Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Read with Me

What an inspiring story of hope in God. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the testimony of Jay and Katherine Wolf in Hope Heals. I had seen bits and pieces of their story on other blogs or postings, and that made me excited to read this book. Written from both of their perspectives, I loved getting to know their feelings and struggles and triumphs surrounding the major life changes that happened when Katherine had the stroke. I was encouraged by their faith and ministered to by their words.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Wonderland (A Coloring Book Inspired By Alice's Adventures) is a fun adult coloring book to add to a collection. Filled with detailed illustrations these thick pages tell the story of Alice in Wonderland. Once colored, it would be an adorable keepsake to read through with children. The whimsical aspects of this old tale pair perfectly with the coloring book fad. Your imagination won't be disappointed.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

John Piper's book Living in the Light of Money Sex & Power was a thought-provoking read. These three aspects of life here on earth can be either so good or do destroying of one's life. Written in Piper's normal intellectual style, the smallness of this book makes it easier to digest. It's divided into easy to manage sections that allow for contemplation and reflection.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Summer's List was a novel that told an enlightening story. The book was well written and the characters were developed - I had a hard time though with the slowness of the story line though. Those looking for a relaxing read will find this more enjoyable than I did.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Read with Me

Counting Blessings is an adorable padded-cover board book. The first half of the book counts up to ten in clever rhymes. The end of the book helps children continue to find things to be thankful for. The illustrations are so colorful and adorable. The book is fun to read and my children love it. It's quickly becoming a favorite in our home.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

What a testimony to God's peace and presence! As I read "Chase Away Cancer" in one afternoon, I found myself gripped by this mother's story of helping her small son deal with cancer and the treatments. The mom honestly told of her fears and frustrations. But she also told of God's goodness. She encouraged her son with memorized Scripture and continues to live her life looking towards the light in the midst of a dark diagnosis. I also loved her descriptions of our relationship with our heavenly Father, based on her relationship with her son - complete trust. It was well written and so encouraging.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book that I received from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Evenings with Tozer is a treasured devotional book where writings of Tozer are compiled and organized into 365 dated portions. Tozer's words are intellectual and convicting. What a great collection of truth and encouragement.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

Serving in any ministry position can be so tiring. Often you don't receive praise or recognition. It requires sacrifice - Zeal without Burnout is an encouraging little book with "seven keys to a lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice." Filled with Scripture and practical advice and encouragement, this book is a great addition to any Christian's library. The book is small and easy to read - making it an excellent book to re-read as you become discouraged in service.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Read with Me

I have grown to love Dani Pettrey's mysteries. I am a huge Dee Henderson fan, and I feel that Pettrey's my second choice now for a good Christmas mystery/romance. Cold Shot was a fabulous read - the characters were well developed and easy to love. The story line was full of twists. And the book was well written.  I am looking forward to future books in this series.

I received this book from Bethany in exchange for an honest review.

I was hesitant to read "Rise & Shine" because it looked like a juvenile book with its pink and purple cover. I am glad though, that I gave this book a chance. Before I finished the first chapter, I was drawn to the main character and curious how her story would develop. Although I'd never read this author before, I loved the easy going romantic tale.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

Face to Face: Discovering how Mentoring can Change your Life - I loved the encouragement that this book offered. I felt compelled and equipped to continue investing in the lives of others. It was easy to read and practical. I plan to implement some of the ideas with girls that I am currently mentoring as well as in my MOPS group next year. I love books that take a simple concept and make it seem so doable.

"I believe that the single most important influence in your life during these years is not what degree you pursue, what job you take, or who you date...but who is pouring into your life and shaping you."

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

I tried...I really did. Reviewers of "The Reluctant Duchess" compared it to Downtown Abbey, bragging of it's complex story lines and twists and turns. I couldn't get into this book. There were too many characters from the very beginning and the Scottish phrases used only added to my confusion. I wanted to love this book - but it never really gripped me. It felt as if I were picking up in the middle of a complicated tale.

