve men changed the world 2,000 years ago and Christians can change the world again. What we need to do is fill the hole in our Gospel with God's love and commands.

I would not recommend reading this book if you are comfortable in your place of complacency, but if you have a desire to move forward and be challenged in your life for God, I highly recommend this book.

To Nathan and Hannah, continue on!

"Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary." - St. Francis of Assisi

Special Note: Thomas Nelson Publishing and World Vision has a special offer on this book right now! If you buy Richard Stearns’ new book The Hole In Our Gospel by July 1st, you will receive $92.00 worth of FREE products from Thomas Nelson. For More Details: Click Here

Friday, June 26, 2009

Book Heaven!

I have found EVEN MORE books on sale at Christian Book Distributors! I am so happy. I am listing books I have found that are on sale and I have read. Some things were selling out as I was shopping!!

False Witness by Randy Singer ($2.99)
Cross Examination of Oliver Finney by Randy Singer ($2.99)
Sisterchicks in Sombreros by R. Gunn ($.99)
Sisterchicks Down Under by R. Gunn ($.99)
Treasures of the Deep by Alton Gansky ($1.99)
A Time To Dance by Karen Kingsbury ($2.99)
In The Twinkling Of An Eye ($1.49)
The Entire Yada Yada Prayer Group Series - 7 books (only $34.99) one of my favs!!
A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist ($5.99)
The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist ($5.99)


Kid's Books:
The Prophet's Kids (KidWitness Tales) ($.99)
Escape Underground (KidWitness Tales) ($.99)
The Worst Wish (KidWitness Tales) ($.99)
Crazy Jacob (KidWitness Tales) ($.99)
Liberty Letters: The Personal Correspondence of Hannah Brown and Sarah Smith-The Underground Railroad, 1858 ($2.99)
Liberty Letters: The Personal Correspondence of Elizabeth Walton and Abigail Matthews-The Story of Pocahontas, 1613 ($2.99)

Book Sale

You know I love to read. I also love to find books on sale. Here are some books which I have reviewed or simply have loved to read which are currently on sale at BookCloseouts.com. It is one of my favorite places to shop for books. Great prices! Sometimes there are limited quantities so shop quick!


A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell ($5.99)
Home Another Way by Christa Parish ($5.99)
A Promise to Believe In by Tracie Peterson ($7.99)
Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser ($7.99)
The Great Galaxy (Book #1 of the Astro Kids Series) ($2.4) (They have all the books in this series. My boys have both loved this series.)
3:16 by Max Lucado - Student Edition (.99)
Adventures in Odyssey DVD Collection ($14.99 - 63% off)
The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado ($2.99) This is my favorite Lucado book I have ever read.
Bibleman Legacy Vol. 3 ($12.99 - 70% off) My boys loved Bibleman. Boys need heroes and I fully approved of a hero that quoted Scripture!
Bibleman Legacy Vol. 2 ($7.99 - 60% off)
Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock ($2.99)
Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow ($6.99)
GiGi, God's Little Princess ($2.99)
God's Little Princess Devotional Bible ($5.99) I JUST reviewed this one!!
The Great Physicians Rx for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia ($2.99)
Isle of Swords by Wayne Batson ($3.99) Middle School book - Who needs Pirates of the Caribbean?
Lord, Save Us From Your Followers by Dan Merchant ($5.99)
Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck ($4.99)
Loving Your Spouse Through Prayer by Cheri Fuller ($3.99)
Max Lucado's Children's Treasury ($9.99) This would make a GREAT gift! Includes: The Crippled Lamb, Just in Case You Ever Wonder, The Way Home: A Princess Story, and Jacob's Gift.
Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall ($6.99)
Speaking Mom-ese by Lisa Whelchel ($3.99)

If you love puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, be sure and search "puzzles" for a huge list of options. We LOVE books like this. We keep them in our "car" box for traveling, restaurants and carpool waits. Here is what I ordered from that section:

Picture This! Mazes ($1.99)
The Brainiest Insaniest Ultimate Puzzle Book ($5.99)
Grid Play ($4.99) These are word, math, and board games played on crossword puzzle grids.
KenKen Volume 1 ($2.99) Like Sudoku, but uses addition and subtraction -- Little Guy is hooked.

