Friday, December 8, 2017

̶3̶3̶ years...

....or is it 34 years? 
(inside joke!)

On this day 33 years ago my mom and dad got married. 
December 8, 1984

They have had their share of ups and downs. 
Endured hardships.
and times of plenty.
Silent treatments.
Date nights.
Four children.
Seven dogs.
A hamster.
A miraculous goldfish.
Bearded Dragon.
Two additions to the house.
Dad takes hammer to kitchen cabinets.
Completely remodeled kitchen is the result.
Playing in the backyard.
Working hard.
Putting us kids first.
30 some odd cars that dad has had
Family vacations.
Ocean City.
New York.
South Carolina.
Look out mountain.
Rolling down hills in Wisconsin.
The carnival where I won a fish.
(And it died before we made it home)
Family dinner.
Pops bypass surgery.
loss of loved ones
new life 
yard man
bank teller
bus driver
long days
even longer nights
playing dress up and coloring
watching tball games 
cheering at softball games
dr. hahn
home videos
times gone by
times to come
loving in the moment.
no promise of tomorrow
a love that has stood the test of time
one that has been magnified these past 2 years

I've heard my parents argue and I've seen them come back together and move forward. I've seen them get creative to make ends meet. I've felt how much they care for us kids. I know they love each other. I just never knew exactly how much until I watched them endure something tragic. I've watched my mom and dad stand beside each other through a number of trials.  

 I took dad out this afternoon to pick out a card and a single rose.  See when he was cutting yards for his elderly friends he would tell them about his anniversary and they would tell him to go cut a rose out of their garden.  Dad seemed to be about the simple, thoughtful least that is what I remember. He had to settle with going and buying a single rose. I think my mom was surprised.

I'm glad that my mom and dad got married and that they have stuck together no matter what hurdles have come their way.  an everlasting love.  

(on a side note---look at the symmetry in dads smile! this picture was taken today, the one below was from December 20, 2015 almost two years ago...In the picture above, from today, he is walking....the one below he was still in a wheelchair...our God is an awesome God!)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Let The Little Children Come

Let The Little Children Come
Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack

The Sampler Pack contains 10 of their most popular Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools. They make Evangelism fun with these awesome Gospel Tracts.  There was a John 3:16 Animated Tract. I enjoyed reading through the verse with the plastic sheet that made the verse come to life. There was a Gospel Button flip about.  This is a folded piece of heavy paper and is useful for keeping the attention of younger children. I found it a bit confusing, trying to find the right way to fold it as to continue sharing the Gospel.  I see with practice where it could be useful and handy as it is easy to slip in your pocket. There were two pop up tracts that I thought were unique and different.  One explained the house that has been prepared for us in heaven.  The other was the parable of the lost sheep.  I always thought pop up books were so much fun when I was little.  Having something pop up off the page definitely held the attention of my boys and made it memorable. There were two different bracelets.  One was silicone and one was a wordless bracelet.  Both told the story of salvation.  I liked the beaded wordless bracelet as it was tangible and something they could touch and feel as we put together. I feel it helped make it more concrete. I enjoyed going through this sampler pack with my boys.  I would recommend it as these are useful tools to help spread God's word. 

I received this sampler pack in exchange for an honest review from FlyBy Promotions, but my opinion of the product is my own!

Monday, November 13, 2017

God's Great Love For You

God's Great Love For You
Written By: Rick Warren

Book Overview:

God’s Great Love

Created the entire universe 
  And everything in it 
Including you.

God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.

My Thoughts:

This was simply a beautiful book.  I enjoyed every aspect of this book from the words to the pictures to the soft colors. Simple and to the point yet profound and timeless message. It was great to remind my boys of the powerful message that God loves them.  I liked that it talked about things that God has done for us.  The illustrations are soft and warm and compliment the great message within the pages of this book.  I would recommend this book to somebody with young children.  It would be great for young children because they have a shorter attention span.  I must confess, I find myself picking up this book and reading through it. 

