Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Irony of Wasting Time with Beneficial Reading



"To be honest, I think sometimes it's cowardice and laziness that causes me to hide behind a book or the computer screen. It's easier to read something helpful or convicting and to think about how I need to improve, than it is to actually put it into practice!"  


Are you wasting your time with good reading? I try to write about my own struggle with this in my post today at Joy Ever After.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

There's a giveaway going on over at Joy Ever After



From the book description:

     Hear my Heart is a collection of writings from singer-songwriter, Sheri Easter. Sometimes in life words seem superficial, shallow and empty. We struggle to put our feelings into words that convey an honest representation of the heart. By embracing the quiet moments, we hear what our heart cries in the darkness of a loved one's death, a battle with breast cancer or caring for an aging parent suffering from Parkinson's disease. We hear the shouts of triumph of wedding bells, anniversaries, and the celebrations of lie. We hear the heart. 
  

This giveaway will only be open until Tuesday, November 29th at 9:00 (EST). To enter, click here and follow the directions. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

How We Celebrate Thanksgiving

My husband comes from a very large, fairly close-knit family. Since I don't, it was a treat for me to spend Thanksgivings with his family after we were married. I loved the taste of that kind of family life. Derek's grandparents passed away two years ago, and we moved out of state, so Thanksgiving isn't the large family affair that it used to be. One way in which we've remedied that is to invite close friends over to spend Thanksgiving dinner with us.  It's special getting to spend time with our friends this way! We're grateful for those whom God has allowed to come our way.

Our Thanksgiving day is pretty ordinary, but still very special. Preparations are made in advance, if possible, to save work on Thanksgiving Day. Thursday morning, the turkey is shoved into the oven and, if it's really early, (okay, even if it's not really early...if I can excuse it at all...) I crawl back into bed and wake up to the wonderful scent of roasted turkey wafting through the house! Later, after we've all worked together in the kitchen, we enjoy a delicious meal and time of fellowship with our friends and family. Then, whoever is interested (which would mostly be the ladies) sits down with the Black Friday sale papers and makes a list of "what, when, and where" in relation to the annual shopping trip.

This thanksgiving, to try to bring more meaning to the Holiday, I had my children navigate an online "virtual museum" about the lives of the Pilgrims. During the days previous to Thanksgiving, the children worked together on a Thanksgiving project that turned out very nicely and is a wonderful way to count one's blessings. (I hope to post pictures soon.)

All in all, though things may not be perfect, our Thanksgiving is a sweet, simple day full of love, laughter, friendship, and true Thanksgiving.

Now, feel free to visit these blogs to read how these lovely ladies spend Thanksgiving at their homes!

Liz @ Inside the Mind of Mama Bear
Joanna @ The LaVans
Jessica @ It’s the Little Things
Jennifer@ Joy Ever After

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 23n and BLACK FRIDAY SALE at Vision Forum


Today, I'm thankful for:

Rainy days. 

Relatively good health. 

Smiles.

Hugs.

The funny things my children say.... 

~ * ~

And now, for those of you who are excited about the Black Friday Sales, Here's an advance sale for you! It's happening now at Vision Forum.


It's hard to find books, toys, and movies that are wholesome, biblical, and truly age-appropriate. Thankfully, Vision Forum has stepped up to fill that need. I love to look through their catalog! Here is just a sampling of the chidlren's items that they offer:


LEGO compatible Invader Military Propeller Plane




Metal Speedster Fire Truck

Dolls, doll clothes, and books.



Wholesome Movies

The selection of family resources and personal study helps is also amazing. I'd so love to be able to go on a shopping spree!

You can view their site and online catalog here. Take advantage of this great offer! Sale ends Saturday, November 26 at midnight (CST).

*Please note, the link in this post is my affiliate link. 



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Days 15-22

Wow! Whatever happened to last week? Aaa! And now it's Thanksgiving week, company is here, and there is so very much to do. So, here's a hurry-scurry-but-still-oh-so-earnest-list of thank you's for some simple things that I love but tend to take for granted:

Coffee.
Chocolate.
Electricity.
Indoor plumbing. (I'm serious.)
A cozy little home.
Fleece blankets.
Scented candles.
Pianos.
Comfy pj's.
Computers.
Cameras.
Singing birds.
Gentle breezes.
The scent of brown sugar 'n cinnamon apples cooking.
Everything vintage or retro, kinda like this: (couldn't resist. ;) Oh, and I'm trying really hard not to covet.)



