Friday, July 30, 2010

Laughter and Thanks

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?    Apparently the best laid plans of moms can go awry too.     I left the house yesterday with plans to go to the Barnes and Noble Homeschooling Open House, drop by the dollar store to pick up two simple items and then go pick up Big Guy from work.    It seemed like a simple plan when I left the house, but something went terribly wrong between that time and the moment I landed in the back of an ambulance.

I walked into the Dollar Store to find army men for a "Boot Camp" program which we are having for the upcoming 5th graders this weekend at church.     They didn't have them so I started walking towards the exit.    All of a sudden I did not know where I was.     I stopped, took a breath and looked around.   I was really confused because nothing looked familiar to me at all.    I walked outside and looked around and I still had no idea where I was.    I don't remember being scared, but I was so confused and felt disconnected.    I found my keys in my purse and pushed the button until I found my car with the lights blinking.    I went and climbed in and tried to call my husband.     He didn't answer.     I sat there and the feeling wouldn't go away and I knew I couldn't possibly drive.     I wasn't sure what to do because I could not remember anyone's name and nothing seemed familiar to me at all.    I tried to call 911 but the call kept failing.    I finally asked a lady to call 911 for me.  

Now, if you know me you realize that I cope with most things with laughter.     This was no exception.     I told 911 that I was in the Wal-Mart parking lot, but in the parking lot in front of The Shoe Department.     911 said that they couldn't find me.     Where we live isn't that big and Wal-Mart is a HUGE landmark.     He said, "Are you sure you are in front of the shoe department?"    I knew I was confused, but I could still read.   I told him I was reading that sign.    He asked if there was anyone around who could help me.   The lady who let me borrow her phone told 911 that we were indeed in front of The Shoe Department.   A sheriff's officer showed up and I heard him radio in, "Dispatch, tell the EMTs that she is NOT in the shoe department of Walmart.   She is in front of The Shoe Department store."     I got the giggles because I could just envision those EMTs running around the shoe department inside Wal-Mart looking for some confused woman.

After they showed up they asked if they could try hubs again.    I told them if they pushed the "G" on phone is would speed dial my husband.    The EMT was wearing gloves and he apparently didn't push the button long enough so it pulled up the G's in my address book.    The first name under the G's is Gene McGee (the mayor of our city).   The EMT said, "You are married to the mayor?"     Again, I started laughing.     I know these guys thought I was really losing it.   

The trip to the ER and several tests showed that I had a seizure.    I have never had a seizure like that before and had no idea that is what it was.     

I am so thankful to God that I made that stop at the Dollar Store and wasn't driving to pick up Big Guy when it happened.    I am also thankful that Little Guy had decided to go over and play with his best friend instead of going with me to the Open House.       God is so good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home Again

The boys and I are so happy we are bouncing off the walls.      Hubs just returned from three day business trip.     We are thankful that his business is doing well enough to need to travel, but we hate so much when he is not here.

Thankfully we were able to stay busy while he was gone.    Almost a little too busy.     On Monday we got up and drove over to visit with my baby sister and my sweet twin nieces.   Can you believe they are 19 months old?    Me either.


These little sweeties are smart little firecrackers of energy.     They not only can say the alphabet, but can recognize the letters when they see them and know the sounds for each of the letters too.    LK is our little engineer.     She loves to figure out how to take things apart and put them back together.     "I can do it." is her mantra.    Whether dressing herself or buckling herself in her high chair or carseat or the many other things she wants to attempt, she will sit there and focus until she figures it out.      MM is our little "mommy".    She loves babies.    She loves to feed them, rock them and is so, so sweet with them.     My sister's friend was at the house when we got there and they had a 9 week old baby.    MM was just enamored with her.  

When we went home that night the boys were so tired from MM and LK dragging them up and down the stairs 1,000 times during the day.     Kind of cracked me up!   

Tuesday we were up early to take Big Guy to work.     He has been busy working at the day care this week.    We haven't seen him very much since he has been going to work early, coming home late, eating supper and then going to his room for a little relaxation and sleep.       Little Guy went to hang out his best friend, J, while I started working on some lesson plans for school.     Shhhhhh!   Don't tell the boys.     They don't even want to go shopping because they know that there are school supplies on display there.    Ha!

Last night I felt like the wind was knocked out of me when I received the word that one of the students at Ridgeland High School had lost his battle with cancer.     This came right after news that a family in Madison suffered the tragic loss of their 2 year old because she was accidentally hit by a car.     I am sure it is because all that is going on with our sweet Cade, but I went to bed with a lot of tears last night.    

