Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Package of Seeds"


The Package of Seeds
by Edgar Guest

I paid a dime for a package of seeds
And the clerk tossed them out with a flip.
“We’ve got ‘em assorted for every man’s needs,”
He said with a smile on his lip.
“Pansies and poppies and asters and peas!
Ten cents a package and pick as you please!”
 
Now seeds are just dimes to the man in the store
And dimes are the things he needs;
And I’ve been to buy them in seasons before,
But have thought of them merely as seeds.
But it flashed through my mind as I took them this time
"You have purchased a miracle here for a dime!"
 
"You've a dime's worth of power no man can create,
You've a dime's worth of life in your hand!
You've a dime's worth of mystery, destiny, fate,
Which the wisest cannot understand.
In this bright little package, now isn't it odd?
You've a dime's worth of something known only to God.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Father"

This is a poem I memorized in Jr. High for our school's Poetry Recital. For some reason I decided to look up some of these old poems and thought I'd share this one. I originally got it out of a book my grandmother put together with poems she learned as a girl. Edgar Guest is now one of my favorite poets.
Father
My father knows the proper way
The nation should be run;
He tells us children every day
Just what should now be done.
He knows the way to fix the trusts,
He has a simple plan;
But if the furnace needs repairs,
We have to hire a man.
My father, in a day or two
Could land big thieves in jail;
There's nothing that he cannot do,
He knows no word like "fail."
"Our confidence" he would restore,
Of that there is no doubt;
But if there is a chair to mend,
We have to send it out.

All public questions that arise,
He settles on the spot;
He waits not till the tumult dies,
But grabs it while it's hot.
In matters of finance he can
Tell Congress what to do;
But, O, he finds it hard to meet
His bills as they fall due.

It almost makes him sick to read
The things law-makers say;
Why, father's just the man they need,
He never goes astray.
All wars he'd very quickly end,
As fast as I can write it;
But when a neighbor starts a fuss,
'Tis mother has to fight it.

In conversation father can
Do many wondrous things;
He's built upon a wiser plan
Than presidents or kings.
He knows the ins and outs of each
And every deep transaction;
We look to him for theories,
But look to ma for action. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: The Gaither Homecoming Bible


This was supposed to just be a book review. Plain and simple. But I guess it turned into a post with a few memories. I seem to be doing that a lot recently. I'm not sure why. Weird things trigger a waterfall of childhood memories. 

Three short Bible verses as the topic of Sunday's sermon. On comes a wave of memories of memorizing those verses in Awana, followed by memories of adventures with some of my first friends. Pictures in my head of painting nails, playing with dolls, building forts. Remembering how life used to seem frustrating.  So hard to my 8-year-old mind. But yet realizing, looking back, how perfect things really were. Wishing, really wishing, I could go back.

------

A discussion of games friends used to play with their siblings. Suddenly I'm transported back to our backyard in California. Running around like a hooligan with my brother. Playing with our new puppy. Turning our garage into a clubhouse. Forgotten times of grand imagination adventures in our yard.

------

There are more memories. And someday I'll take the time to tell you some fun stories of my childhood. You may laugh. You may roll your eyes. But for now, here's a few memories, leading up to a book review. I promise this background info really does lead into something. 

This short set of memories. Triggered by a Bible.

-------

When I was a kid, we had cable TV. We didn't watch a lot of TV. To be perfectly honest with you, the thing I remember watching most as a kid were the tapes where my parents recorded ALF back when it was on TV in the '80s. We watched those episodes over. and over. and over again. But we didn't watch much on TV (or if we did I certainly don't remember it!). Sure, there was Mr. Roger's Neighborhood at lunchtime, followed by Reading Rainbow, and if we were really lucky there would be an episode of Little House on the Prairie in the afternoon. But other than those "childhood staples," the only things I really remember watching on cable TV is The Grand Ole Opry, The Statler Brothers and The Gaither Homecoming Hour on Saturday nights. 

In addition to the shows on TV, my family also had several Gaither Homecoming videos, and we attended multiple Southern Gospel concerts when they were close to our Southern California home. In fact, my family was introduced to Southern Gospel music, and, soon thereafter,, the Gaithers, when a local Southern Gospel group came and sang at our church while on tour when I was probably about 7 years old. We bought one of their tapes, and shortly thereafter we went on a trip back south, and took our tape with us. Whenever I think of that trip I think of that CD and whenever I hear some of the songs off that CD I am instantly transported to our family adventure driving through Tennessee and North Carolina in the fall.

