Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Refuge on Crescent Hill

THE HOMECOMING WASN’T WHAT SHE EXPECTED…


Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.


When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camdem uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life─and the entire town─forever.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Refuge on Crescent Hill, go HERE.


Book Review

Camden hops in her car one night thinking she will just drive to see her Grandmother and escape some of the stress and money problems which are plaguing her.     She arrives in town to realize that her Grandmother's funeral has been held the day before and no one had contacted her.      Overwhelmed with grief, she accept the key to her Grandmother's home, Crescent Hill.       Confused by the condition of the home, she settles in grateful for a place to stay and the comfort of being surrounded by the familiarity of her Grandmother's things.    

It doesn't take long for things to start disappearing and footsteps to appear.      The city approaches with demands of repairs.    A young man approaches with an offer to purchase the home.      Camden isn't even sure if she wants to sell the home.      It doesn't take long to realize the home has secrets.    Ones that people are unwilling to share.

Camden must sort through all the stories, lies, deceit, and truly helpful offers to find what God wants for her and what her Grandmother's purpose was in leaving her on Crescent Hill.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Commercials Should Have Their Own Rating Systems

Noise.     That is how I feel about television.     It is just noise so much of the time.      I am lucky that my boys really don't like television that much.    

Big Guy could care less about television.    Even on nights when we have family nights, he just isn't excited when we decide to have movie night.     So obviously we don't have those very often.

Little Guy watches more television than Big Guy.      He has always had a routine of waking up really early -- around 6 or 6:30 and climbing into the big chair with a blanket and the cat and watching something to wake up.    In general, if Little Guy is watching television the station is on Food Network, the History Channel or Discovery Channel.       I can't tell you how many mornings I have come out to get some coffee only to hear his first words be, "Mom, I just saw how to make some delicious fish/chicken/pork.    Can we go to the store and get ingredients?"   

My problem is not with the television the boys watch, but with commercials.     Just because you approve the television shows does not mean that the commercials will have the same approval.     

This summer Little Guy has been on a kick watching Full House in the morning.    Nothing wrong with that.   I gave him approval and have even watched it with him, but then they began showing commercials for a television series on the same station.    This was a tween-directed show and some of the scenes were shocking.      6:45 in the morning I am drinking my coffee and I don't need to see teenage scenes of pregnancy and two boys kissing. 

It is every station too.    Commercials have prompted questions like this:  "Mom, what does sitting in separate bathtubs have to do with sex?"   and  "Mom, what is ED?"       See?   Commercials should have their own rating systems.      And when did they see these commercials?   While watching the "innocent" shows like Full House or Andy Griffith.    

We have programmed The Weather Channel into our remote so that we can quickly flip over to that channel any time commercials come on.     Better yet, we just tell the boys to reserve their chores for commercial times.       Have to unload the dishwasher?    Make up your bed?     Brush your teeth?    Take out the trash?    Do it during the commercial break.

Our favorite way to avoid commercials is to record any shows we want to watch and just fast forward through them all together!

How do you deal with and feel about commercials?   Have you gotten awkward questions because of commercials?

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Makes Me Sad"

Big Guy has been working for one of the ladies in our church who runs a day care in her home.     His hours were tough.   8:00a.m. - 6:00p.m.    That is a LONG day when you are 13 years old and dealing with ten kids between the ages of 3-9.      Our friend said the kids immediately loved him.    I didn't doubt it because kids love Big Guy.     

After a couple of days of working he crawled up onto the couch beside me and said, "Mom, I like working, but it really makes me sad.   I feel so sorry for some of those kids.    They eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the daycare.     They never get to eat with their parents and by the time they get home it is almost bedtime."    

I knew how Big Guy felt.    I can't imagine being separated from my boys that much.    It has been such a blessing being a stay at home mom.       That reality has hit me even more since Big Guy just turned 13.      In just 5 short years he will be off to college.      Just thinking about it makes me sad.    I went to see Toy Story 3 where Andy has grown up and goes off to college and I cried like a baby.

