Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Talk Wednesday: Just in Case You Ever Wonder

When I worked at Family Christian Stores, I never had reason to spend much time in the Children's section. Yes I stocked books, and sorted and organized toys, but never had a personal attachment to the products. Even for the last few months I was there, while I was pregnant with Abby, I didn't see it as a section for me to shop in.

(Now I would love to go back and spend all of my time there... :)

Some of the most popular children's books we carried were the ones by Max Lucado. From the Hermie series to the Wemmicks collection, to many stand-alone books, he always had something in the top ten. When Booksneeze offered Lucado's book Just in Case You Ever Wonder, I jumped at the chance to review this one.

Just in Case You Ever Wonder is a book I think my daughter will appreciate more in the years to come. It's not the best book for a 17-month-old to sit still through, but the message is very powerful. It tells your child that no matter what happens as they grow, you will always be there for them and will always love them. "I'll always love you. I'll always hug you. I'll always be on your side. And I want you to know that... just in case you ever wonder." The images are in soft colors, which again I think will appeal to my daughter more when she's older.

Overall, it's a book that I personally appreciate very much, but will need to wait a couple of years for my daughter to appreciate it.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I review for BookSneeze®

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Saturday 7: October 22-28

Whew it's been a few weeks since I posted a Saturday 7! Some of these notes might go back more than one week...
  1. Update on Abby's teeth: The last time I checked she still just has the top 2 incisors, bottom 3 incisors, and THREE MOLARS! Crazy kid... hurry up and get the other two top incisors so your buck teeth don't look so silly...
  2. We went to a Halloween party last Saturday night. We were given a cow costume for Abby, so we based our outfits around hers. :)
  3. I think Abby's teeth were the cause of her miserable-ness earlier this month. This week she has been so fun to be around. She's actually starting to truly "play". She'll get her little barn and animals out and make them run around the room. Or try and stack blocks. Or lots of other things -- sometimes involving me, but also playing well on her own. I'm going to ask soon what toys she likes to play with in the church nursery and at our Friday daycare friend's house, to get some Christmas ideas...
  4. Abby is also working on expanding her vocabulary. I have to listen really hard to understand what she's saying, but some words are pretty clear -- up, cracker, apple/waffle... And every so often she'll mimic what we say. Not very well, but it's a start!
  5. Our first GEMS fundraiser of the year was a huge success! This was the third year we've participated in Hand 'n Hand, and it was our best one yet. The best part is that 30% of the money taken in stays with our club, and the rest goes to help GEMS clubs in Africa! And the money we raised for our club? This one fundraiser will easily pay for one of our leaders to go to next summer's Annual Leadership Conference in Chicago!!
  6. Our church is in the process of getting a new pastor. We've had a "specialized transitional minister" for about 2 years, and his purpose has been to help us heal from some of the issues and divisions we've been having, and guide us toward a place where we can call a new permanent pastor. The next 3 Sundays we have potential candidates coming to preach, and so hopefully we'll be able to extend a call to one of them before Christmas! 
  7. Our small group went on a date night last night to a movie and dinner. We saw Courageous. It's made by the same people who did Facing the Giants and Fireproof. It's a great movie for couples to see together, and even moms or dads with their teenage sons. I was glad someone told me ahead of time to bring some kleenex...
Have a great week!

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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musical Mondays: How Great

The Glory Revealed projects are two of my most favorite cds. Sung by a collaboration of Christian artists, each song is taken directly from Scripture. This particular song is from 1 John 3:1. This is probably my favorite style of music too -- a sort of folk, Americana feel. May this song lift your spirit and fill you with joy today!




How great is the love the Father has poured out on us
That we should be called the children of God
How great is the love the Father has poured out on us
That we should be called the children of God

How great how great
Is God's amazing grace
That we should be called the children of God

How great how great
That we believe our faith
And we can be called the children of God


How great is the love the Father that he sent his only Son
That we could be called the children of God
We will never perish if we believe in him
And we can be called the children of God

How great how great
Is God's amazing grace
That we should be called the children of God

How great how great
That we believe our faith
And we can be called the children of God 


That is what we are
Sons and daughters of God
Oh by this we know love
That he laid down his life for us

How great is the love the Father has poured out on us
That we should be called the children of God

How great how great
Is God's amazing grace
That we should be called the children of God

How great how great
That we believe our faith
And we can be called the children of God 

Yes we can be called the children of God


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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Faith and Deeds

It's always interesting to me when something I've been reading about in my own personal quiet time gets emphasized Sunday morning. It makes me stop and listen more closely, and roll things around in my head.

I've been part of an online Bible study the past month where we're going through the book of 1 John a verse or two each day. Two weeks ago we were in the beginning of chapter 2, and the verses that stuck out to me specifically were verses 3-6:

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

I liked what my Life Application Study Bible had to say about v.6: "To 'walk as Jesus did' or living as Christ did doesn't mean choosing 12 disciples, performing great miracles, and being crucified... To talk today as Christ did we must obey his teachings and follow his example of complete obedience to God and loving service to people."

Then in church we're going through the book of James, and yesterday's message was about chapter 2 verses 14-26:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Some of these verses seem to walk a tricky line. Works (deeds) are not required for salvation -- belief in Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross for our sins and his resurrection are all that is needed to spend eternity in heaven.

Yet James says faith without deeds is dead.

image source
Maybe it has to do with the word "complete". It appears in both the 1 John passage: "If anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him." and in James: "His [Abraham's] faith was made complete by what he did."

