Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review : Mud Puddle Hunting Day

While I may be out of the board book stage of life, I still enjoy reading all books to my kids.  We still pick up our favorite board books, especially my sweet little girl to enjoy them! 

I got a chance to get a copy of a new book in a series for little ones, by Callie Grant.  These are board books and they are gorgeous!! 


The colors are vibrant and the pictures are engaging!!  There are lots of things going on to talk about with the child you are reading to.  The theme of the series is A God-centered nature series.  This particular story is about a little girl enjoying a mud-puddle hunting day!


What child does not delight in traipsing around in mud-puddles?  There is so much going on after a rain, and the water is just a bit of the fun!  This book takes the reader from the start where the girl dons her rain gear, then out into the wild outdoors, or her yard!  The adjectives and the verbs are great words that will be new ones for little ones to add to their growing vocabulary.


I really enjoyed this sweet book, most of all, I love a chance to bring the focus to God in every day things!  This book is just a place to start some great conversations about all that God has created and shows us when we look for it!

I recommend this sweet book, and the others in this series, by Callie Grant.  These would be great gifts for a new mom, or two if you know of one!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Mud Puddle Hunting Day, in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Free KINDLE Books!!

So our former pastor has released a book, while I have not read it I will tell you to grab a copy and read it yourself!! I just did – for FREE!!  Today, all the books by ANEKO publishing are free for Kindle!!  I love to grab free books to read later or to have for my boys to read!!

Here are the books that are free (at time of posting) the links will take you to AMAZON and you can read the details there!


dying to grow

Dying to Grow

book of daniel

The Book of Daniel





Why you Really can Memorize Scripture

rescue captors

Rescue to Captors



Thursday, September 19, 2013


It’s funny sometimes, this world we live in.  Funny may be a stretch. 

As I reflect on my ultra-crazy day today and I am still for half a minute – I realize how we do so much chasing most days.  And what are we chasing?

Lately, as I sit outside and woo my sweet little (feral) kittens over to eat the food I generously offer, I realize I love where I am.  I love the stillness.  I love the deer eating by the fence every night, across the pasture.  I love walking to the pond as the Blue Heron flies off after getting a belly full of fish or frogs, take your pick.  I love the night birds that come out and sing with all their might.  I love our sunsets and sunrises.  I love falling in to bed at night utterly exhausted after weeding my garden, planting seeds and more.  I love it.

And joy honestly fills my heart. 

Then I think back on the article I read in this week’s copy of World Magazine.  That some crazy number of “young adults” (which I know I am no longer a member of that group, but bear with me) feel depressed after looking at facebook.  After doing studies they found that the overall feeling after getting on facebook and “catching up” most adults are feeling worse than before.

So why?  Why do we live in that world?  Why do we sit and check it out when we have a free minute?  Why do I sit and watch as friends (who are not happy, not coping, not doing well) share the "BEST of Their day” giving me and the rest of the FB world the illusion that all is hunky-dory?  Again with the masks that we put on.  Why do we do this?  It is not just “them” – is it?  It is us too.  We only put our best face on FB. 

And yet I catch myself, when I do not have my minute crammed full, thinking I should see what everyone is up to.  Really?  Maybe I am part of that group (not by age mind you) that does not feel more content after reading through a day’s posts of other people’s lives.  Maybe I really don’t need to know all that is going on every minute in so many people’s lives.

Now, I am not saying I want to get off the FB train, I love connecting with friends from my younger days – Army friends, USMA people, even a few high school people? – well maybe.

Either way, I love my life.  When I stop and enjoy it – so I need to stop filling every moment with stuff and sit back and enjoy my life more – and a little less of everyone else’s, I think.

Just some random thoughts…..

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I have so many friends, wounded hearts that are reluctant to re-open themselves back up.  And I wonder why we as women wound more than heal.  Over and over in the Bible I see the value of friendships – true real friendships that encourage, build up, love through thick and thin. 

Yet, we choose to carry the load alone!?   I mean, we are all wounded, aren’t we?  Underneath it all we are still that insecure girl.  Not in all that we do, we stand firm in many areas of our life, but in some, we never seem to gain the solid ground, never seem to grow up.

So, instead of opening up and being real, we carry this heavy burden alone.  We keep it all to ourselves.  The hurt, the pain, the wounds. 

We talk ourselves out of asking, inviting, opening ourselves.  Haven’t you?  I have, too many times.  I want to do good, I want to go deeper, and then I fear the rejection.  So I stop, just short of asking, inviting or opening up.  And yet, that is exactly where Jesus resides.  He is deeper.

Now, this choice I (or you might) make is not in all areas of my (our) life.   I stand firm in Christ and my faith.  I stand firm in my school choice.  But I waiver in wanting to speak to the stranger about Christ.  I doubt my worth with family members who criticize.  I even wonder about how much I have to offer the girls or ladies I facilitate in Bible Study.  Really?

So He steps in, and I am reminded of my faith.  Of the journey He has led me on, the lessons He has taught me.  I am reminded of the time I have spent getting to know HIM – going deeper with HIM.  And I am reminded that I am worthy of pouring into others.  Of teaching them to see Him first in their day or understanding his word on a deeper level.  I am worthy of acceptance by family, whether they ever realize it or not. 