We slid into the door just an hour before hubs was to land at the airport today because of our hectic schedule.     Driving Big Guy to work, a morning meeting with the youth ministers, lunch date, and an afternoon cookie class at Easely Amused.    It was a busy day, but LOTS of fun.    

I am glad the days went by quickly, but I am even happier than sweet hubs is back home.     Even Kit Kat seems contented.    She is purring happily sitting beside him in the chair.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dark in the City of Light

What Evil Haunts the Shadows of 1870s Paris?


Baron Ferdinand Harsanyi — After his wife's mysterious death, this Austrian attaché holds control over mines whose coveted ore could turn the tide of war.


Therese Harsanyi — Swept up in new romance and the spectacle of Paris, the Baron's daughter is blind to the dangers stalking her family and the city she loves.


Rudolph Harsanyi — Unsure whom to trust, the Baron's son's grief over his mother's death twists into growing anger and a desire to break free.


As France and Prussia plunge toward war, one family is caught in a web of deceit, political intrigue, and murder that threatens to tear them apart.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Dark In The City Of Light, go HERE.

Book Review

With the facts fresh from studying the Franco Prussian war in our history time last year with the boys, this book literally leapt off the pages with imagery and fresh insight.      Paris was right at my fingertips through his vivid descriptions.     Sometimes they were beautiful and sometimes marred by war, but always an image in my mind.

I did not have a hard time developing interest in this book; however, committing to memory all the foreign names (which were entirely appropriate for the book) and separating all the characters took me a couple of chapters.     Once I accomplished that feat, I was able to accomplish my true desire which was to dig into the true story line.     I am not one to usually enjoy a book that centers around a war.    

Mr. Robertson masterfully created a story which tied all of the characters together.     How their lives affected each others.     How their decisions affected each other.     

Whether intentional or not, the symbolism that his book provides against the background of war provides great basis for discussion.      This truly is a small world after all and we can decide whether we are going to be a light in the darkness or vice versa.   

This book was provided free by Bethany Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nightshade

After a tour of duty in a war-torn country, embattled former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs finds himself discarded and alienated from those he loves as he
struggles with war-related PTSD. His wife, Sydney, files a restraining order against him and a petition for divorce. Max is devastated.


Then a mysterious a man appears. He says he's organizing a group that recycles veterans like Max. It's a deep-six group known as Nightshade. With the chance to find purpose in life once again, Max is unable to resist the call of duty and signs on.


The team handles everything with precision and lethal skill...until they're called upon to rescue a missionary family from a rebel-infested jungle and
avoid a reporter hunting their identities.


Will Max yield his anger and pride to a force greater than him...love?


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


Watch the trailer:





Book Review

After reading Ronie's first book Dead Reckoning (read my review here) I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of her next book.     Nightshade is the first book in a series of four military/suspense books called Discarded Heroes.   

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. –Jose Narosky

Such a true statement and one posted on Ronie's website for those men and women who feel they fit into the category of "discarded heroes".    

Prepare for your heart to leap into your throat as Navy Seal Max Jacobs seems to fly off the pages in a motorcycle race when you first start reading the book.      This just sets the stage for page after page of heart pounding action as Max joins a group called Nightshade.    This group accepts mysterious and dangerous missions that all seem to fly under the radar of official business.     Max scares you with the risks he is willing to take until you realize that he has a "I have nothing to live for attitude."      His wife has left him and has filed for divorce.

True to amazing Ronie Kendig writing, a series of events leads Max's wife, who is a writer, into danger which Max will be asked to help rescue her from.      If that all sounds a little predictable.    Don't be fooled.   Nothing in Ronie's book is predictable which is why once you start you don't want to put the book down.      It is also why I was the second person in my house to get to read the book.    My husband grabbed it up as soon as it arrived and wouldn't let me have it until he finished.      He loved this book as much as I did.     

The only bad thing about this book?    We have to wait until January for Digitalis to arrive in our mailbox.  

