Tuesday, December 6, 2011

{Book Review} Decision Points - George W. Bush

This is one book I was really excited and nervous about reviewing. Autobiographies can sometimes be very long, drawn out, and, to be honest, boring. So to say that Decision Points was more than I ever could have expected is paying one huge compliment to President Bush.

In what turned out to be a very candid book, Decision Points takes you behind the closed doors of Whitehouse meetings when our country was facing some of it's biggest crises, to intimate conversations with one of my own personal heroes, Billy Graham. In essence, Decision Points, points you to those pivotal moments that made President Bush who is he both president and person.

I think what was so great about this book was one, I read it in a Texan accent. I think anyone who was old enough during President Bush's presidency to hear his speeches, they probably were reading in an accent as well. This book showed the tender-side of a president, in moments like the time he spent with ordinary heroes searching for survivors right after 9/11. But more than anything, it showed his strong will, stubbornness when needed, and that although the media teased over the way he spoke, he was a very intelligent man, who was more than capable of making the tough decisions.

I know I'm not the only one raving over this book. If you're looking for a good read with a whole different look on a presidency behind closed-doors, I highly recommend reading Decision Points by George W. Bush.

If you would like more information about Decision Points check out georgewbush.com

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Return of the Fan Girl

It's true....the fan girl in me is contained in between Twilight movies, but when the movie is just days away, I'm as giddy as can been. I've been getting my plans in order with sister and friend to meet up at midnight back in my old town. It's always so much fun planning this one big time each year. No matter what it's set in stone to do together.

Eclipse Premiere

And...since we are getting together with tons of other fans to a sold out showing of the movie...we must also dress for it. No costumes, mind you, but apparel nonetheless. I always like to go the non-traditional route. I don't want that shirt that I can go down to the mega store and buy. In the past I've gotten shirts from Cafe Press. This year, or as I have lovingly started to call it, the year of Etsy. I made my purchase from Etsy.

Twilight Saga Embellished Tee

I got this way cute shirt from a "quirky" little shop named Quirk Shop. Michele has so many cute little things in her shop. Please go and check her out.  I may just be back soon to pick one of these up.

Meet Me at the Mistletoe Headband

Have a great rest of the week. Pictures to come!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hearing isn't always seeing

Do you ever just fall into the routine of worship? I was never more aware of just how much I do until this past Sunday. When I walked in the sanctuary I had no clue the worship I was going to experience. Worship where the tears flow more easily than the words. Where you come to your knees in thanksgiving.

When the holidays start to approach at my church, the choir shows up more for the services. Because our church is right on the campus of a seminary, we get a steady flow of young talent and abilities. This past Sunday the choir included what I can only assume was a college student, who during the praise and worship signed the lyrics. I knew the words. The song was familiar. So I sang and watched. When the name Jesus came up in the lyrics, the sign for it, just overwhelmed me. I turned to my left to my husband and he was there with me. The tears ready to flow.

How easily I forget or take for granted who he is. What he is. What he has done. The sign for Jesus, represents just who he is. Any language could recognize it. Pointing to the palms of both hands. He died for me, and I forget. I take it for granted. I sing with no emotion. I just do the routine of it.

How is it that when we experience something like this, we still fall back? I want that kind of worship. I want to praise him in everything. To shout his glory!

That one college student has no clue the impact she had on my little family. It will be a reminder of what I should be seeking.

This isn't the song, but it surely makes the point.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stolen Joy

It's all been made clear to me, well as clear as can be made at the moment, how I have let little things steal my joy. I have this beautiful picture of all the things that bring me joy: family dance parties, little man learning how to play board games, beautiful sunsets, game nights with the family, Oreos (I'm pretty sure I'm at least half Oreo now)....I could just keep going.


But I let those unexpected hiccups in my day steal my joy. I let my personal struggles....steal my joy. I never see it in the moment. I just sulk, run over and over in my mind what these little things mean. I become quiet and just kind of get stuck in this funk. I wonder things that I know are untrue. Is this a sign? I'm a horrible mom...that's why? It's because I didn't do this...or that! Why do I let these little things stifle what could be tremendous joy in my life? I want to choose joy!