This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review from FlyBy Promotions but my opinion of the book was not hindered by that fact!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Matt Redman Glory Song

Glory Song 
Matt Redman

Matt Redman is a singer, songwriter, worship leader and author. His songs have been a source of inspiration to me and encouragement.  This world can be a cruel place to live in. Music allows us to feel those emotions that we try to bury.  I eagerly unwrapped this CD and listened to it on my way to pick up my boys.  Each song was captivating in its own way.  This CD has 13 tracks, some featuring other artists. I think my favorite song from this CD was Gracefully Broken.  It talked about surrender and pouring out our hearts, our lives and embracing the fact that its all about His power at work in us. I would recommend purchasing this CD, it would make a perfect gift or even a simple measure of self care.  
I received this CD in exchange for an honest review from FlyBy Promotions but my opinions are my own.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bless Our Gramps & Gran

The Berenstain Bears 
Bless Our Gramps & Gran

Written By Mike Berenstain

Book Overview:

In The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran, the newest title in The Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, Mama, Papa, and the cubs decide it’s high time they honor Grizzly Gramps and Gran.
It’s almost Grandparents Day and the Bear family has never celebrated this special day before. So working as a team, the cubs, with a little help from Mama and Papa, come up with a fun and creative way to show Gramps and Gran just how much they are loved and appreciated.
My Thoughts:
I have many fond memories of my great grandma reading me Berenstain Bears books when I was growing up. I have always been fascinated by the stories but when I received this book to review I decided to dig a little deeper.  I read through the book and it filled my heart with happy memories. I decided to learn more about Stan and Jan Berenstain.  I was fascinated by the fact that Stan Berenstain was blind in one eye, yet created these humor filled cartoons.  By the world's standard he could not see, but yet he saw more than some people who have perfect sight. Some people can see and some people have visions. I think those with visions see some things so much clearer. This particular book is part of the Living Lights series.  I love the layout and the colors and the story, great book.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from BookLookBloggers, but my opinion is my own!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories

Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories
Written By: Jean Fischer

Book Overview:
Share beloved Bible stories with your little one!
Snuggle up close and imagine the animals entering Noah’s boat two by two, David standing before Goliath with just a slingshot, or Jesus blessing the children. These Bible stories will capture young hearts as they learn about God’s great love.
With classic Precious Moments® illustrations, simple Bible verses, favorite Bible stories, and fun rhymes, Little Book of Bible Stories will help introduce the power of God’s Word to your precious children.
My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book.  I am a big fan of precious moments.  I remember when I was young receiving a precious moments coloring book that I still have to this day.  Something about precious moments has always calmed my soul.  Reading the bible stories was refreshing.  I do think this would be great in a toddler Sunday school class.  The stories are short enough to hold the attention of a two year old while also getting the main idea across. 
I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review from Book Look Bloggers but my opinions are my own. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Patterns of Evidence Exodus

Patterns of Evidence Exodus

DVD Overview:

The film describes numerous findings, including possible archaeological findings of evidence of Hebrew habitation in ancient Egypt, and new historical findings as to the timeline of the events of Exodus, as well as contemporary events in ancient Egypt. It also describes some existing artifacts and documents from Ancient Egypt which have been the subject of debate amongst experts for a number of year

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed viewing this DVD.  It challenged me to think a little deeper on something that I have read through a few times and find to encompass a foundational truth.  It was fascinating to hear several different accounts and points of view.  Even people who were not believers still pointed to physical remains and such that proved the events from the bible actually happened. A few parts of the documentary gave me chills to see these archaeologists who clearly state that they are not believers but then continue and explain that what they see in the ground is proof that the bible is true. Israel did exist. I got a little lost in the time lines towards the end.  I enjoyed watching it but I feel like I need to watch it again to really soak it all in.  After all, this was a 12 year journey condensed into about 2 hours!  

This DVD was provided in exchange for an honest review by FlyBy Promotions but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Unlock Your Dream

Unlock Your Dream
Written By: Philip Wagner

                                                       Book Overview:
Life Can Be Hard.
Dream Anyway!

