Book Review

>> Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good Morning, Lord: I Don't Know Where You're Going Today, But I'm Going with You


Good Morning, Lord: I Don't Know Where You're Going Today, But I'm Going with You by Sheila Walsh is cute on a couple of levels - to look at and to feel. Also, the pages inside are nicely decorated. This devotional for women has two pages per day where you can read a short story that starts out with "Today I will...", then there there are questions and space for personal reflection. Included with each daily chapter, there is a short prayer and a scripture. 


This was a fast read to just go through the stories, but now I will go back through and spend time with the Lord, reflecting on the questions and scripture...praying my way through the book, as was intended. This is not intended to be a bible study book, just a morning devotional. What a pretty and encouraging way to start the day. 


I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze book review bloggers program. 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 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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Book Review

>> Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory


This is a beautiful, wonderful book that can be kept in your own library, used as a coffee table book, or given as a special gift.  It is full of fantastic images taken from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and credit is given to God through quotes by Christian writers or using scripture.

I think this book would be intriguing to any age group, especially with the colorful and inspiring images.  To think that these pictures, if you can even call them that, were taken in the Milky Way, which 100,000 light years across.  That is 600,000,000,000,000,000 miles!  Unbelievable...  A definite plus to the library.

Disclosure statement: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Book Review

Outlive Your Life

Max Lucado's new book takes the reader through the book of Acts. We learn to challenge ourselves as Christians and the Church to reach out to others that we come into contact with. The book's proceeds are 100% donated, which is very admirable. It is written with Max Lucado style, but in the case of this book, it seems to not finish well. The book is motivational, including plenty of scripture and starts each chapter with a prayer. 


Disclosure statement: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Book Review

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect


The Butterfly Effect really gives you something to think about in your own life. It tells the story of how one man's decision affected the outcome of the Civil War, but backing up even further than that, how decisions were made before his life and generation that affected him. 


The question becomes: How many decisions are made by us daily that affect us and those around us? Do we have a profound effect on history by some small movement we make in our life today, tomorrow, yesterday? Will we ever know if we made a difference? 


This is a small gift book that holds beautiful illustrations and a thought provoking story. It's definitely worth the 30 minutes to an hour that you might spend reading it. 


Disclosure statement: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Book Review

>> Tuesday, August 10, 2010

THE EDGE OF THE DIVINE by Sandi Patty


Sandi opens the book with her account of going through a visit to the bariatric surgeon's office and you think the whole book is going to be on that topic.  Thankfully, it's not!  When I chose the book by it's title, I had hoped for something more spiritual and got it.  She defines the word edge as "the point at which something is likely to happen", and she uses that word to explain many life experiences where she has made decisions that have brought her closer to God.


She shares her life, her God, her faithfulness, her fears, her family; all as if you were an old friend and catching up with her in her living room for an extended weekend.  Other than her public "star" power, Sandi's life is not much different than ours; she has the divorce, kids, new husband, depression, weight problems, etc., just like the rest of us.


Sandi does have a lot to share biblically and I will probably refer back to the book for some of those scriptures.  There are also Questions for Discussion and Individual Reflection at the end of the book that are very good.  The book was a very quick read - I read it in an afternoon.  Very enjoyable.


Disclosure statement: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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My Loves - The Four-Legged Kind

>> Friday, July 23, 2010

I thought I would introduce you to my four-legged loves today....

This is Missy - a salt & pepper schnauzer, she's our old girl at 14 yrs, and always sleeping in some strange position.  



Sammy, our boy, is a Shih Tzu mix, 4 yrs old and he is a love; be careful, he'll either lick you to death or bark at you until you say uncle!



Then, finally, our Porscha, a black schnauzer, 3-1/2 yrs, that is the mother hen of all.  She makes sure all is right with the other two when they are outside and keeps track of us, too.


I can't begin to tell you what it means to have these loving creatures by my side every day.  They never ask for anything but love, and what little price to pay in return for all the love they give.