I essentially grew up with Vestal Goodman, Jake Hess and JD Sumner – and the rest of the Homecoming gang. And I thought it was so cool when we went to a concert at a local church where The Nelons were performing, because we watched them perform on one of our Gaither videos – and how cool to get to see some of those same people in person and hear them talking about other members of the Homecoming family! I’m also pretty sure that the first CD I ever bought was a Southern Gospel album (although I couldn’t tell you which one it was).

Of course, as I’ve grown my music selection has also grown and while I don’t listen to much from our Southern Gospel CD collection anymore, and I no longer check to see if any of the Homecoming friends just might be heading our way on tour, I jumped at the opportunity to review The Gaither Homecoming Bible.

The Gaither Homecoming Bible (NKJV) is a beautiful bible. With colorful illustrations on many of its pages, not to mention beautiful pages throughout with stories behind some of your favorite hymns and Gaither songs, it is a true treasure.

Many Homecoming favorites have shared thoughts that are sprinkled all throughout the Bible. The every-encouraging Gloria Gaither has also taken the time to put together some poems and devotions which are interspersed throughout the pages.

I think my favorite "extra" in the Bible are the stories of well-loved hymns, and favorite Gaither songs. You yourself will be inspired as you read about what brought about some classic songs. The songs and their stories are strategically placed throughout the Bible.

The Bible is a beautiful hardbound book with an absolutely beautiful dust jacket. Many of the pages are decorated with beautiful artwork. I was blown away with how beautifully the pages are decorated! There are also inspirational quotes sprinkled amongst the pages of the Bible, and for this girl who loves quotes, this is a great addition!

I will admit that as much as I like this Bible I am going to stick with my ESV MacArthur Study Bible as my primary Bible. However, I think The Gaither Homecoming Bible will be a great addition to my library and I will enjoy pouring through its pages looking at the beautiful pages and being encouraged by all the little "extras" tucked away in the pages of this Bible.

I would recommend this Bible to any Gaither Homecoming fans as well as anyone looking for a beautiful Bible that will become a treasure.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program for the opportunity to review this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some Recent Photography

Since it has been awhile, I wanted to share with you some of my recent photography. Enjoy!

Taken during my cousin's wedding reception
Taken in Loveland, Colorado


Fourth of July 2012

Fourth of July 2012

Sunset on the Lake!

The most beautiful sunset I have EVER seen.

It just kept getting better and better.

The setting sun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Review: When Hope Blossoms (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

While on a road trip this past weekend I read “When Hope Blossoms” by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I have enjoyed previous books that I have read by Ms. Sawyer, and this was no exception! It did not take me long to feel like I, too, was a resident of Weaverly, Kansas. I felt like I personally knew the Knackstedt family and was, myself, a neighbor of Tim Roper’s.

In the book, Amy Knackstedt moves herself and her three children to Weaverly, Kansas, with the hope of a new start. Having recently lost her husband to an accident, and having a son with some developmental difficulties, Amy, who is an Old Order Mennonite, wants to start fresh, and what better place than Weaverly?

Unknowingly she moves in next door to Tim Roper, himself a former Old Order Mennonite member. He left the faith many years ago, and would rather forget about that part of his life altogether. It doesn’t take long, however, before Tim is forming an unlikely friendship with the Knackstedt family! Tim does some soul searching while Amy and her children do some ministering. The friendship that forms is something special.

I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to Kim Vogel Sawyer’s next great novel!

I received this book from Bethany House publishers (thank you!).

Book Review: Touching The Sky (Tracie Peterson)


I recently had the opportunity to read “Touching the Sky,” which is Book 2 in Tracie Peterson’s Land of the Lone Star series. The story takes place at the conclusion of the Civil War, in Corpus Christi, Texas….an area that is divided between supporters of the North and supporters of the South. The daughter of a staunch Union supporter, Laura Marquardt finds herself in contact with Captain Brandon Reid. Captain Reid is an officer over the colored troops. Their initial meeting is hardly what one might dream of for a first meeting – Captain Reid encounters Laura in an alleyway and believes that she is being detained by his troops, which results in a misunderstanding that must be resolved.

Laura’s sister Carissa marries her beau, a Confederate soldier who, as it turns out, has ulterior motives in his pursuit of Carissa. This leads to drama amongst the family and amongst Carissa and her new husband. Meanwhile, Laura and Brandon are left to sort out what is going on between them and they must work through some obstacles that are thrown their way.

