Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund - a book review


This story is set in pre-revolutionary New England.  It is apparent right from the start that the author paid special attention to be historically accurate. 

 The story opens with a trial but it varies greatly from our modern day trials.  Apparently in those days if the defense lawyer could prove his client was able to be taught to read, they could be spared the harshest sentence.  And although, that is what occurs in this story, the punishment is still, what we would think, barbaric. 

 Susanna, one of the main characters is a spunky, inquisitive, generous and impulsive girl.  Her family, the Quincy’s, are one of the more affluent families in the area. The other main character is Ben, the son of the local shoemaker.  He has become a lawyer and has a strong sense of right and wrong. He is an idealist and is not influenced by wealth. 

Susanna’s cousin, Elbridge, wants to marry Susanna but she isn’t interested.  This leads to a degree of conflict and makes the story more interesting.

This is a story with a strong historical foundation.  There is mystery, treachery, suspense, and romance.  There is not a lot of humor so if you’re looking for a little levity, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

I really liked this book and the fact that the author obviously studied the time and customs of the era made it much more believable.  The author includes a section with some of the historical background at the end of the book.

I recommend this book if you like historical romances with a spiritually faith based theme.

This is what the publisher says about it:
 
"Massachusetts, 1763

A Love That Would Shape History Forever

Because she's a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she's determined to marry well, so she'll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.

Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.

When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.”



I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

 

Meet Jody Hedlund on her website at    http://jodyhedlund.com.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould - a book review


This is the second book in the Lancaster County series.  I had a hard time writing this review because I like to write as positive a review as I honestly can.  I read this book a while ago.  It seemed like it lacked something.  I decided that maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind so I put it away for a while.  I have since tried to re-read it 3 times and I just can’t get interested in it.  I’m not going to go into details because I think that would be unkind.  You should judge for yourself.  After all, we don’t all like the same cup of tea!

Here’s what the publisher says about it:

 “Not Since Romeo and Juliet Has a Couple Faced Odds This Long

The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer...until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie's parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.

Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families...but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?”

 



 

I encourage you to make your own judgement. 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”



 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

It's been a while !

Wow ! I haven't posted anything for a while so I figured I'd better get back at it.  We've had some changes around here lately.  My husband has recently become semi-retired.  He still works part time at a job he loves and he has an assistant to pick up the slack.  He spends his 'retired' time taking care of his Mom and Aunt, running errands, and doing crossword puzzles.  I keep busy babysitting for our 2 year old grand baby.  What fun she is!! 

We've been doing some of the little jobs around the house that we've put off for a while.  And, after 25 years, I have finally repainted our kitchen.  It is now a lovely shade of light blue and I love it!  It used to be a cream colored wallpaper with little pink and blue flowers...I know.....80's country ! Now the walls are solid light blue and the trim is bright white.  I also put some white metal 'ceiling' tiles behind the stove as a back splash.  LOVE IT ! 

I've had a stack of framed hand painted (by my Mom) Christmas cards sitting around for a while so I finally got those hung up.

There is still alot to do, mainly painting and wallpapering but that's all going to have to wait until after Christmas.

The biggest job we tackled was putting beadboard on our bedroom ceiling.  We're still not quite finished with it.  Over Thanksgiving, our son-in-law, a friend, our daughter's boyfriend and my husband all worked at taking the old ceiling down (what a mess!)  and then putting the beadboard up.  The last few days my husband and his friend have been putting up the trim to cover the seams.  Tonight I helped my husband put up most of what was left to do...there's one board left to hang.  It really needed doing. I'm ashamed to tell you what is was like before we fixed it.  There were two spots where the plaster had fallen down.  The smaller one was covered with a piece of plywood. The bigger one had...     a black trash bag, cut open and duct taped to the ceiling. Yep.  I wish I had thought to take a before picture but to be honest I probably would have been too embarrassed to post it.  If fact, I can't believe I'm even telling you now.

