Friday, August 30, 2013

Worship- FMF

SOOOOOO SEC Football starts THIS weekend. (Just follow me with this). This is the time of year that all of us SEC fans faithfully cheer for our team, rag on each other, and on Saturdays we find a TV and watch the game. We faithfully do this. We are SEC fans. So here's where I am going with all of that. Some people WORSHIP their team. I mean full out worship them. They give up everything for their team and nothing is going to stop them from watching that game. I understand why. I do. Because like the TV in general, their football team has become an idol. And they are worshiping that idol. Now I love me some Auburn Tigers. You just have to ask me kids and my family. So does my hubby. But we in no way worship them. Worship is withheld for God. That is who we are really supposed to worship. I think that we should put the same fervent love that we have for our SEC teams into worshiping God and prayer. So as this 2013 SEC Football season starts I want to remind everyone to worship the Lord not your team. Don't turn it into idol worship.


All that said- WAR EAGLE!!!!!!! Good luck on Saturday!


Linking up today at (in)courage.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Drive to Get Healthy

A guy my husband has know his entire life passed away Saturday. He was 33. He had 11 heart attacks in 2 days (according to his wife). I only met him once but he and his wife have 2 small children. I feel incredibly bad for this family. But you know the part that really scares me is that it could have been John. Now this guy was not overweight and I am sure that there are other reasons that he had these massive heart attacks, but John is. And John has a long history of heart problems on both sides of the family. So we sat looking at each other Sunday morning and I just said "I don't want that to happen to you". So we are now on a drive to get healthy.

We both "hate" exercise (as in we both are too lazy to really keep it up), we both have bad knees (he had a motorcycle accident a few years ago that tore his to pieces and I have bone spurs in mine), and we don't have a whole lot of time together to make sure we do it everyday. And then there is the food. Diet food is horrible. And the only thing I can think to do is portion control and calorie counting. Mainly because I am not cooking 2 separate meals everyday and I have 2 kids that really need to put on weight (they have hollow legs because they eat ALL the time).

So we are on a drive to get healthy. Any low to no cost programs out there that y'all love?????

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's all a matter of slowing down.

It's all a matter of slowing down.

Stop rushing through the day and just slow down.

I spent yesterday doing math (which I hate) for 4 SOLID HOURS!

Because he kept making the same mistake over and over again. But when I asked him to walk me through the problem sets he could tell me exactly what to do and get the question right EVERY time. BUT as soon as I sent him back to his seat to do a few more problems on his own he would revert back to doing it wrong. The same way. Subtracting from the bottom up instead of from the top down. But only if the top number was smaller.  He was taking the simple way out and getting the wrong answers and both of us were getting frustrated. I mean to the point of tears from both of us.

I finally told him to stop. Just to stop. To walk around for a few minutes and regroup. Then I made him sit next to me and take his time. And he did it right. He slowed down.

And I got to thinking- how many times do I do that? Rush through getting it all wrong instead of taking my time and doing it right. How many times do I make the same mistake over and over again. I have a tendency to rush to anger and react before I think about it and in doing so I have hurt a friend who I deeply cherish. And apology after apology is not going to help that I hurt her not meaning to. So my new goal is to stop. Whenever I get angry to stop for a few minutes and think it through before saying anything or hitting the publish button on a post I wrote while angry. Especially when I don't write it with one person in mind but someone else will think of this person and go tell them about it starting something. (Small towns are horrible in that sense).

I also noticed last night while the house was empty and WAY too quiet (cue very loud music if you drove by last night) that I have been rushing my kids. Rushing them to be what I think they should be, rushing them to be a little more mature than they really are (some of it is not me rushing), and to get very frustrated when they aren't meeting my standards. (Would anyone else like to come work on reading with Josh- believe me it would test a saint.) I need to slow it down. Take the time to let them be kids and not rush them growing up. Take the time to realize that Josh can read he just doesn't care about reading and find something that will make him care.

I have been challenging myself with Bible reading lately. I tend to get so caught up reading other books that I don't read my Bible. And since I have started I find myself not wanting to put it down. Not the long books and the "more popular" books- the small books that tend to be overlooked. The books of the Old Testament that you rarely hear quoted or mentioned. And you know what I have found a lot of wisdom from those books- and I admit a LOT of confusion. I never would have found it if I hadn't slowed down.

So you see it really is all a matter of just slowing down.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"A Perfect Pet For Peyton" a book about Love Languages for kids.



It's Peyton and Penny's birthday! Their parents throw them a party at the local Pet Emporium (I wish I could find a place like this in real life). Throughout the party they meet all kinds of animals and Peyton wonders which one could be a perfect match for him. As Mr. Chapman explains the five love languages to the children, Peyton becomes worried that there is no perfect pet for him. Will they find him one?

