Monday, December 30, 2013

Catching up

I feel like I have been gone from this blog for ages!!  It seems life has gotten a bit busy and I have not been able to keep up with both real life and on-line life!!  Oh well.

So, what is new?

We went on an amazing hunting trip!!  AMAZING!!  We were so excited to go hunting with Texas Youth Hunting in Brown County.  We hunted at a ranch owned by Brad Brookshire (who owns the grocery stores too).  All three boys were able to participate, and both J and P harvested 2 deer, and Eli harvested 2 turkey!

I have not put anything on here because I still do not have all the pictures (some are stuck on one of the guide’s cameras).  But here is some of what I have :

and a few more:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

new year

{If you are reading in a reader, please click over to my blog to enjoy several videos about Ann’s book}

I love new beginnings.  That is why I love Mondays, I feel like I start new each and every Monday fresh and clear!  Of course it does not last long, but it feels great to start that way!


New years offer an even bigger new beginning, a bigger clean slate!  So as I get ready to embrace 2014 I have been thinking about changes I want to make for the next year.  What do I want to leave in 2013?  What do I want more of in 2014?

One thing I go back to over and over is gratitude.  I have seen how Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts has blessed me and my family.  The simple subtitle : dare to live FULLY right where you are.  Does it get any better than that?

As these years are flying by I want to be FULLY here.  Before I know it my boy (who is now taller than me) will be gone, and I want need to know that I was FULLY here while he was still here.  And right behind him are three other sweet children that I want to spend each day treasuring. 

Gratitude.  As I fuss about the noise in my house, I am reminded to be thankful for the noise-makers.  What a different life I would have without them in it!  So I try to be patient with the noise and be grateful for it.

If you have not read Ann’s book, I challenge you to do so in 2014.  It really is a life changing book.  It will change you from the inside out.  It won’t declutter your house, or quiet your children, or calm your busy calendar (only you can do that) but it can help you to see the gift in the busy (at times), the beauty in the noise (or the noise makers) and the memories in the clutter.

Ann’s writing is poetic, I love to read how she can paint a picture with a few words that will remain in my mind all day.

So for 2014 I am going to re-read One Thousand Gifts, and I am going to challenge my children to join me in living with more gratitude each and every day! 

{If you are interested there are videos to watch while reading the book that Bloom & (In) Courage have on Youtube if you want to check those out!}

NOTE : I received a copy of One Thousand Gifts in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review : The God Puzzle

Valerie Ackermann has put together a great resource for churches or homes for kids ages 7-12.    The God Puzzle Book is a workbook style book that will allow a mom or teacher to walk a child through many many topics relating to their understanding of the Bible.god puzzle

As a homeschool mom and Sunday School teacher, I often feel that our kids learn concepts in pieces, and they never quite fit together to create a BIG picture.  This book will be a great tool to paint that BIG picture, each chapter weaves together another piece of the puzzle allowing the child to understand how they all fit together.

There are 36 chapters in this book, allowing you to work one per week for a typical school year.  Subjects that are covered include : Who were the first people, what is the trinity, what is communion, how do I study the Bible.

I enjoyed looking through this book and think it would be a great addition to a homeschool library, or even a family that just wants to walk through a Bible study together.  I think this would be a great book to help parents lead children through many subjects that they may not feel comfortable teaching on their own.  Each topic has activity pages to work through and then offers discussion topics/questions.

About the Book

The God Puzzle

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology VAckermann-190and has been a full time Children's Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children's ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God. Find out more at


NOTE : I received a copy of The God Puzzle in exchange for an honest review, by LitFuse.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Gathering family together is such a treasure!  Our second annual family gathering happened this year on December 27th.  With over 20 family members together, the day was fully enjoyed by everyone!

family festivus 2014

lisa and c3


This year we enjoyed a bountiful feast of fruit, veggies, cupcakes, sausage (from Woody’s) and Chili!!  The chili options were chicken and venison and both were a hit!! 

bonfire at sunset

The favorite of the day was the bonfire though!!  My father in law graciously made 4 new benches for us so that there was plenty of seating for everyone!  How he built them all and got them painted is a mystery!

robert and mom

The kids played and played – Crush the Carrier was the game of choice – give one kid the ball and tell him to run, the other try to crush him.  Once he is down someone grabs the ball and runs.  Simple.  Yet they played for hours!

cousin wrestlingcousinscrush the carrier

We were so blessed to have Robert’s great Aunt Stella join us from Vernon as well.  Hope that she gets to join us in the future, as we have already penciled in our Family Festivus for 2014!!silly cousins

Wrapping up the year as a family was lots of fun!!

sunset (2)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book(s) Review : Christmas in Apple Ridge

I always enjoy some good Amish fiction during the Christmas holidays!!  I really love when an Amish story continues in follow on books, so you get to “keep in touch” with the characters you have come to love!

apple ridge

Christmas in Apple Ridge, by Cindy Woodsmall, is a bit of both of those!!  There are three books in ONE.  Also the same people show up in each of the books since the setting is the Amish community in Apple Ridge.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting ensconced in the lives of these wonderful people.  I always love seeing the relationships that are shared through Amish fiction, there is a spirit of dependability and unconditional love that does not seem to exist in the real world so much any more.

My favorite of the three stories was The Dawn of Christmas, the last one.  This was a story of healing.  Two characters have to learn to truth themselves and others in order to move on in life.  Watching them gain their footing with live and each other was charming.  I enjoyed how they had to work through their trust issues more than once, but through it all they realized the other people was worth it.

Each of these stories is a face paced read that would be perfect to grab on these icy days we have been having here in East Texas!!  I love a good book by the fire when it is cold outside!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Christmas in Apple Ridge at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, by Waterbrook Press.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Graphic Novel–check it out!


 cinderellaAn Isfits book.
Isfits . . . postmodern fairy tales and cautionary confessions.

Cinderella scratched a new line on the wall every night when the clock struck twelve. For 999 nights, she'd sworn to herself that she wouldn't stay long enough to see 1000. Cinderella heard the old man and the old woman clunking up the stairs. The clock began to chime. Cinderella was out of time. She had a decision to make---the kind of decision that could change her life or take it from her.
What Is Isfits?
A cast of characters sampled from icons of adolescence, re-imagined.

A graphic novel, like you've never seen before.

This eBook is 1/6th the full length graphic novel. Read it in about 5 minutes. Enjoy for years.
Purchase a copy:
Join the Isfits' launch team:
Support the Kickstart (Do good and get COOL stuff!):
About the author: Justin Blaney is the author of the Amazon bestseller Evan Burl and the Falling which reached the #1 position in fantasy, teen and thriller categories. His latest project is "Isfits," a series of graphically illustrated postmodern fairytales and cautionary confessions for young adults. The stories follow the adventures of a cast of characters based on icons of adolescence placed in a darkly-humored world of blissful brokenness where they possess the power to affect cultural and personal change in the real world. Blaney is the founder of Innovate for Jesus ( and Inkliss, a film production company. He lives outside Seattle with his wife and three daughters.
Learn more about Justin at:


Check out what others are saying about this new book!


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