Hey, this is kinda fun!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 14 ~ Thanksgiving Recipes and Printables

On the fourteenth day of the Thanksgiving Month, I'm thankful that my husband has a job. We all know how terrible the unemployment rate is, and most of us have been through some scary times because of being laid off, losing a job, being unable to find work, and so on. I'm extremely thankful that God worked on our behalf and allowed my husband to find a job when we needed one so desperately.

Because I love Thanksgiving and, I'm sure you do too, and because I love all of the excitement and anticipation that goes into the planning of such a special day, I'm looking up some new ideas and I'll be sharing them with you!


How about these Pilgrim Hats? They're adorable, and the instructions look really easy! Click on the link for details. 



This Double Layer Pumpkin Pie looks scrumptious. Click here to visit the Keebler website and view the recipe. 



At sweetbits you'll find some great printables including this one, which I think is simply perfect! ;) 



I love these;  so simple, yet so meaningful.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 13

Today, I'm thankful that we still, at least for the present, have freedom to worship God. We can openly attend church, read our Bibles, pray, testify to others, and we don't have to fear being arrested and killed for our faith. In our cozy, comfortable environment, it's far too easy to forget that not everyone enjoys the same basic freedoms that we do. May God help me to remember!


Today is the International Day of Prayer for The Persecuted Church. This morning in Sunday School our teacher presented some pictures and video clips about persecuted Christians in other countries. Below is one of those videos, from Voice of the Martyrs, about Asia Bibi, a wife and mother, who was arrested and sentenced to death for blasphemy. This plea for prayer from her husband is sobering and convicting. Their faith and courage is moving.  Don't forget to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the cause of Christ. If we were in their situation, we'd want them to pray for us. 


This shouldn't be simply a one day event. These people go through unimaginable hardship and suffering on a daily basis. Pray for them often

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 12

I'm thankful for doctors, nurses, hospitals, medicine, equipment, and every other aspect of modern medical care; and I'm thankful that God has allowed us to live in a country where that care is so readily available. I'm especially thankful for it today, and grateful that my daughter is feeling better and on her way to getting some answers. God is good!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 11 ~ Veteran's Day

Today, I'm thankful for the men and women who have fought for our freedom. While we're here at home, they're fighting so that we can remain safe and free. While they leave home, family and friends to go to an unfamiliar and hostile country, we have the privilege to be with those whom we love...because of their sacrifice. We don't have to worry about being blown away or shot at, because they are facing that danger on a daily basis. 


So, to all of you who have fought and are fighting for us, I salute you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

And to you, the spouses, children, fathers, mothers, siblings, and other family members who have said good-bye to your soldier and watched them head off to war, not knowing if they'll return, I thank you. You, too have sacrificed greatly.

The Bravest Man I Know
by Amanda Whitney

The bravest man I know.
Is a man I've never met.
He's a man who risks his life
To save a friend,
Not only to save a friend,
But to save a nation.
Risking his life
For those he does not know.
Stepping up
Leaving loved ones behind,
So that somewhere,
Someone else won't have to.
He is a man who follows orders
Even though he knows he might die.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who would rather die,
So one more person could go home
To see his family again.
The man who stares death in the face,
But never blinks.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who risks his life
So one day the world may be a better place for his children.
Or any man who goes against his biggest fear.
DEATH
Just to save someone he loves.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who fights
So another man can have the taste of sweet freedom.
Not fighting only for his own benefit,
But for many others all over the world,
Fighting to make this world a better place.

That's the bravest man I know.


America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward
O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea! 


O beautiful for pilgrim feet 
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat 
Across the wilderness! 
America! America! 
God mend thine every flaw, 
Confirm thy soul in self-control, 
Thy liberty in law! 



O beautiful for heroes proved 
In liberating strife. 
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life! 
America! America! 
May God thy gold refine 
Till all success be nobleness 
And every gain divine! 



O beautiful for patriot dream 
That sees beyond the years 
Thine alabaster cities gleam 
Undimmed by human tears! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea! 

May we never take our freedom for granted. Thank a Vet today!




Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 10

I'm thankful for someone who understands.

