Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Conversion

Confession: I finished reading this book in September but never got around to blogging about it. Oops...

Even though I met the challenge of reading five of the books, it looks like I won't be meeting my personal goal of reading all the book on the list this year. But I will be adding the books I didn't read to next year's reading list. 


Sisters Book Challenge
Book 6
My Conversion by Charles Spurgeon

"I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribably. 
I could have leaped; I could have danced. There was no expression, 
however fanatical, that would have been out of keeping with the 
joy of my spirit at that hour."

This book is Charles Spurgeon's own story of how the Lord came into his heart. It's very thought-provoking and definitely worth reading and pondering. It's a short book which could easily be read in a day but I found it best to read short passages at a time so as to have time to absorb all I read. It was hard to put it down, though. I would definitely recommend reading My Conversion.

"He never breathed out anything but love. As I looked into the poor, sorrowful face, so full of agony and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His. I said to myself, 'where can these traitors live? Who could have killed such a One as this?'... I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand. It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, wherever I put out my hand, I could not grab him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go. At last, I put my hand on my own breast. 'I have you now,' said I. Yes, he was in my own heart. The murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul. Ah, then I wept indeed that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, would be harboring the murderer."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hot Chocolate Bar

At Christmastime, I usually host a small game party for friends. We have a festive time playing Apples to Apples and Dutch Blitz, eat some goodies, and sit around and chat. 

This year, I decided to put together a hot chocolate bar.

 I searched Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. I found a crock pot hot chocolate recipe I wanted to try. It turned out really well and was enjoyed by all who tried it. 

I designed a sign on PicMonkey with all the menu items. It made it easy for guests to know what all the toppings were without having to explain it to each person. 

I found an idea on Pinterest for frozen whipped cream. They were a piece of cake to make... just pipe whipped cream onto a lined cookie sheet and pop in the freezer for a few hours. It created a more delicate look than a bowl of whipped cream would have. My guests were really impressed!

Candy canes are a must for a Christmas hot chocolate bar. It makes the spread look festive and peppermint is a great flavor to add to a cup of cocoa. 

I made chocolate spoons by dipping plastic spoons in melted chocolate chips and refrigerate until hardened. All the toppings can then be stirred at the same time as you add some more chocolate flavor to your hot chocolate. 

I found the most adorable Christmas tree marshmallows at Target at the beginning of December. They were inexpensive but really packed a punch. 

A shaker of cinnamon, a variety of extracts, and some espresso powder were available to add flavors to each guest's hot chocolate.

This hot chocolate bar really didn't take that long to put together. It was a big success and perfect for a winter party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Day 23-30

The November Photo-a-day Challenge has been fun, but I had a hard time getting my camera out this time.

Day 23: path
Proverbs 3:6.

Day 24: apple
I wasn't able to take an apple picture.

Day 25: shine
A lamp shining during the cloudy day.

Day 26: food
My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing.

Day 27: thankful
My niece's Thanksgiving activity page.

Day 28: makes me smile
My "uncle", Pilgrim.

Day 29: home
We put up our Christmas tree on Saturday. Our home is looking festive for Christmas.

Day 30: scarf
The scarf on my "starman" Christmas ornament.

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Click here to link up your photo-a-day challenge posts. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Days 16-22

Week three of the photo-a-day challenge...

Day 16: red
Dad (who doesn't like spicy food) was away so we three girls decided to try Chili's. It was very yummy!

Day 17: hot drink
A cup of English Breakfast tea.

Day 18: hands/feet
Bekah working on making cards.

Day 19: family
I was looking through some old pictures. I discovered these family shots taken in 2006.

Day 20: wood
My new cutting board Dad made me for my birthday.

Day 21: candlelight
Oops... forgot again. We had a very busy day on Friday so I took a candlelight picture today instead.

Day 22: orange
I didn't know I had so many orange buttons in my button jar. Orange isn't a color I use that much.

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Click here to link up your photo-a-day challenge posts. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant {Book Review}

** I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the book.

This book by Lynn Austin is the second in The Restoration Chronicles series. I read and reviewed the first one last year. I was very excited when the second book, Keepers of the Covenant, was available through the Bethany House blogger review program.

Cover Art
I am usually not a fan of Biblical fiction because I find it's a whole lot fiction and not a lot of Biblical fact. Lynn Austin is one of the few authors whose Biblical fiction I enjoy. She does a lot of research for her stories and provides a list of scripture references in the back of the book. She uses the actual scriptures when possible in the story.

