Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Can of Red Spray Paint

I have had two bar stools in my kitchen since we moved here in December of 1999.    They have worked great, but boy were they worn out and scuffed up.      I took them outside and gave them a good washing and sanded them down really good.

Although they looked 100% better I decided that they just needed a new look.     I grabbed a can of red spray paint and went to town.     A couple of light coats and they look so much better and have new life!   My picture below says "Almost After", because I still had another coat to paint when I took this picture.

I like the little hint of color that this adds to my kitchen and really love that I was able to extend the life of my bar stools.

An Early Christmas Present

I have entirely too much to do to be sitting here even thinking about writing a post.    I am not even sure what I am going to write about.    Now THAT is procrastination.    All of my Christmas decorations are out, but the boxes haven't been put away yet so the house feels like a tornado went through which is appropriate since we spent last night in the hallway due to tornado weather.     We were very fortunate that we only had to endure the threat and sirens of tornado weather while a community just north of us got hit again for the second time since April.    

Sunday night I wrote out a very nice, neat and organized list of what I had to do this week.    We have a lot of on our plate, so I knew that I needed to get myself organized.     Each day was carefully planned as I know I have a lot to do before having outpatient surgery on Friday and our best friends coming from Atlanta on Sunday -- YAHOO!    Even with all that in my head.... somehow I haven't managed to quite make that piece of paper of reality.    

I have been thinking that maybe I need an early Christmas present... some motivation or a REALLY BIG CUP OF COFFEE!!

Hope your day is turning out more productive than mine!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exactly Like Thanksgiving

The lines were long and it was almost as if there were a gas shortage, but it wasn't.   It was just the day before Thanksgiving.     Another lady and I were parked in the line waiting our turn and started chatting.   

"This is crazy weather.   It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving at all." 

I started laughing and said, "How long have you lived in Mississippi?   This feels exactly like Thanksgiving.   One minute you are in your shorts playing football and the next you are bundled up in blankets drinking hot chocolate."

That pretty much summed it up too.     We packed up the van and drove over to my parent's house on Wednesday night.     On Thursday morning, we woke up to a incredibly warm day and the boys all went stomping around in the woods.         By that evening it was raining and the wind was blowing, but we were all snuggled inside playing games and enjoying the big Thanksgiving meal my Mom had made.

Daddy's coffee tasted so good on Friday morning when we all woke up to that cold air which had arrived.     While none of us are Black Friday shoppers and have no desire to get out at 4 in the morning, we did go out about 10:30 to see what was happening at the local Outlet Mall.    After just a little shopping we decided to head back to the parent's house because that wind was cold.

Thanksgiving in Mississippi.... it is definitely a cornucopia of weather!

Emily of Deep Valley

Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.

Book Review

Although Emily of Deep Valley is set in 1912, the story of Emily is timeless.    The book begins with Emily's senior year.    Mixed in with all the excitement of parties and preparing for commencement, is the bittersweet awareness that she is not going off to college with all of her friends.     She has lived with her grandfather since she was very young.    She feels that she cannot leave him alone now that he is older and requires care.    

Reality sets in once all her friends step on the train to leave for college and the new school year begins.    Determined not to wallow in pity, she begins to look for ways to be useful.    God soon begins directing those ways across her path.     She learns that God uses you wherever you are as long as you are willing.

Emily of Deep Valley definitely has timeless lessons for all generations.     What a wonderful book!     I loved the fact that all the historical knowledge of the real people that this book series was based on was included in the back.    Such a treasure.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Divine Appointments

Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to falter during a Chicago contract when an economic downturn, a bleeding heart boss, and the loyalty and kindness between endangered employees ding her coat of armor.

Throw in hot flashes, a dose of loneliness, a peculiar longing for intimacy, an
unquenchable thirst—not to mention a mysterious snow globe with a serene landscape, complete with a flowing river and lush greenery that seems to be beckoning her in—and Josie’s buttoned-up life is on the verge of coming completely undone.

Maybe her solitary existence isn’t as fulfilling as she has convinced herself to believe. It will take a few new friends, a mystical encounter, and an unexpected journey to set Josie on her own path to “right-sizing” and making the life changes that really matter. Filled with laugh-out loud moments and a gentle dash of inspiration, Divine Appointments is another heartwarming charmer from a master storyteller.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Divine Appointments, go HERE.