Can you tell there are a books on this website? Go. Browse. Discover Treasures!!

How Sweet It Is


How Sweet It Is
Alice J. Wisler
Bethany House Publisher

Book Description: Deena Livingston leaves behind a broken romance and her chef job in Atlanta to spend time at her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. But her grandfather has an odd request: he wants Deena to teach cooking classes to the ragtag group of middle-schoolers who attend the local afterschool program, The Center. Reluctantly, Deena agrees, but how is she supposed to convince these kids that cooking at home is better than eating at McDonalds? And after all she went through in Atlanta, why is she attracted to Zack, the social worker at The Center? Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber, a curly-haired basketball player, and a group of middle-schoolers change Deena's outlook on life?


In Review: "Like sands through an hourglass...." Those words bring to mind an iconic soap opera, but they could also very well describe the life of Deena. One minute she has the life she has dreamed of: a chef's job at one of the most prestigious restaurants in Atlanta, a fiance, and from all appearances, nothing but a bright future ahead. Then came the moment that unraveled her perfectly ordered life. A wreck. While in the hospital everything falls apart. Feeling out of options she accepts the offer to stay in her Grandfather's cabin. Once there she realizes there were strings attached. Strings which would relace her life into a magnificent tapestry. God will use the various people in this small mountain of North Carolina to help her heal the wounds of not only the wreck, but a lifetime of hurt and eventually enjoy all of life's recipes... the kind from the kitchen and the kind from the heart.

Weekend Fun

June 26, 2009
Ridgecrest Baptist Church
6:oo pm
Doors open at 5:00

Concert benefits High School Missions to Dominican Republic




Friday, June 26
&
Saturday, June 27, 2009

always the last Saturday in June
9 am to 3 pm (rain or shine)

5k Walk/Run
Arts and Crafts
Kiddie Parade
Farmer's Market
Bike Rally
Poker Run
and
Live Entertainment.

for more info : http://www2.msstate.edu/~ricks/cstomato/tomfest.html



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bothered

Does it bother anyone else...

... that yesterday was a full time infomercial on ABC for President Obama's health care program?     Every single news program from morning until late night was PO pushing his health care "reform".     What happened to unbiased journalism?   

...that Governor Barbour is leaving to go take over as the head of the Republicans, but our state doesn't have a budget yet?     Principals don't have contracts and some school districts haven't given teachers their contracts either.     Medicaid is taking a huge hit which means our elderly are suffering.       Come on, Governor!

....that Mike Kent is about to push for yet another bond issue for the Madison County school district?   It is going to total $60 million dollars.      He promised a LOT in the last bond issue that never came about.      One of the major hot buttons on this bond issue is artificial turf.    Turf?   Total insanity.    Ridgeland has the oldest school in the District.     It does not have a cafeteria large enough to service 600 kid during the school day and is in serious need of replacement, but yet it is not even on the District's consideration list for this latest bond issue.     

What also isn't being addressed?    The severe issues going on inside the walls of Madison County schools.    Parents are taking their children out of Madison County schools at an alarming rate to go to private school.    This is because the administration is solely focused on "bricks and mortar" and not on the quality of day to day.

As for me?   I vote no on this bond issue.   Until we hit our District Superintendent in the wallet, we will never get his attention. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shepherd's Fall


Book Description: Bounty hunter Nick Shepherd is fearless when it comes to chasing down criminals. It's his difficult ex-wife, rebellious teenage daughter, and dysfunctional siblings that keep him awake at night. In charge of the family business, the Prodigal Recovery Agency, he thinks of himself as a shepherd of sorts. When his "flock" is out of his control, Nick's well-ordered universe falls into chaos.

Prodigal Recovery's search for Zeena, a prostitute on the run, leads to a faulty arrest, complicating Nick's business. He is thrown together with Zeena's twin, the beautiful Annie, and the two find themselves on a desperate search. The stakes significantly increase when Nick's daughter is kidnapped. Now, to save someone he loves, Nick must risk everything.but will it be enough

If you would like to read a Prologue excerpt from Shepherd's Fall, go HERE

In Review:
Nick has issues. He just inherited one third of a bounty hunting agency. His mother is suffering from Alzheimer's. His daughter thinks it is her job to rebel against the world and his wife wants current and past due child support payments.