I want to insert a personal thank you to Ronie for writing this series of books.    I had a special uncle to was a discarded hero.   What a tortured life he lived.     It wasn't until just a year before his death he found peace through Christ.      The things which Ronie addresses in her book as well as on her website   means that this book series is so much more than a book, but a ministry.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer
by R. T. Kendall
Published by Chosen Books



Bestselling, Respected Author and Pastor Mines the Riches of the Lord's Prayer

No prayer is better known--or more misunderstood--than the prayer Jesus provided in his Sermon on the Mount. Turning a keen eye to this much-loved topic, Dr. R. T. Kendall unlocks the transforming truths of what we now call the Lord's Prayer. With wisdom and depth, he offers thoughtful exposition on the life-changing revelations contained in each line of this amazing prayer, including:

• interpreting and praying in the will of God
• the purpose of the Lord's Prayer
• when to pray the Lord's Prayer
• how unanswered prayer can be a sign of God's favor
• misusing the Lord's Prayer
• why pray at all?
• and more

Readers will come away not only with a model for prayer, but with a revolutionary way to pray effectively while drawing closer to the Father.

Book Review

"Pray continuously."    It is something that I am aiming to do every day.     I truly desire to live in an attitude of prayer, in constant conversation with my Lord.     Because of that desire I want to learn everything I can about prayer.   

Kendall's book on The Lord's Prayer is not long, but it is literally packed from cover to cover with Biblical truth which will make your prayer time more rich and rewarding.   

You have probably heard a lot of sermons or Sunday School lessons on The Lord's prayer, but I doubt you have ever heard the Lord's Prayer made more applicable to your life than you will find in Kendall's book.          Thoughtfully and very often literally he shows you how each piece of the prayer fits together to lead you towards a more rewarding prayer life.    

The book is broken down into five sections:  Focusing on God, God's Prayer List, God's Prayer List for Us, A Chosen Benediction and A Further Reason for the Lord's Prayer.

Mr. Kendall definitely has a Calvinist point of view in his writing.    He is openly against theism and the prosperity gospel.       He makes these points because of how he feels prayer needs to be used in churches today.     He feels churches do not pray the Lord's Prayer enough.    I agree with him.

I received this book free from Bethany Publishing House in exchange for a honest review.

Friday, July 23, 2010

43 Days Until Kickoff!


So ready for some Alabama football!
Roll Tide Roll

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TOS Travel Kits: A Simple Way To Bless Others

Travel Kits: A Simple Way To Bless Others
(The Old Schoolhouse)
$12.45
93 pages of amazing suggestions!

As soon as I know that we are going to be making a trip anywhere, I start collecting items and putting them aside to make the trip more entertaining for the boys.     When we aren't planning for a trip I am looking through clearance sections looking for items that would be good to put away in my travel basket.

After several years of doing this I was ready for some new ideas.      When the TOS sent me Travel Kits to review I was psyched to get some new suggestions.

I was excited to not only find so many suggestions but at prices a mom on a budget can love.     There were suggestions from the dollar store, the library, video store, things you could bake or even make yourself.    

I can't wait to use some of the suggestions I found in this ebook for not only travel fun, but travel containers either.     I have been using the same Rubbermaid container for forever.      Reading this challenged me to think outside the box in a big way.

Do you know what I have been missing all these years of making travel kits?   Making one for me and hubs.   There was an entire section of amazing ideas for making a travel kit for mom and dad.     We get bored and need entertainment on trips too.

I grabbed a box and threw together my first ever travel kit for our trip!     What did I include?    The question box from our new Trivial Pursuit game, a large print hangman book (easy for hubs to look over and help guess words in the car when it is large print), a new book for each of us, Wet Wipes, bottles of water, my husband's favorite travel snack (Mike & Ike's), and anniversary cards for him to open at each stop.    

Can I tell you what a success this was for us?     We had the best time laughing and answering all those Trivial Pursuit questions.        The hangman was a lot of fun for us too.     We both love puzzles and are very competitive with each other.      It made our drive time so entertaining.      Why did I only let my kids have the fun all these years?

Who can you give travel kits to?

* Your own family, even your grown children with families of their own
* Big families, small families, or church family
* College students, neighbors, coaches, or fellow homeschoolers for field trips
* Someone you would like to show appreciation to . . . anyone you would like to bless

I think my favorite line in this book was this:   "The purpose of the travel kit is to bless the family."     Exactly the way I feel too.      Traveling isn't just about the destination.     It is also about the journey.     

If you are ready to make travel kits for your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc... this book is the perfect place to start.     

Would you like to take a peek at some of this wonderful book?    Click Here

Place your order for this ebook and you can begin making travel kits within one hour!    Order Here

To see other products from this publisher Click Here



Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive this book for free from The Old Schoolhouse Publications.  The fact that I received complimentary products does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stars in the Night

Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her.