A dear, sweet lady who has been a friend to my grandparents for as long as I can remember has been in contact with me quite a bit lately to check on my grandpa and on our family. I have always deeply admired her. She's been through so many tragedies and difficulties, but she always has a smile and a kind word for others.

Yesterday, she called to check up on us again and expressed such concern for me. I was touched. We talked a little, like we have before, about a problem that we both have in common; a problem not many seem to understand. She couldn't do anything to help, but that was okay. It was enough that she understood!

Understanding and sympathy can go a long way toward helping someone make it through a dark time. I hope and pray that God will always keep that in my mind so that I can understand and sympathize with another, even if that's all I can do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 9

I'm thankful for second chances. I don't know about you, but I feel like a failure far more often than I'd like to admit. I can clearly see in my mind what I'd like to do and how I'd like to be, but I'm constantly falling short of that mental goal. It's downright discouraging, to say the least! I'm glad that God knows my heart and sees that I want to be the best I can be; but that's not enough. I can't use that as an excuse! So, I'm glad for fresh starts, new opportunities, and...grace.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 8

Today, I'm thankful that God has allowed us to live close to my grandfather. I'm so grateful for the time that we, and especially my children, get to spend with him. They love him so much, and I know they bring some joy to his life!

I'll never be able to repay him for all he's done for me, but I'm honored that I can at least try to help him now. I'll treasure every moment with him for as long as he has left.

Don't take your loved ones for granted. Don't save all the kind words and expressions of love and gratitude for their funeral. Let them know now, while they're still with you, how much they mean to you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 7

Today, I'm thankful for my brother and sister. I've never had the privilege of meeting them in person, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to get to know them through letters, phone calls, texts, and/or Facebook. (Technology is wonderful!) Someday, I hope to meet them face-to-face!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 5, and Thanksgiving Day Decor Ideas

Day 5: 
I'm thankful for my friends. I've discovered that it's really hard to find a true friend, but I'm thankful for the ones that I have! They are a blessing. I hope I can be a true friend in return!

Thanksgiving Decor 
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. (I don't think it's just because I love to eat....) I love all the planning, cooking, wonderful smells, time spent with family and/or friends, and the memories made!

Speaking of planning; while you're doing that, you might need some simple, frugal ideas for decorating for that special meal! Here are some that I came across and really, really like. :)



Glass candle holders with a tea light nestled atop some
 acorns or buckeyes give a pretty, simple touch to a Thanksgiving table. 
                                                       

                                         
   Paper leaves on pumpkins. The kids could help with this one!




Repurpose candle holders to display pumpkins and gourds.
(Click here to visit the BH&G site for instructions and more info on the three ideas above.)


love this. Denise in Bloom shares instructions for how to make a thrifty fall topiary! 


I don't have a photo of this to share, but I really like the idea of framing Bible verses about giving thanks, or lists of things to be thankful for. 

Do you have some creative Thanksgiving decor ideas to share? Please leave a link!







Friday, November 4, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 4

I'm thankful for my children. They are truly my blessings from God. Each one of my children is a unique, amazing individual just packed with potential! I love them so much it hurts!




"Lord, thank you for my children! From the oldest to the youngest, each one has a very special place in my heart. Guide them into Your Truth and never let them stray from You! Guide me, as well, as I do my best to lead them in Your ways! Give strength, love, and laughter, and keep us close to one another and to You."



Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Month of Thanks, Day 3

Today, and every day,  I'm thankful for my husband. I don't know why God gave me the best, but He did! I love this man with all my heart, and I love him more every day! Even though he's in pain a lot of the time, he works to provide for us. He's a wonderful, godly husband and father, caring deeply for the spiritual well-being of our family. And...get ready for this...my man loves to cook, and he even helps around the house! Amazing, no? I'm a blessed gal!

"Sweetheart, I love you so much! I can honestly say that you're my best friend. Thank you for everything you do!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Month of Thanks--Days 1 & 2

Once again, I'm borrowing from other bloggers and Facebook friends. Each day in November, I'll be sharing one or more things for which I'm thankful. Since I'm a day behind I'm including two days in this post!

Today I'm thankful for:

My Heavenly Father. Without His unfailing love, mercy, and grace, where would I be?

Salvation from my sins through faith in Jesus, and His sacrifice for me. Because of this, I have freedom, joy, and hope in this life, and the promise of an eternity in Heaven with Him!