Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review : The Ambition by Lee Strobel

The Ambition: A Novel


This is Mr. Strobel’s first novel after writing many non-fiction works. 

From the first page I was pulled in to this story!  I love a legal thriller, but what I love even more is when a spiritual element is woven into a great legal thriller!  This was perfect!

I could see many parallels between the lives of the characters and the life of Mr. Strobel, even if only faintly.  I loved how he took 3 completely independent characters and through their lives wove them together.

This story is about the son of  a political father who was heavily involved with the mob, an investigative reporter, and the head pastor of a mega church.  Through a few unrelated events, and one common church their lives begin to intertwine surrounding a political announcement that will change their city and each of their lives.

I was able to devour this book in 2 days, as a busy mom of four, that is a feat!  I knew this was going to be a page turner based on Mr. Strobel’s writing ability and his past life experiences; I expected greatness, and he delivered!

This was a great book that showed a deeper side of journalism to me, as well as the corruption that could take place in not only our political world, but the judicial world as well.  I enjoyed all the different aspects Mr. Strobel brought into this book, and I will certainly read his work in the future!

Note : Zondervan provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up : July 29th

Summer-Edition mother journal

In my life this week…

We are busy, busy, busy – of course, who is not?  We had friends over the first part of the week for Cole Camp Session II, it was great, except that I feel like I did not make it as fun for everyone as I could because I was neck deep in school prep!  We start in 3 days!!  Oh my!!

In our homeschool this week…

We have our building/school ready to go, a few corners still need some cleaning, but we are operational at this point!  Notebooks/Binders – a new thing for me this year, are ready & waiting for little hands.  The kids are pretty excited, they love the binders and the fun stuff we have planned, I hope their excitement does not wane!

One Shot, One Kill

The night had closed in.  I was in bed, snuggled up with my book about to turn off the light.  Then, I heard a rustling sound outside my window.  

I knew.

He was back. 

The night before we lost Speck to an Intruder.  He, the Intruder,  had been by the night before and upset Speck and pulled out lots of feather.  But Speck won that skirmish.

{Speck is was our rooster that was supposed to be a hen}

Wednesday night, he lost.  Speck went to Chicken Heaven, if there is such a place…..

So I hear the rustling, I know, the Intruder is back, looking for more.

I headed to the front door, turned the light on, and there he sat eating out of a bag of chicken feed he tore open.

Intruder = Raccoon

Thursday, July 28, 2011

hand washing & prayers

I have really enjoyed getting to review tons of books this summer.  While I know this pattern is going to slow drastically, starting next week, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all these books these past few weeks!

Today I was perusing a book that recently arrived that I will get to review in the next few weeks.  It is a book about Amish Values and at first I thought I was a bit crazy to request it.  Amish values?  Today?

Well, as I flipped through the book I noticed short chapters – 3 pages each.  So I started reading one.  Then another.  The one that really got the wheels turning (another reason I love to review books) the chapter on laundry day.  These two little girls described laundry day with their mother.  The day was spent washing all their clothes by hand (not sure how many but at least 6 in the family), rinsing, wringing, everything by hand. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review : Water’s Edge by Robert Whitlow


I confess, Robert Whitlow is one of my top three favorite authors!! I love legal fiction and Robert Whitlow writes some of the best legal fiction, in my opinion!

I was not disappointed a bit with one of his latest novels. I loved the characters he brought into this story. Real people, like you and me. The main character, Tom Crane, expects to make partner any day, and instead is told that he is being let go. This happens to Tom shortly after his father’s unexpected drowning back home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review : Safe from the Past

“You are going to school and making something of yourself, do you hear me?  Do you want to end up like me?”

Difficult words for a 17 year old to hear from her mother after a very difficult life.  But, words that led to a new path, a different path, a path of a promising future.


Patricia Mauro writes Safe from the Past with her heart on the page.  Her story is inspiring, amazing and heart breaking at the same time.  To read, as she recounts the horrors she endured while growing up in poverty, alcoholism, and abuse brings the reader to a place of shared intimacy with Ms. Mauro.

This was a very quick read.  The story drives you to continue reading and living the journey with Ms. Mauro, as you hope against hope that each turn will bring a better life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Parenting 101 (Romans)

I keep thinking this parenting thing will get easy.  What a lie!  I mean, when people told me when I had 4 kids 5 & under – when they told me it did not get easier, only different, I was sure they were wrong.  How could it not get easier?  2 to 3 in diapers, the physical needs of 4 kids being met primarily by me.  How could it not get easier?  It must!!  It must!!