Any day Audra might have been flattered by the friendly overtures of Robert Garfield, a real-life movie star. But on the flight from Indianapolis to Hollywood, Audra can think of little else than finding her missing sister. When Audra arrives in the city of glitz and glamour, and stars, and learns her rising starlet sister has been murdered, all thoughts of romance fly away.


Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan.


Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister.

Could the killer be the man with whom she's falling in love?


If you'd like to read an excerpt of Chapter 1 of Stars In The Night, go HERE.

Book Review

Doesn't this look like a great book?    I wish I could tell you a little more about it, but it just arrived in my mailbox yesterday so I haven't had a chance to start it yet.    However, it is at the stop of my pile on my nightstand!    Can't wait!


Contest: Lots of opportunities to win and great prizes, and the grand prize contains some of Cara's favorite classic movies as well as all of her WWII novels: Launch Contest!

Toys 'R' Us Christmas In July

Toys R Us Christmas in July sale is going on NOW through July 24. Toys R Us is also holding a very early Cyber Monday sale on July 26. Cyber Monday typically follows Black Friday, which is a big shopping day the Friday after Thanksgiving. Black Friday will fall on November 26th this year.

Here are some highlights of the Christmas in July deals:

* Free $20 Gift Card with the purchase of Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board
* 50% off the following board games: Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, Connect 4 and Trouble
* 50% off Coby 1.8" 4GB MP3 Player with Video
* Save $40 on Power Wheels Lil' Quads
* Save $100 on Big Backyard Carlisle Wood Gym Set
* 30% off all Moxie Girlz Dolls
* 25% off Razor Siege Caster and Spark Scooters

Here on some highlights of the Toys R Us early Cyber Monday sale.

* 50% off Crayola Color Wonder Color Explosion Products
* 20% off Pacific Cycle Bicycles
* 20% off Razor Scooters
* 20% off Barbie items
* 20% off Disney princess dolls
* 15% off Big Backyard Wood Gym Sets
* 15% off Adventure Playset Gym Sets
* 10% off Blast Zone Inflatable Bouncers

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back In Black Friday


Target is running a Black Friday sale this Friday, July 23. The Black Friday sale will be online only at Target.com. The sale will begin at approximately 12:00 a.m. (PDT) and conclude at 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on Target.com/BlackFriday. The online sale will offer an average of a 40 percent off regular prices on over 500 items across all categories, including apparel, electronics, toys, housewares, movies, music, books and more. Here are some highlights:

* Adult Bedding Collections, $14.99-52.49 (25% off)
* Clothing, including: dresses, tank tops and bathing suits, $14.99-33.74 (25% off)
* Philips Blu-Ray Disc player, $99.99 (42% off)
* Aiptek 6.0MP Digital Camcorder, $39.99 (60% off)
* Wii 9-in-1 Sports Pack, $25.00 (50% off)
* Ally McBeal: The Complete Series and original TV soundtrack, $83.99 (58% off)

$2.99 Meal Deal from Quiznos


Quizno's has another meal deal coupon!    Print it now before it’s gone.    My boys LOVE Quizno's so we will definitely be printing this out and inviting hubs to join us for lunch.

Since this coupon includes a sub, chips and a drink for only $2.99 that is a lunch out that my budget can afford!


But hurry... coupon expires 7/27

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Responsibility

Back in the Spring our youth pastor asked parents to consider being "coaches" for the summer.    He said that summer is such a busy time for families that often the kids of our youth group can get disconnected.   His goal was to assign students to an adult "coach" who would keep up with that student and how they were doing over the summer.

Hubs and I signed up to be coaches for the summer as we are already in love with all the students in our middle school ministry.      We immediately started one of our biggest responsibilities for these students which was praying for them.

Not too long after we were assigned our group of students, we found out that one of our guys was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.      It has been quite overwhelming seeing this sweet young guy who is a friend of our Big Guy be diagnosed with cancer and begin his first weeks of 44 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.     We have tried to do everything we know how to do as his church to support him.



Yesterday, we received news that another one of our guys is facing a tough time.    On Friday his Dad was told that he has to leave today for Iraq.     It was extremely short notice.      His Dad will be gone for a year.    Yesterday morning during our morning worship our church surrounded their entire family with prayer for his safety in his tour.     

