A Place I Felt At Home in the World

athome-smIn celebration of the release of her new book, At Home in the World, about a year spent traveling around the world with her family of five, Tsh Oxenreider is challenging readers to share where they have felt most at home in the world. Before I tell you my place, let me share how much I have been looking forward to reading this book. I went to the travel section of Barnes and Noble the day her book was released this week and immediately bought a copy. I want to support her work because I believe in her message of simplicity, a global perspective, and Christianity that is rooted in Christ’s teachings — not skewed by a political view, not superficial. I listen to her podcast regularly and consider her to be a great influence toward a life lived with intention and reflection.

My travels have taken me abroad to the high-energy sidewalks of London, to a misty fjord of Tadoussac to see whales, to the mountains of Alberta to slide down a waterfall, and to the Caribbean, where the snorkeling was a stunning show of colors and sea life. One trip closer to home that really stands out to me was Asheville, NC, because our week was filled with wonderful live music, food, friendly people, and an evening spent at an outdoor spa hot tub. I’ve only ever had one bad travel experience — on our honeymoon — when our travel agent sent us to St. Thomas, in a spot that ended up being over-priced and sketchy, but we made the best of that.

When I think of where I feel most at home in the world, I would probably pick my cozy red living room chair, curled up with a book and a cup of hot tea, with my Sheltie at my side and my son playing with his Thomas trains on the floor. That would be closely followed by a walk on my family’s farm where I grew up or a hike in the beautiful forest trails near the house where we live now. Hiking with my Sheltie and breathing the fresh air as the trees stretch high above brings such a connection to the land, to God’s creative hand, and to myself. With this view of the world, valuing simplicity and nature, is it any wonder that my husband and I are great admirers of Henry David Thoreau?

I wrote the following post on my blog a few years ago, but the theme of feeling at home in the world brought it to mind again. It connects two of my favorite writers — Lucy Maud Montgomery and Henry David Thoreau — with my travel experience of being engaged at Walden Pond.

“It gave a strange reality to the books 
of theirs which I have read 
to see those places where they 
once lived and labored.– L.M. Montgomery

440px-lmm_signed_photoI saw something in a blog recently that gave me a feeling of awe. The writer probably didn’t realize what she wrote would touch someone else so deeply – but she told me that one of my childhood dreams had partially come true five years ago.

I didn’t even realize it back then.

My dream reveals an early level of literary geekdom: I wanted to visit Prince Edward Island to walk in the steps of author L.M. Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables stories, to make the stories come alive for me even more than they already had in the past.

When I was young, I loved Anne’s imagination, her dramatic way of speaking, how she had a best friend as true and loyal as Diana, how she yearned for stylish puffed sleeves, and how she was so oblivious to Gilbert’s love at first. As I grew older and kept returning to the books and movies, I saw the character of Anne as someone who was a role model — a writer, a teacher, a friend, someone whose love ran deep. Anne and Diana were real to me.

The blog said L.M. Montgomery made a literary pilgrimage in 1910 to Concord, Massachusetts — the spot where American greats including Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott once lived and wrote.

Montgomery wrote: “[Concord] is a most charming spot and I shall never forget the delightful drive we had around it. We saw the ‘Old Manse’ where Hawthorne lived during his honeymoon and where he wrote ‘Mosses from an Old Manse,’ the ‘Wayside’ where he also lived, the ‘Orchard House’ where Louisa Alcott wrote, and Emerson’s house.”

My mind immediately connected: L.M. Montgomery had been to Concord to visit literary spots; my husband and I were engaged there five years ago and visited those same spots after a very long drive from our hometown. My husband got down on one knee at the site of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, and later that day, we visited the Old Manse that L.M. Montgomery had also written about visiting. We ended up seeing the Alcott house and spending a lot of time in Boston, not too far from Concord.

S6300638

S6300642S6300670

It was a romantic engagement that created lifelong memories way before I realized the new connection.

As I read the blog, the realization hit: I had probably walked in L.M. Montgomery’s footsteps without even realizing it. It wasn’t how I imagined it happening, but seeing my memories in this new light is inspiring.

I still want to visit Prince Edward Island someday. In the meantime, I think it’s amazing that my own feet have already travelled a little closer to the steps of L.M. Montgomery than I had realized. As a person of faith, I believe we can never fully know all of the connections that life has in store for us. I’m thankful for the sweet surprises that are revealed along the way, and I’m also thankful for the parts of the story that are yet to be known.

 

 

 

 

I hope life surprises you this week.

With love and blessings,

Teresa from Mama Muse Me

 

Slice of Life

Almost April already? It is hard to believe! This is what I’ve been into lately.

WENT: My family rode the metro to D.C. to see Paw Patrol Live at the National Theater. It was awesome for my little guy and his best buddy! The show was definitely worth the price. We ended up sitting just three rows from the front. My son cheered, clapped, and got very serious about the action at times. It was a memory that I was so glad to give him. Paw Patrol Live still has some dates open around the country if you are interested in going with your family.