Book Review

For a person who is hugely influenced by a book's cover, having a snowglobe, which too easily mimicked a crystal ball, along with the title, Divine Appointments, was not the best first impression.     It didn't take long after reading this book to realize that my gut instinct was correct.    

The book is based on Josie, a 47 year old single woman, who is a cut-throat business woman.     She has built her life the way she wants it.     She moves every year never putting down any roots which is probably a good idea since her job involves helping companies downsize.      The basis of the story is giving Josie a second chance.      A great idea for a story line except her second chance lies in a mysterious, mystical snowglobe.    I think this author missed the true chance to show that true second chances are found in Jesus Christ!

A book published by a Christian publishing company under the genre of Christian fiction should be just that:   Christian.      God and faith was lacking in this book.    And since this is the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, I was disappointed in this as a book.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Lightkeeper's Bride

A thrilling romantic mystery set in the lush Victorian age.

Central Operator Katie Russell's inquisitive ways have just uncovered her parents' plan for her marriage to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Her heart is unmoved, but she knows the match will bring her family status and respectability.

Then Katie overhears a phone conversation that makes her uneasy and asks authorities to investigate. But the caller is nowhere to be found. Mysterious connections arise between the caller and a ship lost at sea.

Against propriety, Katie questions the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Then a smallpox epidemic forces their quarantine in his lighthouse. Though of low social status, Will's bravery and kindness remove Katie's suspicion and win her love. Katie and Will together work to solve the mystery of the missing girl and the lost ship as God gives the couple the desire of their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lightkeeper's Bride, go HERE.

Book Review

Katie is working as a central phone operator.    Her days are very content connecting and disconnecting the lines of people's conversations.      During one of those calls she overhears something terrible happen and goes to check on the young woman on the other end.      What she found was terrifying in more than one way.   

She also uncovers many questions which need to be answered.     Unfortunately, the people who are closest to her in her life may hold those answers.     Her heart is torn between needing answers and fear of ruining her chances for a potential marriage with a wealthy gentleman which her parent's have arranged for her.     In the end, Katie must decide whether to follow her heart or what others think is right.    

Although not as severe, it is a situation and question which we all face at some point.     A great mystery behind the story line and several great intertwining story lines.      Add this to your "to be read" list!

TOS Review: Bright Ideas Press

We love music.    When we start school in the morning we like to turn on some type of music in the background.    My youngest son calls it "smart music".     It is probably because we usually choose some type of classical music station.  

Loving music and having a true appreciation for the artists behind the music are two different things.     Music is a God-given gift and one that both of my boys possess.      I wanted them to be exposed to some of the great composers to see their lives, struggles and their dedication to develop the gifts that God gave them.   

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is a great curriculum to introduce students to the people behind the music.  

 Highlights of this Guide Include:

  • 32 Weekly Lessons
  • 26 Bios of Famous Composers
  • 6 Eras of Music Explained
  • Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
  • Easy-to-Use Maps
  • Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions
  • Note-taking Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Answer Keys
  • Listening Suggestions
  • Intricate Coloring Pages
  • Resource Books

In the morning, I would look up the suggested links for the music for the composer and play it while the boys did their warm up lessons.      This allowed them to listen without having to sit still and listen.    After their warm-ups we would gather to read together about the composer.     There are great note taking pages provided which helped the boys stay engaged and also helped them practice those vital skills.     Not all the time, but occasionally I would give them the quizzes just to see how much they were retaining and to see if we needed to adjust how we were doing this book.   

Although we still have quite a few composers to go, as this is a 35-week curriculum, we are definitely adding this into the "win" category for us!

To purchase your A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers (recommended for grades 4-8) for just $29.95 for the CD-ROM version or $34.95 for paperback, you can do so here.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

All Of Us Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Need A Little Christmas Card

It is the week before Thanksgiving and I haven't finished my Christmas cards.     How can this be?    Normally I have finished them, addressed them and have them ready to go in the mailbox on Black Friday!     Maybe it is because this year has been crazy and I am in denial about the fact that next week is Thanksgiving?   

No matter the reason, ignoring it won't make it go away!     I am so glad that I don't have to panic because I know that I can go to Shutterfly and order amazing Christmas cards and have them delivered straight to my front door.     I love Shutterfly.   I have been a fan forever.

Before there were the fancy picture frame to which you could upload your photos, I began making photo DVDs through Shutterfly and giving them to my husband for Christmas.    This is one of his favorite Christmas gifts ever.    He would load this as his screensaver on his computer at work and run it all year round. 

