January 26, 2010

What's On My Nightstand: January

What's On Your Nightstand

American Idol & Project Runway have cut into my reading time a little, but here's what's on my nightstand this month:

Anne of Avonlea- I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time a couple of years ago, but didn't realize there was an entire series of books (I know...I must live under a rock!). I went back to visit Anne in the original book earlier this month, and promptly decided to read the rest of the series. (You can read some of my favorite quotes from this book in my new carnival, The Week in Words. While you're there, join in!)

The Westing Game - I believe it was Katrina who mentioned this book, which I'd never heard of. As I always do when I come across a title I don't recognize, I read a synopsis (one reason the Amazon links are so handy!). Somehow I missed this one growing up, too. Since my library had it, I scooped it up.

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence. Look for an upcoming giveaway on this one.

Ransome's Honor. Because, really, you can never have enough 19th Century England in your life!

As my friend Carrie confessed, I have more books than I know what to do with (and an Amazon wish list that grows almost daily!) I should resign myself to the fact that I'll never read them all. But it will sure be fun to try.

You can visit 5 Minutes for Books to see other lists & get great ideas. What are YOU reading these days?

January 25, 2010

The Week in Words


Welcome to the first post of The Week in Words! Didn't Leah make a cute button? For your post, grab the code in my sidebar (and feel free to put it in your own sidebar).

Did you have fun looking for quotes this week? I know I did! Let's get this carnival started!

~"She looked like a collision between a fashion plate and a nightmare." ~Mr. Harrison (Anne of Avonlea, Chapter V)

~"You're never safe from being surprised till you're dead." ~Rachel Lynde (Anne of Avonlea, Chapter VIII)

~"She can put a whole sermon, text, comment, and application, into six words, and throw it at you like a brick." ~Mr. Harrison about Mrs. Lynde (Anne of Avonlea, Chapter IX)
 ~For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. - Romans 7:18 (ESV) If Paul struggled, why should I think I won't?

There are plenty of other quotes I could give, but these were the highlights of the week. The first three made me laugh out loud. The last brought introspection and gratitude for my Savior.

Remember to leave your link below, to your specific post. I can't wait to read the words that spoke to your heart this week.

January 22, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

I'm so glad it's Friday! My favorites from the week (in no particular order):

2. Burt's Bees Green Tea & Lemongrass Hand Soap. I got a bottle for Christmas. It's yummy!

3. Joy Tea by Tazo. Especially finding it on clearance at Starbucks :-)

4. God's peace in the midst of the storm.

5. And this cutie (Thanks, Leah!)


<center><a href="http://breathoflifeministries.blogspot.com/2010/01/announcing-week-in-words.html/"><img alt="http://breathoflifeministries.blogspot.com/2010/01/announcing-week-in-words.html/" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4056/4293971393_56af1f89ff_o.jpg"/></a>


Don't forget to join us Monday for The Week in Words.

To see what others are enjoying this week, visit Susanne.

January 21, 2010

A Good Read: Dug Down Deep

Recent conversation in our home:

Me: I want to learn to knit.

R: No, you don't.

Me: Yes, I do. Why not?

R: Because it would cut into your reading time, and you won't have that.

That man knows me so well. But how could I possibly read less when there are so many great books in the world? One of which is Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters by Joshua Harris. I'd heard of Harris, who wrote the popular I Kissed Dating Goodbye several years back, but I'd never read anything he's written. After reading Dug Down Deep, I'm a fan.

Harris shares his journey into theology. While theology may be an imposing word to some (admittedly, it was to me), it's important that understand that "Theology matters, because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong...We're either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he's about, or we're basking our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions." (p. 11)  Therefore, as Christians we have no excuse for not finding out exactly what we believe and why it matters.

Harris uses personal stories (and even a few drawings) to illustrate his points about the doctrines of Scripture, the Holy Spirit and sanctification, among others. He points to others who have influenced him along the way, and quotes books I have promptly added to my Amazon wish list. His honesty and comfortable style of writing make this a great resource for anyone just delving into theology. In fact, I'm going to study it with my youth girls, and I'm sure I'll be talking about it a lot around here.