We have so many other kids in our group and they each have their own needs as well.     I am sure you remember middle school (or junior high as we called it).     It was not my favorite time of my life.    I certainly wouldn't want to go back.    

If you have a few minutes today, please pray for two sweet guys.    One who will be saying goodbye to his Dad for a year as he serves our country and another as he goes back for another round of chemo.     Two brave men.

Love is a Flame


Real People. Real Stories. Real Love.

Happily ever after. Does it only happen in fairy tales, or in real life? Over the years love may burn strong and steady, but sometimes it grows cold. However, it can be rekindled--and these stories show how. Be inspired by true accounts of how love was revived and renewed.

You'll discover that love can grow stronger and burn brighter through the years as you read more than forty stories from everyday people like

* Jan, whose marriage was restored despite adultery.
* Marsha, who fought pornography and won.
* Bryan, who realized his family, not his career, was his most important responsibility.
* Emily, who learned that real love overcomes unrealistic expectations.
* Jeff, who went from dissatisfaction and boredom to falling in love all over again.


The true stories in Love Is a Flame will warm your heart and show you how to create a new spark in your marriage and build it into a glowing flame.

Book Review

I so remember those first sparks of attraction to my husband.    Tall, dark and handsome definitely describes him.     Those sparks grew as we got to know each other and fell in love.     Of course, after you get married all the day to day routines of life settle in.       The flame is there, but you really have to work at keeping that flame burning.     Just like a campfire, if you don't add fuel it will go out.    

This book is vignettes of marriages who had ebbing flames.    They were facing various situations which were dampening the flames of their marriage -- exhaustion, schedules, addictions, misplaced priorities, adultery -- but something changed a spark relit their marriage.

At the end of each vignette, author James Stuart Bell writes words of wisdom about God's plan for marriage.


This was such an easy ready and would make a great anniversary gift!

I was provided this book free by Bethany Publishing for my honest review.   

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Christians are Hate Filled Hypocrites.... And Other Lies You've Been Told

Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told
by Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD
Bethany Publishing



What if all the bad news you've been hearing about Christians isn't true?

Here are some facts that may surprise you:

* Evangelicals are more respected by society today than they were twenty years ago.
* Divorce rates of Christian couples are lower than those of nonbelievers.
* The percentage of young people who attend church has held steady over the past twenty years.


All these statements are true, yet we've been told the opposite time and time again. Why is the church being misled? And what is the true state of Christianity in America today?

Sociologist Brad Wright shatters popular myths by sifting through the best available data. He reveals how Christians are doing when it comes to everything from marriage and morality to church growth and public perception. While not all the news is good, it turns out there is a wealth of encouraging information that we're not being told.

Get the truth behind the statistics you've been hearing and how the numbers are being manipulated, and discover what is really happening in American Christianity.

Book Review

I will admit that the first time I started reading this book, my mind started swimming with the statistics and I just put it aside.     I am not a statistics person.      They just don't interest me a lot because I think you can make numbers say anything you want.     Want people to think the sky is falling?   You can find a statistic for that.    Want people to think they should never eat chocolate again?    There is a statistic for that.

However, when I had a few minutes and picked up this book and gave it a honest look again, I realized that was exactly the point of this book.     We hear so many negative statistics regarding the church and Christians every day.    So many of them are frightening and downright discouraging.     However, as Dr. Wright points out, they simply are not true.    So many of them are just numbers which have been exaggerated and twisted.

The book definitely gives us a new set of eyes to look at all the statistics we are thrown each day in the media.    It is a perspective you will appreciate after all the negativity!         


The book was provided free by Bethany Publishing for my honest review.    

  

Friday, July 16, 2010

Does God Exist?


Many Christian students graduate from high school unaware that they’ll soon face the toughest test of their lives—a test of heart and mind. Colleges and universities challenge young adults in ways that make them question their faith and convictions while immersed in a culture that says their beliefs are absurd and impractical.

The TrueU™ series, produced by Focus on the Family and Tyndale House Publishers, will help students
prepare to face tough questions about their faith and Christian worldview by solidifying what they already know as truth with evidence to back it up.