When Little Guy was born, I used Shutterfly's snapbooks all the time as one of his first learning tools.   I made quiet books that we could take into church with us.     Photo books of our family and friends so that he could learn names and relationships.    I even made photo books of special events.    Little Guy would look at these for hours and hours in the car, restaurant and church.

My mother-in-law still has a wall calendar that I made for her hanging in the kitchen.    That isn't a bad thing except that it isn't 2006 any more!   ha! ha!      Shutterfly has made their calendar feature even more fun because you can add photos and personalized dates straight onto your calendar.      Love that!     You can also buy one that is a 12 month or 18 month calendar which is GREAT if you homeschool and need to plan around the school year.

So now the hardest part will be picking a card from all the great choices!     So far these are the ones that I LOVE....

 Love the monogram
Very simple

Funky modern

lots of photos
See???   So many great options!     What would you choose?  

The Silent Order

Rural America - 1928. After the murder of his partner, Detective Rollin Wells hides away in an Amish home near Sugarcreek, Ohio, to find out who in the police force is
collaborating with Cleveland’s notorious mob. While Rollin searches for answers to his partner’s death, he befriends an elusive young Amish woman named Katie and her young son. As Rollin learns about Katie’s past, he’s shocked at the secret Katie is hiding - a secret that has haunted Rollin for eight years.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Silent Order, go HERE.

Book Review

There has been a huge trend of Amish books lately arriving in my mailbox.    I thought that was what The Silent Order was as well.    Instead this a suspense filled book that is truly one of my favorites to read.  

The time period is the Prohibition where obviously the making of illegal liquor is a huge problem.     Where you have illegal liquor, you have the mafia and corrupt police officers.     Detective Wells takes on the assignment to figure out who those corrupt police officers are and hides out in the Amish community as his cover.   He winds out discovering a lot more while he is hiding out there than just those behind an illegal liquor problem.    

Lots of suspense, unexpected twists and turns and romance!    What else do you need for a great book?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 Years With 2 Bundles of Joy

Since the holidays tend to get so crazy, my sister and brother-in-law decided to have the girl's two year old birthday party just a few weeks early.      We all said quite a few prayers last week that the predicted rain would hold off so that their park party could go on as planned.      Sunday arrived beautiful although just a little breezy and everyone had so much fun watching our sweet LK and MM run around and play.

They sure aren't babies anymore.   They are growing into such precious little girls.     They are so amazingly smart.    They love to sing.   You name it and they will sing it (ABC, Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday to You, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc...).    They know their alphabet and all the letter sounds.    They can count and know their colors.    Give them an I Spy book or Search and Find book and they will pick out anything you name.   

Both girls will tell you "I do it!".    They are fearless and want to try new things.    My sister caught them straddling the rails on their baby beds the other day.    The girls looked at her and said, "I am a montey!" (I am a monkey!) and just giggled.      They are the sweetest monkeys!

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving next week.    We will get to spend more time with not just our sweet LK and MM, but my other niece and nephew, A and J, too.     I love being an aunt!

 (my niece with her boyfriend)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Long Time Coming

Two women from different worlds find hope together.

Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional career-minded woman with a loving husband, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty all her life. She has three children by three different men and has just been diagnosed with inoperable cervical cancer.

While the meeting between these two women appears accidental, it becomes their catalyst of hope. Neither woman expects the blessing that God has in store for her. While Deidre will guide Kenisha on the path to eternal life with Jesus Christ, Kenisha will teach Deidre how to stand strong against the hard-knocks of life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Long Time Coming, go HERE

Watch the book video:

Book Review

I love this book and my husband officially hates it.   He hasn't read it, but he still hates it.   The publishers were having some issues getting the hard copies printed and out to us on time so they offered us this book in ebook form.     I went to the link they provided and downloaded it to an ereader for my computer.     I sat in bed reading.     I have been thinking for quite a while that publishing companies are probably going to start more and more offering their review books in eform because it will save them a lot of money in shipping.     This is why my husband hates this book.    I have now decided I would really love to have a Kindle for Christmas.