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Book Review

>> Saturday, July 10, 2010

CAST OF CHARACTERS by Max Lucado

What a wonderful book!  It was enjoyable and interesting to read.  It was also quick reading - I finished it in 2 days.

Max Lucado is a superb author; teaching you something all the time.  Cast of Characters is a compilation of his writings and I want to read every book those writings come from.  He tells stories from scripture using the characters for each chapter like Joseph, the Samaritan Woman, John, Peter, and others.  At the end of every chapter, there are reflection questions - excellent!

Overall, this book is very thought provoking.  If you are a Christian, I believe you can become stronger in your faith.  If you are not a Christian, this is a definite read - you will benefit from Max's explanation of characters in the bible that you may have heard about all your life, but never knew the full story.

Disclosure statement:  I received the book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Book Review

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

EVERYONE COMMUNICATES, FEW CONNECT  by John Maxwell


This book peaks your interest from the dust jacket and inside cover with the many, many pictures of people, which turn out to be subjects of John's research, all the way through the end of the book.

John offers valuable insights to becoming better communicators as well as better listeners.  No matter who you are and who your audience is, you can communicate with them.  It takes practice...it will not happen overnight, but you can acquire the skills necessary to reach your family as well as those in business or friends or church or even a stranger on the street.  This communication will improve relationships vastly and your life will become more successful and enjoyable.

The book is easy to read; the principles for communication are given and clearly stated.  You can't help but learn from a renown leadership expert like John Maxwell. Just take the time to read the book.

Disclosure statement: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Kick in the Pants

>> Saturday, June 26, 2010

The title says it all.  A fellow blogger, Gitzen Girl, has put up a challenge and given a kick in the pants.  The challenge is to give ourselves permission to be creative at least one day a week and report on it.  We don't always have to be busy doing things like the laundry, housework, etc...you get the drift.  Well, I have something blocking my creativity and it's driving me nuts!!!   We moved in Dec 2009 and I am on my third and final load of boxes to go through in the garage.

It is a mountain and keeping us from putting our cars in the garage where they belong.  If you have ever been to Texas and experienced the summer heat, you will understand why we want our cars in the garage!  Yesterday it was 98 degrees with a heat index of 105.  I know it's worse in other parts of the country, but we're dealing with it here and a car gets really hot sitting in the sun all day, let alone the wear and tear on the upholstery.

The fact that this is the third and final load is embarrassing, but we moved a lot of things that were from my parents home from before my mom died in 2007.  I admit I was hanging on to some of the stuff as a way to hang on to mom, and then some of it my dad wasn't ready to get rid of at the time.  Then the rest of the stuff was mine that I needed to go through and didn't before we moved.

Now it's too hot to go through it in the garage, so my husband is going to move a lot of it to the formal living room so I can go through it in the air conditioned house during the hot days.  Like the other two loads, a lot of it will go to the charity thrift shop, but when it's all done, given away, put away, whatever the case may be, I will feel so much better.

So, here's the deal.  I'm going to post pictures of my full garage and my empty living room right now, and then keep you updated as the piles go down, up or away.  And hopefully, we'll see an empty living room and cars in the garage eventually.  It's not going to happen overnight, but it will happen, or I will go crazy!!!



Scary, huh?




The red & green boxes have Christmas "stuff" in them...




Can't be claustrophobic and go in there!



That gray cabinet actually belongs there!




You think there's enough room?




Already started moving some boxes in...




You don't see any dust, do you?


This.is.achievable!  
I.can.do.this!

I will remember my limits though.  Fibromyalgia and chronic pain keep me at a certain pace that I don't always want to keep.  If I overdo it, my body lets me know...

