Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review :: Plain Faith by Ora-Jay and Irene Eash, with Tricia Goyer


Plain Faith is a very interesting book. I was initially interested in it because I enjoy reading Amish fiction (such as books by Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, etc.), but this book really is much more than just a way to get an inside peek at the Amish way of life.

The main text of the book is told by Irene and Ora Jay Eash in a traditional narrative style, but the text is enhanced with copies of letters that the Eash family had written - to their family or a grieving group they were a part of. These letters are interesting to read and really are a good way to see where the Eash family was at in their journey at the time.

Some who are raised in an Amish community will end up leaving the Amish being mainly motivated by the comforts and freedom of an "Englisch" life. This was not the case of the Eash family (although they did certainly find freedom) - they studied and prayed their way out of the Amish faith and into their current Christian community.

For me, Plain Faith ended up being so much more than just a story of a family that stopped being Amish. The trials they faced and the very rule-focused society in which they were raised made this book easy for me to relate to, and helped open my eyes to how similar a person's situation can be when on the outside it may appear that there is not a lot in common. Much like the book Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder (which I reviewed previously), Plain Faith takes you on a grace-discovering journey...and is sure to leave you inspired. I believe in a firm foundation of truth and obedience as do the Eash family, but this book showed how an over-focus on rules, regulations, and traditions can end up forcing out the truth (and the love) from a faith community.

I highly recommend Plain Faith to anyone who has an interest in the Amish (including Amish fiction fans), but also to anyone who comes from a very rule-based/checklist background...and also to anyone who wants to hear more about God's grace and love for all of His children. This was a wonderful, easy-to-read book.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Twinery/Chic Tags {Blog Hop}

The Introduction:
If you are hopping along with us today: You should have come here from Amy Coose's blog. If you did, you are in the right place! Welcome!
If you aren't already a follower, I'd love to have you follow my blog!
If you are on Facebook, please "like" Ink Blots by TRD.

If you are one of my regular readers: Thanks for coming back! I love having you! Please join along in the hop - you can start at the Chic Tags blog.

The Hop Order:
Chic Tags
The Twinery
Amy Coose
Tifany DeGough
Jennifer Haggerty
Christine Meyer
Mandy Kay Starner
Jennifer Cuthbertson
Jennie McGarvey
Suzanna Lee

The Prizes:
The Twinery is giving away this fabulous Sampler Pack of Solid Twines:
Chic Tags is giving away a fantastic prize as well – check out The Twinery's blog and the Chic Tags blog to find out how you can enter to win one of these great prizes. 

The Projects:
Each of my cards today were created using the same supplies - baker's twine, embellishments, and cardstock. The pre-made embellishments from Chic Tags made these cards come together rather quickly, and the twine from The Twinery pulled it all together. 

For my first card, I used The Twinery's Solid Pink Sorbet twine and various embellishments from the Chic Tags Cloud 9 collection.  I can see how these embellishments would be great for layouts or pocket scrapbooking, but they were just asking me to use them on a card. :o)
As soon as I saw these wood veneer "sequins" from Chic Tags, I knew I needed to use them. They would be great colored with mist or ink, but I decided to leave them au naturale here.

My second card again uses the squares, clips, and mini icons from Chic Tags, but this time I paired them up with The Twinery's Ocean twine. I love the Ocean color - it's just muted enough, but still a great pop of color.
These cards were quick and easy to make, but I am really happy with how they turned out.

Thanks for stopping by today!

The Next Stop:
Jennifer Haggerty

Happy Dance Card Supplies: 
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Pink Sorbet); 
Embellishments: Chic Tags (Cloud 9 Collection - Squares, Clips, Mini Icons, "Sequins" Wood Veneer);
Cardstock: My Favorite Things (Replenishments);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);


Supplies: 
Twine: The Twinery (Ocean); 
Embellishments: Chic Tags (Cloud 9 Collection - Squares, Clips, Mini Icons);
Cardstock: Papertrey Ink (Harvest Gold); 
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review :: Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger

Today I am sharing something that merges my love of books and my love of crafting...a book called Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger. With watercolor being so trendy today in papercrafting, I had to jump at the chance to review this book. 
I must say, I was interested in this book more for the intriguing pictures on each page than the content of the text...but there is a lot of great content here. If you are looking for a step-by-step process on how to replicate a few specific images - this book is not for you. If you are looking to be inspired, learn about the basic techniques of watercolor, learn about watercolors themselves along with a good dose of color theory and design techniques - this book is for you. 

