Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review :: Organic Outreach For Families by Kevin G. Harney & Sherry Harney

Organic Outreach for Families: Turning Your Home into a Lighthouse by Kevin G. Harney & Sherry Harney

In Organic Outreach for Families, Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney give very practical advice on how to "share the love, grace, and message of Jesus" in a very natural, unforced way. (p. 11) I love the definition they give of what they call 'lighthouse homes': "They will be places where Jesus is King, where his love is present, and where the Holy Spirit is at work. ... It's a place where the glow of God's light is strong and people are drawn to the Savior." (p. 14)

The book is divided into three parts: Reaching Your Own Family, Raising Children of Light in a Dark World, and Turning Your Home into a Lighthouse. In addition to the helpful information within each of the chapters, each chapter concludes with three specific ideas to put into practice in your home.

If only for the first section alone, this book is definitely worth owning. It was truly helpful not only in thinking of practical ways to talk to our children about God, but there were also many points that will carry over into parenting in general. But it doesn't just stop after the first section. The following sections were also truly informative and practical. (Did I mention this book is practical?)

I had already recommended this book to many of my friends before I finished reading it, and now that I have finished it I will continue to recommend it. Buy it. Break out your highlighter and highlight. Use a pen and underline. Write notes in it. Keep it for handy and refer back to it.

FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meal Idea :: Veggie Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes

Okay...correction. This one isn't exactly a recipe, but it is YUMMY.

Sweet potatoes
Zucchini, cut into chunks
Yellow Squash (optional), cut into chunks
Carrots, cut into chunks
Red Onion, cut into chunks
Minced Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
Butter or Oil
Shredded Cheese

  • Bake sweet potatoes. (I rinse my potatoes and place them directly on the center oven rack and bake at 450° for approximately 45 minutes, or until tender. I do not prick them with a fork before I put them in the oven. I do put a foil wrapped oven rack beneath the potatoes to catch all the juicy drippings - it just helps make cleanup easier.)
  • Saute garlic (if using minced) in a bit of oil or butter until it gets a bit tender.
  • Add carrots and onion.Saute until carrots are softening and onion is almost cooked. Add zucchini and squash and saute.
  • Serve sauteed veggies over baked sweet potatoes and top with shredded cheese.
  • And then, if you are like me...go ahead and add even more cheese.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sail On

Things have been pretty busy around here lately, but here is a reminder to just keep on keepin' on...
(Pirate style.) 
Sail on, mateys!

Cardstock: Discount Cardstock (Brilliant White 130#, Black);
Markers: Copic (G07, YG17);
Stickers: My Little Shoebox (Limeade);
Ribbon: Ribbon Carousel (Vintage Seam Binding - Black);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review :: Upside-Down Prayers for Parents by Lisa T. Bergren

Upside-Down Prayers for Parents: Thirty-One Daring Devotions for Entrusting Your Child--and Yourself--to God

Upside-Down Prayers for Parents by Lisa T. Bergren automatically caught my eye because of the cover, but it is so much more than a pretty cover. After reading the description, I was curious to read this book...thinking quite honestly that I may think it was ridiculous.
Quite the opposite.
This book has caused me to think - not only about how I think about and pray for my kids' lives, but also how I think about mine.
About how I try to be in control.

I think the author sums it up well when she says:
"...if we're to trust him with everything in us, we have to lay our lives - past, present, and future - in his hands. Perhaps most challenging, we have to lay our children's lives there as well." 

The entire book challenged me to let go, to ask God to lead me (& my children), and to listen and wait for His answer. (Although the title states that this book is for parents, I think that it may be a bit misleading as this book can be extremely impactful for someone who doesn't have children.)

Each of the titles for the individual devotionals can sound a bit harsh (by praying that your child will encounter "bad" things), but when you have read through each devotional you will see the overall idea is not as harsh as it sounds. (It will, however, change how you think about a lot of situations.)

I love the way each devotional is laid out - it has so many ways that you can use it. Each devotional starts with the title and a verse and then is followed by a prayer, a prompt to "make it personal" (with a space to write down your thoughts) and then two prompts to discuss with your children (one for older children, one for younger children). I chose to read the devotionals and just think about the prompts, but I may go back and use the prompts for children as questions to discuss together or to write down in a journal for my child to think about and answer.