My kids have figured out that any envelope from Moody Publishers means a book for them so this coming in the mail on an incredibly rainy day was a great blessing. I didn't even get to look at it by myself first. A Perfect Pet for Peyton: A 5 Love Languages Discovery Book is a delightful story about the five love languages that children can understand. With extra activities throughout the book such as find the insect on each page and finding the animals listed on the page of each exhibit there is lots of excitement throughout. My children enjoyed learning about the love languages and then trying to figure out which one is theirs.

This is a very fun, beautifully illustrated book that kids of any age can enjoy. Great gift for your own child, a friend, or for a classroom.


**I was provided with a copy of this book through Moody Publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. **

Books for Kids- Three More For Your List!

I love when I see childrens book come across for review. Because I will read them with my children and then I don't feel quite so guilty about all the reading I do. And when there is an added bonus of using a book for school it moves it way up on my list. All of these books did that. And I am so excited to have purchased them for our home library. (All Netgalley titles expire.)

First up is “The King of Little Things"

 

 My three year old was enthralled with this book. He has asked to read it again several times a day. Little things are important too and have their own power. King Normous wants to conquer everything in the land. All things big are in his path. After conquering all the big he turns to the King of Little Things. But the little things rebel and save their king through their antics. The illustrations in this book are beautifully done and lend themselves into so many activities for a three year old- look for something blue, find something big and something small in this picture, and what would happen is all the nails ran away from our house (you would be surprised what a three year old would say) are some examples.

This book will release on September 1, 2013.

Then there is “The Bramble ”.

 This book is mostly illustrations (that are beautiful) with very, very few words. This book is great for school! I had my 7 and 8 year olds sit down and write what they thought would happen in the book and then we discussed it. Not only were they using their imaginations to tell a story but they were enjoying it greatly. I have warned them already that we will be using the book again and they were excited about it and that is unusual for both of them to agree on a book.
This book will release on September 1, 2013.



Max's parents are actors at the Starling theater. One day they receive a request to come start a theatrical company in India. On the day of their departure young Max is left at home with his grandmother and no clue as to what has happened with his parents. Strange people begin poking around and it becomes apparent that Max still being at home must be kept a secret. But the Max finds a missing young boy and the requests for him to find missing things start coming in. Making new friends along the way and finding missing things, Max must also solve the mystery of his father's treasure and what happened to his parents.

Though this book started slowly and had the reader questioning where it was going, by the 6th chapter the reader is drawn in. Throughout the book the reader has several small mysteries to solve with Max and of the course by the end there is a bigger mystery revealed. I really hope that the author continues with this series because this book is left wide open for a sequel. This also a very good book for young readers and offers several problem solving solutions.


I recommend this book for children ages 8-13 but I also think that parents would enjoy reading this book outloud with them.

This book will be released on September 10, 2013.

We really enjoyed all these books at our house and I hope that you do too. 
  
**I received these books through Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review.**

***Affiliated links used in this review. All income from affiliated links go towards the maintanence of this website and towards conference fees where I learn how to better serve you.***

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Call to me and I will answer you"- Jeremiah 33:3

I have never been one who could memorize things easily. So I don't normally stress it so much with my kids because they are the same way. However I am trying to change that. One thing that I have found that works is making it into a song. Seeds Family Worship does that for you. These songs are so much fun! I find myself singing them while doing housework or just sitting in the recliner. This morning the song that keeps bouncing around in my head is this one below. "Call to ME and I WILL answer you" Jeremiah 33:3.

I have called on the Lord often here lately. And it reminds me that though I talk to him daily, I talk to him more often and more urgently when things are going badly around here. I think we all have that tendency. It is human nature. But I am reminded that in all ways, times, and events we should call on God with an urgency. To thank him with the same urgency that we have when we are begging him for something. I think that we forget to do that sometimes. Or at least I know that I do.

Jeremiah 33:3

New International Version (NIV)
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (biblegateway.com)

This verse reminds us that all we ever have to do is call to the Lord. He will give you the answers. All you have to do is listen. And accept that sometimes that answer is no. And then remember to thank him for showing you his will. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

What's Cooking- Chicken and Yellow Rice Casserole

I don't normally post a recipe without a picture BUT I am this time because every time I make this I forget to take a picture. John was playing around in the kitchen one Sunday that I was sick and he decided to invite his sister and her family over for lunch. Cue the thrilled response from me. But I digress. It turned out great and we have made it several times since then. And it is simple.

What you need:
1 family size bag of yellow rice
1 large can of diced chicken
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of french onion soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 bottle of water
2 cups of shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 9x13 casserole dish and spray it down with PAM.

Mix the soups, the chicken, the rice, and the water together. Pour it into the casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and stick it in the oven for 60 mins.

After an hour take it out of the oven, stir it, and check to see if the rice is done. Cover the whole dish with cheese and cook an additional 15 mins uncovered until the cheese is melted and a little brown.

Let is cool about 10 mins (it will be really hot) and then serve.