Why do I love this book?    "Service is a natural byproduct of salvation."   That was the theme of our Sunday School lesson yesterday and it is a wonderful summary of this book as well.      We meet new people as we are going through our lives each week, but do we really see them is the question.    Deidre Clark-Morris is the principal of a school.    She definitely has a lot on her plate but professionally and personally.    She has a boss who is demeaning and could give her every reason to never do anything for others for fear of losing her job; however, Deidre chooses to do what is right.      She could choose to think she has too much to handle with her own problems of infertility, but she knows that isn't right either.    Basically Deidre faces a lot of the same choices that we each face every day.    

The story was at times raw, gritty and in your face truthful, but that is what makes this such a good book.     I hope to read many more like it in hardcover AND on my (hopefully) new Kindle!   *hint, hint, hubby*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ahhh.. Weekend

If the weekend were a person, I would hug its neck!    This has been the LONGEST week.      I have had doctor's appointments and tests scheduled every day this week except Monday.     Hubs and Big Guy took a class that had them gone every night until last night.      I had to teach an art class Monday for co-op.     Crazy!  Crazy!  Crazy!

Of course, in the middle of such a crazy week were God hugs that made it wonderful.   
  • With Hubs and Big Guy gone to a class for three nights that meant that Little Guy and I had special time together.     One night we went and got caramel apple cider and watched a video together.    One night we went to the bookstore and browsed and then went to get sushi.     The third night was church night, but he and I still got a little time in before leaving.
  • Wednesday night was choir practice which is always a highlight of the week for me.      Our choir practices are very worship filled times.    As terrified as I was to join our choir and still get jitters when it is time to walk out on the platform on Sunday morning, I LOVE choir practice.   
  • Yesterday my cousin (who is more like my brother) came over for the afternoon.     He and I played hours of RACKO in the hospital when his dad was sick.    It was quick, simple and didn't require a lot of thought.      Now the boys play and they have been challenging Randy to a RACKO "smackdown."  We played RACKO and SEQUENCE for several hours and loved every minute of it.      Definitely a highlight of the week.      

Now it is the weekend.    The boys are out at the park running while I am updating my blog quickly before starting supper.   

Tomorrow night is the BIG GAME.   Mississippi State vs. Alabama.   

 Hubs is a State fan and I am an Alabama fan.     Before leaving, hubs jokingly asked Big Guy if he was going to referee tomorrow night during the State vs. Alabama game.   

His answer:   "No way!   I am going to be hiding!"      

We take our football seriously.    Serious fun.

Have a great weekend whatever your plans are!

City On Our Knees

When we step across the line we can sail across the sea

Amazing, beautiful things happen when people have the courage to live, work, and pray in the spirit of unity and peace. Often, though, to make these amazing things happen, we have to step out of our comfort zone and into a world we find uncomfortable or intimidating. Sometimes that world is physical; other times it can be emotional, relational, or spiritual.

City on Our Knees shows this, encouraging you to take the first step. It offers stories of people who have stepped across lines. Lines of discrimination, persecution, doubt, prejudice, pride, bitterness, self-isolation, and despair. I pray and hope that you will be inspired to see how just one person, or one small group, can be a mechanism for change.

God can use us right here. Right now. All we need is faith that He has our best in mind. And believe me—He does.


 Book Review

After listening to TobyMac's music for so long, I was curious to read what the man behind the music had to say.     The photo above doesn't quite do justice to how visually stunning this book really is.   My boys both grabbed it up when it arrived because they loved the look of the book.     I hope that same reaction will prompt people to grab it off the shelves because it is what is inside the book that is truly stunning.    

TobyMac's heart and passion for Christ literally pours off every page.     Whether you are reading the chapters, which highlight ordinary people who have allowed themselves to be used in ordinary ways, or the pages in between, which are covered with TobyMac's favorite Scriptures and quotes, you feel your heart absorbing the passion.

My own boys have enjoyed reading this book.   I remember when I was little reading the Bible and thinking that the men and women who were used by God lived so long ago.    Through TobyMac's book I am able to show the boys great Christian examples who are living TODAY!    

Some of the examples are familiar.  Michael Oher from The Blind Side is one that most will immediately recognize.   However, some of the best chapters highlights the life stories of people who just followed God's leading and never really intended for anyone to know about it.

The passion you hear in TobyMac's music definitely comes through on the pages of this book!     If you have a TobyMac fan in your life, they will love you for buying them this book.

This book was provided to me for free by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amy Inspired

With rejections piling up, she could use just a little inspiration...

Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Amy Inspired, go HERE.

Book Review

Amy Gallagher is a thirty something woman who is trying to write her first novel.    She is a Christian who has had firmly held convictions, but over the past few years she has questioned some of those in light of her relationships.    

