Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011 - Update

Here's my reading list:

1)  Educating the Wholehearted Child
2)  Raising Real Men
3)  Falling to Pieces
4)  The Christmas Singing 
5)  Three Cups
6)  Pilgrim books to the kids in November
7)  All the Christmas books I can get my hands on!

Want to join us?  Click the button for information and get reading!  The challenge ends December 21st.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: The Christmas Singing ~ Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall does not disappoint in this lovely Christmas Romance.  Gideon and Mattie are childhood friends and teenage sweethearts.  Their hearts beat together as they enjoy all the wonders that wholesome youthful activities can bring.  Until suddenly, Gideon shuts Mattie out.  After Gideon goes home early after a Christmas Eve singing, Mattie visits him on Christmas day.  She finds him with an Englisher woman in his arms.  He breaks their relationship off abruptly. 

The story picks up in Mattie Cakes, where Mattie has built a business and a life for herself six hours away from her hometown.  She has taken the craft of cake baking and turned into an art with countless hours of experimenting, planning, and implementing.  Everyone loves a Mattie Cake.  She has a new man in her life, Sol, a quiet man who has a passion for hunting.  He lets her do her thing; she lets him do his thing.  Convenient companionship, I'd call it.  She still struggles with the anger and hurt that Gideon brought to her heart when he broke it three years later. What will happen when there is a sudden tragedy that sends her back to her hometown? 
Will her love for Sol survive seeing Gideon face to face again?  
Mrs. Woodsmall's relationships with women within the Amish community give her an insight into customs and details that many Amish genre novels do not include.  I always feel like I'm right there; and, I'm part of things.  The characters are not stiff and odd.  They exhibit true to life emotions, fear, fatigue, exhilaration, tenderness, anger, hope, and love.  I enjoy her books because I do not have to fear that there will be inappropriate themes or language.  I feel safe.  I'm a G rated reader.

The backdrop of snow, sleigh rides, weddings, and Christmas makes this is an excellent book to slip into during the holiday rush for a relaxing read on a cool Autumn or Winter night.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Happy Autumn!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Fires ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

"In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail.

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!"

- Robert Louis Stevenson


Grasp fall for all it's worth!
Enjoying the season,


May I suggest?
Harvest Lane Cottage: Autumn Thoughts...

Fabulous Fall Linky Party

Sunday Night
 Amaze Me Monday - Mix it Up Monday - Mom's the Word -  Motivation Mondays 

Home and Garden Thursday I Choose Joy -  Imparting Grace - Hearts for Home Thursdays - All Things Thursday -   Homeacre Hop Brambleberry Cottage - Share Your up Thursday Serving Joyfully  - Home Sweet Home  (2) - Growing in Grace - Think Tank Thursdays    Hope in Every Season 
Saturday Sparks - Simple Saturdays

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Something to Think About... Christmas Preparations

Hello Ladies!
The Maple Leaf Festival is now history for Carthage. What does that mean for me? It means the time is going to go faster and faster until New Year’s Day! I am all for preparing early for Christmas.  What I’ve found is that if I’m not ready by early December, I spend all of December in a stressed out frenzy. That’s not the kind of memory I want my kids to have of me!  Am I jumping the gun? No, I don’t think so. I want to be mindful of my time so that I can enjoy December and Advent with my children. I want the focus to be on Jesus, not on the fuss of it all.

How are you doing? Are you thinking through what you want to do yet? Any presents made or bought or planned yet? Think about what you want this season to be like. Think about what meals you’ll be preparing, what snacks and baking you’ll want to do. Think about the gifts you’ll want to prepare. It’s not too early to start getting it all down on paper.

No idea where to begin? Begin with prayer! Ask the Lord how you can honor Him with the celebration of His birth. He’ll put some ideas in your head. You’ll probably find that you can simplify a lot.

Now is the time to talk with family members about scaling back on gift giving this year before anyone gets caught up in the gimme spirit instead of the Holy Spirit. It can happen to adults, too. We just paint a pretty face over it,  and call it the spirit of giving.

Well, I suppose I’ve given you something to think about.