Easy Peasy right?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"For I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty"

Haggai 2:23

New International Version (NIV)
23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”


You are chosen! Doesn't that thought just make you giddy on the inside? It does me. And though I don't always know what I am chosen for I know that I AM CHOSEN. I am chosen by God to be light for him, a voice to others with his word, and teacher to my children to lead them through his word. I am chosen! 

But being chosen is hard sometimes. Think about it. You know that you are chosen by God and that means a lot but hey, what if I fail? What if my words or my actions have the opposite affect of what I want them to have? This is tough stuff! But you know what, it's okay. God chooses us before we are even born. He sets us apart and he knows the plans he has for you. He tells us this in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:5

New International Version (NIV)
Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.


Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


God knows what he is doing. SO even if you feel like you are failing you aren't! Your life may feel like it is falling apart all around you but really in the grand scheme of things it isn't. It is just following in God's plan for you. I know that it doesn't seem like that all the time, believe me I know, but in the end you will see the good of it. And you know what, you will be a stronger person for it. Just don't give up. Don't turn away from God. Keep praying. He has chosen you for his plan. HE HAS CHOSEN YOU! 


So when life seems like it is unfair and it can't keep going this way- Pray. Give it over to the Lord and know that he has this. You are his plan. Let him use you the way he needs to and go willingly. 


Take this with you today and remember that you are chosen. You are loved. You are part of a bigger plan. God is ALWAYS with you. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Emotional Mess

I have been an emotional mess for the past week. And I have been a little more outspoken than I normally would be when something bothers me. I realize how that may come across to you and how petty it has been. My dear wonderful hubby has pointed out though that if I waited to say something that I would not say anything and continue to let it bother me. I have spent part of the last week being told what a failure I am, how I am too opinionated, how my opinion is wrong, and how I am failing as a woman in the church (apparently I am too vocal and too "seen"). It hurts to hear that especially when you know you aren't. Yes I have opinions, we all do. I am vocal in them. I will continue to be. As far as failing as a woman of the church- I completely disagree. I am trying to be vocal in an arena that is mostly women. I know that I wouldn't want to hear about how to be a mother and a wife from a man just because women are to be seen not heard. I let you guys see it all. And it isn't always pretty and sometimes the human comes out big time with pettiness and I think that is okay. I am a real person. I fail as a mom sometimes, I fail as a wife sometimes, and I fail as a Christian sometimes. The important part is that I get back up, I don't stay down, I go at it a different way, I ask forgiveness, and I pray.

I think that is that we can do sometimes- PRAY. Give it all over to God and keep handing it to him every time we realize that we took it back.

I love knowing that I have a circle of amazing friends who will pray with me and let me be me. I am so thankful for them. You know how many of them I have met in real life- 0. You want to know who the first group of girls I go to when I am so far down I can't make myself swim back us is- this group. This group that I met online and will only meet a handful of in real life this October. It is great. No judgement, no holding back, only love and support.

These girls have sent me prayers, inspiration, and music to uplift my soul. Mandisa, Selah, Casting Crowns, you can only imagine the words streaming thanks to these women. Verses sent at just the right times, words spoken when you least expect it being the exact thing you need to hear. It is wonderful.

So while I am an emotional mess and it left me wordless for a few days to be spurred back into writing through anger and pettiness- these women and my amazing hubby have lifted me up and supported me even when others are trying to tear me down.

So I am going to be the person who apologizes if I offended anyone in the last few days. I certainly did not mean too. And for the person who the words were meant for I hope that they got through and that you understand now.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bean Pots Are A Must for Every Kitchen

Have you heard of the company Celebrating Home? I LOVE them. I used to sell their products but life got in the way (in the form of a fourth baby). So now I just use their products and love when they get new ones in. They have this one product though that I love above all the rest. That product is a bean pot. These bean pots are lifesavers at meal time. Cook in it, serve from it, and then put it in the fridge or freezer. I have baked cakes, casseroles, veggies, and even beans in mine (umm yeah I own like 7 of them). You can put them in the freezer and get them good and cold, put some fruit in them, and then drive two hours away and your fruit will still be cold. The same vice versa. They are wonderful. My hubby broke the lid on my very first bean pot but that's okay. It is now used as a popcorn bowl. They are my favorite thing to give as a wedding gift. They are just so versatile. This is their newest bean pot- the Game day.

http://ch.zdn.co/skin/newco/Images/Product/Large/93530_500.jpg?201308150612
They pretty much have a beanpot for every collection. They come in white, red, brown, white with fruit, snowman, zebra print, and the football.

This would be a great addition to any kitchen and also a great gift. Want to order one?

Before August 24, 2013 you can click on this link:
Www.celebratinghome.com/parties/laurapratt534587 (I am hosting a party this date and this will allow any purchases to go toward my party total.)

After August 24, 2013 use this link:
http://www.celebratinghome.com/sites/shopwithmhoover/PWPHome.aspx

In "Critical Pursuit" of Crime Dramas

 

I received Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday afternoon I was finished with it. I could not put it down!