“God gave you a specific desire, an assignment to complete, and it’s something that will be larger than you, but it’s something that will fulfill you completely. He allows us to be a part of His redeeming work, bringing a lost world back into communion with Him. God has a dream for our world, for humanity, and He has a dream for you and me. We have the capacity to reach those dreams, but it’s crucial that our desires lead us to the God-dream for our lives... Our greatest pursuit will be that dream.”   —Philip Wagner
Your dreams are calling. Will you answer?
We all dream. The capacity for dreaming and pursuing those dreams is a gift given to every individual. But many people cannot even begin to describe their dreams, much less figure out how to bring them to fruition in the face of frustrating obstacles, distractions, and setbacks.
In Unlock Your Dream Philip Wagner will inspire you to engage in life’s greatest quest: discovering and reaching God’s purpose and dreams for your life. You’ll be empowered, equipped, and freed to give life to your dreams and to live with joy and expectation for an adventurous future.

Why Are You Really Here?

This question reveals the deepest longing of the human heart—a desire for meaning and significance. We recognize that we are on this earth for a purpose. Discovering that purpose is our life’s work and the key to unlocking our greatest dreams.
With contagious passion and humor, Philip Wagner blends biblical truths and real-world insights to invite you to:
* Reach beyond the ordinary to find the extraordinary gifts God has given you
* Disentangle yourself from lesser goals and embrace a God-size dream
* Navigate inevitable setbacks, disappointments, and distractions
* Build the ultimate team to energize your dreams with support and encouragement
* Discover your true calling and forge a unique path to an adventurous life
Whether you’re a student, a parent, or a professional—no matter your background or your life’s current season—it’s never too early or too late to uncover your God-given purpose and move boldly in the direction of your dreams!

My Thoughts:
I find it interesting how God works and is in all the details of our life.  I have been trying to figure out what my purpose is and what I should be doing with my life. I read this book about dreams and liked a part in the book about how sometimes it is about helping somebody else achieve their dream.  Part of achieving our dream may very well be making somebody elses dream comes true. I was encouraged by this book.  I also found it fascinating that another book I am reading at the same time is also about God sized dreams and achieving what seems impossible, but only with the help of God.

I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review through the blogging for books program but my opinions and thoughts are my own. 

God Bless My School

God Bless My School
Written By: Hannah C. Hall
Illustrated By: Steve Whitlow

Book Overview:
God Bless My School, the next book in the bestselling God Bless line (with more than 450,000 books sold), introduces young children to all the exciting things that school will bring. Perfect for starting daycare, preschool, and kindergarten, this padded board book helps children view school as a fun, cool place to go.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book with my boys before they returned to school.  It was a nice reminder to stop and pray for the upcoming school year, for the teachers, for the time at school and their friends. I enjoy my boys being home with me over the summer break, this book provided a nice transition for us as we thought about them returning to school.  My boys are older, they are 10 and 6 but they both sat and listened to this story more than a few times before it was their first day. This would be great for younger children starting school.  

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from booklookbloggers program, but my opinions and thoughts are my own! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Voice is defined as the sound produced in a person's larynx and uttered through the mouth as speech or sound. The definition of voice has such a technical feel to it but when you think about what somebodies voice can mean to you....well, it feels that these words are not adequate to express the way some sounds produced in a person's larynx and uttered through their mouth can reach some inner part of your soul.  We can all think of a time when somebody said something and it really meant a lot and stuck with us.  Just this weekend I was recalling happy family memories, times over summer when we would go to the beach after dinner and play until the sun went down and then go to Dairy Queen for an ice cream on the way home. Or when we would go to St. Augustine and walk down St. George Street and get a sweet treat. I was thinking about my dad singing Philadelphia Freedom to me on the way to school just about every morning.  I was thinking about times he would tell me that he was so proud of me and I rolled my eyes and said 'yeah, yeah, yeah'....Some times I think I would give up anything to just go back in time. I know that the stroke my dad is living through, and how it has changed all of us has been for the better in most regards, even if it took a lot of pain and tears to get to where we are today, even if it dumped us upside down and tossed us about and made us more clearly define and appreciate one another...and see who would weather the storms with us - people I thought would always be there, well I guess when our ship hit turbulent seas they took the life boat and left us to weather the storm on our own.... there are days....when I just don't understand why.....there are days that I miss my dad.  I am grateful he is still here, don't get me wrong....anyways....I was going through and cleaning out my computer, getting rid of old songs I don't listen to anymore and burning pictures to DVD when I came across a few old sound clips from my dad. The odd thing about the timing is that my husband just cracked his phone screen and my sister has a phone she isn't using that he could use, she was upset by a glitch in the Verizon network that cost her one of the last voicemail from my dad before his while this might not have been personalized for you Becca, in the name of lost voicemail I hope this sound clip brings a smile to your heart through the tears that are bound to leave your eyes while listening. There are a few more sound clips, but since YouTube won't let me just upload music, I need to find more pictures.