But, again, I was wrong.  And now, as I talk to Kristen who had 4 closer than mine and 4 years behind, I tell her “It does not get easier.”  When I call in distress I think she is realizing it does not get easier.  My distress is not over potty training.  It is not over biting, or hitting, or dirty diapers.  It is over heart issues.  Big stuff.  Eternal stuff, if you will.

My day Tuesday was ugly.  I sent her a quick email half way through to say “uggghhh” – a quick plea for prayer.  I do not want to battle my child every day, all day.  I want to love him.  Or do I?

All day, we battled.  All day I remembered the advice I doled out but a few days before.  “Woo him Kristen,” – my point that God woos us, he loves us.  He does not treat us like we deserve to be treated.  Our blessings are not directly linked to our good works.  Woo him.  I heard it, in my head, over and over.  But I could not live it.  Instead I yelled (a little), lectured (A LOT), and grasped for light at the end of this tunnel (Does it end???).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camp Cole I : cousins

Day 1 is closing, someone should tell the boys still talking & laughing in the other room!

We have had a fun afternoon, here are the pics to prove it:

Life’s (I mean God’s) Detours

Sometimes I can come up with the perfect plan.  I strive for perfection in so many ways, too many ways.  I do not attain it, does anyone, really?  But we (I) continue to strive, not because we want perfection, but instead because we (I) struggle with pride.  Funny, how none of us thinks pride is an issue we ourselves, struggle with.  It looks so different played out in life.  But I digress…

So I had a chance to offer to help our a sweet family we know last week.  I had a plan.  It was going to be such a lovely day.  So many ideas. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

E-Book review : Notes To Aspiring Writers

notes to aspiring writers


Really, can we not all stand to be reminded of who we serve? Can we not all stand to hear, maybe again, that it is not about us? I know I can! I seem to forget this each time my head hits the pillow.

I, like many, have a small blog, I love to write updates/posts for the world (my family really) to read with awe. But, maybe, just maybe, God has other plans.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review : Already Compromised

Already Compromised is a book by Ken Hamm and Greg Hall, which directly addresses the issue of why so many of our young adults are leaving the church, and linking that mass exodus to college.

I have been chewing on the college plan for some time. I spoke to a few friends at the homeschool book fair already-compromisedrecently about this very topic.  So when I had the opportunity to read this book and review it I was tickled.  Well, tickles until I started reading.

One reason this issue has been near and dear to my heart lately, is that I am seeing more and more homeschool families, from well known public speakers to local friends, publically announcing that college would not be the path they are taking.

So Thankful I am NOT

I am thankful today, I try to be every day, but some days it seems to be easier.  I am human.  I tend to get caught up in life too often to realize it should not ever be hard to be thankful.

These days I am thankful I am NOT God.  Why?  Because I would be a crummy God.  I would do such an awful job.  And thankfully, I do not have to be God. 

Oh, now I know that some days I try to grab no, snatch,   rather take the reigns from God.  But every time I do, I regret it.  I know I do a horrible job. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Fun

What a fun weekend we have had!  It was so much fun to trek to DFW with no list of places to go and things to do!  We simply went to swim and fellowship with our good friends – not even a stop at Aldi!!

The kids had so much fun spending about 5 hours in the pool while their parents got to catch up and solve some world issues as well!  Well, maybe not real world issues, but it sometimes seems that way!  It was such a blessing to be around like minded friends and be encouraged in what we aiming to do.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up : July 15th

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this week…

We have had a good week here in our neck of the woods.  Monday we ate turkey for supper – Thanksgiving – our turkey.  You can see more about it HERE.

We enjoyed seeing friends this week too, we loved blue berry picking with a bunch of friends!!  Then we invited some friends over to make some jam and play! 

So it has been a fun week, all in all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Winners!

Donna is going to get a copy of Untamed in the mail this week!  yeah!!

Read Review HERE

And Crisc is getting a copy of A Family that Heals!

Check out her blog by clicking her button below!!


Read Review HERE


Stay tuned!!  I am sure there will be more books soon!!