I love that this is divided into 31 devotionals - perfect for going over on a monthly basis. I feel that revisiting these ideas each month would be a great way to keep focused throughout the year.

If you'd like to check it out, you can read the first chapter here:

FTC Declaration: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chevron & Green {The Twinery}

I like a challenge, but I also LOVE freedom to create my way.
It's the best of both worlds with The Twinery's new challenge! 
You get a simple theme to get you started and then have the freedom to create whatever you want within that theme.
Here's the current theme:
Many of you out there probably have more than enough chevron products to help you in this challenge...but for those of you who don't, I thought I would share a quick idea for making your own chevron pattern.
{This is not just for use on cotton bags - you can easily do this technique on cardstock.}
By taking an ink pad and a small acrylic block, all you need to do is stamp in a zig zag pattern and you've got yourself a simple chevron. 
After I stamped my chevron pattern I added a stamp (that I helped design for Unity Stamp Company) in a darker green.
Oh...what's that?!?
It's the FABULOUS new Natural twine (available soon!) from The Twinery. I love this twine au naturel, but I also just couldn't wait to spray it with some mist!
I threaded one of the strands through the drawstring tunnel on the top of my bag and added the other strands  (including some Honeydew twine) to create the finished bow.
{You can see my simple trick to changing out the drawstring that comes with the bag and replacing it with twine HERE.}
Be sure to visit The Twinery's blog where you can get all the challenge details and enter your project to win a fabulous prize!

Twine: The Twinery (Honeydew, Natural); 

Bag: Celestial Gifts (4x6 Cotton Muslin);
Mists: Heidi Swapp (Color Shine - Chartreuse); Studio Calico (Mr. Huey's - Estate Green);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (LUCKY Friend);
Ink: Memento (Bamboo Leaves, Pear Tart); 

Other: Recollections (Flower);
Tools: Fiskars (Scissors); 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review :: Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress

I am going to start off by saying that I know that there is a book by Lysa TerKeurst called "Unglued", but I have not read it. Although the devotional was helpful on it's own, I would imagine that reading "Unglued" first would be probably be beneficial in having a little more background on some of the ideas and phrases the author uses.

The book is described as intending to help "positively process raw emotions, such as fear, anger, and regret".  It is divided into 60 days (usually about 2-3 pages per day), but I didn't take 60 days to go through it - I can see a benefit both in taking it at the 60-day pace and in going through it faster.

The book felt to me like I was reading over the shoulder of the author as she wrote in her diary or on her blog, but she knew I was there reading so she acknowledged me sometimes. It was not the style I was expecting. (I was expecting more "talking" directly to me, and not in the very informal "Hey, chick-a-dee!" type approach that the author sometimes took...that was a bit awkward for me.)

I feel like the type of person who would most benefit from this devotional is someone who is wanting to know that they are not the only one struggling with being "unglued" and who will enjoy getting a few tips along the way.

As far as overall practicality, I don't think I would suggest this book. Yes, it has helped me grow...I am not denying that. But out of the 60 devotionals, probably less than a quarter (15) of them really highlighted specific tips for dealing with  struggles - not as many as I had hoped. {I am talking about specific tips beyond "read the Bible" and "pray". And YES, I do believe we should be doing those things, but I don't need to read a devotional to remember those.}
As far as being inspirational, I would suggest this book. It is nice to know you are not the only one who messes up and wants to get control of those situations. My book is filled with flags marking quotes that really made me stop and think.

All things considered I am thankful that I read this book and have grown a little because of it, and I think that many other women would benefit from reading it as well.

Federal Trade Commission regulation compliance notice: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

You Are Loved

Here's the funny thing about this card:
It says "You are loved"...but it has taken me quite awhile to come to terms with posting this because I am not sure I love it (or even like it). It is one of those cards that one day catches my eye and the next day makes me want to hide it away.
I don't know what it is about it.

Either way, I hope today that YOU know that you are loved. 
Have a wonderful day!

Patterned Paper: October Afternoon (Farmhouse);
Stamps: Market Street Stamps (Simple Salutations);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Pearls: Queen & Co.; 

Other: (Photo turn);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors, Heart Squeeze Punch); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);