p.s It 's hard to believe that doctors said my dad would never speak again.  While these are old sound clips, he is certainly speaking today....and still singing!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

kids' visual study bible

kids' visual Study Bible


The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible, for ages 8–12, brings the Bible to life in four-color illustrated splendor. This study Bible includes a spectacular full-color interior featuring over 700 illustrations, photos, infographics, and maps on every page that visually represent key Bible information. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they’ll want to explore.

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy looking at different bibles.  Every night we read to our boys from the bible.  We are reading through the bible with them but it will take more than one year!  When this bible arrived in the mail we decided to use it for our nightly reading. I liked how it gave an overview of each book of the bible at the beginning, listing things like who wrote the book, what it was written, what we learn about God in that book, etc. Throughout the book they provide short summaries of verses in the margins and life time lines or maps and even some pictures. My ten year old really seemed to enjoy the facts along the margins. I would recommend this bible. 

I received this bible in exchange for an honest review through the book look blogger program, my opinion is my own. 

Friday, June 16, 2017


June 16, 2007 at 7:01 p.m Seth Alan entered the world. 

I had no clue how my life would change, how he would make me a better person.  Growing up there were some things I said I would never do....I said I would never get married.  I said I would never leave home.  I said I would never have children.  Somewhere along the journey I realized I better be careful what I say I will never do because everything I said I would never do I have done....

Today my boy turned 10.  I am not sure how time has passed so quickly.  I remember him always holding my ear to go to sleep when he was little.  I remember having to walk down the aisle of microwaves every time we went into a store.  He knew them all by name.  I remember him watching youtube videos about what to put in a microwave.  I remember him carrying a play microwave around everywhere.  I remember him saying my contractions for Ivan looked like sandcastles on the monitor. I remember him being fascinated with Curious George and able to recite every episode from memory. I remember when he started school. I remember when he lost his first tooth. I remember when he faced his fears, when we overcame his fears. He absorbs so much and is able to recall facts that I have long since forgotten. He is very literal. He is a rule follower. He is confident and proud.  He excels in school.  

He is a pretty awesome kid.

You only turn 10 once and I wanted this day to be special for him. I was thinking about trying to do 10 special things and if somehow they could incorporate the number 10 then that was an added bonus. This is what we came up with --

- He woke up to a decorated living room and singing Happy Birthday to him.
- I made him a shirt that had 10 on the front and #DoubleDigits on the back
- We went to his favorite park 
-We went to the Donut Shoppe and put candles on a donut!
- We went to the candy shop and picked out 10+ pieces of candy.
- We gave him a small gift at 10 a.m
- He wanted a 10 piece chicken nugget meal from Mc Donalds for lunch. 
- We went bowling after lunch - 10 pins...he got a few spares!
- We went to Adventure Landing when Dennis got off and got 100+ tokens (10x10)
- We had pizza and a family movie night.
- I made him a 10 layer cheesecake for dessert.
-Before bed we gave him a list of 10 things we like about him.  Ivan, Dennis and I all worked on it together and Seth read it aloud before he went to bed. 

I want him to know that we love him.  I want him to know that he is special.  I want him to know that he is one of a kind.  I want him to know that there is nobody else like him in the world. 