Staying at home is a sacrifice.    We don't go out to eat a lot.   We can't take all the trips to all the amazing places we would like to go.   We can't necessarily buy the boys everything we would like to.     However, the time we have had to spend with them has been priceless.    

I wouldn't trade it for anything and I am so glad that Big Guy looked in my eyes the other day and said, "Mom, thank you for always stay home with me.    I have always felt safe and loved."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Circle of Friends

I graduated from a class of hundreds.     It was huge.     Despite that fact, many of us were very close and felt like a group of family friends.      A group of us have stayed in very close contact since we graduated almost 25 years (gulp) ago.      We have shared happiness, sadness, loss, birth, marriage, laughter, and always, encouragement.      It is amazing to have this group of friends in my life since we rarely if ever see each other.

Earlier this year we were all crushed when Jewel (our nickname for her) was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.    We have prayed and tried everything we have known how to do to stand by Jewel during chemotherapy and then radiation.  Our sweet high school friend  started her last round of chemotherapy  this past week and we were all so excited. 

On this wave of excitement, I received news which crushed my heart.    One of Big Guy's friends had gotten sick while on vacation with his family and they had brought him home.    They drove straight to University Medical Center.        The results were not what they expected.    He is now in Blair E. Batson facing treatments and a long haul ahead of him.         

Yet again another circle of friends have been affected.      This sweet family goes to church with us.    His parents are precious.       No parents should have to hear the news they are having to deal with right now.

I would like to ask you to pray for Big Guy's friend.      God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.      I believe what Luke 1:37 says, "For with God nothing will be impossible."   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lunch With The Bloggy Buddies

Although we don't get together nearly as often as we want to, the bloggy buddies got together for lunch this week.     I love getting together with this group of friends.     It isn't like we don't get together all the time online through our blogs and Facebook, but being able to sit down together is so much fun.      Being able to see Wifey and how adorable she is pregnant is amazing.     Being able to see Flip Flops and how much weight she has lost even since the last time I saw her is just amazing!     K and I go to the same church but we never get the chance to just chat so having lunch together was special.     But what was really great was getting to meet Mayberry!   Yay!    Finally I got to meet my sweet friend.     Next time the REST of you guys have got to join us because we really missed you (you know who you are!)

For this bloggy buddy lunch we ate at the Auditorium.    Have you eaten there yet?    It is located in the old Duling School downtown across from St. Luke's church.    

It was my first time to try them out.     Yum!     I browsed their menu before I went and I was glad I did because they had so many things I wanted to choose.      I was hooked as soon as I saw shrimp and grits.       The waitress was really sweet when I told her to hold the salad since I could not have greens and offered to bring me any other side.     The only other item on the side menu that I saw was onion rings.      

The onion rings were OK, but kind of greasy and slightly cold when they arrived.     The shrimp and grits?    DELICIOUS!      It was a good size serving without being overwhelming.     I would love to go back.    Hubs would love the blackened redfish.    

Such a great choice for lunch.    Proverbs 17:22 says "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."     I am pretty much convinced that I don't need more doctor's appointments, just more bloggy lunches!  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Church in the Woods

I pass this church every morning taking Todd to work.     The name on the simple sign says, Pearl River Methodist Church.     It is so beautiful and serene set off the road.    No asphalt parking lot.    Large sign yelling at you.    Just quiet, simplicity quietly beckoning to stop and rest.   Yesterday morning I decided I had to take a few minutes and do that.      I wished so much I had a blanket so I could just sit there and drink in the very presence of God.     You could just feel Him there. 
 



Standing in front of the church is this cornerstone monument.   It took quite a bit of concentrating to read the inscription.   I was able to get just enough information to come home and research more.     This little church was built in 1833 and doubled as a school and a church.      The most noted family from this church is the Lambuth family.    Rev. and Mrs. Lambuth were missionaries to China.     During one of their visits home to Mississippi, their daughter died and was buried in the church cemetery.   