I thank God everyday for a roof over our heads because I know so many people don't have one.  And sometimes I wonder if it's so important that it looks nice, but I think God wants us to at least take care of what He has given us. I am perfectly satisfied to have an old house with uneven walls and creaky floors.  I don't like it when older homes are made modern.  Our house is about 100 years old but I think it was remodeled sometime in the 1940's.  When we bought it it was in the process of being upgraded so we just papered and painted before moving in.  That was 25 years ago.  It's time to update things again.   I don't have to have the nicest, prettiest, or even the neatest house around.  I'm just really grateful that it keeps us warm and dry.  Oh, and by the way, what is the big hub-bub about granite counter tops?  Give me a good butcher block any day! 

So, that's what has been taking up our time lately.  I have several book reviews to post so the next several posts with be catching up with them..I want to live up to my commitment and do as I promised so I'll be posting those over the next several days. 

Christmas is coming and with it all the business and stress that seems to come with it.  Every year I hope that it will be less stressful than the one before.  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.  I'm praying that we all can keep it in perspective and remember what the true reason for Christmas is.   The birth of Jesus, God's son and our way of salvation.  He is the Prince of Peace so I going to try to make this Christmas a little more peaceful. Over the course of the holiday, we'll have a houseful with all our children home.  I can't wait!  I'm trying not to stress over the preparations.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta - a book review


 

If you’re a Jane Austin fan you are going to love this book.  Jessica Dotta’s writing is very descriptive and thoughtful.  You can tell she weighed every word before writing it down.  It is a heartfelt, suspenseful, emotional tale of perseverance.  The many plot twists keep you interested from cover to cover.  This is what the publisher says about it:
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.
With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.”

 The main characters comes across as very human, portraying a multitude of flaws, vulnerabilities and shortcomings, but also strengths and moral fortitude.  While
I liked the main characters, the character of the maid, Nancy, added a slightly comic touch to this very dramatic story.
 

I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of Regency and Victorian novels.  This book is publisized as a Christian novel but you won’t find it ‘preachy’.  There is very little doctrine present so even if you’re not a fan of Christian novels, you will still like it.

 
If you would like to learn more about Jessica Dotta, visit her website.

This is the first of a planned trilogy.  I can’t wait to read the others!
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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 18, 2013

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer - a book review

Her father is a reformed outlaw, her mother was a talented artist and she is looking for a preacher.  Her heart's desire is to find a preacher so the local church can be reopened.  Joanna's widowed father just wants his daughter to be happy, so he and his 'gang' decide to take matters into their own hands.  They come out of retirement and rob the local train, only they don't take money of jewels or valuables...they take a preacher.  Crockett Archer is on his way to interview for a job as a minister, something he's been dreaming of for many years. Joanna is shocked to find out what her father has done but secretly hopes that Crockett will stay.  He doesn't.  He continues on to his interview only to find that his kidnapping has delayed him too long,  They hired another man.  He returns to Joanna's farm and asks to reopen her church.  In the meantime, he needs to find a job until the church is up and running.. Her father hires him to help on the farm.  Of course, this leads to all kinds of interesting situations involving an overprotective band of former thieves, a conniving young church member and her father's arrest. 

This story is about submission to God's will and keeping faith when hope seems gone.  It is told with humor and sensitivity.  The author concentrates on the characters more than she does on the surroundings  but there is no doubt that this is an historically accurate depiction of the old west.

The publisher says this:
"A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart."

I really enjoyed this book.  You can go here to read an excerpt and learn more about the author.



I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group and BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”
 



Thursday, September 05, 2013

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund - a book review







As with many Christian romance novels, this one follows a predictable pattern. The heroine, Annalisa, is left widowed and penniless with a child to support and another on the way. In comes the handsome hero, Carl, ready to save the day. The difference with this book is how the author tells the story. She makes you feel like you’re a part of the story with her realistic descriptions of the surroundings and customs of the day.

From the publisher’s website:

Michigan, 1880
Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.
So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.”
 
This story has it’s twists and turns and secrets. The characters are plentiful but not hard to keep track of and you get to grow along with them. Annalisa’s daughter is completely charming and you can’t help but love her. However, she seems very advanced for a two year old. Not very believable but still cute! The other thing I found a little disconcerting was the amount of physical intimacy between Annalisa and Carl. It made me a little uncomfortable with them not being married. It was still clean but went a little farther than I was expecting.