Until next time,
Keep it from the heart,
Nan



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The Top Sheet

>> Saturday, June 19, 2010

While I was on my extended vacation in Iowa, I visited my aunt in a care center in Marion.  For those of you not familiar with Iowa or the Cedar Rapids area, Marion is situated between Cedar Rapids and Anamosa. I'm sure you know exactly where it is now, right?  Anyway, I visited several times, but on the second visit, I took Aunt Virginia a new quilt for her bed and discovered she didn't have a top sheet on her bed.  She had a bottom sheet, but no top sheet and her roommate didn't have one either.  Well, I immediately went to the nursing desk and asked if that was standard procedure.  They said it was not and would correct the situation.  So, as we left, someone was coming into her room to put the top sheets on the beds.

On our next visit, there was no top sheet on her bed again, but her roommate had one.  I was getting a little frustrated and marched myself up to the nursing desk again.  They assured me it must have been the fault of the first shift and they would get the sheet on the bed.  Now you have to understand, Aunt Virginia has dementia setting in, so she is probably not aware that she has no top sheet at times...she just knows she has covers, be it a blanket, quilt, etc.

The remainder of our visits were always a mystery...was there going to be a top sheet today?  On only two occasions was there a top sheet on her bed and one of those days they didn't manage to get the quilt on the bed.  I'm sure the nursing staff was sure glad when the niece from Texas didn't come for visits anymore, but my aunt(her sister) and uncle(her brother) that visit her all the time are now aware of the problem and they are going to continue to follow up on the top sheet crisis.

I know the staff at care centers are typically overworked and underpaid, but the dignity of the patients should be preserved at all costs, no matter their state of mind.  I doubt they leave the top sheets off their beds.  Do you have a top sheet on your bed?  Think about it when you get into bed tonight...I think about it every night now.

Until next time,
Keep it from the heart,
Nan

"God, the one and only - I'll wait as long as He says.  Everything I need comes from Him, so why not?  He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle; I'm set for life."  Psalm 62:1-2 (The Message)

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Faith & Fear

>> Friday, May 21, 2010

Since my last post, God has been showing me all the ways I should be letting go and giving my fear to Him.  In the blogs I read and my bible readings and even the books I'm reading.  I know all this is right to begin with and with all this gentle prodding from God, I am becoming stronger and stronger in my faith that He is the one to handle my fears.  NOT ME.  I have to TRUST Him to deliver me from the evil I fear.  He IS enough.

The next couple of weeks I am on vacation with my father in Iowa.  He is aging and has been driving himself from Texas to Iowa to see his brothers/sisters for the past few years.  This year he didn't feel confident enough to make the trip alone, so he asked me to help him drive.  Since I don't work, I am able to stay the three weeks or so that he wants to stay.  Actually, I think he would stay longer if it was just him, but since we are leaving the dogs in my husband's care, dad is coming home sooner.  Dad doesn't like them left alone too long during the day, but my husband has to work.  I won't let him retire!

There was a dinner last evening for my dad's high school graduating class at the Hale Supper Club.  They meet at different places around Anamosa, IA (where my dad is from) each month and have a great time.  There's lots of talking and laughing and eating.  Last night there were 21 attending, 19 of them over the age of 80 - two of us were daughters - it was wonderful to see them enjoying each other's company and telling stories on each other.




 My dad - doesn't he look hungry????





And my Aunt Vernice tagged along with us too!

I feel very fortunate to have time with family, no matter how old or young.  We grew up away from all of them...we were the "rebels" - my dad was in the service and then worked on the space program. So we didn't live in Iowa near the family...we just visited.  We did come to live for awhile, but the whole family didn't stay and we missed them, so we moved back to Texas...crazy, huh?  What were we thinking????  I miss it so much!!  I miss the family and I miss our friends.  One day...

Until next time,
Keep it from the heart,
Nan

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Fear

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

I fear.


I fear everything.


I fear I don't pray enough or hard enough.


I fear I don't trust God enough.


I fear pain.


I fear my pain will never go away.


I fear people. (Sometimes even those closest to me.)


I fear being subjected to the looks I get when I don't meet other's standards.


I fear rejection.




