Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just popping in . . .

from a holiday blogging break to wish you

A Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Primal by Mark Batterson

This is a potentially life changing book.

I suppose that you could go on as normal and not change anything, but why would you want to?

In Primal Mark Batterson encourages us to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength and goes on to explain how that is possible. Heart is tied to compassion; soul is a sense of wonder; mind is insatiable curiosity; and strength is sweat.

I had already decided to do the 90 day challenge, his chapters on wonder confirmed that I made the right decision. There are tips and encouragements to make the challenge easier.

There is also encouragement to keep learning - about anything. If entomology interests you - then learn about it and learn about how the Creator of the world wanted such a vast variety. If immunology interests you then learn about the way the creator designed our bodies to fight off disease. God is there in microbiology and in the macro. The more astronomy you learn, the more His creation is amazing.

This is a must read for anyone who is tired of stale Christianity. I admit, I was less than enthusiastic (because of other books) before I started to read but before many pages were read, I loved it.

I was given this book by WaterBrook Multnomah to read so that I could provide a review - but I was not told what to say.

If you want to purchase this book you can click here. I receive no compensation for you doing so.

A new challenge for a new year

About 3 B.C. it was a simpler time. There wasn't all the clamoring noise that there is now and I could more easily accomplish what I wanted to do.

That is 3 years Before Children - so about 13 years ago. Anyway, I made a challenge to myself of reading the Bible in a year. And I did it. But some of those brain cells have since died and I need to reread it.

So I am going to take the 90 day challenge. Yep, I am going to try to read through the Bible in 90 days.

Seriously, if I can read the Twilight series in less than a week, I should be able to read the Bible in 90 days.

Is it going to be easy? No, but rarely is there very much value in the easy stuff. The blessings that I am going to get from this are going to be huge - no, I am not talking about prosperity gospel. I am talking about the blessing of getting to know my precious Savior better.

So do you want to join us? There is a group of us taking the 90 Day Challenge through Mom's Toolbox.

Amy from Mom's Toolbox says:
A few years ago I read through the Bible, cover to cover, in 90 days… Yes, the whole thing. (Okay, I’ll admit it. My first pass took 97 days, but I’ve done it in 90, and helped many others do it in 90, since then!)

And now I want to help even more people read it in 90 days… because it really did change my life.

So now I’m inviting you to join me, as I attempt to lead my first online community of readers and we blog thru the Bible in 90 days, January 1, 2010 – March 31, 2010.

I’ll post my (almost) daily observations about the reading at least 5 days a week and host Twitter parties each Monday night of the program so we can talk about the reading together.

I’d love to have you join me in this adventure.

I’m not going to mislead you, this is a terrifically challenging task. At minimum, you’ll need to get your hands on the official Bible in 90 Days Bible ($14.99 at and plan to read 12 pages a day, 84 pages a week for 90 days straight. (That’s about an hour of reading every single day, but the print is nice and large and the footnotes are minimal…. I’ll explain more later as to why this specific Bible will help you achieve this goal. But let me be clear that this is an NIV Thinline Bible. No content added (except a reading schedule), nothing taken away. We will be reading every word of the NIV Bible straight through, from Genesis to Revelation.

I’ll be here every step of the way, cheering you on and praying for you, too. But that’s not all, a few other blogger buddies will also be cheering you on as we build our reading community and dive into this adventure together.

So are you in?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it Snow!

I have to admit to a bit of snow envy right now. I am seeing pictures of snow and hearing of kids playing in the snow and the truth is I am a wee bit envious. Even though I deliberately chose to live below the snowline - because I really don't like being cold. And frequent snowfalls can be a pain. Snow has that annoying tendency to accumulate.

But I am feeling a bit of snow envy.

We had a freak snowfall - it fell but it didn't stick - and I remembered how beautiful it is to watch.

So I would love for it to snow here.

On a weekend.

And we have no place we have to go.

And we don't lose power.

So let it snow!

Friday, December 18, 2009

40 Loaves by C. D. Baker

40 Loaves - Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day is a devotional book that tackles the tough questions that a christian may ask. Why are some Christians so hard for me to like? Why do I avoid sharing my faith? why don't I feel safe at church?

Each loaf is one of the tough questions and C. David Baker attempts to answer the questions.

Honestly, I didn't like this book. It wasn't that I disagreed with the theology, but the idea that a question like "why do I feel like a hypocrite?" could be answered in 3 pages is ridiculous.

