Soul Tunes

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Energetic joy pulses through Phil Wickham’s new CD, “Children of God.” Ever since the CD came in the mail this week, I have been listening to it three or four times a day — and that says a lot because I am picky about my tunes. The first morning that I played it, my three-year-old son started dancing to “Your Love Awakens Me.” I took a break from folding the laundry to dance along with him. What a good way to start the morning!

For me, this CD has a great combination of upbeat enthusiasm and of worshipful reverence. The praise band at the church I attend sings “This Is Amazing Grace,” from a previous album of his. I highly suspect that praise bands around the country will be inspired by this new CD too.

I typically listen to pop, country, indie, classic rock, and occasionally Christian music. When I do find a Christian CD I like, it stays in heavy rotation. The last Christian CD that I played this much was Erica Campbell’s “Help.” I  also really like Rend Collective. When someone recommends Christian music that sounds amazing, I take note, and I would say this CD ranks right up there with my favorites. In terms of sound and songwriting, “Children of God” is a substantial album.

It has been three years since Wickham has put out a CD. In fact, in 2014 he didn’t know whether or not he would ever be able to sing again. His dependence on God through that period of struggle led to some beautiful music. I was sent this CD in return for my honest review. If you would like to check out the new album, it is available on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify.

 

:) Groove on…

Teresa

 

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately

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This has been the rainy view from my front porch for about three weeks. So thankful the sun is shining this morning!

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EXCITED ABOUT: My husband ordered me a trike as a graduation present for earning my master’s degree this month. I rode it for the first time last night and had a great time once I found a spot that was mostly flat! I never learned to ride a bike, and I had scoliosis surgery when I was 12, so I have rods in my back. If I fall off a regular bike, it would probably have to go to a doctor – so this is my way of having the freedom of riding a bike without worrying. Coasting downhill is pretty awesome on this, and my son even rode in the back basket for a little bit. Going uphill with this bike… not so easy (lol). I want to look into getting some gears put into it sometime, but for now, I really like it.

COOKED: My go-to healthy recipe right now is cauliflower soup. I saute a couple shallots with olive oil in my dutch oven for a few minutes, add a head of cauliflower broken into florets, and continue to saute for about four minutes. Then I add homemade bone broth (I make mine in the crock pot overnight) or a box of chicken stock if I don’t have time for bone broth, along with a good sprinkle of garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne, nutmeg, and s&p. I bring the pot to a boil and then simmer it for about 20 minutes. Next, I put the soup into the food processor in batches and puree until smooth. I top my bowl of soup with dried chives, tarragon, red pepper flakes, and a few croutons. I eat this for lunch pretty often.

My favorite recipe that I always recommend to people is engagement chicken. Also, I came up with a burger concoction that my husband likes recently. I make grass-fed burgers, top them with sauerkraut and melt muenster cheese on top. I serve that with a toasted bun and thousand island dressing. It’s a riff on a Reuben.

DRANK: My favorite thing to drink right now is Blackberry Tea from Logan’s Steakhouse. It has lemon, lime, and blackberry in it. It’s really good! It would be pretty easy to duplicate at home.

BIBLE JOURNALING:  I am reading along with 10 Minutes a Day for God. Here’s the link to the first day’s email if you would like to read along too. I’m taking a break from posting my journaling on my blog each week for awhile because I want to focus on God rather than meeting a certain quota. I promise I will post more Bible journaling later though!

READ: I’m currently reading an inspiring, refreshing Christian book, Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly and Haley Morgan, on my Kindle. I’m going to be posting a review on my blog soon. I am definitely being blessed by the wisdom in this book. I was also really happy with the Women’s Fitness magazine with Gina Rodriguez on the cover this month (love her). Mary Oliver’s new book of poetry is wonderful too.

LISTENED TO: I thought this podcast of The Simple Show about spiritual practices was excellent. I’ve been listening to Steve Martin and Edie Brickell a lot. I saw their musical, Bright Star, at the Kennedy Center in December and fell in love with it.