READ: I read the second book of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series. Several bloggers are reading the series together, and I decided to join them. Here is what I thought about last month’s book, Emily of New Moon (that post will also give you a little background on the Emily series if you have not read it). This month’s book was Emily Climbs. In this book, I love how L.M. Montgomery continues the supernatural element from the first book . In the first book, Emily has an illness-induced vision that allows her to clear the name of a woman who has died; in the second, Emily produces a drawing, seemingly in her sleep, that tells her where a 18704927boy is trapped. Everyone thought the boy was dead, but Emily’s vision was accurate again. I really like how L.M. Montgomery just hints at something uncanny, but she does not go over the top with the supernatural elements. Emily’s “second sight” frightens her, so she prefers not to think about it. Meanwhile, the funniest scene in the second book is when Emily has a misunderstanding about a dog. Emily thinks the badly-behaved dog belongs to a woman she had hoped to impress, and the woman thinks the dog belongs to Emily. Both of them start out having a horrible impression of each other because of the mutt — but it does not belong to either of them! Seeing Emily become published in magazines multiple times in the second book is very gratifying for the reader, who is rooting for Emily despite the oppression of very conservative family members and the expectations of society in general at that time. The second book seems to have some commentary on the negative impact of gossip and jealousy in society, something that L.M. Montgomery was dealing with in her own life at that time, according to this post. At the end of Emily Climbs, I was feeling a little sad — but not surprised — that Emily turned down a career opportunity in New York to stay at home in Canada because the people and landscape mean so much to her. I also hoped that Teddy would return her love so that Dean would not end up holding her back in life. When I have a little free time this summer, I want to skim back through the book and look at the different novels that Emily mentioned as influences to her as a writer. I figure those books were probably influences for L.M. Montgomery as well.

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away two tickets to see the new Smurfs movie via Fandango, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions. You can enter by clicking here.

BOUGHT: I splurged on my first ever pair of nice sunglasses from Coach. Woot! Now, let’s just see if I can make it through the summer without scratching them or losing them altogether.

LISTENED TO: The La La Land Movie Soundtrack. Repeatedly. So good! La La Land is going on my list of favorite movies.

WATCHED: The new Beauty and the Beast movie is wonderful. I went to see it with a friend, and the entire theater applauded afterward. I sat down with my husband last night and watched the first episode of This Is Us, and I think that’s going to be my go-to show for awhile. Other ones I like are New GirlJane the Virgin, and American Housewife.

COOKED: I tried out a free subscription to Blue Apron that my friend gave me. It was so nice to not think about planning meals that week, but I decided not to continue the subscription because it’s a little pricey for what is offered. I also did not like all of the separate vegetable prep. If I ever did it again, I would probably read through the recipes and prep the vegetables for all of the meals at once. The ingredients are high quality, but the portion sizes do not make leftovers. When I cook, I personally like leftovers because that makes a little less work for me throughout the week.

What are you loving lately? Any good recommendations?

Have a great week!

Teresa

 

 

Reading L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Series

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite writers. I wrote this post back when I first started blogging about my admiration for her that came from reading the Anne of Green Gables books when I was young. The Anne books bring me a feeling of nostalgia for when I was a girl, walking on my family’s farm and writing little stories in my spare time. My pap used to pay me for the stories that I would write when I walked over to his house.

Anyway, when I saw that several bloggers are reading L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series, I decided to join in with them. I just finished last weekend, so I’m a little behind others who might be participating (hey, it’s never too late to read a good book, right?).

Emily could be described as the dark-haired, more introspective counterpart of Anne. She is a budding poet with pointed ears that remind whimsical thinkers of a forest elf. When her father, a former journalist, passes away, Emily is sent to live with her mother’s extended family, which had been estranged from her because they thought they were too good for Emily’s father.

The first book, Emily of New Moon, is about a young girl discovering new parts of her identity — finding out about the life of her mother who died when she was young, and also finding herself as a writer despite the negative opinions of those around her. Writing poetry and reading novels is frowned upon by Emily’s aunt, who wants to raise her “properly,” and her first school teacher uses Emily’s poetry as a means of mocking her. The teacher purposefully reads the poems in a sing-song voice and critiques them harshly to show her control of the students.

Considering the times that Emily lived in and her status as an orphan and a female, she must continually hide her writing and her thoughts. She finds freedom in going to the attic to write or in playing with her few close friends that she meets at New Moon. She manages to stay an independent and creative thinker despite the efforts to control her. By today’s standards, it seems silly to consider reading novels and writing poetry out-of-bounds for a young woman, but that was the reality in those times. Emily’s father never tried to oppress her gift because he recognized it and understood it.

Throughout the book, Emily gets “the flash” when she sees something of beauty or has a moment that goes beyond the ordinary. I think “the flash” is something beyond creative inspiration. It is probably what some writers have described as the sublime or transcendence; since L.M. Montgomery was familiar with Thoreau’s writings, that’s my theory. One of my favorite parts of the book is when something supernatural happens; Emily sees something in an illness-induced dream that ends up redeeming the tainted memory of her best friend’s mother, who had been accused of running off to sea and abandoning her young baby and husband. In life, so much is beyond explanation. L.M. Montgomery captures that idea so well with Emily’s dream.

So far, I am enjoying the Emily series. L.M. Montgomery identified with Emily the most out of all her heroines. As a dark-haired, creative, introspective type, I identify with her more than Anne too. Stay tuned next month for my thoughts on the second book in the series, Emily Climbs.

