Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Double Minds by Terry Blackstock  was the book club book of the month. I’ll admit this would not have been a book I would’ve had chosen mostly because I’ve not read a mystery in a long time. With that being said, I’m super glad the book club chose it and I read it. It was a pretty good light read. Double Minds tells the story of Parker a Christian songwriter and aspiring vocalist. Her best friend Serene is a raising Christian star on the verge of signing a record deal with a secular label. The story starts with a murder at Colgate studio where Parker works and Serene records.

This story wonderfully weaves a story of self-discovery and growth. The story is a great reminder that even Christian’s aren’t perfect and have faults. The title Double Minds applies expertly to many of the books characters. Overall I really enjoyed this story.

I saw two downfalls to the story. The first one is the awkward transition from not on tour to tour and the transfer of money to Parker from Tiffany. The other downfall was the number of errors on the Kindle version. I’m one to hardly ever notice and/0r to provide a bad review for a few errors in a Kindle version. This book was horrible. Almost every time the word Christian was written Chris was before it. For example, it would say “the Chris Christian music industry”. That got very annoying to read over and over. The book also didn’t divide up conversations appropriate running different people’s statements together. This made parts of the book very confusing. Overall, the story is good.

I recommend reading but get it in hardcopy not on the Kindle. I would recommend it to anyone who liked Christian novels and Mysteries. This author is a Christian author and there are (obviously) Christian themes and conversations in the book. If those things put you off, you probably won’t want to read it.

IF reviewing simply the story I would give it 4 out 5 bookends, if I were reviewing simply the kindle version (considering typos and formatting issues), I would give it a 2 out of 5 of bookends.

What have you been reading lately? Anything good? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy Reading!

20131012_085440(This is me right before a local run that supports local woman with young children who have breast cancer)

It’s funny how you can wake-up one day to find yourself somewhere you never thought you’d be. I went from pretty much hating jogging and avoiding it at all costs to now, loving it. Before the thought of actually jogging would make my palms sweat. If asked to jog, I’d chuckle and say, “Yeah, there’s no way that’s gonna happen”. My actual journey to jogging, well that’s for another post. A post, I really should write. What I will say is that I’m glad God pressed upon my heart to begin jogging. Had I avoided his urging, I would not only be missing out on something I truly love but also all the health benefits!

I’ve been jogging for 2 summers or 1.5 years. I’ve truly embraced it and get a bit cranky when I don’t get my jog in. I’m not naturally sports inclined. I’m certainly not fast.I am however, determined. Most importantly I enjoy jogging. I started jogging as part of my healthy kick. A little over 2 years ago I’d decided it was time for me to lose weight. I started watching my diet and in the following January, I started exercising on my elliptical. A couple of months later I was talked into training for a 5K. And well, the rest is, as they say, history.

In the last two years I’ve done 7 5k’s and 1 10K. I’m hoping to almost double the number of 5K’s next year by starting earlier in the season, thus training all winter long. My goal is to do at least 2 10K’s next year. In the back of my mind, I’ve got this nagging thought I should consider doing a 1/2 marathon. But, that won’t be next year, I have plan and train for that!


Anyways, none of that really answers the question, Why do I do it? Here are the reason’s I jog:

1) Accomplishment: Since I never thought I would seriously be a jogger, I hated it after all, I’ve found an amazing sense of accomplishment when I’ve reached one of my goals. My first goals were to simply jog for 90 seconds and now I’ve achieved the goal of completing a 10K. That I’m proud of. It feels great to know that I’ve reached a goal and can set another, and another.

2) Reflection: I mostly enjoy jogging alone. This is mostly because it’s hard to find someone who can jog at my pace. Since I jog alone, jogging gives me time to be alone with my thoughts as well. I have plenty of time to reflect on things and to make decisions. Some of my best ideas came while I was jogging.

3) Relaxation: Jogging is one of the first things I think about when I need to de-stress and relax. I love this healthy outlet for relaxation. If I get irritated I slip on my shoes, put in my ear buds, and go. When I come back, I feel relaxed and have a better mindset to make decisions or address my stresses.

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4) A good example: My children are acutely aware of my jogging, especially my daughter. In fact, she recognizes my jogging clothes and shoes. She’ll often ask me if I’m going jogging if she sees I’m wearing the gear. She’s noticing my efforts at staying healthy and physically fit. I know I’m making an impression that I hope lasts a lifetime for my children.

5) My body is a temple: As a Christian, it’s important for me to remember that God gave me this body. I am to take good care of it. Part of doing that is maintaining a healthy life-style. Not just by eating right but also by exercising. We’re instructed to not be sloths or lazy but to be active! So, jogging is a great way for me to honor God and focus on staying healthy.

Are you a jogging/runner? Do you have an exercise you enjoy? I’d love to hear why you do it?

When I find a Bible verse that I especially like or one that speaks to me, I like to write it down for future reference. I keep a few on my work desk for reference and I have some bound that I keep in my purse to help me kids memorize verses. The problem is, my index cards in my purse are always buried or falling out everywhere. I really like having verses handy but haven’t found a great way to organize them and to make it less messy.