In TrueU: Does God Exist?, the first DVD of the series, Dr. Stephen Meyer plays a ―philosophical survival
game, pitting four worldviews against each another in the quest to decide which one gives the best answers. Dr. Meyer helps teens examine the evidence and provides the tools they need to defend their faith and make it their own. Some of the lessons covered include:
*  Faith and Reason
*  The Big Bang Cosmology
*  DNA by Design
*  The Return of the God Hypothesis
*  The Moral Necessity of Theism

The kit for TrueU: Does God Exist? includes two DVDs with ten 30-minute lessons, and a 64-page, fullcolor
booklet with discussion questions to be used in group study. Through this series, parents and youth leaders will have the opportunity to discuss the Christian worldview and spiritually prepare their teens to defend their faith in an increasingly hostile culture.

Learn more at www.trueu.org.

Review

One of the high school experiences that is permanently etched on my mind is the teacher who constantly tortured me because I was a Christian.     At first I really didn't realize why she was picking on me.     I just knew that she really seemed to make a point of making cutting remarks and trying to find ways to embarass me.     After she called a practice for a time when I normally had church and I told her that I would have to miss that practice, she called me a very inappropriate name.     I never said anything about it to anyone.     I lived in the day when teachers were always right.    

What a difference it would have made if I had the advantage of TrueU during that time.    It is a confidence and knowledge that I want my own boys to have as they go out into the work/college/friend world.   

This series includes 2 DVD's with ten thirty minute sessions.   The sessions included are:  Faith and Reason, The Big Bang theory, DNA, Intelligent Design, The Return of the God Hypothesis, and The Moral Necessity of Theism.    If you have ever watched the "Drive Thru History" series, you will recognize Dave Stotts as one of the series narrators!

I love the way Dr. Meyers presents the creationism view to his students.   He allows them to asks the questions.     Through their discussions he shows them how creationism is the most perfect worldview.   

I am so excited to use this in our homeschool Bible study this fall and then share this with our church youth group.


I received this series free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program in exchange for a honest review.    The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Bibleman: Combating the Commandment of Confusion


A dastardly villain plots to steal the armor of God.

The Commandant of Confusion and his side kick, Chaos, interrupt the Bible Adventure Training Academy and steal the Bible Team’s secret weapon, which helps them put on the full armor of God “anytime, anyplace.” There is a warning label on the secret weapon that reads in part, “this device contains the most powerful weapon known to man, follow instructions closely to prevent severe harm.” Will the Commandant heed the warning? Will the Bible Adventure Team recover it?

Scripture lesson: “God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ICB)

Review

When the boys were younger we would always stock up on the newest Bibleman videos when we were going on any type of trips.    They LOVED Bibleman videos and I loved the fact that every episode taught a Scriptural truth.    When I was offered the chance to review this new DVD, I accepted the opportunity because I knew the boys would get a kick out of seeing a new episode and I would love to share it with a friend.

We were all really disappointed that this wasn't a true episode, but a LIVE show.      There isn't necessarily anything wrong with a LIVE show except that the recording wasn't a very quality recording.     I asked my boys to watch this and they did, but they both said they preferred the original Bibleman to this.

I still LOVE the premise of Bibleman.     He uses the "sword of truth" to fight his battles.      Every episode has an amazing Scripture basis.       However, if you are wanting to create a Bibleman fan I wouldn't start with this video.

Another Amazing Day In Asheville

Friday morning we woke up early to go to the Biltmore Village to eat breakfast at The Corner Kitchen.    This place was on everyone's list as a "must eat".     The Corner Kitchen is located in a home that was once occupied by an engineer that worked on the Biltmore Estate.     

I had pancakes with a blueberry compote.     Hubs ordered the Biltmore Village Breakfast.      We both agreed that it was so delicious.     Once again there was more food than either of us could eat.    

We enjoyed strolling up and down the Village streets after breakfast.    There are so many quaint little shops.






One of my favorite stores was a shop called Just Ducky.   It was clothing for children.   I really wanted to buy tons of dresses for my sweet MM and LK, but wound up not since I was so unsure of their sizes.




In the afternoon we headed back to the Biltmore to go kayaking.    The French Broad River flows straight through the middle of the estate.     We had the best time!    


It is a very easy flowing river so it was an hour and a half of very relaxing paddling.     There were so many ducks and birds and fish to see along the way.    There is also an awesome view of the estate at one point as well.      We had the best time just talking and paddling down the river.     We wanted to start all over when we got to the end.

I have always said that my hubs is one of the most romantic men ever and he proved it again while we were kayaking.     He had a message in a bottle that hidden for me to find along our kayaking route.     I was so shocked to find this bottle and this sweet romantic note from my sweet husband in the middle of our time together.     I am so blessed.     I hope he keeps me another 20 years!