I will not allow Satan to turn my thoughts away from what should be great memories being made. So, here I am confessing that I've allowed him to do just that. But....and here's the big but....I'm not letting him do it anymore. I'm taking that joy back that he's taken away. I'm not going to loosen my grip on it my moments of weakness, I'm to make a habit of pointing out the things in my life that bring me joy and great blessing. Next time I get in that funk, I'm going to remind myself of said list.

What steals your joy? How do you keep it....not allow it to be taken?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{Book Review} Night Nigt Blessings by Amy Parker

One of the biggest things that I try to instill my son is thankfulness. I want him to be able to recognize the new gifts that each day brings.

In a book not as rhymey as your typical children's book, Amy Parker's Night Night Blessings, she's establishing a life of thankfulness. Parker brings you in from the "morning sunlight" to "night night" showing you the not just the blessings of the spiritual nature, but physical blessings as well. One of the best parts of this book is the adorable illustrations by Marijan Ramljak. The colors were gorgeous!

I love the idea of using this book to help my son recognize his everyday blessings in a very personal way.

Night Night Blessings by Amy Parker

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.

Friday, October 7, 2011

{Book Review} Bible Stories for Preschoolers

I'm always on the hunt for a good storybook for my son. When I got the chance to review Bible Stories for Preschoolers, I jumped at it. My son was so excited when we got the package in the mail and even more excited when we got a chance to sit down and read before bedtime.

I was expecting your typical Bible storybook for children. Ones that always seem just a little too old my son and have no interaction whatsoever.  What I got was something totally different. Bible Stories for Preschoolers has sections the follow almost every story called Family Talk. This is where you get to interact with you child and ask them questions about the story. What's great about this is that it's teaching your child to pay attention and absorb the lesson that is being taught. Also in the Family Talk section there's an activity and a verse to remember about each section.

After reading this with my son many nights we noticed how much more alert he is when the story is being read. He's now asking more questions. I love he excitement over learning and even more learning the love of Christ. I was highly recommend this to any family feeling burnt out on the story books out there. You won't be disappointed.

Bible Stories for Preschoolers

Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.

Monday, October 3, 2011

{Book Review} Forever Faithful: The Complete Trilogy by Karen Kingsbury

 I have often fallen into the pit of "woe is me." I've had my moments where I think God can't possibly want this for me. He must just be looking the other direction. Kind of like when I do that with my son. Once I turn around I find how quickly a mess can form. The same goes for our lives, but God is watching us. He knows troubles of this world and is still working in it. Sometimes even through the mess of our sin. 

I recently got the chance to review the Forever Faithful: The Complete Trilogy by Karen Kingsbury. I had never read any of her books before. I had no idea what to expect. One thing I didn't expect was to be completely pulled into the story. So much so that there were many a nights that I stayed up well into the early hours of the morning.

The Forever Faithful: The Complete Trilogy gives you front row seats to how the details of life make a difference. First you meet Hannah, who has just lost a husband and daughter to a drunk driving accident in Waiting for Morning. She's bitter and angry with God. So much so that she's trying convince herself that he doesn't exist. Hannah is brought to her knees when her daughter, Jenny, attempts something no parent wants to see. 

Then you meet Jade and Tanner. Childhood friends separated too soon in A Moment of Weakness. Tanner takes a summer internship across the country never expecting to run into the one girl he said was going to marry. A summer spent together. Dreams realized. Lines are crossed. Lies are told. Jade knows that God has a plan for her, but is this really it? 

Finally in Halfway to Forever you get a glimpse of the friendships formed when Tanner and Matt, Hannah's husband and former prosecutor for the drunk driver, become partners in a law firm fighting for religious freedom. Each family goes through their own struggles. There are moments when you question, "Can God really be apart of this? Is he punishing me for past sins?." 

Karen Kingsbury writes what is real. How people really feel. How Christians aren't perfect people. We are just loved by a perfect God. A God who has plans for us. A God who hears our prayers, praises and sobs. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to see how God turns the ashes of this life into something beautiful.

This song was on repeat the whole time I was reading this book. It's so fitting.


If you would like more information about Karen Kingbury check her out at www.karenkingsbury.com
You can find this book at most bookstores and online at amazon.com

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Here Comes the Fan(g) Girl

Is it alright if I let my fan girl come out for just a little bit? I'll take that as a yes. Okay...so I know there's some Twilight fans out there....am I right? I think so. I always get really excited when the movies get close the getting released 1) because it means it's that much closer to a much needed girls (mid)night out with my best friend and sister and 2) because the soundtracks are always great! So without further ado here is the first single being released for the Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack.