This fall, we’ve been focused on organizing our life. Everything is taking a hit and being organized from our financial to our over all house. I’m very proud of us even though I feel like we’ve got a long way to go! One of the biggest things is getting rid of some of the clutter and extra stuff. I’ve been sorting and resorting through kids clothes. Re-thinking our kitchen dishes, do we really need 3 full plate sets?

While cleaning I came upon my old business card holder. Now this was an essential piece of work equipment when I was the director of nursing. I always had my business cards handy was pawning them off to everyone in hopes of strumming up some business for the small skilled facility. Since leaving that job, I’ve not really had a use for it. As I pulled out the old business card and my heartache for a job I poured my heart and soul into. My mind went to my Bible verses and I came up with this idea. A way to keep my verses handy with less clutter.


Business Card Bible Verses

I simply cut down index cards to the size of business cards. Then I wrote my verses onto the cards. Presto! I now have an easily portable Bible verses.


I’m planning on using this one for myself, but it would be a great gift for someone. If you give it as a gift you can add a sticky note with a personal message attached to the inside cover or add it in replacement of a Bible verse. Other ways you could use this idea as a gift by writing daily affirmations, things you respect/like about the person, famous quotes, etc.

We had our first garden this last summer. It was quite the experience and I completely enjoyed it. My family had a lot of fun growing and eating. In fact, now my kids want to save every single seed they come upon. We have enough pumpkin seeds to grow a small pumpkin patch next year. We have several apple seeds to grow half-a-dozen apple trees. Problem is, we live in a city so we don’t have the room to have a pumpkin patch or a orchard! I do love their enthusiasm and the learning that has taken place.

We’ve not taken down and cleaned out the garden. As I look back over last summer, I know I’ve learned a lot. As I look forward to next year, I know I’ve got a few things to change.


Lessons Learned:

Boy has this first year taught me a few things! Here’s a quick list of lessons I learned:

1) Start planting earlier- middle of May

2) Inside sprouting happens very quickly- within a week!

3) Consider plant shading when planting- my tomatoes were overshaded by my cucumbers

4) Herbs are better inside- none of my herbs grew 😦

5) Non-organic seeds grew better- non of the organic seeds grew

Changes for next year:

1) Will plant my tomatoes and cucumbers further away from each other

2) Will plant more tomatoes and cucumbers

3)  Will have 1 child at a time helping with planting the seeds

4) Will plant squash

5) Will use a wooden bed (if I can get my husband on board with this!)

Did you do a garden this year? What lessons did you learn? What do you plan to do differently next year? I’d love to hear from you, so please share any gardening tips you have.

I use to read sci-fi/fantasy books all the time. I grew-up loving this genre and continued to enjoy it well into my college years. In fact my husband introduced me to one of my favorite fantasy series while in college. Every once in a while I have to pull it out and re-read it. That’s what a good book is all about, the connection to the characters and places. Re-reading a good book is like coming home and finding your best friends sitting around your table with a warm cup of coffee. It’s the comfort of a warm blanket on a cold night.

When I saw new fantasy options from Bethany House in their blogging for books section, I was excited! I couldn’t wait to choose one of the books.

Here is my review of Dragonwitch by Anne Elizabeth Stengl

This is not the first book in the series, it is the 5th in the series with a 6th coming out in 2014. I’ve not read any of the previous books. The story follows some unlikely heroes as they face incredible odds to save a kingdom. Well, a kingdom soon to come. Leta is promised to marry a young lord who believes he will unite the lords and form a kingdom. Alistair, the young lord, is plagued with nightmares and is burdened by the expectation of being king. Chronicler is a young man trained since childhood to record history and official letters for the lord. Most recently, he has begun to teach Alistair to read. Mouse a stranger who is unable to speak the common language but on an important quest to find the future king.  Each have an important role to play. Each of them will learn to grow and development into the person they are destined.

There are several wonderful things about this book and story. First off, it’s a great example of how the least likeliest people can accomplish great things. It’s a story of self-discovery and coming of age. It is a romance with a twist. It encourages us to live beyond our circumstances in life or challenges. All of this wrapped-up in an adventure of daring deeds. I also enjoyed the book as I believe several ages could enjoy this book and walk away with a different perception as it tackles many themes. This is a book you could read several times and walk away with a better knowledge of the story.

There are two drawbacks that I noted. At the beginning of each chapter it gives a snip-it of history. I personally found this very confusing in the beginning trying to fully understand what was happening. In fact, I skimmed reading over it in the first several chapters to avoid confusion. I found as I continued to read, this seemed a bit less confusing. In fact, it helped to provide the background to the story and added some depth. The story was a bit difficult to follow with the changes in point of view and depth of the story. It almost seemed to be telling two different stories at once.

Overall, this was a nice surprise. It did take me a while to get into it and so it did sit on my shelf for a while before I completed. It is an enjoyable read once you get through the first several chapters.

I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. I recommend this book to adult and teenage readers who enjoy fantasy stories.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 bookends.