So knowing what I know, I need to trust Him when I encounter that stranger.   When I feel the gentle reminder to open my house or my heart – I need to do it.

I read Ann Voskamp’s blog post HERE and it got my mind thinking.  Why can we not be real?  Take off the mask that “all is okay” and just be real.  Not be jealous of what I perceive another has – but be totally satisfied right where I am.  Choose Joy.  That is really what it all boils down to.  Choosing joy – making friends, opening my heart, letting my wounds heal through Jesus.  Being right here, knowing this is enough – really more than enough.  And watching for that wounded heart and reaching out to help offer some healing balm : the love of Christ.  Choosing joy.

That is what is bouncing around in my head these days – and at the same time – breaking  my heart, just a bit,  but in a good way!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Horsin’ Around

Oh my word!!  What a day our family had!!  The men took off about 9:30am to head to Arlington to watch the Texas Rangers play baseball! 


The girls hung around, we painted our nails, we watched a bit of Duck Dynasty (that’s what girly girls do ‘round here).  Then we packed up and headed out to see our sweet friends!!


My sweet girl is in “that” horse phase of life.  I have learned some of us (me) grow out of it, while others (our friends’ family) never do!  We got to go visit their place, and meet their horses!!

AG has seen horses before, she has even ridden one, but not like this!  Not this much time, not this much attention!  She loved it and so did her sweet friend Jules.


So, it has begun, the quest to add a horse to this crazy hobby farm.  Yes.  I know, I said never – why do I do that?  I said never – you cannot eat it – cannot have one.  Hmmmm.  Funny. 

2 spitfires

When your most responsible child is longing for something, and you know all that it can offer, how can you say no?  That bond…oh my.  I already know her heart will be in the pasture and no longer in her chest if we find that perfect horse.  But, wow – the memories, the learning, the responsibility will be so worth it!!

So, stay tuned, who knows….

Meanwhile our visit…. Ag met a sweet baby horse – between 4 to 5 months old.  Jules.  She was pretty taken with AG.  I think it was her first time to see someone about her size. 

Ag and Jules meet

As my girl would walk around, this sweet horse would turn completely around, ignoring the rest of us to see AG.  They were pretty cute!!

Jules and AG

Then we went to get Pepper ready to ride.  All the full grown horses were pregnant (that we met). 

She was so good with AG, so patient and gentle – a super sweet horse!!

pepper and ag


After meeting they got all ready to go on a little ride.

ag on pepperag pepper and jules

Chuck, our friend that lives here and is part of the whole operation that his parent are running, led AG around on this horse.  It was so fun to watch!!

After that we washed Jules’ mom – Storm (I think) and that was fun too.  AG sprayed just about all of us while trying to wash the horse!  Then SHE got to lead her back to the pasture!  Oh my. 

leading jules momma

To watch my little 7 year old lead this huge pregnant horse around – and SHE listened, the horse.  She really did what AG asked her to do.  It was so fun!

ag and momma and jules


One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing Jules lay down and start rolling in the grass.  Reminded me of Bree in A Horse and His Boy – how he worried so about the Narnian horses – “did they roll?  Was it okay to roll?”  Just another reminder about how we try to conform to fit the “norm” – who cares!?  if you like to roll, then roll – and don’t fret about what anybody else thinks!! 

jules rolling

That was Jules – she did not care – she just wanted to roll – so sweet!!

A perfect day, thanks to the Stone family and their open hearts!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

a little “from scratch”

I have not heard of Make It From Scratch Week, not until tonight.  But it sounds good to me!! 

Without knowing about this fun little blog-along I made “from-scratch” calzones for lunch today.  I used a recipe from HERE and doubled it.  After scarfing them down, my family begged to eat the left-overs!  Oh  my!!  No clue that these will be lunch next week or some other time in the future!!  I had to swat some hands – even my husband!!  So they were a hit!  We filled these pockets of yummy goodness with some left over sausage and peppers! 

Next, I chased down a recipe for freezer biscuits that I kept seeing on Pinterest.  I found THIS one and whipped up a double batch, which is not a double batch if your hubby likes them super thick (like mine) but either way, a batch of biscuits is in my freezer ready for a quick breakfast!!

Lastly, after seeing the Make It From Scratch teaser, I saw a link for a Primal/Paleo Fudge – so while I am NOT Paleo- in any way shape or form, nor do I even advocate it  – I followed the link too.  The ingredients were a few of our favorites and so I thought I ‘d whip that up too.  So while we are waiting for our rice to finish cooking for supper, the left over, corner biscuits are cooking (had to try them) and the fudge is chilling in the fridge.  Mmmm – sounds like a great ending to this day!!


Bon Apetit!!

Book Review : Memory’s Door

So how do you rave about a fiction book that sits on the fence between sci-fi, thriller and spiritual without sounding like a wierdo?  I guess I will not be able to avoid seeming a bit off, but I LOVED this book.

Is it because there is so many things going on in our country today that are not what they seem?  Reports on the news saying one thing on one day and retracting it the next – major news channels mind you!  Or is it because as I read this book, the messages really just resonated with me?

