Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

"The saddest thing about life is that you don't remember half of it."

When Donald Miller's life came to a halt after a very successful book was published he had a hard time even getting out of bed. But when two movie producers show up at his door proposing to turn his memoir into a movie he was intrigued enough to invite them in.

What follows is his attempt to change his life into something that people would want to watch. And with that he leads us on a journey of introspection and purpose.

I found myself looking at my own day-to-day life and wondering if I was making a difference at all. And also questioning whether it was really necessary to make my life into something that people would want to watch.

Either way this book was interesting enough that even now I find myself remembering parts of it and pondering a bit. Good or bad I'm always a work in progress and a book that helps me to look at it from another angle is a good thing.


A first for my blog! Thomas Nelson Publishers has graciously sent along a copy of this book for me to give away to one of my readers.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and let me know something you've recently read (since I'm always looking for book recommendations). I'll close this on Monday, October 5 at 8:00 am Central Time and use a random number generator to choose a winner.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brooklyn Loves Chuck E Cheese!

The kids had the opportunity to go to a hockey game, so we had the opportunity to watch Brooklyn for the evening! I've been hearing how much she loves pizza, so we decided this was the perfect time to take her to Chuck E Cheese for the first time with MawMaw and PawPaw.

No surprise, pizza pales in comparison to all the flashy things around you. Her favorite was the skee ball and she'd go back to it time and time again to look up the chute and see the balls. "There it is - I see it!" she'd exclaim and point to the red balls all lined up and ready to play. Makes me smile every time I think about it.

Another favorite was feeding the tickets into the ticket crunching machine at the end of the night - and we had a BUNCH of tickets! Keith and Lynne' had found a machine that was just spitting the tickets out as fast as you could see them, so Lynne' stood guard while Keith went and got the employees. They were grateful and gave Keith a big handful of the tickets, despite his protests. In the end it was nice they did give them as it gave us more tickets to feed the machine and Brooklyn was so tickled by it.

Right now she has a huge love of balloons, so she was excited to trade her tickets in for a Chuck E Cheese mylar balloon. I'm sure she didn't really grasp the concept yet, but she did know that she was walking out of a fun evening holding on to a prized balloon.

It is honestly so much fun to see things like this through the eyes of a two year old.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Watermelon Cupcakes

When I heard that yesterday was the first day of fall I had to rush and get this post up. Watermelon tugs at the summer memories and now that we're looking October in the eyes I need to get one last summer treat posted before I turn to pumpkin and apples (of which I cannot wait!)

There is nothing watermelon about these cupcakes other than how they look. The cupcake itself is just a strawberry cake mix. Before mixing the batter I reserved about an eighth of a cup of dry mix that I tossed about an eighth of a cup of chocolate chips in. Ordinarily mixing chocolate chips in flour will keep them from sinking in the batter, but you can see the chocolate chips above happily nestled at the bottom, so it didn't work for me this time. I guess this means my watermelon seeds were easy to eat around. :)

I also used canned frosting with a few drops of green food coloring. There's a few green sprinkles on top to add to the illusion of the watermelon rind.

Most important of all though is to remember your 'style' while eating a cupcake. A girl simply must sit on her mommy's lap with her foot on the table while having a cupcake. And a Clifford apple juice should be nearby in case one gets thirsty.

I just love being a Grandma - or should I say MawMaw? :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

4 Wheelin' is Not For Sissies.....

So many different ideas of what to put for the title of this post, but really I think the photo above speaks for itself. We had such a wonderful time out 4 wheelin'.....up until the point that we discovered the dropoff in the pond. And no matter how good your 4 wheel drive is it can be a real challenge to try and drive through the oatmeal like substance that sits on the bottom of a new pond after over a week of rain.

Really, we were driving along the edge and you could even see the bottom when suddenly - out of nowhere - we went over a submerged cliff. And I'm here to tell you that the water level can rise very fast when you don't particularly want it to.

We were fortunate to find a guy riding a large atv with a winch to pull us out. He's from Minnesota and I think he was kind of tickled to pull us out as it was his "first time to pull somebody out of a pond." And equally fortunate to have a plethora of advice from many a person. The best was when we were told "why, I don't think I woulda drove through a pond when you don't know how deep it is". Really.

One thing's for sure though - I have not had so many gut wrenching belly laughs since I don't know how long. Because if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Good times.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Brooklyn Loves the Lake

I love how even at just over two years old Brooklyn already loves the lake. She is learning how to use her sea legs to walk in the boat and the sand beneath her toes is no longer as 'yucky' to her as it used to be.

We're also starting to see a few diva-like qualities coming out in her. Do you see the pose and the princess wave in the photo below? And I love her backwards cap and wearing her shades.

I do want to point out that she isn't actually tubing behind the boat or in deep water. She's on the tube, but the water probably only came up to our knees and she had quite a bit of family around her - naturally.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts on BSF Intro Class

I don't have any deep pearls of wisdom from my BSF intro class to share with you. And in fact, I haven't even been assigned to a discussion group yet so I can't tell you how much I love the ladies in my group yet. But I know I will.