May God bless you with peace, hope, and focus this holiday season!
May I suggest?
Christmas Wishes...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Cups A Lesson in Life and Money for Children

Three Cups  A Lesson in Life and Money for Children

Story by Tony Townsley
Written by Mark St. Germain
Illustrated by April Willy

Give, save, spend.  Three things that we as adults need to do.  Three things that we as adults need to teach the children in our lives.  This is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches children how to use the money that they receive in a responsible way.  A young boy receives a gift of three cups from his father and mother.  They are labeled give, save, and spend.  The father promises adventure and an allowance.  The story of how the boy grows and uses the cups follows.   The adventure comes in those things which his discipline allows him to do with the money. 
My children are aged 10, 12, and 14.  Father read this book aloud to the family.  The older children thought it was a nice book.  My youngest thought it was wonderful.  She wants cups of her own.  The child in the story was five years old when he received his cups.  I think that five to ten year olds would enjoy this book.  It is, however, certainly applicable to older children as well.  I really enjoyed this book.  I will read it aloud again to my children, perhaps many times to my youngest.  I think you and your young children will enjoy it as well.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review."Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hope 4 Joplin

Hope 4 Joplin

If you'd like to help the families of Joplin, you can do so through Joplin Family Worship Center's Disaster Resource Center. We have helped thousands of volunteers to find ways to help in Joplin's recovery. We also provide food, clothing, and household goods directly to citizens of the community who were directly impacted by the tornado by destruction of their homes or loss of their jobs. We are able to do so only because of the generosity of people from all across the country.

There are lots of ways to help.

Go to Hope 4 Joplin to find out how you fit into the recovery picture.

Thank you for helping Joplin Family Worship Center help Joplin.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is in Joplin Missouri!

7 houses
7 days
Thank you Extreme Makeover Home Edition!

Review: Falling to Pieces Vanetta Chapman

Ever picked up a book and didn't want to put it down?  Falling to Pieces is one of those books.  Just look at the trailer that Zondervan made for Mrs. Chapman's book.

This trailer definitely got my interest.  I couldn't wait to order the book.  This is the first Amish mystery book that I've read.  To my surprise, I truly giggled aloud several times while reading this book. Amusing phrases were sprinkled throughout the book providing a little levity at sporadic intervals.  I just wanted to say, "Listen to this!" over and over.  This was not met with much enthusiasm by my children who were already reading their own books. 


Aunt Daisy, owner of Daisy's Quilt Shop, loved by Amish and Englishers alike.
Callie, Daisy's niece who inherits the Quilt shop.  She's haunted by her past.  She wants to sell the store and return to Houston.
Deborah, Amish lady who brings quilts to Callie to sell on ebay.  She becomes Callie's good friend.
Shane, a hard-nosed detective investigating a murder
and a cast of memorable characters

In a nutshell, Callie comes to Shipshewana to settle her Aunt Daisy's estate.  A realtor convinces to open the quilt shop to make it more attractive to potential buyers.  Deborah shows up with three quilts she wants Callie to sell on ebay in order to make a higher profit.  A snoopy rude man shows up in the shop.  The snoopy rude man... oops!  Almost spoiled it. 

This book has unexpected twists and turns just like any good mystery should.  The odd thing is, you know who done it from the beginning.  And yet, you don't.  He's ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.  Can he be stopped before another victim is found?

This is my must-read of October!

I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 
May I suggest? 
Review:  A Perfect Square
Review:  Material Witness

Shared with:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Christmas Wishes... Want to be Knitting Mittens for Your Kittens?

Want to be knitting mittens for your little kittens for Christmas?  I learned to knit mittens last year by watching a series of video tutorials from Knit Picks. 

The instructions are clear.  My kids loved their mittens.  They're all asking for another pair this year!  Wool mittens are so very warm.  Give it a try.  If you can knit and purl, you can do this.  I buy my supplies at Knit Picks.

May I Suggest?

Wrapping Up Christmas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Raising Real Men

If only I'd known... boys really will be boys... they have to be. How else will they become men? I have learned so much reading this book. It's really okay for Michael to play rough. It's really okay to be fascinated with guns and hunting and fishing and other icky stuff.  I thought I was doing great as a boy
mom.  I could handle the snakes and lizards and toads and frogs... in their happy hands in the house! But, so much of the boy stuff just seemed so so so unkind and harsh. Wrestling, fighting, bossing his sisters and me, I just cringed. Now I realize that these behaviors are not only normal, they are good for boys when channeled properly.  So many of the things that my boys have done that have iritated me aren't just annoying habits, they're normal boy habits. Boys think differently, learn differently, act differently than their sisters and mother. They are not being bad or suffering from attention deficit disorder. It's just how their bodies are wired. They are wired for movement, action, focus. Girls are wired to be relational. Boys are about action. Girls are about feeling.

