Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- A Little Help From A Big Sister


Olivia is almost five months old. We have just, in the last few days, started her on baby cereal. This child eats! With the other two it took a few exposures before they were really willing to eat a decent amount of baby cereal, not Olivia.
Well Natalie was very intrigued to see "her baby" sitting in the high chair and eating cereal. She wanted to help - so, I got her a baby doll, a bowl and a spoon. She seemed content feeding her baby as I was feeding Olivia. Content until I had to get up and turn my back for a second that is....

Don't worry -- Olivia didn't REALLY mind! =)

Do you have a Wordless/Wordfull Wednesday that you would like to share? Please feel free to comment and/or link up below!

The Federal Government has mandates regarding what...with our savings accounts??

Seriously?? I am not sure if I am more angry, surprised, or a combination of the two right now.
This morning I went to make an online transfer of funds out of MY savings account, when to my surprise I was greeted with this message from Wells Fargo:
Excess Activity Fees may apply to your savings account if you exceed the federally-mandated, combined total limit of six (6) per month of the following types of transfers and/or withdrawals:

•Transfers via Online Banking (including Bill Pay)
•Transfers made by telephone
•Automatic transfers for Overdraft coverage to your checking account
•Pre-authorized transfers and withdrawals (including automatic and wire transfers)
•Checks, drafts, or other similar withdrawals payable to third parties
•Check Card or ATM Card purchases that post to your savings account
There are no limits on the number of ATM or in-branch withdrawals or transfers. For more information, please refer to your Account Agreement
Okay, the highlight is mine, it is what is really bothering me. Savings accounts are not free, when they are free they come with stipulations - a minimum transfer amount from a checking account each month, a minimum balance, etc. As if that was not enough, now there are federal mandates saying what we can and cannot do with our own money, unless of course we want to incur a fee -- nice way for Obama to get back a little of the billions he wasted?!?
In most months, I do not transfer or withdraw from my savings six times. This month I guess I did, or I would have never known about this. I am seriously upset that the government feels like it is their responsibility to mandate how many times I want to transfer money out of a savings account...
What do you think??

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Yummy!!

This November when we went to Montana, the girls and I went to church with Oma and Sierra. Papa was going to go hunting while we were at church. When we got home from church this is what we saw. I was kind of surprised because my girls had never really seen a dead animal, but the reacted well!
I am thankful that we were there when Papa got his buck, and that the girls were able to experience this. Not to mention, we are also thankful for the back strap, the roast, and the burger!!!

If you have a WW, link up!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tassimo Hot Beverage System

There is a new Tassimo machine out -- the T20!
If you don't know what the Tassimo is, check out the review I did of a previous model last year. It is single cup beverage maker - cappuccino, latte, espresso, cocoa, it does it all!
The new one is awesome, it has all the power and capabilities as the tassimo I reviewed last year, but is a sleeker, smaller, more "counter space friendly" model!! I received one on Friday to review and will have that up in the next few days. And guess what --- I will be giving one away on here too!! So keep your eye out for that in the next week or so.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday, FOUR Year Old!!

Happy Birthday Emily!!

We had a little family dinner Monday for Emily's birthday and she is having a small birthday party Saturday.I can't believe that she is 4 already, it all goes by so fast!





If you have a Wordless Wednesday post that you would like to share, leave a link below! I'll check yours out and leave a comment telling you what I think! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Winner

The winner of the Nacho Mama T-Shirt contest is not eligible to win, so I drew another winner, the new winning comment is:
Michelle said...

Oh these are so cool! I love the shirts - and with the Star Wars fascination in our house, I think I need my own shirt: http://www.nachomamatees.com/servlet/the-1255/star-wars-vintage-shirt%2C/Detail
November 6, 2010 9:35 PM
Congratulations Michelle! I am emailing you now for shipping information!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We've got winners!

The winner of the NachoMama T-shirt is comment #7:
throuthehaze said...
#1 Follow in Networked blogs-Rae Pavey
throuthehaze at gmail dot com
November 6, 2010 3:43 PM
And the winner of the Mend Mark Bracelet is comment #3:
Marie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am happily following you now!
I *think* and I could be wrong but, I believe that at first the nails were hammered into his hands. But for some reason, (possibly he wasn't staying very well?) and so they also did His wrists. It is such a gruesome thing to talk about :( but I know it is something like that. OK that probably wasn't very helpful!(:
November 8, 2010 2:38 PM
I will be emailing you shortly for your addresses, please be sure to respond within 48 hours!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tiny Prints Christmas Cards {{{Review}}}

Absolutely Amazing.

I love photos, so it is no surprise that I love photo cards.
But, I have never seen any like some of the ones TinyPrints.com offers. There is a huge selection of holiday photo cards that vary from simple to unique and elegant. I had a hard time selecting one, as there are so many designs that I loved! I ended up ordering the Floral Twist card in Black.
This is the front of the card! - A family picture from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in October.

This is back of the card - the girls!


This is what the card looks like when it is folded into the square!

I think that they came out pretty nice. The only complaint that I have with this design is that I wish I would have known that the picture that would be framed when folded is the inside picture - it would have changed the order I put the pictures in.

Creating your photo cards is very pleasant and easy. You are given the option of uploading pictures from your computer or even importing photos from your facebook, flickr, picasa and other photo sharing accounts -- awesome!! Once your photos are uploaded you can zoom, change them from color to sepia to black and white, you get to see a wide variety of options so that you are sure you are creating the most pleasing photo card.
Once you submit your order you can get proofs emailed to you - for free. The designer that is working on your card will also let you know if there are any issues such as having grainy photos or anything like that. You are given the option to change anything on your card or go ahead and place the order. I love that there is someone who is working with you to make sure you are getting the best quality possible! Great customer service!!
Another plus is that the cards ship pretty fast. I had my cards in under a week of ordering them, with standard shipping.
Aside from what I already said about the order of the photos, the only other complaint I have is that the cards have a noticeable "ad" on them with tiny prints, their logo, and website. The cards are not cheap, they are good quality and therefore are a little more expensive - not too expensive, but they cost enough that I don't think they should be "branded."

Disclosure: I was given 75 free holiday cards to furnish this review. The opinions stated are my own and are honest!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Please Pray For Us

I am leaving in a few minutes to go to Montana. I am taking all three of the girls with me, but Zack is not able to go (work.) It is going to be a long drive there and even longer back!
Please pray for travel mercies for us and that the kids do good with the drive...and don't drive me crazy!!!
~Thanks~

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Reasons to be Thankful

I am thankful that I have been totally transformed. The things that I used to do, like, think, and say are not what define me today. I am made new through Christ. <<== If that isn't a reason to give thanks, I don't know what is!!!

I am thankful for the wonderful people that God has placed in my life to encourage me and to hold me accountable. There is really nothing that can compare with knowing there are people who care, truly care, about each other - with no ulterior motives.

I love cooking and baking, and I am thankful that it is starting to get cold so I can bake to my heart's content and not have to run the cooler!!! BTW, if you live close and want some of what I am baking, call me - I'll hook you up!!!

I am thankful for that God does not answer all of my prayers when I want and how I want. I have not always been thankful for that, but have learned that His answers are always, ALWAYS going to be what is better for me.