Now - have I played with a box of Crayola watercolors? Yes. Did I know that "real" watercolor sets use "pans" or can be modified for one's personal color preferences? No. I have dabbled with watercolors for fun, but really hadn't taken any more time with them than to spread some across a page when I am feeling the need to create something (or to create along with my kids). This book opened my eyes to the options that watercolor provides and let me see how watercolor can be combined with sketching to create many beautiful pieces. 

Each two-page spread in this book is dedicated to a single subject and has text accompanied by watercolor sketches to get the idea across. There really is so much more than I was expecting. I did not expect to learn about what watercolors are made of (currently or historically). I did not expect for the author to cover ways to convey mood with color - but he did. After reading this book (which didn't take long because it kept my interest so well), I wanted to immediately get out and sketch and paint. And this is not just a book that you will want to read once and be done with. It would be wonderful to sit down with it and paint, practicing the techniques that the author describes. (Maybe it should have come with waterproof pages!) Although I didn't feel that this book really covered much about sketching, it certainly did inspire me to pick up a pen and draw. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it truly was inspiring and is a book that I will reference over and over. 

Looking for the press release? You can view it here
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging for Books program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Roscoe's Story :: Prayer is Powerful

Today I wanted to take a little time to share with you a little bit of the story of my nephew, Roscoe. Roscoe was born almost 9 months ago - delivered at 28 weeks and 5 days and weighing in at a whoppin' 1 pound, 2.7 ounces.
We had known before the delivery that he would be coming early and the events surrounding his birth were truly scary. We were praying for him to get big enough before he was born to be able to fit the smallest breathing tube available, and he just barely passed the mark. Knowing that just because of how early he was delivered and how small he was, every day that he remained alive was such a wonderful blessing.

Roscoe has been in the NICU the entire time (almost 9 months now), and there is so much more that needs to happen before he is able to go home with his parents. We have been praying for this precious little guy. Big time.
God is good, and he takes loving care of his children...but that doesn't always mean things are easy or the answer we think is best. All of the journey has been laden with medical issues, but there have been some times in particular where it sounded like Roscoe wasn't going to make it through. One of these times was just recently. People from all over the world, including many people our family has never even met, have been praying for Roscoe. It has been so encouraging! We know that God listens to our prayers and I believe He has allowed Roscoe to live this long because of those prayers. And I am begging Him to let Roscoe live longer, be healthy enough to go home with his parents, and live a long life. God is able. 

In all this time of praying, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (in Daniel 3) keeps popping up in my mind. I think of how they told King Nebuchadnezzar that they knew God was able to deliver them from the fire. (A fire that consumed others who even got close to it.) But they also knew that even if God chose not to save them - it was not enough to sway them from trusting only in Him. 

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
Daniel 3: 17-18

In this situation, I know that God is able to heal Roscoe. He is Jehovah Rapha, The Lord our Healer. He is able to let him live. He is Elohim, Strong Creator. He is able to allow him to be healthy and go home with his parents. But I also know that even if God doesn't heal Roscoe...I will still trust in Him. I will continue to strive to live as He wants me to. And although that should be so easy to do with how much God has done for us...it is still hard to say sometimes. But I know...
God is good. 
All the time. 

My brother (Roscoe's dad) is so much better with words than I am. Please, read the blog that he keeps updated with Roscoe's story. Read how many prayers have been answered already in Roscoe's life and how God is (and has been) faithful through all of this. 
Please - pray for Roscoe, his parents, and the doctors and nurses that are watching over him. And please, encourage his parents by adding your name to Roscoe's prayer map.
Prayer is powerful.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review :: Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton with Dustin Dillberg, L.Ac., PAS

Body & Soul is a new book by Bethany Hamilton. (Bethany Hamilton is probably most widely known for her shark attack story and the book-turned-movie, Soul Surfer.) Body & Soul is described as "a girl's guide to a fit, fun, and fabulous life". 

