Saturday, October 30, 2010

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

Anne Jackson posed this question on her blog:  What is the one thing yu feel you cannot say in church?" brought in an avalanche of responses that birthed this book.  In 194 pages, Ms Jackson uses art, anecdotes, and poetry to inspire the reader to tell their story.

I loved the layout and texture of this book.  It reminded me of an art book but was inviting and inspiring to me.  The beautiful artwork and poetry whet my appetite to digest the meat in the book.

Ms. Jackson writes in an open and honest manner and invites the reader to enter her life and learn from her past.

One truth that resonated with me (because it is a major issue I am faced with frequently) was found on page 4:  fear wants to stop our stories."  I realized I can't let fear stop me from telling my story if it helps one person to gain freedom from whatever bondage they find themself in.

Reading this book reinforced the fact that it is not only important to tell our stories--it is critical that we do,

I recommend this book to anyone who feels that church is too closed to the daily messes of life.  The church should be a safe haven where open and honest communication should be able to take place.  After all didn't Jesus communicate to the sinners and outcasts of society?

The One Year Choose Your Own Ending Devotional

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

This is an interactive and engaging devotional geared toward elementary aged children.  My kids really enjoyed using this devotional.  Each devotional starts with a situation, bible verses, and choices for the ending of the story.  My kids have had some very interesting discussions.  Through these discussions, each child was able to take something away that will help them in day-to-day life.
This devotional should be helpful for children to learn the right and wrong to behave and know what to do when faced with one of many temptations and pressures kids today face.

I intend to use and reuse this book and recommend it to families with children in this age group.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Seeds of Turmoil by Bryant Wright

This book covers the Middle East conflict.  However, it is more than a historical account, although this history is explained.  Wright approaches the conflict from a biblical standpoint.  It is well-known this is a religious conflict but how did it originate as a religious conflict.

This book begins with the well-known story of Abraham and God's promise to him that a son would be born to Him.  This promised son would be the father of a great nation of God's chosen people.  I'm sure you are familiar with Sarah's, Abraham's wife, disbelief and offered him Hagar, her maidservant.  Abraham had a son with Hagar which he named Ishmael.  Fast forward fifteen years.  Sarah and Abraham had their promised son and named him Isaac.  After Isaac's birth, Sarah had Abraham run Hagar and Ishmael from their home.  God intervened and assured Hagar that Ishmael would live but would be a wandering tribe.  From the beginning of this turmoil Wright explains how the trials of Ishmael and Issac endured through the years and how it effect the Middle East conflict today.

Wright examines the situation from Jewish, Muslim and Christian points of view.  He presents all views fairly and without bias. 

I enjoyed reading this book.  Although I knew about the births of Isaac and Ishmael and the roles they played, I enjoyed learning about the many splits brought about by their turmoil.

I believe the Bible is clear about Israel and they are the chosen people of God.  He gave them the land and it is theirs today.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Booksneeze blogger program.

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Will the world be a better place because you lived? 

I have read several books by Max Lucado and enjpoyed each and every one of them.  This one is no exception.  It is an easy read written Lucado's familiar style of bringing biblical principles to fit out lives today.  Lucado uses the book of Acts as the basis for this book.  I enjoyed the entire book but Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 really hit home with me.

Chapter 9 challenges us to "Do Good Quietly."  When I was in high school (that is too many years ago to remember anything clearly).  I do, however, remember one incident clearly.  I was valedictorian of my graduating class.  Coming from a family of six children did not leave much money for many new clothes.  One day while we kids were in school and my parents were at work, someone left a new dress hanging on our door.  There was no name of who had left it but it did have a note with my name on it.  I still remember what the dress looked like.  I never found out who my "angel" was but I do remember her act of kindness.  It made a difference in a young girl's life.  Because of her kindness I try to pay it forward.

Chapter 10 challenges us to "Stand up for the Have Nots".  Sometimes when we see a dirty homeless person we tend to walk the other way.  I know I have been guilty of this.  We need to step out of comfort zones and do what we can to help someone who does not have as much as we do.  Although one person cannot save the world we can help to save one person.

Some of Lucado's other challenges include:
Get out of your shell.  We cannot isolate ourselves from the suffering in the world.
Work with others.  Individually, we can't do much but as a group of believers working for the same goal we can accomplish much.
Recognize Jesus in needy people.  As Jesus said "feed, visit, clothe, and doctor those in need and you do unto me."
Don't give up on people.  Don't give up on people.  Keep doing good for people even when they seem to be unloveable.

I found this book to be inspirational and motivating.  I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make their life count for the good of humanity.  I enjoyed the book so much I purchased the participant's guide to the book.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review  of this book from Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson's blogger review program.

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

"I was born in a bolt of lightning on Bittersweet Creek."  This begins the fascinating journey of Mercy Land.  The daughter of a preacher in rural Alabama, Mercy decides she wants more out of life.  Her Aunt Ida lovingly encouraged her to spread her wings and move to Bay City, a picturesque little coastal town.  Here she finds work as a waitress.  She then goes to work for Doc, the editor-in-chief of the town's newspaper, the Banner.  She soon masters her job and is known locally as Doc's girl.  Her life is fairly routine until one early morning call from Doc.