This book is about the prophet Ezra as well as a few other fictional characters. The first part of the book deals with the decree of death (orchestrated by Haman). It was fascinating to read from the viewpoint of the Jews who thought they were all going to perish on the thirteenth day of Adar. I had never picked up when reading the book of Esther how widespread and brutal that decree could have been if the Lord (through Esther) hadn't stopped it. The second part of the book is about the return of more of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem led by Ezra. 

This book is almost 500 pages long but don't let the length stop you. The story kept my interest the whole time and I never came to any parts that were boring or tedious. It was a great book! I think I liked this one better than the first one of the series. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Days 9-15

Here are my photos for week two of the photo-a-day challenge...

Day 9: song
I've been enjoying listening to How Great Thou Art sung by Chris Rice recently.

Day 10: yellow
I've found that I don't have much yellow around. I was able to find a yellow yo-yo on garland I have in my room.

Day 11: outside my window
My baby boy always comes up late at night for belly rubs.

Day 12: small
I purchased these small books in an antiques store in Lancaster. There's a small Child's Garden of Verses, The Courtship of Miles Standish, A Christmas Carol, and a poetry book.

Day 13: large
I did it again...I forgot to take a "large" picture on the correct day. Oops... Instead, I took one today of our large woodpile. 

Day 14: swirl
It was a chilly day so in the afternoon we heated up the teapot of a cup of tea.

Day 15: animal
The robin decided to hang out in our yard for a while this afternoon.

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Click here to link up your photo-a-day challenge posts. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Place of Blessing

When I was little, I used to say I wanted to help people. I didn't really want to become a nurse, I just wanted to be there to care for people, to let them know that someone was looking out for them. So when a friend of our family asked if I wanted a job helping her dad get his meals, making sure he was safe, and getting into bed in the evenings, I said yes.

The first day I met him, I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be. He was so pleasant to be with and always had a smile on his face. Before I left that first evening, he had already told me he loved me.

As time went by I spent more hours with him. It started out with just time in the evening but then it increased to an hour around lunch time and slowly, as he needed more help with everyday needs, more hours would get added. It was so nice spending time with him. I enjoyed it but I think he enjoyed his time with me even more. His daughters would tell me that he would light up when I walked in.

During the year and a half I spent with him, I would think about him every day. Even on the days I didn't see him I would think about him, pray for him, and wonder if he was having a good day.

After his stroke, I watched him decline and I knew our time together was coming to an end. It was a sad time for me, but for him it meant leaving his tired, worn-out body and going home with the Lord. Up until the end he was so peaceful. It was hard for him to smile after the stroke but he would do his best to give me a smile anyway. I would sit by his bed and hold his hand for hours. He wouldn't want to let go.

When I think back to our time together, the days that were hard to enjoy because he wasn't feeling well or had trouble getting around aren't the things I'm going to remember. I'll remember all the good days and times we had together. I took a lot of those things for granted.

-- Almost every night after he was in bed we would pray together and then he would say he loved me and I would always say I loved him, too. Some nights he would ask if he could give me a kiss on the cheek; some nights I would give him a kiss on the forehead back.

--While we sat in living room, he'd be watching tv and I'd be reading or working on a craft project. Many times each night I would look up to see him watching me. Each time he would give me a big smile. I'd smile back and he'd return to watching television again. In the summers, he liked to watch baseball. I've never been a fan of sports but after watching game after game I started enjoying baseball and we'd talk about the Orioles games (his favorites).

--As he was eating his meals at the table, we would talk. We would talk about our families, our days, what kinds of food we liked and disliked. He always enjoyed talking about his daughters.

The day before he died, his daughters gave me a birthday card from him. The message on the front is exactly how I feel about him.

There is a place of blessing
where laughter comes easy
and hard times are shared,
where kindness is valued
and love never spared,
a sweet place of comfort
that's caring and true;
a place to thank God for
my time spent with you.

The best year and a half of my life was the time spent with him. He gave me so much. Taught me so much. Loved me so much. There will be days where the hurt of not having him here will be great, but being with his Lord and Savior is much better for him. And one day I'll see him again.

Joy and grief were mingled; but there were no bitter tears: for even grief arose so softened, and clothed in such sweet and tender recollections, that it became a solemn pleasure, and lost all character of pain.
Charles Dickens