Thanks to Waterbook Multnomah for giving me the chance to review Dug Down Deep.  To find out more, visit their site

January 20, 2010

Announcing The Week in Words

Although I'm not a wordsmith, I love words. Love them. (Just ask anyone who knows me. I've always got plenty to share.) One of the things I enjoy most is seeing how other people put them together. Think about it. A few carefully crafted words can make you laugh, cry, or dream. They can completely change your perspective and your life.

Anyone else?

Lately I've found an abundance of good words from many different sources. Words that have inspired and encouraged me. Words that have spoken to the depths of heart, and words that have made me laugh out loud. Words I want to share.

And I want you to share the words you've found. So I'm creating the "Week in Words" carnival. Playing along is simple, just write a post of the quote(s) that spoke to you during the week (attributed, of course) and link back here. They can be from any written source, i.e. magazine, newspaper, blog, book. The only requirement is that they be words you read.

Let's start on Monday the 25th, shall we?

I won't pretend that I can create some cute button to go with this carnival, but if anyone else can, please do ;-)

January 18, 2010

Scenes from the Week

I appreciate all the sweet words of encouragement in response to my last post. That day, things were pretty grim around here. In some ways, it was a tough week. It was also a good one.

~'Tween hormones have been in full force & effect. Not fun. At all. We've had many (too many) discussions about attitude and choices. This is a critical time in CJ's life, and R & I are feeling the weight of that responsibility. Particularly in the area of her friendships, and what we will/won't allow. I want to stay involved in her life (and know what's going on with her friends), so I'm starting a Bible study for her & a few of her friends. The best part of all is that CJ's eager to start, and the other girls (and their moms!) are excited, too. We'll be using My Best Friend Jesus!: Meditating on God's Truth About True Friendship (Secret Keeper Girl)

~R started his first class. Poor thing, I think it's a bit overwhelming to him. He hasn't been in the classroom in 17 years. I'm so proud of him, though. And I love being able to say that I'm married to a college student!

~I'm constantly looking for new ways to be frugal. I'd forgotten how much menu planning helps me to use all the food. I've thrown in the (paper) towels. I'm researching making my own cleaners after I use what I have. Heck, I'm beginning to feel a wee little bit like Meredith, who wrote this wonderfully insightful post.

~I read an article recently (I think it was in Real Simple, but I'm not certain) about a woman who saved all of her $5 bills.  Every time she got one, she stuffed it in an envelope. Later, she opened a bank account with the money & continued to collect the $5 bills. In something like two years, she'd saved nearly $3,000 for a family vacation. She didn't even feel a pinch. I've decided to give it a try. Of course, I have to adopt a "more cash and less debit card" philosophy, but that's not a bad thing, either.

~I'm curling up with an old friend, Anne of Green Gables.

~American Idol and Project Runway are back!

~I'm taking next week off from work to reorganize my home, to be capped off by a weekend visit with close friends. It's the only reason I'm looking forward to the end of January, which is one of my favorite months.

As you can see, nothing terribly exciting going on here. What's new with you?

January 12, 2010


Over the past few days, I've plunged into a steep downward spiral. Plans we made, certain we were following God's plan, have met with obstacles and aren't working out. Unexpected, large expenses are cropping up like dandelions. It's overwhelming.

Yesterday, I pleaded with Jesus to just come on back. Even though I'd just read Genesis 21:1-2 in my Bible reading plan (BTW - this plan is great!), and seen God keep His promise. Even though I know God is faithful. Even though I say that I trust Him. I was feeling crushed.

Which is why I suppose God has brought me to the Year of Faith & Freedom. I didn't start out looking for resources or Bible verses on faith & freedom, but let me tell you, He's already speaking volumes! Isn't that just like Him? Not only has He used the Bible reading plan to put me exactly where I need to be at exactly the time I need to be there, but He's also using my quiet time to breathe some life-changing truth into my soul:

~Scripture must be the final rule of faith and practice for our lives. Not our feelings or emotions. - Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters (I CANNOT recommend this book enough!)

~Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.- Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)

~No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. - Romans 4:20-21 (ESV)

I'm praying that my heart will absorb His truth. That His Word will pierce my soul and give me a deeper understanding of who He is. That I won't miss a single baby step. That, above all, He will be glorified.

January 6, 2010

Steps of Faith

I wish I knew how many hours I spent playing Mother May I as a girl. Bunny hops, skips, giant steps, and those dreaded baby steps. I hated those. I mean, how could I possibly win if I was reduced to taking mere baby steps?

Sadly, I'm not sure my attitude has changed all that much.  I approached the Year of Faith and Freedom with visions of giant leaps of faith. I guess I thought that beginning January 1st, Jesus would ask me to do some pretty amazing things that would challenge and stretch me hurdle me over the obstacles in our path to freedom. So far, nothing.

I don't know what He's waiting for. Doesn't He understand that I'm ready to GET.ON.WITH.IT.ALREADY?!?!

Yet here I am, taking baby steps. In fact, our life is filled with them:

~R is registering for a college class. Just one. Making sure he's on the right track before barreling ahead full speed.

~While we still have two incomes, we're cutting back in small increments and allowing ourselves time to adjust before moving ahead with more. Trying to put ourselves in the best financial position we possibly can.

~Making the Word a priority by reading through the Bible with this group.  I've tried this before, but never made it very far. This is the time. I'm excited about a plan that gives me a "grace period" every month & the accountability of a group.

~Limiting computer and television time.

~Getting back into a schedule of menu planning and making our home a sanctuary. Now, more than ever, the three of us need to feel that home is a special place where we can block out the world.

Baby steps are more deliberate, more time consuming, and not nearly as flamboyant or audacious as giant leaps.  Yet they allow me to spend more time with Jesus, to linger with Him along the way and get to know Him more intimately. Baby steps will make this journey sweeter, richer, and completely worth it.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith,and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
-Hebrews 10:35-39, ESV (emphasis mine)

January 4, 2010

Classics Bookclub for 2010

Classics Bookclub

Well, I'm terribly late to the party...the new Classics Bookclub signup at 5 Minutes for Books. We're shaking things up a bit, and allowing you to choose which classics you want to read. Since Classics can be a little daunting, I'm thankful we only have to read one a quarter. Here's my list, in no particular order.

Villette. This lesser known work of Charlotte Bronte's looks more interesting to me than Jane Eyre (although I should probably give Jane Eyre another chance.)

Anne of Green Gables. My daughter got a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas, and I promptly talked her into buying Anne. I think I'll suggest that we read it aloud this winter. What a fun treat for both of us!

Little Women. CJ is reading the Classics Start version of this now. We recently watched the movie together. I love the March girls, and can't wait to re-read this one.

Sense And Sensibility. Alas, I haven't read anything by Dear Jane in a while. I barely remember this one (though I watched the Emma Thompson movie not too long ago.) I'm looking forward to digging into this one, too.

Are you up for the challenge? Let me know, and be sure to sign up at 5 Minutes for Books.

January 1, 2010

Hello, 2010

How do I sum up 2009? To borrow a line from Dickens, It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I watched God absolutely astound me by preparing me for and taking me to Peru, a trip which consumed the first half of the year. A week after my return, the great bathroom disaster hit. The next 3 months were spent with my life in an uproar as my home was literally in shambles. Then, in October, the news that R would be losing his job overshadowed everything.

But God...

Now, as I sit on the cusp of a new decade, I wonder what God has in store. He stretched me far in the past decade (particuarly the past year), sometimes to the point I felt I would break. Yet I have learned that it's only when I am at my weakest that I realize exactly how strong He is. I need that strength!

 I told R last night, I don't mind being on this side of his job loss (which is still impending at this point) and I won't mind being on the other side of it. I just don't want to go through it. I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone besides me, but I have to admit that I'm a little apprehensive about this entire journey.

Still, I know that He is faithful. I know that He is good. I know that He is bigger than the job and the finances and the fear.

Today is the first step of the Year of Faith and Freedom.  I don't know where we're going, but I do know that God will be there every step of the way.