Saturday, August 31, 2013

Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

I'm not usually fond of historical fiction, but I enjoyed reading Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden.  The story is built around the Chicago fire of 1871.  And the story centers around a very strong female character, Mollie Knox, who owns the 57th Illinois Watch Company.

Mollie's father built the 57th Illinois Watch Company which created the most beautiful and most expensive watches in America--and he'd hired wounded veterans from the 57th Illinois Infantry.  There was a strong bond among the men of the 57th and Mollie's father was committed to giving these men jobs.  When Mollie's father died and she inherited the company, she realized how vulnerable her company was to Hartman's, the only store they supplied.  If Hartman's decided to get their watches from another company, they would be destroyed.  Hartman's lawyer, Zack Kazmarek, arrived a week before the Chicago fire with an offer from Hartman's to buy the 57th Illinois Watch Company.  Mollie had only a few days to consider the buy-out.  But then the fire happened.  Zack accompanied Mollie during the fire and they fought their way through the fire to rescue an employee of the watch company who was blind.  Through the events of the fire, Mollie came to realize Zach had feelings for her.  Zach had feelings for Mollie, but he was also indebted to Louis Hartman for rescuing him from working at the docks and giving him the prominent position in his company.  So the offer he'd arranged for Mollie's company favored Hartman's. 

I enjoyed reading about the Chicago fire and imagining what the people endured in 1871.  This is the first book that I can remember not caring which man, of the two fighting for her attention, the main character chose.  Maybe Elizabeth Camden intended to evoke that emotion.  You saw the good and bad qualities of both men and imagined either could be a good match for her.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. 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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eating & Drinking

I've heard several sobering things in the past couple of days.  One was that part of the temple wall next to the mosque had crumbled in Jerusalem.  A friend told me she'd seen it on a crawl on Fox News one time this week--and didn't see it again.   Of course, this wall next to the mosque creates tension between the Muslims and Jews.  And I can't actually verify this story online.

Then tonight, I read this story.  Things are heating up in the Middle East.  Syria is the hot spot because they're gassing their own people and the U.S. and Britain are preparing a missile strike.  Russia & China are very much against it.  A war like we've never known could begin. Armies are mobilizing at this moment.

In the meantime, Israel has extended the hours in which they'll be handing out gas masks to all of their citizens.  Read here.

Are we (meaning: me) engaged?  Praying?  Aware??  God told us that in the last days people would be eating, drinking, and marrying.  Life would be going on as usual.  I was hit in the face with that as I was on Facebook tonight.  My life was going on as usual.  I am not engaged.  I am not praying.  And I want that to change.  Somebody's children or grandchildren are fearful tonight.  I have brothers and sisters in those countries who are facing a life and death situation....while I eat and drink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A word to moms

Mommy-hood can be so hard.  It's not something you're given a manual for when they're born. (And you would need a different one for each child!) You're flying by the seat of your pants!!  For the most part, you're modeling what you've seen.  You may even look at moms just ahead of you to see how they're doing things so you can emulate them.  You might even look for examples in the Bible for what to do or what not to do!  (Re: Rebecca and her favoritism towards one child.)  Or you might just compare yourself to those walking beside you to see how well you're doing.

Don't compare.  You end up becoming jealous, prideful or despondent.  Facebook can spawn jealousy. I thought of that when everyone was posting "back to school" pics.  Most families looked like they had it all together.  What about those moms who couldn't afford new clothes for their kids?  (You do know that we all present our very best on Facebook, right??)  Pinterest (which I love) can create insecurities.  It appears so many moms are doing adorable projects with their kids.  And you may have to duct tape a kid to the wall just to have a moment of sanity.  (JK!  kind of...)

Don't try to please anyone but God.  I made the mistake of trying to please a person who could never be pleased.  I wanted them to be proud of my the expense of my children.  When your focus is on trying to please someone else, you've lost focus on the most important thing.  You're always looking over your shoulder to see if you've gained approval instead of concentrating on meeting the needs of your child.

If you're focused on pleasing only God and training and loving the precious kids you've got for such a short time, it's not going to look like anyone else's life.  I love visiting my kids.  All four of them were raised pretty much the same way under my roof and yet no two are rearing their children the same way.  God is so creative, He can have a different plan for each family!  (And can I tell you I have the 10 most perfect grandchildren ever???)

Relax and enjoy!!  That's my advice for today.  Don't compare.  Just please God...and love those kids!  (And no duct taping...seriously.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Mirror


Have you read this verse and thought about it?  "As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects one person to another."  Proverbs 27:19

I can't tell you the number of times I've gotten aggravated with someone over their idiosyncrasies, habits, flesh, or sin.  It's even just made me mad!  I might have even gone on a rampage or two because of them.  But God, in His faithfulness, has been quick to point out the same things in my own life.  It's humbling, to say the least.