It was just my husbands birthday Sunday, and when I was baking his cake I was thinking about how long we have been together. It really doesn't seem like that long. I am thankful for the years we have had so far and the many more that we have to come. I got lucky when he fell into my lap...that's not really what happened. I'll save that story for another time! :)

I am thankful for those of you who read my blog and comment, sharing your thoughts with me. Tell me, what are you giving thanks for in this season of Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mend Mark: The Mark Of Love --Bracelet-- {{{Review & Giveaway}}}

I absolutely love this bracelet! Everything from the unique design, to the inscriptions, to the story behind it is amazing.

Mend Mark, The Mark of Love 
The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. By bringing the story of Jesus’ life and death to constant awareness by wearing a bracelet, Mend Mark is meant to powerfully remind wearers of the ultimate act of love Jesus made for all of humankind.
The Mend Mark is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. Harrison strives to bring people together around the simplicity and power of love as lived by Jesus. But this is no example of passive love. The Mend Mark calls individuals in all walks of life to love with a profound sincerity and commitment great enough to change a neighborhood, a community, a world.


Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person.

My Review:
Like I said, I love this bracelet. The first thing that I noticed when we received our Mend Mark, The Mark of Love bracelet was the wording on the back of the box:
{REMEMBER LOVE}
if we stop remembering, then we forget
------
there once lived a king
who laid his entire life down for his people
this selfless act became the greatest love example of all time

remember the sacrifice
emulate the emotion
change the world
WOW, right!?! A wonderful message of love and an almost convicting reminder to emulate it. Jesus did show us and tell us many times through the Bible that loving each other is one of the most important things we can do.  
On the bracelet are the words REMEMBER and LOVE. As you can see from the picture below, the bracelet is made to be pretty thin and unnoticeable as far as the band, with bold circles reflective of a hole where a nail was driven through Jesus. It is most definitely a noticeable piece, and people have asked about it opening up an opportunity to share the love and sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation.
For me, any product that opens doors for a talk about salvation gets a 5 star rating!!
 The only thing that I take issue with is that according to the Bible (as far as I read and understand it) Jesus was mailed through the hand, not the wrist. That being said, this bracelet is a reflection that makes you thing of Him being nailed to the cross -- and I think that it is a great representation.

If you would like to buy a Mend Mark: The Mark of Love bracelet, you can order them online for $9.99 on the Mend Mark website A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Waters International, providing clean water to communities that need it.

Hunter Harrison, creator of the Mend Mark, has generously provided an extra bracelet for a lucky Proverbs 31 Mommy & Wife reader!! 

GIVEAWAY RULES
Open until 11/26/10 at 9 P.M. PST
**Please always include a valid email address in your comments if one is not visible in your blogger profile, or I will be unable to contact you!**Leave a separate comment for each entry you are completing

MANDATORY ENTRY (must be completed for any extra entries to count):
Tell me why you’d like to have The Mark of Love.

EXTRA ENTRY OPPORTUNITIES:
**Like Mend Mark on Facebook, tell them you heard about them from Proverbs 31 Mommy & Wife - leave part of your FB name in your entry/comment  (2 entries)
**Follow Mend Mark on Twitter leave your twitter name (2 entries)
**Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect or through Facebook's Networked Blogs leave your name (2 entries each)
**Subscribe to email updates in the top left sidebar leave your email address -only activated subscriptions count so be sure to confirm your subscription with the email they will send you (3 entries)
**Follow me on twitter leave your twitter name (2 entries)
**Friend me on Facebook leave part of your FB name (2 entries)
**Tweet about this giveaway, Share it on your FB wall, link it in a giveaway linky, etc - leave the URL (2 entries each, daily)
**Blog about this giveaway and link it back here – 5 entries
**Enter my other giveaways – 1 entry each

Open to legal residents of the USA, age 18+ only. Winner will be chosen based on the random integer generator at random.org. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email I will send them before a new winner is chosen.

Disclaimer: I was sent a product free of charge in exchange for this review. The opinions are my own and are honest.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shall we give thanks together?! **Join Me**

I meant to start this on November 1...but am a bit behind.    :)

November is host to Thanksgiving, I want to go beyond one day of giving thanks. So, I am dedicating every day this month to being thankful, to not giving much thought to the hardships in life or those things that don't cause me to be thankful. Every day, I am going to share with you one thing that I am thankful for. Please feel free to leave a comment each day saying something that you are thankful for, it'll be fun - we will be thankful together!

Since it is already November 4th, I am going to play a little bit of catch up!

I am thankful for
  ~ knowing that I am loved and treasured by a great God!
  ~ the wonderful husband I have!
  ~ Emily, Natalie, and Olivia (my daughters) and being able to stay home with them!
  ~ all of my family!

I am a Mom for Modesty

Moms for Modesty Mission Statement


As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.

I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.

I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.

I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.

I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young women's clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.



I have three young daughters and have even noticed that the length of the shorts, skirts, and even the shirts seem to be getting shorter for CHILDREN. I am seriously disgusted with the way that children's clothing is being made. There are alternatives - stores that do sell modest clothes.
If you agree with the mission statement above, please click on the button in this post and sign the petition. Many companies and the PR firms look to the opinions of bloggers, if we can all get together and support modesty, maybe our voices will be heard.
You do not have to be a parent to sign the petition, anyone who agrees with it is welcome.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Joy To The World: Advent Activities for your Family by Kathleen M. Basi

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Joy to the World: Advent Activities for your Family

Liguori Publications (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Rebecca Molen of Liguori Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kathleen Basi is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, flute and voice teacher, composer, choir director, natural family planning teacher, scrapbooker, sometime-chef and budding disability rights activist. She puts her juggling skills on display on her website (see below).


Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $5.99
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Liguori Publications (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764819372
ISBN-13: 978-0764819377

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Introduction

Reclaiming
Advent

Call it December madness: On the day after Thanksgiving 2008, a seasonal worker was trampled to death by shoppers swarming a department store at opening time. In mid-America, two women got into a fist fight over a toy, and the store personnel had to pull them off each other.

At this time of year, it’s hardly possible to escape feeling rushed, harried, and overwhelmed. It seems like every year the Christmas decorations at the mall go up a little earlier, and all the news reports dwell on how much money retailers are (or aren’t) going to make. The ad inserts get fatter and the TV shouts: “No need to wait! Zero down! No interest for thirteen months! Hurry, hurry, hurry!”

Just about everyone gripes about it, but no one seems to know what to do about it. Some families throw out the whole secular celebration in an attempt to prevent materialism from overwhelming both Advent and Christmas. But most families feel—rightly so—that they shouldn’t have to choose one over the other. It’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but often families feel stressed as the calendar fills up with recitals, shopping, parties, and housecleaning. In this atmosphere filled with distractions, the idea of Advent as a season in its own right has been overwhelmed. How can we wait for Christmas when we never have to wait for anything else?

Christmas is not about children, gifts, cookies, or trees. It’s about a love so powerful that God came to earth to dwell among us: human and divine intertwining—a holy union of wills that reaches its apex not in birth, but in crucifixion and resurrection. In salvation.

And we spend December fighting over Blu-ray discs and toys?

It’s time to reclaim Advent—that season of holy hush, of waiting, of light and anticipation—that season that helps make Christmas so special. We can’t withdraw from the world, but we can take the trappings of the season and infuse them with a deeper meaning. Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family outlines a way to reconcile the secular with the sacred—to celebrate them side-by-side, to mold them into a single, month-long “liturgy,” and in so doing, to enrich both celebrations.

Chapter 1 presents a brief overview of Advent and why it is important. Chapter 2 introduces the three parts of the Advent Reclamation Project, which are explained more fully in Chapters 3 through 5. Chapter 6 offers suggestions for other traditions that families or parish communities might choose to adopt as their own, and in the appendices, you will find resources to flesh out the earlier chapters.

