Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Over the last few days, I put labels on all 339 blog posts.  This way, if you are looking for a particular one, such as book reviews, just click on the book review link at the left-hand side of the page and it should bring up all those posts.  I know this is something that will be helpful to me.  Hopefully you will find it useful too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sarah's Garden Book Review

Book Summary:  Quite by accident, Sarah King has fallen in love.  But this love is forbidden, and could cost her everything she holds dear.

Tucked into the majesty of Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains is a garden Sarah King has been nurturing for years.  She never feels more alive than when she is alone with her thoughts and her Creator among the delicate rows of plants.  But then duty calls her away from her beloved garden and into a world she knows little about.

Grant Williams, a handsome young veterinarian, has left the city to open a rural practice among the Amish.  Within minutes of meeting shy but feisty Sarah King, he is captivated by her.

As their feelings grow for one another, Sarah insists they can never be together.  Marrying Grant would mean being uprooted from her home, her family, and her community.  Throughout the cold Pennsylvania winter, with her garden tucked away until spring, Sarah begins crafting a quilt that illustrates her pain.  Can anything lasting blossom from a love that's forbidden?

My Review:  LOVE IT!  LOVE IT!!!  LOVE IT!!!  This is an awesome book!!  The lives of the Amish fascinate me because of how different they are from "normal" Americans (and I say "normal" very loosely).  So, I was really interested in reading this book when the notice came out.  I was not disappointed.

Sarah struggles with her feelings for Grant.  She knows that falling in love with an Englischer will only lead to heartache.  As the summary states, if she does what her heart wants, she will have to leave everything she knows behind: her family, her faith, her life and she can never go back.  My heart went out to her as she struggles with her feelings for Grant and the knowledge of what would come of it.  I like how Sarah stands firm in not letting go of her beliefs and prays for direction.  Even though it may mean a life without him, Sarah is not willing to compromise her faith nor her love for Grant.

Sarah also sees beauty all around her even when it is not visible to the naked eye.  She can see what her garden will look when spring comes, and she can see the heart of people that others think are only trouble.  Der Herr, the Lord God, shows her that there is more to a person than their outer appearance.

This is an awesome book and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting an awesome read!

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson publishers for review.

Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the PATCH OF HEAVEN series.  She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania.  She's been married for nearly 25 years and has five children.   Visit for more information on all things Amish. 

Friday, June 25, 2010


Splinters.  Tiny pieces of wood, glass or metal that get under your skin that causes irritation and pain until you get them out.  We all get them one time or another during our lifetimes.  Sometime during the course of the day, Will got one in his finger.  While I was trying to get it out, he screamed, jerked, cried, and anything else you can think of while I was trying to remove it.  Even though it caused pain, it was only temporary.  The pain would end as soon as the foreign object was gone.  Instead of sitting still and letting me work, Will cried out, pitched a fit over it hurting and made it impossible for me to work.  Instead of taking just a few seconds, it was all over in about forty-five minutes.

As I was working, explaining and observing, I thought of how we are with God.

Us:  "God, it hurts!!"
God:  "Yes, I know child, but only for a minute if you let me do what I need to do."
Us:  "NOOO!!  It's too painful!!  STOP!!  Please stop!!!"
God:  "Let's keep going.  I've almost got it."
Us:  "NO!!  I don't want to do it any more.  Let me wait until tomorrow to take care of it."
God:  "No, it will be worse tomorrow.  I need to get it now and make it better."
Us:  "Do we have to?"
God:  "If you let me work, it won't take long.  It will all be over with quickly."
Us:  "Okay...first let me breathe...I'm not ready yet....just a little longer."
God:  "Let me look at it."
Us:  "Just a look.  OUCH!!  You hurt me!"
God:  "I didn't touch you.  I didn't even get close.  Let me try again."
Us:  "Do we have to do this?"
God:  "Let me try again.  Look, here it is.  All better now."
Us:  "It's over?  Wow, it doesn't hurt anymore."
God:  "See, I told you.  Let me bandage it to protect it.....There...all done!"

If we would just let God work, He might accomplish what He needs a lot sooner.  It would still hurt at times but not as bad.  If we fight Him over it, it just makes the situation worse.  Abba will have to dig deeper than He intended to get all the junk out.  But, He will finish and make it all better.

Will knew I didn't want to hurt him.  He knew the splinter had to come out.  Because he fought me over it, the process took longer than it needed to.  Isn't that the way we are when God wants to remove something potential dangerous or hurtful in our lives?  We just need to trust Him to take care of it.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, New King James Version)

The Witness Blog Tour

 Book Summary:  My name is Marwan Accad.  Accused of a crime I did not commit, I am on the run.  I am hunted.  I am alone.  I am The Witness.

Clients like Rafeeq Ramsey were the reason Marwan Accad launched his executive security business.  Old, wealthy beyond imagination, and terrified, Ramsey is willing to pay whatever it takes to rescue his kidnapped wife.  But just as Marwan shows his client evience that could crack the case wide open, Ramsey is gunned down by sniper fire.  Marwan narrowly escapes with his life, leaving a trail of dead assassins from Monte Carlo to Morocco.

