Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Reflection

InCourage posted "20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection".    I thought it would be a great way to wind down my blogging for the year.... OK, I am really just procrastinating on taking down the tree!

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?    Seeing both of my boys baptized

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?      All of the sickness we faced

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?    Our 20th anniversary trip to Asheville.      Such a cherished time!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?    Big Guy's sickness and being unable to find answers

5. Pick three words to describe 2010.   Leaning.  Loving.  Laughing.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2010 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).      Lots.  Of.   Doctors. 

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2010 (again, without asking).    Work.  Work.   Work.  

8. What were the best books you read this year?     I read almost 275 books this year so trying to narrow it down to just a few would seem tough, but there really are a few that stick out to me.    Each one is unique from the other, but left me thinking for a LONG time!

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?     Hubs, Big Guy and Little Guy are obviously my most valuable relationships.     However, outside of this core I am so thankful for my cousin/brother, Randy, who has literally jumped in at literally a second's notice this year to come and stay with the boys while I was in the hospital or had to go to the hospital.    He has literally been a gift from God.   

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?     I have grown more comfortable in my own skin this year.     I am an odd duck.... even my extended family has accused me of such.     I don't watch the same movies, television shows, listen to the same music, or read the same books that others do.    I subscribe to the idea of "garbage in... garbage out."     It used to bother me when people looked at me or called me weird, but this past year has taught me that the only person I have to worry about looking at me weird is God.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?    I was finally able to bring some closure to some anger and hurt that I had been carrying around for a long time regarding some personal issues with a family member.    The relationship with this person hasn't changed, but I have.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?     Scriptures I have read over and over have begun to take on new meanings for me.    I feel like I have stepped up on another rung of my spiritual ladder.   

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?     I am trying not to grow any more physically.   Ha!

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?     We have enjoyed having people over more this year.    We used to do that ALL the time, but somehow got out of the habit.     We made more of an effort to invite people over after church for lunch and just over in general this year.     It has been wonderful getting to know people more.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?    I love being able to spend so much time with my boys.     Seeing them learn, laugh, grow and mature is so rewarding to me.    I am glad that God gave us this time together.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?   Finding balance and the fine line between being mom and teacher.    

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?    electronics

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?    Any and all the  time spent with my Lord

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?    I don't think I learned this, but simply reaffirmed it:   My God will never leave me or forsake me.  

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2010 for you.      Whether the cup is 1/2 full or 1/2 empty doesn't matter... it only matters what is in the cup.     Fill my cup, Lord!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Shadowed Mind

A suspense-filled mystery which answers an ominous question:
Who will be found worthy to live; who is the next victim?
After the deadly investigation into the Smithsonian murders, Dinah Harris is now facing a daily battle to keep her sobriety while struggling to form a new career from the ashes of her former job as an FBI agent. From the shadows will emerge a cunning and terrifying killer, who carefully and methodically will decide whose life has value to society and whose does not.
Using her profiling and security skills as a private consultant based in Washington, DC, Dinah uncovers a connection to the shadowy world of neo-eugenics, and those who publicly denounce the killings but privately support a much different view.
Against this backdrop, Dinah must come to terms with her own past, as those associated with the deepening mystery face their own personal demons, and struggle with the concept of God's inexhaustible grace and forgiveness. Old secrets are revealed, tragedies unearthed, and the devastating legacy of science without compassion is finally brought to light.

The second in a powerful new fiction trilogy!

Check out Julie's Website! 

Book Review

Julie Cave once again center her second book in this trilogy around Dinah Harris just as she did in the first book, Deadly Disclosure.     Dinah is still struggling with her demon, alcohol, and trying to reestablish herself after losing her career as a FBI agent.      Fortunate for her, even though she lost her career she didn't lose her skills.    They serve her well with the challenges that face her.    

A serial killer with a "god complex" starts murdering people whom he/she feels is not worthy to live.    The moral issue of euthanasia and the value of human life is looked at in this book.     It is challenged on every level:    age, race, sex, mental capacity, social standing, addictions.... no stone is left unturned.    