Early childhood is the ideal time to start developing family traditions, so this book is aimed at young families. Each chapter contains a short italicized section to be read directly to children, explaining some part of the celebration. As your family grows, you can adapt the traditions to fit your own circumstances. Many of the ideas will also translate to the classroom. Remember that Advent, like Sabbath, was not created for God’s sake, but for ours (see Mark 2:27). God doesn’t need it. We do.

Chapter

1

The Case
For Advent

Advent holds a unique place in the Christian calendar. For Catholics, it is the beginning of the liturgical year. It is a season in which the church is decked out in purple—a sign of penitence—yet the Scriptures also speak of joy, hope, and light.

The word “Advent” comes from a Latin word meaning arrival or coming. In the earliest days of the Church, all of life focused on the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. After all, the Apostles expected the Second Coming during their lifetimes.

At this time, the ancient pagan cultures structured their seasonal celebrations on nature. The celebration of the winter solstice was the biggest festival of the year in ancient times. It centered upon the shortest day of the year—the day when the “unconquered” sun began slowly to take back the days. Gift-giving, feasting, lights, and greenery all originated in these pagan celebrations. As Christianity expanded into these lands, the Church adopted many of these traditions, infusing them with Christian meaning in order to ease the transition for its new members. Thus, sometime in the fourth century ad, Christmas—and Advent—made their appearances.

Originally, Advent was a forty-day period of fasting and penitence—a parallel to Lent. In the early centuries, the Church focused on preparing for the Second Coming. Not until the middle ages did Advent begin to point toward the birth of Christ. Over the centuries, many traditions cropped up surrounding the season. The Advent wreath grew out of a Pagan tradition of lighting candles to signify the hope of spring. The Jesse tree probably originated in Northern Europe, where lineage and genealogy determined one’s place in society. The Jesse tree taught the faithful about Jesus’ royal lineage. Over time, these customs (and the meanings associated with them) have evolved. Some grew more important, others less so.

Nowadays, the secular culture and many Protestant denominations make no distinction between Advent and Christmas. The Sundays of December are filled with the story of the Christ Child, and the Christmas celebration is over and done around New Year’s. But in Catholic tradition, the season of Advent focuses on the two “comings” of Christ—the Incarnation, when God came to Earth as human child, and the glorious Second Coming at the end of time. In fact, the readings for the first two weeks of Advent speak of John the Baptist “preparing the way” for Jesus, the grown man who turned the world upside down. Only in the later part of Advent does our focus zero in on Bethlehem.

This duality is something we experience even with our senses. Catholic churches are hung with violet for these four weeks—the color traditionally associated with penitence. But the purple we use at this time of year is different from the purple of Lent; it is meant to be a richer, royal purple, reminding us also that Christ is King.

Advent gives us a chance to meditate on:

Hope—for deliverance;

Expectation—for the coming of one who will bring justice to an unjust world;

Preparation—so that we may prepare our hearts to receive Christ, who is

Light—the light of the world.


These are beautiful themes. Why should Advent be shoved into a corner, nothing more than four weeks of filler before Christmas? Advent can be a magical time, if we approach it the right way.

Advent does not need to become a “second Lent,” but the violet hangings and vestments remind us that penitence remains an important part of the season. Advent gives us the chance to examine our hearts and “defrag” our scattered souls. To reorder our thinking and our priorities. To point our lives, for four weeks, toward Christmas, so that when we reach the holiday, it has meaning and beauty that is distinct from the four preceding weeks.

Nor is Christmas the end of the journey. Without Holy Week and the resurrection, the manger in Bethlehem would be unremarkable: just one more baby born in poverty. For Christians, the destination is Easter. Glorious as it is, Christmas is a stop along the way.

For the children:

Even though all the advertisements on TV are about Christmas, right now we are actually in the season of Advent. During Advent, our job is to get ready for Jesus to come and live in our hearts. At Christmas, we will celebrate Jesus being born as a baby—but he has promised us that he will come back again someday, and we need to be ready. One way we do this is by remembering our sins and trying to do better. This is called penitence, and it is why the church is decorated in purple. But Advent is also about looking forward to Jesus coming. We are excited because Jesus is the light of the world, and when he comes, he will make the world fair for everyone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Story with Dad -- Come Link Up

The girls absolutely love stoy time.
Any time...
Any where...
With any body...

BUT, when daddy is home, this is what story time tends to look like in the morning:


I am not sure what they are enjoying more, the snack, the story, the seating, or daddy....


If you'd like you can link up your Wordless/Wordfull Wednesday post below, and leave a comment if you'd like! :)




Everything Christmas -- FIRST Wild Card Book Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:


Everything Christmas

WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)

***Special thanks to Staci Carmichael, Marketing and Publicity Coordinator, Doubleday Religion / Waterbrook Multnomah, Divisions of Random House, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


David Bordon and Tom Winters are partners in Bordon-Winters, LLC, a book concept and packaging company that produces successful books and gift products. Their previous titles include the 101 Things You Should Do series, especially the popular 101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 030772929X
ISBN-13: 978-0307729293

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



December 1


Let Us Keep Christmas

Grace Noll Crowell

Whatever else be lost among the years,

Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;

Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,

Let us hold close one day, remembering

It’s poignant meaning for the hearts of men.

Let us get back our childlike faith again.




The History of Christmas

Many of our Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The twelve days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, gift giving, carnivals, carolers going from house to house, holiday feasts, even church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians. These traditions were passed down throughout the known world and were popular in Rome long before the birth of Christ.

Most historians say that some three centuries after the birth of Christ, Christianity was spreading rapidly. Church leaders were alarmed that their converts continued to honor the ancient celebrations honoring pagan gods. Early Christians had chosen to keep the birth of their Christ child a solemn and religious holiday, without merriment. For centuries they had forbidden their members to take part in those ancient celebrations. But now it seemed it was a losing battle. As a compromise, they agreed to allow their members to partake in a demure and respectful celebration of the birth of Christ. Thus, the Christian celebration we know as Christmas was born in Rome, near the date 336 AD.

The actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown, so the early Christians chose December 25, probably to compete with the wildly popular Roman festival of Saturnalia. Eventually, most of the customs from the festival of Saturnalia were adopted into the celebration of Christmas and given new and sacred meanings.

Today, Christmas is both a holiday and a holy day. In America, it is the biggest event of the year, celebrated by people of all ages.




Christmas Every Day

William Dean Howells

The little girl came into her papa’s study, as she always did Saturday morning before breakfast, and asked for a story. He tried to beg off that morning, for he was very busy, but she would not let him. So he began:

“Well, once there was a little pig—”

She stopped him at the word. She said she had heard little pig stories till she was perfectly sick of them.

“Well, what kind of story shall I tell, then?”

“About Christmas. It’s getting to be the season.”

“Well!” Her papa roused himself. “Then I’ll tell you about the little girl that wanted it Christmas every day in the year. How would you like that?”

“First-rate!” said the little girl; and she nestled into comfortable shape in his lap, ready for listening.

“Very well, then, this little pig—Oh, what are you pounding me for?”

“Because you said little pig instead of little girl.”

“I should like to know what’s the difference between a little pig and a little girl that wanted Christmas every day!”

“Papa!” said the little girl warningly. At this her papa began to tell the story.