The book is beautifully done, with full-color, semi-glossy pages. The large format reminds me of reading a magazine. The content is divided into 9 chapters, and there is also additional multimedia content available using various electronic devices. (I didn't use the additional multimedia content, so I can't provide any review details on that.)

The majority of Body & Soul focuses on a clean, healthy lifestyle. I really appreciated the fact that Bethany specifically stated that the exterior shape and clothing size is not what makes a person healthy - I feel like this is something that our girls can never hear enough of.

Bethany is a Christian and doesn't hide the fact that a healthy life also includes a healthy relationship with God. Even though she didn't hide it, I felt like this book was much more heavily focused on body (exercise and nutrition) than it was on soul. I would have loved for there to have been more "soul food".

With the heavy exercise and nutrition focus, however, I felt like a few things could have been clarified a little bit more (such as a more thorough definition of "clean eating"). As an adult reading this book, I knew what she was addressing...but I feel as though many tweens/teens who are going to be reading this book will not fully grasp what terms like "clean eating" and "organic" really mean. (Even my children, when we as a family try to eat nutritious, mostly organic foods, still probably wouldn't fully understand.)

Obviously, with Bethany Hamilton's profession (and hobby) being surfing, there is a lot of talk about surfing in Body & Soul. Even so, she does state that is important for each person to find what types of exercise appeal to them and to follow that - so I think this can be inspiring to many more girls than just little surfers. (If you do have a little surfer, though, I would be sure this book makes it onto your bookshelf!)

This book isn't all about just written information - there are also 4 full workouts (with photos). There were a good amount of photos accompanying the workout descriptions, but there were some cases where I think a couple more photos would have been helpful. There are also a good amount of recipes (34 in the recipe chapter, plus others sprinkled throughout the book) - they sound delicious and are accompanied by beautiful, colorful photographs. There are recipes for breakfast, juices, smoothies, lunch, dinner, side dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Body & Soul is written with an obvious tween/teen tone (and is classified as Juvenile Nonfiction). I personally don't see a need to use some of the terms that were used in the book ("fave", "sesh", "BFF", etc.) - they seem to be used solely for the sake of appealing to tweens/teens...but in my opinion that just dumbs down what could have been quality information. As Bethany is a life-long surfer, there are definitely some surfer-type terms included as well (such as "rad", "gnarly", "rock", "stoked", etc.). The surfer tone is understandable, but I felt the tween/teen tone was unnecessary. I think with a few tweaks (mainly using whole words), this could have easily been a good, well-written book for both teens and adults.

I will be letting my 10 year old daughter read Body & Soul, but I am not sure how inspirational it will be for her at her current age. All in all, this was a good book to read and will be handy to keep around (particularly for the workouts and recipes).
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review :: Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion

Parenting the Wholehearted Child is a great resource for any parent who is looking to parent with grace.

The book is divided into four parts. The first two parts of the book are not exclusive to parents - they discuss grace in a way that would be good for any Christian to read. Once you reach the third and fourth parts of the book, the discussion geared toward parenting really starts to kick in. If you could see the flags I put throughout the book (to mark the parts that stood out to me), you would see the majority of the flags in part three of the book. Part three is titled "Growing in Christlike Character" and each chapter covers various "grace fruits". The other parts of Parenting the Wholehearted Child are there to give background and support, but I feel that part three really stands out as the "meat" of the book.

Although the book does have many helpful tips and examples, I must admit that this book was not an easy one for me to get through. Parenting the Wholehearted Child wasn't a book that was just calling for me to pick it up and read, but it did give me good ideas every time I picked it up. It is hard to review a book like this, because the content is great, but the delivery wasn't particularly appealing for me. I do wish that there had been more examples throughout the book. (I would have especially liked to read anecdotes from families other than just the author's.)

All in all, I think that Parenting the Wholehearted Child was great to read - our family has already started putting into practice things I read about in the book. I am glad that I read this book and would suggest it for anyone who is looking to parent with grace.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WINNER :: Lupus Awareness Month Giveaway

Thanks to all who stopped by and commented on my Lupus Awareness Month giveaway...and a very special thanks to each of you who are followers of this blog.
Congratulations!