After a quick shower we headed out to explore some more of Asheville.       Nine Mile was on our list for supper.     This is a Jamaican/Carribean restaurant that hubs was excited about trying.       He ordered their signature dish which included jerk chicken, roasted potatoes, squash and zucchini over basamati rice with toasted almonds.       I decided to try a Jamaican salmon dish.   It was served with grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, zucchini, square, feta cheese over linguini with a butter sauce.     Oh my it was good!

We drove through downtown to see what was going on.     Street performers of all ages were everywhere.   One street was lined with guys playing endless rounds of chess.    





Oh Asheville.... we enjoyed our time with you so much.   We'll be back again with our boys!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Afternoon Around Asheville

Walking around the Biltmore gave us quite an appetite.       We had several friends who gave us a list of restaurants that they recommended in Asheville.   One of those was "12 Bones".    We decided to give it a try for lunch.       It was one of those great places found in a old renovated gas station.     All of the locals love this place and it was packed even after the traditional lunch hour.  




They have 2-3 different flavored ribs available each day.    On the menu was their award-winning blueberry chipotle bbq ribs.    We decided we had to try it.    I decided to get jalapeno cheddar grits and cucumber salad with mine and hubs picked baked beans and corn pudding with his.


Neither of us could eat all of that food.     The ribs were delicious.    The service was so great and friendly.    I am so glad that we ate there.

With a full stomach we decided to go exploring the area.     We decided to head towards Lake Lure.    Lake Lure was where the movie, Dirty Dancing, was filmed.    Their visitor's center had a lot of framed memorabilia up in the office.     So much of Lake Lure looked exactly the way I remembered it in the movie.     The tourist center was busy planning for the Dirty Dancing Festival which will be held in September.    






After leaving Lake Lure we headed to Chimney Rock Park.     It was where scenes from "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed.     This thing is high.     You take a 26 story elevator ride just to get to the hide to get up there.  








As we are climbing the steps I noticed a few steps that looked cracked.    Not small cracks, but BIG cracks.  The kind you could drop things through.     I wasn't scared until I saw that.     I refused to step on those steps and I am sure I looked hysterical.    This really short girl trying to skip steps up the side of Chimney Rock.

We finally got to the top and the first place hubs goes is to the very edge for me to take a photo of him taking a picture with this sign.  



















To keep myself from hyperventilating about the thought of him plunging over the edge, I decided to take some photos of the views.     It really was gorgeous.




Then hubs asked if he could take a picture of me.    I told him that was fine as long as he didn't mind a picture of me gripping this tree. 


We started making our way down and I really got nervous about those steps.     When we got down to the bottom they announced that they were closing Chimney Rock down for maintenance.     They needed to replace DANGEROUS STEPS!      Hubs looked at the guy and said, "My wife can show you exactly which ones need to be replaced if you have any doubts."    

After a full day we wound our way back down the mountain, found a Redbox to rent a couple of movies and went back to our suite to relax.     

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No More Christian Nice Girl

No More Christian Nice Girl:  When Just Being Nice -- Instead of Good -- Hurts You, Your Family and Your Friends
by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer D. Degler, PhD
by Bethany House Publishing


Be the Strong, Confident, and Caring Woman You Were Meant to Be

Tired of doing all you can for others while your relationships remain stuck in neutral--or headed in reverse? Paul Coughlin and psychologist Jennifer Degler show how being nice can harm you and drain the life out of your relationships. They explore the keys to fulfillment at home, work, church, and even in the bedroom. You'll discover that emulating the real Jesus is the key to transforming from a Christian Nice Girl into an authentic, powerful woman of loving faith.

"What's wrong with being nice? Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Degler make a strong case that women need to be bold and assertive rather than people pleasers who try to do too much. I recommend this book to you."
--Dr. Kevin Leman, Author of The Birth Order Book and Have a New Kid by Friday


Book Review
Women wear a lot of hats -- daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend, aunt, cousin, friend, co-worker, church volunteer, etc...     We are constantly being asked to help or even just flat out "do".     I don't know about you, but it is easy to get trapped in the trap of saying yes whether or not you can honestly handle what you are being asked to do.      As girls, we were raised to be helpers.      Be nice.    Smile whether we felt like it or not.     Unfortunately, while these things were not necessarily bad they also did not teach us the Christ like way to live our lives.    God doesn't want us to make our decisions and prioritize our time just to make others happy.     He wants us to make those decisions based on what is best for His will for us.      

