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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Days 2-8

Day 2: number
Sunday was my 21st birthday.

Day 3: leaf
I cheated on this one. I forgot to take a picture on Monday so I took one on Tuesday instead.

Day 4: brown
The Daily Light sits on my nightstand so I can read it every day.
This brown leather copy I found at Ollie's for $3.99. A fantastic bargain!

Day 5: cozy
It was in the low 70s during the day but the evening got a little chilly. I put on a cozy sweater. 
I love wearing sweaters. I have about 20 in my closet. 

Day 6: pumpkin

Day 7: friend
Alaine is my little friend and niece.

Day 8: table
We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. It was a belated birthday dinner for me since we weren't able to go on my birthday. I love Mexican food! I chose a combo meal which included a burrito, an enchilada, beans, and rice. It was very good!

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's a Wrap! Conclusion

I hope you've been inspired by my It's a Wrap! series. It doesn't take much time or effort to achieve a beautifully wrapped gift. It also doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate to make it look personal and thoughtful. 

Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for wrapping. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from pinterest boards... like this one, this one, and my own board of ideas for the future. Searching with key words like "wrapping" or "packages" in Pinterest pin searches will also give you ideas.

Below is a convenient list of all the wrapping ideas I shared in October. Each link will take you to a new tab so that you can come back here easily.

Intro post

1. photo included
2. lettered pennant banner
3. sheet music
4. monogram button

5. 2 Corinthians 9:7

6. washi tape candles
7. pennant washi
8. washi monogram
9. washi cake
10. balloon attached with washi tape
11. washi tape bunting

12. James 1:17

13. animal packaging
14. washi lego
15. tote bag gift bag
16. owl ornament
17. minion
18. scotty dog

19. 2 Corinthians 9:15

20. yarn-wrapped gift
21. doily and bakers twine
22. brown paper package tied up with string
23. bakers twine wrap
24. colorful ribbons
25. grosgrain ribbon

26. Deuteronomy 15:10

27. pineapple wrapping paper
28. gift card envelope
29. bread label
30. wrapped bread
31. wrapping paper band

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Day 1

I'll be posting my photo-a-day challenge weekly this time but I wanted to post the first photo on the actual day.

my name starts with...
This is the first thing I could find that started with a "K". We love the mini Hershey candy and lately we've been enjoying the fall wrappers. 

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

November Photo-a-day Challenge and Link-up

The new photo-a-day challenge starts today and I would love for you to join me in this challenge! 

Here is the list of themes for each day. If you are planning on participating in this challenge with me, feel free to copy this picture, save it to your computer, post it on your page, etc.

As a review:

The rules are very simple. Take a photo each day that fits the theme of the day. Please keep your photos family friendly. 

There are different ways you can post your challenge photos: post your day's photo each day, wait and post a whole week at a time, or wait until the end of the month and post them all at once. I usually post mine every single day but since November is a busy month, I'm going to post mine once a week.

You can blog your photos, upload them to an online photo album, put them on instagram, or any other place where photos can be posted. 

This link-up will stay open all month long. You can link-up as many Photo-a-day Challenge posts as you have. Only family friendly photos, please!