There you have it.  The source of my anxieties: fear.  It doesn't seem like one should have all that fear if they trust in God, right?  Well, I do trust in God...with all my heart!  Is it enough?  I don't know...it has to be enough for me, right now, right at this point in my life, as I continue to grow my faith in Christ.  I'm doing what I can to do that and I know I'm fighting a battle with Satan along the way...I'm sure it's one you all experience or have experienced.  


I stay in prayer, read my bible, read Christian books, and I have found a new source of uplifting in my day through the many blogs I have I had the privilege to become acquainted with on the net.  I know God has led me this direction and He will continue to lead me in whatever direction I need to qualm my fears and anxieties.  He is enough.


I want to share this:


Our Work Is To Believe
The work that God requires of us is to believe, and believing requires that we cleave to, trust in, rely on, and have faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ.  If we truly have faith in God, if we truly lean our entire personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness, we will not be anxious or worried.  We will quit trying to build ourselves and will allow Him to build us and equip us.  (Author Unknown)


Until next time,
Keep it from the heart,
Nan

ISIAH 43:1-4
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

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Ultimate Blog Party 2010 Hangover

>> Friday, April 16, 2010

Wow, what a week!  I've had so much fun visiting blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog, well, you get the point.  There are so many wonderful and beautiful people in this world!  I was only able to see just a small portion of the more than 2300 bloggers that participated.  The time I did spend at the blogs I did visit was so very special though.  I'll highlight three here that especially touched my heart:


Heart and Soul Reflections
Cherie has a beautiful blog design, which of course, she should because she has a certificate in graphics design.  She is very pretty, has a pretty family and grows pretty flowers.  She even has some pretty pictures she allows you to use on your own blog free.  Oh, and she does other fun and lovely stuff like making jewelry,  scrapbooking, and photography.  She even has some photos she allows you to use on your own blog free.  The thing I like best about her is that she puts the Lord first.  That is very important to me!


Kristi Stephens
To quote Kristi, "the real heartbeat of my blog is the Word of God".  Awesome!  That's all I can say.  She's also addicted to teaching the Word.  She's a great writer, and is currently teaching a bible study series in Revelations.  It's a great study, you should join in!


From Seeds to Sunflowers
Cindy is a beautiful, insightful person.  She is a wonderful writer with a testimony that moves you to tears.  Her love of the Lord is evident at first and follows throughout. She offers bible studies, which I definitely plan to take advantage of in the near future.


All of the blogs I visited were designed so smartly, I decided to get a little makeover and picked up a free blog template that was designed especially for the UBP10 from Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates.  I think it's so pretty, don't you?


I can only hope my blog will grow up to be like some of the ones I saw this week!  Gimme time...  :o)


Until next time,
Keep it from the heart,
Nan




LORD, you establish peace for us;
       all that we have accomplished you have done for us.  Isaiah 26:12


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Spring Fever

>> Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Spring!


Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party 2010!  I want to tell you a little about myself that the sidebar doesn't cover.  I am first and foremost a Christian and I love God and know He provides for my every need.  I'm also a career woman turned stay-at-home wife due to disabilities called fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome.  My husband is a wonderful man who is patient and loving, and takes wonderful care of me when I need it.  I have three children and many grandchildren, I love to read, and love all things electronic.  I'm a beginner blogger, but I will get there!   


At this point we're supposed to request the giveaways we most like to get if we were to get one.  I don't have children at home so I just kind of "wished" for books or gift cards...no mommy stuff.  The number one thing on my list is a Human Hands Foot and Calf Massager, which I'd love to win for my husband since he has diabetes and really bad neuropathy because of it.  I think it would be something that would help him a lot.  My giveaway wish list is: US101, USC47, US60, US10, US31  and anything else would be alright as long as it's not for babies!


God has been blessing us with beautiful weather here in Central Texas.  We were so ready!  It was such a wet, cold winter for us at the end and we aren't used to that.  We can leave the doors open now, which the doggies just love.  They run in and out, bark at and chase the squirrels that come into their yard, and then there's always some other stuff to bark at that we can never see or hear, of course.  Fortunately, none of us have allergies, so the high oak pollen hasn't bothered us like so many poor people.  It is so thick on the cars and in the air, it's just unreal!