The characters rely deeply on their faith but the author isn’t ‘preachy’ about it. This is a story about history, customs, social issues like abuse and gambling, and Biblical principle of marriage.

The author includes, at the end of the book, a historical look at the events that she uses in the story.


I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”
 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall - a book review


I’ve always loved Cindy Woodsmall’s books.  She has a unique understanding of the Amish that comes from her personal relationship with them.  Go to her website and check out her other books.

 This book is the second in the series, Amish Vines and Orchards.  Woodsmall includes a “the story so far” section at the beginning if the book in case you hadn’t read the first one. This was very helpful because without it you are kind of thrown into the story midstream.  The main characters are portrayed very realistically, flaws and all. 


From the publisher:
“The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
 On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.
 Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.
 Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?”

This book is clearly written to be read in succession with the first and third books.  As much as I love her books, I was disappointed in how Woodsmall ended this one, or rather, how it didn’t end.  The reader is left hanging, with nothing much being resolved.  We still don’t know who Rhoda really loves, what all of her ‘visions’ mean, if the new community will survive, or what will happen with Jacob and his troubles from his past.  It does, however, leave you wanting to read the next one. Which, when you think about it, is probably the plan.  To be continued......when I read book three.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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, July 22, 2013

Letters to Katie by Kathleen Fuller - a book review


Kathleen Fuller has done it again!  Letters to Katie is a heart touching tale of secrets, unrequited love, family struggles and relationships.  This book is part of the Middlefield Family series. We are reacquainted with characters from the previous two books.  It was nice to see them again.  Here’s what the publisher says about it:
“Everything changed between them the first time he called her Katie.
Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since they were children, but he never actively returned her affections. Like so many things in their world, he assumes Katherine will always be there. Once his horse farm is a success, then he will court her in earnest.
For several weeks, Katherine has been plagued by severe headaches and dizziness. While resting at home, Johnny unexpectedly visits, but when dizziness strikes, she loses consciousness. She awakens hours later in a hospital bed, unable to remember how she got there.
Seeing Katherine injured and vulnerable stirs something in Johnny, and his guilt compels him to spend time with her while she heals. Soon his heart begins to stir with questions: Does she even remember why he'd come to her house that day?
As Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor arrives in her already unsteady world—a man named Isaac who claims they had been writing letters to each other, even considering marriage, before her illness.
With two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so divided. The answer may lie behind a door she never considered opening.”
 Of course, as with most romance novels, we always have a happy ending, so this one was no surprise.  But the journey to get there was very engaging.  Actually, there could have been a couple of endings that would have still qualified as happy,  so we aren’t really sure which is going to come about.  I liked the dialog between Katherine and Johnny.  The tension between Sawyer and his englisher grandmother was portrayed in a very respectful manner.  Will they learn to accept each other? 

Fuller also gives a glimpse of how some unscrupulous people try to take advantage of the Amish, who they perceive as uneducated and easily fooled. 

You’ll have to read it to find out how the letters fit in to the story. But I will tell you it is very sweet.
Go HERE to read an excerpt.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who likes reading Amish romance.
Go to the Amazon search box in the right column to find it if you'd like to purchase it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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, July 12, 2013

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang - a book review


All in Good Time by Maureen Lang

 

This is the second book by Maureen Lang that I’ve read and is part of her Gilded Legacy series.  I didn’t really like the first one, so I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading this one and realized how much I liked it.  Her descriptions of the time period are so vivid, you feel you are part of them.  It combines romance, intrigue, mystery, deception and faith all intertwined with the social issues of the times.

This is what the publisher says:

Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.
Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he’s the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he’s built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.
Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.”

 Dessa works tirelessly trying to fulfill the dream of her late mentor,  Sophie Pierson.  She feels God has called her to continue Sophie’s quest and is very determined not to let anything stand in her way, including love.  As the story unfolds, Dessa and Henry are drawn closer together and we begin to see little cracks on their amour.  They both face dangers for different reasons but the author interweaves their stories so well that eventually you can’t tell where her story starts and his ends. 

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to her next one. There are discussion questions in the back that make it perfect for discussion groups, especially with the social issues that a major focus of the book.
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl - a book review


Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

 
"Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.