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ADVENTURES: We went to Medieval Times for Mother’s Day and cheered for the red knight. Moms got in for free for Mother’s Day this year. My son loved seeing the horses and the falcon, and he was obsessed with the little flashing star sword that we bought him to wave.

WISHED: For a pair of wide-calf rainboots. I still have not found a pair that I like, and it seems like none are getting great reviews on Amazon.

ENJOYED: Our library is offering Quigong classes, and I tried a free one this week. It’s sort of like Tai Chi, but I think it’s easier. While I did the Quigong class, my husband played with my son in the children’s section of the library. It was a fun evening for all of us. Since I have rods in my back, I’ve always felt left out by all the people doing yoga, but this is something I can do with my back, so the class was affirming.

MADE: I’m catching up my Project Life scrapbook with lots of photos and memories. Project Life is a quick and cute way to do memory keeping.

WORKED ON:  Potty training. Enough said.

BIG GOAL: I am walking 20 miles each week with the Leslie Sansone 5 Mega Miles DVD. I think this is one of Leslie Sansone’s best DVDs, and I own several of her others. She incorporates HIIT training and resistance bands. I can always do all the moves on Leslie’s DVDs without having to modify them for my back.

pete catBOUGHT: A swing so that my son and I can swing outside together. I also bought a cute board game called “Pete the Cat” that I’ve modified so that my son and I can play together. He likes to use the spinner, count the right number of buttons to put in his jar, and tell me what colors the buttons are. When he gets a little older, I figure I will teach him how to play it the right way. The game looks like an artwork.

FELT: Inspired by this image of planets that NASA found. The article is here.

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DISCOVERED: The phrase “choose joy” has been meaningful to me lately. It is a choice to make daily.

Hope your spring is off to a good start.

xoxo Teresa

Reflecting

I’ve enjoyed sharing my Bible journaling journey with you over the past four months. Hopefully you have been encouraged through the winter. It has been fun to express my faith in this way; Bible journaling has brought me comfort and challenged me at the same time.

As summer approaches, I’ve decided to take a break from my weekly Bible journaling posts. I want to enjoy the warm days with my son, cherish our time together, and Bible journal just for personal reflection as the spirit leads. I plan on writing some posts and doing book reviews over the summer, so you will still hear from me. In the meantime, looking back, here are a few of my favorites from the past four months.

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On a personal note, I am just wrapping up my master’s degree, so this summer will be a much needed break. After church yesterday, my family went out for Thai food and then saw a new Mucha exhibit at a local art gallery, which was definitely inspiring to me. My favorite piece in the exhibit was the magazine cover below. It depicts Literature as a woman in red and Journalism as the woman in white, with her writing supplies propped on a globe. What a beautiful concept.

1909 'Cover of 'The Literary Digest'

 

Have a lovely Monday!

Teresa

This is Joy

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6


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This is my first ever abstract painting. For a first try, I think it came out pretty good. At times I wasn’t sure if it was going to look right or be a muddy mess because I really do not know what I am doing (haha). The Bible verse I chose for this week is a reminder to have joy in the chaos. God began a good work, and he will see it through.

xoxo Teresa

Easter Bible Journaling

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Easter is coming up on Sunday, so I want to share some of my Easter-inspired Bible journaling with you. I read Mark 14-16 and then did this colored pencil sketch of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. At Gethsemane, Christ asked his closest friends to keep watch while he prayed because he knew that the time of his crucifixion was drawing closer, but his friends kept falling asleep. When I look back at some of the hard times in my life, I can remember some people “falling asleep” on me too. Yet, Christ forgave his followers and didn’t give up on them. That’s hard to do, but that’s the example Christ sets for us. It’s so much easier to put up a wall after you’ve been hurt; that’s what I have done in the past, but seeing Christ’s example, I want to do better in the future.

I also made a page for communion using this tutorial. I link to this blogger’s pages pretty often, but I’m learning a lot from her posts! I love to take communion; the symbolism is beautiful. By partaking in the bread and wine (or grape juice, in the case of many churches), I am remembering and celebrating the Lord’s sacrifice and what he did on the cross to bring new birth and eternal life. Communion is also a time to reflect and to surrender any burdens to Christ.