I am not sure where your comfort level lies in reading a book, but I personally do not like to read about unclothed people in a Christian fiction novel.     I think there were some boundaries crossed in this book both physically and spiritually with which I don't personally agree.      Nothing "harlequin" style or that sort, but things that I felt inappropriate for this genre.

I did appreciate the story line as I know that there are so many career singles who face the challenges that Amy talk about in this story line.    

TOS Review: The Write Foundation

Teaching my boys how to write is something that is a high priority for me.    I have often wondered what method my teachers used to teach us because I know that when I graduated I had a firm grasp on how to sit down, organize my thoughts and write a very complete paper.     In the twenty something years since I have graduated, it has become very apparent that not every student has this advantage.    Just last Wednesday evening at church a man about my age said he graduated having never writing a paper at all.    My own husband said he can't ever remember writing a paper for a class either.  

While you aren't required to write many twenty page papers in your lifetime, we certainly do a lot of communicating through emails, texting, notes and other written forms.     How well you are able to write (or not able to) reflects a lot on you which is why it is such a high priority in our homeschool.  

The Write Foundation  offers a very creative, but structured way to teach writing.   
There are three writing levels to choose from based on where your student's needs may be.

Start at the Sentence to Paragraph Writing Level 1:

*  If your student has any run ons or incomplete sentences when he writes on his own.
* If your student hates writing.
* If your student primarily writes simple sentences.

Start at the Paragraph Writing Level 2:

*  If your student understands the writing process of basic brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit, final copy.
*  If your student usually writes descriptive sentences, which includes adjectives, adverbs and participles.
*  If your student can follow directions.

Start at the Essay Writing Level 3:

* If your student understands and knows how to effectively use the writing process of brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit, final copy.
* If your student knows how to write a proper, standard outline for a 3-4 paragraph paper.
* If your student uses a variety of words and minimizes repetition.
*  If your student has been introduced to transitions.
* If your student is familiar with basic figures of speech.
* If your student is familiar with writing in third person only.

We decided to start at Level 2 as my Little Guy was ready for this level and my Big Guy could use some polishing in this level.       The Write Foundation immediately won big bonus points as they used Mind Benders are part of their lessons.    My boys both love Mind Benders and thought that if they helped you write then this was the writing program for them.

As you can see in this sample lesson, a lot of emphasis is put on helping students expand their sentence structure vocabulary through alliteration.      This is something that we have been working on up to the point we started The Write Foundation, so this was great reinforcement and something that did not seem like work to them.

The highlight of trying out this program was seeing the lightbulb go on when working on the block outline for a paper we have been working on for history.     My son said, "It all makes sense!"  

I am anxious to build on what we have started and see if we can develop their writing into a true skill.

Sentence to Paragraph Writing Curriculum  is available in 3 different packages:

Curriculum Package 1: Sentence to Paragraph Complete Lessons 1-30  $100 + tax and/or shipping

            Spiral Instruction Manuals Lessons 1 – 15 & Lessons 16 – 30

            Student Worksheets Full Set Lessons 1 – 30

            Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD

Complete Curriculum Package 1: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-30

Curriculum Package 2: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-15   $65 +  tax and/or shipping.

            Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 1 – 15

            Student Worksheets Lessons 1 – 15
            Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD  

Curriculum Package 2: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-15
Curriculum Package 3: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 16-30  $65 + tax and/or shipping.
            Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 16 – 30
            Student Worksheets Lessons 16 – 30
            Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD
Curriculum Package 3: Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 16-30 
The Sentence to Paragraph instruction manuals are also available separately for $75 for Lessons 1-30 or $40 each for Lessons 1-15 or 16-30 + tax and/or shipping.
Instruction Manuals Only Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-30
Instruction Manual Only Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 1-15
Instruction Manual Only Sentence to Paragraph Lessons 16-30

The Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD is also available separately for $15 + tax and/or shipping.
Sentence to Paragraph Additional Resources CD

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Month of Thanks

Little Guy is off taking his shower and doing his nighttime routine which means I have a few minutes by myself.   We have the house to ourselves tonight since Big Guy and hubs are taking a class together.  

When Little Guy is ready we are going to snuggle up together on the couch with our cups of caramel apple cider and enjoy some time together playing Racko.     Little Guy is practicing his Racko skills since he recently challenged "Uncle" Randy to a Racko tournament.    