Once there was a little girl who liked Christmas so much that she wanted it to be Christmas every day in the year, and as soon as Thanksgiving was over she began to send postcards to the old Christmas Fairy to ask if she mightn’t have it. But the old Fairy never answered, and after a while the little girl found out that the Fairy wouldn’t notice anything but real letters sealed outside with a monogram—or your initial, anyway. So, then, she began to send letters, and just the day before Christmas, she got a letter from the Fairy, saying she might have it Christmas every day for a year, and then they would see about having it longer.

The little girl was excited already, preparing for the old-fashioned, once-a-year Christmas that was coming the next day. So she resolved to keep the Fairy’s promise to herself and surprise everybody with it as it kept coming true, but then it slipped out of her mind altogether.

She had a splendid Christmas. She went to bed early, so as to let Santa Claus fill the stockings, and in the morning she was up the first of anybody and found hers all lumpy with packages of candy, and oranges and grapes, and rubber balls, and all kinds of small presents. Then she waited until the rest of the family was up, and she burst into the library to look at the large presents laid out on the library table—books, and boxes of stationery, and dolls, and little stoves, and dozens of handkerchiefs, and inkstands, and skates, and photograph frames, and boxes of watercolors, and dolls’ houses—and the big Christmas tree, lighted and standing in the middle.

She had a splendid Christmas all day. She ate so much candy that she did not want any breakfast, and the whole forenoon the presents kept pouring in that had not been delivered the night before, and she went round giving the presents she had got for other people, and came home and ate turkey and cranberry for dinner, and plum pudding and nuts and raisins and oranges, and then went out and coasted, and came in with a stomachache crying, and her papa said he would see if his house was turned into that sort of fool’s paradise another year, and they had a light supper, and pretty early everybody went to bed cross.

The little girl slept very heavily and very late, but she was wakened at last by the other children dancing around her bed with their stockings full of presents in their hands. “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” they all shouted.

“Nonsense! It was Christmas yesterday,” said the little girl, rubbing her eyes sleepily.

Her brothers and sisters just laughed. “We don’t know about that. It’s Christmas today, anyway. You come into the library and see.”

Then all at once it flashed on the little girl that the Fairy was keeping her promise, and her year of Christmases was beginning. She was dreadfully sleepy, but she sprang up and darted into the library. There it was again! Books, and boxes of stationery, and dolls, and so on.

There was the Christmas tree blazing away, and the family picking out their presents, and her father looking perfectly puzzled, and her mother ready to cry. “I’m sure I don’t see how I’m to dispose of all these things,” said her mother, and her father said it seemed to him they had had something just like it the day before, but he supposed he must have dreamed it. This struck the little girl as the best kind of a joke, and so she ate so much candy she didn’t want any breakfast, and went round carrying presents, and had turkey and cranberry for dinner, and then went out and coasted, and came in with a stomachache, crying.

Now, the next day, it was the same thing over again, but everybody getting crosser, and at the end of a week’s time so many people had lost their tempers that you could pick up lost tempers anywhere, they perfectly strewed the ground. Even when people tried to recover their tempers they usually got somebody else’s, and it made the most dreadful mix.

The little girl began to get frightened, keeping the secret all to herself, she wanted to tell her mother, but she didn’t dare to, and she was ashamed to ask the Fairy to take back her gift, it seemed ungrateful and ill-bred. So it went on and on, and it was Christmas on St. Valentine’s Day and Washington’s Birthday, just the same as any day, and it didn’t skip even the First of April, though everything was counterfeit that day, and that was some little relief.

After a while turkeys got to be awfully scarce, selling for about a thousand dollars apiece. They got to passing off almost anything for turkeys—even half-grown hummingbirds. And cranberries—well they asked a diamond apiece for cranberries. All the woods and orchards were cut down for Christmas trees. After a while they had to make Christmas trees out of rags. But there were plenty of rags, because people got so poor, buying presents for one another, that they couldn’t get any new clothes, and they just wore their old ones to tatters. They got so poor that everybody had to go to the poorhouse, except the confectioners, and the storekeepers, and the book sellers, and they all got so rich and proud that they would hardly wait upon a person when he came to buy. It was perfectly shameful!

After it had gone on about three or four months, the little girl, whenever she came into the room in the morning and saw those great ugly, lumpy stockings dangling at the fireplace, and the disgusting presents around everywhere, used to sit down and burst out crying. In six months she was perfectly exhausted, she couldn’t even cry anymore.

And now it was on the Fourth of July! On the Fourth of July, the first boy in the United States woke up and found out that his firecrackers and toy pistol and two-dollar collection of fireworks were nothing but sugar and candy painted up to look like fireworks. Before ten o’clock every boy in the United States discovered that his July Fourth things had turned into Christmas things and was so mad. The Fourth of July orations all turned into Christmas carols, and when anybody tried to read the Declaration of Independence, instead of saying, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary,” he was sure to sing, “God rest you merry gentlemen.” It was perfectly awful.

About the beginning of October the little girl took to sitting down on dolls wherever she found them—she hated the sight of them so, and by Thanksgiving she just slammed her presents across the room. By that time people didn’t carry presents around nicely anymore. They flung them over the fence or through the window, and, instead of taking great pains to write “For dear Papa,” or “Mama “ or “Brother,” or “Sister,” they used to write, “Take it, you horrid old thing!” and then go and bang it against the front door.

Nearly everybody had built barns to hold their presents, but pretty soon the barns overflowed, and then they used to let them lie out in the rain, or anywhere. Sometimes the police used to come and tell them to shovel their presents off the sidewalk or they would arrest them.

Before Thanksgiving came it had leaked out who had caused all these Christmases. The little girl had suffered so much that she had talked about it in her sleep, and after that hardly anybody would play with her, because if it had not been for her greediness it wouldn’t have happened. And now, when it came Thanksgiving, and she wanted them to go to church, and have turkey, and show their gratitude, they said that all the turkeys had been eaten for her old Christmas dinners and if she would stop the Christmases, they would see about the gratitude. And the very next day the little girl began sending letters to the Christmas Fairy, and then telegrams, to stop it. But it didn’t do any good, and then she got to calling at the Fairy’s house, but the girl that came to the door always said, “Not at home,” or “Engaged,” or something like that, and so it went on till it came to the old once-a-year Christmas Eve. The little girl fell asleep, and when she woke up in the morning—

“She found it was all nothing but a dream,” suggested the little girl.

“No indeed!” said her papa. “It was all every bit true!”

“What did she find out, then?”

“Why, that it wasn’t Christmas at last, and wasn’t ever going to be, anymore. Now it’s time for breakfast.”

The little girl held her papa fast around the neck.

“You shan’t go if you’re going to leave it so!”

“How do you want it left?”

“Christmas once a year.”

“All right,” said her papa, and he went on again.

Well, with no Christmas ever again, there was the greatest rejoicing all over the country. People met together everywhere and kissed and cried for joy. Carts went around and gathered up all the candy and raisins and nuts, and dumped them into the river, and it made the fish perfectly sick. And the whole United States, as far out as Alaska, was one blaze of bonfires, where the children were burning up their presents of all kinds. They had the greatest time!

The little girl went to thank the old Fairy because she had stopped its being Christmas, and she said she hoped the Fairy would keep her promise and see that Christmas never, never came again. Then the Fairy frowned, and said that now the little girl was behaving just as greedily as ever, and she’d better look out. This made the little girl think it all over carefully again, and she said she would be willing to have it Christmas about once in a thousand years, and then she said a hundred, and then she said ten, and at last she got down to one. Then the Fairy said that was the good old way that had pleased people ever since Christmas began, and she was agreed. Then the little girl said, “What’re your shoes made of?” And the Fairy said, “Leather.” And the little girl said, “Bargain’s done forever,” and skipped off, and hippity-hopped the whole way home, she was so glad.