In addition to Dinah, you get to know Ella and her father who is struggling with Alzheimers.    As you can guess, this ultimately plays a role in the main story line.

So well written that you have a hard time discerning who the murderer is before Dinah does, Julie Cave writes a mystery you will love to read.

Disclaimer:  As part of the New Leaf Publishing Review Group, I did receive this book for free from Creation Converations.  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.

Saturday, December 25, 2010



Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

Written by David Platt

Waterbrook Multnomah


It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...


In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Read Chapter 1

Book Review

I am very skeptical about books that run away as best sellers in the Christian community.      In general, I never buy or read them because my skepticism runs so deep.     However, this book keeps popping up all around me so I decided that I wanted to read it and form my own opinion.

You can't help but feel Platt's passion for Christ just pouring off the pages.    It is contagious.    There are some things in this book on which Platt and I definitely agree:
1.   We are way too busy pursing the "American dream" instead of Jesus.
2.    Churches have conformed to the world and tried to make the world more comfortable in the church instead of making the church a lighthouse.    
3.   Megachurches aren't impressive.  People don't flock to do hard things and following Jesus is definitely not the easy path to take in life.  
4.    Churches worry too much about their building programs and not enough about building the kingdom.    One of his examples is a church who had a new multi-million dollar sanctuary, but could only raise $5,000 for starving orphans in Ethiopia.    

However, there are some areas in Platt's book that I am not sure if I would say I disagree or just raised some concerns for me.     But here they are:
1.    Guilt is one of my least favorite methods of convincing someone to do or not do something.     I don't remember Jesus trying to guilt people into following Him either.      Platt's endless stories meant to guilt readers into be more "radical" was a turn off for me.  
2.    Platt's book is full of things we are to do.    There are a lot of do's.    Almost checklist like.    I wish Platt would have spent more time pointing out all God has done for us.    His everlasting mercy and we actually can do nothing  to deserve his grace and mercy.    God doesn't need us at all.    We need Him!

In the end, one of the best lessons of Radical is that our treasures are to be laid up in heaven, not here on earth where they can rot, be destroyed or stolen. 

Disclaimer:  I did receive this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah.  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.


Illegals The Unacceptable Cost of America's Failure to Control Its Borders
By Darrell Ankarlo
Published by Thomas Nelson

Not since the Civil War has America been so divided over such a seemingly unsolvable issue as U.S. immigration policy.

Phoenix has become the number 2 kidnap capital of the world, ranchers and police officers in border states are being killed by drug runners from Mexico, and the federal government refuses to enforce its own immigration law. Why are 20 million people disregarding America’s sovereign borders and laws to come to this country? Darrell Ankarlo follows the lives of several Mexican citizens as they contemplate their existence south of the border, their temptation to sneak into America, and what waits for them here. To understand the issue first-hand, Ankarlo stared down gun barrels, was caught in the middle of a drug-lord showdown, and then wandered the Arizona desert after illegally sneaking back into America. Illegals explores issues raised by these personal stories and offers perspectives—often contradictory—from U.S. citizens.

Book Review

Want a big dose of reality that you want find on any television news network or newspaper?      Ankarlo has peeled away the politics and shown you what is really going on America's borders.     The issues that are affecting every person, citizen or non, of every age in our Country.    

Ankarlo has a lot of credibility in his writing as he lives in one of the border state and works as a radio personality.    However, he was willing to go outside his radio studio to walk the streets and interview anyone and everyone who was willing to talk to him.     He didn't just talk to people here in the United States, but also in Mexico.  

There is no doubt that Ankarlo is passionate about this topic.      He is so passionate that about two-thirds of the way through the way through the book I wanted to ask him to take a breath, get a drink and just slow down a little.      I could just envision him standing there talking really, really fast.

It is rare to have such an insider's look at such a volatile current event in our Country.

Disclaimer:  As part of the BookSneeze Review, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

From My Family to Yours

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2: 1-20

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scenes from "Joy To The World"

Our church choir had our Christmas worship service this past Sunday.     It was such an amazing time that I still feel like I am floating.     The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra as well as the Ballet Magnificat came as special guests for our Christmas service.     