Have you read the Emily books?

 

— Teresa

Books for a Positive Mindset

4a990e_aa39f8e584e14752be5e2ac6ad4baa03mv2_d_1200_1200_s_2

51xl9fypayl-_sy346_Both books that I am reviewing this month are great for a positive Christian mindset. The first one is Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts. She explains how you can transform your heart and mindset by speaking God’s scriptural promises as you go through challenges in your life. Watts does not sugar-coat the truth as she shares her own trials and testimony. She writes of betrayal by her ex-husband, raising her son as a single mother, going from a high-profile job to unemployed, going from a put-together persona to feeling less than beautiful, and how God gave her the strength to forgive and make peace with her ex as he lost the battle to cancer. As Christians, many of us walk through trials; they come in different forms, but the way Watts writes of her experiences is so true to the realities of life itself. I could relate to how she struggled with her identity as she went from a high-profile broadcast journalism job to unemployed because I used to work in the print journalism field, and I personally experienced what it was like to have to switch career fields because newspapers have taken such a hit over the past eight years. It was heartbreaking at first, but — like Watts — I am reminded that my identity in Christ will always remain, no matter how my job title may change. My story is not finished, but God has brought me through things I never could have imagined. Growth tends not to happen in comfortable times. I highly encourage you to visit her website.

4a990e_164f22902892415d98ad56e48b4cc16d

159052456xThe second book I am reviewing is Andy Stanley’s Visioneering. I have been a huge fan of Andy Stanley’s preaching for the past seven years. I first discovered his work when a small group I was attending used to watch his videos and discuss them. He gives a lot of practical advice about how to set up a wise life that is effective and pleasing to God. He talks about relationships, finances, and other practical aspects of life. His book is great for someone who wants to discover and maintain a personal vision. As I wrote earlier in this post, changes in the job market meant I had to shift the life direction that I took in my twenties. My early thirties were spent as a full time mom, and now I am in the education field. Having a vision, and not just floating through life, is so vital for having a life that is well-lived. If you have never heard Andy Stanley preach, I encourage you to check out Your Move with Andy Stanley. The videos are free to watch and will definitely provide a paradigm shift.

Both books from my reviews today were provided for free in return for my honest review — but I do highly recommend both. Even if you can’t afford them, please check out the websites for both ministries because the free videos are excellent. Talk Yourself Happy was provided by Book Look Bloggers, and Visioneering was provided by Blogging for Books.

Have a wonderful week!

xoxo Teresa

 

Final Thoughts on the Daniel Fast

20161029_101340

It’s very early on Sunday morning. I’ve got laundry going while I sit at my laptop, sipping some Matcha tea and catching up on a few blogs that I like to read. The house is quiet while my husband and son are still fast asleep. This morning is different because my Daniel Fast is over today. For the past three weeks, I ate the most healthy diet that I have ever eaten in my life. Generally, I don’t do a lot of processed foods or soda anyway, but the Daniel Fast definitely steps up the healthy game. Looking back, I am glad that I took on the challenge for the whole three weeks that my church committed to it. The first week was the hardest, especially not having coffee every morning. Three weeks with no coffee and creamer. Three weeks with no processed foods. Three weeks full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsweetened almond milk. For me, unsweetened freeze-dried fruits were a lifesaver some days when I was on the go and needed something just a little snacky.

As I said in my last post, I was not perfect a couple of days. Those days, I prayed and thanked God that his grace can cover my weaknesses — during my time of fasting, and in the daily journey of life itself. I believe I gave God my very best during these three weeks. The most surprising thing for me is that I do not feel like I need a cup of coffee this morning. My energy level went up without it. I also lost five pounds. Honestly, I was hoping to lose more than that — but hey, it’s better than gaining five pounds in the middle of winter!

Throughout my fast, my One Word for the year — JOY — kept showing up almost daily in ways that were so blatant that they had to be from God. Keep going, my child. Another way that God spoke to me was by reminding me that the fast is also about trust. I started out pre-planning so much, exerting my own control over the endeavor, and God told me to relax and not try to do this whole thing in my own strength. Amen to that.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

xoxo Teresa

 

P.S. If you missed my other Daniel Fast posts, check out Why I Started the Fast, along with reflections on Week One and Week Two.

Kari Jobe CD Giveaway

unnamedunspecified

Grammy nominated Kari Jobe is the premiere female worship leader in Christian

music. Coming off her last live album, Majestic, which featured the worship anthem

“Forever” and radio hit “I Am Not Alone,” Kari Jobe has returned to the studio to

record her new album, The Garden, full of brand new worship anthems for the

church and for personal reflection. Finding inspiration from life’s joys and

hardships, Kari leans into the firm foundation of Christ through it all. capture

I think Kari has a beautiful voice. This CD would be good for a quiet day at home or for when you’re feeling discouraged. I love the graphic design on the CD jacket — so pretty. I would like to give one of my readers a copy of her new CD, provided by FlyBy Promotions. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post.

Update: A winner has been chosen! Even if you didn’t win, I hope you will check out the new CD.