My brother has been having problems with congestive heart failure since before the first of the year, and there was even some talk of heart transplant because his heart was working so poorly.  The doctor decided to electro cardioversion to get his heart rhythm back to normal, but discovered that he had blood clots in his heart, so he had to go on a regimen of diuretics for 6 weeks and wear a defib vest until they could see if the blood clots would dissolve and they could try the procedure again.  Well, I can tell you, many prayers went out for him and God in His wonderful grace answered them all.  They did the procedure two weeks ago and it was a complete success.  He is only 52 with a family that still needs him.  Before this he didn't feel like he could get the breath to walk across the room...now he wants to try a short round of golf...God is good!


I have been reading a book called "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrnes.  It's basically about positive thinking.  The basis is "the law of attraction" - what you think or do will come around to you.  It's a very interesting read if you get to it.


A friend came to visit me in March.  This is not just a friend...she is a very special friend that I have known since 5th grade.  I'm about to turn 53.  The last time I saw her was in 1981.  I have thought of her so many times through the years, especially on her birthday every year.  When I started social networking last year, I looked and looked for her, but didn't know her married name and her maiden name is very common, so I really didn't have too much luck.  Well, in February I heard from her...can you believe it!!!!  She was able to find me when her sister finally talked her into signing up for facebook.  She didn't know my married name either, but I have a very uncommon maiden name.  She lives appx. 3 miles from where we were living before we moved in Dec and has lived in that area all these years.  We talked about all the years we've lost, but then realized that God is bringing us together in this season of our life for a reason.  We may never know the reason or it may become apparent to us at some point in time, but either way, we are glad to have found each other.  It's hard to explain, but the best way I can say it is that our lives feel complete.  


Until next time,
Keep it from the Heart...
Nan


“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:6-8 NIV

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Restart!

>> Sunday, March 14, 2010

Well, Daylight Savings Time weekend seems like a good time to get my blog restarted...  We got moved in December, finally, and I must say it did not go off smoothly.  My husband, Dale, had some health problems that put him in the hospital the first two weeks of Dec...yes, I said the first two weeks of Dec.  We moved on the 15th, so needless to say, he was unable to help much the day of the move.  After he recuperated, later in the month, he hit it really hard, but it really made the move long and drawn out.  We didn't celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense like with a tree and the decorations...we didn't really know where they were!  But we have things under control now and living comfortably in our little town of Navasota, TX.  If we need to go to a Super Walmart or a Super Target, we have to drive 23 miles to College Station (home of the Texas A&M Aggies), but it really is a nice drive...rolling hills and trees and clear skies...none of that in Houston.  Such is the country life!

I've been getting more and more active in Twitter, come follow me at nanreflections...

I don't remember if I've mentioned that I suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but I do.  I try to think of it as enduring rather than suffering...it sounds better, a little more positive anyway.  I have a cousin who also has fibromyalgia and chronic pain.  Have to keep it all in the family, you know. :-)  Her blog is listed on my page here as Faith, Family, and Fibromyalgia - you should go there - her blog is very fun and interesting, follow it as you can.

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain are very debilitating and keep us from working like we would if we could.  We have to rest a lot and very many people don't understand these illnesses.  In my case, the doctor has yet to find any medications effective for the pain.  I do better in the spring and fall, when the temperatures are milder, but extreme cold and extreme heat tend to send me to bed!  I love to garden and I can only watch any more with the exception of my few potted plants.  It's very frustrating, but I'm very fortunate that my loved ones are understanding and let me do what I can when I can, then they pick up the slack.  I'm very blessed!

I'm going to close for the night, so until next time,
Keep it from the Heart
Nan

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."    (Romans 1:16-17 NIV)

Read more...
The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

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