What I did come away with Monday night was a deep sense of warmth. I can't tell you the last time I felt this way in a group of around 300 of my closest friends. ;)

One of the sweetest moments came with the first hymn we sang. Bible Study Fellowship is inter-denominational and it was illustrated perfectly with the first song, The Church's One Foundation. Oh what a breathtaking sound to hear all these ladies lifting their voices to the Lord. We sang and during this song the lady next to me reached over and patted my hand. Father, you have led me to the perfect place.

When the ladies all went to their discussion groups those of us that were new sat in on an introductory talk and filled out our registration forms. Now we wait for our group and to begin the study. Can I just say again that I can't wait?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Night of BSF

Today I feel absolutely filled with Joy, almost overflowing even. This evening is my first class at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and I am oh so ready.

I remember back many years ago when my mom and some of her friends did BSF for a couple of years. I think what I remember the most about it is how often my mom had her Bible and notebook open at night. This is a wonderful scene to have in my memory.

It's only natural with that background that I would eventually find my way to a BSF class. Interestingly enough when I did the "find a class" search on the site I found out that my church is one of the host sites! When I sent the email to the organizer I mentioned that I wasn't even aware that our church was a host and she said that they publish it in the Bible study list at the beginning of the year. I guess I've always missed it.

So while we were out running errands over the weekend I bought a new notebook and matching pen. I might not be needing actual back to school supplies, but a new notebook and pen makes me smile and I decided it would be a fun thing to take to Bible study each week.

I'll be picking up one of my girlfriends and we'll head out in a few hours. My cup truly overfloweth right now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Goodbye Pearls and Heels, Hello Maytag

I got a much anticipated gift last night - a new dishwasher. Ours broke about two weeks ago and the first thing I did was head out to buy a dish drainer.

A funny thing happened while doing dishes by hand - I found myself talking to the Lord a bit more than usual. This prayer has been around forever and I found it to be so true:

Thank God for Dirty Dishes
author unknown

Thank God for Dirty Dishes,

They have a tale to tell.

While others may go hungry,

We're eating very well.

With home and health and happiness,

I shouldn't want to fuss.

For by this stack of evidence,

God's very good to us.

And it's true. As I stood there washing, rinsing and stacking dishes I thought about how we never have to worry about a meal. Oh we might worry about figuring out what to eat, but we know that we will eat. And we are truly blessed with home, health and happiness. I enjoy every minute that I'm with my family.

There is a small part of me that is going to miss the dish washing time because loading a dishwasher just isn't the same. The flip side of this of course is that by receiving a new dishwasher I feel blessed for the provision.

My days of being June Cleaver have come to an end with my new appliance. Time to put away the heels and pearls and come back to the days of Delay Wash, Heated Dry and China Cycle.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

In a time when we have so many questions about where our lives are headed Max Lucado releases his newest book Fearless. From the first chapter "Why Are We Afraid" to the conclusion he addresses many of the different fears that we face on a daily basis.

I've always believed there are no coincidences, so when this book arrived from Thomas Nelson Publishers just two days after my truck was stolen I immediately flipped through the chapters. Most notable to me at that time was the chapter "Fear of Violence" and I eagerly read through it. Rather than fill out the chapter with words I've heard a hundred times, Max Lucado starts off with this Bible verse - "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." - Matthew 10:28. I do realize that auto theft is a far cry from true violence, but I will also admit to feeling fear in the aftermath of the theft. Reading this chapter and specifically this verse helped me in so many ways to deal with my emotions.

I very highly recommend this book as it is not an overbearing "learn to deal with it" type of a book. The tone in Max Lucado's book is like that of a friend giving advice and being able to back it up with scripture.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

I just love doing the Friday's Fave Five - it's fun to accentuate the positive! To see more visit Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. Coconut M&Ms - can you even believe it? I absolutely adore all things coconut and when I heard about these I about swooned. I finally found them this week and bought two packages since they said 'for a limited time' on the box. My word these things are good!

2. Book shopping with my daughter - Last night Lynne' and I headed out to a new to me independent book store so she could pick up her book for book club. She's been wanting to show me this store ever since she first went and when we walked in the front door I swear I heard a choir of angels singing! This store is amazing and has a decent sized Christian Fiction section even - queue the angels again! Then as we walked out the door I did it...ever the joiner I am...I bought a book for a book club next month. I have wanted to be in a book club for like forever and have never found one or found friends interested in starting one. I think I am in love. :)

3. Security Systems - We picked up the truck last night after getting a new security system installed. Hopefully we'll never need it, but I have to admit it's given me some peace of mind. I never want to go through a stolen vehicle event again - obviously.

4. Bible Study - Finally made up my mind and I'll be doing Bible Study Fellowship this year and couldn't be happier. Even better, one of my dearest girlfriends is going to go with me! The only thing better than finding a good Bible study is being able to go with a friend.