As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that's always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?”

 



Unbreakable is the second in Mehl’s Road to Kingdom series.  The story focuses on Hope, a young Mennonite girl who is caught between her upbringing and new ideas and her traditional thinking fiancĂ©, Ebbie and the progressive thinker, Jonathon.  Her once peaceful community falls victim to a series of hate crimes.  The community is divided as to how to respond.  Do they do as they have always been taught or do they break tradition and fight back?  As the story progresses, it becomes very easy to deduce who is responsible, but the author doesn’t tell us until the end.  The predictability of that spoiled the mystery for me.  There were times that I wished Hope would just make up her mind and take a stand, one way of the other.  She never really decides between  Jonathan and Ebbie until the very end.

It was an enjoyable book but probably not one that i will put aside to read again.  I’ve read several Amish fiction books so it was interesting to see the differences between them and the Mennonites.

You can read an excerpt here

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You've got to read these !!!


I thought I'd do something different for this posting.  I subscribe to and follow a TON of blogs, so I thought I'd share a few posts from some of them.  They have touched my heart, spoke to my soul, made me think, made me laugh, and some just made me hungry!  I think you'll like them too and you might find a new favorite blogger to follow. All of these bloggers have kindly given me permission to use exerpts from one of their posts and I've provided a link to each of them. When you visit them, how about leaving a comment telling them that you heard about them on my blog?  And please consider following them. That way you won't miss any of their future posts. I follow them via Bloglovin'.  There's no specific order to this list.  I'm actually just going through my emails from them and starting with the most recent.


High Wire Act  by Connie Cortright.  Her blog is called "Through the Milk Door".  You'll have to read her blog to find out what a milk door is if you don't already know.  I didn't.  Her posts are an  informative, interesting and humorous  look into days gone by. This particular post is about the early days of department stores and the innovative way they handled transactions.  I remember going into one of the swankier department stores in Ithaca NY when I was a youngster and being fascinated by the money tube.  You'll have to read the whole post to find out what that was.  Here's an excerpt from her post:
"....Money was "wired" from one location to another in a department store during the early half of the last century. I remember seeing this happen when my parents took us shopping in our small town in Wisconsin.
    What am I talking about? A cash carrier, or sometimes called cash railway, was a system of pulleys and wires running close to the ceiling in a large store sending and receiving cash payments.


    For example: a salesman in the shoe department would put a $20.00 bill in a small round container along with the sales receipt. The cylinder would be hooked up to the overhead wire system and a lever pulled to send the payment up to the cashier
location on an upper floor....
"

When you're watching old movies, keep your eyes open for these.  I'll bet they were a bit noisy and slow. Can you imagine a system like that today when people in stores are in such a hurry you barely have time to get your wallet back in your purse before they're pushing at you from behind? Those were times when life was taken slower. You'll find all kinds of 'vintage' information on her blog. She writes about the days of the great depression, the dust bowl, old time hygene, and other cultural topics. The times of our parents and grandparents.


My Expectations

"...Has life turned out just the way you expected? What about last year? What about last week? What about yesterday? Boy~sometimes a bump in road just throws me off my path. Life never seems to turn out the way we expected!

As a certified perfectionist~ I really do not like it one bit either. I get my feathers in a ruffle when things do not go according to my plan. I make a plan and work the plan~it is my life's motto. So who do I run to when my plan~my expectations are dashed? Well sometimes I run to my husband, my children, my politicians~but it won't do me any good. No~ I need to go to the boss and complain directly to God...."

That's a quote from my second selection from Carrie who writes on her "Farming on Faith" blog. 
Her devotionals always touch my soul.  She doesn't pull any punches or candy-coat things,  She write very honestly. Her blog is loaded with devotionals, tips on homemaking, recipes, homemade cleaning products and chickens.....yep......chickens.  She loves her chickens and apparently they have become quite famous! 



Two Cheeky Monkeys  has this great tutorial on her blog.   DIY Towel Hair Wrap Tutorial.
 
