Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Birthday M!

We celebrated M's 10th birthday in April - double-digits!!! She is an active girl who loves riding her bike and rollerblading.  She also has a great sense of style.  Quick, inquisitive and compssionate, M is a treasure and we are blessed to have her as our daughter!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Money Secrets of the Amish ~ a book review

I just completed reading Money Secrets of the Amish - Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving by Lorilee Craker.  Cracker is of Mennonite heritage and is a New York Times Best-Selling Author.  This book was a response to the strained economic times in which most Americans are now finding themselves.  Yet despite these economic challenges, many of the Amish, though not immune to the "economic downturn" themselves, seem to be keeping their heads above water, financially, more than many of their "fancy" counterparts.  Cracker divided up her narrative into 12 chapters that challenge the reader to rethink how they shop, how they do gift-giving, and bartering services among many other topics.  Included at the end of each chapter are specific challenge prompts to engage the reader in trying out these savvy spending, sharing and saving ideas.

I enjoyed reading  this book and have come away inspired to rethink many areas of my own spending and saving.  I want to look into buying some food items locally (fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc.)  and possibly learn the canning process.  Just typing that last sentence makes me a little nervous - as I have hardly ever canned anything in my life and from what I have seen is always a time consuming activity.  I am thinking of how I can be more creative/economical in my gift-giving and how I can greater utilize local thrift stores to make our dollars go further. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from  The comments are my own.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.”

— Thomas Merton

Monday, May 23, 2011

Top Ten Treasures from Our Camping Trip

1.  submerging in a nature-filled setting, while having the comfort of an air-conditioned cabin
2.  staring at the water
3.  gazing into the green of the trees
4.  listening to my kids and husband as they built sand castles
5.  disconnecting from the internet/computer and clock
6.  the biggest decision facing me - whether to read, crochet or nap
7.  feeling myself, literally unwind
8.  the kid's freedom to wander
9.  walking in a new setting
10.  roasting marshmallows

Come join the listing fun at !

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Desert Gift ~ a book review

I recently finished the book, Desert Gift, by Sally John.  This book is a part of John's series, Side Roads.  The main character of this book, Jillian Galloway, is a popular marriage expert, who is on the brink of even greater acclaim.  She has a large radio following and a newly published book.  Marriage expert though she may be, her own marriage appears to have fallen apart, as the book begins with her husband asking her for a divorce.  The story follows Jillian and her husband as they seek to find new footing in this phase of their lives.

I wanted to like this book, but I did not.  While some of the characters were well developed and showed authentic depth, the character of Jillian's husband, Jack, was a critically weak link to the whole story.  I could neither relate to his responses to the situation that he caused, nor find his character even believable.  He came off as shallow and nearly, if this could be possible as a main character, as an afterthought.  He simply made little sense in this story, yet by virtue of his position in the story, could not be overlooked.  For me the character of Jack ruined the story.

I received a complementary copy of this book for review from  The opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plain Wisdom ~ a book review

I recently completed the book Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miram Flaud.  This non-fiction work is a collaboration between an Englishcer, Woodsmall, and an Old Order Amish woman, Flaud.  Over a period of several years, Woodsmall, has spent time visiting with and living in Flaud's world.  The camaradarie between these two unlikely kindred spirits brings a gentle sweetness to the book.  Throughout the book the authors recount various life experiences and how their faith impacted these experiences.  The readings are broken down into short essays.  The section headings are "The Rhythm of Life," "Timeless Blessings," "Challenges Great and Small," "Laughter in Odd Places," "Beauty, Ashes and Things Between," " In His Hands," and "The Shape of Tomorrow." 

Having previously read most of Beverly Lewis' Amish-themed works and some of Woodsmall's I have always been fascinated by the details, especially the running of the home and kitchen, that make up this particular lifestyle. I have visited Lancaster, Pennslyvania and surrounding towns.  While there I tasted recipes unique to their culture and got a small veiw into the Amish world.  While I would never personally want to live under the seemingly rigid religeous/governmental order that they embrace, I find the simpler, "close to the earth," lifestyle fascinating.  Therefore to have a birds-eye veiw into the thoughts of a modern day Old Order Amish woman's heart, was too exciting to pass up.  I found this book easy to read and engaging.

I received a complementary copy of this book for review by  The comments are my own. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nick of Time

Nick of Time is a suspense novel in the "bug man" series by Tim Downs.  Downs' main character, Nick Polchak, is a renowned forensic entomologist.  He is also delightfully quirky man who maintains a dry sense of humor throughout the book.  A forensic entomologist helps solve murders through studying bugs found at the crime scene.  This book begins with less than a week to go before Nick is to be married.  A colleague requests Nick's help in solving an old case.  The two agree to meet up at the monthly Vidocq meeting.  Once Nick arrives, however, things quickly fall apart.  True to his nature, Nick becomes absorbed in the details of this case, leaving his fiancee, Alena, to wonder if Nick can commit to this marriage.  And, will Nick return in the "nick of time" for his own wedding?

This is the third book that I have read by Tim Downs.  Like the others, I found Nick of Time engaging and easy to read.  There were times that I busted out laughing while reading it.  (Which means that I will be reading this one out loud to my husband!)  The plot is tight and fast paced.  This book was definitely a delight to read.

I received a complementary copy of this book from  The comments are my own.

Thank You!

I want to say thank you to each one that has been praying for my mom!  The NG tube was removed on Monday morning because the blockage had cleared.  She was discharged from the hospital yesterday and is recovering well at home.  Thank you for your prayers!