Daniel Fast Diary: Week Three

carrots

This is my final week of The Daniel Fast. Here are my other two posts about why I started the fast and how my first week went. Last week, I was so busy that I didn’t get to write an update. My headaches (probably from the lack of caffeine and sugar) went away completely, and I started to feel a little more energy. As a side perk, I lost about five pounds. A few of the men at my church lost ten pounds the first week (Is it acceptable to feel jealous during a spiritual fast? haha).

The first week went smoothly, as far as sticking to the plan was concerned. The second week? I had a few moments that were less than perfect, but I am still chugging along. On the tenth day of the fast, I felt like God was telling me to go back and read the section of Daniel that tells about his food choice; as I read, I realized that the tenth day was when Daniel’s captors admitted that he looked healthier than the others and agreed to keep letting him eat the foods that he requested instead of foods from the king’s table. I had a moment where I was pretty excited that I made it to day ten.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon on the difference between perfection and excellence (doing your best at something new). When we try new things, he said, we might not always be perfect right away. Our best might not get compliments just yet. A person who is fasting for the first time might not be perfect, but trying and giving your all is better than not trying at all if you are called to it. This is my first time trying a fast; at times, I did have to rely on God’s grace, but overall it is going very well. The first week was the most spiritually challenging in terms of what life was throwing at me that week, while the second week was more challenging as far as sticking to the plan itself. Interestingly, throughout the first week, my word for the year — joy — kept showing up all over the place.

Only six days left . . .

Have a great week, and thanks for reading!

Teresa

 

 

Diary of My Daniel Fast

This is Day Six of my Daniel Fast. I wrote a post last week about why I’m doing the Daniel Fast and the meal plan that I am following. The fast is loosely based on the verses in which Daniel requests to eat only “pulse” and drink only water when he is in captivity. He ends up healthier than the people who eat from the king’s table because he is able to eat the diet he requests. Some Bible scholars believe that the food from the king’s table was being sacrificed to other gods, or perhaps Daniel’s request was a way of trying to keep his diet within kosher traditions. The verses were not intended to say that a vegetarian diet is better – but by today’s standards, the Daniel Fast is very healthy. It allows fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water. Dairy, meat, coffee, wine, added sugar or salt, and processed foods are not allowed. The key part of the Daniel Fast is prayer and using the fast as a time to focus on God.

carrots

DAY ONE: The first day of the fast was pretty simple. I had my breakfast shake, prepped my lunch, went to church, and then came home to eat the lunch. My son and hubby fell asleep on the couch, so I was able to cook ahead for the week. It was a peaceful, relaxing day. I sat down and read the book of Daniel from the Bible and prayed as I had planned that evening. I remembered a lot of the beginning of the book of Daniel from Sunday School when I was young (Daniel and the Lion’s Den, the fiery furnace, etc.), but the prophetic part of the end of the book were really complex and difficult to understand without reading some commentary about them.

DAY TWO: I woke up craving my cup of coffee, but my husband and I had the day off work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so we went out for a walk instead. For a January morning, it was gorgeous. We walked about four miles in the fresh air. It was still easy to stay on the meal plan, other than feeling really tired by the end of the day without any caffeine at all. I continued my prayer and Bible reading that evening.

DAY THREE: This is the day it got hard. I had to go back to work, and my son had been sick that night. My job is very active and deals with people all day, so not having the cup of coffee was very, very difficult. I felt really sluggish, and I was definitely tempted to just add one cup of coffee or tea to my routine. I prayed about it, and I realized that immediately taking out the hardest part of the plan would not be the right thing to do. A fast is not supposed to be easy. Amazingly, that day, as I read my Jesus Always devotional, one of the verses was the verse that I had picked for my One Word resolution for the year (Isaiah 61:1). I felt like that was a burst of encouragement that I needed because I was struggling so much to stay upbeat and have energy. That evening, I went to a ladies paint night with my mom, and we painted a winter scene that turned out great. I ended up adding some freeze-dried fruit to my routine that day because I went straight from work to the painting party.

DAY FOUR: I had a headache and felt sick for several hours. It was probably the lack of caffeine. I prayed about it and pushed forward. When I got home from work, I decided to call it an evening of rest. My body was so exhausted because I had been up with my son again the night before. I have gotten to the point in my life that I have tried not to shy away from things that are hard. This fast is a challenge, yet I realize that many people around the world do not have the option of coffee or tea in the morning. They would love to eat the amount of food that I am eating on my fast. Admittedly, I will be really thankful when I can have a cup of hot tea because it is so comforting to me.

DAY FIVE: I have lost one pound so far. Last night, I started reading Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts. The title sounds kind of gimmicky, but as I read, I found that she was speaking many of the truths that have come about in my own Christian walk concerning perspective and using Bible verses to speak truth to myself. I only planned on reading one chapter, but I was drawn in and ended up reading three. I am going to be reviewing the book on my blog later, and I will give you the full details on it. Her testimony about being a single mom who went from a high-profile job to an unemployed, single mom (and how God helped her through the struggles) is so honest and inspiring.

DAY SIX: This day was an emotionally tough one that left me feeling misunderstood in a certain situation. The temptation to have a cup of tea or a glass of wine this evening is definitely there, but I am pushing forward. I want my fast to be to God’s glory and pleasing to him. So far, so good. God knows me and knows my heart.