Please send me an e-mail with your US mailing address so I can get your prize out to you.
{You can find my e-mail address in my blog header or on my Blogger profile.}

If you'd like to learn more about lupus, be sure to check out the Lupus Foundation of America's website.

And if you haven't ordered my 'All About Hope' stamp set yet, please do. You can find it here.
{The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their information.}
{Due to shipping costs, giveaways are available to US mailing addresses only.}

Friday, June 6, 2014

Growing In Unity :: WINNER

Thanks to all who stopped by and commented throughout my week as the Growing In Unity gal...and a very special thanks to each of you who are followers of this blog.

Congratulations!

Please send me an e-mail with your US mailing address and the two Itty Bittys you would like to receive so I can get your information to Unity.
{You can find my e-mail address in my blog header or on my Blogger profile.}

If you didn't win - you still have today to enter in my Lupus Awareness Month giveaway!
{Due to shipping costs, giveaways are available to US mailing addresses only.}

Friday, May 30, 2014

Growing In Unity :: Day 5 - Thanks Card


<<<Looking for my Lupus Awareness Month giveaway?>>>
<<<You can find it here.>>>

Welcome to the final day of my week as the Growing In Unity gal!

It's been a wonderful week and I am so thankful for each of you that have stopped by to check out and comment on each of my projects using Unity Stamp Company stamps. If you haven't already, be sure to go back and comment on all five of my Growing In Unity posts this week if you want a chance to win some free stamps!

If you are new here or aren't already a follower: I'd love to have you follow my blog!
If you are one of my regular readers: Thanks for coming back! I love having you!
If you are on Facebook, please "like" Ink Blots by TRD.


For my final project, I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for visiting me each day this week.
What better way to say thank you, than with a card?

Thanks for stopping by today (and every day this week!) - and don't forget to leave a comment so you can be entered to win!

And, of course, I'd love it if you sign up to be a follower!

From the comments that are left on each of my posts this week I will be randomly choosing someone to win any two Itty Bittys (winner's choice!) from Unity Stamp Company - to be sent to a domestic address only, please.

{I will be announcing the winner of this giveaway on Friday, June 6th.
Be Sure to check back!}
Supplies:
Cardstock: Papertrey Ink (Rustic White);
Other Paper: Papertrey Ink (Vellum);
Stencil: Heidi Swapp (HS01148);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Sentiments O’Simple - sentiment, Wood Grain Script);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black); Tsukineko (VersaMagic Chalk - Sahara Sand, Jumbo Java, Aloe Vera, Tea Leaves, Persimmon, Pink Grapefruit, Perfect Plumeria);
Tools: Fiskars (Scissors, Paper Trimmer); ScorPal (Scoring Board);

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Growing In Unity :: Day 4 - Shoulder Stamped Shirt


<<<Looking for my Lupus Awareness Month giveaway?>>>
<<<You can find it here.>>>

Welcome to the 4th day of my week as the Growing In Unity gal!

I am so thankful for each of you that have stopped by so far to check out and comment on each of my projects using Unity Stamp Company stamps. Be sure to comment on all five of my Growing In Unity posts this week if you want a chance to win some free stamps!

If you are new here or aren't already a follower: I'd love to have you follow my blog!
If you are one of my regular readers: Thanks for coming back! I love having you!
If you are on Facebook, please "like" Ink Blots by TRD.


One of my new favorite ways to use stamps is stamping on shirts. I love the new BIG heart from the DIY L.O.V.E. stamps - it is the perfect size!
I recently created a stamped shirt for my daughter using the same stamp set, but wanted to do something a little different for myself. (And, let's be honest...I don't need any detail on my shirt that will be drawing someone's eye to my gut area...haha.)
For my shirt, I stamped the heart on the shoulder area of the shirt. I love how it turned out!

Thanks for stopping by today - and don't forget to leave a comment so you can enter to win!

From the comments that are left on each of my posts this week I will be randomly choosing someone to win any two Itty Bittys (winner's choice!) from Unity Stamp Company - to be sent to a domestic address only, please.
Supplies:
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (L.O.V.E.);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);