“How will that do?” asked the papa.

“First-rate!” said the little girl, but she hated to have the story stop, and was rather sober. However, her mama put her head in at the door and asked her papa:

“Are you never coming to breakfast? What have you been telling that child?”

“Oh, just a tale with a moral.”

The little girl caught him around the neck again.

“We know! Don’t you tell what, papa! Don’t you tell what!”



William Dean Howells (1837—1920) Best known as an editor and critic, this American fiction writer produced more than forty novels and story collections. He challenged American authors to choose American subjects, portray them honestly, and create characters who use native-American speech. As a critic, he helped to introduce writers like Mark Twain, Hamlin Garland, and Stephen Crane to American readers.




What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past,

courage for the present, hope for the future.

It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow

with blessings rich and eternal, and that

every path may lead to peace.

Agnes M. Pharo




Scented Applesauce-Cinnamon

Ornaments



3 cups applesauce

3 cups ground cinnamon



Mix applesauce and cinnamon together until it is thick enough to hold a form. Flatten the mixture on a flat surface and cut into cookie-cutter shapes.

Place cookie shapes on a cookie sheet to dry for 3 to 4 days depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. If using as a hanging ornament, make a hole with a toothpick before drying.

Makes 15 ornaments.




Chestnut Dressing

8 Tbsp. butter

3 ribs celery with leaves, chopped

16 ounces chestnuts

1 large chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 pound sourdough bread, cubed

3 cups turkey stock



Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut a deep X into the flattest side of each chestnut and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until outer skin of chestnut splits. Wrap roasted chestnuts in a towel to keep warm. Peel off the tough outer skin of the chestnut and thinner inner skin with a sharp knife. Chop the chestnuts coarsely and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Empty skillet contents into a large bowl. Add cubed bread, parsley, and enough stock to moisten the mix, about 2 1/2 cups. Stir in chestnuts and add salt and pepper to taste.

Use to stuff poultry or place in a buttered baking dish, drizzle with 1/2 cup more stock, and bake 30 minutes to an hour.

Makes 10–11 cups.




Roasted Goose

1 goose, 10–12 pounds

1 orange, halved

kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For giblet stock (used in gravy):

2 onions, quartered

1 carrot, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 pints of water

2 sprigs of sage

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. cornstarch (to thicken)



The goose should be defrosted and left at room temperature for at least 2 or 3 hours before cooking to bring it to equilibrium. This will improve the overall texture of the finished product. Remove the giblets from the goose and set aside. Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out with cool water and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut away any loose pieces of fat. Then rub the orange inside and outside of the bird. Mix the salt and pepper and rub into the skin and inside the cavity of the bird to season it.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Truss the bird by folding the wings back under the body. Then tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Lightly prick the skin of the bird several times with a fork to allow the fat to adequately render during the cooking process. It is important not to pierce the flesh of the bird. Place the goose breast-side up on a rack in the roasting pan, and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes to develop some initial color. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue cooking for approximately 3 hours.

Make a simple giblet stock to fortify and enrich the gravy while the goose is roasting by placing the giblets in a saucepan with some goose fat and cooking over low heat until browned. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, herbs, and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about one hour. Strain and cool until needed.

The goose is done when the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 175°F. For a visual test to see if the goose is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, then it is ready. If not, then return to the oven for additional roasting time.

Once the goose is cooked, allow it to rest for 20–30 minutes. This will allow the meat to firm up and will help retain the juiciness of the bird. Remove all of the drippings from the roasting pan, strain, and remove the fat. Add these defatted drippings to the giblet broth and season to taste. To thicken the gravy, combine 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp. of water and add to the gravy. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1–2 minutes or until thickened.




O Little Town of Bethlehem

Phillips Brooks



O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,

And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heav’n.

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,

Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;

Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,

The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!



Historical Note:

On Christmas Eve, 1865, Phillips Brooks was in Jerusalem, a trip intended to inspire spiritual rebirth after the horrors of the Civil War. Just a few months earlier, he had spoken at the funeral of President Abraham Lincoln. That clear night as he walked the streets of the Holy City, he had a sudden inspiration. Renting a horse, he set out for Bethlehem. After a solitary journey under the clear night sky, Brooks reached the tiny, remote village and was surrounded by the spirit of the first Christmas. His impoverished soul was refreshed as he considered what had happened there so many years before. Three years later on Christmas Eve, 1868, as he sat alone in his study preparing his sermon for the next day, he felt inspired to pen the words to this beautiful carol.




I, the Lord All-Powerful,

will send my messenger

to prepare the way for me.

Then suddenly the Lord

you are looking for

will appear in his temple.

The messenger you desire

is coming with my promise,

and he is on his way.

(Malachi 3:1, cev)



This book is tons of fun. There are stories, poems, little facts, recipes and more for each day of December leading up to Christmas. December 24 is reserved for the most amazing, special story possible -- Christ's birth!

I am enjoying this book! One of the nicest things about it is that in the back is a topical index so that you don't have to remember what day something fun was on...and there is so much fun in this book between craft ideas, recipes, gift ideas, and more.

*****

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nacho Mama Tees {{{Review & Giveaway}}}

When I first heard the name on this store, I wanted to check it out - Nacho Mama Tees.
It peaks your interest, right?
NachoMama Tees has a large variety of t-shirts - some thing for everyone! They have vintage tees with things like Ghost Busters, The A Team, and more. There are shirts for guys and shirts for gals. Really, there is something for every body.

I received this shirt for my husband:
REVIEW:
Honestly, I was surprised with the quality of the shirt. They are not very expensive, so I was expecting something like a light- to medium-weight cotton. This shirt is a heavy-weight cotton, it's soft and very comfortable. The shirt did shrink a little bit when it was washed, so if you are teetering between sizes, I would recommend getting the bigger size, but if not the size you normally wear would be perfect.
NachoMama Tees was easy to navigate, loaded fast, and has a lot of search options - vintage, funny, girls, etc. Ordering and shipping was fast and easy. There is a "Daily Deal" tab where each day a new shirt is on sale for only $6.99!!

GIVEAWAY:
NachoMama Tees has graciously offered one Proverbs 31 Mommy & Wife reader an opportunity to win a t-shirt of their choice ($19.99 or less)!!!
In order to be eligible to win this giveaway, you must be 18 years or older and live in the USA. Please leave your email address in your comments, so that I can contact you if you win. Contest closes at 9 PM PST on Nov 19, 2010. Winner will be chosen by Random.org. I will verify the winning entry and then notify the winner, who then has 48 hours to send me their info or a new winner will be chosen.
GOOD LUCK!!