P.S. Yes...I know....I'm one of the those people.

What brings out the fan girl in you?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ode to My Man

Have I told you just how much I love my man?

Me and my man celebrated six years of mostly blissful marriage this past weekend. I say mostly because there are always those hard parts of life that you have deal with at times. Sometimes they made me ugly. I'm ashamed of those moments. My man, still loved me through those moments and didn't think me ugly. Everyday I feel blessed that he showed me grace I didn't deserve. Does that sound familiar? Yeah, I think so...he showed me grace just like our Lord shows us grace when we don't deserve it. My man...he's one godly man.

So this post isn't about me...it's about showing you a glimpse of this man that I share my life with. The man who I share every little piece of me with. The man who rocks my world!

 This man showed me how a gentleman should act. That chivalry wasn't dead. This is a picture of our first official date....junior prom. Talk about expectations. I've stuck with this man since that day. 

He stuck with me through my mess of haircuts, and always told me I was beautiful.

This man planned our honeymoon, and wouldn't even tell me till the week of.

He continues to show me the adventure that life can be. 

My man behind the mask.

Hick Couple- Me pregnant and using the pregnancy as a beer belly. Him unshaven..nuff said.

He lets me talk him into ridiculous costumes, even when I dress him as woman.

This man gave me this beautiful little boy and became a Daddy. He showed me what a true father is.

This man made a family. This man knows how to show genuine love and affection. This man. rocks my world!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Falling Into Pace

I feel like I'm finally settling into the pace of my life right now. Once the end of August hit our household, I felt like I was running a full sprint. I couldn't catch my breath. I was overwhelmed. Questioning myself about commitments I'd made. How was I going to be able to enjoy life when I was so "busy"? Between preschool, mom's group and church (let alone family), I was going, going, going.

What am I doing right now?

Enjoying life. I'm sitting in the sun. Swatting bees (okay not so enjoyable).

Watching my son play in the dirt and flowers.

Savoring the little bits of fall smells beginning to show up.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fresh-Brewed Life By Nicole Johson {Book Review}

In Nicole Johnson's book Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul, she describes how are lives improve, just like coffee beans to a cup of coffee. When we surrender to God, we are still a whole bean. But to become richer and fuller, we have to be ground little bit. "Our souls become stronger, deeper and more robust. As different from instant coffee is from fresh-brewed, we are transformed."

Johnson shares how much God loves us and accepts us. We are free to be ourselves with him. He doesn't judge us by the clothes we wear, or even if we've even been able to comb our hair today. He wants us to feel free to give him all our needs; looking to him for answers and not the world.

One thing about this devotional, that I had to make a commitment to was a journal. Johnson encourages journaling  as part of working through our struggles, hopes, wishes, longings and prayers to God. If we don't have an outlet, we'll hold it in. At some point, it's going to overflow and we'll be crying over mismatched socks. 

"The beauty of a good journal is it reminds us to live a life worth recording."

I'll admit, I've bought many a journal over the years and after about a week I'm done. It has just never been my way of working things out. But, I made a commitment  that I would do it for at least the whole month of September. I may not write everyday, but to make a conscious effort to do it. Can I tell you something, I LOVE IT!

Johnson goes on working through the many struggles and strongholds that women have in their lives. Address topics like: Longings, Embracing Your Beauty, Anger, Sexuality, Friendships and more. You won't be disappointed...I promise. Some of the topics made me squirm a little, but really changed the way I think about things and apply things. One of the biggest things I'm taking away from this devotional are these quotes.

"It is our job to make sure the majority of our schedule reflects the majority of our heart to the best of our abilities."
"If you will offer the whole-bean essence of who you are (even if you aren't fully sure yet), surrender to the inevitable roasting and grinding of this world, and trust that the love of God will pour over all the broken pieces (fragments, shards, and hunks), your very life will be transformed into something more beautiful and remarkable than you could ever imagine."

If you're interested in purchasing this book, check out www.freshbrewedlife.com

All this talk of coffee has me thinking....How do you like your coffee? I like mine with lots of cream and sugar. I'm kind of a creamer connoisseur!