 

My fast ends Superbowl Sunday, so stay tuned for more . . .

xoxo Teresa

My Daniel Fast Starts Tomorrow

I am not a nutritionist or a Bible expert by any means, but I want to hopefully inspire others and hold myself accountable for the three-week commitment that I’ve made to the Daniel Fast. I’m starting by including my meal plan for the upcoming week at the bottom of this post. I just wrote it this morning, and I’m going to try to make as much of it as possible ahead of time because I work, and I don’t want to be overly focused on the food aspects of the fast (the spiritual aspects are most important).

The basic idea of the Daniel Fast is that, in the Old Testament book of Daniel in the Bible, Daniel asked his captors to give him only water and “pulse” for ten days and then see if he looked healthier than the others around him. He felt led by God to eat those healthful foods. Generally, I have seen “pulse” defined as what grows out of the ground, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some people might define pulse in different ways.

I’m guessing that many people will probably eat as little as possible on the Daniel Fast. That’s not necessarily what I feel led to do. A personal trainer told me that I need to eat between 1,500 and 1,800 calories each day to be in a healthy range. My meal plan comes in at 1,205 before the optional evening snack. I will see how I feel at the end of the day and adjust accordingly. Since it’s a “fast,” I would not want to go over 1,500. Some people who do spiritual fasting spend their entire time only drinking water and devoting themselves to prayer; I don’t think God is calling me to do that type of fast.

My meal plan that I made is very healthy. It has protein, some whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. It does not include dairy, meat, processed foods, or added sugars and salts. For me, the hardest part will probably be not having a cup of coffee with cream in the morning. I already like to eat fruits and vegetables, and I like to drink water; I rarely drink soda, so in those ways, this plan is going to go along with some of the ways that I already eat.

If you are interested in resources for the Daniel Fast, which is different from the Daniel Plan that allows meats and dairy (it also sounds wonderful and healthy, but it’s just not what I’m doing), you can visit this site. I am not affiliated with the site in any way, but it is where I did most of my research. I also sat in Books-a-Million one Sunday afternoon and flipped through a book about the Daniel Fast to get some information and inspiration.

The most important aspect of the Daniel Fast is not to become focused on the food itself; rather, it is to pray and show extra devotion to God. People who have participated in prayer and fasting, including this type of fasting, have spoken of incredible spiritual growth and blessings. Of course, the process itself will not necessarily be pleasant. When Jesus himself fasted, Satan picked that time to tempt him and try to make him stumble. He tempted Christ to turn rocks into bread at a time when he would have been very hungry. I plan to read the book of Daniel and pray each day of my fast.

My Three Goals

  1. Eat only foods allowed on the Daniel Fast
  2. Become more healthy over the next three weeks
  3. Pray and read the book of Daniel each day of the three weeks to grow spiritually.


Continue reading

Book Reviews

Welcome to my first set of book reviews for 2017.

image9

A book that I purchased and read within a matter of hours this month was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham. As a Gilmore Girls extreme fan, this was a must-have for my bookshelf. I got the free trial of Netflix on Black Friday just to watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The Netflix shows left me wanting more. Now I need to know who the father of Rory’s baby is (Logan, most likely) and what’s next for her. Like other bloggers, I was bothered by how “stuck” Rory and Lorelai seemed, but I was so, so pleased with the story lines for Jess and Emily. Seeing Emily in jeans and a t-shirt was enough reason to watch. The Stars Hollow Musical was weird, but I didn’t hate it (lol); Sutton Foster and Christian Borle were fun choices for it. As for the book, it was awesome to realize that Lauren Graham has such an incredible sense of humor. I also read her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, awhile back and thought it was a fun read too. One part of her new book that stuck with me and bothered me was how much sexism Lauren Graham recalled encountering when she wrote her first novel (people asked her who helped her with it, as though she could not have really written it herself, even though she studied English). She was asked a lot of questions that a man probably would not have been asked. Grrr. If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, I guarantee you will laugh out loud when you read her new book.

 

Blogging for Books sent me an uncorrected proof of Liz Curtis Higgs’ upcoming book, The Women of Easter, in return for my honest review. I had just finished reading her book, The Women of Christmas, during the holiday season — something I have done for the past three years. That book has illuminated the Christmas season for me each time I have read it, so I was excited to have a book that I could read during the Easter holidays now too. The only Christian book that I anticipated this much last year was Sarah Young’s Jesus Always devotional. Higgs writes about the roles that the three Marys — Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene — played in the biblical events of Easter. Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’s feet with perfume, symbolically preparing him for burial. His mother stood by as he was crucified, and Mary Magdalene showed her devotion to her teacher and savior as well.Even though Easter probably isn’t on your radar just yet this year, I recommend this well-researched book for that season.

1842de2149b2cf8e113627bb45481027

 

Book Look Bloggers sent me God Made You Nose to Toes in return for my honest review. I love the cheerful illustrations and the message about God creating different body parts, from head to toe. The rhyme pattern adds to the charm of the book. The entire book is both high-quality and adorable at the same time. Plus, the book looks really cute setting on my son’s dresser.

9780310757320_p0_v1_s192x300

P.S. Did you see my post yesterday?

xoxo Teresa

 

Happy Blog Year

Hello, and happy 2017!