A mystical and somewhat magical book has appeared on Doc's desk sometime during the night. This book displayed the details of the lives of the residents of Bay City.  It showed the choices each individual made and how it had affected the lives of those around them.  This book sends Mercy and Doc on different quests to find the purpose the book was left with them.  Mercy is searching for  the purpose of the book while Doc is trying to rectify a long ago error.

I have never read any of River Jordan's books before but I can tell you this will not be my last.  This book was spell-binding and at the same time thought-provoking.  What if we were given a chance to see how our choices and decisions have affected our current situations and the situations of the people around us.  Perhaps a more interesting question would be:  What if we were given a second chance to change our past?

This book reinforces the fact that whatever path we take in life has a lasting impact on the world.  That, my friend, is a sobering thought.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to others.  My only advice would be:  clear your calendar before you open this book because once you open it you will not want to do anything else until the book is finished.

I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review of this book.  I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Life is a Sitcom

Well, today started off with a BANG!.  Tori, my teenager, overslept and missed the bus.  This, in itself is not new for her.  I woke up the other three and finally got then settled in the car.  So far so good.  I got her to school on time--nothing unusual yet.  When I got her to school, however, the fiasco started.  The high school was being evacuated because of a bomb threat.  After sitting in traffic for over ten minutes, letting the high school students cross the street to go to the middle school for safety.  Finally I got a chance to leave there and rushed home to get the other three ready for school.  Of course, this put me behind my regular schedule.  They would have made their bus BUT, my eight year old decided he did like the clothes he was going to wear to school.  You can imagine how frazzled I was at this point.  After he finally found some clothes to wear (unhappy, of course, because this was still not what he wanted to wear)
I heard their bus whizzing by the house.  Great, now I have to take them to school.  Finally, getting them into the car and stopping the usual morning arguments, I got them to school.  Here the line is extremely long, and I wait another ten minutes to let them out.  All the time they are shooting little barbs at each other--you know how kids are not happy unless their siblings are crying.  Finally, I got them out of the car and fought my way through another round of traffic.

I am home now and have a to-do list a mile long.  But I am already exhausted, so I just might put the list away and go back to bed.  What a dream that is!  Unfortunately, my list is filled with items that I have already put off as long as I can.

I hope you all have a better day than I have had so far.  Oh well, God is in control and is definitely holding my hand today.

Until next time, this is life on the edge.  May God open heaven's door and fill your life with blessings today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When It"s Time to Push the Pause Button

Often I find myself racing through life trying to get from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time. I frantically rush from job to job so I can mark them off my ever-growing “to do list.” The sad thing is for every task I mark off I always add two more to the list.

My family life suffers because of the “hurry-scurry syndrome”. My house never gets completely cleaned, laundry never gets caught up and we’ve eaten take-out so often the workers at McDonald’s know us by name and have our food ready when they see my minivan turn into the parking lot.

With two kids in elementary school, one in half day preschool, and one in high school, I can see no chance of slowing down in the near future. I am a volunteer in the kindergarten class, have two kids in t-ball and one in flag football, and one on the high school softball team. There are numerous practices and games I chauffeur kids to and from. This does not include the many social activities of the teenager. Add to this mix a husband who was injured on the job and has to go to his doctor three hours from home. Although he only has to go once or twice a month, this does add stress to the already hectic life of our family.

Recently, I was reading my morning devotional when I read Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” I became aware that God was using this devotional reading to tell me to slow down and “smell the roses”. I paused at that point and looked out my window. It was then that I saw the most beautiful awe-inspiring sunrise I had ever seen. I knew than that god was speaking to me.

Since that time I have made a conscious effort to really notice God’s presence and slow down to see that He is still God. I now see the beauty in God’s world. Although I still have as many responsibilities as have always had I now take time to breathe the awesome gifts God presents to me every day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I received a month's free subscription to Time4Learning in exchange for a  canbdid review of the site.  I found this site to be very educational for my grandkids.  They enjoyed using the site to reinforce their learning at school.  I found the parents' section very helpful in helping with homework and reinforcement lessons. 

I recommend this site to parents' wanting to give their children additional resources in their education.

The website is  I think you will be impressed with this website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Day In the Life

The morning started out as chaotic as any other morning at my house. After three attempts to wake Tori for school, she finally stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom. I then went to find clothes for the other kids. Glancing at my watch I found I had a few minutes to spare. I decided to check my email. I discovered an email from an old friend and decided to answer it right away. Before I knew it, Tori’s bus was coming up the road. I ran to her room to tell her good-bye before she left. Imagine my dismay when I found her in front of her mirror and her bus already gone.

By this time the other kids were up and already fighting. I managed to stop the fighting long enough to herd them all to the car to take Tori to school. Another fight then erupted over who was going to sit in what seat. I assigned the seats and got everyone buckled in and ready to go. By this time I was so stressed and frazzled I must admit I lost my temper and began yelling at the kids. After this totally messy scene I apologized but the damage was already done. Everyone was in a bad mood and the ride to school was punctuated with crying and sighs.

