Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hodgepodge 1/15

Joining Joyce, From This Side of the Pond, for the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1.  Are you a force to be reckoned with? In what way?

I think most people in my life would say, "yes," but I have mixed emotions about that response. I'm a first born, a type A-ish personality, struggling not to be perfectionistic. I really hate change too. While  I know the Lord blessed me with this personality, I often feel at battle within myself, asking Him to smooth off the rough edges.  So, while I might be a force, I hope the Lord has transformed/influenced me enough to be pleasing in His sight.

2. What are two things you love about the wintertime? Or, if love feels like too strong a word, what are two things you 'like' about winter? 

Oh, I LOVE winter. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I'm a homebody, so this season lends itself to staying indoors. Whoo-hoo! I enjoy the beauty of the snow, the snuggles under blankets, the days we take off for "snow days" that include hot chocolate and good books to read. Winter snow days are the adult version of skipping class or playing hooky! Awesome!

3. Pomegranate, kumquat, persimmon, kiwi, and guava are all fruits said to have health benefits, particularly during the winter months. Do you have a favorite on the list? Are there any on the list you haven't tried? 

Hm. I like kiwi in salad and pomegranates are ok, but messy. I've had guava (no thanks!) and persimmon (in a cookie long ago). Never tried kumquat.  I guess kiwi would be the favorite.

4. I passed a local church yesterday and noticed they had this on their outdoor sign- 'When all else fails, do the right thing.' Your thoughts?

Yes! I was raised to "do right no matter what."  Whether it's when all else fails or when no one is looking, "do right!" 

We use rolling carts for supplies at our church and a couple of years ago the entire staff was told to use only the service elevator when moving the carts. I spend a good amount of time doing that on Sunday and I have never broken the rule, even though many, many others have given it up. I've even been encouraged by other staffers to go ahead and do it, but I can't! I'm such a rule follower. Once my boss saw me send away an elevator I couldn't use to wait for the service elevator and she said, "You've never broken the rule, have you?" I said, "No way!" She laughed. Just can't help it!  (I'm a force that way, ha!)

5. Do you ski? According to one list I've seen, the top 5 ski destinations for 2014 are-St. Anton Austria, Whistler Canada, Cortina Italy, Tahoe USA, and Zermatt Switzerland.  Of the five listed, which would you most like to visit? We can make skiing optional if that helps the non-skiers with their answer. 

Sigh. I skied when I was younger. Now I look at the slopes and think about my knees. :)

I would choose Austria, because I hear it's a beautiful country and I'd like to see it someday.

6.  What's the last thing you looked for online? (Besides my blog!)

Yesterday while clearing off my desk I listened/watched a sermon by Matt Chandler at Wow! This pastor was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and although the message was on the sanctity of life (I'm pretty firm on where I stand on that one), I thought the message was amazing. He is very entertaining, but his analytical style really spoke to my way of thinking, as well. So good!

7. What saying, slogan, quote, or motto have you seen lately that inspires you for the new year?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today is National Hat Day and National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! I'd hate to blow my diet on strawberry ice cream and I don't look good in a hat, but it's National Oatmeal Month and Hot Tea Month, so I think I'll have tea and oatmeal for breakfast! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What if ?

I found this interesting short story on ReadWave.

It is entitled What if Jesus Could be you for 24 hours?

It's a quick read. See if it gets you to look at your own day differently.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Doing the Ordinary Well

I spent some time this week thinking on a devotion published on Jan 8 in Our Daily Bread. The devotion talks about the hidden life, one filled with ordinary deeds and simple forms of human helpfulness.  Today, many believers want to do the BIG things for God: go on a mission's trip, raise money, write books, become influential in Christian realms, but throughout history, most believers will spend their lifetime doing the ordinary things: caring for their families, praying for those with needs, and listening to their hurting friends. The Lord needs a lot more "ordinary" opportunities well-met in His name, than He does the BIG, seen-by-the-world opportunities.

"Every act of love rendered for His sake is noted and has eternal consequences. Every place, no matter how small, is holy ground. Influence is more than lofty acts and words. It can be a simple matter of human helpfulness: being present, listening, understanding the need, loving and praying."

As I read that quote, I thought, "Yes, these things are so valuable!" Then I wondered why there was such a hunger for these things today and I believe in part, it's because we're too busy to actually do them often or well. 

Being present, listening, understanding the need, loving and praying.

How I would love to be able to do those things better this year. It will take intention, a slowing down, and a change of focus from myself and what I think it "more important" to truly putting others first.