“Killer” strikes again

Oh my.  When my second son ran into my room this morning announcing I needed to come quick, “Daddy is about to do it,” I had to think for a minute.  I knew Robert woke up early and headed out, I told him don’t do anything until I get there, then I went back to sleep.

And we talked about it.  But, it was about to happen for REAL!!

Once I figured out what I was hurrying to go to, I ran out with my camera in hand to this picture

july 2011 001

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up : July 8th

Summer-Edition mother journal

In My Life This Week…

I have been told my life is spiraling out of control because *40* is creeping up on my.  My sweet husband offered that explanation, then I promptly told him he was COMPLETELY wrong.  Until my dear friend said it was probably true.  Ugh!!

These week went from dreadful one day, to amazing the next.  I am not sure I can endure 10 more months of that – let along years.  Anyway….

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

14 years and counting

Who knew?   When I met Robert 19 years ago that we would be sitting here with 4 kids, 7+ acres, 15 hens, 2 roosters, 3 turkeys, 2 guineas, a few cats and 2 dogs?  Not me!!  And I am pretty sure not him.

Yet, here we are.  Celebrating our anniversary with our 4 kids at the Corsicana movie theater watching  Cars 2.  Does it get any better than that, honestly?  I am not sure it does!

From this …

anniversary 003


I do not like snakes.  I knew moving out here would bring more snakes into my life.  We bought a few guinea hens (they hate snakes and alarm about everything), we have 3 cats – and yet, today we had a snake!!

The guineas were alarming (they were honking in their coop).  I went and checked it out, but was not looking for a snake.  I looked, saw nothing and left it at that.  A couple hours later I hear 2 hens clucking like they just laid an egg.  (they do that sometimes to share the good news)

I went over to check it and out, low and behold – there was a BIG snake.snake pics iphone 004_thumb

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review : Freedom’s Stand

freedoms stand

The book Freedom’s Stand is a sequel to Jeanette Windle’s first book Veiled Freedom. While I did not read the prequel, I did enjoy this sequel. This was a bit of a longer book to get into, and I was not swept away immediately. However, as I am teaching my son, sometimes it takes a bit longer to get pulled in when your author offers a depth to their characters that really draws you into who they are and what they stand for. Ms. Windle does exactly that, by the end you feel as though you really know the main character Amy and Jamil.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Review : The Complete Zoo Adventure

Oh my!  I was tickled when this book arrived in the mail, just days after requesting it!!

AIG pics 001


I had no idea what this book was, but I suspected it would be a book I could enjoy with the kids.

Immediately I had to fight my boys off so that I could examine it before they dug their claws into it!  And I was immediately thrilled with our new treasure!

VBS Day 5

Well, VBS is over here in our neck of the woods – and we had a great time!!

The last day for crafts we made cross keychains or necklaces – with beads!  It may have required the most time and attention from the leaders, but the kids loved it!

5th grade beaders




boys beading

more beading



The kindergarteners painted sun catchers – and they enjoyed that too!

kinder sun catchers

marcospainting sun catcherstru painting a sun catcher

And finally, the tye-dyed bandanas were handed out and everyone seem pleased with the results!!


Here is my princess with hers – a bit of an ‘80s look!


tye dye bandana

And fun in the kitchen too!

It was a great week!!  Lots of fun, many smiles, and hopefully we will see these kids more on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up : July 1st

Summer-Edition mother journal


In my life this week...

We were so thrilled to be involved with VBS at First Baptist Church Malakoff.  I headed up the craft section with lots of help!  We had a blast detailing out our schedule for the week and prepping it all.  We were even more excited to see all the youth join us each day and help with the kids!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We also got to spend the evening with friends we have not seen in quite a while!  After a yummy dinner of fajitas we trucked out to see their new cows – 4 momma cows all pregnant.   They were a bit skittish – they were new to our friends and still not sure about all of the changes.

I’m Reading

Book Give-Away

Okay everyone.

I love to read, I think you all know that.  I am getting so many great books these days for free, and my bookshelves are already brimming with great books!  Soooooo

I want to pass along some of these great blessings!

What do you need to do to get in on this? Here is how you get a chance to win a free book:

1.  Read the reviews for the books below, pick the book(s) you are interested in

2.  Post a comment telling me which book you are interested in and tell me why (based on my review) {leave a separate comment for each book you want a chance to win}


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