As a child, Brinna is abducted and left for dead. As an adult, she helps to find abducted. After a shooting on the job, she is transferred to patrol and partnered with Jack- a burned out homicide cop who lost his wife. As they go through shifts and life changing events together in their short two week rotation, they are thrown into a search that turns personal for Brinna. Will Brinna and Jack find God in their search to bring a killer to justice?

This book was really, really good. Like I said I finished it in 24 hours. The author keep you pulled into the story from the first chapter and keeps you guessing throughout the book. With an underlining search for God and also an underlining yearning for the characters to "get with it", the story just keeps going. I had not heard of Janice Cantore before this book but she is now on my author radar. Great for teenagers on up, men and women. 

**I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. **

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blessings

If you read my post last Friday (the added on part at the end) then you know that our dear friends lost their infant son that day. I can't imagine what they are going through and the brief glances we have had throughout the weekend and week don't even give you enough of a picture to explain the absolute devastation that is there. My heart is absolutely in turmoil for them. They have been the last thing I think of before going to bed and the first thing I think of as I wake up. They are filling my prayers. There is nothing else that I can do for them. Just be there and pray.

The irony in all of this is that there has been an onslaught of "motherhood is a battlefield" and "seize the day but I am not enjoying it" type articles on my news feed since then. And I have to tell you something. Motherhood is a blessing that cannot be taken lightly. I am with my children all day, everyday except a few rare hours "off" to go take care of business. And I am so thankful. And I know that we all need breaks- I do and I will admit it. But I also know how precious these children are and that it can all change in an instant. Motherhood is  not a battlefield. I know it seems like it at times but it is a blessing. A blessing that cannot be matched by any other. Your arms are not empty. Your heart is not aching from the loss of the child who was just there and now is gone. So you know what- get over it. Enjoy it. I know that you are frustrated and tired and need a break. But what if you no longer had that child there? Would you still be complaining?

Seize the day, enjoy every second with your children. Tired, frustrated, needing a break, and all- thank God for them every second. Tell them you love them a million times a day. Hug them for no reason. Embarrass them. You need to. You need to act like every minute could be the last one. Don't hover and don't smother them but love them and spoil them.

And take a minute every day to thank God that your arms have your children and pray for the mothers whose arms are empty today because their hearts are in pieces and there is nothing to put them back together.

I do not normally ask anyone to send money to a specific person. I may occasionally have a fundraising button for a friend. But I am asking that if you feel led to do so please send a donation to the following address. As you can imagine, our friends in no way ever planned on needed life insurance of a savings account for their son at this age. Thank you in advance..

The Sealie Harrell Funeral Expense Account
c/o Tammy Lint- First State Bank
2213 S Main St 
Blakely, GA 39823

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's Cooking- Butterfinger Cake

I love this cake. And it is always a big hit when I take it to church dinners. I found this recipe on Pinterest and since I have never actually taken a picture of this cake when I have made it I will direct you back to the pin.

http://pinterest.com/pin/162551867770674332/


What you need:
yellow box cake mix
1- jar of caramel sauce
1- can of condensed mill
1 tub of whip cream
1- bag of snack size Butterfingers

What you do:

Mix the cake mix as directed and bake it. 

While the cake is baking mix the caramel sauce and milk together until well blended. 

When the cake is done and while it is still warm, poke holes in it with a fork and pour the milk and caramel mixture over it. Now stick it in the refrigerator  to let it completely  cool and so that the sauces "set".

After cake is cooled take it out of the fridge. Crush up that bag of butterfingers. Sprinkle a layer of the butterfingers on the top of the cake. Now put the whip cream on top and make sure you cover the whole top of the cake. Now sprinkle the rest of butterfingers on the top of the whip cream. 

Serve and wait for the compliments. 

Oh so yummy. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting Ready for Allume- What My Roommates NEED To Know

We are about 10 weeks away from Allume. Allume is this huge blogging conference in Greenville, SC October 23-27, 2013. And I get to go!!!!!! All thanks to Michelle Pickle- Statefarm Agent, a consignment sale, and my amazing hubby. I can't wait. It will be my first blogging conference and there is so much that I hope to learn and so many people that I hope to meet. But first off I know that there are 6 girls I will be meeting no matter what. They are my roommates. Three of the girls are for Wednesday night and the other three are for the rest of the conference. So that is 6 people that no matter what I will meet and get to hang out with. And there are some things that they need to know.

