Thursday, October 28, 2010

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry continues, in Almost Heaven, to invite us into the lives of those who live Dogwood, West Virginia. In this beautiful and well written story, Billy Allman is a kind and gentle man who lives a very simple life. He suffers many tragedies, including the death of his parents, but through it all he rests in the comfort and peace of knowing there is a Someone else who is control of it all. As he begins to live his life on his own, his past begins to affect his future and Billy struggles with living his life the way he is used to. A dark secret is exposed that ultimately changes Billy. There is a beautiful side story told by an angel who has been sent to protect Billy throughout his life and through this, Chris Fabry gives us a glimpse into the protection the Lord provides to those He loves. Although he weaves in a character from June Bug, Almost Heaven stands on its own.

Chris Fabry is a master at fiction and I'm happy to add this to my collection of his books!

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale House Publishers book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Happy Birthday to my sister!

Happy Birthday to a woman who loves well (really well!)

Happy Birthday to someone who likes to laugh!

Happy Birthday to Sissy!

(I love this picture!)

Happy Birthday to my bestie!

Christy, I'm not quite sure I could make it through this life without you. I pray this coming year brings so much more than you have even imagined! We can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend!

Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart - oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape - of your sister.

-- Katherine Mansfield

Please hop over to Christy's blog and send some blogging birthday wishes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Overnight Camping 2010

Since Mike was on fall break this past week, we decided to give it a go with introducing Anna Claire to car camping. We talked about where we would go--there are tons of state parks within a few hours  from where we live. Mike had initially wanted to go to Fall Creek Falls, which is a considerable distance away. My suggestion intuition was to go to Montgomery Bell, which is only an hour away. My thinking was this, if Anna Claire ends up being miserable, then we can pack up the car and be home within an hour, no matter what time, day or night. Let's just say there is a TON to be said for intuition.

We loaded up the car with the tent, food, sleeping bags, chairs and of course, marshmallows. The day couldn't have been more beautiful on Thursday. I even thought to myself, I'm going to have these great pictures and a great story to share on my blog! We arrived at the park, picked out a site and proceeded to set up camp for the night. We met the families who were in the sites next to us and during the conversations, Mike and I jokingly said, "if you hear our car start up in the middle of the night, you'll know it didn't work out and we apologize in advance." We took a walk, Anna Claire played in the leaves, all was good and right with the world.

We ate some dinner and then met up with some friends of ours from church who happened to be there as well. We headed back to our site, made some s'mores and put Anna Claire down to bed around 8:30. So far so good.

12:22 am. She wakes up.

For the next 4 hours, she proceeds to talk. Thankfully she isn't crying, she just wants to talk. "Mommy?" "Daddy?" "ABC's?" "Pray?" "Mommy?" "Daddy?" "Pray?" "Outside?" and on and on and on. She would be quiet for 5-10 minutes, then back at it again. She asked me so many times to pray that towards the middle of the night I was pleading with the Lord to just let her sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Mike turned over and said he was sure she was a super-hero baby and no longer needed sleep. I laughed because if I didn't do that, I would have cried.

Finally around 4:45 she fell asleep.

5:15 am. Screaming. Mike and I trying to figure out what is wrong. She isn't able to be consoled. "Get her into the car so she doesn't wake up the other campers." Screaming. "Mommy's here baby." I get her into the car, she finally settles down once I have her wrapped up against me. She then proceeds to begin talking again. Mike, in the mean time, is throwing everything we brought into the car with no rhyme or reason. It no longer looks like we went car camping, it now looks like we live out of our car.

We are out of the park by 5:30 am. She finally fell asleep as we were turning into our neighborhood at 6:15 am.

She slept until 11:00, ate some lunch, then went back to bed until 4:30 pm.

Despite it being the worse never EVER (Anna Claire has been sleeping through the night since she was 10 weeks old so even during her newborn stage, it was easier than this), we're not ready to give up on family camping. We'll give it another try in the next few months, probably once it begins to warm up a bit.

We have to catch up on our sleep first.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (with Lynn Vincent)

This sweet story is told by Todd Burpo, Colten's father. After a series of medical issues, including an emergency apendectomy, at 3 years old, Colten begins sharing stories of heaven. Stories that include events that happened before Colten was even born. Over the course of the following years, without pressure from his parents to share, Colten begins revealing more and more about his time in heaven; about meeting his great-grandfather (who passed away before he was born) and about meeting his sister (a baby his mother miscarried before Colten was born).

Descriptive details about heaven, the people who are there, the things that happen, even a glimpse into the constant battle against Satan, make this an interesting, enjoyable and thought-provoking book. I think it would be easy for someone to be skeptical about this book, but I found the story of Colten's experiences to bring hope and comfort to those of us who long for heaven, or even for those who just wonder, "what is it going to be like?" One thing I appreciated was that Todd Burpo is very careful to provide scripture as a point of reference for the stories Colten shares.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

The "you have to show pictures of your child picking out their pumpkin" post

It's fall break in these parts...looking forward to spending the week with my husband...and (hopefully) finishing the bathroom.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Thought (s)

Just one thought this week...everything else seems insignificant.