Despite the fact that this church isn't used except for special occasions now, you can tell by how well the grounds are taken care of that this church is loved.     Each third Thursday of October there is a special memorial service honoring the Lambuths and their service as missionaries.



In the morning I would love to take my blanket, my Bible and a coffee and just go sit and listen.    I don't know what God has to say but I could hear His voice whispering amongst the beauty of that church grounds so clearly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank you, Lord, for answering prayer!

Two weeks and a half weeks ago I told hubs that I was becoming pretty frustrated with my doctor.     He just wasn't answering my questions and the only time he was doing anything was when I specifically suggested something.     I was beginning to feel as though I was doctoring myself.  

Immediately following that I had to take a trip to the ER again after I began having a lot of troubles similar to my last pulmonary embolism.      They discovered that my medicine levels had dropped too low to prevent a pulmonary embolism.     After a quick stay in the hospital I went home to more shots and meds which meant lots of trips to my doctor for lab and consults.

My frustration escalated and I began praying for God to give me another doctor.       In the meantime, hub shared our frustration with his boss.     He gave hubs the name and number of his wife's doctor.

I had one lab left with my current doctor so I was going to ask for my records to be transferred.     It made me nervous, but I really want to find some answers.    

The night before I was to go to the doctor my phone rang and my doctor's nurse says, "I know you have an appointment tomorrow, but I want you to know that your doctor has resigned and won't be here."

Talk about God answering prayer in a weird way!

Now I am seeing a new doctor and in one visit he has already started making arrangements for me to see a pulmonologist so I can start a plan of action for finding the source of these pulmonary embolisms and get off these meds.    Yahoo!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maid to Match

Falling in love could cost her everything.


From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.


But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations...their hearts.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.


Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):












Book Review:
When Deanne Gist's name shows up on the book review list, I automatically check "yes".   I never even worry about what the book is about because I have loved everything she has written.    Within reading the first few pages of Maid to Match I realized that this was based in Asheville at the Biltmore Estate.     I was so excited as this is where my husband is taking me to celebrate our 20th anniversary.    

The Biltmore, owned by the Vanderbilts, is quite an attraction today but can you imagine what it must have been like to the people in 1895 when it was built?     It is a 175,000 square foot home with electric lights, an indoor pool, servants had quarters with indoor plumbing (unheard of!), and it had a HUGE staff of servants.     Look at that place.  It is two of those servants that this story centers around:   Tillie and Mack.      

Tillie's mother has groomed her all her life to become a lady's maid.     Her opportunity has opened up to be a lady's maid to none other than Mrs. Vanderbilt.     Mack accept a position at the Biltmore only because he is trying to save enough money to rescue his sister from an abusive orphanage.      Mrs. Vanderbilt quickly moves Mack up through the servant ranks because his twin brother works there as well and they make a "handsome pair" working side by side.     Cleaning, polishing, and shining places like this dining room...

And Mr. Vanderbilt's bedroom...
Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedroom (they slept in separate bedrooms?!?)




As you can imagine, keeping up with cleaning all of this required total dedication.     Day by day, side by side.... Tillie and Mack find an attraction.   Unfortunately, no servants may marry and if their attraction is found out they will both lose their positions at the Biltmore.

Ohhh.... I can't tell you anymore.    You really MUST read this book.     Reading it made me so much more excited about going to tour the Biltmore!

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

All that glitters is not gold. It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when an old wealthy miner named Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite the protests of his friend Jeremiah.


Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, young Madeleine Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden...and tarnish her character beyond redemption.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico, go HERE.


"Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico is a well-researched novel brimming With emotive conflict. Lena Nelson Dooley has crafted a historical romance that demonstrates that courage comes in many forms, but the courage to love is the most difficult of all.

─DiAnn Mills, author of Sworn to Protect and A Woman Called Sage

“Two strangers are presented with a ‘golden’ opportunity for love in this quintessential East meets West tale by well-loved author Lena Nelson Dooley. I found myself swept away by the beautiful writing and enmeshed in the lives of the players, who face many twists and turns in their journey toward the ultimate happily-ever-after. Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico is truly one of the loveliest historical romances I’ve read in ages. Highly recommended.”