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Stumbling Into Grace" by Lisa Harper - Book Review

In a world of so many people who act fake, it was a like a breath of fresh air when I found Lisa Harper. Lisa is one of the most authentic Christian authors I've read in a long while. Lisa never tries to hide her past or embarrassing moments, but uses them to encourage, teach and provide a little humor for you along the way. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who makes a fool of myself on a regular basis.

Source: http://lisaharper.net

Stumbling Into Grace focuses on three main topics: Real Life, Real Gifts and Real Growth. Lisa turns her stories of embarrassments or hurts into a teaching moment by taking scripture and applying truths to them. There are moments you will find yourself laughing out loud at stories and at other times overcome with emotion over the real and hurtful parts of life. One of the funniest moments and my favorite chapter in the book by far, is chapter eight titled The Bride Who Tripped Down the Aisle. She starts every chapter off with "So, today I've been thinking about..." This chapter in particular starts of with "So, today I've been thinking about the gift of good humor." Humor does ensue. Oh, how I wish I could share this chapter with you. I was reading this chapter late at night while my husband slept across the room. It took everything in me to keep my laughter under control and at a low volume. If you're looking for a lighthearted and honest look at life as a woman and was to turn those in to a focus on God, then I highly suggest checking out Lisa Harper's Stumbling Into Grace. You won't regret it.

Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometims Spiritually Clumsy Woman

One quick note. This book is a devotional or group book. I wasn't expecting that when I received it, but regardless, it can be read as a book, devotional or group book. Don't let that be the excuse for not checking it out.

Have you read this book? I'd love to hear your favorite part!

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

MY FIRST GIVEAWAY! The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

Hey all...I'm so excited. I've been given an extra copy of The Canary List to giveaway. You looking for a little mystery in your life, then you may just want to vie for you chance at a copy.

1. Rank my review of the book (you'll also be automatically entered to win books from Waterbrook Multnomah just for ranking. They will only ask for you email address one time and it's completely confidential.)
2. Subscribe to my blog.
3. Tweet about my giveaway
4. Share my giveaway on Facebook
One entry per person. Up to for four entries total. Winner will be chosen at random by random.org on August 29th.

Good Luck!


All Crockett Grey wants to do is spend the anniversary of the death of his daughter drowning himself in his sorrows. Outside his house a girl is struggling with a darkness that seems to follow her where ever she goes. One of the few people she can trust isn't answering her phone calls, and she's scared. As the evening unfolds the darkness has her scrambling to doorstep of her teacher's home. She's always been able to trust him. As Crockett opens his door to find Jaime, he has no clue how this night is going to change his life. He soon finds himself in jail, beaten, and uncovering secrets that have been hidden by the Vatican for centuries.

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer (Chapter 1)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer - BOOK REVIEW

All Crockett Grey wants to do is spend the anniversary of the death of his daughter drowning himself in his sorrows. Outside his house a girl is struggling with a darkness that seems to follow her where ever she goes. One of the few people she can trust isn't answering her phone calls, and she's scared. As the evening unfolds the darkness has her scrambling to doorstep of her teacher's home. She's always been able to trust him. As Crockett opens his door to find Jaime, he has no clue how this night is going to change his life. He soon finds himself in jail, beaten, and uncovering secrets that have been hidden by the Vatican for centuries.

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer (Chapter 1)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 Pounds

Yeah, that's exactly how many pounds of blueberries we came home with from blueberry picking. I've been so excited all week to sit down and write this post.

This past weekend we went up to Michigan to visit my grandparents. We always love going there, not only for the their company, but for the pure beauty of the area that they live in. We were so bummed learning the night before we were supposed to head out that there was an 80 percent chance of rain, pretty much the entire time we were going to be visiting. Regardless, we were going. Their company was enough to entice me. 

On the way there, our child lifesaver broke. By lifesaver, I mean DVD player. And by broke, I mean works for minutes at time. R.I.P., you have been good to us. Toddlers and long distances don't usually mix well. We recovered and so did he. My little man was an angel (just like he's always telling my man..."Daddy, you look like an angel!"). Why don't I look like an angel? Ah hem....anyway, we made it. 