I hope your new year is already off to a joyful start. As for me: so far, so good. We had a little birthday party for my son this past week. It was a great time, baking a cake for him and inviting a couple of his best buddies over. To make up for my non-professional cake decorating skills, I slapped a Dory toy onto the side of the cake that I had iced blue and put sprinkles all over. Carson liked the Dory cake. We also had some Paw Patrol masks, party hats, whistles, and an extensive Spotify playlist that included songs for the boys and for the adults too. The party was small, but I feel so blessed that we had a little group of people who took time on a dark, rainy Tuesday to celebrate with us. Always the (overly) reflective type, I thought about how it seems like God had a hand in bringing those friendships into our lives.

cake

Speaking of being a reflective, introverted person — haha — I have been making One Word Resolutions for the past several years. Past words have been connect, hope, and confident. The hilarious thing is that I often felt like I struggled with those particular concepts throughout the year that I chose the words. I picked confident during a year that constantly challenged me to the point that I wanted to just hide sometimes, but by the end of the year, I realized that the challenges really had contributed a more confident outlook in my life. I had to depend on God to bring me there; I felt like I was often operating from a place of weakness, but that is a place where God can bring growth. The year that I chose hope, I had to keep reminding myself where my hope is anchored. This year, the word that I feel God has placed on my heart is joyful. “Really?” I asked. “Joyful?” I have gotten used to struggling through my One Word Resolutions, so joyful came as a surprise. Then God confirmed the word to me two more times this past week. Joyful it is. Is it lazy of me to hope this one will come naturally? (She winks.) I am going to expect the best.

Last year, my blog focused on Bible Journaling and book reviews. I also did some posts on “what I’m into.” I am going to keep the book reviews because I enjoy getting books in the mail. It appeals to the kid in me. It’s like getting a present once or twice a month. I’m also going to sprinkle in some “what I’m into” posts because those are so much fun to look back on; as I go back through my blog, I nod and remember that phase when I made a lot of cauliflower soup.

As I reflected and listened for the spirit’s guidance for my blog this year, it seemed like God was telling me to start the new year not with the Bible Journaling posts like I had done last year; instead, what kept coming to mind is the idea that my church is going to be doing a Daniel Fast for three weeks this month. It starts next Sunday. That’s really all I know about it. I have done a little Google research, and it seems like the fast allows fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains, nuts and water. Plain popcorn (no salt, no butter) sounds like it’s a go, but dairy, meat, coffee, and tea are all no-no’s. Rather than focusing on the diet aspect, though, the fast is focused on honoring God and showing devotion. I am going to try to honor God by participating; my husband isn’t going to do it because he works with the public, and he thinks he would not be able to stay pleasant and feel good on the fast. It sounds tough. No lie. I am a little nervous about how pleasant I will be myself. I like fruits and vegetables, so that’s a plus. The hardest part will probably be going to work without a cup of coffee for three weeks straight. Also, not having my usual glass of wine with a friend once a week will probably be tough because it’s become a very fun and relaxing ritual.

Has anyone else done a Daniel Fast before? Is anyone doing it this year? I would love to hear from you. I am going to post a book review this week, and then you’ll hear from me when the fast starts.

xoxo Teresa

A Portrait of Emily Price: Book Review

a-portrait-of-emily-price-672x1024

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is a great story about a woman who never makes impulsive decisions – except for when she marries the wonderful Italian chef that she just met on a recent work trip and then moves to his home country with him. Emily is a character who is good at putting together what is broken, whether what’s broken is a family relationship or a piece of art that she is tasked with restoring for work. Instead of just restoring the work of others, Emily ends up making art of her own; she also learns that some family relationships and hurts are so deep and difficult to understand that they cannot be easily mended. This is the second Reay book that I have read. The other one was Lizzie and Jane, also a great novel that I recommend. Reay explores sister relationships in both books, but A Portrait of Emily Price brings romance and captures the all of the senses with descriptions of a beautiful Italian village. I felt like I was visiting the little Italian village along with Emily, going through the ups and downs of figuring out her identity in a new country. I was amazed by how descriptive Reay was about even little elements of the book like going truffle hunting and learning to navigate the narrow roads. I don’t read Christian fiction very often, but I like Reay’s stories because they have depth and substance along with a Christian world view that comes through in subtle, not contrived ways. Book Look Bloggers sent me this paperback in return for my honest review. Happy Monday, and thanks for reading!

Teresa

Where Jesus Slept Giveaway

 

7447451-l

“This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers young and not-so- young of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmas. Children will love the delightful illustrations and the engaging repetition in this cumulative tale.

Format: jacketed hardcover, 32 pages
Retail price: $16.99
Reading age: 4-7

About the author: Norma Lewis is the author of ten books. She lives in Grand Haven, MI, with a marmalade cat named Scalawag. They both love spending time with her six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to twenty.

My review: The illustrations are beautiful, and the book has the kind of repetition that children like. This is a great book to read your little one around the Christmas season. I’m excited to be giving away a copy to one of my blog readers.

Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Be renewed …

Sometimes it’s easy to get into a mindset of discouragement, even when you see God working in little ways. You see the mountains to climb and what seems like a lack of resources, even though God has always provided. You feel like you are not strong enough. Without Him, you probably are not some days. You are not alone in this. This is part of being human, being fallible, being a believer. Push on, and don’t let the naysayers bring you down.