─Janice Hanna Thompson, author of Love Me Tender and Swinging on a Star

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Hubs and Daddy!

It is Saturday morning and the house is relatively quiet if you don't count the sound of those crazy vuvuzelas from the World Cup soccer game on the television.     I am listening to it as I bake a birthday cake for our youth pastor's birthday to take to Sunday School in the morning.   

Hubs got up bright and early to take Little Guy to the Katfishing Kids at the Turcotte Lab.   (Big Guy had a late night last night with his youth group playing black light dodge ball so he decided to sleep in.   Can you say serious fun?)      They looked so cute leaving out all loaded up with their fishing gear and cooler full of water and snacks.    

It is the day before Father's Day and I am so thankful for my sweet husband.     Someone once said that "the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love and respect their mother."      If that is true then my boys have already received the greatest gift from their Dad.     I have never known true love and respect until I met my sweet husband.   

I hope that my boys will emulate their Dad in so many other ways too.     Hubs is a man of integrity.    He keeps his promises.     Big ones and small ones.     Before we were married he promised to make me laugh every day the rest of our lives.    He hasn't broken that promise.    

He has his priorities in order.    When Big Guy was just a baby we lived quite a distance from hub's work.     Every day at 5:00 he would leave to come home so that he could have supper with us, give Big Guy his bath and have family time with us, have family prayers and put him to bed.      After Big Guy was asleep, hubs would make that long drive back to work to finish his hours.     He has always made his family and his boys a priority and because of that his boys trust him and know that their Dad is there for them.

He loves to have fun.    I love that about my husband.    He is mischievous and loves to play pranks.    The boys love it too.      Games?    He is in.    Biking?   Oh yea.    A round of ping pong?    Watch out.      Wrestling in the living room?     You are on.     Telling jokes in the car?    We'll all be giggling.      As long as we are all together... he loves to have fun.

I don't think my boys will ever appreciate just how much their Dad or I love them, but I know.    And I wanted to take this chance to tell him how much I love him!

It is easy for me to recognize an amazing dad because I had an amazing Daddy.     I may be 42 years old, but he is still  my Daddy.      I love him so much.     

Happy Father's Day to Hubs and Daddy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm Joining The Crew


The TOS Homeschool invited me to join their crew this year.    The TOS magazine is the leading magazine on all things homeschool.    They started their application process back in January.     They finalized their selection and I am so excited to be able to part of this next year.     The TOS Homeschool Crew is a group of homeschool parents who are selected to review homeschool products.  

We were able to apply in two separate age groups:   the Preschool/Elementary age range (the younger crew) or the Junior/Senior High range (the older crew).      Because Big Guy is going into the 8th grade and Little Guy is working so far ahead of his grade level I applied to review for the older crew.

They have already announced a few vendors who will be sending us free curriculum to review.   I am very excited about receiving and giving it a try.

A Few of The Vendors....
Homeschool Programming, Inc.  -  Teaches programming using C, C+, and Visual Basic.
Professor in a Box - A high school elective course in financial accounting
New Monic Books - Vocabulary cartoon books for SAT prep

There are tons more, but these are a few that caught my eye because they are curriculum items that I have looked at before for my boys.

I have been assigned a First Mate, Debra, and crew mates who we call a mini-crew.     We will work together, support each other and be there to help each other during this next year.     

I'm excited.    I'm a little overwhelmed.    Overall, I'm very blessed that God allowed me this privilege to preview some amazing curriculum for my boys!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Favorite Color

I have a friend whose favorite color is orange.     She loves the color orange.    Her car is orange.    She has orange tennis shoes.   Orange purse.      It is kind of like her signature.       If you ask her what her favorite color is she is definitely going to say orange without hesitation.

Why am I even writing about this?   Because someone asked me yesterday what my favorite color is.    I don't know.   I have never had a favorite color.    Every time someone asks me that I always say blue, but it isn't really.    I don't have a favorite.     I think it is another one of those things that makes me seriously weird.