I received this book from Bethany in exchange for an honest review.

Simply Calligraphy was fun to browse. I've always wanted to learn calligraphy. I found the tutorials and instructional drawings simple to follow. It was well written and informative. I've got some letter practicing to do! This focuses on the traditional calligraphy style - not the modern "handwriting" form that is often seen today.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Baby Wren and the Great Gift was a fun book to read with my kids. The language, though beautifully written, was hard for my three year old to undestand. But I was able to talk through the concept with him when he was confused. It was a fabulous way to talk about how God created us all unique. I want my kids to know that God made us in His image and wants to use us the way He made us. The illustrations are adorable.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Project: Bright Up the Garage Laundry Area

I am so thankful for the power of one can of paint and a little hard work. Often, a big remodel isn't in the budget...but a can of paint is. Our laundry area is in the garage. Although I would love to have a cute little laundry room, I knew that wasn't an option right now. But in two day's time, with the help of my husband, I was able to transform this dingy area into something clean and bright. 

The "before" was pretty typical of garage/basement laundry areas. 

Since it was in the garage, it was easy to dismiss the space and let it get cluttered. The paneling behind the appliances was dingy looking and it was not the most fun place to hang out. 

My husband moved everything off the wall for me.  Just adding the white paint seemed to make the whole area brighter. 

I also painted the door into the house from the garage black. It always seemed dirty and scuffed up. 

Once all the brackets were spray painted black, the shelves looked more uniform. 

And a plug-in light (similar to this one) with a cute metal shade helps me to be able to see what I am folding. All the other lights in the garage are behind my head when I am standing at the washer. 

The wood grain gray foam tiles (purchase them here for $20) are just part of a set of floor tiles I purchased. It is a softer surface to stand on, but easy to wipe up. Since it is the garage, I didn't want to add a rug that would show dirt. Plus, the set came with 9 tiles. If one gets dirty, I can switch it out for a new one. 

The painted canvas was from this painting party that I had with my small group. As I am folding those clothes, I can be reminded to be thankful for the family I have and the way the Lord provides for us. 

It may not be marble tiled floors  - but it's clean, fresh and fit our budget. And it is exciting to do laundry in a less dingy space. 

 And it looks like I need to mix up a new batch of laundry soap soon...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Moms Matter

I challenged my fellow MOPS moms (and anyone else who wants to join us) to read through the New Testament this summer. You can find the printable reading chart in this post where the New Testament is broken up into 90 segments.

I attended some leadership training last weekend and I keep thinking about one statement that was made by Joann Kraft.

As moms, we have the opportunity to give life twice. 

What a scary, humbling thought - I have the chance to give my children life physically by birth and by helping them grow into the person they are going to become. But I also have the privilege and responsibility to impact their spiritual growth and hopefully their trusting Jesus as their Savior.  I know the impact my mother has had on my spiritual growth - and still does.  I want to have that impact on Hudson and Nora. But in order to help them love the Lord, they have got to see me loving the Lord and His Word first.

I've challenged the MOPS moms to read through the New Testament together this summer and I decided to start my 90 days of reading last night. 

When I saw that Matthew started off with a genealogical list, I wasn't super motivated - But as I read, I noticed that 5 names were different than all of the rest. 5 women. 5 mothers God used...and 5 moms He thought were significant enough to include in Christ's family tree list. 





and Mary, Jesus' mother. 

Horrible pasts. Questionable occupations. Bad reputations. Even Mary, though she'd done nothing wrong, was no doubt talked about and looked down upon being a pregnant, unmarried girl. 

These ladies were gossiped about - yet God used these moms. These weren't the most popular girls. They didn't have the easiest lives - yet they mattered.

As I underlined their names in pink ink, I decided to look for "mom things" as I go through the New Testament this time. I am praying that I have "eyes to see" what God has to teach me as I read. 

Because moms matter. God uses moms. And I want Him to use me. 

(And I'd love to know who else is reading with me)