We have two talented college students who took photos during rehearsal and the service.  I thought I would share some with you.

Here is a video of one of the songs that we did in our Christmas celebration. It is probably one of my favorites. This is Natalie Grant's version:

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 INSPY Awards Announced

It was an honor to be one of the INSPY award judges this year.      I was asked to read five books in the romance/romantic suspense category.       At the appointed date, the five judges in this category met online to begin discussing the five books we had read.        It was a great week of dissecting these books.    We evaluated everything about them from literary content, faith content, and story line.   

At the end of much discussion, we all agreed that the book we believed should be chosen as the 2010 Romance/Romantic Suspence INSPY Award winner is Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren.     With the amount of discussion that was generated by this book, I think this would make a great book club book.

Tonight the INSPY committee released the total list of winners.     Congratulations to all the authors for these excellent books!

The INSPY Award winners are:

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes, General and Literary Fiction (Tyndale House)
Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, Creative Nonfiction (Zondervan)
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, Historical Fiction (Bethany House)
The Knight by Steven James, Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction (Revell)
Green by Ted Dekker, Speculative Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman, Amish Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren, Romance/Romantic Suspense (Summerside)
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Young Adult Fiction (Little, Brown)

The 2010 INSPY Awards cover books published from July 2009 through June 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I am a sucker for traditions.    I love the special comfort that the routine traditions bring to our holidays.      Here are a few things that we do during the Christmas season, what does your family do to make the season special?

Trade out all the music in the house and car stereo to Christmas CD's
Make Christmas Cookies and doorbell ditch them to the neighbors.
Get Mistletoe from Grandma and Grandpa's house to hang in our house.
Address and Mail Christmas Cards.
Buy at least one new Christmas book to read.
Read Christmas books -- even some from when the boys were little.   Shhhh!
Make Gingerbread Houses with our friends from Atlanta
Spend several days having a mini-Christmas with our friends from Atlanta
Go to Canton to see the Christmas lights
Sit in the living room with just Christmas lights and fire drinking hot chocolate.
Try a new recipe from Christmas Around the World
Read Jotham's Journey.
Put out all our nativities around the house.
Hide all the baby Jesus figures from the nativity scenes to be found on Christmas morning.
Decorate the Tree
Watch Christmas movies like Elf and Santa Clause
Drive around to see the lights.
Go caroling
Go to Nana and Papa's the weekend before Christmas
Go to the movie theater and see the latest Christmas movie (This year - Chronicles of Narnia!)
Volunteer to work the Toy Shop with the Salvation Army
Sign up for the Giving Tree and buy items for a needy family.
Watch Elf
Our Church's Christmas Concert

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Making Good Use of Insurance

Whew!   I barely made it, but yesterday I was finally able to have the surgery that my doctor recommended for me back in January.    Of course, everything had to be put on hold after I had my pulmonary embolisms.     After working through that issue I asked the doctor if we could please have this surgery before the end of the year and my insurance deductible started over.

My sweet cousin Randy came over to stay with the boys.      They were excited about getting to have time with him because he is one of our favorite people ever.    

Since my surgery wasn't scheduled for 12:30 the only complaint I had was that I was sooooo thirsty.    They said no eating or drinking after midnight.     I wasn't really hungry, but I wanted a BIG glass of water so much.     Twice I almost grabbed up a bottle of water and chug it down!  

When we walked into the surgery clinic, the admissions lady said, "Mrs. Germany, I am so glad you are here.   The pre-op nurse just came and said they are ready as soon as you get here."    Wow!   Talk about service.    

I had a sweet pre-op nurse.     She said she didn't want to hurt me when she put in my IV so she wanted to numb my hand.     I told her I wasn't scared of needles.    She said, "No, no.   Let me numb your hand."     Want to know how she numbed my hand?    She gave me a shot that felt like a bee sting!     I told hubs that was worse than any IV  that I had ever had, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to hurt her feelings.