So, what good is all this? First of all, I feel better about my boys. Second, Hal and Melanie Young have given me a lot of practical advice on how I can not only understand and tolerate (smile) my sons, but how I can help them to become godly men.  Topics covered include helping your son find good heroes, adventure and recklessness, responsibility, weapons and violence, leadership and obedience, competition, doing real things, teaching them diligently, handling money, teaching your boys, manners, work roles, love and war, becoming a man, and many other related topics.  This is the best book about raising sons that I have ever read.  Many books come and go in my house.  This one is here to stay for a long long time... at least until both my boys are men.
Hal & Melanie Young


 List Price:  $15.00

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Thoughts ~ Joseph Pullman Porter

"Crispy air and azure skies,
High above, a white cloud flies,
Bright as newly fallen snow.
Oh the joy to those who know October!

Colors bright on bush and tree.
Over the weedy swamp, we see
A veil of purple and brown and gold.
Thy beauty words have never told. October!

Scolding sparrows on the lawn,
Rabbits frisking home at dawn,
Pheasants midst the sheaves of grain,
All in harmony acclaim, October!

Brown earth freshly turned by plow,
Apples shine on bended bough,
Bins o'erflowed with oats and wheat,
And satisfaction reigns complete. October!

Radiant joy is everywhere.
Spirits in tune to the spicy air,
Thrill in the glory of each day.
Life's worth living when we say, October!"

- Joseph Pullman Porter

Carpe Diem ~ Seize the Day

Carpe Diem ~ Seize the Day

This is it. 
This day. 
 It's all we have. 
No promise of tomorrow.   
Will you find joy in this day? 
Look for it. 
 It's there. 
Perhaps hiding under the surface. 
Search for it like treasure.

Nehemiah 8:10
"Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

May I suggest?

Hidden Treasure


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn Thoughts ~ Emily Dickinson

"The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on."
- Emily Dickinson

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...  Suddenly... my eldest son took a job with NCR traveling state-to-state cleaning cash registers for Wal-Mart.  I had about four hours from the time he told me about it until the time he left. 
In our homeschool this week...
We've been working on getting a schedule down.  We're doing much better.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...
Require children to read an hour a day every day even on Christmas.  Start with half an hour a day when the children are very young and build from there.  Even if they're just looking at pictures, they're building the habit of books.
I am inspired by...
beautiful music.  I'm listening to "Sonata For Violin & Continuo In A Major, Op. 2/2, Rv 31: II. Corrente" by Antonio Vivaldi on Pandora right now.
Places we're going and people we're seeing...
We're going to the Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage, Mo this weekend.  We'll likely see lots of folks we know.
My favorite thing this week was...
getting together with old and new friends at my homeschool support group.  We all went out for pie. 
What's not working for us...
clutter.  I'm still trying to eradicate it.
Questions/thoughts I have...
I'm wondering if I'm losing readers because I've been writing so many reviews lately.  I know my numbers are increasing; but, I don't want to lose anyone. 
I'm reading...
Raising Real Men and Educationg the Wholehearted Child
I'm cooking...
I'll be making a batch of my family's favorite cookies.  I've made these since I was about ten.  I don't even know where I originally got the recipe.  I just know everyone loves them.
I'm grateful for...
a canoe!  Michael's been working with a man at our church on some projects and just getting to be good friends.  He's like a grandpa to Michael.  He suprised Michael with it Thursday evening.
I'm praying for...
my son, Matthew, as he ventures out into the world.  The pain in my arm to ease and then disappear.  Yes, it's my left arm.  No, it's not my heart.  I saw the doctor yesterday.  He gave me a fancy word for tennis elbow.  All I know is the pain radiates and up and down my arm from my elbow.  Ow!
A photo to share...
The sky in Joplin, Missouri immediately after the tornado.
May 22, 2011

May I suggest? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Kids' Picks

Books my children are picking off the shelves, baskets, or piles that are overflowing in our home!