A few pictures from our day---

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Never Give Up

Never Give Up
Written By: John Mason

Book Overview:

Everything worth doing is going to have some obstacles. Some people look at setbacks as evidence that whatever it is they've been striving for just wasn't meant to be. But according to bestselling author and master motivator John Mason, the moment most people give up is the moment of their greatest opportunity.

In this inspiring book, Mason gives readers fifty-two keys to never giving up on their dreams. He shows them how to ask the right questions when they are on the verge of quitting, how to avoid unnecessary trouble, and how to keep their energy level up in the face of setbacks. Whether readers are building a business, a family, a portfolio, or relationships, they'll find the strength and motivation to go on, break through, and claim the prize.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this book.  I liked the fact that it was easy to read through.  It is broken down into 'nuggets' and can be read from front to back or can be read randomly.  There were some points that really made me stop and think but overall it was a very light read, nothing too heavy that got me feeling too entrenched in my thoughts. It was refreshing and uplifting.  There were several little quotes that I wrote down for reflection at a later date.  I think this would be a good read for somebody struggling with depression because it isn't overwhelming to too deep but it is uplifting and encouraging.  I recommend this book! One of my favorite quotes from the book, "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." (Ellen Goodman)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from RevellBooks, but my opinion is my own!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Drawn in Bible Study Esther
Finding Yourself in Time of Trouble

Eugene H. Peterson

Bible study is an important spiritual discipline, but it can be intimidating and often difficult for newcomers. The four-session coloring Bible studies for adults in this series are designed for group use and as outreach to new Christians and non-Christians. Incorporating coloring, the text of The Message, and a mix of study and reflection questions, the new Drawn In Bible Study series offers a unique on-ramp experience for those new to Bible study, and a refreshing holistic approach for seasoned Bible students.

In Esther: Finding Yourself in Times of Trouble, readers will get to know Esther, the unlikely queen of Persia who found her voice in a time of crisis. This study features pages for coloring, the earthy language of The Message, and questions that help you understand not just the text of the Bible, but your own connections to Esther's story.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed working through this bible study.  I remember when I was a little girl that I really enjoyed coloring.  That did not change as I grew older, while I walked away from it for a while, my pencils and coloring books remained.  Over time, they changed, I even found myself purchasing some adult coloring books. I have always enjoyed a good bible study, a way to dive into the word a little deeper.  There were several pages throughout the study with quotes to color.  There were also pages that had small drawings mixed with words to be colored as well as pages devoted to the bible study.  I enjoy having variety and changing things up.  This bible uses The Message translation, it isn't a translation I use all the time but sometimes a fresh perspective is good. I would recommend this bible study.  It is short, four weeks!  I could see where it could be stretched out and maybe have some study sessions where everybody just met and colored and enjoyed the fellowship with one another. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Tyndale Blog Network but my opinions are my own.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Lucky Few

The Lucky Few
Written By: Heather Avis

Book Overview:
These are the faces that call me “mom,” the three children who made me a mother.

            When I started my journey into parenthood I never thought it would look like this. I never planned on having three adopted children, and I certainly never imagined that two of them would have Down syndrome. But like most of the things God does, once we stepped into the craziness and confusion of the unknown and unplanned, we quickly realized that we were indeed among the lucky few.
            When my husband and I decided to grow our family ten years ago, we were surprised to find that getting pregnant was not as easy as we had thought it would be. And as we navigated the ups and downs of infertility, God led us down the path of adoption. Of course, we would adopt! Not what we had originally planned, but certainly a wonderful option.
            But just as we began to get a comfortable grasp on growing our family through adoption, God introduced us to Macyn Hope, a very sick little girl with Down syndrome who desperately needed a family. As we continued to follow God’s calling, first with Macyn, and later with Truly and then August, we found ourselves further and further from the comfortable paths we thought our lives would take, and instead moving down some very scary, and often painful roads.
            Even though at times His plan seemed terrifying and even downright foolish, little could we have known how much goodness, blessing, and joy would flow out of loving these three little people He’s put into our lives. No, it’s not been easy: not the open-heart surgeries or the challenges of raising two children with Down syndrome or the complexities of dealing with birth-families or the struggles we’ve had with the public education system. But through it all, every new and uncomfortable situation has only proven to be another chance to see how very good God’s plan is for our lives and how downright lucky we are to be able to live it out.  
                It’s only the lucky few that recognize that the most beautiful things in this life are often found in the differences. What some would see as misfortune, I’ve learned to see as nothing more than pure luck.
My Thoughts:
I enjoy reading books that allow me a glimpse into another's life.  We all face challenges and trials and struggles and joy and happiness.  In some way, while we are all different, we are all met with some type of adversity in life.  It can be difficult to remember that we are all faced with some difficulty this side of eternity.  We tend to get wrapped up in the struggles in our own story. I think some times we plan or imagine that things will be a certain way and then when they don't turn out the way we thought they would, well its hard to remember that while it might be difficult to digest the difference, it just might be the best thing for us.  I enjoyed reading the story about how they adopted their children and how God led them right where He wanted them to go.  Obedience isn't always easy but the rewards for being obedient are worth it. One thing that she said that I really liked was, "We can only fully know joy when we know heartbreak as well."