5. Hobbies - Now that summer is winding down we're getting somewhat back into a routine. That means I get to play with my hobbies and friends again. It is so delightful to sit and watch tv and do knitting again - oh how I've missed it! And card making and scrapbooking too have been done in the last week - can you even believe it? And I have some amazing (to me anyway!) new things that will be rolling out soon because I just love to do so many things and can't possibly decide which is my favorite.

Good times..... :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sympathy Card - Papertrey Ink

I happen to be a very 'anti-swap' person when it comes to papercrafting. I work very hard to keep stress out of my life and happen to be a terrible (or maybe very good?) procrastinator, so in the past when I did swaps I always waited til the last minute to get them done and ended up sweating bullets in the process.

But a friend sent me an email about a swap she's hosting that she needed help with. One of the ladies dropped out at the very last minute and would I mind making 15 sympathy cards so the other ladies wouldn't end up short? Of course I said yes (what are friends for?)....and then the panic set in.

Luckily I had seen a card by Nichole Heady of Papertrey Ink that I fell in love with, so I used it for the basis of my card. This card uses the In Bloom stamp set from Papertrey Ink and the sentiment is from the Trendy Trees set from Stampin Up.

Unfortunately right after I got the first card made I got news that a lady that is very dear to me lost her husband to cancer. I was absolutely shocked as we'd only heard about 3 weeks before that his cancer had returned. She will be in my prayers for some time.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CFBA - Gone To Green

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Gone To Green by Judy Christie - Abingdon Press (August 2009).


Judy Pace Christie, after working as a journalist for twenty-five years, left the daily news business to open a consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, and churches on strategies for meaningful life and work, including goal-setting, living fully, and balancing personal and professional lives. She is the author of Hurry Less, Worry Less; Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime; and co-author of Awesome Altars. Judy and her husband live in northwest Louisiana.


Lois goes from being a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest to the owner of The Green News-Item, a small twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. The paper was an unexpected inheritance from a close colleague, and Lois must keep it for at least a year, bringing a host of challenges, lessons, and blessings into her life.

When Lois pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, she expects a charming little town full of smiling people. She quickly realizes her mistake. After settling into a loaned house out on Route 2, she finds herself battling town prejudices and inner doubts and making friends with the most surprising people: troubled teenager Katy, good-looking catfish farmer Chris, wise and feisty Aunt Helen, and a female African-American physician named Kevin.

Whether fighting a greedy, deceitful politician or rescuing a dog she fears, Lois notices the headlines in her life have definitely improved. She learns how to provide small-town news in a big-hearted way and realizes that life is full of newsworthy moments. When she encounters racial prejudice and financial corruption, Lois also discovers more about the goodness of real people and the importance of being part of a community.

While secretly preparing the paper for a sale, Lois begins to realize that God might indeed have a plan for her life and that perhaps the allure of city life and career ambition are not what she wants after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gone To Green, go HERE


This book is easily one of my favorite reads this year. At first glance Lois Barker, the main character, is nothing like me - she's young, single and does not have children. But I found myself identifying with her anyway.

As the book progresses and Lois tries to make some decisions about her future, she's drawn into the small town and almost reluctantly starts to "stir things up a bit" and make some changes. She recognizes the "terrible burdens that most people carry around on a daily basis" and uses that to really connect with them.

I think what struck me is how her methods could be used in almost any situation. There are people we all come in contact with that maybe we should slow down and get to know them better. Everybody has a story and given a small amount of encouragement most people have the ability to become something great. I hope to remember some of the thoughts and feelings I had while reading this book and see if I could use them to their full potential.

And I am delighted to hear that a two sequels are planned for this book. I will most certainly be reading them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ranch Crackers

I first had these crackers during a potluck at work. And let's face it, when you see a tupperware container filled with saltines next to all the homemade potluck goodness you don't even give them a second glance.

Apparently that's the case with everybody as there were a lot of these leftover. So when the person that made them stopped by my desk for me to taste them what could I do? I am so glad I did!!! He was even kind enough to let me bring some home for Keith to try and we were hooked at that point. I then made some to take to our family reunion weekend and we all sat out by the pool nibbling. The one comment that is made over and over is that these Ranch Crackers remind you of the Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.

So good, so cheap and so easy!

Ranch Crackers

1 - box saltine crackers (4 sleeves)
1 - cup Canola oil
1 - package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1/2 - tsp red pepper flakes

Take all the crackers out of the sleeves and line them up on their sides in a very large bowl or plastic container. Mix the oil, dressing mix and pepper flakes together and drizzle over the crackers. After drizzling about half the mixture stop and re-stir, then complete the drizzling. If using a plastic container place the lid on top and gently tumble the container back and forth so that the liquid can get over all the crackers. I put it on the counter and every time I walked by I would flip the container again.

I put the crackers in a clean container before taking to the potluck so that they would look nicer. :)

And that's all there is to it!

See more great recipes at the Tasty Tuesday Food Parade and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!