The life of a Christian is a process. When someone makes a decision to follow Christ, believing in His death and resurrection, that is the beginning of the process -- it doesn't end there. The actions and deeds and obeying God that follow are what show that our commitment to God is real. They help complete our faith -- they alone don't define it.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Musical Mondays (belated): My Next Thirty Years

Today's Musical Monday post is somewhat purposefully belated... It's my hubby's birthday today, and I wanted to share this song in honor of him. :) I love you Rocky! Your next 30 years will be the best years of your life!!



I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years

Oh my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Talk Thursday: A Mud Pie for Mother

A Mud Pie for Mother by Scott Beck is one of the books we received last spring from the Imagination Library. It sat on the shelf for awhile, but once Abby discovered it, it quickly became a new favorite! It's one of the first books she's actually searched for on the shelf, then taken it and plopped in my lap for me to read to her. So cute!

It tells the story of a little pig who needs a gift for his mother's birthday. He visits other farm animals, who all give an excuse why the pig shouldn't take the things he sees. So he gets sad that he can't find a gift for mother pig's birthday. But it has a happy ending. :)

The pictures are very simple and there are only a couple of sentences per page. It's a great chance to teach Abby animal sounds as the little pig visits a bee, cow, chicken...

I think there was one day when Abby had me read it five times in a row...

A very fun, little-known book! 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I want to know You more

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. Whoever says 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." --1 John 2:3-6

Whew! Quite a few if-then statements here, all basically saying the same thing.

If we obey his commands and walk as Jesus did, then we have truly come to know him and God's love is complete in us.

If we don't obey, then we are liars and hypocrites.

Yikes!

[It's not salvation at stake, just our everyday life of trying to know him more.]

Author Brennan Manning has said, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." I wrote about this idea a little bit a few months ago. I can't change the way other people walk. But I can change myself.

My Life Application Study Bible has this note: "To 'walk as Jesus did' or living as Christ did doesn't mean choosing 12 disciples, performing great miracles, and being crucified. We cannot merely copy Christ's life -- much of what Jesus did had to do with his identity as God's Son, the fulfillment of his special role in dying for sin, and the cultural context of the first-century Roman world. To walk today as Christ did we must obey his teachings and follow his example of complete obedience to God and loving service to people."

Our GEMS theme song for this year is "I Want to Know You More." We're going to be teaching the girls how to "Get Wisdom" from the book of Proverbs. This should be the desire of ALL of our hearts. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.  What will your walk look like today?



   

Monday, October 3, 2011

Musical Mondays: Just Another Day in Paradise

This has always been one of those "feel-good" songs for me. Some days life just sucks. Everything seems to go wrong. But I look at Rocky and Abby and realize I wouldn't trade it for anything...




The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills - overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk's gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don't kick it.
I promise I'll fix it
Long about a million other things

Well, it's ok, it's so nice
It's just another day in paradise
Well, there's no place that
I'd rather be
Well, it's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Friday, you're late
Guess we'll never make our dinner date
At the restaurant you start to cry
Baby, we'll just improvise
Well, plan B looks like
Dominoes' pizza in the candle light
Then we'll tiptoe to our room
Make a little love that's overdue
But somebody had a bad dream
Mama and daddy
Can me and my teddy
Come in to sleep in between?

Yeah it's ok, it's so nice.
It's just another day in paradise.
Well, there's no place that
I'd rather be
Well, it's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise



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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!



Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 24-30

  1. Abby decided her 6th tooth was going to be a molar. She now has 2 top and 3 bottom incisors, and the bottom right first molar starting to poke through. I think that's what's been making her miserable all week.
  2. She has been SO fussy and clingy!! I can't get ANYTHING done because she freaks out as soon as I set her down!! (ok she doesn't do it all the time, but most of the time...)
  3. She was sick last weekend. Threw up on Saturday evening, and during the night the next two nights, and had diarrhea pretty bad on Sunday-Monday. On Monday all she wanted to do was cuddle. Which I was fine with. We read lots of books and watched some Baby Einstein. She didn't eat much of anything. Just yesterday she finally got her appetite back and holy cow! She'll almost eat more than me the last few meals!
  4. It's October, which means baseball playoffs! I don't mind watching baseball throughout the year, but I'm not one of those die-hard fans that knows the ins and outs of their team. But now that the Tigers have been on a great streak, I'm actually wanting to watch their games. Here's to hoping for the World Series!
  5. It's October, which means the heart of fall!! Pumpkins, apple cider, sweatshirts, candles... Mmmm... :)
  6. Keeping a budget is tough. September was the first month that we've truly sat down and planned out how much we were going to spend in each category, and try to stick to it. I went over our initial grocery budget (but we readjusted things toward the end of the month so it turned out ok) and realized I hadn't bought any meat all month except a family pack of hamburger. :( Grrr how do I make this work?! And we have like NO money for anything extra like a movie or clothes or birthday gifts... Sigh. I guess we'll just keep plugging away...
  7. Abby learned a new animal noise this week. What does a chicken say? Cluck cluck cluck! Soooooo cute. :)
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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Musical Mondays (belated): The Light in Me

I'm part of an online Bible study where we're going through the book of 1 John verse by verse. Yesterday and today we have looked at chapter 1 verses 5-7: "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

We have a Facebook group where we talk about the things we're learning in this study, and yesterday a gal posted this song. I've heard it on the radio a lot but have never really stopped to listen to the words.

Watch the video all the way to the end. It's pretty neat.