One other part of these journaling pages that you might have noticed is the sunshine that has “I’m a Child of the King” written on it. That was my grandmother’s favorite hymn, and she died a few weeks ago. She was a woman of great faith and very active in her community. The color red, lipstick kisses, curlers, lilac bushes, and country cooking remind me of her. She had dementia for about the last decade of her life, so the photos and remembrances at her funeral brough back so many memories of the grandma that I remembered when I was young, the one who was such a strong role model for all of her grandchildren. I thought I would end this post by sharing the words of grandma’s favorite hymn with you.

I’m a Child of the King

by Harriet E. Buell

My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

xoxo Teresa

Be Still.

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It’s funny how a gal decides to journal about being still . . . and then all kinds of chaos comes her way. That happened to me this winter. I literally had to keep coming back to this page and looking at it in the midst of a busy and challenging time in my life. I had to keep telling myself, “Be still, and let God take care of what is beyond your control.” My natural mode is to plan, plan, anticipate, and plan some more when chaos comes my way. I try to control life on my own terms and with my own wit, but God wants me to trust Him. Have you ever been there?

Teresa

Hope.

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Romans 5:1-2 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

This entry in my Journaling Bible is short and sweet, but I think simplicity can be a good thing. I used watercolors and a marker to make the feather. I tend to gravitate toward verses with the word “hope” in them, and this is a good one!

If you are interested in Bible journaling, I encourage you to check out a new Tuesdays to Create Bible Journaling Challenge . You don’t need a Journaling Bible to do this, by the way, even though it is really fun to have one. Any notebook will work as long as you have access to a Bible or a Bible app to look up the verses. I’ve signed up for Tuesdays to Create, and I’m looking forward to it.

Have a great Monday.

Teresa

Curious about Acrylics?

I took a few art classes in high school and an art appreciation course in college, but one of the ways I keep learning about art is through books like this one. This is my way of vicariously going to art school  (wink).

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Summary: School of Visual Arts instructor James Van Patten draws from years of experience to show you how to use acrylics to achieve a variety of results—from watercolor-like transparency and the flatness of tempera and gouache to the buttery quality of oils. He presents an insider’s look at the most up-to-date tools, materials, and techniques used by top painters in the medium to produce highly expressive art. Van Patten offers guidance on materials, processes, balance, and composition, and focuses on effectively using color in painting. Replete with detailed step-by-step technical demonstrations and a catalog of inspiring works by notable past and contemporary artists, as well as the author himself and his students, The Acrylic Painter provides a complete, classic art instruction manual for painters of all abilities in one of today’s most popular types of paint.

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Forever by James Van Patten

My thoughts: For me, the fun part of the book starts when Van Patten writes about color theory, various schools of art, and basic techniques to get started. His advice about painting still life, landscape, and modern art provided a few “aha” moments, especially because I’ve been intrigued by abstract art lately. The way Van Patten explains how color theory and other elements are used in classical paintings, as well as in his own paintings, is instructional and interesting. I understand the importance of quality products, but getting through the in-depth description of the various brushes and paints at the beginning of the book was tedious and uninspiring for a beginner on a limited budget. However, that section could become a good reference for purchasing supplies in the future. As a beginner, I appreciated the techniques portion and thought it could have gone into even more depth. Blogging for Books provided a review copy of this book in return for my honest thoughts.

Have an artsy day!