I enjoyed this book – I loved the time period it was set in, and I felt I really got to know the characters. The story was engaging and really drew me in. Of course it also didn’t hurt any that the protagonist and I share a name! I’m eager for the opportunity to read the next book in this series. I have no doubt that Ms. Peterson will deliver, once again.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

Hello, everyone! I'm back. And I'm really going to try hard to get back into this blogging thing!

I've been quite busy since the last time I posted. I went on a few trips, worked a whole lot, and tried to enjoy the sun as much as I could, too. Now it's becoming fall. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, I've resorted to wearing warmer pajamas and I'm starting to have a hard time convincing myself to get out of bed in the morning. Yes, fall is here. And I'm not complaining. Not yet, anyway. I rather enjoy the slight crispness of the air (after I convince myself to get up, that is!). I enjoy the deep aromas of pumpkin and cinnamon. Of apple cider and hot chocolate. I love preparing myself a cup of hot tea to take to work or splurging on a Pumpkin Spice Latte (thanks to Starbucks & Dutch Bros gift cards) on my way to the office.

But all too soon the novelty of fall will wear off. The snow will start to fall and we will transition into winter. And then spring. And, eventually, back to summer and then fall again. It's a never ending cycle.

I have a few goals for this fall: a goal to find some new tasty recipes (hello, Pinterest!)...a goal to take pictures amongst the fall leaves...a goal to go to the local pumpkin patch and apple farm for some fall fun...a goal to try at least one of the DIY projects I have re-pinned on Pinterest. But my biggest goal is to get back into blogging. To get back into sharing moments from my life with you.

To get started, here's some pictures from my recent trip to Seattle:

  

   

 

 




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hamburger Cookies

When I was a kid we made Hamburger Cookies. It's been awhile since we made them, but over the weekend I went to a BBQ to celebrate a friend's birthday and wanted to take something fun to share. Since it has been ridiculously warm lately (and I'm NOT complaining!), I wanted to make something that did not involve turning on the oven. Enter Hamburger Cookies. They got many compliments at the BBQ and since they are so easy to make I wanted to share "recipe" with you!

What You Will Need:
Vanilla Wafers
Grasshopper Cookies
Vanilla Frosting
Coconut
Green Food Coloring
Yellow Food Coloring
Sugar Water
Sesame Seeds

What You Do:
Tint coconut green using the green food dye. This becomes your "lettuce." Also tint some of your frosting yellow with the yellow food dye. This becomes your "mustard."

Spread yellow frosting on the bottom of a vanilla wafer. Top with a grasshopper cookie (your "meat patty"). Spread white frosting on the bottom of another vanilla wafer. Add some "lettuce" and place on top of the "meat patty." Repeat with the remaining cookies/frosting/coconut. Brush the tops of each cookie with sugar water and top with sesame seeds.

If you let the cookies sit for a couple of hours before serving, the vanilla wafers will become slightly soft, just like hamburger buns!

It's just that easy and these cookies are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser at your next party! Enjoy!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: The Fiddler (Beverly Lewis)


I discovered Beverly Lewis’s books a couple years ago. I began with her Abram’s Daughters series and have worked my way through her other series’ since. I always get excited when I hear she is releasing a new book because I love her books so much. The Fiddler, the first book in her new “Home to Hickory Hollow” series was no exception. Blending new characters with a few characters who readers may remember from the “Heritage of Lancaster County” series, Beverly Lewis’s newest book does not disappoint.

This book follows the story of classical violinist, Amelia DeVries, who, unbeknownst to her parents, is also a fiddler, going by the name of Amy Lee. After one of her secret performances she, through a variety of circumstances, finds herself in the middle of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in the company of young Michael Hostetler, an Amish boy who is trying to decide if he wants to stay Amish or become an Englisher. The book follows Amelia’s struggles as she tries to decide what she wants to do with her life and her violin/fiddle career and Michael’s struggles as he tries to determine which life path he should proceed down.

I greatly enjoyed this book and am eager for the next book in the series, “The Bridesmaid, “ to be released.