Following surgery, I ran into the same problem with pain relief that I always have.    There is something about taking seizure medication that absorbs the effectiveness of other medicines.     It wound up taking quite a bit more morphine to get me comfortable because of my silly seizure medicine.    

All that morphine gave me a big case of insomnia.    We came home and I haven't slept since Thursday night.    Boy, if I was a little less sore I could be tearing up some house work!    

However, it has been nice to just snuggle up in the bed with my sweet guys watching movies, playing games on the computer and talking.

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!

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?  

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)

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.

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.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washed By The Water

I feel so behind in my postings.  My computer has been afflicted by a crazy "Blogger" issue which has prevented me from being able to log on to my own blog.     I was using Little Guy's computer to just do the necessary things like post book reviews.    However, recently I was sent a product from our homeschool products to review which is a web blocker software.    It blocked ALL blogger websites.   It has been QUITE a mess trying to get that uninstalled from Little Guy's computer.   Needless to say, that product will not get high marks from me.    So I am cautiously using the house computer to make this post which I have been wanting to do for several weeks now.   

On October 25th, Big Guy was baptized in an amazing way at the reservoir.      Big Guy has been a Christian for quite a while, but the decision to be baptized was one that he has been very reserved about making.     Our youth pastor explains to our youth that baptism is not something that you should do just because your friends do it or because it is expected of you.     It is a true symbol of your faith.     In Jesus' day people went to the Jordan River -- the most public place there was -- to be baptized.    To be baptized there meant everyone knew what you were doing and who you were following.      Pastor Matt said that taking the step of baptism should be just as important.    You should be making the same statement.    You don't care who knows that you are following Jesus and who sees.      

Being baptized at the reservoir is pretty much the most public body of water in our area which is why he chose it for our youth baptism service.       The picture above is of Big Guy and Pastor Matt.      It is my favorite picture taken during that day.      

Seeing this photo reminds me of the lyrics...  "Even when the rain falls.   Even when the floods start rising.   Even when the storms come.   I am washed by the water!"      

So proud of this group of middle school and high school students who were baptized.    What you see here is just a small example of what is happening in our youth ministries at our church.    

"Don't let anyone look down on your because you are young,
but set an example for the believers in speech, in life,
in love, in faith, and in purity."   
1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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

Before you read anything anyone has to say about this book, I highly recommend you go and read this excerpt from City On Our Knees.     Does that not take your breath away?    Does it leave your challenged or overhelmed?    My boys are fans of TobyMac's music, but after reading this book I have a great admiration for the devotion that drives the heart beat of his ministry and his day to day life.    

However, this book is NOT about TobyMac.  It is very much like the excerpt you just read.    It is the accounts of people who have been willing to be a "city on their knees".   

If you have heard the song upon which this book is entitled then you know this line, "If we gotta start somewhere why not here?"     Why not here indeed, Toby!  

TobyMac punctuates his book with an incredible amount of Scripture which makes this book such a worshipful read.     I can't wait for both of my boys to read this book. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hiding Away

Last week hubs was out of town with his work again.    I am so thankful that his business is busy enough to require him to travel, but sometimes it can get lonely when he is gone so much.    After so many weeks of craziness we decided it would be good to get away.    We went home to Vicksburg and stayed at my parent's house.

One of the fun parts of going there was that my parents keep my twin nieces which meant we got to play with them.     One morning while we all went down to the Catfish Park to play.    

Even as their aunt sometimes I am amazed at how smart these girls are.     LK walked up to the balance ropes when no one was watching and just walked across.    As my sister said, "She got the gymnast gene."   She must have because I don't know any other 22 month olds who have that kind of balance.
Out of all the pictures we took at the park, this is my favorite.  I don't think I have seen my Big Guy smile that much in quite a while.   It is hard to smile when you are hurting.   

The boys had a good time just picking on each other and being brothers...

But mostly just enjoyed having fun with Nana, Papa and their sweet twin cousins, MM and LK.   

Loved hiding away with my boys.