1. My sweet girl woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday. I went in to check on her. She looked up at me and said, "pray?" I prayed for her and she went right back to sleep.

Dear Jesus, may she always have a strong desire to talk to you, knowing that no matter where she is, or what she is doing, you are there, and you are able.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm a Big Kid Now and a bathroom update

She is sitting at the grown-up table now. Sniff-sniff. The highchair has been put away.

She was getting frustrated that I kept taking pictures.

On the same trip to get the booster seat, I decided to pick this up too. She has shown no interest whatsoever in potty training, but I thought this might peak her interest a bit.

Clearly Elmo likes it better than she does.

I found her teapot and teacups in it last night.

And now for a bathroom update..because I know you have been anxiously waiting...we were put into a holding pattern for a couple of weeks but we are back on track now. We decided to opt out of a free standing cabinet when we realized there was some space behind this wall. Mike cut into it and there is just enough room for us to have a built in. There will be a door on the bottom two shelves to hide those things that you don't want guests to my ginormous stash of soap that I bought when I had several coupons. I wouldn't want anyone to think I hoard.

Monday, October 11, 2010

C'Mon Fall

Pansies have replaced the geraniums. 

The shorts and tank tops have been put away.

My weekly menu already has more casseroles than sandwiches.

A trip to the pumpkin farm is on the calendar.

Now all I need is some cool temperatures so I can put away my flip-flops. C'Mon Fall, we're ready and waiting!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. This past week we picked 7 POUNDS of jalapeno peppers. Yes, that is right, 7 POUNDS! That is what happens when you neglect your garden for 2 weeks and assume that because you haven't gone out to check on it, nothing is growing. That assumption would be wrong. I made some of these. They turned out really, really good. You can't go wrong with something that has both "cowboy" and "candy" in the name.

2. We picked the same amount of cherry tomatoes. Again, the assumption was wrong. I now have enough oven dried tomatoes to last me for several months. You can throw them in any dish and they make it yummy.

3. Why do I always run out of shampoo before conditioner? Every time.

4. Did you know that Trader Joe's has an honor system for their returns? If you are not satisfied with a product, all you have to do the next time you shop there is pick up a replacement of the item, take it to the register and tell them it's a replacement for a previous purchase. No receipt needed. No questions asked.

5. Do you watch Parenthood? We do. We love it.

6. Speaking of TV, we usually watch the local ABC channel for local news. Mike turned on the TV yesterday morning and it was turned on to the NBC station. He said, "I feel like I'm cheating on Jeff Ray, I need to turn the channel." I think we have a co-dependent relationship with our weather man.

7. Can someone answer this for me...what is it with the skinny jean craze?

8. Mike was working on the drains for the bathroom. He found a snake carcass. There isn't enough space in blogland to share with you the horrific scenarios that went through my mind thinking that the snake could have slithered up the drain, into the can imagine the rest.

9. It's fall and that means pumpkin recipes. I already have a few picked out that I'm excited to try.

10. Speaking of food, if you like Chicken Noodle Soup, please try the Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup. I promise it will make you happy. It's a fall/winter menu staple in our house. I leave out the cream and don't miss it one bit.

11. Someone special has a BIG birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm so excited that I get to share in the celebration with her.

12. I don't have any more thoughts. I just don't like to end with an odd number. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tea anyone?

I've been contemplating the simple life recently. Sounds profound right? Not really. Just trying to get my perspective focused on what is really important. This little girl helps me a lot!

She enjoys her tea time. Interestingly enough, she only invites her Daddy to the party. Seriously.

We've been enjoying the beautiful weather the past couple of weeks. Gone are the days of 90% humidity and temperatures reaching even higher. Anna Claire is the happiest when she is outside and she is at the age now where she can run, have fun and explore.

She loves nothing more than to see an airplane in the sky. "Mommy, Mommy? Airpane...airpane...airpane!"

She loves playing with all of the different balls we have around the house. It's an answer to her Daddy's prayers I'm sure. She would much rather be outside with the balls than inside with her dolls.

She has recently starting showing an interest in numbers and the alphabet. I saw this tutorial here several months ago and knew that when the time came I wanted to make them for Anna Claire.

Some of the letters have fabric that corresponds with the letter (B has butterflies, the R is red, the T has toys on it, etc.).

They are soft and quilted so I'm not concerned about what will happen to them. If they get dirty, just throw them in the washer. It's something fun and different that Anna Claire can do on her own and with our help.

Random thoughts coming tomorrow!