Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Read (and Watch) with me





I have enjoyed watching this series with my mom. If you love historical romance stories that are clean and family friendly, then you should check out this Hallmark series. Fish Flix is offering a great promotion - Preorder Season 3 of When Calls the Heart before October 11th and you will receive Season 1 for FREE!

As with the When Calls the Heart Season 1 and Season 2 Collector's editions, this 10 DVD set contains both the film versions and the TV episode versions of When Calls the Heart Season 3. You can watch the series as 10 hour-long episodes or 5 feature films. As in previous years, fans will enjoy finding small differences between the film versions and the individual episodes.

Breakfast with Jesus is a fun little book depicting the story of Jesus calling out to his fisherman disciples one morning after He had risen from the dead. The illustrations are bright and adorable. The story is simple and accurate. I also love that it is filled with "action" words to let preschoolers get some wiggles out while the story is read.

This little paperback book is already a favorite of ours. I'l be looking for more "Happy Day Books."  Thanks, Tyndale, for a cute little book!

Swimming with Faith is a juvenile type book telling the Missy Franklin Story. Filled with her triumphs and trials, I enjoyed learning about this swimmer's journey to the Olympics. She's a wonderful role model for youth today. This book seems to be on a 4th-6th grade reading level.

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

Punderdome is a little card game specifically for the pun-lovers in your life. Each player selects two cards and comes up with a pun filled statement. Although I am horrible at puns, this would be fun to play at any gathering. Inside the small box are 200 cards, 2 pads for writing puns and mystery envelopes for a specific aspect of the game. The entire game is small enough to tuck into any purse - ready for on-the-go fun.

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



Choo Choo - Happy Birthday to you!

It's no secret that I love having family visit us! Several weeks ago, my parents stayed with us for a few days. While they were here, we were able to go for a fun train ride and celebrate my dad's 60th birthday.


I love discovering the fun activities that our city of Chattanooga has to offer. It seriously is an amazing place to live and visit. Last year, we visited the Tennessee Valley Railroad with Jeremiah's parents. I knew that it would be a fun experience for my dad's birthday.



Hudson loved waiting for the train to pull into the station.



The Missionary Ridge Local ride was perfect! We road several miles (even through a tunnel). We then watched as they turned the train around and refilled it with coal. And then, we road the train back through the tunnel to the starting point.




These historic trains are often used in movies, music videos and commercials. (See the list here) I loved experiencing the vintage feel of the ride (except we were sure glad for the air conditioned car).




We celebrated my dad all week long.




Lunch with friends and cupcakes at home.



I am proud to be the daughter of Terry Covey - he has encouraged me through life and helped point me to Jesus. He loves his family and loves the Lord. I am so thankful I was able to celebrate this special birthday with him.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

This is my Story, This is my Song

It's easy for me to forget that I have a purpose. Sure, I know that I am the keeper of our home, the wife of Jeremiah and the mother of two awesome kids.


I know, for now, that I am called to be a stay-at-home mom. I love pointing our kids towards Jesus.

Recently I have found myself feeling drained from the day to day tasks of motherhood. I found myself wondering if my only real purpose was emptying and reloading our dishwasher. The days seemed long and monotonous. Were those the same cheerios that I swept up yesterday? How are all these clothes dirty again?


But this morning, the Lord had a few reminders for me. All this rambling may not make sense to you - but the Lord was speaking to me. Our small group began a study about the doors that God opens. In discussion, I was reminded that it's not always big billboard moments - but often, God just wants me to be expectant of the things that He wants to use me to do. Sure, He is going to accomplish His purpose whether I obey His prompting or not. But how awesome that He invites me to be involved? And how sad that I've been using the excuse of "I'm too busy" or "I'm just a stay at home mom."



I thought back to my Encounter days (read about that part of my story here). Those days seemed so full of "ministry." But really, it was just about my committing to the Lord each day. Over and over again, He had to remind me that "It's not about Cindy....but it's all about Him." And in the midst of having that submissive attitude, I was able to see the Lord do some amazing things.

These days...I've forgotten to look for those open doors. When the Lord prompts me to send an encouraging note or text, I need to act! When I see a discouraged mom, I need to invite her over to my messy house for a playdate and a chat. Just because I've stepped off a ministry team and into my home doesn't mean that the Lord stopped opening doors for me to be used by Him.

The Lord continued to speak to my heart during the worship in our service. As we sang the familiar words of Mac Powell's version of Blessed Assurance, tears filled my eyes.

Perfect submission
All is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting
Looking above
Filled with His goodness
Lost in His love

It's no coincidence that I painted the words to the chorus on a canvas just last week. The song has always been a favorite of mine - but this morning, I was challenged to once again give up the lie that "It's all about Cindy." Instead, I will find that rest when I am perfectly submissive. And this canvas will serve as my reminder. (Because we all know I am going to have to keep learning this important submission lesson). 