Are you stuck in a rut of being a people please instead of being a God pleaser?     Do you have a lifetime of habit of being non-confrontational and letting others run over you because you think that is what nice Christian girls are supposed to do?     No More Christian Nice Girl clearly shows through Jesus' example as well as Biblical women that we are to speak the truth in love in all areas of our life such as marriage, family, work, sex, and even when dealing with abusive relationships.     

This book would make an amazing women's Bible study as the end of each chapter includes study questions.   A great practical book! 

The Biltmore

We woke up early Thursday morning and heard the weatherman warning Asheville residents to be careful because the day was going to be the hottest day of the year.   A whopping 92 degrees.     On one hand it was kind of funny that we were there on the hottest day of the year and on the other hand it cracked us up that 92 was the hottest day of the year.     (The next day it would be back to 85.)

We had breakfast on the balcony and headed out early to the Biltmore.     The Biltmore was one of our biggest reasons for wanting to go to Asheville.      Isn't this place gorgeous?      It is the largest home in America.     This 250 room estate was built in 1895 on 8,000 acres.      The house takes up four acres of floor space, has 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces including an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, bowling alley, and kitchens.


We took an audio tour of the home.      We have already decided that when we go back we will be taking the "behind the scenes" tour.     

My favorite parts of the house?     Definitely the library.    There are 10,000 books in this room alone and that is not all the books in the house.   Mr. Vanderbilt was declared the most well read man in the world during his time and if you saw all those amazing books you would know why.      There was a secret passageway from the library to Mr. Vanderbilt's bedroom so he could slip in to get a book anytime he wanted it.     Ahhh... perfection!














They had three kitchens:  a main kitchen, a pastry kitchen and a rotisserie kitchen.       Wouldn't my Little Guy be in heaven?   I can't wait to take him back so he can see it. 







After touring the house we went to see the gardens.    I was almost afraid to get too close to all those beautiful plants.     I have such a black thumb that I was afraid everything would wilt in my presence.



Frederick Law Olmsted designed all the gardens and grounds of the Biltmore.    He also designed New York's Central Park.      Out of all the things he put on this 8,000 acres, by far our favorite thing was the reflecting pond behind the estate.    He designed and put it there simply to reflect the beauty of The Biltmore for those who drove past.    




Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Asheville Bound

I woke up Wednesday morning to my sweet husband whispering, "Happy Anniversary!  Ready to start this adventure?"    Was I ready?    Oh yes!    We don't get time like this very often so I was so excited to have a few days just he and I.   

We packed the car and entered our destination into GoogleMaps (have I ever mentioned how much I adore GoogleMaps?)  and headed out.     About an hour into our trip we saw an outlet mall so we stopped and browsed for a little while.   

We enjoyed the beautiful drive into Asheville.    We both wondered if the people who live in that area have gotten immune to all that amazing lush mountainous beauty.   


 All these gorgeous paths to hike up and down every day...


We immediately checked into our hotel which was a beautiful all suites hotel.     If you are ever in Asheville, we highly recommend The Residences at Biltmore.  

We checked into our suite to find these cute balloons as well as a bottle of Biltmore Sparkling Grape Juice, bath crystals and a sweet note wishing us "Happy Anniversary".


Our living room with balcony overlooking the fireplace and fire pit...


Our bedroom...   Notice that there is something on the bed?


Isn't this sweet?    My sweet hubs put these cookies and card on my pillow while I was getting dressed to go out to supper.


 The Residences gave us a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant for our anniversary so we decided to go there for supper.   Frankie Bones is a classic American-Italian style place.     The entire place is so sleek.    Decorated entirely in black and silver and high back burgundy leather booths with FB monogrammed on them.      Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack memorabilia is everywhere and Frank's music is playing in the background.    

The food was amazing.     Their signature dish was a coffee marinated ribeye so we had to order that.   We also decided to try their Savannah Tilapia.    We couldn't decided which we liked more.    Our waiter highly recommended their signature appetizer: twice baked potato spring rolls.    Oh my gravy!     We wound up taking half of that food back to the suite with us, but it was worth it.      Before we left the manager brought us two absolutely HUGE chocolate dipped strawberries and wished us a Happy Anniversary.    

Several friends told us that we had to go to the Grove Park Inn so we headed up the mountain to watch the sunset from their famous terrace.      This place is gorgeous and so were the views.    What a great place to watch the sunset.




What a great first day in Asheville.