 
I think I'm going to be making some of these.  I like to leave my hair in a towel for 15-20 minutes after I wash it and I really hate it when the towel comes unwrapped. This should eliminate that problem.  I really like that you can use old towels to make it!  We had five children at home, four of them daughters, and man oh man, did we go through alot of towels.  Now that everyone has moved away and has homes of their own, we are left with a pile of towels we don't need but are still in good shape. 

Two Cheeky Monkeys  blogs about a variety of subjects from crafts to book reviews.  She also has an Etsy shop.  You'll love her literature based jewelry!

Hop over to her blog and make sure and leave her a comment telling her you heard about her from me. 



Angel Navy Wife has a wonderful devotional post she calls Keep My Commandments,  Here's a little snippet from that post:
"The Church as a whole seems to have let this teaching slip under the rug. We live in the age of "Do what you want, and Jesus's salvation will cover up all the bad" And I find that to be a dangerously unbiblical doctrine.

Yes, Jesus' forgiveness is not to be made light of, but it is not a free ticket to continue in sin.

You may call yourself a Christian because you like the idea of Jesus. But He was very clear. If you love Me, obey My commandments. (John 14:15) If we truly belong to Him we will take His Word seriously. We will obey His commands. We will not participate in the things He tells us to keep away from.

If we truly love Jesus, we wont look like the rest of the world.

We won't be participating in premarital sex. We wont have filthy language (Ephesians 4:29,5:4). We will not watch movies/tv shows that glorify sin (Psalm 101:3, Philippians 4:8). "
WOW !  You got to read the rest of the post, she has a very 'no nonsense' way of communicating.  She goes on to list a bunch of verses encouraging believers to keep the commandments God has given us through both the Old and New Testaments. 

She blogs about her adventures and offers advice with homeschooling, motherhood, homemade gifts and family plus many more subjects.  I know you'll be blessed by her insightful posts.



And here's a post for all you moms out there who think you've had a bad day!!!  Andrea at Pursuing Titus 2, blogs about child rearing, homemaking, family and offers her unique devotionals.  I can remember days similar to what she recounts in her post Having a new baby is hard: The overflowing toilet version  
"....I dedicate this post to all the new moms out there who might also be tempted to think that something is terribly wrong in the craziness, and also to myself, just in case a couple of years from now I am blessed with another baby and happen to forget that normal life with a new baby = really, really hard and a really, really good chance to meet the Lord in the storm.....Right after I swept up the pencil shavings and carried the slightly bedraggled paper away (and snuck some chocolate from my secret stash, which had NOTHING to do with emotional eating and also nothing to do with my having been up a pound that morning), the children called me over to the computer to see how the four-year-old was doing on her first attempt at Rosetta Stone. The toddler walked up, and I immediately smelled something. That’s funny, I thought. He can’t be dirty. He’s not wearing a diaper. Right. He’s not wearing a diaper. I dared to look down. There was . . . mess all down his legs. I turned around . . . mess all over the floor by the table, stepped in, and tracked all the way over to the computer. I picked up the toddler and held him at arms length so he wouldn’t bump the baby still sleeping on my chest and carried him to the bathroom, only to be reminded that one of the older kids had thrown up the other night, and her bedding was still in the bathtub. Unfortunately, the toddler turned on the water. Now I had soaking wet throw-up bedding in the bathtub that I needed to carry at arms’ length while it dripped all the way down the stairs to the laundry room in the basement. I got the toddler in the bathtub, and went to clean up the living room floor (squatting so as not to flip the baby upside down).
It was right around the time that I was throwing away my bag of yuckiness from the floor that my five-year-old came rushing in. “Hurry! Quick! Something is coming out of the toilet, so I ran out and shut the door!” My nine-year-old calmly translated. “The toilet overflowed.”......God met me that day and answered a very simple prayer offered up somewhat desperately from the panicked trenches, Help me glorify You.
Sometimes we have to be brought to the end of our emotional strength in order to reach out for the Lord’s grace and find that miraculous ability just to smile and stay calm. And there are many, many, many ways God brings us to the end of ourselves, but here’s the message for me and other moms out there: Having a new baby is certainly one of them. Crazy hard. But a chance to see glory."