I want the story and song of my life to be my praising my Savior all the day long. Even when that day is filled with crumbs and diapers. 

I cried through the bridge of the final song we sang this morning. It is my prayer - 

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity. 

Lord, I want to step out of this mundane attitude. I want to be looking for Your open doors. Forgive me, for once again, thinking it was all about me. Thank you for another chance. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Read with Me

I love collecting the Berenstain Bears books. School Time Blessings is a fun addition to our bookshelf. It helps kids think through anxieties and how to deal with them in a Biblical manner. I love that these new books written by Mike Berenstain are filled with Scripture. I also love that Papa bear seems to have a better attitude than he had in the old books.

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

My mom has often said that Christian authors have mentored her through the years. One of the names that I have seen her read often is Cynthia Heald. I was excited to receive this 30th Anniversary edition of Becoming a Woman of Excellence. What a wonderful study filled with Scripture and though provoking questions and content. The book is beautiful and the writings are filled with truth.  I am looking forward to being mentored by this author, as well.

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

In this technology crazed world, we all need a reminder of how to "find spiritual balance."  The Wired Soul challenges readers to think back to simpler times - but also to evaluate how to exist in this "connected" world. It's often so hard to sit still and listen to the voice of God. This is an encouraging and though provoking read for any Christian living in today's world.

I did not, however, care for the material that the cover was made out of - it felt kind of sticky to me.

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

Now that I have children of my own, I am starting to notice their differences - they play different. eat different and love different. Gary Chapman's classic 5 Love Languages has been re-written to help parents understand how to best love their children.  The 5 Love Languages of Children is a great resource to help identify the differences in my children and the most effect ways to show them love individually. This is a book I plan to re-read as my children grow and develop.

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

Fictional accounts of common Bible stories have always been a favorite of mine. The Sons of Isaac was a thought-provoking novel depicting these timeless stories from Genesis. These kinds of books always encourage me to better understand the emotions and circumstances involved in familiar Bible character's lives.

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

From this Moment by Elizabeth Camden was an entertaining tale set at the end of the 1800's. I had not read this author before, but found her characters to be well developed and her accounts to be beautifully depicted.

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

I love browsing cookbooks and food books. Broth & Stock challenged me to think of the complexity involved in a common broth. It's easy to just grab a box of stock for a quick meal, but I loved learning some different ideas and techniques to add more flavor to my dishes.

The photography in this book is beautiful - I loved that there were pictures for all the recipes. I also appreciated when the recipes told how long the broth took to make and how much broth a recipe would make.

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

I grew up hearing of an angel account from my parents. When I was 3 years old (I don't remember this day), my parents describe a time when I told them I had seen a "man stop our car" before we were almost in a wreck. The way I described it to them was Biblical. I enjoyed reading Angels by Jack Graham - learning more about angelic beings and the ways that God has and is using them. It's easy to think these are just fictional characters that we may see in a cartoon. Whether it's being led by the spirit or being protected by an angel, I am thankful for their involvement in our lives.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This is the way we wash our clothes...

This morning, I helped my best friend buy the supplies she would need to make her own laundry soap. As we were placing the items in the buggy, I realized I had pictures at home for an updated post on this fabulous laundry soap recipe.


My family has worked our way through 4 batches now, and I still love it. It smells wonderful. It's inexpensive. And it gets our clothes clean.

Here's what you need:



You can find all of these items in the laundry section of your store.

The original recipe calls for the bars of soap to be grated - but that takes forever! Instead of grating the bars of soap, I cut one bar at a time into one inch cubes. After placing the cubes on a microwave safe plate, I microwave the soap for 2-3 minutes. It will puff up - once it puffs up, remove it from the microwave or it will burn. After the puffed soap has cooled, you will be able to crumble the soap into a powder form.  It seems that this powder version of the soap bars dissolves better than the grated soap pieces too.


I am obsessed with these green laundry totes from IKEA. And I have decided they are the perfect container to mix this soap in. You will want to mix your ingredients outside because it will create a cloud of soap powders. And I use gloves while mixing the soap by hand.


After all the powders are combined, you can pour your soap into an airtight container. I choose to use a 2 gallon glass jar. 


The flexibility of this green tote allowed me to easily use the handle as a funnel.

Info:

  • One batch of this soap lasts my family of four a little over a year. 
  • I use 2 tablespoons of the mixture per load of laundry. 
  • I have an HE washer - I simply pour the powdered soap directly into the drum of my machine before I place my clothes into the washer. My soap always dissolves just fine. 
  • Our whites stay white and our clothes are always clean. 
  • If there is a stain on a particular item, I spray it with a stain spray and wash like normal. 
  • This soap seems to be fine for sensitive skin. My son and I both have eczema and this does not seem to bother us. 
  • I don't use fabric softener - just dryer sheets in my dryer. 

Have any of you tried this recipe? We are in love with the soap, the smell and the cost!