Some chapters did make me angry, like the chapter "why do I resent authority?" which blamed a woman for resenting authority because she didn't trust Jesus enough when she listened to her church that told her to stay with her abusive husband.

All in all, I couldn't recommend this book to anyone. While the answers weren't quite platitudes, they were pretty close to it.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
If you wish to purchase this book for your own, here is a link:

I get no payment or reward from you purchasing it through this link.

The little things

This morning I woke up to a quiet house.

No buzz of the alarm clock, no hum of the heater, nothing.

The power was out. It hadn't been out long, it wasn't yet cold (or any colder than usual). I got up, looked out the window and saw the electrical truck driving around, looking for the problem.

I knew the power would be coming back on.

I knew we would have heat.

I knew we would have food.

I knew my husband would be home that night.

I knew my children were healthy.

I may not  have been able to follow my routine because of a power outage, but that is a very little thing. A minor inconveienece.

Since my routine is to make some hot tea and read email - neither of which I could do with no power - I just went back to bed. My 6 year old had crawled into my bed and so I snuggled up with him and went back to sleep.

But I felt grateful for the little things, those little things that can be such big things.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Melting Pots

Sometimes East Texas seems a bit insulated from the rest of the world.

Other times it seems like a veritable melting pot.

Yesterday I was looking for soup bones to make a Czechoslovakian soup, the only place I could find them was the Mercado (Mexican market). While we were there, Junior saw a black man and told him "ni hao" which is Chinese for "Hello."

We are good friends with a Chinese couple and they have taught us a few words for different things and I guess it seemed an appropriate time.

Never mind that he is also taking a Spanish class which would be much more appropriate in a mercado.

So for a moment there were 5 cultures overlapping.

By the way, the soup did turn out good.

Monday, December 14, 2009

weighty matters

I am overweight obese according to medical standards. I don't like it, in fact I hate it. I miss the body I had 17 years ago.

I was looking at the bmi thing tonight and computing it up and I need to lose 57 pounds to be barely in "normal" weight range.

57 pounds.

I think that is about how much my son weighs. That is how much I weighed at 10 years old (I was a skinny, scrawny thing. I got over it though).

While I am grateful that I don't have as much to lose as many/most of the people on Biggest Loser, I still have a lot to lose. A medium sized child's worth of weight.

I have lost some,  6 pounds. So I am making progress. So 6 down 57 to go.

I love cookbooks

I love to look at them, I love to read the recipes and imagine myself making them. I love to get new ideas from the cookbooks. I have had a large collection of cookbooks, many of them picked up at garage sales.

I tend to think that people actually ate better when cooking wasn't opening a box and adding water. I really resent the children cookbooks that don't teach kids how to cook but rather how to open cans and boxes.

One of my goals for both kids is that they will know how to prepare a recipe without using conveinence foods; that they will be able to make a soup from ingredients that they find in the fridge; that they will not only be able to follow a recipe but improvise and improve on a recipe.

Oops. I didn't mean to get on a soap box.

Anyway, I was saying I used to have a lot of cookbooks. A lot. But I got brave and went through the shelf and pared it down by 2/3rs (at least) and took a huge stack(s) into the used bookstore. I kept some of them, the special ones, the ones I use all the time. I kept my Grandmother's Betty Crocker cookbook from the 50s. I also have my Great-Aunts Joy of Cooking from the 50's. And no kitchen is complete without the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook with the red plaid. Plus a few others but now I have space on my bookshelf.

Space for more cookbooks.

Mostly kidding.

But I feel so much lighter now and free-er. And I don't feel one tiny bit of regret about any of those cookbooks. Now if I could just do that with other stuff. . . .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My hands are covered in band-aides

I have been a little clumsy with the sharp implements lately.

Tuesday, I cut myself twice on my left index finger while being stupid. You know how you are not supposed to hold something in your hand while cutting it, you should put it on the counter or on a plate? I don't always to that. Well, I was cutting slices of an apple and got distracted. Luckily it wasn't deep but it almost looks like I tried to dissect my finger (or it would if it were deeper). It took 2 band-aides.

But that was my non-dominant hand so I wasn't worried.

So yesterday I got some tiles for a reading manipulative (I'll explain later on my homeschool blog if it works well). I got those sheets with the 36 small tiles attached to each other. I was lucky enough to find 3 sheets with one broken tile apiece so I got a discount (I am cutting them apart from each other so it doesn't matter if there was a broken one).