The main suspect in Ramsey's murder, Marwan is now on the run from every police force in Europe and North Africa.  No matter where he turns, more assassins are on his heels, thrusting those he loves in danger - or worse.  What troubles him most is that no one was supposed to know he was working for Ramsey or what he had uncovered.

As he races against time to find his pursuers and their motives, Marwan soon discovers the conspiracy runs deeper than he ever suspected.  With no one he can trust and his face on every major news bulletin across two continents, he disappears into the crowds of Cairo to plan his next move.  It is there that he meets the beautiful Dalia Nour and is confronted with a truth that will change his life forever.

My Review:  The only book of Josh McDowell's I've ever read was A Ready Defense so I was interested to see his "take" on fiction writing.  I was not disappointed.  Josh McDowell outdid himself on this one.  Even though it was hard to keep track of action at times because so much was going on, it kept my curiosity peaked to see what would happen next.  As Marwan Accad was being chased across Europe and North Africa, I wondered if he would be caught, how he was going to get away, and if he would ever figure out who tried to assassinate him.  There were a few things Mr. McDowell put in the book that I wasn't sure I liked, but, when I remembered Marwan was not a Christian, they were understandable.  I liked how Dalia played into Marwan's development and the twist and turns at the end.  All in all, The Witness is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.

This book was provided by Tyndale House for review.

Josh McDowell is an internationally known author and speaker.  He's written more than one hundred books - including the best-selling More Than A Carpenter and New Evidence that Demands A Verdict - with over forty million copies in print.  Visit his website at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working Together

UPDATE:  When listing Will's wonderful presents, I forgot some.  He was really blessed to get a digital camera kit, a Triple Boost Rocket, a six shot Nerf gun, a plane kite, a Super Soaker water gun and four smaller water guns. Wasn't he blessed by his friends?

Yesterday was Will's birthday party.  He received all kinds of neat toys:  an arrow that sticks on everything, Iron Man action figure, Hot Wheels cars, two different Hot Wheels tracks, money and a Sonic card.  Because we got in so late last night, I told Will he could play with his Hot Wheels tracks today.  So, this morning after we got one track set up, all three kids started fighting over it.  Andrew wanted the monster truck that came with one; Hannah wanted to be first; and Will wanted to be first plus try out all the features.  After listening to this for a few minutes, I told them to put the track up.  I wasn't going to listen to them argue over a toy all morning long.  Immediately, they started working and playing together (and made sure I knew it).  They were determined to play together and not have to put the toys up.  Hannah remembered Will got a second track so she is setting it up so they can play with it too.  Andrew got the box of Hot Wheels cars so they would have more vehicles to play with.

Isn't that how God wants us to be?  I'm sure He gets tired of listening to our bickering and arguing over silly things.  He wants us to work together, share our resources and get along.  And, when we do, we find out we are actually having fun and enjoy each others company.  What can we do to get along with our family members, co-workers, neighbors, etc?  All it takes is for someone to take the first step, share our toys and say a nice word.  Will that be you?  It's something I need to think about and do, too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pillow Pets and Doctors

When my mom asked Will what he wanted for his birthday, he was quick to say a Pillow Pet.  He had seen it advertised on television and just had to have one.  Mom went online, checked it out and ordered one.  It was suppose to take 3-4 weeks for delivery so Mom had a backup plan for his birthday party.  She was going to wrap a picture of it in a box then give him the real thing once it came in.  Fortunately, it was delivered today (Friday).  Mom found the box on her carport just before the kids and I stopped by.  While we were eating lunch, Mom was talking to Will about what he wanted for his birthday.  He immediately answered "A Pillow Pet!!"  She asked him a few more questions about it then gave him a box.  When he opened it, Will's eyes grew as big as saucers.  He was sooo excited!!!

Will took it with him to the doctor's office (he stepped on a bee Wednesday afternoon and had a histamine reaction to the sting).  He took it into Wal-Mart and was lying in it while in the back of the buggy.  He even took it to Baskin Robbins tonight (but left it in the car).  When we got home from Nana's, he ran over to our neighbor's house to show Mrs. Trisha and her granddaughter, Madison, his present.

Hannah and Andrew both want one.  Hannah has tried to bargain with Will to play with it by offering candy and what not.  One time, Will had it in the floor, lying on it while watching t.v.  He let Hannah lay on it for a few minutes with her blanket.  When Hannah got up to do something by the couch, Andrew jumped off the chair, picked up Hannah's blanket, threw it on the chair and plopped down on top of the pillow.  It was sooo funny to watch!  Tonight, as the kids were getting in bed, Will took his pillow off his bed and replaced it with Mr. Monkey (the name he gave his monkey pillow pet).  He is in love!!