Mandatory Entry: Go to NachoMama Tees and pick out the shirt you would like to win and leave the URL to it in the comments!!!
Extra Entries:
**Like CrazyDog T-Shirts on Facebook  leave part of your FB name (BTW, they give you a $5 coupon code for liking them) (2 entries)
**Follow CrazyDog TShirts on Twitter leave your twitter name (2 entries)
**Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect or through Facebook's Networked Blogs leave your name (2 entries each)
**Subscribe to email updates in the top left sidebar leave your email address -only activated subscriptions count so be sure to confirm your subscription with the email they will send you (3 entries)
**Follow me on twitter leave your twitter name (2 entries)
**Friend me on Facebook leave part of your FB name (2 entries)
**Tweet about this giveaway, Share it on your FB wall, link it in a giveaway linky, etc - leave the URL (2 entries each, daily)

Disclaimer: I was send a product in order to review and publish this post. The opinions are mine and are honset. Your experience may differ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Download A FREE VeggieTales CD TODAY

Today ONLY, you can download The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree by The VeggieTales FREE on Amazon, by clicking here.
This CD contains 16 songs including

* O Christmas Tree
* Silent Night
*What Child Is This / The First Noel
AND MORE

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Totally Talented Tuesday -- Crafty Kids!!

Every Wednesday we go to the Dayton Library, where they have story time. They usually read three books, sing a couple of songs, and then make a craft. Here are some of the kids' fall crafts that we have hanging up!


Fun, huh?
:)



If there is some crafty-ness going on in your house, please link up and share it with us, by clicking the button above!!! Thanks Two Of A Kind Working On A Full House for hosting Totally Talented Tuesday!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can you imagine what it will be like?

I normally don't even open the emails where the subject begins with FWD:FWD:.......
There really are not enough hours in the day as it is, imagine how much less time you'd have if you looked at everyone of those emails!!!
BUT every once in a while, a title will catch my attention - as this one did. It was titled
"Beautiful Drawings of Jesus"
The email spoke of an anonymous street artist who created these huge, beautiful pictures in less than an hour. Here are some of them:
Can you even begin to imagine the love and joy that you will feel when you see Jesus face-to-face? I cannot fathom how truly amazing it will be...maranatha Lord!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

MMM...Tasty, Healthy, and Easy

Pot Roast with Vegetables and Pasta with Stewed Tomatoes


This was really good, it was incredibly simple, and is pretty healthy.

Pot Roast & Vegetables

2-5 lb roast (any cut)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 to 2" pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 to 2" pieces
1/2 med onion, cut into wedges
quart sized jar of stewed tomatoes (or 2-3 cans stewed tomatoes)

Place the roast in the crock pot, put the vegetables around and on top of the roast (depending on how much veggies you have and how big you roast is) -- just get it all in there!
Pour the stewed tomatoes on top of everything, put the lid on, and cook on low for 7-8 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can cook it on high for 4-5 hours.


Pasta with Stewed Tomatoes

2 Cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 Pint stewed tomatoes (or 1 can stewed tomatoes)

Cook pasta to el dente according to package directions. Drain.
Add stewed tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat until heated through.


The pasta is always a big hit in our house -- as you can see from the little hand going after it!!
This was the first time that I have used stewed tomatoes for cooking the pot roast, but it came out wonderful!!!!

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

 
10 LITTLE Things You Might Not Know About Me
~1~  Even though I don't get to do as much of it as I'd like, I really enjoy crafting!
~2~ I cannot draw, I can make a stick person and some of the basics - that's it.
~3~ I prefer cookie dough over cookies. (And this drives my husband nuts!!!)
~4~ My favorite color is powder blue.
~5~ I like General Hospital...I know, right?
~6~ When I was a kid I wanted seven kids, now I am good with three! lol
~7~ I always wanted to be either a doctor or a lawyer, but honestly, I think that being a mom is a lot more rewarding...doesn't pay as much but every minute is amazing! 
~8~ I prefer my fish baked or grilled - don't tell Zack, he likes 'em fried!
~9~ I could live the rest of my life without eating another bite of red meat and it wouldn't bother me a bit.
~10~ I still have one pair of pants that I could wear before I had kids...and I am not getting rid of it!!! It is my goal, eventually to fit in them again!
~And A Bonus~ I hate putting laundry away, I would rather clean the toilet.
 
 
 
Thankful Thursday is being hosted by Lynn at Spiritually Unequal marriage in October, you can head over there to find a list of other participating posts and/or link up your own.
 
This is the first Thankful Thursday that I have participated in for a while, and it is interesting that the topic is 10 things you don't know about me. It might not seem that interesting to you, but one of the prayers that has been on my heart for a while now is that I would be empty of me and full of God. When I was thinking about myself to make this list, I didn't really like a lot of what I was coming up with, which means that it is time to change some things!!

At church, we just started a women's Bible study and one of the things that has really been convicting me is that I have not read the whole Bible. I have red many books, but have not given the honor and respect that God deserves, desires, and demands to Him by reading His Word. That really made me think, and I am now working on reading with a prayerful and receptive heart. So hopefully with me being in God's Word more, next time I take an inventory of myself I will see more Chrsit-like qualities!!
Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Leave a comment and I will make sure to come see what you have to say as well! Hope you all have a Thankful and Blessed Thursday!!

~~Katrina~~

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Baking with the Girls!!! Linky

This is how the baking went yesterday:

We finally got all of the ingredients out, measured, mixed and had the batter/dough in the pans and the pans put in the oven! 

Olivia was a good little "helper" she sat on the counter in her papasan chair and watched what was going on!!

Emily and Natalie had a great time with the measuring, mixin, and pouring...but the best part of baking (if you ask them) is liking the spatula and bowl!!!



MMM...yummy!!
Banana-Zucchini bread!!!


If you have a WW on your blog, please linkup!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fun For The Whole Family Hour

Sail Into God’s Great Love With Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour


Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX – Group Publishing has set sail on a brand new expedition, where families will embark on an adventure to discover God’s love. In their very first Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour event, Group partners with Walden Media and 20th Century Fox, using scenes from the new Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour combines eye-opening discussions and upbeat music with the thrilling adventure of Narnia in an experience that connects all ages with each other and with God.

Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour is one action-packed hour where participants will discuss never-before-seen clips from the movie, listen to music, watch a skit, and grow in their faith. Participants will divide into family groups of no more than five. Each group is given their own expedition pack, which contains an interactive expedition map that uses water to reveal hidden messages, guiding each family to look at God’s transforming love in a whole new way. It also includes a CD with all the music so families can continue their adventure at home. Clips from the Narnia movie will help them explore how God’s love changes us. Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour makes reaching families easier than ever.

Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour is flexible, easy to implement, and a great value. Everything you need to get started is in the Leader Pack, which includes:
· Leader Guide
· DVD containing a promotional video and clips from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
· CD containing clip art, publicity helps, drama script, and PowerPoint song lyrics slides
· Family Expedition Pack (sample)
· Publicity Poster (sample)

Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour came out of a desire to let families share in simple, life-changing experiences like the ones kids explore at Group’s vacation Bible school. “In Group’s many years of ministry experience, we’ve seen families connect in unique ways during VBS,” according to Group’s Shannon Velasquez. “Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour brings families together for laughter, drama, and music, creating a starting point for family faith-building conversations.”

Group has a reputation of being hands-on in growing children’s relationships with Christ, and this new product does not disappoint. Nothing fires you up like seeing kids “get it” as you teach…and seeing the children you serve grow closer to God. This practical, time-saving resource makes that happen.

Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour Leader Pack—ISBN 978-0-7644-4288-9/$19.99
Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour Family Expedition Pack—ISBN 978-0-7644-4289-6/$5.99
Fun-for-the-Whole-Family Hour Publicity Poster Pack—ISBN 978-0-7644-4287-2/$9.99
Group Publishing, August 2010

For more product information, visit familyhour.group.com.