Once arriving, he was out the car and into the toys. I think every child has a GPS that tells them exactly where all toys make their homes. He knew right where to go and didn't plan on leaving anytime soon. About that time, their was a break in the rain...and it was gorgeous! Sunny with those fluffy clouds...GORGEOUS! After much asking and peeling we got away from the toys and to the Blueberry patch? place? I'm not sure if that's what they're called, but that's where went. Our family, virgin blueberry pickers. I was so excited! Little man....not so much. His mind was on the toys back at the house.

Once out in the rows, with our buckets tied around our waists, he was getting in the mood. He realized he could eat these things hanging on the trees....and they tasted good! That's all it took and the toys were completely erased from his mind. This speaks volumes of my picky eater.

Little Man and his Great Grandma
My Man and Little Man

The trees were overflowing with blueberries....I think it took us all of thirty minutes to pick them. I think it only took that long because I was talking and picking. I'm not always the best at focusing on one task. But the task was done and we were reaping our reward in blueberries.

We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the company of the wise and enjoying a few laughs. They have some of the best stories.

My Grandmother is an artist. One of my favorite things about visiting her is seeing what new things she has painted. God has blessed her was some serious talent.

P.S. My BFF...you know Best Friend Forver! Just had her first baby! It's a precious little lady by the name of Hadley. Congrats Stacy and Justin, we couldn't be more excited for you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Printable Party Decor

I don't have a lot of extra time this morning, but I thought I'd hop on a show you some new things that are slowly going to be making there way into my Etsy shop. This past spring at my Mom to Mom group, a friend of mine asked me if I'd ever done any of the printable decorations that she'd seen all over etsy. In particular the ones over at how doe she?. She wanted something similar and I was willing to give it a shot as long as she didn't mind being my guinea pig. She agreed and I set out to make her just what she was looking for and more. Her party turned out so cute! Thanks Meredith for all the great pictures!

So keep a look out, as I add more and more of these packages to my shop.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Restless In Carolina Book Review

Do happily ever afters really exist? Bridget Pickwick doesn't think so, and she pushes that idea on everyone she's around, including here five year old niece, Birdie. After a storytelling session with her niece, and her refusal to say "Happily...ever....after", Birdie is brought to tears by Bridget's real take on "Happily ever after." Since Bridget lost her husband, Easton, four ears earlier, she's held to the idea that happily ever afters don't exist and God doesn't answer our prayers. He just does what he wants. When she is confronted by her sister, Bonnie, she's faced with the realization that if she doesn't let go of the life she lead with Easton and live her own life, she's going to go to the the grave with it. She slowly begins to turn back to God for guidance and a new chance at finding her happily ever after.

In Tamara Leigh's third book in her Southern Discomfort Series, you'll get to revisit characters of the past as they all continue to help their Uncle find forgiveness and right the past wrongs that the Pickwick's have done. You'll find yourself right back in the small town of Pickwick with all it's southern charm.

Restless in Carolina by Tamarah Leigh (Chapter 1)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Marshmallows, Goldfish & Peppermint Patties

Hope you all had as much fun this weekend as I did!

My Holiday Weekend Top Ten

10. Having both sides of our family over for a cookout. (We're family kind of people)

9.   Having half of them stay the night....which means some serious rounds of board games.

8.   More desserts than you can fit on one plate!

7.   Grilled corn on the cob....yumm!

6.   Watching Josiah drive his cousin, Cally, around in his Jeep power wheels for the first time. Can we say major cuteness!

5.   Eating lunch at a diner and watching Josiah stand up and dance in the booth because he can see his reflection in the mirror across from us.

4.   Ending a majorly successful week of potty training. Monday was met with zero accidents in underwear all day!
2.   Singing Chris August's Candy Wrap (Josiah's favorite) in the car with my man on the way home from watching fireworks

1.   Bringing our favorite snacks (marshmallows, goldfish & peppermint patties) to the lake and watching the fireworks with our family and community. Hearing the squeals of delight from tons of little people along with Josiah.