Teresa

 

 

The Bookshelf Reviews

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The latest addition to my bookshelf is Good + Simple cookbook. The Hemsley sisters have written a cookbook that is filled with nutritious recipes that are really delicious. My favorite so far is the Slow-Cooked “No Fry” Chicken Curry on page 197 that makes the kitchen smell amazing as it cooks. It tastes divine. Truly. The book also piqued my interest because it has a bone broth recipe that I want to try. I’ve been hearing that bone broth has incredible health benefits. I want to take advantage of all the veggie recipes for summer, and I definitely want to try the Zucchini and Cannellini Bean Lasagne and the Reinvented Noodle Pot recipes that are a riff on ramen noodles. This book is very on-trend, but the ingredients are practical, and the recipes are not intimidating. The only incongruity I noticed was that several recipes included bacon — in a cookbook that is otherwise focused on healthy recipes. That seemed like a quirky decision. Otherwise, I was really impressed by the recipes, the beautiful photos, and the inviting tone of the entire book. Blogging for Books sent me this cookbook in return for my honest review. I am very pleased with the recipes that I’ve already tried in the book. This one is a keeper.

Also on our bookshelf: Adventure Bible Wild About the Bible Sticker and Activity Book. I am in the process of potty training my son, so one of the ways that I encourage him to sit on the potty and use it is by saying, “Mommy will get the sticker book.” It has been working so far. My son is a little younger than the age range the book is intended for, but he loves the reusable stickers. Some of the pages have outlines that show children where to put the stickers, and he really likes to put stickers on those pages. He says, “Jesus” when he puts the Jesus stickers on the book, which is really cute. Heroes and adventures include Creation, Noah, Moses, Esther, and the parable of the Lost Son. The illustrations are beautiful, and we’ve had lots of fun. Book Look Bloggers sent me this book in return for my honest review. I am pleased with the quality of the glossy pages and the stickers, and above all, my son has looked forward to using the sticker book together each morning.

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What’s on your bookshelf?

Teresa

Cute Animals to Brighten Your Saturday

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Awww. I woke up this morning with a cup of hot tea and The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts by Maja Safstrom. The black and white illustrations are beautiful, and the facts brought a smile to my face. For example, did you know that penguins laugh when they are tickled, or that it is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky? Or that a blue whale’s heart is as big as a car? My favorite: goats have different accents depending on where they are from.

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Books like this bring back our sense of wonder in the world. I was the girl who had to read every issue of Cat Fancy when I was in sixth grade (lol), so the facts and illustrations brought a feeling of nostalgia. What is neat about this book is that it really could appeal to all ages. I enjoyed it, but so would my niece in elementary school. My toddler son would like the pictures, but older children and adults could also enjoy the drawings and facts. I think it would be great choice for a classroom shelf, on a coffee table, or as a gift. It definitely has awww factor. Blogging for Books sent me this book in return for my honest review. Obviously, I am pleased!

Happy Saturday!

Teresa

The Mapmaker’s Children

themapmakers_cover_333x500When I’m picking a new novel to read, it seems like I constantly gravitate toward historical fiction. I love the idea of escaping into the past, picturing what the characters wore, experiencing all the sensory details of a time long-gone, and thinking about how the past still impacts the present. Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children caught my attention because it is set in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, one of my favorite places to spend a day in nature, with its gorgeous view of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. I also thought the idea of telling a story from the perspective of John Brown’s daughter sounded intriguing.

Here is the synopsis:

Sarah Brown, the vibrant, talented daughter of abolitionist John Brown, is dynamically changed when she stumbles onto her father’s work on the Underground Railroad shortly after being told the shocking news that she won’t ever bear children. Realizing that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the movement’s leading mapmakers, hiding maps within her paintings while bigotry and hatred steer the country toward a bloody civil war.

Interwoven with Sarah’s adventure is the present-day story of Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, who moves to an old house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance. Sarah and Eden’s connection bridges the past and present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.

Sarah McCoy had me from the beginning of the book with her descriptive prose. Her storytelling ability is wonderful, though honestly I tend to always like the story from the past better than the present day one when I’m reading a novel that weaves present and past. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this book.

Blogging for Books sent me a copy of this novel in return for my honest opinion.

When the whole picture does not make sense . . .

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1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

This verse is near all of the well-known love verses in 1 Corinthians 13. I think it tends to be overshadowed by the love verses, but it’s such a beautiful and encouraging message. What we as believers see now on earth is not the whole picture.

Teresa