MY REVIEW

Fun for the Whole Family Hour is a great way to get families to spend time together learning or and discussing the love of God. I especially love that it is family focused. There are a lot of different activities to participate in at church - VBS, women's Bible study, men's Bible study, and stuff like that but this is unique in that it is for the whole family - I really like that!! The material is written in a way that is great and easy for children to understand but not too dulled down that it will lose the adults attention. We enjoyed it. This is definately something that we would participate in if our church ever decided to do.

Disclosure: I was sent a Leader's Pack for review purposes from The B&B Media Group. This review is my honest opinion.


Out of curiousity, would you be interested in attending a family even such as this at your church?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Completely Whole by Paulette Harper

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Completely Whole

Thy Word Publishing; 1st edition (August 3, 2010)

***Special thanks to Paulette Harper Johnson of Thy Word Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A sought after speaker, certified life coach, minister and author. As an inspirational and motivational speaker.

Paulette has authored such books as That Was Then, This Is Now which achieved national recognition by being awarded a finalist in the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Award and her newest release Completely Whole was published under her own publishing company Thy Word Publishing. She is the co-author of Victorious Living for Women. Her next book For Such a Time as This will be released in 2011 in addition to Victorious Living for Moms.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.95
Paperback: 145 pages
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing; 1st edition (August 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615331017
ISBN-13: 978-0615331010

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lord, I Am Made Whole by My Experiences

Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could tell God how to do His job? Or maybe we could assist Him or give Him some advice on how to deal with our issues? Wouldn’t we simply make sure we avoided much of the pain, sorrow and disappointment life brought? The answer is a resounding yes! Avoiding hardship, pain and heartache would be our primary solution in dealing with everything that life brought our way. If we could just sit back and live in complete harmony and joy, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Who wouldn’t want this kind of life?

Unfortunately, the world in which we live doesn’t allow this type of ease. We call this kind of world imaginary—make believe—a fairy tale. Fairy tales are fables created for children with the illusion that the world is an ideal and wonderful place—a place where there are no caresa place which is free and exempt from outside influences. The truth of the matter is the world in which we live can be disappointing and cruel, with plenty of let downs. Yet, depending on our attitude, the world can also be a place of limitless successes, great achievements, abundant blessings and untold happiness. Each day that God blesses us to experience is a day in which some type of lesson is going to be taught. The question is: are we willing to learn?

Many times we ask God, “Why why must we endure the things we do?” By nature, we do not embrace new experiences because most experiences require us to give something of ourselves. The truth is, we don’t want to give anything without a guarantee of a return. We are not willing to surrender, submit and give God what He asks for in the midst of our circumstances.

We must remember that when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we placed ourselves under His authority, His care and His direction. Laying down our will and yielding to God must come from a heart that has complete trust and confidence in His ability to sustain every situation, and resolve every conflict

When we face a trying dilemma, our question should be, “What is God trying to say to me and teach me?” In life’s experiences, if we learn the lessons that God is trying to teach and convey to us, we will gain valuable understanding, which in turn makes us comprehend more clearly what is happening and why.

Oftentimes, we do not like how God picks those experiences for us. There are some experiences in life that I can’t go through, because God knows my makeup, temperament and personality—same with you. Some experiences are more difficult to handle than others, yet God in His infinite wisdom knows exactly what experiences each of us can bear.





No Easy Way Out


As children of God, we want an easy life, without interruptions and difficulties, yet we live in a world where our homes, jobs, families, government, and churches are engulfed in turmoil. We often seek the easy road to circumvent the hurdles; hurdles hinder our progress; we cannot simple go around them. Whatever you are trying to evade, whatever you are plagued with remember, you are not the only person that has petitioned the Lord for deliverance.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet, and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; but He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and complete) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”

II Cor. 12:7-9 (AMP)

In this passage of scripture, we learn that Paul suffered with a nagging, tormenting aliment that he called a “thorn.” Webster’s Dictionary describes a thorn as: “something that causes pain, irritation and discomfort.” It’s that annoying, frustrating, and bothersome irritant that always seems to raise its ugly head at the worst possible moment. It is a constant, painful reminder that we still reside in the flesh. Still, we attempt to live, behave and conduct our lives by the Spirit. It’s that issue that is relentlessly warring against our soul. Is the Apostle Paul telling us that we will live with and carry some type of thorn or nuisance all the days of our lives? It certainly gives reason to ponder.

According to the scriptures, Paul’s thorn was given to him to keep him from becoming arrogant, conceited and prideful because of all the awesome things God was doing in and through him. It would have been easy for him to develop an egotistical attitude since he was chosen to write most of the New Testament. God used Paul more than any other individual during his time; he heralds this testimony:

“Though for myself I have [at least grounds] to rely on the flesh. If any other man considers that he has or seems to have reason to rely on the flesh and his physical and outward advantages, I have still more! Circumcised when I was eight days old, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew [and the son] of Hebrews; as to the observance of the Law I was of [the party of] the Pharisees, As to my zeal, I was a persecutor of the church, and by the Law's standard of righteousness (supposed justice, uprightness, and right standing with God) I was proven to be blameless and no fault was found with me.”

(Phil 3:4-6 AMP)


Paul petitioned the Lord three times to remove the agonizing thorn, but God refused to honor his request. Could it be what Paul saw as a weakness was in reality the strength of God being made perfect through infirmity? God’s response to Paul’s plea is the same response God conveys to us: His grace is sufficient. Almighty God demonstrates His strength and power in what men describe as weaknesses, flaws, or disadvantages. Our weaknesses and inabilities are canvases which God uses to show His might, power, and strength. You must understand that what God is doing in and through you has nothing to do with you, but it is for others. We are only empty vessels that He fills with His Spirit to accomplish supernatural acts, perform miracles and change the world.

Both Paul and the Prophet Jeremiah realized that in spite of the miracles God worked through them, the focus of the praise and glory belonged to God and God alone.

As it is written, “Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord.”

(I Corinthians 1:31 AMP)


“Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches; But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”

(Jeremiah 9:23-24 AMP)

All the tributes they received belonged only to the One who had called them, appointed them and ordained them to carry out their assignments. It doesn’t matter how skillful, wise or influential one may be; accolades mean absolutely nothing compared to the knowledge of Christ.

We must continually deal with recurring events in spite of our praying, fasting, and Bible study. There are reasons, some beyond our comprehension, which God allows thorns to remain. The Apostle Paul revealed the purpose of his thorn; it was to keep him humble. Some thorns come to bring awareness of how much we must rely on and trust God. Other thorns have been placed in us as corrective methods to disciplines usto keep us tethered to His will. David proclaimed, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your statues.” (Psalms 119:71 AMP)

Psalms 119:67 (AMP) states, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, Your word do I keep [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it].”

If God does not allow afflictions or thorns to bother us at times, we might fail to seek Him. In order for us to remain humble and not become arrogant, God knows exactly what He needs to do to keep us from experiencing the repercussions of a haughty spirit. I’m sure David believed that the affliction was a great annoyance and brought much suffering. Later, he realized why God afflicted him. Eventually, David humbly admitted that he brought the affliction on himself by his own selfish behavior.

Here David attempts to offer insight on the cause of his affliction. First, David admits he went astray. His affliction was divinely designed to get him back on track and on course with God’s will and purpose. God will permit painful experiences to get us to align with His will, especially when we clearly lack a sense of focus. This is the primary reason the enemy places distractions in our path. Distractions are designed to derail us, to sidetrack us, and to redirect our attention—ultimately causing us to miss our mark. Distractions can create the illusion of being important issues, but in reality they aren’t— they’re merely illusions.