My life before You
I was a flame burning down
I was burning out

But You knew me better
For You there was never a doubt
God, since You gave me life
Something was different, I knew it the instant
You put the light in me

The spark, the shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me

The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me


You are the Maker, you tell the sun when to rise
I'm just a house on a hill
But You make me brighter than all the stars in the sky
Keep me from growing down

Cause in Your perfection, I'm just a reflection
So pull me closer to You
I catch like a fire and I'll hold You higher
Cause You put the light in me

The spark, the shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me

The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me


I'll raise it high, I'll let it show
From the rooftops down to the streets below
In day and night, You will be known
And all will see
You put the light in me


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God shines his light on me, so I can walk in the light instead of in the darkness. And his light is IN me, so I can shine it to others. "'Cause in your perfection, I'm just a reflection..." The moon has no light of it's own. It just reflects the light of the sun...


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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 17-24 (on Sunday. oops.)

So I really did start to write this post yesterday. Then life took over. Oh well. :)
  1. I now have a 16-month old. Crazy. This week I think she said her first non-mama/dada word. It was apple. It sounds a little like papa, or papal, or appa, but it's close enough. :)
  2. We had our first GEMS club meeting this week, and it was awesome!! We had 28 girls there, and I know of at least 5 more who had told me ahead of time that they weren't going to make it to the first one. We got them all registered, played some group games, did a skit, and had some praise & worship time. Should be a great year!
  3. Rocky's JV tennis team is having a winning season! He says they've won more matches this year than the last 3 years combined. ;-) Way to go honey!!
  4. I love fall. I think I said that last week. Oh well. :) I got pumpkins and decorative stuff at a farm stand today (Saturday). I'll be doing a post and showing pictures on my other blog soon...
  5. Abby and I went to our first storytime at the library on Thursday! It was soooo fun! Wednesdays are for 0-17 months, Thursdays are for 18-36 months, and Fridays are for 3-5 years. We were told we could go to the Thursday one even though Abby is just now 16 months. There were about 7 kids there, all around her age, so on the lower end of the age group. The teacher read a bunch of books, did some finger puppet plays, and even brought out one of those little parachutes that you toss balls and stuffed animals around on. Abby was so social and even danced to the music. :)
  6. She's not really interested in many of her toys anymore. She'll still push her car around (or ride it), and look through books and throw balls. But things like her blocks and farm animals and other things don't seem to interest her anymore. Sometimes I'm at a loss with how to play with her. :-/ I can only sing "Head shoulders knees and toes" so many times...
  7. Sweet corn season is just about done. That makes me sad. I've got 1/2 dozen ears in the fridge to use in the next few days, but that's probably the end of it. Mmmm it was good while it lasted... looking forward to next year already! ;-)
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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

and the winner is...

The winner of the Fresh-Brewed Life and coffee cup is...






Jessica said...
I like your new site so I "liked" it's facebook page :)
September 13, 2011 9:32 AM





Monday, September 19, 2011

Fresh-Brewed giveaway ends today!

Don't forget, the book I reviewed last week -- plus an awesome coffee cup! -- are up for a giveaway which ends tonight at 11:59 pm EST!!! Visit this post to leave a comment for your entry!

Musical Mondays: Forty Hour Week

Another Monday morning...

Millions of Americans off to work again...

Thank you!



There are people in this country who work hard every day.
Not for fame or fortune do they strive.
But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay.
And it's time a few of them were recognized.

Hello Detroit auto workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello Pittsburgh steel mill workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.

This is for the one who swings the hammer, driving home the nail.
Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale.
Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.

You can see them every morning in the factories and the fields.
In the city streets and the quiet country towns.
Working together like spokes inside a wheel.
They keep this country turning around.

Hello Kansas wheat field farmer, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello West Virginia coal miner, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.

This one is for the one who drives the big rig, up and down the road.
Or the one out in the warehouse, bringing in the load.
Or the waitress, the mechanic, the policeman on patrol.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.
With a spirit you can't replace with no machine.

Hello America - let me thank you for your time!


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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!




Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 10-17

  1. It's been a rough week for Abby. Almost every night this week she's woken up crying at some point in the early morning hours. And not just a whimpering cry, it's been a full-blown shrieking cry like she's really scared or in pain or something. I'd give it a few minutes then go in to get her, and she'd always be still laying down or sitting up, but never standing waiting for me... The only way I could get her to calm down would be to hold her tight and rock her. She'd usually relax and go right back to sleep. But last night was really rough. Rocky and I alternated for an hour going in and calming her down. We tried to let her cry it out too (it worked well when she was young), but she'd just work herself up even more. We're not sure what's going on. :(
  2. Maybe it's her teeth? She finally popped out her 5th tooth at the beginning of the week, her other bottom right incisor.
  3. On a happier note, I'm loving her "baby babble"! She still doesn't say many words, but she's just recently started chattering in that cute, incomprehensible language that you can tell SHE knows exactly what she's saying!
  4. It's been a really busy week. Rocky had one tennis match, I had my last GEMS workshop, and we had 2 nights of meetings at church. I have this feeling of relief that the worst is over for this fall, but we'll see...
  5. We finally got our babysitting/daycare figured out for the 2 days a week that I work. We will consistently have the same person to watch Abby on Wednesdays and another person on Fridays. It's such a load off my mind!
  6. Wiffleball is fun. We played with some friends last night. It's a great sport because people who are actually good at baseball/softball can screw up, and people who aren't very good at baseball/softball can get some good hits. :)
  7. I love fall. 'Nuff said.
  8. GO GREEN!!!
(ok I know that was 8 things, but I have to show my support for my alma mater. :)

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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Fresh-Brewed Life {and a giveaway! *closed*}

*The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!*

I was first drawn to Nicole Johnson's Fresh-Brewed Life simply because I love coffee. :) The subtitle states "a stirring invitation to wake up your soul." Over the summer I've felt pretty dry in my faith, just going through the motions and not taking time to dig deep into my relationship with Christ. I used this book as a morning devotional, getting up before my daughter and enjoying it with a cup of coffee.