He and his brother, Stephen, need to find their sister, Martie who disappeared from the scene a long time ago to sign some papers regarding the family business. When will Nick have time to breath much less build up this bounty hunting agency?

He may not because his daughter is going to test every limit, a man from Nick's past will escape from jail, and Nick will falsely arrest someone.

Kind of hard to believe the name of this guy's bounty hunting agency is "Prodigal Recovery Agency" isn't it?

A good read about a guy who definitely does not have it all figured out. Suspense around every corner. I liked it. Hubs loved it. Win/Win!

Shepherd's Fall is the first of three books. Wanda has finished the second in this series called Shepherd's Run,that will come out in 2010. And she's hard at work on the third and final installment of the Prodigal Recovery Series - Marti's story -- tentatively called Shepherd's Quest.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Fun Monday

Who says there aren't good Mondays?     We definitely had such a fun one yesterday.    We got to spend it playing with my twin nieces.    You just can't spend enough time with these sweet girls.

The boys thought it was their job to be human entertainment machines.    They danced.   They sang.   They acted goofy.   They fell on the floor.    They did anything they thought would make the girls laugh and giggle.

I took some pictures but most of them are pretty fuzzy because I took them with my phone and it is really tough to get a good picture with constantly moving targets!

Big Guy kept asking, "Hurry!   She is tap dancing on my lap and her toes are killer!"

 
See how intently she is listening?   Little Guy is teaching her the colors and shapes....
 

Who is more entertained here?   


Two sons + two nieces = CUTE!!


Apparently the boys realized just how hard a job it really is because they both fell sound asleep on the way home!   Ha!

I hope they are rested because we are doing it again today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


Why My Daddy Is The Best Daddy In The World...

Because he is nice and he is always happy.
He always plays with us and helps us when we are hurt.

-- Little Guy

He is smart and he is cool. He married Mom.
He would do anything for us because he loves us!

-- Big Guy

If I Could Do One Thing For Daddy One Father's Day It Would Be...

"I would do everything that he wanted to do."
--Little Guy

"Buy him every tool in the world."
--Big Guy


My Favorite Thing About Daddy...

"He is very kind and nice."
--Little Guy

"He is funny."
--Big Guy


One Of My Favorite Things We Have Done...

"Spent two days together on vacation just the two of us."
--Little Guy

"Went Canoeing."
--Big Guy

Friday, June 19, 2009

God's Little Princess Devotional Bible


God's Little Princess Devotional Bible
By Sheila Walsh
Thomas Nelson Publishing

In Review

As little girls we dress up in our Mom's shoes and put pretend clothes on to make ourselves beautiful for our prince charming. Why? Because we are born with an innate desire to have someone in our life that makes us feel like a princess.

We imagine someone who will let us stand on his feet and dance, sweep us up into his arms and hug us, hold our hand as we walk, and wipe tears away as we cry. Who better than we as parents to teach our little girls that God is that someone?

God's Little Princess Devotional Bible was created to show your little princess that God is there to be her King, her Prince of Peace and her forever friend!

Each page is illustrated in a way that will appeal to the little princess in your life. This book will not be a good reference for Bible memory as the verses are taken from the International Children's Bible so they are somewhat summaries instead of full verses.

As I read this book I imagined my sweet friend, Lisa, and her little princess, Grace, reading this book together!

Now is a GREAT time to buy this for your little princess. Amazon has this book on sale for $6.40 with FREE Super Saving Shipping! Click Here To Buy!

Book Description
Girls long to be loved and adored, and give their heart to their hero. God is that hero! The characteristics focused on in this Bible storybook will help your little girl blossom into the princess she was created to be. Virtues to create beauty such as compassion, sharing, and truth are highlighted in fun and engaging ways. The perfect format for girls to learn about their destiny as a daughter of their King. Features included are:
Down In My Heart (Scripture Memory)
Beauty Secrets
Bible Princesses
My Hero (Scripture promises)
Take a Bow (Easy plays that are Bible-focused)
I Adore You (Put girls energy to use with songs, scripture and worship)
Royal Truths
Down In My Heart (Scripture Memory)
Princess Charming
Worthy of Love (Ideas to show how to love her family, siblings, friends and those in the community).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Historic Photos of Mississippi


In Review: Mississippi's history is as thick and rich as the summer heat. Just like a Mississippi summer, I found that the best way to enjoy this wonderful coffee table style book from Turner Publishing was on the front porch with a big tall glass of iced tea.