A distraction can be anything from a previous issue resurfacing to perhaps an old boyfriend, girlfriend or business acquaintance fighting to recapture your focus. Have you ever experienced a former acquaintance calling you from out of nowhere? These kinds of distractions can trigger an emotional imbalance, causing you to entertain thoughts that are far from the truth. Distractions will take your focus from what God is doing, causing confusion. The enemy knows if he can divert your attention away from the Father, he can draw you away—causing you to meditate and ponder things that only have the appearance of reality.

Have you ever been driving, minding your own business, when all of a sudden an animal dashes out in front of your vehicle? Immediately, your first response is to avoid hitting the animal by sharply veering away from it—steering away from your original course. Unfortunately, we are sometimes unsuccessful in our attempts and we hit the very thing we tried so desperately to avoid. We kill “something” that didn’t belong in our path. This is the same way God expects us to deal with our distractions; we must “kill” them quickly, without hesitation. Recognize the distractions for what they are and eliminate them immediately! As long as you continue pondering the distractions, giving them your attention, they will remain.

David’s affliction drew his attention back to Gods’ statues. He later spoke of his affliction as a good thing. What a transformation of his attitude! Most of us would not view our afflictions as good. Prior to David’s troubles, it appeared that learning about Gods’ statutes was not on his list of priorities. Afflictions, heartaches, and difficulties have an amazing way of highlighting what things matter most in life. When we begin to examine why God allows us to experience those things we consider difficult, we find that when we seek the presence of the Lord, He will begin to show us reasons why things happen the way they do.

God knows what is best for us, and He will use different methods to speak to us— methods we don’t understandto draw our attention from what we are doing and redirect it on Him. Because we can be so consumed with our own accomplishments and pursuing our own desires, we often shut God out. Was this David’s mindset? Was he completely lost by planning the direction of his life and not inviting God into his decision making? When we have gone this far, God must do something very drastic to get us to “come to our senses.”

What is your thorn or affliction in life? What causes you the greatest irritation? Is it your ex who has nothing better to do than harass you? Is it someone at work who continues to nag and pester you? Is it constantly picking the wrong mate time and time again? What experiences in your life keep recurring? The very same issues reappear, over and over, day after day, week after week …even year after year. In some cases, the same issues appear in generation after generation—uncomfortably familiar patterns and cycles.

“Can I get a reprieve—a little relief, somehow—some way?” You cry out to God. Could it be that this thorn, this nagging, annoying, persistent thorn is what God is using to draw you into His presence…closer to His heart? Maybe this thorn is really what you need to strengthen your faith; maybe, just maybe, this is what it will take to bring out the best, the Christ-likeness in you.

You may or may not like the situation you are currently in. God understands exactly how you feel and He knows you want out. However, He will not abort His ultimate purpose and deliver you prematurely.

God’s ways of dealing with us individually are unique; the final results are yet unseen as He guides us on these journeys. He’s promised that the outcomes will definitely be greater than the beginnings, if we continue allowing Him to carry us to our appointed place. Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV) reads, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”

There are avenues and detours we might take (or make!) as we try to maneuver ourselves out of circumstances; however, trying to find ways out of difficult situations only stifles our growth. We want to get from A to Z without the bumpy roads, flat tires, set backs, and accidents. But in order for God to get us where we need to be, getting to Z may require pain, hurt, and disappointments. At times, our journey can bring us joy and happiness.

You ask again, “Lord, does it have to be this way?” Again the answer is yes. God is telling you to learn from every experience, embrace every challenge, conquer every test and move every mountain by faith. Here is how you must face every challenge: know that you are already victorious. According to the book of John, victory is won through our faith…”For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.”

(I John 5:4 AMP)

Can you recall the worst times in your life? Can you reflect on how God handled your situation? Would you agree that you would have handled it in an easier and faster way? The answers are probably yes. For reasons beyond our own comprehension, God chooses to deal with us and our problems through long-suffering. Here is how Moses describes God:

“The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

(Numbers 14:18 KJV)


The American Heritage Dictionary describes long suffering as “patiently enduring pain or difficulties;” it is the ability to suffer long. Moses is describing the nature and character of God, who is longsuffering and patient. God is tolerant and accommodating with us, even though He knows how long it will take us to choose and live in right standing with Him. He will sit and wait until we get tired of the way we have chosen to live. God will not override our will, rather, He will allow us do what we desire, even though He knows it might kill or destroy us! Selah! Pause, think on that…


Let’s look at some characteristics of God’s children: lethargic, indecisive, faithless, timid, rude, procrastinating, judgmental, critical, and the list goes on. Despite God knowing how long it will take us to change, He endures our rebellion and disobedience because of His great love for us.

For many of us, God waited patiently while we were intent on destroying ourselves with drugs, alcohol, or other destructive lifestyles. Some of us have been incarcerated because we’ve violated the laws of the land. We’ve lived our lives totally contrary to the will and order of God. We have deliberately polluted our bodies by engaging in homosexuality, adultery, fornication and other forms of sexual perversion. We have completely abandoned ourselves to the filthy, lustful desires of our carnal, fleshly nature. Yet our gentle, loving Father God watches—patiently waiting for us to come to ourselves and run into the safety of His outstretched arms.


David said this:

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and good.”

(Proverbs 15:3 KJV)


When we were out partying and enjoying our sin, God was patiently beholding every lewd, disgusting act, listening to every curse word and watching every foul thing we did. Yet, He waited until we had enough of what this world had to offer and adopted us into His wonderful family, granting us rights and privileges as sons and daughters of God. If God is willing to put up with us, surely we must be willing to accept the way God chooses to purify us and bring wholeness to our lives.


You might think you are the only one in a state of anticipation, but you are not alone. God, your Father, is waiting on you…waiting on you to come to Him, waiting on you to realize your need of His guidance, waiting on you to come back home, waiting on you to come to the end of yourself…and the beginning of His healing, loving arms.

Friend, are you there? He is waiting for you to acknowledge that it’s not your good deeds that are acceptable; it’s your heart He requires. Are you at the end of yourself? Are you still on the throne of your own heart? Is it still all about you? Have you gotten all of your degrees and made all of the money and still find yourself feeling empty? Have you considered God?


Prayer


Father, I come to you in the name of your only Son Jesus Christ. I understand now the lessons you were trying to teach me. I admit I did not trust you in my situations and circumstances. I accept your will for my life. I submit my will to your plan and purpose for my life. When I didn’t see you carrying me, you were. I choose to walk in holiness and purity. I want to be made whole through the experiences you have allowed me to go through. Although things might get painful and I might not understand what you are doing, I choose to trust, rely and hope in you. I can’t do anything apart from you.

I thank you that through my experiences I am a better person. Lord, please help me overcome areas in my life that continue to be a problem for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Today’s confession: I confess today that I choose to walk and live in your plan for my life. Purify my heart, cleanse my mind and make me complete in you. I am completely made whole by my experiences.





I enjoyed reading Completely Whole. It spoke to me in more areas than I had anticipated. I enjoy that each of the chapters encorporates a lot of scripture and is all based on Biblical principles. Each chapter ends with a prayer that reflects upon what was discussed, I find these prayers to be an excelent start in applying the changes that reading this book brings about.
I think that Completely Whole can speak to and bless anyone who reads it. Whatever issues you are currently facing or have recently gone through, Paulette Harper has encouragement in her book for you to heal and become completely whole in your walk with Christ! I reccomend this book!!