Probably my favorite aspect of the book is the practical advice the author gives. I'm one who likes "do this" type of encouragement, and Nicole gives it! Each chapter is about different parts of a woman's life (longings, beauty, anger, sexuality, friendships, etc.) and each features a call-out box of "fresh brewed adventures" of practical things you can do to enhance those areas of your life. She is also very big on journaling (the entire second chapter is dedicated to it!), and every chapter also features directed journaling questions to help you think about and record your thoughts on those topics.

And I love coffee. Some of the descriptions about grinding the beans and the aroma of a coffee shop wake up my senses before I've even finished brewing my own cup!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for practical advice on how to "wake up to a richer, fuller, more flavorful life." And to anyone who loves coffee. :)

*I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.*

Because I received this book for free, I'm going to give it away to one of you! My very first giveaway! One lucky reader will receive this book, Fresh-Brewed Life, AND a lovely coffee cup! (or a hot cocoa cup, or a tea cup, or whatever you'd like to use it for ;-)

"Wake up, enliven your heart in the quiet of God's Spirit"

Here's how to enter: (please leave separate comments for each!)
  1. Follow this blog with Google Friend Connect ( <----- over in the sidebar) , then leave a comment on this post about why you'd like this book. 
  2. Follow my new blog, and leave a comment here telling me you did!
  3. Like the Facebook page for my new blog OR follow it on Twitter, and leave a comment here telling me you did!
So you could potentially have 3 entries!

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST Monday 9-19. I'll "draw" a winner from all the comments below, and post the winner on Tuesday the 20th! Good luck! :)


I review for BookSneeze®

Monday, September 12, 2011

Musical Mondays: Our Great God

It's been awhile since we've sang this song in church, and I forget how much I like it. I love the words, and the tune is so catchy and powerful (and of course I love 6/8 time :) .

Maybe you missed the sunrise this morning? Maybe you're not looking forward to a new work week? Maybe you've got stresses in your life? Be blessed by this song today...




Like it? Click this link for another video of it, just a live recording of Fernando on piano.

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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song -- idea from cheap wine and cookies

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 3-9

  1. We went to an outdoor wedding Friday evening the 2nd (ok, I know that should have been part of last week's Saturday 7 post, but I didn't get around to writing one last week...). It was soooo hot and humid, but sooooo beautiful! Very laid back, rustic, simple -- we sat on hay bales covered with a sheet for the ceremony. :) Congrats Ashley & Ross!!
  2. I knew if I could make it through that Thurs-Fri-Sat stretch, the weather would finally turn for the better. And boy it sure did! While highs were in the low 90s on Friday, Labor Day Monday never touched 70! Hooray for fall!!!
  3. Abby has had such an up-and-down week. Some days she's been super cranky and whiny and needy, and some days she's so content. It drives me nuts. Such a girl. :) I keep hoping the cranky days are because she's working on more teeth, but no.... nothing yet...
  4. I had my 3rd GEMS Workshop on Thursday night, and it was our biggest one yet! There were about 90 women total and I had close to 40 in my session. We had some technical difficulties that started stressing me out, but we pushed through and it went great! Boy was I tired when I got home...
  5. I'm very thankful that Rocky's school hired an assistant varsity boys tennis coach, leaving him to just focus on the JV team. Like today -- he used to have to go to all the Saturday varsity tournaments. Not this year. Saturdays are the only consistent day on the calendar that are BLANK! Woo-hoo!!
  6. I stripped Abby's cloth diapers yesterday. I realized we've switched laundry detergent (it was buy-one-get-one-free), and there must have been a ton of build-up in them. I kept rinsing and rinsing and rinsing in hot/warm water, and kept coming out with sooooo many soap bubbles! Yuck! I'm wondering if this detergent is messing with our other laundry too!
  7. Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It was strange for me to realize at school this week that almost none of the kids in our school were even alive when it happened. Read the post I wrote earlier this week for where I was that day...

Have a great week! Remember to check out and follow my new blog too!

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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where were you...

...when the world stopped turning that September day?



I think any of us who were at least 10 years old on Tuesday September 11, 2001, can remember where we were that morning. I was a freshman in college at Michigan State University. It was the third week of class and I had IAH 201 from 8:00-9:50am. Class got out early, around 9:30, and we headed down the hall to the front door of the building. I could see a group of people standing in a half-circle near the entrance, and my first thought was "is there a fight and everyone is watching?!" But as I got closer I could see everyone was crowded around a 20-inch tv that had been wheeled into the hall. People were whispering and mumbling and I heard words like New York, hijackers, Pentagon.

I had been planning on walking back to my dorm room since it was a beautiful fall morning, but decided I needed to get back faster and took the bus instead. Sometime during that trip the first tower fell, and the fourth plane went down in Pennsylvania. I sat, alone in my dorm room, for the rest of the morning watching news coverage. I watched live as the second tower fell.

I can't even begin to describe my emotions that day. I was already stressed, being a mere 3 weeks into my college career (and going from a high school where my graduating class was 140 to a school of 45,000 didn't help). I was homesick, and had made only a couple of friends at that point. My professor cancelled our afternoon class so I had nothing to do the rest of the day.

An email went out to everyone involved in Campus Crusade that a prayer meeting was scheduled at the Rock for later that afternoon. I took my time walking across campus, looking at the trees and falling leaves and Red Cedar River. Such peaceful things, in a world of chaos.