Emily's picks:
Hitite Warrior  by Joanne Williamson
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Michael's picks:
Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen
Tucket's Ride by Gary Paulsen
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

Amy's picks:
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
A Long Way from Chicago By Richard Peck
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Shared with:
Cozy Book Hop

Sunday, October 9, 2011

God's Glory Reflected in Nature

Nature reflects the Glory of God.
May we too reflect His glory.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feeling Alone or Abandoned?

"God is with thee in all that thou doest."

~Genesis 21:22

Sometimes we feel all alone.  Sometimes it feels like we make every decision on our own.  Sometimes we don't feel like we have anyone to turn to.  These are the times that we need to remember that we are never alone.  We have a father in Heaven who has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  Call out to him in those moments when you feel like you are in this all by yourself.  He's always listening.

Don't know him?  He's just waiting for you. 

Click here to meet Jesus yourself.  You'll be glad you did.  You will never be alone again.

God bless,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Naomi's Gift... An Amish Christmas Story by Amy Clipston

Sometimes, I get a book and just love the way it feels in my hands.  You know what I mean...the size is right, the cover is smooth, and it's not too heavy to lie in bed and read.  Naomi's Gift was like that.  Silly?  Maybe, but things like that matter to this addicted reader. 

If the book is beautiful and the story enchanting...well that is just all the better.  See what I mean?  Isn't it lovely?  I've reviewed a couple of Mrs. Clipston's books, A Plain and Simple Christmas and A Gift of Grace.  She has yet to disappoint me. 

Naomi is a young Amish woman who has been disappointed in love twice.  Her mother and many of the community's ladies blame her for going after the young men she was interested in.  Naomi struggles with guilt over these failed relationships and feels that God wants her to live her life alone caring for her siblings.

Caleb is an Amish widower who lost his wife two years previously on Christmas Eve.  He feels guilt because he was unable to protect his wife and unborn child.  He has been living in another community since his marriage but comes home to spend the holidays with his family in an effort to ease the pain in his heart. 

Susie is Caleb's young daughter.  She meets Naomi initially when she is drawn to the quilts that Naomi is selling in the farmer's market.  Later, Susie meets Naomi again through the Kauffman family's Christmas activities.  Susie is drawn to Naomi just as Naomi is drawn to Susie.  Will Susie bring Naomi and Caleb together?  Will Naomi and Caleb settle the issues in their hearts?  Will love bloom like a Christmas cactus? 

I encourage you to pick up this delightful book which continues the Kauffman Amish Bakery series.  It stands alone as well; but, I warn you, once you read one of Mrs. Clipston's books, you will want to read them all. 

Amy Clipston is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery novels. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and currently works for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Amy lives with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled-rotten cats. Visit her on the web at

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

It's My Favorite!

Leaves just tinged red and gold
The slightest chill on the breeze
Sun playing hide and seek
Can we read in the tree, please?

Pulling out the recipes
for all the soups and stews
It's still dark in the morning
Just one more time- hit snooze

Crafting, cooking, reading, cleaning
Learning, planning, dreaming
Secret plans for Christmas gifts
Talking about the holidays and scheming!

May I suggest?
Autumn Thoughts...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Searching for or Being a Virtuous Wife

"Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies."

Who indeed?  As I think of my daughters, whom I am privileged to train up for the Lord, I wonder.  Who will be searching for a virtuous wife?  Will my future sons-in-law be willing to search and wait upon the Lord?  I pray they will.  Do you pray for your children's spouses?  Do.  It is every bit as important to pray for them as it is for your own children. 

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines virtuous:
  1. Morally good; acting in conformity to the moral law; practicing the moral duties, and abstaining from vice; as a virtuous man.
  2. Being in conformity to the moral or divine law; as a virtuous action; a virtuous life.
  3. The mere performance of virtuous actions does not denominate an agent virtuous.
  4. Chaste; applied to women.

How do we become virtuous?  
We must seek help from God and godly mentors.  This is a prayer that God wants to answer.  We must be transformed by the power of the washing of the Word.  We are changed by studying the Word.  We must ask the Lord what it looks like to him.  Ask him what he wants our lives to look like; then, repent as needed and ask him to empower us to become the virtuous women he desires.
Seek out older women who are living virtuous lives.  If you have daughters, you are an older woman.  You must seek God and be the virtuous woman to them.  If they see you do it, they will  believe it can be done.

May I suggest?