As a little girl growing up in Vicksburg, I heard the stories of the Civil War, the siege and how the families had to live. Seeing the photo on page 8 brought to life all I heard about the caves dug into the sides of the hills and how families hid from Union troops.

Seeing photos of a covered bridge over the river here in Jackson where prisoners were held piqued my curiosity as to if that is now where the stack exists.

We took our boys to the recently refurbished Meridian Opera house for a play. What a joy to be able to show the original photos from when the Opera house was built and its incredible interior.

My in-laws will be interested in seeing the original photo of Boler Inn in Union. That is my husband's hometown and where General Sherman decided to "stay" when he slashed through central Mississippi.

This book has been divided into time segments:

Civil War and Survival (1860-1899)
The Joy of the Golden Age (1900-1919)
Depression Years and Singing the Blues (1920-1939)
War in Europe and Struggles at Home (1940-1970s)

Not only is this book a historic book about our state, it is a collector's item for anyone who is a Mississippian. It would be an amazing gift for the upcoming Father's Day, a history buff, or as a keepsake for family who may have moved away. As for me, I will be keeping my copy.


Book Review: Imagine a ride with the Mississippi mockingbird as it soars through the Mississippi skies. Beginning in the land of Elvis at Tupelo, one moves down to the Piney Woods of East Central Mississippi where the ground is covered with fragrant pine straw and where Choctaw moccasins once walked the trails. Then turn south where the ocean waves swell upon sandy beaches and sea gulls hover and squawk in the breeze. Continue onward to the mansions of historic Natchez and the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta where the blues reigns supreme. Finally, swoop down toward Old Man River, the majestic Mississippi, and skim across its yellow waters. The waters have seen war and defeat, loss and love, heartbreaks and triumphs. No sentiments need speaking. Only the sweet songs of the mockingbird are required to understand a land whose beauty is second only to the strength of its people. Through nearly 200 images printed in vivid black-and-white, with brief introductions and captions, Historic Photos of Mississippi takes the viewer on a flightpath to key points of interest in historic Mississippi.

VBS

Little Guy didn't get to go to our own VBS because of his swim lessons.    When his best friend invited him to attend VBS with him he jumped at the chance.     It not only was a chance to go to VBS but to spend a week with friends he hasn't seen since school dismissed.

He has really had a great time this week.      Yesterday was wet 'n' wild Wednesday.    Monday they had some sort of donut eating contest that was really up Little Guy's alley.  

As with any VBS they are taking up offerings each day for missions.   Since we have three people in our lives that are so active in missions, this hits home with Tanner.     He has gathered every spare coin and drained us dry of cash to help out their missions cause and of course.... beat the girls!

The only glitch of the week was Tuesday when the church had a carbon monoxide leak.    Little Guy said they were in the sanctuary when smoke started pouring in, lights started flashing and sirens started going out.    He said they took everyone outside to the parking lot.     Fire trucks and ambulances showed up and the kids were kept outside for the rest of the VBS day.      Tanner said the VBS workers tried to organize the "largest ever dodge ball game" to potentially send in to the Guinness Book of World Records.    However, he said the heat was too much and some of the kids started having problems with dehydration.   

Kudos to the Broadmoor Baptist Staff for handling such a "glitch" to their VBS and praise God for protecting all the 1,200 children and staff that were attending that day!

Side note funny:   When Little Guy got home from VBS, Big Guy started picking on him about something.  Little Guy looked at him with a straight face and said, "Cut me some slack, dude, I almost died at VBS today!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Bride In The Bargain


In Review
Picking up a book by Deeann Gist means I am going to be engrossed until the last page. She writes in a style that just makes me want me sit out on the front porch and relax and read.

By now you have figured out that I read a LOT of books. When I am reading and an author starts to get descriptive in a way that doesn't mean much to the book I will skip entire paragraphs. That NEVER happens when reading Deeanne books. I hang on each word and get attached to the characters.