I've condensed the post a bit, but I think you get the message.,,,she had a bad day !  Please go to her blog and read the complete posting. If you're ever in a situation that brings you to the end of your rope, you'll appreciate and be blessed by her.  She has a unique perspective that I think you'll find refreshing.  Make sure and read some of her other posts while you're there.




Anyone who knows me, knows I love sweets.  I'm not a big chocolate lover but I really love sweets! 
Apple pie, banana bread, pumpkin bread, lemon squares, molasses cookies......I could go on forever!  Here's a recipe for one of my all time favorites - Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  Katherine at Katherines Corner has posted this version.  I haven't made this but it sounds delicious and best of all, it has cream cheese frosting.  Another of my favs! 
carrot cake katherines corner
Doesn't that look scrumptious?  Here's part of the recipe, go to her blog for the complete recipe.
What You need
Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1-1/3 cups canola oil
3 cups shredded carrots (about 6 medium)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
YUM !!!!   Katherine's beautiful blog also has bunches of other recipes and they all look amazing.  She has posts on giveaways, blogging tips, weddings, crafts and lots more.  She also does custom blog designs , so if you're in the market for a new blog design she might have what you're needing.  She also has an Etsy shop with beautiful wedding jewelry. She is busy!




Making My Heart Glad  by Katy at The Country Blossom  really touched my heart.  I read her blog at least once a week. She has such a sweet, caring attitude and I'm always blessed by her posts.  She is a stay at home mom who blogs about homemaking, homeschooling, gardening, family and faith.  This post in particular spoke to me.  Here's a little peek:
"I need to remind myself that our worth does *not* come from what we have. This life is just a journey. We live to glorify Christ...our Creator! I don't need the best of everything (or anything, actually)! Oh how I detest the struggle with the flesh! How I wish to be holy and sanctified... completely...but it is a process, all part of the journey.



Chris and I have chosen what we feel to be the most God-honoring path for our family. We live debt free (except for a bit left on our mortgage) and on one income so that I can be a keeper at home, educating our children at home. We have clothes, shelter, food for our bellies and comforts that most of the world does not. My husband works hard to care for us ~ I cringe to think of my greedy wants. Admitting this is terribly embarrassing as well...but I *know* I am not the only one who struggles with these thoughts and I felt that by sharing my short-comings, that I may encourage you!



It boggles my mind to know that *the* Creator Himself loves me...that He continually disciplines and teaches me even though I seem to "mess up" in abundance. Oh, how I praise and thank Him for His patience with me."
 I always feel encouraged and peaceful after reading her posts.  She has such a heart for wanting to be a witness of God's love. Her photos are always beautiful and she's not shy about sharing her family.  Even though I've never actually met her, I feel I know her through her blog




Last but not least, I'd be a bad Mom if I didn't mention my daughters' blogs. They don't blog as often as they used to because they're both really busy Moms.   From Snowflakes to Hotcakes is my oldest daughter's blog. She posts about a bunch of stuff including recipes, devotionals and book and product reviews.  On one of our visits with her we made this tasty dessert.  Yummy! 
Flat Apple Pie  


Another daughter blogs at Make Mine Blue.  She blogs about her projects, family and faith.  She also has an Etsy shop where she sells her handmade bags and clutches.  This is her modeling one of her bags. 



 These blogs are just a tiny sampling of the blogs I regularly read.  I hope you visited each of them and left a comment.  Bloggers LOVE encouraging comments.  As I blogged about in a previous post, Google is dumping their reader so if you have blogs that you usually follow via them, you'll more than likely loose that easy access.  I moved all my favorites to Bloglovin'.  The only problem I've noticed is that it's hard to leave a comment on them, I have to go to the blog in a seperate window to do that.  Not sure why that is but I'll bet they find a way to fix it soon.

Now,  grab a cup of coffee or tea and check out these blogs.  I hope you'll find them as interesting and informative as I do.  I'd love to hear your comments and if you have a favorite blog, tell me!  I love discovering new ones.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Soon Google reader will be going away....