I’m not sure.  But the message the author is seeming to deliver in Memory’s Door, the sequel to Soul’s Gate – just seems so incredibly obvious in this day in age, but by obvious I mean you need to know what you are looking for and see it – that kind of obvious.  The kind that believers seeking after Jesus will see and not question.

Okay.  So the book.  The first book introduced the prophecy and the players in said prophesy.  This time they are in full battle.  The battle is more than even they are expecting or seeing.  The battle is bigger than they can imagine – and the players are not who they think they are.

The Warriors Riding are a group of 4 people who are able to going into the souls of others to fight spiritual battles to free them from the bondage they may or may not know they are under.  (clear as mud?)  Inside the souls however, they encounter demons who are holding tight to the bondage they have these people under.  And these battles are very real – what happens there (loss of life, sight, voice) happens here when they get back.  So this is serious business.  But these four are helping others find forgiveness, healing and love through their new freedom and seeking Jesus in it all.

Good stuff.  The thread that is hitting me right between the eyes though, is the “other team” – the opponents to the Warriors Riding.  Those who seem, from the looks of them, to be fighting on the same side, and yet against the Warriors.  These opponents are fighting with what seems to be pure motives, but instead  they are propagating a system of religion, or rules – or the Law.   This group is clinging to the rules to justify their salvation instead of the grace and mercy and blood of Jesus.


Okay – just a bit more.  The point was that there are battles we are waging today – in our homes, our churches, everywhere that seem like we are all on the same side – but we are not.   This battle that this book tackles head on is one that is going on today, today!  In homes, in churches, all over.  We are not seeing the fight for what it is, and we do not realize the damage being done.

I loved this book.  There is even some romance sprinkled in.  Amongst the thrilling battles, the page turning suspense.  You will wonder who The Wolf is – and who Tristan and his friends are – are they good?  Are they bad?    You will be sad to see Marcus have to decide between the past and the future.  You will see the characters face lies that we fall for every day.

I loved it.

Okay, so this video just shows you how a book can speak to you – of course the entire regret thing was great too – I loved the picture that Mr. Rubart created to deal with regret, but by the end of the book I was even more taken with his focus on how Satan is crafty with his attacks against Christians.  Anyway – check out this book!!

Honestly, I do not say this about too many of the books I get to review.  But I loved this and think everyone should read these, even though they are a stretch to our imagination!  Needless to say, I recommend this book and its Prequel Soul’s Gate.  They will make you think about things more than you have in a while!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Memory’s Door at no cost, from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review : The Promise

I have been a fan of Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley for decades!  I cannot even count how many of their books I have read.  I reviewed The Dance previously, as it was the first book in this series by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley.  They have paired up to incorporate their counseling advice into a fiction story.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Dance, and when I found out a friend and her husband were separated I quickly passed it on to her to read.  This time around I was offered The Promise to read and review.


While I knew I would enjoy this book, and I had no problem jumping right back into life with the Anderson family, I had not expectation of seeing myself in one of the characters.  In the Dance Jim and Marilyn (the Anderson Parents) deal with their marriage issues of many decades.  In this book, Tom (Jim & Marilyn’s son) and his wife are dealing with their own marriage issues.

Instead of telling Jean, Tom hides the fact that he was laid off – mistake #1.  Then, having to keep the secret he sinks the family into deep credit card debt and risks losing their home.  That is until Uncle Henry shows up.  Uncle Henry is that person in your family who steps in at just the right (or wrong depending on your perspective) time with sage advice.  Fortunately Uncle Henry loves the Lord and brings wisdom and advice that is sorely needed.

The healing that Jean and Tom go through, while dealing with the lies, was eye opening.  For me, the best part was seeing the impact of choices made generations ago – was profound.  Realizing that the way we were treated is really the way to we treat others and seeing the need to turn around and correct that is so important. 

I enjoyed the story of the Anderson Family in those book, but most of all I loved seeing the restoration within Tom and Jean and between Tom and his father.

The Dance HR.inddThe-Promise-Cover-194x300

I highly recommend The Promise or The Dance – both of these books will help you to take a look at your role as a parent or spouse.

(Also check out The Reunion by Dan Walsh)  

NOTE : I was offered The Promise, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, by Revell Publishers.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Review : Trapped

Second book in the latest series by Irene Hannon is Trapped.  This is the book following Vanished that I reviewed HERE.


I enjoyed Irene Hannon’s writing.  She writes a story that is easy to get drawn into, and she shares characters are that you want to know.  This story is about Laura and her sixteen year old half-sister, Darcy, who lives with her.  Darcy decides that Laura’s rules are too strict, so she takes off to find freedom.   Worried, Laura finds a Private Investigator to help her look for her sister.

Devlin is the investigator who begins the hunt for Darcy, but who also feels an immediate chemistry with Laura.  Irene Hannon’s books tend to mix a bit of romance with some thrill and suspense, in this one the romance simply builds but does not really happen until the end.  Devlin is a PI at Phoenix, which is the same agency in book #1 – Vanished that worked that case.


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