This book centers around Joe and Anna. Anna has survived the Civil War but needs a way out. She meets a man who is taking women back to Seattle. Anna feels like her prayers are answered when he says a gentleman in Seattle needs a cook.

But Joe doesn't need a cook. He needs a wife and quick or he is going to lose the land and his lumber business that he has worked so hard to build.

There is a deadline on Joe finding a wife, but will they find love before the deadline arrives is anyone's guess.

Book Description
The Wedding Is All Planned...
Someone Just Needs to Tell the Bride
In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.

Joe Denton doesn't have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride--one of the eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.

Anna Ivey's journey west with Mercer is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook--not a bride. When she's handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bride In The Bargain, go HERE

What A Day That Will Be

My heart broken again this morning when we received word that a family in our church lost a child. I am trying to keep my thoughts focused on heaven today.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Uncle Bob


With Love For My Uncle Bob

Our prayers have all been answered. I finally arrived.
The healing that had been delayed has now been realized.
No one's in a hurry. There's no schedule to keep.
We're all enjoying Jesus, just sitting at His feet.
 
My light and temporary trials have worked out for my good,
To know it brought Him glory when I misunderstood.
Though we've had our sorrows, they can never compare.
What Jesus has in store for us, no language can share.
 
If you could see me now, I'm walking streets of gold.
     If you could see me now, I'm standing strong and whole.
     If you could see me now, you'd know I've seen His face.
     If you could see me now, you'd know the pain is erased.
     You wouldn't want me to ever leave this place,
     If you could only see me now.

(Truth)
 
 
Tonight my family will gather for a small intimate memorial service to celebrate my Uncle Bob who went to be with Jesus this weekend. You have no idea what a beautiful statement that is to write. So many people prayed for many years to see him make that decision. I know my Mammaw was so excited to see him walk through the gates of heaven.
Uncle Bob was a quiet man. Very simple, but very talented. He had an amazing gift for music... singing and guitar. His life's work was in construction and he was very good at it.    He served our Country in Vietnam and, like every other brave man who fought, came back a changed man because of it.

Uncle Bob loved people. And we loved him. Please pray for our family tonight.
 
(Uncle Bob with his pride and joy... his family!   
His two handsome sons, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recovery

"There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept,
things we don't want to know but have to learn,
and people we can't live without but have to let go."


I hope and pray that your weekend was better than mine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do



Book Review: This is the second book in the Miracle Girl book series. The girls are in their sophomore year of high school. Christine is the focus of this book as she faces her feelings from losing her mom because of a car wreck. She barely has a chance to deal with this when her Dad presents his new fiance.

Christine has to pull from her faith as small as a mustard seed and the support from her friends to get her through what life is throwing her way.


Book Description:
Ana, Christine, Riley, and Zoe have grown closer than ever over the past few months, but summer is over and it's time to put their friendship to the test.

It's been a little over a year since Christine Lee's mom passed away in a tragic car accident. Now her dad is engaged to Candace--"The Bimbo"--and Christine couldn't be less thrilled. When her attitude starts to take a toll on her schoolwork, the administration forces her to attend counseling sessions. At least she gets to skip gym class!

But with her father's wedding inching closer, Christine is growing even more bitter. To make matters worse, the Miracle Girls are beginning to drift apart. Christine's anger and the pressures of high school threaten to break the girls up when they need each other the most. Will they find a way to join together to help Christine come to terms with her mother's death . . . and her father's remarriage?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, go HERE

Friday, June 12, 2009

Encouraging Word

This summer two very special friends in my life that are spending their summers doing mission work in other countries. Another friend is leaving to go into full time ministry. They have blogs to keep their families (and friends) informed about what is going on. However, I am sure that they would appreciate encouraging words from anywhere. I know all of you.... you are loving, kind and some of the best encouragers around. Drop by, read about their trips and leave them a note!


A Day In My Life
This is the blog of my precious cousin, Hannah. She is spending her second summer there loving and ministering to orphaned children in Uganda. It is her heart's desire to start her own orphanage there. A junior in college, she spends the school year raising money to buy supplies like diapers, formula and other baby essentials for the orphanage. She is truly the definition of a "city on a hill" which cannot be hidden!