I don't know why they are doing away with it.  It might be they want everyone to use their Google+. At least that's what alot of other bloggers think. Anyway, if you follow blogs through Google reader, most likely you'll loose them.  I suggest migrating them to Bloglovin'.  I've been using that for a while and really love it.  You just go to Bloglovin.com  and set up an account.  It's free and it puts all the blogs you follow via reader in one place.  I think the date set for reader to disappear is July 1 so don't wait. Do it now!!  (Here's a great post about how to do it, it's a fashion blog and I haven't checked the entire site but this post seems to be really helpful in explaining how to make the change)

Sunday, June 02, 2013

What I'm working on.....

First of all, there have been some changes around here.  My husband is now semi-retired, so instead of his usual 60-80 hour weeks, he's 'cut back' to around 40.  This not only means he's here a little more during the day, our finances have, let's just say,  cut back also.  The other main thing that's changed , as a result of trying to cut back expenses, is for the first time in 35 years, we are trying to survive without cable TV.  I know.......it's pathetic, but the withdrawal period is really strange and not at all pleasant.  No more Fox and Friends in the morning, unless its on-line, and then they break for commercials and I'm left staring at a blank screen for 4 minutes!
Update 6-5-2013:  Apparently, Time Warner, in their infinite wisdom doesn't let you watch Fox News via the internet without a cable subscription...What????  If I had cable I wouldn't need to watch it online!!!  Reaffirms my decision to dump them.  If so many things weren't tied to our email address, I would probably dump that too. Maybe God's trying to tell me I spend too much time on my computer ! ?
No more NCIS, nope Netflix and Hulu plus don't carry it, so that's an on-line thing too.  We're gonna miss those all day marathons.  No more Yankees!!  No more Hallmark movies  !!!  Oh man, maybe we should have thought this through a  little more, cut something else instead.  Who really needs hot water and a gas range anyway?? Ok, time to calm down and be rational.

 I've got to say a word about Netflix.  (No, I have not received any compensation from them) If we can't have cable then this is the next best thing.  It is really nice to not have commercials interrupting the flow of a show.  And, we can watch something as often and as many times as we want.  The first show we watched, practically non-stop was Alias,  then we moved on to The Murdoch Mysteries, then Monarch of the Glen.  We also watch ALOT of Veggie Tales, Super Why, and well, you get the drift.  I blogged about Veggie Tales here. They're not just for kids,  really!  A word of warning,  there are many shows and movies on Netflix, that some folks, including me, find inappropriate.  You really have to be selective. They allow you to set your preferences by rating but we found that by doing that you don't see the choices of the oldies that are categorized as non-rated, like The Penny Serenade (one of my favorites)  and White Christmas, just to name a couple. We get ours through our Roku player (also, not compensated), one of the best investments we've made.

This lack of cable will, however, open up more time for me to do the things that I should have been doing instead of sitting zombie-like in front of the TV.  Things like reading books for book reviews,  sewing, crocheting, cleaning...wait....did I just say that?

Anyway, while I work on my book reviews, I'll also be working on a post with various bloggers highlighting some of their posts that have either touched my heart, made me think, made me laugh or made me hungry! I'm excited about it !

I'm still trying to figure out a way to separate my book reviews from my other posts, so be patient.  I'm a little slow at figuring these things out,  and lets face it,  I want it to be easy!

I'd really love for you to consider 'following' me. Use the links on the right side. You can follow via Bloglovin', Google friends, Facebook, etc. And while you're there check out some of the other sites and blogs that I follow.

Oh well, the clock is ticking away, time for me to get busy, since I don't have cable to watch anymore!!



I have not asked for or been compensated from any of the companies mentioned in this post.

I'm linked up HERE:

lowercase letters

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vacation


Recently we traveled to the beautiful state of Georgia to visit with our daughter and her family.  We had a total of 10 days - the longest vacation we have ever taken!  Of course 4 of those days were spent driving, or in my case, riding.  The scenery is absolutely beautiful along the route we take. We got to relax quite a bit and spend time with our newest grandbaby.  Such fun!!  Some of our time was spent helping with some decorating projects and hosting a yard sale,  The first day of the sale was really cold,  I mean really, really cold!  We sat in the garage in front of a heater!  The second day was beautiful!

We also took in a little sight seeing.  We always try to go somewhere interesting. Last year we went to Fort PulaskiI blogged about it HERE.  Here's a few more pictures from that trip:
Did you see the movie "The Conspirator"?  Some of the scenes were shot here. 