I don't remember anything else from that day, or the days that followed. Everyone eventually moved on with their lives. My friends and I were not directly impacted by what had happened (we didn't know anyone in NYC). Every year on 9/11 I would remember where I was that day, but not until today did I really look back. I found a timeline on Wikipedia that detailed the events to the minute.

Ten years already?

They say the attacks of 9/11 were reminiscent of the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor. Our grandparents and great-grandparents remember where they were on December 7, 1941. Now we have something similar to tell our children and grandchildren.

Where were you? Leave me a comment, or write your own blog post about that day and give me the link.

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Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA

Did you stand there in shock at the sight of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate

Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that Bible at home

Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street

Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?
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The history of the song from Wikipedia:

Jackson was scheduled to perform at the Country Music Association's annual awards ceremony on November 7, 2001, to be aired on CBS. Originally, he planned to perform "Where I Come From", which at the time was the #1 hit on the Billboard country charts. But mere days before the awards show, Jackson's manager, Nancy Russell, played a recording of "Where Were You" for four of the CMA's top executives. All four were crying by the time the song ended.

The day before the show, CMT had a brief note on its web site that Jackson would be introducing the new song during the awards telecast. The next night, after an introduction from the show's host, Vince Gill, Jackson performed "Where Were You" seated on a stool, with an orchestra and backing singers behind him. At the conclusion of the five-minute-long song, the audience gave him an immediate standing ovation. This performance, along with the Vince Gill introduction, is used as the song's music video.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My new blogging adventure!

Well folks, here we go! After participating in Blogelina's Profitable Blogging Class last month, I've decided to do some splitting. I started a brand-new blog (visit inthesweetsunshine.com!) that will focus on posts about the Home, Garden, and Food. That way I can advertise it a little more around the blogging world as a niche blog, and if I ever decide to get a few ads and sponsors it will be easier since it's specialized!

But never fear! This blog here will continue! Here I will continue to write posts about our family and the adventures of Abby, and continue things like Musical Mondays, book reviews, and the Saturday 7. A little more of a family-focused, mom-blog.

So if you'd still like to read my posts about home, garden, and cooking, hop on over to In the sweet sunshine and follow me there! (plus I jumped in and created a Facebook page and Twitter profile for the new blog! check those out too! :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A bit of a break

photo credit

Hey folks, I just wanted to let you know I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from this blog for a few days, maybe about a week. School has started again for Rocky and we're working on getting into a fresh routine, plus I'm spending every spare moment that Abby is sleeping working on my new super-cool blogging adventure that I will share with you once it's ready. :) So have a wonderful week, and I'll talk to y'all again after Labor Day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Zucchini Bread Secret

The first summer Rocky and I were married we didn’t have a vegetable garden, but the following spring I knew I wanted to make one in the raised bed on the south side of our rental house. So we planted peas, broccoli, carrots, green beans, sweet peppers, watermelon, and zucchini. Lesson #1 for first-time gardeners: Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Lesson #2: Don’t beat yourself up when your broccoli, peppers, and watermelon don’t make it.

Lesson #3: If you plant zucchini, you will need to find friends to share it with, or many many MANY recipes.
Image from buckcooks.com
The go-to recipe for most people with an overwhelming amount of zucchini is bread. It’s easy, tastes good with or without butter, and is a good way to get your kids to eat some veggies.

The very first time I made zucchini bread, I followed my mom’s recipe, which called for “2 cups grated zucchini.” After making a huge mess with the cheese grater and finally making two cups worth, I was vowing to never make zucchini bread ever again. It turned out great though, just like I remembered when I was a kid.

Then my husband approached me with two comments. First: “Do I taste cinnamon?” Yes, of course, it’s in the recipe. “Zucchini bread doesn’t call for cinnamon.” To which I showed him my mom’s recipe, which indeed called for 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. To which he showed me his mom’s recipe, which was the EXACT same recipe – minus the cinnamon…

It was our first second married argument discussion.

His second comment: “You should just chop the zucchini in the blender.”

Really?!

I read his mom’s recipe: Put 1 cup oil in blender and fill with chunks of zucchini until 3 cups. Blend until free of chunks, but not too long.

BRILLIANT!

I never was a big fan of the stringiness of grated zucchini in my bread and muffins anyway.

So that’s the big zucchini bread secret I wanted to share with you today. Maybe it’s not such a big secret. But it sure was news to me. And I love it. You don’t even need to peel the zucchini, leaving the skin on the chunks gives nice little green specks in the bread (which might not be so great if you have picky eaters).

So tell me… is this idea news to you? Or has the rest of the world been making zucchini bread this way forever??

(oh and tell me, cinnamon or not?? :)



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Balance

image credit
Sometimes I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

I am a very task-oriented person, so things like "she provides food for her family... her arms are strong for her tasks... she makes coverings for her bed... she makes linen garments and sells them..." speak right to me...

But sometimes I see that list and think how in the world does she accomplish all of that (and not fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day)?!?!

Am I supposed to just pick and choose the things I know I can do? Am I supposed to strive to do it all? Who exactly is this proverb meant for? Is it just a warning to not be lazy?

I do enjoy things like cooking and cleaning and sewing. Most of the time. But in our world today there are so many "conveniences" that make these tasks easier. And I think it sometimes causes us to become lazy. We check a few items off our list and we're done; time to play on the internet now. At least I'm guilty of that mindset.

But how do we balance tasks with relationships (family, friends) with me-time? I'm an introvert. I NEED time alone. I don't get a whole lot with a 15-month-old daughter. Even right now, I'm listening carefully because I know she'll be waking up any minute now. I'm not normally a people-person. Relationships are hard work for me. Whether that's with my husband, or my daughter, or my other friends. It takes time and energy. Honestly, time and energy I would often rather spend on "tasks"...