I can't believe that this is November.     The month of thanksgiving.     While it has been a year of challenges, I definitely have so much to be thankful for in my life.   

At the top of that list are my precious boys -- all three of them.    I love my husband and two boys more than I have words to express.    

Going through the stresses of health, finances, job insecurities and so many other things have put a strain on our marriage like it would anyone else.      We both struggled with how we were handling these things individually, but it took even more work to find ways to handle these things together.      Fortunately, we are both determined and stubborn especially when it comes to our marriage.    For that I am especially thankful.     When I look at my sweet hubs today I see a man who not only loves me, but loves me enough to stick with me through whatever each day may bring.

I have watched my precious boys grow physically, spiritually, academically and emotionally this year. When it comes to academics, I tell them that maybe after I finish 4th grade for the third time with Little Guy I will know all of it!     Seeing both of my boys be baptized this year is definitely a highlight and something I would repeat all of 2010 to see.   

I thank God every moment of the day for these precious gifts He has given me.    I cherish every minute that I have with them.

Bricks and Spokes

Hubs and Little Guy raced in the Bricks and Spokes bicycle race in Vicksburg a few weeks ago.     They weren't sure they were going to be able to handle it after a practice run in the military park which left them kind of defeated.   However, after checking out the race map they decided they would try the ten mile race.

There were a LOT of racers there for this race.     We had to be there at 7:30 to line up to get started.    *yawn*     It was very cool which was nice for the bikers, but breezer for the spectators.

Patrick, from The Biggest Loser, was on hand to wish the racers well.     We don't watch the Biggest Loser, but my parents do so they had told us that Patrick lived in Vicksburg and that they were cheering for him.     We have since seen him on a commercial.    Doesn't he look great?

Hubs texted us when they were about one mile out from completing the race.    We were so excited to see them coming up the hill.      They looked awesome!

I am so proud of my guys.    Little Guy has already asked for a new bicycle for Christmas.      We have told him that he has to pick which kind he wants to have:   a street bike for racing, a mountain bike for the mountain riding (yes, there is a mountain bike club here), or a off road bike for his BMX riding.       He is still deciding.

Whatever he decides, I know we will love watching him ride.

Hatteras Girl

There are two things twenty-nine-year-old Jackie Donovan asks God for: an honest, wonderful man to marry, and to own a bed-and-breakfast in the Outer Banks region. In the meantime, Jackie works for Lighthouse Views magazine, writing articles about other local business owners, and intrepidly goes on the blind dates set up by her well-meaning but oh-so-clueless relatives.

There's one specific property Jackie dreams of purchasing: the Bailey Place, a fabulous old home where Jackie spent many happy childhood afternoons, a place that has now fallen into disrepair because of its outrageous price tag.

When Jackie meets handsome Davis Erickson, who holds the key to the Bailey Place, Jackie is sure God has answered both her prayers. But as Jackie learns some disturbing details about Davis's past, she begins to question her own motivation. Will she risk her long-held dreams to find out the truth?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hatteras Girl, go HERE.

Book Review

When the restaurant served Jackie Donovan's Diet Pepsi in a mason jar, I knew that this book was going to be one that this southern girl could identify with very well.     Despite the fact I have never been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I could almost taste the salty air and see the waves lapping on the shore through Alice Wisler's vivid word pictures.     Alice Wisler is an author is writes very vivid word pictures which translates to a wonderful book.    Although I have never been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I could feel the salt air on my skin and wish that I could visit there soon just from reading her descriptions.

Jackie has an intense desire to own the Bailey home which was such a huge part of her childhood.      While that is her desire, her family is set on setting her up with endless blind dates.    Jackie's best friend, Minnie, is dealing with the loss of her husband, her mother's stroke and raising her son almost by herself.  

All of these scenarios add up to the basis of the story line for Hatteras Girl and make for a wonderful read which you will hate to see end.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Head in the Clouds

Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.

When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.

When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Head in the Clouds, go HERE.

The Preacher's Bride

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.

Book Review

If you have ever read The Pilgrim's Progress then you will definitely want to read this book.    This is the fictional story of Elizabeth Bunyan, the wife of the John Bunyan.     It is beautifully told. 

We take for granted our freedom to worship each Sunday, but reading this book will remind you of just what people went through to preach the Gospel despite persecution from the governed "church".     The story of Elizabeth Bunyan proves the saying that behind every great man is an even greater woman.