1. I have 4 boys and a husband who works shift work. I can pretty much sleep through anything but if you get sick in the middle of the night I will be up trying to help you.
2. I call roll and I am not great with names. I have 4 boys, a nephew, and a niece (who quite frequently gets called by her brothers name) plus umpteen dozen cousins my children's ages so calling roll is the norm. And if you see my staring at your name tag or notice me not saying your name or saying your name a lot PLEASE bare (or bear, I am never 100% sure which it is) with me- I am not trying to be rude.
3. If my sinuses are acting up- I apparently snore. Sorry!
4. I roll around a lot when I sleep. I am really just trying to find a comfortable position and it never lasts long. But I also don't mind sleeping on the floor (with a layer between me and it) if needed.
5. If I am nervous, I either talk about myself ALOT or I don't talk at all. I know that really doesn't give you any clues but it is what it is.
6. I am going to pack WAY more than what I need and I am not a neat hotel person but I will try hard to be for you.
7. I purposely set my alarm clock to where it goes off three times- the last one being the time I have to get up. For some reason it just makes me feel better.
8. I take quick showers but I take forever blow drying my hair and trying to get it to do something. It just has all these cowl licks and since it is shorter than what I normally where it takes longer to do. (Which explains why I like long hair. Wash it, dry it, stick some curlers in it or pull it back and you are good to go.)
9. I read ALOT. So if there is even the remote chance that I am wired and can't sleep I will be reading on my Nook.
10. I LOVE coffee. Or I should say I love a little coffee with my creamer. BUT my absolute favorite is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and it will be October. I am really hoping this coffee sponsor is not just sitting out coffee pots everywhere. I am really hoping for some pumpkin spice even if it is from a new vendor. And yes I love coffee.

So that is 10 things you need to know about me. I apologize now for all the things that I didn't mention. But we are going to have fun!!!! And Kim- I know you are old and all but can we keep the partying down to a low roar so I can at least try and get some sleep while we are there. (wink, wink- LOL)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Murder, A Set of Rules, and a Romance


Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering is a fun, intriguing mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. A historical mystery set at an English manor, we meet Drew Farthing, his family, and his friends. When Drew comes home from holiday to a house full of people he takes exception to the guest in HIS room. When that matter is settled the surprises keep coming with the arrival of more guests and a party planned on the estate. When he and another guest find a body in the greenhouse, Drew and two of his friends start to play amateur detective to solve the mystery as the bodies continue to show up.

This book was slow to start with a lot of characters introduced in a short amount of time but all pertinant to the story. There is a romance in the story as well. With a subtle journey for Drew to find his faith again, a friend to keep him straight, and crazy guidelines for a murder mystery, this book is well worth the read. It is also a good book for any age group beyond the beginner reader. Great addition to any home library.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Monday, August 12, 2013

Your Words are Powerful so "Speak Love"

I am going to be honest- I pre-ordered this book because of the awesome pre-order swag that came with that. (Sorry) BUT then I got an idea for having a teenage girls class at my church. (I am currently still pondering how to go about this) and put out a call to my Dream Team sisters about books to use or read to get ideas for this class and someone again mentioned this book. So I went on Netgalley because waiting another whole month just wasn't going to work for me when I needed to work on this idea NOW. And it was available for review. I requested it, downloaded it, and read it. Half way through this book I emailed the author (which I would normally only do with Holley, Kayse, and TeriLynne) and sang her praises. And found out that she went to one of my high school's rival schools, grew up in the next town over from where I grew up, and is only a year older than me so it is completely plausible that I have probably met her at some point in our growing up years or at least seen her. By now you are probably wanting me to stop rambling and tell you what this book is right?

This book is Speak Love: Making Your Words Matter by Annie F. Downs.
This book is about using your words to build each other up and not to tear each other down. This book reminds you that your power is in your words. This book is about loving yourself and also loving others. This book was not written for the target audience AT ALL. This book was written for EVERYONE. (Hey, I told Annie this [sorry- but too many close connections you are now Annie and we are friends- from one email but hey go with me on this] in the email I sent her. She is pretty awesome.)

I though that I was going to read this book and just get ideas for class topics from it. But I don't think that will work. The brilliance of this book is that it is a perfect class book. It has memory verses, discussion questions, and homework/journaling built in. I am going to use it for my proposal for this class.

I will say that while this book is awesomely amazing- she leaves out some important stuff. When she talks about becoming a Christian she only mentions asking Jesus into your heart. There isn't really any mention of repenting or baptism. And guys that is important. Both of those things are commanded of us. Jesus says repent AND be baptized. So while yes, you need to ask Jesus into your heart and keep him there, you also need to ask for forgiveness and be baptized like he commanded of you. Thus reveals I problem that I have with most of my favorite writers these days but I digress.

So this is the part where I say go buy the book- GO BUY THE BOOK- but I am also going to say this; if you have a teenage girl (I would say boy because so much applies to them but it was directed at girls) this would be a great gift for them. I would even venture to say a girl who is in the fifth grade up. OR is you are in charge of a small group at your church for teenagers or for grown women (yes, we need it too) it would be a great book for your next study. The pre-order swag is probably all gone as this book comes out on August 20 but you can still try here or if it's after the 20th then the book is still worth the cost. You can buy the book at all major retailers.