20161029_082858

Ephesians 4:23

“…be renewed in the spirit of your minds…”

 

xoxo Teresa

Slice of Life

resized952016102295110937

resized952016102395073744

WENT: Our family went for a gorgeous waterfall hike on Skyline Drive in Virginia earlier this month, and we toured the nearby Skyline Caverns. We ate at Joe’s Steakhouse near Front Royal after the hike — amazing service and a really fun atmosphere, with a live band. We also enjoyed a Saturday evening in downtown Frederick, Maryland. We ate outside at a Spanish tapas restaurant and listened to a band playing on the sidewalk beside of us. The moon was full, so it was a neat evening to be out walking around. Anytime I go to a downtown, I have to visit a bookstore and a tea shop. My son loves watching all the cars and people going by. He talks about “the city” the whole time.

resized952016100195160756

COOKED: I came up with a really easy but delicious chicken recipe. I sauteed some mushrooms in a dutch oven and the set them aside, added more olive oil and chicken breasts to the dutch oven, and browned the chicken breasts for about eight minutes on each side on the stove top. Then I poured in a cup of white wine (Moscato) and let it go in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes until the thermometer read 165. I took the chicken out of the dutch oven and stirred in about two tablespoons of Dijon mustard and a generous sprinkle of dried thyme into the sauce. Then I added the chicken and mushrooms back to the pan.

resized952016102295110755

READ:

  • Jesus Always by Sarah Young: I am keeping this in my desk drawer for when I need some extra encouragement at work. Sarah Young has a deep, personal relationship with Christ, and she brings his voice alive in her short devotionals. If you have never read a devotional by Sarah Young, this new one could be life-changing for you. Here’s a little article she wrote about 10 tips for a joy-filled life, based on the new devotional. I received this devotional from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review; I am so inspired by Sarah Young’s writings that I would have bought this one even if it had not been sent to me for free.
  • Victuals by Ronni Lundy: This is a gorgeous hardcover book about Appalachian cooking, including a beautifully written history and lots of recipes. The pictures remind me of home because they are home. I was born, raised, and still live in Appalachia, and I wrote my college thesis on Appalachian literature. Even though I grew up in Appalachia and have some of the traditions, I feel like there are so many food skills and practices that I never learned. This book has lots of recipes for greens, as well as some favorites like West Virginia hot dogs and pepperoni rolls. I have been to a lot of the places that the author talks about, including Staunton and Saltville, Virginia, and Asheville, North Carolina (one of my favorite places). Food, history, and heritage are so intertwined. When she writes about the English and German settlers of Appalachia, she is writing about my ancestors. I have been talking to my husband about this book all weekend. I plan on cooking a lot of the recipes. The way that Lundy intertwines history and recipes is really meaningful for someone from this region. I received this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.
  • Say and Pray Devotions by Diane Stortz: This cute little board book is perfect for my three-year-old son. He was so excited when we got it in the mail last night. Each page teaches some new words and then gives a little prayer and Bible verse. Want to win a copy for your little one? Just leave a comment on this post, and I will choose a winner. This book and giveaway were provided by FlyBy Promotions.say-pray-devotions

BOUGHT: I finally joined the rest of the world by getting a Smartphone this past month. I had rebelled against them before because I wanted to save money, and it drives me nuts how attached most people are to their phones nowadays. I do really like my Smartphone though, lol. I also bought a really cute plaid Martha Stewart doggie bed from PetSmart.

LISTENED TO: The new Norah Jones CD and Asheville radio

DRANK: Matcha tea. How can something so green be so yummy to drink? I mix about 1/2 tsp. matcha powder with enough warm water to fill the tea cup and then top it off with some vanilla creamer or vanilla soy milk.

meadow20and20moon

 

Have a great week.

Teresa

 

 

He Will Never Leave You

20161016_14283320161016_142856This is my first time attempting to make a blog post from my Smartphone. Let’s see how it goes,  lol. This is a really simple journaling page, but I hope it encourages someone today.

 

Teresa

Mother Teresa Quote to Remember

DSCN4203

I have this Mother Teresa quote glued to the inside back cover of my Journaling Bible. I printed it off the internet and then doodled around it with Micron pens. Even though I am not Catholic, I have always had a fascination with Mother Teresa because of her selflessness — and because I had a preacher who used to call me Mother Teresa when I was a little girl since I’m named Teresa too. This is one of my favorite quotes from her, especially when it comes to forgiveness, which can be such a challenge sometimes.

Happy Monday!

Teresa

 

Ancient Ruins . . . Rebuilt.

DSCN4222DSCN4223DSCN4224DSCN4225

I just love how this verse sounds and the redemptive value of it. When it seems like hope is lost, God tells his people that they will be repairers and that they will raise up the foundations of many generations. Isaiah is a prophetic book, written around 700 B.C., so God was speaking specifically to the Jewish people, but the message touches us even today. For this Bible journaling entry, I decided to just doodle my idea of foundations and let the verse speak for itself.