Bonus: Instead of sleeping most nights, I was sucked into this awesome book this weekend. For any of you out there that liked the Hunger Games.....this is a must read

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dragging My Feet

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." -Proverbs 6:6-8

Sometimes I feel like that's just what I'm doing. Dragging my feet. I get so caught up in the everyday life and sadly myself that my home goes to the wayside. I'm not going to lie, this cleaning challenge I joined has been HARD! I did so good for the first half of the month, but as it got later in the month, the more I had going on in family activities that took us out of the home. When the activities increase, I find an equal increase in the laziness that seems to come so naturally to me. I keep reminding myself why I started this challenge and who I'm doing this for. So today, I'm making a commitment to push through the last of the challenges, no excuses (I have many). How are you ladies pulling through out there?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Is anything to difficult for me?

As our family was recently faced with some really big decisions, we clung to God for answers. Somehow, I always seem to forget that I have a God who has always provided for us in our times of need. He's never left us in want. So, why then am I so surprised when we see very clear answers from Him?

As I breathe a breath of fresh air and revel in the beautiful gift of love God has poured on my family, I just want to remind you out there that He loves you. He wants to do the same things for you, but you have to let Him in. What's holding you back? Don't wait, he wants to lavish you in His glory.

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." - 1John 3:1

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The God I Never Knew Book Review

This may very well be one of my longest reviews, but for good reason. What an experience I had and awakening I received as I began reading The God I Never Knew - How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life by Robert Morris. I had this picture in my mind of what the Holy Spirit was, not so much who the Holy Spirit was. In all actuality, the Holy Spirit is a person. He's living in us all when we receive the gift of salvation. This is where the main issue I took with this book came up. Morris expressed a need for a "third baptism." As he went on into an explanation that third baptism was us opening ourselves up and asking the Holy Spirit to fill us. I'm not sure where this teaching came from, and all the explanations he gave in the book using scripture really only pointed to the time surrounding Pentecost. This brought me into a deep study of the Bible that came up with very unclear answers. I believe the God always make what we are to do very clear. While researching, I came across this article that shares the scripture that correlates directly with what I found relating to receiving the Holy Spirit. My conclusion, and what I've always been taught, is that you receive the Holy Spirit when you accept Christ. The only other baptism you should otherwise receive is a water baptism as an outward showing of what has happened inwardly.

What Morris shares about the Holy Spirit and his character is great and so informative.We are given the Holy Spirit as helper for us in the world. Most of us don't allow him to work in us or have been misinformed by his job. Isn't that Satan's plan?
"Doesn't it make sense that the enemy would want to keep us from experiencing that help? After all, one aspect of the Holy Spirit's work is to convince us that Satan has been judged and stripped of his authority. So is it really a stretch to think Satan wants to keep us from receiving that conviction and acting on it?"
The Holy Spirit was sent to be our helper, to convict us (giving us clean hearts), as a comforter, as a counselor, to share gifts, to share fellowship, to produce fruit in us and the list goes on. I'll admit, I was totally unaware of all the aspects of my life the Holy Spirit has a part in. What were given to me as gift from the spirit, I never recognized. There are snippets of my life, where I have been grace with gifts that only the Holy Spirit could have given me, that were only of God. So, why was I so shocked when I read the chapter The Discerning Gifts? Morris shared a story about crossing paths with a stranger and being given information about this stranger that he couldn't possible have known otherwise. The conversation shared between Morris and this former Mr. America spread shock and amazement across my face and my husband's, as I just had to share.

As I continued through the book, I was faced with the issue of the gift of tongues. This has always been a roadblock for me. From a personal standpoint, I don't believe that tongues are meant for today. I feel like they were meant for a different time. Is that the truth? I don't know, and I hope that if I'm wrong the Holy Spirit will convict me and show me otherwise. But, as I read the chapter and all of his scripture referencing, I couldn't find any fault in his teaching.

Would I recommend this book to friends, family or even strangers? I think I could say I would, but I think I would also give a disclaimer that I don't particularly believe in the same fashion that Morris does. I believe that Morris is a thorough teacher, but at times felt like he was stretching some scripture to get to where he was trying to reach. But the big selling point for me was his full description of the Holy Spirit, his character and the gifts that the Spirit gives us.

If you would like to read an excerpt of this book
The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Challenging Myself With a Challenge

This past almost two weeks now, has been a serious challenge. A challenge that now seems to creating habits in me that I never knew. I've been trying to apply at the teachings from Sarah Mae's 31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way.