Thought Share
Amy was the assistant youth director at our church. The kids loved her. I loved her. She left on May 12th to go back to Wales for her second summer doing missions work there. She is doing a variety of things there: youth work, community work, church assistant, etc.... You will love reading her blog. It is so "Amy". She has done a "Flat Family" (of all of her family members) in Flat Stanley style and has taken pics of them during her trip. Hysterical!

The Boque's Mission
Our youth pastor, Nathan, and his wife, Mary Margaret, recently accepted a full time position into ministry with Aid Sudan. While we are so sad to see them leave us, we are excited about this new ministry that they are going to run.

In June 2008 Nathan traveled to Sudan, Africa with the organization Aid Sudan. Mary Margaret had traveled to Sudan previously for four weeks in May 2004. She held a burden for the Southern Sudanese, and Nathan gained one after their trip together.

Nathan and Mary Magaret will work in Dallas, TX with the 8,000 Sudanese living there and lead medical, water, education and pastor training trips to Sudan three times a year.



I hope you will drop by and leave them some encouraging words!
I know that YOU will be encouraged after visiting their blogs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Milestone - Swimming

At noon today we will mark another "last" in Little Guy's life.    Swimming class.   He has been taking swimming classes from Debra Stapleton from the past couple of years.     He learned to swim from her the very first year he went to her class.    She is the most amazing teacher.      We have continued to send him so he could perfect his swim strokes.     

 
Tanner is a natural in the water.     If she tells him to swim two laps, he asks "how about four?"
 
 
He has learned strokes that I have never even heard of before.   When we go to the pool he challenges me to races.    He is doing all these fancy swim strokes and I am just trying to get from one side to the other!
 
One of my favorite things about Debra is how much time she takes to teach the kids lifesaving skills.    She gives them every possible scenario that they might face.    She drills it into them how to be safe in and around the pool for themselves and for the people around them.     Below are pictures of Debra teaching the kids the "reach and grab" method of assisting someone who might be drowning in the pool.    This is a method that allows them to help someone without putting themselves in danger.    She taught them how to place their bodies on the pool so that the drowning victim could not pull them off into the water also.
 
 
We go to the pool during the summer and when we go we often let the boys invite their friends to go with them.      I am shocked and frightened at the number of them who cannot swim.    

 
 If you are looking for a place to learn to swim, I highly recommend Debra!    Email me if you want her phone number!      Just DIVE IN and LEARN!
 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

47-43

That was the final score on Little Guy's game last night.... AFTER a 2 hour 15 minute game!! This is 7 year old little league baseball.

I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing game it was. People from all over the park were coming over to watch these little 7 year olds play this record setting game.

I can honestly tell you I have never watched a more exciting game. With the exception of one incident by a coach on the other team, the entire game was filled with good sportmanship by the players, coaches and parents.

When the game finally ended, both teams gathered on the pitchers mound for a final hands in scream of "Winner!"

I am telling you that no matter what the score every kid who played in that game last night are winners in my book!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Batter Up!

Little Guy's baseball season is winding down and winding up all at the same time. His last regular season game was last Monday night, but his team has done really well this year. His league is split into an American league and National league. He plays on the National League for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

This past weekend began the tournaments of the season. Little Guy's team played at 8:00 Saturday morning. I don't know what they had for breakfast, but they came to the field ready to play. There was a 15 point different in the score by the 3rd inning. Because of our win, we came back at 12:00 for another game.



Hubs' brother, Uncle R and our little nephew, Lu, came out to be part of the cheering square for Little Guy. Lu was really intriqued by the game. He kept close watch on the field and all those boy running around with that little ball.


Our Coach has a tournament tradition of serving his team chocolate milk and donuts. It is his lucky tradition he said. The boys didn't care if it was lucky or not because they just thought it was yummy!

BUT Coach must really know what he is talking about because our guys won their 12:00 game 20-3! We will be playing in the championship game tonight at 6:00. If we win, we will be the National League Champs. After that we will immediately play again against the American League Champs to see who will be the League Champs.

See that sweet face? He could care less about all this. Baseball is the same to him as riding his bike, playing a computer game or anything else. When he is on the field he LOVES it, but does he get stressed out about it. No. He is just having fun. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Now if we parents can just think that way! Ha!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ghostwriter


In Review: Horror is not my genre. However, when this book showed up on the review list I signed up to read it for the basic fact that I was intriqued on how an author was going to approach this genre considering this is a Christian Fiction Review.