So anyway, I was pulling the broken pieces off and sliced my other index finger. Knitting is a challenge with band-aides on both index fingers.

So then I was complaining to Hubby about how I haven't used this many band-aides since I was a kid and pulling off more of  the broken bits and jabbed myself in the hand badly enough to need another band-aide (I don't like leaving blood trails everywhere.)

Hopefully I won't injure myself again while using the razor blade scraper to get the glue bits off the tiles when I separate them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh and another thing on the wheat free bit

If there is a wheat/gluten intolerance there can be a bloated, full feeling after eating it. Since wheat is in so much, it is difficult to accidentally have a wheat free meal unless you try so you may not notice the bloated feeling. And it may be a more general bloating, all over.

Well, I have noticed the past few days my wedding ring just spins around on my finger. The same finger that it has been snugly on for months.

And I have lost 4 pounds. WOOT!

In a related bit of news, I went to the doctor today and found out that my blood sugar is creeping up high. I am not diabetic yet but if I don't change some things I will be. I am hoping that getting rid of the wheat will be enough to cause a significant change since I don't eat that much sugar-sugar (although I did get quite a bit from all the pasta and bread). I loathe sweet-tea (bad southerner), don't like soda, and really don't eat that much candy (nothing like a daily basis).

Surely it is from all the processed wheat products.

I hope.

Argentina - the card game not the country

I remember being a little girl and watching my extended family play cards. They would sit around the table and laugh for what seemed like hours and tell stories and I desperately wanted to play. But I was too young and the game too hard.

Then when I was 9 my family went overseas for 6 months and my mother taught me the card game. I guess she was homesick and wanted something familiar and you really need 3 people to play.

So when we came back, I was finally able to play cards with everyone and I loved it. Stories were swapped and jokes told and we all bonded.

There were rules of the game and then there were the "shoulds" of the game. Things like you should not sit to the left of Granddaddy because he never threw away what you needed. You should have someone sit between certain players because they play as a team and it is not a team game.

There were also rules that are not against the rules but will get you banned from the game - like no throwing away wild cards. Wild cards have a high point value and so can really cost you if they are in your hand, so some family members will throw them away on the last hand rather than have them count in their score.

So in case you are wanting to play, here are the rules to Argentina - by the way, that isn't the real name but the real name was forgotten decades ago.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I feel a bit like a manic depressive

This stupid diet is going to drive me crazy. I start thinking it won't be to bad, we can easily substitute in recipes, we will get it figured out and then I get slapped back into reality.

We went looking for popcorn, Hubby prefers the microwave kind because it's easy and less mess to clean up. Out of the multitude of types and brands and low butter, butter lover, and all the other stuff there was one type of popcorn with no milk products. One. And it was kettle corn. And my kids don't like sweet popcorn.

Junior wanted a treat as we checked out. Well chocolate is a no-no because it has milk. I don't let my kids have nutrasweet and so gum is out. I thought a Rice Krispy Treat was safe because it is Rice Krispys and marshmallows. Nope, it has milk in it too.

It made me want a beer. But beer contains wheat and so it has gluten and so it is a no-no.

I found myself wishing that someone in the families of the bigwigs in major manufacturing would be struck by allergies and so they would realize how important an inexpensive alternative would be.

But then I start getting hopeful again. I am a pretty good cook and it has GOT to get easier. And we should start feeling better.

And so go the mood swings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Treasured by Leigh McLeroy

Treasured by Leigh McLeroy is a beautiful and thought provoking book. Inspired by a treasure box from her grandfather where she found things like a key ring with 2 keys, a coin purse with a little over a dollar in chance, cuff links and a tie tack and a shaving brush, Leigh McLeroy looks at what God might have in his treasure box.

Each of the items has ties back to their Biblical past but also illuminate our lives now; the fig leaf that clothed Adam and Eve points to the shame we feel now over various things. I had never thought about how God removed their fig leaf covering and dressed them in animal skins just like our efforts at removing sin don't work and so God had His son remove our sins.

It is a wonderful book and can help us to see how the Old Testament connects to modern day life, how these events of old can illuminate our modern hearts.