** I was provided with a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**



Cassie and Caleb = Great New Friends For Your Kids


Cassie & Caleb Discover God's Wonderful Design (Plants & Pillars Series) by Susan and Richie Hunt introduces children to God's plan for boys and girls. This beautifully illustrated and written book has been a great addition to our household. With 20 chapters designed with discussion questions and scripture readings, this is a great new devotional or bible study book for your children. Cassie and Caleb learn through realistic examples and their parents' strong faith guides them to the right decisions.

As I read this book I was thoroughly impressed with the authors love for teaching children that came through on every page. My sons laughed while reading about mud throwing and nodded in understanding about movie choices. And their have been great discussions started through the questions at the end of each chapter.

This would make a great gift for your child or one of their friends. Though set up with discussion questions at the end of each chapter, my son also read it through in one day without stopping to look at the questions because he was enjoying it so much. So stand alone storybook or family devotional- this book is great.

**I received this book through the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lonely- FMF

Occasionally one of these prompts from Lisa Jo Baker just jumps out at me and I will join in on Five Minute Friday. FMF is where we bloggers get a prompt, set a timer, and write for 5 mins. There is no editing or second guessing we just write. And then we link back to Lisa Jo Baker's blog and read what everyone has written. SO are you ready.

Lonely

I remember my mom always telling me that you are the only one who can make yourself "bored", that you create boredom. But as an only child boredom often came out of loneliness. So I always vowed that God willing I would have more than one child. I know that I was not an only child out of choice but it was a lonely childhood built out of living in a city far from family, being raised by a single mom, and all the other kids on the block being younger than I was. So, I didn't have just one child- I had four. Four boys to be exact. And they are begging me for loneliness. (It only lasts for 5 mins before they are begging for someone to come back and play with them.) We live in a house where you are NEVER alone. NEVER- as in not even in the bathroom alone. So we all ask for loneliness for awhile. And there are days I crave the loneliness from my childhood- the ability to sit on the couch and read for hours at a time because mom had to work late again, the uninterrupted movies because you didn't have to take anyone to the bathroom, the quiet at bedtime. I crave to be lonely. That is until I am lonely. Then I hate it. I want someone else around. I hate being lonely. It is a complete irony to want something so badly sometimes and when you get it to be so unsatisfied with it. And I remind myself of that on those days where the cravings get so bad and I remind my boys how much they dislike it. I remind them that some kids only have lonely and they are lucky. I remind myself of the same when I want to have lonely and all I have are fighting kids. I am lucky to not be lonely and sometimes a little crazed from it too.

End.

***Addendum at 3:00 PM August 9, 2013-
I wrote this FMF post about craving lonely only hours ago. Now my heart if full of guilt over it. A dear friend left for work this morning with a smiling beautiful, healthy baby boy. This afternoon they took her out of her classroom to tell her her son was dead. And my heart is broken. And I feel so guilty for wishing for the time to feel lonely. I would trade everytime I have felt that way for this sweet baby back.
He was such a miracle. A baby after years of trying. And now he is gone. I know that we are not supposed to question God but why? Why did this baby have to go? Why does his mother have to have empty arms right now? Why does she have to be lonely aching for her child? Why?
I don't know how to give her comfort and I don't know how not to feel slightly guilty for thanking God over and over since getting that phone call for my own children and praying for the one who is at school's safe return. So I no longer crave the time to feel lonely. Now I crave a way to bring back that sweet baby and to comfort my friend. I crave healing and peace instead.

Won't you join us! Head over to Lisa Jo's place and link up.

School is Back IN

School is officially back in at our house. Our oldest is back in public school and our youngest is starting k-3 at home. The whole going back to public school into a new school is a huge eye opener. He has to wear uniforms (LOVE THIS) but the bus picks him up at 6:15 AM. That means both he and I get up at 5:00 AM. We are not loving this at all. But so far he is enjoying it. And he is ahead of his class after the program he was enrolled in last year. As in he has already read all the books they are studying in English this year. But oh well. The other three are using the K12 program offered through the state of Georgia as a charter school. We love it. And I love it. We can take our time, we go in depth, and we don't move on until they get it. You can buy the K12 materials independently OR most states have public online school's that use the curriculum. You can check it out at www.k12.com.  I made all of my children take "First Day of School" pictures and realized the better way to do it after taking my oldest's on August 2.



DO YOU HAVE ANY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL TRADITIONS?



****Speaking of back to school- HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW DUCK DYNASTY LINE AT DAYSPRING? We love Duck Dynasty at our house. And all of the back to school products are buy 2 get 1 free. Check it out!