After I dropped Tori off I knew I had to rush to get the others dressed and on their bus. Finally with showers done and the kids dressed, I began to relax a little until the cries of “I’m hungry” began. There was no time for a “real” breakfast but I did have some toaster pastries in the cupboard. I ran and grabbed these and gave one to each of the kids. Now it was time for their bus so we hurriedly ran out the door just in time to see the bus coming up the road. Frantically, I got the kids on the bus and went into the house totally exhausted already. When I collapsed in my chair and leaned my head back to relax for jus t a minute my dog jumped into my lap. I had forgotten to feed him in all the chaos of the morning. After feeding him and sitting back down , I heard the still small voice begin to speak to me.

“My child, why are you so angry with Tori this morning? You were the one who was distracted and lost track of your time. If you had used those spare minutes to visit with me instead of answering that email, your mind would have been more rested and centered on the right things. I’ve seen you so many mornings rushing to do all that needs to be done for the kids. I wait for you to ask me for help but you are too busy trying to do it all in your own strength. Don’t you know by now that I am here for you? Just ask me and I will bring peace to your heart.”

I realized that I had been trying to do everything on my own. “Please Lord forgive me. Sometimes I get so caught up in my life I so often forget you are there for me.”

I would like to tell you that was the last hectic morning of getting the kids to school on time. I would also love to tell you that from that moment on I became the picture of the totally “cool, calm and collected” woman. I would love to tell that the first thing each morning I sat down and asked God to take over my day and give me the grace and patience I need with the kids. I would love to tell you that—but I can’t. Mornings at my house are still rushed and chaotic. But on the mornings that I do spend with God in prayer I find I am able to handle the chaos with a calmer heart and a peaceful mind.

Today’s Whisper:

How many days start out hectic? If you spend the first few minutes with your Heavenly Father do you think the day would start out calmer? Write out a prayer to God to help you remember to start your day right. Trust me—the highly frazzled female that prayer does make a difference in our day.

Today’s Prayer:

Father, help me to remember that you are in control of my life. I do not need to spin my wheels trying to do everything in my own power. You are there to help me. You are always waiting for me to ask for your help. You are always ready to guide my steps. I just need to ask. I love you.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

You Can Run But You Can't Hide

I have a small Pug , Pugsley. I love him and he is a good dog with the kids. But I have to say he does have a stubborn streak and when he wants to do something he will do it regardless of the consequences.

One problem I’ve had with him is he frequently runs outside anytime the door is open. Now this doesn’t sound like a big problem but it is a dangerous situation for Pugsley, as well as me and the kids. You see we live on busy road with a lot of curves and hills. Cars are constantly speeding by our house. Can you see where I am heading with this line of thought? You’re right. As soon as Pugsley gets out he immediately heads for the road. Several times cars have actually had to stop in order to avoid hitting him. This frightens me because I am afraid the kids will run out into the street to get him and be hit by a speeding car. Now Pugsley is a good dog but when he is on one of his “adventures” he totally ignores me when I call his name. He wants to play and will stop long enough for me to get within arms’ length and then start running wanting me to chase him.

One morning he escaped when the kids went out to catch the school bus. This was a cold morning and I still had my robe on so running was a bit difficult. I tried for about twenty minutes to catch him—I might add—I looked a bit like a crazy woman to the neighbors . I was running around the neighbors’ yards and sneaking from behind trees and buildings. Finally I gave up and decided to go in out of the cold. When I went inside my house I quietly prayed, “God, please take care of that silly dog.” Immediately, I felt a tugging in my heart and knew God was telling me something. I sat down and replied, “What are you trying to tell me, God?” I then heard Him whisper to me. “My child I love you but sometimes you are like Pugsley. Sometimes you ignore my voice and find yourself in dangerous situations. You could avoid so much pain if you would listen when I call out to you. Just as you love Pugsley and want to protect him I am always there to protect you if you would just listen to me and call out to me.”

With tears in my eyes I realized god was right. Sometimes I give in to the temptations to ignore my heavenly Father and “do my own thing.” It is during these times of “childish rebellion” that I suffer more pain and heartache than I need to. I know He is always watching over me and protecting me even when I selfishly ignore His voice.

In case you are wondering If Pugsley ever came back home. About five minutes later I heard him scratching at the door wanting to come in. I would like to say Pugsley never escaped again. But I can’t. I would also like to say I never took things in my own hands again and ignored God again. But I can’t say that either. I sometimes still try to “do my own thing” and ignore God calling to me. However, I know God will never leave me and will always watch over me. He loves me enough to let me go my own way but He loves me too much to let me stay away from His sheltering arms. Just like Pugsley will always come home I will always return to my loving Father’s arms.

Today’s Whisper:

Have you ever tried to run and hide from God? What happened? Did you prosper or find more heartache? Take a few minutes to write about your experience.

Today’s Prayer:

Father, I am so thankful you love me enough to let me experience “life on my own.” But I thank you that you never leave me on my own. You have promised never to leave me or forsake me. I love you and am so thankful for your love and mercy.