Author Biography:
Leigh McLeroy is the author of The Beautiful Ache and The Sacred Ordinary. An avid collector and recorder of everyday moments, words, and wonders, Leigh’s keen eye for God’s presence in ordinary life infuses her writing and living with a deep, insistent joy. A frequent conference and event speaker, the author makes her home in Houston , Texas , and posts often on and

To purchase this book directly from Randomhouse you can go here. (I get no proceeds from you going this way)

I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received no other compensation, nor do I get any other profit. These thoughts and words are my own (except for the bio, I copied that).

God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Love is a sweet little book with beautiful pictures. Little Cub and her grandfather are fishing when the otters interupt the trip. Little Cub's Grandfather tells her how God gives us love, there are different kinds of love and how acting loving even when we don't want to is the right thing to do.

I read this book not only to my children but also to a group of 4 and 5 year olds. The kids were entranced and engaged by the beautiful story. Little Cub learns that love helps us see the good in others, even when they make us grumpy and one little girl mentioned how her teenage sister makes people grumpy.

I really enjoyed reading this book to the kids (and also for myself).

God Gave Us Christmas begins with Little Cub asking if Santa 'vented Christmas.
She learns that it was God who "invented" Christmas because he loves us. Little Cub and her mama go on a journey to find God, which they can do because God is all around. They see God in the Northern Lights (they are polar bears after all), in powerful events like chunks of ice breaking off cliffs, and in the stars that He put in the sky.

I read this also to the kids and this was their favorite. One of the girls thought it was funny that anybody would think Santa invented Christmas - but she is a pastor's daughter. A boy was really annoyed that we don't have anything like the Northern Lights in Texas and didn't seem appeased that there are no alligators in the polar regions. The pictures in this book are also beautiful.

Author Biography:

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado , with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

To purchase this book directly from Randomhouse you can go here for God Gave Us Love and here for God Gave Us Christmas. (I get no proceeds from you going this way)

I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received no other compensation, nor do I get any other profit. These thoughts and words are my own (except for the bio, I copied that).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My daughter complained about me to her piano teacher

And not about the broken arm!

No it is the diet we are on now. I know I need to cut out gluten, my son needs to avoid dairy and I am not cooking 3 separate meals.

So we are all doing gluten-free dairy-free.


Not so much.

Anyway, I think the first 2 days have gone pretty well. I don't think anyone has felt deprived too much. The problem is that Daisy is really craving pasta and bread. Not so much on the dairy but a lot on the pasta and bread.

She wants to learn how to make gluten-free ravioli, gnocchi, dumplings, and french toast. She is skipping right past the easier stuff like pancakes for the things we will have to create recipes for.

But she is also intensely craving wheat products which tells me she needs this as much as I do. Maybe if she gets used to eating this way, it will be easier on her later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Of broken bones

Somehow my Hubby - after all the stupid things he did in his youth, BB gun fights, falling out of pickup trucks and I don't know what all else - never broke a bone.


I broke my arm twice. I fell out of a swing when I was 3 and fell of the jungle gym at school when I was 4.

If you had asked me to bet on which child would have the broken bone first, I would have bet my son and thought it was easy money. I called him death-wish boy for a long time because of the stupid dangerous stuff he did - dropping staples in a floor plug, cutting a light cord with sissors, etc.

Well, I would have lost.

Four weeks ago she was using a basket ball as a soccer ball and tripped over the ball. She nearly landed on her face but used her hands to catch herself. We mistakenly assumed that it was a bad sprain because she could move her fingers and wrist without problem. So we gave her an ice pack and ibuprofen.

She went skating a few days later but was careful because she didn't want to fall.

She did the food contest where she carried a heavy bowl around.

She went to soccer the next week.

Her wrist never looked bruised, it was a little swollen but not hugely.

But the swelling didn't go down so we thought it was a really bad sprain.

Last week, we were in the doctor office for a completely unrelated issue and mentioned it to the doctor. He strongly suggested that we get it x-rayed and so we did.

Y'all, she broke her arm! She had broken her arm 3 weeks earlier and went around doing normal activities - she did favor her arm somewhat. Do you have any idea how much that me feel like a horrible mom?

We asked about an arm brace and the doctor said that we would be taking the brace off soon anyway if we had known about the broken arm.

So things continue on as normal except I have much more respect for my 10 year olds pain threshold. She says that she didn't know what a broken arm felt like so she couldn't say that it hurt bad enough to be broken - which I suppose is true.

But now she knows.