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.'" Isn't that the praise we as women long to hear?

Life is all about balance, isn't it? Balancing our time, our possessions, our tasks and relationships.

What are some ways you've found to balance your life?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Musical Mondays: Chicken Fried

A few months ago Rocky and I discovered the Zac Brown Band. We were actually riding in the car one night and listening to a country radio station, and one of their songs came on. I told Rocky, "You know, I've heard a few of their songs on Pandora and on regular radio, and I really like them!" And Rocky looked at me with this surprised look on his face and said, "Really?! Me too!"

That night we bought one of their albums on Amazon.

I find myself really enjoying their happy-catchy-fun sound, lots of acoustic guitar and fiddle, and amazing harmonies.

This song is my first favorite of theirs (even though I change the 2nd line to tea, or milk, or something else :)  but it definitely won't be my last. Watch the official video here (they've disabled embedding for it :(   or the live video below.



You know I like my chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
I like to see the sunrise
See the love in my woman's eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
Know a mother's love.

Well I was raised up beneath the shade of a Georgia pine
And that`s home you know
Sweet tea pecan pie and homemade wine
Where the peaches grow
In my house it`s not much to talk about
But it`s filled with love that`s grown in southern ground

And a little bit of chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

Well its funny how it`s the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, the car you drive, or the price tag on your clothes
There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I`ve come to know
So if you agree have a drink with me
Raise your glasses for a toast

To a little bit of chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

I thank God for my life
And for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died
The ones that give their lives so we don`t have to sacrifice
All the things we love

Like our chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love
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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song -- idea from cheap wine and cookies

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Saturday 7: August 13-19

Image from lupy2002
  1. I'll actually be thankful once school starts. At least then we'll have a consistent schedule! This past week has been a chaotic mess of one day of work for me, tennis practice almost every day for Rocky, GEMS workshops, and Rocky prepping for school sometimes at school and sometimes at home! Not to mention finding babysitters and transportation for this one-car family...
  2. The two GEMS Coffee Houses I helped lead this week went great!! (see #7 of last week's post) Especially the second night -- I felt like I was on a roll and didn't stumble over my words, and was able to do my 45 minute presentation in 43 minutes. :)
  3. I'm so lost when it comes to Abby's teeth. For the last year, every time she's been cranky and drooly I've passed it off as teething. Well she STILL only has 4 teeth, the last of which came in the first week of June. There are a few places where her gums are soooo white (including a molar?!), but no break-throughs yet. Poor girl.
  4. We've started singing the "head & shoulders, knees & toes" song with Abby recently, and I think she's starting to catch on. She grabs her head to get us started singing, and when we ask where Abby's eyes are, she scrunches her face into this dorky little smile and blinks her mostly-closed eyes. 
  5. She's really started testing boundaries with us. Drawers and cupboards that have always been off-limits have become places to get into again. For months she's known which ones she's allowed in and which ones she's not (we never put latches on any of them, she's always done really well), and lately her curiosity has gotten the best of her...
  6. And the tantrums. Oh my. Sometimes I'll tell her no, that's not-yours/yucky/hot/etc. and move her to a different place in the room, and she'll just start wailing and bury her face on the floor. It's kinda cute at first, but after awhile...
  7. And the stranger anxiety. Some days she'll wander off around the corner of a store and smile at random people, and some days (ok, even in the same day, or even the same hour!) she'll completely freak out when the cashier says hi to her. I don't get it...
Quite the mish-mash of items today. :) Have a great week!
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The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Talk Thursday: Good Night Gorilla

Image from Amazon.com
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is Abby's newest book obsession. I'm not sure what started it, but now she can't seem to get enough of this book! When I offer to read her other books, she pushes them aside and reaches for this one. She will actually bring it to me and plop down in my lap for me to read it to her. And we have it in both the boardbook format and the hardcover with normal pages, so she always seems to know where one of them is...

There are very few words in this book. The story is mostly told in pictures, so I've done a little commentary for them as we turn the pages so Abby continues to associate certain words with certain pictures. The one page with the most words is of all the animals saying "Good night" in the dark (makes me think of the Waltons :) and now whenever I get to that page Abby starts babbling, trying to say "Good night" seven times.

It's not my favorite book to read to her, but as long as she likes it and snuggles with me while we read it, we'll keep going!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Get Wisdom: Go Beyond the Gold!

Tonight is the first of 5 workshops I'll be helping lead with GEMS Girls' Clubs for our area. Leaders from clubs all across the state will be coming to receive training and inspiration for the next year...

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The theme for this GEMS season is Get Wisdom: Go beyond the Gold! It's a theme topic that encourages girls and women to fear God and walk wisely on the highway of the upright.

Maybe you heard the same things that I did as a kid... Grow up! Be an example! Act your age and not your shoe size!

Those well-intentioned corrections were meant to inspire us to live rightly and be wise. The truth is that age, IQ scores, and even life experiences will not make us wise. You can't buy wisdom or go to school for it. For there's only one place to get true wisdom and that's from God.

Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the holy one is understanding." Fearing God means that we understand how great and awesome He is, and then approach Him with respect, humility, and awe. Honoring God with our lives is the first step in gaining godly wisdom.

Godly wisdom and understanding are better than wealth. Proverbs 16:16-17 says, "How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! The highway of the upright avoids eveil; he who guards his way guards his life." Walking the highway of the upright is the way of the wise. It will guard our conduct and protect us from bad choices that almost always come with painful consequences!