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through BookLookBloggers but my opinions are my own!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My Sweet Friend....

 I have been sitting here starring at a blank template, unsure of what to say but yet filled with so many thoughts. I watch the text cursor blink, waiting for some input to make it solid, to fill the space, to add meaning to the emptiness that it lives within.  Then my mind drifts into thoughts about how our life could be viewed the same way.  This world is so empty compared to what is waiting for us, and we search for some meaning, a purpose - something that makes us feel solid and complete. Some people find what makes them solid, and in so doing they start filling the pages of their lives with words, pictures, experiences, stories, memories....things that will keep them feeling full and satisfied, despite living in an empty world where pain and heartache threaten to drain our spirit. In living their life story they are not only filling the pages of their life story but also adding a few chapters to somebody else's story. I have found this happens, sometimes when we are completely unaware of it. I don't think we will always know the chapters we write in somebody else's life.  Sometimes we write them when we are declining in health or facing some hardship that seems insurmountable. 

I have been helping out at a memory care facility and yesterday I received word that one of the ladies that I would walk with and work with one-on-one, had departed this earth. When she would come in on days that I was there, we would walk around the facility and 'shop'...she would comment on the nice door decorations of the residents who live there...they have different little rooms in this place and we would walk around and shop in these different areas. We weren't really shopping but that is what seemed to bring some joy to Mrs. Dorothy, so that is what we did.  We would collect odd pillows or pictures or magazines and purchase them 'on credit' and take them back to the house. Mind you, we never left the facility.  Part of working with people who have some kind of memory impairment is joining them where they are, while also having no knowledge of where that may be. I think a big part of it is making a connection. Some days we would walk outside, only to Mrs. Dorothy we were walking on the farm and helping with the animals.  Or working in the fields and harvesting crops.  Some days we were at the hospital and she was taking care of people and talking about how much she enjoyed helping others. As she was losing her memories I felt like I was saving them for her. She enjoyed visits from Sadie!

One day we were walking outside and she was talking about potato farming and she stopped and looked at me and told me that I was a good person.  I told her thank you and asked her how she knew that and she told me because I care and I am a good friend and I have a good heart.  I asked her how she could know those things about me and she simply responded, 'Because he told me so.'  I asked who 'he' was and she was back to talking about all the things she could make using potatoes.  For those few moments though, she was there, and what she was telling me was what I needed to hear.  I felt like God himself was talking to me through these interactions that I would have with amazing people at this memory care facility.  When we walked she would always feel the need to hold on to me and would repeat over and over, please don't leave me. I am not one that really likes to be touched, but for Mrs. Dorothy, I had to get over what I didn't like because it was what she needed.

Mrs. Dorothy certainly blessed my life, even as hers was slipping away. She has written a few chapters in my life's story, while sharing her life's story with me.  She pioneered the way for me into memory care and what that really looks like. I know the only thing certain in life is death, but I also don't think it is something we were ever meant to have to deal with. I am grateful for the time that I had with her, even though I feel like it was way too short. I will always remember her - somehow in the midst of my struggles she reminded me that I am a good person, that I have a good heart, and that the way I care for others is a good thing.  When I think about her I can't help but think about those positive affirmations that she left me with.  I hear her voice clear as day saying it to me now. I am grateful for the pictures I have to reflect back on but the true beauty lies in the way she touched my soul. I know she is at peace. I should find peace in that knowledge but being somebody who feels things so deeply, this is very sad for me.