I definitely appreciate color.     I am love with the color of my boys' eyes.    The blues of ocean waves.    The greens of my yard after it has just rained.     The rainbow of flowers in my neighbor's flower garden.     The white clouds as the boys and I lay on the trampoline.       I just can't pinpoint one as my favorite.

Do you have a favorite color?    Why?   What makes it your favorite?

A Tailor Made Bride

When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!


Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.


Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?


When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to consequences neither could have foreseen--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Tailor-Made Bride , go HERE.

Book Description

Everyone who leaves home carries with them a suitcase of memories, rules, expectations and even prejudices.    When Hannah steps off the train excited about starting her new tailoring business the first person she meets is Jericho.    It doesn't take long to realize that they are carrying suitcases from two completely backgrounds and it takes even less time for them to clash.      However, for every run in there is a random act of kindness lurking close behind.   

Hannah starts living her life and performing her own acts of kindness.     To a widowed man who has been grieving too long.     To a single mom barely making ends meet.     To a lonely young girl who desperately needs a friend.     Hannah shines Christ to her corner of the world.       Eventually she cracks the rough exterior of Jericho, but like in most good story lines, it takes a rough turn to finally get his attention.

Such a good book.   I can't wait to tuck this into one of the baskets I am making for one of the teen girls I am coaching this summer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Reading Programs

I wanted to make sure we were involved in all the local reading programs!     Here are the ones I found.   We don't have a Pottery Barn, but maybe you do!



When you get to the website, download the summer reading form. As your child reads books over the summer, simply fill in the titles on the form. When your child has read 10 books, take the form to a Borders or Waldenbooks store and choose a free book from the selection offered including, Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary, Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, and The River by Gary Paulsen. No purchase is necessary to participate. The form must be completed and turned in by August 26, 2010.


Kids read 8 books and get 1 free. B&N also offers free, downloadable Parent and Educator "Activity Kits" to enhance learning through books. Get all of the details at the website.


Kids of all ages who attend Pottery Barn Story Times (held on Tuesdays in the stores), will receive a Book Club card on their first visit and a special gift after attending five story times



Scholastic has a free online summer reading club for children that began on April 30, 2010. Kids 8 and up can go online and read to help set a "World Record."


"Kids who don't read over the summer can lose as much as one to three months of learning."   So true!    Pizza Hut offers this "Book It" summer reading program.   Check it out!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Black Hole

Do you have a black hole in your house?     Everybody has a dryer that eats socks.    That kind of stuff if normal.      When the boys were little their sippy cups would disappear but then we figured out they were throwing them over the side of their beds when they finished drinking of them.     We found them when we changed the sheets and had to move the bed.   

THAT is not what I am talking about.    What I am talking about is a void and space where items disappears to and virtually never reappear!

Our black hole is very discriminating.    It likes certain items.    Take fingernail clippers for example.      We cannot seem to keep a pair of fingernail clippers in our house.      They are small, I agree.    However, we should be literally tripping over fingernail clippers with the sheer volume I have bought.    For the past five years, I have put fingernail clippers into every one of our stockings for Christmas.   Five years.   Four of us.    That is 20 pairs of fingernail clippers.       That doesn't count the two dozen pair I have picked up when I have found them on sale!      How many pair are in the drawer right now?    ZERO

The other item our black hole loves is scissors.     Yet again... scissors have made an appearance in our stockings the past two years.    (Sounds exciting to open our stockings, doesn't it?    Woo hoo!  Mom, loving these fingernail clippers and scissors!)    The boys each got TWO pairs of scissors this year.     Yesterday I needed a pair and neither of them had a clue where they were.      These boys each have a desk for school with organizers to keep their stuff in and when they need scissors they go find MINE!     So when I need a pair how many are in my drawer?    ZERO

There is a new item which has begun to disappear.     Tweezers.     We've lost four pair so far.      This must be the most well groomed black hole ever.