This year were toured Old Fort King George, a Pre-Revolutionary War re-constructed fort.


  
This is a bird 'house' in the layout of the fort.  So cute!







I




 It doesn't take alot of imagination to know what this is.....







 This is one of those historical sites where you can actually go in the buildings and touch things.  While very little of it is original, everything seemed to be made just as if it would have been in the mid 1700's.  It's intriguing to imagine the men and women living out their everyday lives in what we would consider 'primitive' conditions.
The vegetation is very close to what the soldiers would have had to live with, no manicured gardens here!  In fact, much of it is very swampy.  In one particular spot there is a sign warning you not to approach the alligators "as they are wild" .  I didn't stop to take a picture of that!  I walked very quickly and warily past that spot!  EEK! 
There's a small museum on the grounds that tells the story of the many inhabitants of the fort.
We had a great time! There's so much history in that part of the country,
All too soon, it was time to head home, back to the cold and snowy Western NY weather.  On the way we stopped at the New River Gorge.  We've stopped there before but all we could see were tree-tops!  This time we went into the visitor's center and had a much better view:

It's a looooong way down !


The bridge over the gorge.

The visitor's center was very interesting with alot of memorabilia from the mining history of the area.   If you're in the area you really should stop and look around and if you're really energetic, you can take the really, really, really long staircase down to the base.


I kept busy on the drive looking for and documenting gas prices.  The price actually went down in a few places between our drive down and our trip home.  What a difference from one place to the next!  The highest price was...you guessed it......at home! Good ol' Western NY.   We were glad we filled up before we got there. 

I'd love to hear what vacations you've enjoyed over the years or your plans for future ones.  Leave a comment and tell me about it.

PS.....You can read more about the Historical forts of Georgia in this book, and if you click here and buy it, I get a small percentage.

I'm linked HERE:
Thursday Favorite Things

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Confessions of a bad truster OR The Boogie Man and God

There I was, a grown woman, watching a Veggie Tales with my grandbaby, with tears running down my cheeks.  Why?  Because I'm a bad truster, that's why.  As long as I can remember, I've been that way.  My husband, on the other hand, has an unshakeable faith in God, and trusts almost everyone he meets.  That's not to say he's gullible, he just doesn't like to think badly of anyone.  So, while he trusts everyone, I trust very few people.  And while he trusts God completely, I know I should, but it's much harder for me.  
We are at a time in our lives that we had hoped would be less stressful, more relaxing, and financially more settled.  Unfortunately, that's not the way our lives are going.  After 25 years of dedication, faithfullness and going waaaaaayyy above and beyond the call of duty, my husband became semi-retired.  He and his employer sat down and worked out a plan that would allow him to return to work on a part time basis.  They worked out the pay scale, insurance details, etc.  "Great!!!!!" , I thought, "We'll have more time to visit family, work around the house and relax!".  Well, you guessed it......things are not working out as planned.  Between broken agreements, shrinking paychecks, increasing bills and financial stresses, ...let's just say I was (and still am a little)  having a hard time trusting that God's gonna get us through.
Here's where the Veggie's come in.. I'm sitting in my living room singing along with the show when it suddenly hits me what I'm singing
"God is bigger than the boogie man....", and the tears start. The boogie man can seem really huge! But God is huge-r. I might not like the situation we're in, I might not like what God's going to take us through, it might be really painful and more than likely my trust will waiver, but He won't waiver!  I remember giving this advice and cousel to my kids....'sometimes going through something is painful but it's always better on the other side.'  Yeah, I know, I should practice what I preach.  He never said we'd never have tough times, but He's always brought us through. 
So, dear friends, please pray for this self admitted 'bad-truster'.  Because even though my head knows "....He's watchin' out for you and me...."  my heart still needs to be reminded to "Be still, and know that I am God."
PS...if you want to buy the Veggie Tales that I mentioned you can get it on Amazon and if you buy something, I get a little something too!




I'm linked here:
Missional WomenNo Ordinary Blog Hop Weekend Bloggy Reading
From Inmates to PlaydatesOne Artsy Mama

TheBetterMom.com
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...