This week, I was getting worked up over an issue I saw in someone else's life.  It was even hard to sleep because I was so angry.  So I started praying for them....and even that wasn't doing the trick.  I was still mad and my thoughts were just swirling.  I'd read this verse just a couple of days before and it was hanging right there in my mind. I'd been told many years ago that when we see something we don't like in someone else, it's a mirror reflecting our own hearts.

I know it wasn't my thoughts which directed me to do this.  I'm not that good.  But instead of being angry, I began praying, "God, change me."  And every time that person or situation came to my mind, I prayed, "God, change me!"  God's been faithful, once again, to point out the blind spot in my own life.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Blessed Woman by Debbie Morris

I highly recommend the book, The Blessed Woman, by Debbie Morris.  This book could easily be read one chapter at a time with a week to digest what you've read.  Debbie uses (mostly) women of the Bible to teach life application we all need...and all involving God's grace.

I think one of my favorite chapters was the chapter on insecurity using Saul as the example.  I had to underline several of her quotes, one of which was, "Saul never truly trusted God's call on his life.  He was always trying to become what he already was.  He felt unworthy to be king so he was constantly trying to prove himself.  But it was a hopeless quest.  None of us qualify for what God has called us to do.  He doesn't even ask us to.  He simply asks us to acknowledge His grace and pursue a relationship with Him.  All He requires is that each of us gives Him our heart, surrenders to His will, and inquires of Him, 'Lord, what do You want me to do?'"

I found many truths in this book I'd never considered before.  Debbie writes with a very easy manner but may hit you upside of the head with truth!  You'll find chapters dealing with children, marriage, pain, submission, waiting and worship, among others.  

I'd give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to WaterBrook Press for providing this book for review. 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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Meet Woobin-Hood

3 years old

I have to preface this story with another.  Years ago, I heard the story of Ti-Fam for the first time during a Good News Club my mom taught.  Ti-Fam was a true story of a witch doctor's daughter in Haiti.  It's an exciting story with lots of cliff hangers.  I loved this story!!  And Haiti became a permanent part of my life because of it.  I even taught this story years later to my own children and our church kids.  Ti-Fam was taught by Granny Turnbull at the Baptist Haiti Mission in Kenscoff.  That ministry is still going today.  I contacted this mission after the earthquake in Haiti several years ago and began following their work.

I'm slow coming into the sponsorship of a child.  Two of my kids sponsor children in other countries as does my brother.  But finally, this year, I decided to jump in!  I wanted to partner with this ministry I've been following.  These children are not orphans...but their parents can't afford to send them to school.  So for $25/month, I can help a child go to school.  Andy & I looked at all of the pictures of the children and couldn't decide on one.  Then we went back and this little boy's name caught my attention---Woobin-Hood!!  I started laughing and told Andy I had to have this child!  Isn't he cute?  And now David tells me I have to find a Wittle John to sponsor along with Woobin-Hood.  The exciting thing is his birthday is upon us--it is September 12.  So I've already gotten to send him a birthday card and plan a party for him and his class through BHM.  

Woobin-Hood is 3-years-old today and has 2 sisters.  His father is a part-time stone mason and his mother sells vegetables out of their garden.  Woobin-Hood hauls water for the family's use.  He'll be starting pre-school this year.

I'm so excited to be a part of the Baptist Haiti Mission ministry that has meant so much to me for 50 years!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I'm so overwhelmed at the moment.  I've just read blogs of two friends who are adopting.  And in both, I see the relentless, pursuing nature of God.  I wish adoption had been a possibility when I was a young mom--but it was more for parents who couldn't have children--or so we thought.  (In fact there were several kids from the Mexico orphanage we went to for 15 years that I wanted to bring home--but they weren't adoptable.)  But I did what I could and adopted a few teenagers for months at a time.  :)

I love what God is stirring in the hearts of this generation!!  I am so confident in the future church.  Their hearts are bigger, they are pro-active, they see no limits.  They are obedient.  And I'm so proud I could bust my buttons!

I may be too old to adopt...but I'm not too old to invest in those who adopt---especially when I know a child will be going to a godly family.  Please open your hearts to do the same!

My life wouldn't be complete without this Ethiopian princess!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dave!

David turns 31 today.  In this photo, he's trying out his new fountain pen at Christmas while Matt & Jay look on.  Today ends our run of week-long birthdays.  David was actually due on July 26 which is Matt's birthday.  Amy's is the 27th.  I begged my doctor to induce David on July 28, but I'm guessing he had a golf game and wouldn't accommodate me.  That would have been way too easy---July 26,27, 28.  And in birth order!  Dangit!!  But little would I know that David was presenting his personality by coming when he did---doing things his way in his own time.  Happy 31st birthday, David Samuel!!