We have been seeing a lot of our doctor's office lately.  Tuesday afternoon, Will and Nathan were playing baseball in the backyard.  Nathan was pitching and Will was hitting.  Nathan threw one of his fast balls and hit Will square in the forehead above his left eye.  It knocked the breath out of Will for a minute.  I was walking past the backdoor when I noticed Will holding his head and crying hard but silently.  After a minute or two, he and Nathan told me what happened.  Will had a nice big knot on his forehead, a huge headache and some discoloration.  I gave him some Motrin and an ice pack to help the swelling.  When I called the doctor's office (to see what I needed to look for and to see if he needed to go in), they said they wanted to see him the next day.  Thanks to God above, Will never experienced any nausea, vomiting, blurry vision or any other type of complications.  The nurse practitioner said Will was acting fine and, since he didn't have any other problems, he would not need a CAT scan.

That same Wednesday afternoon, Will and Nathan were playing baseball in the backyard again (this time using rubber and tennis balls instead of baseballs).  When it was Will's time to pitch, he stepped on something in the grass.  Thinking it was one of the many sticker weeds that populate our backyard, I told him it was nothing and to finish playing.  When he went to bed that night, Will said his foot hurt.  I didn't see anything but did feel a small bump.  Early the next morning (sometime after 5 a.m.), Will woke me up saying his foot was hurting and itching really bad.  I gave him some Benedryl and put some Calamine lotion on it and continued this regimen for the next couple of days.  Since Will was still complaining about it, I took him to the doctor.  The bottom of his foot was had a nice sized red patch that started going up his foot.  Dr. Carpenter said it looked like a histamine reaction to a sting and prescribed a steroid and Zyrtec.  Hopefully it will get better soon.  I hate to see my little man (or any of my kids) suffer.  When we left the doctor (the second time that week), I told Will that I didn't want to see the doctor again for a long time.  He just laughed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birthdays and Getting to the End of Ball Season

First and foremost, I want to wish Will a very Happy Birthday!!  His birthday was yesterday and he turned seven years old.  He opened his birthday presents at breakfast.  Will got a rubber-band airplane, Rocky Mountain Ranch Lincoln Logs, and a remote control truck.  He was soo excited!!  Do to both kids having games at 6 p.m., we were not able to do anything special with just the family.  I did make his favorite dinner (poppy seed chicken casserole) and take a special snack for his team so they could celebrate with him. Mommy and Daddy love you very much and are very proud of the wonderful young man you are becoming.

As stated earlier, both Will and Hannah had games last night.  Because I was running between two ballfields, I didn't get to watch much of either game.  Hannah's team won 15-4.  Her teammate, Emily, got a grand slam and five girls (including Hannah) hit home runs.  At her second time at bat, Hannah got a triple.  The girls were pysched, as you can imagine!  They worked together and did their best.  Way to go CRASH!!

Will's team was up 6-4 when the game was delayed due to lightning.  Thirty minutes later, the umps restarted the game.  Unfortunately, Will's team lost 14-12.  They did much better fielding and hitting but were not able to get the win.  This was their last game.  I am still very proud of these boys.  They have worked hard and were able to get two or three wins this season.  Will hit two home runs this year.  Good Job REBELS!!!

Andrew's last game was last Tuesday, June 1st.  Being T-ball, the teams don't keep score or keep track of how many outs.  These boys were so much fun to watch.  The ones who started out chasing the ball after they hit it ended up running the bases like big boys.  We still had a few (like Andrew) who preferred playing in the dirt when they were in the field but, in all, they all did wonderfully.  Even though Andrew is through playing baseball this year, he keeps asking when he is going to practice and when he is going to play his game.  Mike and I will just have to continue to work with him.  His coach, Paula, said she was thinking about calling the parents when she took her son to the park to practice so the boys could practice if they wanted.  I think that is a great idea.  She also wants to keep the team together, if she can, over the next few years. I am very proud of how Andrew and his team did.  Way to go MARLINS!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back From Camp and Retirement

Hannah had lots of fun at camp, which is relieving for this mama to hear.  While there, she had the opportunity to do "expeditions" three times a day.  Her choices were: archery/games, art, cooking, decorations, fishing, canoeing/tubing, leather, nature, pottery, sand painting, serving other nations (doing projects to send to missionaries), swimming, weaving, and wood burning.  She spent most of her time doing pottery, but she did try cooking, canoeing/tubing, swimming and wood burning.  The campers studied Daniel and the choices he made to stand for God when is was not the popular decision, difficult and dangerous.  One of her favorite parts was the Trading Post.  Here, you could get something to eat (like pizza) along with popsicles and drinks.

The boys missed her.  Andrew would ask me every now and then where Hannah was.  When someone asked him where he thought she was, he answered, "College."  Will kept asking us to go to camp because he wanted to see what it looked like.  He can go in two years and can't wait.  He is counting down the time.

On a different note, Daddy retired on Friday.  He worked for the SCS for 22 years.  He actually started working there a year before I started working at UT.  Wow!  Dad is looking forward to camping, watching the kids play ball, and traveling.  Congratulations Daddy!!  We are very proud of you!!