Sadly, Romans 3:18 accurately describes our culture today. "There is no fear of God before their eyes." In neglecting to fear God and His judgment, the world has gone wild instead of wise. Studies indicate there is little difference between how Christians make major decisions and live day-to-day when compared to secular society.

Now is the time to get wisdom! We must teach our girls what it means to fear God, and to make good choices that will keep us on the path of the wise. This theme experience is one of the tools that will help the girls and counselors do just that.

--"Heart Prep", Lenae Bulthuis, training manager for GEMS. 

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I'm praying that you will choose wisdom today. Please pray the same for the leaders and girls in GEMS clubs all across the country this year!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Musical Mondays: Do Everything

I first heard this song by Steven Curtis Chapman a couple of months ago. The very first verse caught my attention -- "You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today..." Sometimes we wonder if the little things we do in life really matter. We might say, "I'm not a pastor-missionary-professor-etc. I'm not changing the world." Well many verses in the Bible confirm that yes, everything you do is important, no matter how big or small!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." -Colossians 3:23

Enjoy this video, just released a week ago. It's pretty humorous. And see if you can relate to any of the people he mentions.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
-1 Corinthians 10:31





For a short video by SCC about the story behind this song, click here.

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You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you


Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do


Maybe you’re that guy with the suit and tie
Maybe your shirt says your name
You may be hooking up mergers, cooking up burgers
But at the end of the day
Little stuff big stuff in between stuff
God sees it all the same
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you do


Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you
To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do


Well maybe you’re sitting in math class
Maybe on a mission in the Congo
Maybe you’re working at the office
Singing along with the radio
Maybe you’re dining at a five star
Or feeding orphans in Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere you are
Whatever you do it all matters
So do what you do and don’t ever forget to do


Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace as you do


Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do

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Have a blessed day, in WHATEVER you do. :)

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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song -- idea from cheap wine and cookies

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Saturday 7: August 6-12

  1. I missed doing my Saturday 7 post last week because we were busy hosting a mini-reunion of our college friends! We try and get together with our "group" once or twice a year to catch up, hang out, eat food, and now let our kids play together. We had 9 adults and 4 kids under 2 years old. Great times!
  2. Abby and I got to go on a mini-vacation Tuesday & Wednesday (see this post for some more details)! 
  3. I think Abby has finally mastered the stairs. She's been able to go up for awhile, it's coming down that's been the problem. Our basement is a little more usable now, so at least once a day she and I will go down and hang out in the drywalled-but-not-painted-or-carpeted playroom/living room/family room. Although yesterday she was refusing to turn around and go down the stairs backward -- she wanted me to hold her hands while she went down forward, like big people do...
  4. We went to the Kent County Fair last night. She was much more interested in the animals this time than when we went to the Mecosta County Fair a few weeks ago! It's amazing how much I still miss "Fair week", now that I'm 10 years out from it. Sheesh, I feel old...
  5. I'm talented. I managed to grow 5+ zucchini plants in my garden, each with at least a half dozen blossoms, but have failed to get any zucchini. Then I discovered the true culprit... squash bugs. Yuck. Now I'm wondering if I'll have this issue every year...
  6. Tennis season has started back up for Rocky again. He's the JV coach for the boys' team at the school he teaches at. Practice started on Wednesday, and they already have a scrimmage today. If it's stopped raining at the place they're going. It's been storming here the last few hours...
  7. I've been busy preparing for the GEMS "Coffee Houses" I get to help lead over the next few weeks. I'll be doing the same session at 5 workshops between now and mid-September. It's my first year as a Leadership Trainer for our area, and while I'm excited I'm also kinda nervous & anxious. Please pray that my sessions go well, and that we have a great turnout of GEMS leaders at these workshops!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Oh I wanna live the simple life..."

I know it's not a Musical Monday, but I've been reminded of this song the last few days -- Carolyn Dawn Johnson's Simple Life.

photo credit
Tuesday morning Abby and I left with some friends for a mini-road-trip. We spent Tuesday night and as much time as we could Wednesday in Shipshewana, Indiana. It's in the heart of Amish Country. I honestly have mixed feelings about the place. Shipshewana has really become a tourist destination. There is a giant flea market and auction twice a week, and a couple of blocks of little shops, restaurants, etc. Many of them are staffed by Amish and Mennonites, but many are not. I loved the shops with homemade Amish items, from jams to rugs to paintings and more, but found myself a bit turned off by the other stores -- the ones that sold items I could get anywhere.

I found myself wondering about what the Amish people in Shipshewana thought. Are they glad for the business, that they're able to sell things and give buggy rides and wait on tables so they can earn money just like any other person? Or do they wish the area had stayed traditional, like many other Amish communities across the country?

I grew up in a rural area not too far from many Amish families. Sometimes on my way to or from Big Rapids I would take the "back way" and go down dirt roads, just to catch glimpses of the buggies and clothes on the line and families taking a break with some lemonade on their porch. A few years ago I went through a book-reading-phase where I read so many Amish stories by Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter and Beth Wiseman. (it even often inspired me to bake and clean!)

Sometimes I crave that simple life. To do away with [most] technology, to live off the land, to just tend my garden and bake my bread and raise my kids. But short of a major lifestyle change (that I know none of us are ready for), that's not going to happen to our family anytime soon. So I try to find ways to live a simple life right where I am. I know there are books and blogs galore on this topic, so I won't be short on ideas. I just have to go for it...