Teresa

Wonderfully Made

DSCN4218DSCN4219DSCN4220
DSCN4221

Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

In Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him — which I highly recommend — she writes that the verses in Psalm 139 go far beyond body image. They are about the awe of God’s power and presence in general. Yet, as I read, I cannot help but see the verse in both aspects: a reminder that God created me wonderfully, and a reminder of God’s wonder that goes so far beyond me and my physical self.

On this Bible journaling page, I celebrated the idea of being wonderfully made. I used crayons to write out “wonderfully made” and then watercolored over the page. On the opposite side, I glued a photo of a time that I took on the physical challenge of walking 6 1/2 miles on the Appalachian Trail with a friend earlier this summer. It took us hours because it was very rocky. There were times when I had to slide down boulders because I am short. Other times, we could barely perceive the trail because everything around us was so rocky. The part we hiked was considered “moderate,” but it felt like a huge accomplishment. I don’t think I would do it again because it was not entirely pleasant, and I was just glad to not bust my face, haha. Yet, it was wonderful to be in nature, take on the challenge, and spend time with my friend. I felt like I was looking down most of the time to keep from tripping on rocks, so sometimes I had to pause just to look around and take in the beauty that was around us.

One step at a time . . .

Teresa

Staying Fully Present

DSCN4213DSCN4214DSCN4215

The verses for today’s Bible journaling entry inspired awe in me. The complete verses are at the bottom of this post if you would like to start your day with them as well. Something I have been considering and that God has been continually bringing to my attention this summer is the idea of how He is the only one who can be in more than one place at one time. I cannot expect perfection of myself because humans were created with limitations. To honor God, it is best to be fully present wherever you are placed at the moment, do your best, and trust God to handle the rest. I typed out some thoughts about that on my computer and used Mod Podge to glue the page into my journaling Bible. This is what I wrote:

Only God can be more than one place at one time — omnipresent. In honor to Him, I can be fully present where I am physically placed. I don’t need to be two places at once; I literally cannot be. I can bring my thoughts back to my present spot when I feel like I am not accomplishing enough, giving enough, or not as “in control” of a situation as I would like to be. I cannot be rested, recharging, nurturing others, and accomplishing a big to do list all at once, all the time. God created humans with this limitation, so I can trust that it is for my own good. I can be reassured that GOD IS EVERYWHERE I cannot be, and I can put the unknown into his hands.

These thoughts came to me after I read the book None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin earlier this summer.

DSCN4216

Now, here are the verses that inspired me. Particularly, Psalm 139:7 reminds me God’s presence is everywhere.

Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 139:1-18 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Have a great week!

Teresa

Grace Be With All of You

It’s the start of another school year for lots of people, so I figured this would be a good time to start sharing some Bible journaling with you again each week. I really like how light and airy this journal page turned out, with marker, water color, and white acrylic paint. It just makes me happy looking at it!
DSCN4208DSCN4209DSCN4210DSCN4211DSCN4212

Grace be with all of you this week.

xoxo Teresa

Soul Tunes

static1.squarespace.com,

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

0513161014

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

my trike

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.

steve-martin-edie-brickell

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.

590x401_05102035_kepler-exoplanet-discoveries

 

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

What I'm Into

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.

DSCN3942DSCN3836DSCN3849DSCN3798DSCN3830DSCN3842DSCN3973

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


DSCN3976

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

Hope.

DSCN3836DSCN3834

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

A Movie I’m Taking My Son to See Soon (and ticket giveaway!)

smurfs3_coppa_wallpaper_ws_1920x1200

To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is coming to theaters soon. I’m taking my son to see it when it does! Looking back at old Polaroid pictures, my very first Halloween costume was a Smurf outfit. I was definitely a fan, so I am hoping my son will like it too. If you want to find out more about the movie, visit the official site here. The site has recipes, coloring pages, and character profiles that will engage children of many ages.

In The Lost Village, Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty use a special map that guides them through the Forbidden Forest, leading them on a course to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history. They must race against time and evil wizard Gargamel (the hilarious Rainn Wilson) to find the mysterious village.  

To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Check out the trailer here.

Continue reading

My Latest Round of Book Reviews

 

61nsfootjfl-_sx258_bo1204203200_One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table by Molly Gilbert

I decided to request a copy of this book because one pan and done is exactly how I cook now. My favorite recipes take one pan – usually a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or the trusty red crockpot. I figured I would get more ideas that already fit my way of cooking. So far, I have tried the recipe for broccoli soup. Honestly, I thought it was just okay, and the parmesan cheese was almost too strong for my personal taste. I would make it again and put cheddar cheese in the soup. Obviously, the recipe tastes a lot better than broccoli and cheese092560 soup from a can. Browsing through the book, I see many recipes that I want to try, and I think they will taste great. Just because I was a little disappointed in the soup, I still think this book will have a lot of winners.

Really Woolly Easter Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

I wanted this board book specifically to read with my son leading up to Easter. The illustrations are adorable, and he has enjoyed sitting down with me to read it a few times already. This book has rhymes, Bible verses, and prayer starters. My son liked the illustrations. It is neat when these books have Bible verses in them because the book has something for the adult looking at it too. Of course, my son’s go-to books will always have cars, trains, or trucks in them – but this did hold his attention.

I received One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table from Blogging for Books and Really Woolly Easter Blessings from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.