The devotion concluded with "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," and "do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance." (Col 3:17, 23-24)

How I would love for my family and friends to be able to say I was present, I listened, I understood, I loved and I prayed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Walk Humbly With Our God

I am reading Exodus in my personal devotions and today I read chapters 32 & 33.  These two chapters have contrasting stories. In chapter 32 we see Moses on the mountain and the Israelites, with Aaron, at the foot of the mountain making a golden calf to worship.  God is ready to annihilate them, but Moses begs for their survival even before he gets down there to see it for himself.  In verse 24 we find Aaron blaming the people and I have to chuckle when he says, "and I cast it (the gold)  into the fire, and this calf came out."  It just popped out! Ha!  It reminds me of "she gave me the fruit and I ate it!" From Adam to Aaron to Angie, sin is still sin and God is not pleased with it. Many Israelites died because they chose to make a false god to worship. That was a sobering thought and made me ponder at this New Year what "little-g gods" I need to remove from my life?

Chapter 33 is a different story. There's still some problems. God can't dwell in the presence of a stiff-necked people so he's decided to meet Moses in a tent outside the camp.  Moses again begs God to return to dwelling in their midst so that the people will know that Moses has found grace in the sight of God.  I love verse 17, "So the Lord said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name." Time has been spent together.  By the way, back in chapter 32 Moses said he was willing to be blotted out of the Book of Life in place of the people - a different picture than Aaron.

Moses then asks (33:18), "Please, show me your glory."  From there God places Moses in the cleft of the rock, covers him with His hand and walks by, allowing Moses to see God's back, for that is all Moses can behold with dying. 

I just sat back and thought, "Am I trying to worship anything more that God? Am I satisfied in His dwelling with me, that I've gotten complacent and can be drawn away by something false or am I asking to see more of God in my life? These are some good thoughts, I think, for the start of a new year.

My prayer for all of us is that we will walk humbly and faithfully with our God and that we will see more of Him this year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Books Read in 2013 & Give-Away

Winner of the book: Conny!

For the past 2 years I've kept a record of the books I've read right here on my blog. You can see what I've read anytime by clicking on the pages under the blog title.

In 2013 I read 26 books, one more than I read in 2012!

I used to say that I prefer non-fiction over fiction, and while I think that is generally true, my reading logs do not bear that out.  I've found a few fiction series that I enjoy, so that's added to the numbers and kept me going.

An overview: At times, I enjoy Debbie Macomber books. They are light romance. Any books after 2000, about the time she became a Christian, are cleaner than her previous works.

I absolutely love Jennifer Chiaverini books which follow a quilting guild through many adventures and life events. They feel like family.

My son turned me onto a youth fiction selection by L.A. Meyer entitled the Bloody Jack series.  I am surprised I enjoy it so much, but the main character has so much pluck I just can't resist. It's about a British orphan girl who finds herself in the British Royal Navy at the turn of the 19th century. From there she has many adventures. It is definitely for teenagers, not pre-teens. 

Did you read any good books in 2013? I'd love to get your recommendations!

I made an enjoyment scale to aid in recommending books and to know which ones were keepers to read again.  Feel free to borrow the scale if you wish.

Here's 2013's list. I will be combining 2012/13 this coming week under one page and starting 2014's page, but wanted to share my wrap up for 2013 first.

Enjoyment Scale:
1=trash. Didn't finish it for whatever reason. Would not recommend.

2=ok. Nothing exciting; probably wouldn't recommend.

3=enjoyable. It was a decent read to pass the time. Might recommend.

4=good. I thought the book was worth the time and I would recommend it.

5=loved! I would buy this book to read again. A must-read recommendation!


Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber (2 1/2)

The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini (4 1/2)
  *my second favorite Elm Creek Novel. Excellent story-telling!


Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini (4)

The Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue (3)


A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue (4)

Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber (2)

The Double Cross by Clare O'Donohue (3)


The Devil's Puzzle by Clare O'Donohue (4)

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy (4 1/2)

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon (4)

A Stitch In Time by Ann Rinaldi (3)

Broken Days by Ann Rinaldi (2 1/2)


Brides for Brothers by Debbie Macomber (3 1/2)

The Marriage Risk by Debbie Macomber (3)

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (5)

Orchard Valley Grooms by Debbie Macomber (4)
*want to read Orchard Valley Brides!

The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini (2)


I Left My Heart by Debbie Macomber (4)

The Shared Wisdom of Mothers and Daughters by Alexandra Stoddard (3)

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (5)
* definitely a keeper for the home library.


Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (4)


Curse of the Blue Tatoo by L.A. Meyer (4)

Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer (4)

In the Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer (4)

Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer (4)

My Bonny Light Horseman by L.A. Meyer (4+)

26 in all! (one more than last year!)

Since Downton Abbey begins again in America this week, I thought I would give away one of my 2013 books, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey. It's about the Carnarvon family who still live in Highclere Castle, the set for Downton Abbey. You'll find similarities to their life story and the Grantham/Crawley family. It's a fun read!

Please, leave a comment with at least one book recommendation (you can leave more!), and I will choose the winner for Lady Almina... from them on Sunday, January 5th at 9pm. One comment per person.