Affiliated links used in this post. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Things That Make You Wonder

Have you ever heard of that website Topix? Well it is really only a hub for gossip and every once in a while I will look at it because someone mentions something about it that was funny or actually informative. Then last week a thread came up called "Registered Sex Offender Pastor of Church". Now I have all kinds of problems with this BUT it is not my church nor do I know the story behind all of it. And I was not going to get involved UNTIL this guy made a comment that made my blood boil. This is the thread:
http://www.topix.com/forum/city/blakely-ga/TC5LNJDPLGU7UKOD7

Ummm seriously? Sexual experimentalist? Do you even know how you get tagged as a sex offender? I mean obviously you do BUT you are a sick individual if you still think this way. I do not know what this guy's crime was and I don't want to know but I do think that there is something seriously wrong with him. And I think that the church officials should see this as well as someone in the police department. It scares me that this man is around children. It worries me that CHURCH OFFICIALS thought he was a good choice. And I know that we are not supposed to judge people that is God's job but this is above and beyond what is okay. If our children can't feel safe in church where can they feel safe? Especially in these times. I am livid for the parents in this church family. Communities need to start standing up against these kinds of people. He is very open in his thoughts so I feel it is okay to talk about it but most of all I am praying for all these people. For their safety and that if this is really how this man is that their eyes are opened before he does something to someone. I am just in shock I guess about this whole development.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Are You Ready For The Tough Questions? A Review

Have your kids started asking tough questions about the Bible yet? You know the ones- why does God allow suffering, why are Christians hypocrites, why is Jesus the only way to heaven- those. Then this is a good book for you.


The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask about Christianity: & How to Answer Them Confidently by Alex McFarland is a great resource to have in your home. Like the title implies there are 21 questions that all kids will ask- I have been asked many of them- but there are also more questions mixed in there. And these answers are not just for your kids but for other adults as well. I don't agree with McFarland on every answer that he gives but he gives a good foundation for you to start from. Every answer starts with the scripture to answer it and then builds from there with character and event references and sometimes his own opinion. And depending on the age of the child or the depth of the question they ask, this book gives you foundations for the "long, drawn out, in depth answer" or the "short and sweet" answer. With every chapter the author directs you back to the Bible and in the last chapter reminds you that that's where all the answers are- the Bible. It would be a great thing to take away from this book that although it is a great resource that I do highly recommend, the ultimate answers are in the Bible. For these questions and for others. McFarland simply points you in the right direction.

On Good Reads, I gave this book 4 stars out of 5 simply because I do feel that at times the authors opinion is a stronger statement in the answers than the Biblical resources. But it is few compared to the many Biblical answers and it is always in the going further in depth sections. I also realize that there are readers who will not by a book written by an author of another denomination (let's face it people there is really only one church and that is God's church) but this book is non-denominational and I can't find where there is really a huge discrepancy to make a big deal over. And if you find one, then don't use that section simply look in the Bible yourself for an answer that goes more with what you think.

**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. **
***Affiliated links used in this post. All income from affiliated links goes to the maintenance of HentownMama.com. ***

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Day of K-3: Behind the Scenes

crystalstine.meBehind the scenes is a weekly link up where we tell the real story about a picture. The good and the bad. All the accidents behind it and the chaos that you can't see. Then we link up with Crystal Stine on Tuesdays. That's it. It's that simple. The hard part- finding the picture to use. For me it is because there are so many crazy ones that come from a week at home with these boys that it is hard to decide which one to use. But since this week was the first day of school for my boys and the first day of K-3 for my baby, it was easy.
This kid right here steals my heart every single day. He got up yesterday, refused to eat breakfast until he was dressed, cleaned his plate, and then asked to go to school. He grabbed the board out of my hand (unlike the big brothers who griped about the whole thing) and started posing before I could even get my camera. I have cheesy smiles, photo perfect smiles, blurry photos, and one where he ran up and "winked" at me when I snapped the picture (winking right now means we close both eyes and say "I wink at you".) He then proceeded to sit at the table and do what I asked for a whole 5 mins before deciding he was bored and would rather go to Grandma's like last year than go to school. This is going to be an interesting year to say the least. If by the end of the year he will sit still for 45 mins to an hour and complete a few worksheets each day I will be a happy camper. After all he is only 3.

Your turn! Head over to Crystal's and join in!

"Hot Shot"- A Review

There are a couple of authors that I watch for any new books coming out and as soon as they are posted for pre-order I pre-order or wishlist them. One of them is Julie Garwood. I have been reading her books for almost 20 years. And she never disappoints. So when the oppurtunity to review her new book,"Hotshot ", came around I jumped on it. I was so excited. And guess what I still am. I had a hard time putting it down and only reading it during my designated “work” hours.


Peyton Lockhart and her sisters are given the chance to own an exclusive resort. But someone is after Peyton from her former job. Enter former Olympic swimmer turned FBI agent Finn. He's used to rescuing Peyton. He first rescued her when she was 5 years old and has been HER hot shot ever since. With someone after Peyton and her new role running a resort, will her hot shot become more than her rescuer?

What I liked about this book:
  1. Well, ummm, EVERYTHING.
  2. This book flowed great and it is definitely a clear the whole day and read in one sitting because you can't help yourself book.
  3. Julie Garwood continues to tie former characters in her new books so that you know what happens to them past their “story”.
  4. There is just enough mystery and suspense in the book to keep you guessing without it completely crossing over to a mystery novel.
  5. I am someone who “watches a movie” in my head as I am reading fiction and this book made that easy to do and also would really make a great movie.