The write up in the paper 

She wrote her own obituary - it was published on my birthday. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This time last week....

I was playing a game on the computer.  My cell phone started ringing.  I thought it was my brother to discuss plans to help my grandfather over the coming days. I didn't answer the phone, I was in a competitive game. The phone rang again, they never left a message, must not be important...when the phone rang for the third time I answered...."Rachel, Dad is having seizures again, paramedics are trying to get him loaded up now."  I opened my front door - this is what I saw.  Every time I hear sirens come down our street, I panic, I rush to the front of the house and in my head I repeat, 'just keep going, just keep going.' A few times, they have stopped at my parents house and when they do, followed by the 'just keep going' is 'oh no they stopped.' Sometimes I don't even make it to the door when I see the reflection of the lights through my front door.  This time they did not have sirens on, but the panic was still the same.  This will never become any easier to see. 

Like every other time, I sprinted down to the house. I must say if I could channel that into some race, I am sure I would win. This time when I left the house I didn't have shoes on, my feet ended up bruised and scraped but the pain didn't phase me. Got down to the house to see the paramedics struggling to get dad on the stretcher.  He was still having seizures. That also will never become any easier to see 

 He was telling us that he wanted to die in between massively seizing. He was taken to Mayo, and I think about an hour after the seizures originally started, and with medication from the ER, he was not having seizures but was also not very alert. It would come and go. Seizures leave him completely drained and weak.  There are still certain little neuro tests they do to just keep tabs on him.  Concerned over his lack of response, the following morning he was sent for a CT Scan.  No new brain damage...always a relief.  Who would have thought that, 'no new brain damage,' would be a "relief." He had some seizures throughout the night while he was being monitored at Mayo. Mom didn't leave his side. 

As we got more results and news from the doctors about how to once again tweak his medications, mom decided to go to work the following day.  I told her I would go up and sit with him. It felt like old times.  An odd, but familiar; uncomfortable but comfortable setting.  I ordered him his typical Mayo Breakfast and a few smoothies, is it sad that I pretty much know the menu? Doctors made their rounds and with the new medication on board, Dad was improving.  I left him rest in the morning but when I saw the doctors down the hall I told him he had to be alert and answer their questions if he wanted to get home. When they came in he was awake and answered their questions and they said they felt he could go home, just have somebody with him for support and what not while he builds strength back up.  This is the picture right after the doctors had left the room, he just kept saying, "I'm going home" and had a big smile on his face. He asked me to text this picture to my mom. He was impressed with how symmetrical his smile was!

So at precisely this time last week we were just hoping the seizures would stop.  We were taking turns going back to see him in the ER as you are only allowed 2 visitors at a time.  We may have bent that rule a few times. We were keeping each other company in the waiting room while others of us went back to check on him. Just being there for each other during a time when we were uncertain about how things would turn out. It seems dad goes through the ringer with these seizures, just about every other month. I don't know how he finds the strength to keep going.  Oh wait, I is standing beside him every step of the way and refusing to let him give up!  I love their love for one another. 

I hate everything he has been through. It doesn't seem fair. It scares me and makes me angry at times but yet it also serves as a sobering reminder of the fact that this fallen world is not our home. There are days that his physical body has left him feeling so discouraged and let down.  I remind him that he is still the same on the inside. 

Don't hesitate to reach out to somebody. 
You just might be the encouragement they need to keep going.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time 
Holy Bible 

Book Overview:

The Bible is not a fairy tale, but every great story happened once upon a time. The NIrV Once Upon a Time Holy Bible contains a presentation page and also highlights six great stories from the Bible on 24 full-color inserts. Each story is told on four pages in full-color, illustrated splendor. Also contains the complete New International Reader's Version (NIrV) of the Bible.
Stories include:
God Makes Man and Woman
Isaac and Rebekah
Ruth Finds Happiness
Queen Esther
Mary and Joseph and an Angel
He Lives!