I've been creating a six list for last four days now. The first couple of days were a little rough, but I'm now mostly able to get through my top six priorities for the day. Here's the kicker. I knew I was going to be gone all day on Tuesday. So what did I do? I set my alarm for six, get up, shower and CLEANED. Can you believe it! Priorities....Priorities...Priorities! I am making my home a priority. How long has it taken for me to figure that out! My house is turning into the inviting place I've always wanted it to be. Now....I just need some unannounced visitors.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 4: A Place to Put Your Feet Up....but not right now

Today I'm trying to create a place where people feel comfortable enough to put their feet up and enjoy and nice long talk and a cup of coffee. Now, this is where I struggle. I don't know if it's the way I grew up or just my idealism of a clean home. I totally want people to feel comfortable when they come in my home, but I don't know where the fine line between clean and comfortable come together.

I grew up in a home where my Mom was a born cleaner. She had certain ways of doing things and she liked them only done that way. So, when it came to my sister and I, we really didn't have to do much in the ways of cleaning. Because we didn't do the way she wanted or would do it, she just did it herself. It was just faster for her to get it done instead. In fact, when I was visiting my Mom's house yesterday and telling her about this challenge, she kind of laughed. Not in the ha ha you're never going to be able to do it kind of way, but in the way that I had to come to it in my own time. My sister and I got a kick out of telling stories about my Mom and her meticulous cleaning escapades. We always knew it was Saturday because we would wake up to the smell of bleach. We couldn't go anywhere until all of her cleaning was done. We grew thinking that it was something that held you back. Maybe that's why I've always done what I want to do, instead of letting cleaning be what holds me back or takes up all of my time.

Here's lies the problem....the problem I've had for years. Finding the balance between cleaning and family. That's really what I'm hoping to take away from this challenge. I don't want to be the person holding my family back from life. 

What about you? How do you make a home comfortable, but not too clean? Where's the balance?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On a Mission

This week I started the 31 Days to Clean Challenge. I'm on a day to two and let me just say, my kitchen is looking pretty darn good. What's been the biggest challenge to me so far is not putting things off to do until the end of the day. I'm full of excuses and reasons to put things off till the end of the day. I'm trying to make having a clean home a priority in my life.


Yesterday, I had to come up with a mission statement. This, was a HUGE struggle for me. The perfectionist in me just couldn't put together the words I wanted to say. After reading the forums on 31daystoclean.com I was able to get me mind wrapped around what I was wanting to represent my new way of living.

My mission is to have a clean home, not a pefect one.
One where a child can be a child without fear of messes. To make my home a place of comfort and not stress. To bless my husband for all that he does to support our family. And to make our home a place of rest, so that we may be able to enjoy each other and grow in Christ.

 It's never too late to join the challenge...check out Sarah Mae's book 31 Days to Clean Having a Martha House the Mary Way

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Secrets of the Vine for Women Book Review

Secrets of the Vine for Women, Breaking Through to Abundance by Darlene Marie Wilkinson

 Much can be learned from an intimate conversation in a vineyard, that Jesus had with his followers the night before his death. Jesus shared with his disciples how God would be at work in them to give them a more abundant life.

In Secrets of the Vine for Women, Darlene Wilkinson shares stories from many women on how they have been changed by embracing exactly what Jesus taught as well as a story of a father and daughter and their vineyard interwoven into each chapter. What is so great about the story of the vine dresser woven throughout the book, is the beautiful picture it gives you of the love and care God has for you. He wants you to abide in him, to be intimate, to bear fruit and live an abundant life in Him. Wilkinson helps us discover just how we can apply and prioritize our lives for Christ. She also gives an amazing perspective on how what we "love, treasure, enjoy and consider good on earth is a gift from God". We need to remember that these things are on loan from our creator; "that every gift in this life has a time limit."

I would personally recommend this book to anyone seeking a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ. One great thing about this book, it's small and an extremely easy read. If you live a busy lifestyle or just aren't really a reader in general, you could finish this easily in less than a week.