I have wondered this world far and wide
I've been all around to the other side
But there's nothin' like comin' home
Nothin' like comin' home

I wanna sit on my front porch and drink my lemonade
Cut my grass after church every Sunday
And go out on Saturday night
Live the simple life
Wake up in the morning to these fields of gold
And take a long walk down a gravel road

Spend my days in the sweet sunshine
Rock in my swing and watch my garden grow
Know that I'll always have someone to hold
Oh I-I-I wanna live the simple life

I wanna take a blanket down to the creek
And let the water sing me to sleep
Let go of time
Live the simple life
Lately I've seen too many city lights
I wanna go somewhere where I can see the stars at night

Spend my days in the sweet sunshine
Rock in my swing and watch my garden grow
Know that I'll always have someone to hold
Oh I-I-I wanna live the simple life


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Do you have any desire to live the simple life?


Monday, August 8, 2011

Musical Mondays: When You Say Nothing At All

Every so often I get on specific music kicks. It could be a new artist I've discovered, or the weather puts me in a certain mood, or I hear an old favorite song on the radio. I have SO many Pandora radio stations...

Today I found myself listening to bluegrass. I started my Pandora station with Alison Krauss, added a little Nickel Creek, thumbs up'ed and thumbs down'ed a few songs, and voila -- the perfect blend of mandolin, fiddle, and sweet vocals and harmonies...

Alison Krauss has such a unique voice. She is one who I can hear a snippet of a song on the radio and know it's her. I'm sure her voice might irritate some people, but I like it. I think it's sweet, raw, and fits perfect with her style of music.

When You Say Nothing At All may be one of her most familiar songs -- since she recorded it in the mid-'90s. It was actually written by a couple other guys, Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, and has also been recorded by Keith Whitley and Ronan Keating. But her version is definitely my favorite.



(don't you just feel like you're in Appalachia?)


It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What’s being said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

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Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song -- idea from cheap wine and cookies


Friday, August 5, 2011

Seize the day

photo credit
Seize the day, seize whatever you can
'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day...
"Seize the Day" by Carolyn Arends

Do you have goals? Things in your life you want to accomplish? Daily goals, monthly goals, yearly goals?

I'm taking an online class by Blogelina about improving your blogging skills. After the first class, we're asked to go through a list of questions about the goals we have for our blogs. They're pretty basic questions, such as What are you going to blog about? Do you want to teach or entertain? Will your blog be purely recreational, or would you like to make money at some point? Who is your target reader? How much work are you willing to put into your blog?

I think I've finally found a groove in the frequency of my blogging. From 2007-2009, I wrote 16 times. In 2010 I wrote 44 times. And so far in 2011, I've written 68 times. Since June, I've written at least every other day. And I'm enjoying it! I do love to write. I might not have many "followers" based on the sidebar over there <--------- , but I am hoping to increase those numbers.

And so all this talk and thoughts about goals has me wondering: Do I keep writing as I've been writing, about lots of different things, keeping this a basic "mom blog" (which seems to be a very popular trend)? Or do I shift my focus to one specific niche, be that parenting or books or music or gardening or something? Or do I start another, separate blog about one of those niches? 

I think once I firm up the ideas in my head of what my focus is for this blog, I'll be able to look more closely at setting goals for things like traffic, content, making money, community, networking, and time...

Any thoughts? What do you like to hear me write about?

Five Minute Fridays: Whole

Let your words and your story breathe today. Take five minutes and just write without criticizing your words, yourself or your story. Just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
  1. Write your words without editing them.
  2. Tell your readers you’re linking up here and invite them to come and share their unedited stories too.
  3. And most importantly, go visit, read, and compliment the person who shared right before you.
Today's prompt: WHOLE...

GO.

Jennifer Knapp wrote a song called Whole Again. (Please note I'm not interested in condemning or commending the artist. I've enjoyed her music for years. Just focus on the lyrics today, not on the person who wrote them.)

It's a very open, vulnerable, truthful song. It begins with the phrase "Daddy, daddy, do you miss me? The way I crawled upon your knee? Those childish games of hide-and-seek seem a million miles away..." Sometimes I feel like I've gotten old enough in my faith, I've gone out on my own, and I turn around and ask "Is there still room upon that knee?"

The chorus says, "If I give my life, if I lay it down, can You turn this life around, around? Can I be made clean by this offering of my soul? Can I be made whole again...?"

The answer of course is yes. God is the Father who is always there with open arms, ready to take back his wandering child. You may be spread out in many different directions, but God can take all the pieces and make you whole again.

STOP.

Not a very long post today, I found myself getting caught up singing the song. :) I guess that's what I love about Musical Mondays...

I couldn't find a non-live version of the song. :( The song on the cd is quicker, with drums etc. But this one will do. (now I feel like pulling out my Rocky's old Kansas cd and listening to the whole thing... :)

Daddy, daddy do you miss me.
The way I crawled upon your knee.
Those childish games of hide and seek
Seem a million miles away.


Am I lost in some illusion.
Or am I what you thought I'd be.
Now it seems I've found myself
In need to be forgiven.
Is there still room upon that knee?


If I give my Life, If I lay it down
Can you turn this Life around, around
Can I be made clean
By this offering of my soul.
Can I be made whole again?


Have I labored all for nothing.
Trying to make it on my own.
Fear to reach out to the hand
Of one who understands me
Say I'd rather be here all alone.


It's all my fault I sit and wallow in seclusion.
As if I had no hope at all,
I guess truth becomes you
I have seen it all in motion
That Pride comes before the fall.


If I give my Life, If I lay it down
Can you turn this Life around, around
Can I be made clean
By this offering of my soul.
Can I be made whole again?


Can I offer up this simple prayer.
Pray it finds a simple ear.
A scratch in your infinite time.
Not withstanding my fallings
Not withstanding my crime!


If I give my Life, If I lay it down
Can you turn this Life around, around
Can I be made clean,
By this offering of my soul.
Can I be made whole again?

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