I received this book for free from Bethany House’s book blogging program. My opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Chasing The Sun (Tracie Peterson)


Hannah Dandridge is trying to keep her family together.  When her father disappears in Mississippi during the Civil War, she finds herself trying to take care of not just her younger siblings but also her family’s newly-acquired ranch in Texas. Meanwhile, William Barnett returns from the war, wounded, only to discover his family’s Texas ranch has been seized and is now being occupied by a stubborn young woman and her younger siblings who have no intention of returning the ranch. Throughout Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson, we see how Hannah and William eventually settle their differences and determine who truly has a right to live on the Texas ranch.

I enjoyed this book. Honestly, I’m a sucker for Christian western fiction and this book did not disappoint. As part of the “Land of the Lone Star” series, this book has me eager to read the rest of the series. This is one of those books where I was drawn in and did not want to finish the book until  I finished it.

If you, like me, enjoy a good Christian western, I recommend Chasing The Sun by Tracie Peterson. It would be a great addition to your summer reading list!

I received this book from Bethany House’s book blogging program. My opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: Need You Now (Beth Wiseman)

Review of Need You Now by Beth Wiseman.

Tired of the big city, Brad and Darlene Henderson move their family out of Houston and into a smaller town called Round Top, Texas. Their middle daughter, Grace, does not handle the move very well and takes up a dangerous activity.

Darlene decides to take a job outside the home working at a special needs school for the first time in many, many years. She enjoys the job and feels like she is making a difference, but at the same time tensions begin to rise between her and her husband. When a divorced parent of one of her students begins paying attention to her, Darlene feels like someone is actually listening to her for the first time in a long time. When Brad blames Darlene's and her job for Grace's issues, a wedge is driven between the two and only God can fix things.

Darlene does befriend their neighbor, the lovely Layla Jager, a former well-known actress. Layla doesn't open up to people easily (fearing they will only like her for her celebrity status) but Darlene manages to get her to open up and the friendship is beneficial to both Darlene and Layla.

This is Beth Wiseman's first contemporary fiction novel, and while I think I prefer her Amish fiction, I did enjoy this book. The story drew me in and was a good read.


Thank you to BookSneeze for providing me with a free review copy of this book!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: Song of My Heart (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

I love a good Christian historical romance. I don't know what it is about the endearing female protagonist and the charming male cowboy who sweeps her off her feet. Granted, they can be a bit predictable, but I love them.

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer, however, while predictable in parts, took some twists and turns that I did not quite expect.

I absolutely loved Sadie. I'm pretty much convinced that if she were not just a fictional character, and if I had lived back then, we would've been fast friends.

And what is not to love about Miss Shelva and Miss Melva. You can't help but smile at their antics. Their brother, Asa, however, is part of the reason the story took some turns I didn't quite expect. I expected Asa to be a sweet little man. I was wrong.

My all-time favorite character, however, was (not surprisingly) Thad McKane. Typical fictitious cowboy/sheriff/good guy. And the guy you root for the entire time. Thad had a lot to overcome and it was fun to watch him grow throughout the book.

The whole story was very engaging and enjoyable. This was only the second book by Kim Vogel Sawyer that I had read, and I've enjoyed both so I think it is time to get my hands on some more of her books because I am sure they are just as enjoyable!

With endearing characters, a sweet love story and just enough mystery to keep things interesting, I would  recommend Song of My Heart!

This review copy was provided to me by the publisher. I received no compensation and was not required to give a positive review. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with this book!

Books Read in March 2012

Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how, the month of March segued into the month of April without me even realizing it. I mean, I knew that we were writing "4" for the month when writing the date, but for some reason the fact that we did, indeed, change months somehow slipped past me. And that is why I am a whole week late sharing with you my list of books from March. What I hate to admit, however, is that I only read one book in the month of March. I'm not sure why, it just happened that way.

1. Longing (Karen Kingsbury) - 319 p.

Which is a whopping 319 pages during the month of March. And 4947 pages in 2012. I can assure you that April will have a better total, as we are already 8 days in and I've finished two books. *whew*

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How Great Is Our God?!

I sat in a friend's hot tub last night, staring up at the stars. It was one of those perfect nights for star-gazing - the air was crisp, the sky clear. The stars twinkled. After awhile my gazing was rewarded with a shooting star that streaked its way across the sky. I was thinking about a few things, but one thing that was going through my mind was "how GREAT is our God!" I mean really....looking at those amazing and magnificent stars....yeah. Gets me every time.

Thank you, Lord, for clear starry nights.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Photography: Headshots!

I recently had the opportunity to take headshots for a friend of mine that she is going to use for a local theatre audition. I had a lot of fun practicing my headshot skills!