Secrets of the Vine for Women (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love At Last Sight Book Review

Love At Last Sight  by Kerry & Chris Shook

Want to grow and deepen your relationships? Kerry and Chris Shook lay out a plan to help you do just that. They challenge you to deepen and grow your closet relationships through a 30 day challenge. To learn more about the challenge, visit lastsightchallenge.com

I was really excited about reading this book and applying their concepts. Only shortly after I started the book, I realized that this book wasn't really what I was looking for. I'm the type of person who loves being with friends and family. I rarely spend a weekend at home. I'm almost always on the road visiting and engaging my relationships. They teach you concepts that are pretty standard when it comes to relationships. Relationships take time and work. They aren't always easy. I know these things; I think most people know these things. I came to the conclusion that if you are the type of person who really struggles with getting the deep relationships and getting the connections that you desire, then Love At Last Sight is for you. Me however, I was sort of disappointed. The book just didn't really teach me much that I didn't already know.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another sign of Spring?

Another sign of spring? The beautiful Shabby Apple spring L'ete dress that Lemonade Makin' Mama is giving away over on her blog. If you love spring and dresses, please go check it out!

Signs that Spring is near....or nearly here

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

As my family is finally recovering for what's seems like months of illness, I'm finally catching a glimpse of the beauty of Spring. The past weekend the temps got up into the 80's and the very next day dropped back down into the 50's and 60's dragging rain along with it. But don't for a second think I didn't enjoy every bit of that warm weather.

As we prepared for church on Sunday, I was so stoked to break out some spring clothing (ie. short sleeved....and probably a skirt). It was so refreshing being able to walk out of the house without out have to pile on the layers that Winter requires. At this point, my Spring frenzy began. It was like I needed to cram in everything you could possibly do in the summer into one summer-like day. After church, we headed to the hardware store, only to see that many, and I mean many others had the same idea. After the quick run into the store, we drove home ate lunch in a rush and were out the door, and in shorts and tanks at that! I began the tedious, but at the moment, exciting work of cleaning up and clearing out my flower garden with my man. I always seem to make these plans to do things on my own, only to find out that I need his help. And, he is always willing. My little man spend the afternoon with a Tonka dump truck and shovel to pile dirt into it's bed. He was in little boy heaven. After doing a little hard work, I broke out some sidewalk chalk, bubbles....and a squirt gun to play. Can you hear my sneaky laugh? Because it was definitely there. This caused a chain of reaction or sorts, which led us into washing our cars, because indelibly the hose had made its way out from its home.

The one big thing about Spring for me though is this...it's a time of growth, renewing, cleansing. The earth is new, and looks clean and pretty again after a long Winter. It's a reminder of the what Jesus has come and done for us. He came to cleanse and renew. He cleansed us so that we may be sinless to the Father. What a gift! I need to remind myself more often than I do, what he has done for me. I've been redeemed!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Change always comes bearing gifts." -Price Pritchett

Isn't that the truth? With changes come gifts immeasurable. My husband and I over the past months have both been personally felt led to downsize our life. This led us to worship, prayer, seeking God and his guidance. What does he have for us that we don't see? All I know is that with this conviction, has come some beautiful gifts. A deeper relationship with my Savior and a deeper relationship with my husband. I can honestly say, I've never been more in love in my life. I find it so refreshing to hear in him pray; to see him seeking the Lord, and his will for our family. I don't know where we're going, but we're on our way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari by Donita K. Paul & Evangeline Denmark illustrated by Vincent Nguyen - Book Review

In this cute tale on learning to be brave even when you're scared, Roger the turtle and Padraig the dragon go on a safari (in their backyard.) The story is based on the verse "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid...God goes with you; he will never leave you." Deuteronomy 31:6. When Roger and Padraig can't fall asleep in their tent, they begin to hear sounds in the night. They imagine up all sorts of things and reasons for the sounds. In one instance a "kitten - er, leopard" is stuck in a tree and they venture out in the "jungle" to rescue it so it can get back to its "mummy." This book will teach your child the value of caring to for those smaller and weaker, and showing concern for others.

While I don't think this story would be great for most preschoolers, it was a good fit for mine. I think this would be a better fit for a 4-6 year old. My son loved the illustrations and the questions I asked him throughout the story. The one downfall for some may be the very British way the story is told. I didn't mind it because I've lived with Thomas the train for the last 2 years, but others may find it distracting or hard to understand.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wild Olive Tees Giveaway!

The ladies over at Wild Olive Tees have an awesome hoodie giveway going on right now.

There's three ways to enter. If you do all three, you get FIVE entries! Good luck!