If you enjoy horror, you would not be disappointed. Dennis, the main character, is a best selling author who writes "Stephen King" like novels. Following the death of his wife, he can't seem to write an address on an envelope much less a best selling book. Under the pressure of a deadline, he pulls out and submits the work of another author hoping he will never be discovered. I began to think this would be the sum total of hope in this book and I read gory death scene after gory scene which were recounts of the author's previous bestselling books.

Dennis' haunting in the book is so haphazard and back and forth that it was like riding the tilt a whirl at the fair. It left me feeling dizzy and wondering what the purpose was.

The issue of "heaven" and the possibility of facing redemption was not addressed until the VERY end of the book. It also wasn't addressed very well as his dead wife was the one who came to him to tell him about heaven. She showed it to him as a cabin and brick road. Dead wives aren't the way to heaven. Jesus is.... "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through ME." That point was skipped over entirely.

So did I like the book? No. But I didn't expect to because I don't like horror. However, I think there can be a place for horror in the Christian market. There is horror in the Bible -- hell is definitely a HUGE jumping off point for this. However, I wanted to read it because I think if you are going to do something in this genre and say it is a Christian book, then you have certain responsibilities.

I believe this book failed.


Book Description:

Suspense writer Dennis Shore has kept readers on the edge of their seats for years, but when Dennis is stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, he desperately claims someone else's writing as his own--a sin that a man named Cillian Reed is aware of and will use to torment Dennis in ways he has only imagined in his books. By the author of Isolation. Original.

For years Dennis Shore has thrilled readers with his spooky bestselling novels. Now a widower, Dennis is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he's stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else's writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he's gotten away with it . . . until he's greeted by a young man named Cillian Reed--the true author of the stolen manuscript. What begins as a minor case of harassment quickly spirals out of control. As Cillian's threats escalate, Dennis finds himself on the brink of losing his career, his sanity, and even his life. The horror he's spent years writing about has arrived on his doorstep, and Dennis has nowhere to run.

What This World Needs

Friday, June 5, 2009

Warning: Very Controversial

George Tiller has been performing abortions since 1973. His office released an estimate of 60,00 abortions had been performed by Tiller personally. If you walked into his office he would perform an abortion for you whether you were four weeks pregnant or 38 weeks pregnant.

Last Sunday, someone shot and killed George Tiller. It wasn't the first attempt on his life. He was shot in both arms in 1993 and if the shooter hadn't been caught she stated she would have returned to finish the job.

Do I think that George Tiller deserved to die? That is not my call to make. George Tiller is a sinner. Just like me. The Bible tells me that no sin is bigger than another. In MY eyes that isn't so. Murdering babies sure seems a lot bigger than snitching a candy bar from a store. But what my head knows is what God's Word tells me and so I have to go with what I know so I have to leave the judgement up to God.

What has kept my mind churning this week are two separate things:

George Tiller was killed in CHURCH. He was a man who regularly went to church. How can a man who is supposed believes in God go to "work" each day and kill innocent, wonderfully, fearfully made babies.

Also, immediately after the murder was announced, President Obama came out and made a statement: "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence." He doesn't mind if millions of innocent babies are killed, but he is outraged if one adult whose sole purpose in life is to kill those babies is murdered.

Everyone is so shocked and outraged over Tiller.... This country NEEDS to be shocked and outraged over the 60,000 babies Tiller murdered - specifically the CHRISTIANS. At least Tiller has a name. The babies don't.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quote

"[The Internet] creates a permanent puberty of the mind. We get locked in so much information, and the inability to sort that information meaningfully limits our capacity to understand. The last stage of knowledge is wisdom. But we are miles from wisdom because the Internet encourages the opposite of what creates wisdom—stillness, time and inefficient things like suffering. On the Internet, there is no such thing as waiting; there is no such thing as stillness. ... This culture is on an extraordinary pace toward needing things to be more efficient. But that is a value that is ultimately antithetical to the gospel. I've never heard of efficient wisdom, efficient love, efficient suffering or efficient compassion."

Mennonite pastor Shane Hipps
author of Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith
[Christianity Today, 5/09]


So what is your opinion?
What do you think?