We all have our own tale to live and what better place to look for help and encouragement than the greatest story of all.
Once Upon A Time
Storybook Bible

Book Overview: 

* Introduce your children to real heroes of the Bible! Accompanied by charming fairy-tale-like illustrations, the captivating adventures of Ruth, Abigail, Esther, the parable of the lost sheep, Mary Magdalene, and others will leave young princes and princesses clamoring to hear more from God's Word. Ages 4 to 8. 144 pages, hardcover from Zonderkidz.
My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading through the bible storybook myself!  Since I have two young boys, I am not used to having 'girly stuff' in the house. I love the tag line to both the bible and the storybook, "The Bible is not a fairy tale. Every great story happened once upon a time." The stories and pictures would definitely hold the attention of a kindergarten aged child. I like how they had the bible to kind of make this a set.  Something to grow with your little girl. There were a few stories within the bible that were highlighted with pictures and special color pages.  I enjoyed having these on my desk, especially the bible to turn to when I wanted to look up a verse. I would highly recommend these books.  They would make a great gift for a special little girl in your life. 

I received these books in exchange for an honest review through the FlyBy book bloggers program.  My opinions are my own!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Finding God's Blessings in Brokenness

Finding God's Blessings in Brokenness
How Pain Reveals His Deepest Love

Written By: Charles F. Stanley

Book Overview:
Is it possible to be broken and blessed at the same time?
Life brings so many hardships, from failed marriages to lost jobs, from health crises to broken relationships. How can we stay strong in our faith in spite of these obstacles? Trusted pastor and bestselling author Dr. Charles F. Stanley answers these questions and more in Finding God’s Blessings in Brokenness. “Affliction acts as spiritual fertilizer on a believer’s faith,” he says, and can enrich our hearts and spirit.
Perhaps you’ve already experienced circumstances so shattering that you may wonder if it’s even possible to pick up the pieces. And maybe you can’t. But God can—and the good news is He wants to reassemble the shards of your life into a wholeness that comes only from Him.
My Thoughts:
In one word - WOW! As in a sensational success!
Like all books that I receive in the mail, I eagerly open the package like a little kid on Christmas morning.  In most cases once I start reading the book I can't put it down. This one was amazing.  It was written very much to the point.  There wasn't a lot of stories to convey the purpose or point he was trying to make he just got to the point.  I enjoyed reading the book, some parts were harder to read than others just because of life circumstances. The idea of being broken is something we can all relate to but very few of us embrace the pain, we spend a lot of time trying to run from it or avoid it.  In those places that we feel deeply broken, there lies a place for God's love to shine the brightest. One of my favorite parts of this book was in the final chapter which was titled "The Promise of Blessing." There was a section about God's grace and how Paul had a thorn in his flesh that made him feel weak and insufficient. It was Paul's brokenness. Ultimately Paul accepted it as, "God's way of bringing him to the blessing of knowing that God was sufficient for him regardless of any outer circumstances." Stanley went on to explain that we only ever truly learn about God's grace when we are brought to a place where we can no longer endure the pain we feel. He then talked about the refining of precious metals and how it starts with low heat and "certain impurities respond quickly to heat, and they rise to the surface of the metal and are skimmed away. The heat is then increased and other impurities rise to the top of the cauldron of molten metal and are skimmed off. Only under extremely intense heat will the most stubborn of impurities separate from the metal and rise to the top where they can be removed. The process is the same in our lives. The breaking in our lives is by degrees. God breaks us layer by layer, bit by bit. If God moved immediately to the deepest areas of our lives, we couldn't stand it. The most deeply embedded things within us are subject to the greatest amount of brokenness. Only when these deep-seated, strongly entrenched weaknesses or flaws are removed can we truly say, 'i know God's grace is sufficient for anything."  Only by knowing the full intensity of God's refining fire to do we experience God's unlimited grace.  This book was just what I needed, the only bad thing about it was that it seemed to end too soon....
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from BookLookBloggers.