What I didn't like about this book:
  1. It was over too soon. The story ended just right but I was done reading the book before I was ready to be done reading the book.



This book is one I am definitely taking on my beach trip next month to read again sitting in my lounge chair by the pool (I really don't like sand) and will read over and over through the years. This is a great book by a great author. I highly recommend this book and any other that she has written and will write in the future.

**I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.**


***Affiliated links used within the body of this review. All income from affiliated links go towards the maintanence of this website and towards conference fees where I learn how to make this blog better to serve you. Thank you in advance for your support.***

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Little Salty to Cut The Sweet- BEST NONFICTION OF 2013

I know we are only half way through the year but it is going to take a lot for a book to beat this one. I laughed so much my sides still hurt. And I stayed up all night to finish because I just couldn't put it down. Sophie Hudson has a gift for story telling. You can just see everything happening and totally understand (at least you can if you are from the south). And let's be honest- I want to drive to Birmingham just to tell her thank you for the great book and all the laughter. And I could be her friend in seconds- I can tell just from reading this book.




A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Spohie Hudson is a perfect read for anyone. Southerners will get it and all those Yankees (sorry y'all) will die laughing at the hot mess us southerners are. Story after story from Sophie's past and present will have you begging for more and asking yourself how you can meet this woman! (No, I am not trying to be stalkerish- she is just that funny.) This book would make a great gift for your friends or for yourself. I just can't tell you how much it is worth every second of sleep you will miss to finish it.


**Affiliated links used in this post. All income from affiliated likes go to the maintenance of hentownmama.com and/ or conferences on blogging.**

Friday, August 2, 2013

What I Want YOU to Take Home From MY Table

If you ever come to my house for a meal there is something I want you take back home with you. A sense of knowing that you are loved. I want you to come and have fun and be a part of my family. I want you to feel welcome. I want you to know that God loves you and I want my home to reflect that. I want you to leave my home feeling like God used me in your life in some way. (hopefully good).
Our tables should be a place where we nourish not only our bodies but our spirits as well. We should use that food to bring God's love to others because what better time to talk to others than when you are sharing food. Our church has a monthly supper at the church building where we fellowship with each other but I think it needs to go further than that. I think that the intimacy that comes with eating in each others homes with only a small group will bring greater conversation and more in depth ministry.
I don't care if we eat off of paper plates and use plastic cups to drink from or if I pull out the best china and set the table to the nines. I want you to know God's love when you leave. (And if you eat at my house it will probably be off of paper plates- just so you know).
That is what I want you to take home from my table.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's Cooking- Cheesy Chicken

There is a restaurant that we love to go to around here called the PowerLine. And they have a dish called cheesy chicken that we all love. But it is so expensive to eat out with a family of six that we figured out how to make our own version. And I make two versions- one with bacon and one without. So I am going to tell you how to make both today.
Cheesy Chicken With Bacon
What you  need:
Chicken Breast (all depends on the size of your family. I use between 8 and 10)
Two cups of Mozzarella (shredded)
Two cups of Parmasian (shredded)
Two containers of Feta (crumbled)
Bacon cooked and crumbled (again how much depends on how many you are feeding.)
Salt and Pepper OR Chicken parmesian (can you tell I don't know how to spell it) seasoning

What you do:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

You can cook the bacon one of two ways. Fry it in the skillet or put it on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 mins. But you want it crispy and easily crumbled or cut up. 

Butterfly the chicken breast and then put it in a bag with the seasonings you chose (I sometimes use Italian dressing) and coat it. 
Now get out the skillet and spray it with PAM or put a little oil in the bottom and swish it around until the bottom is covered. 
Brown the chicken breast on both sides. 


Meanwhile, get out a 9X13 casserole dish or two and spray them down with PAM. 

When the chicken breast is browned, place it on a plate with a paper towel (the kind that have the Georgia Pacific label are the best i.e. Brawny) and let the oil drain. By the time you finish all the chicken breast your bacon should be done. Take it out and drain it. Let everything cool just a minute or two and then crumble the bacon. 

Now take a chicken breast and fill the middle with Feta and bacon crumbles. Close it up and put it in the casserole dish. Repeat with all the chicken breast. 

Take the remaining Feta and sprinkle the top of the chicken breast. Then cover the chicken breasts with the parmasian and mozzarella. And sprinkle any remaining bacon on the top. 

Put it in the oven and bake it for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is done and the cheese is melted. 


To make the dish without the bacon is easy. 

Same ingredients except the bacon. 

Don't butterfly the chicken breast. 

Don't stuff the middle with cheese and bacon.

Don't add bacon to the top.

Do everything else the same. 


That is my cheesy chicken. I actually prefer it with bacon but tend to cook it without when we have company coming. I don't know why.