I am starting to think that our black hole has a thing for metal.     As long as it doesn't eat my computer, we won't have to fight.

Do you have a black hole at your house? 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finding Jeena

Jeena Gregory thought she’d made it. She has everything a woman could ask for and a budding career promises more. But when rumors around town cast her boss in a shady light, Jeena starts to question her employer’s integrity. Was she wrong to trust this man and this job?


When the boss disappears, salaries go unpaid, and Jeena overhears several hush-hush phone calls, she realizes her carefully crafted world is crumbling. Shaken to the core at the threat of losing everything, Jeena is suddenly confronted with her prejudices─and with a God she had long forgotten.


If you would like to read an excerpt of Finding Jeena, go HERE.

Book Review
Everyone defines success differently, but Jeena had the sterotypical definition.    Big money.   Big job.    Big house.      She thought she had found success and was on top of the world.      Unfortunately, when you are on top there is only one place to go.      And that is where she goes very quickly as the big money, big job and everything else she defined as success starts to disappear "like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand."

Suddenly she is pushed back into the world that she fought to leave behind.     She is also forced to see grace and mercy for the first time.     Not only her lack of it, but her unwillingness to accept it for herself.   

A great story of the true meaning of success and that great childhood song, "A wise man built his house upon the Rock."

Quiznos Coupon


We told Big Guy he could go anywhere to eat on his birthday and do you know what he chose?   Quiznos.    He loves Quiznos.     As their motto says:   "Mmmmmmm... toasty!"

I found this coupon for a small sub, chips and regular fountain drink for only $2.99!    Wow!    We will be taking another trip for lunch to Quiznos soon to enjoy this coupon.     Won't Big Guy be happy?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Reading




This is where my love affair with books began... summer days browsing books on the Bookmobile.    It would drive out to the country every two weeks and we could get new books.     Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Charlotte's Web, Judy Blume, Boxcar Children.... when the afternoon would get too hot to play you could grab your book and stretch out on the porch swing with a popsicle and read.

That is why I am obsessed with summer reading.     As soon as I saw the display at Barnes and Noble for the summer reading program I snatched up the form.    Somehow I didn't see the same excitement when I came dancing in the door to show my boys.     Hmmmm.....    What could be more exciting than reading 8 books and getting a FREE book?!?

Some of the books on our summer reading list:



What is on your summer reading list?   Your children?     Where is your favorite place to read?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Avoiding Summer Brain Mush

It is summer!     We couldn't wait for summer.     Everywhere we go someone asks the boys, "Aren't you glad school is out?"      Today a lady told me that her grandson was already complaining that he was bored.     That is the challenge with summer.    

Before school was out I told the boys they had to make some choices regarding summer.      We sat down and analyzed their options for the summer.     We knew that we would be going swimming a lot.     However, I wanted them to pick some "brain" activities.

A few things they picked...
* Geocaching.   This is a new family hobby which we all love.     All over the world people hide little containers, caches, and then post the location online.    A lot of them are associated with historical places and people.     The boys have loved finding all the ones around our town.     We are going to set a goal and hope to reach that cache find goal this summer.

* Volunteer.     There are so many opportunities to serve:  in our church, our neighborhood, our community.    VBS volunteer, Salvation Army pantry worker, Beautiful Feet (a homeless mission in Texas) mission trip
Go pickin'!   Last summer we were able to go pick fresh plums and veggies.    The boys loved it and we hope to do that again this summer. 
Music lessons.     Big Guy is taking trumpet lessons.    Little Guy is taking piano.
Robotics Camp.  
Swimming.    A summer favorite!
*   Playing with FRIENDS!    You thought I had gone all crazy and forgotten about the fun didn't you?    No way.    Having friends over and going to friends' houses is something we enjoy all summer.

Last but not least is summer reading.     But, I am saving that for a post tomorrow!      

A Hopeful Heart

Dowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas, in 1888. The school's one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher--or the wife of one.


Shy and small for her twenty-two years, Tressa is convinced she'll never have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt's hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, riding a horse, and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands. But what other options does she have?


Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the group of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once--and he got his heart broken. But there's something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice.


When Tressa's life is endangered, will Abel risk his own life--and his heart--to help this eastern girl?


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Hopeful Heart, go HERE

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be Prepared for Natural Disasters



The American Red Cross together with "Simple and Surprising" Clorox put together a free ebook called "Adventures in Being Prepared".

For every book that is downloaded between today and June 30th, Clorox will donate $1 (up to $10,000)to the American Red Cross. What could be better? Preparing your family for tornado, hurricane and other natural disasters and helping out the American Red Cross.



Here is some of the GREAT tips you will find in this eBook:

1. Get a Kit

One of the first projects in the book is to create an emergency kit. You’ve probably heard of these. Often it is a backpack or a sturdy, waterproof container with a secure lid. You want to fill it with all the things you will need in case you are without power or have to evacuate your home.
Here are some of the things you’ll want to have in your kit:

* Water (minimum 3-day supply), 1 gallon per person, per day for drinking and washing
* Non-perishable food (minimum 3-day supply)
* Flashlight
* Battery powered or hand-crank radio
* Extra batteries
* First aid kit
* Important medications
* Multi-purpose tool
* Sanitation and personal hygiene items
* Copies of personal documents like the deed/lease to your home, birth certificates and insurance policies
* Cell phone with chargers
* Family and emergency contact information
* Extra cash
* Emergency blanket
* Map(s) of the area
* Extra clothing
* Household liquid bleach such as Clorox® Regular-Bleach (for cleaning, disinfecting and emergency water purification*)

*Use as directed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Doughnut Day!


Nothing says doughnut like that "Hot Now" sign at Krispy Kreme!     I imagine that sign will stay lit all day long tomorrow for National Doughnut Day.    Krispy Kreme intends to give away not just one but TWO FREE doughnuts in honor of this special day (June 4th).

We only go to Krispy Kreme maybe once or twice a year but we'll be making a special trip tomorrow for two FREE doughnuts!

Happy Doughnut Day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy 13th Birthday, Big Guy

Photo by FrickFrackFoto

 How do I put into words the love that I have for you?
The talent, the gifts, the pure fingerprints of God upon your life that I see each and every day?
I consider it a gift and a joy to be your Mom.
Happy 13th Birthday, Big Guy!
I hope the words to this song below let you know how I feel.
Mom

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth
And If I never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories

It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly
("Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Last Christian



In the future, it’s possible to live forever—but at what cost?

A.D. 2088.

Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.

But a larger threat looms. The world's leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense?

As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father's unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.

In this fast-paced thriller, startling near-future science collides with thought-provoking religious themes to create a spell-binding "what-if?" novel.

Read the first chapter of this book here.

Book Description


In the 8th grade we were assigned the book 1984 to read as part of English Literature.    I remember the chills, nights lying awake thinking about what I had read and the heavy discussions that were generated because of this book.     That book affected me for a long time.       All those feelings flooded back when I picked up David Gregory's The Last Christian.   

I could NOT put this book down.    Although fiction the plot line was so realistic and believable and very frightening.     Abigail, a young woman who grew up as a missionary, has come to the United States to find a place where Christianity has disappeared.      Because of laws making preaching a hate crime, all of the churches shut down.      Marriages are non-existent and have been replaced by ten year contracts.    Children often don't know or have contact with their parents.      Computers as we know them have been replaced by implants in people's brain which allow people to access the internet from their minds.      (Tell me your skin isn't crawling!)

The main story line centers around a scientific experiment which allows people to download their brain into a new form which allows them to "cheat" death.    However, people who have tried this wake up to realize that their soul has been taken from them.   

For a while that thought bothered me.    So much so that I did something I never do.    I asked my best friend to read this book too.      While she was reading I prayed through my feelings.     The Lord brought to mind the following Scripture:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."   Romans 8:38-39
God reminded me that this was a fiction book.     But it was a really well written book and one that I very highly recommend.     In fact, it is one that I am giving around to quite a few people.