Saturday, October 12, 2019

So Will I

Psalm 96:11-13
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Autumn, like spring, reminds me that nature calls to those who enjoy the beauty of the earth. This week I was privileged to hang out with grandkids on two different field trips. Two of my grandsons, both in fourth grade, went to a nature center in southwest Ohio. The instructors led them through activities focused on fossils. We hiked to a creek and searched for rocks with impressions left, from years ago. The kids learned about erosion and discovered crawdads and plant life in the water. We went home dirty, tired and happy to have been outside all day. The next day I joined my granddaughter, along with her mommy and daddy, on the preschool trip to the pumpkin farm. She played on the straw castle, we rode on a hayride and picked out pumpkins.
All this outdoor time speaks to my heart about the joy I find in God's creation.
When I am out tromping in the woods or walking in a pumpkin patch, I am amazed once again at all that God gifted us with. I stroll out my door to be greeted by zinnias and maple trees. We ambled by a field yesterday, and heard the killdeer's call and the cardinal's song. In the woods, a deer might peek out or a squirrel scamper. Even as I write these words, I feel excited about not just the beauty of the earth, but the resources. Our Father provides for us and all he asks is for us to be faithful. He hopes his children will join him in taking care of the gifts he's given and use them to his glory.

I've been called a tree-hugger before. That's not really accurate. I'm just somebody who appreciates the natural gifts God supplies. I'm thankful for all he provides and want to do what I can in my little corner of the world, to show appreciation. I thank God for all He gives.

This song says what I feel!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: Pumpkin on a Stick

Who knew pumpkins grew on sticks? 

I was visiting my mom and noticed tiny pumpkins on cut vines,
tucked into her pitcher. She'd purchased them at an Amish market. 
The lady who sold them told Mom to leave them in the pitcher 
without water, so they'd dry out
and serve as a decoration for several months. 

When I Googled miniature pumpkins, the search popped up with
"pumpkins on a stick, red China eggplant seeds." 
I've never seen such a thing. But, they are pretty cute!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Children's Book Review: Love is Kind by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Lison Chaperon


Book Description:
Love Is Kind is a heartwarming story about Little Owl who hopes to buy his grammy a heart-shaped box of chocolates for her birthday. On his quest for the chocolates, he’s thwarted at every turn, but ends up discovering the real meaning of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Told in simple prose by bestselling author Laura Sassi, this heartfelt and humorous picture book is a sweet reminder that real love isn’t found in a box – even one filled with chocolates. Love Is Kind takes a charming and gentle approach to teaching kids the true meaning of love, while celebrating the bonds that kids have with their grandparents, and the many forms that love and happiness can take.

My Review:
I love this book. Laura Sassy has written a great read-aloud that should be shared with children, especially grandparent to grandchild. I especially like how Chaperon hid the words from Corinthians 13 in plain sight, amidst the delightful illustrations. The autumn setting makes me want to snuggle with my granddaughter and read the story together. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zonderkidz. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Children's Board Book Review: Thankful by Eileen Spinelli, illustrations by Archie Preston


Book Description:
Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.

My Review:
What a fun book for fall! This version of Thankful, made into a board book for little ones, is as delightful as the original hardcover. As the child in the story dresses up for various vocations, Spinelli's lovely rhymes tell the story of what each person is thankful for in their line of work. This book is great for little ones up through five years old. Although shortened from the original, the book is just long enough to hold the attention of a young child. The whimsical illustrations will delight the readers. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zonderkidz. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Historical Fiction Review: Hope's Highest Mountain by Misty Beller


Book Description:
Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she's hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.

Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he's forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can't help but admire Ingrid's tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine--with or without his help--he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

My Review:
This story will sweep you into the mountains where a strong woman is determined to complete the task she and her father set out to do. Ingrid may be small in stature, but she's larger than life when it comes to compassion. I liked the evolution of Micah's character as he realizes nothing will stop Ingrid. He's the perfect hero for this story. The book moves along at a clip, as unfathomable circumstances surround the characters. Folks in that time period survived things we can't even ponder as Misty Beller gives readers a glimpse into the days of the smallpox epidemic. If you enjoy historical fiction that challenges the characters, you'll love Hope's Highest Mountain
. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Fiction Review: Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson


I'm already reading Christmas books to review! I love a good holiday story. This puts me in the mood to make Christmas gifts and prepare for my favorite time of the year!

Book Description:
Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?

My Review:
Christmas in Winter Hill is one of those books that scoops you up and drops you into a delightful setting with wonderful characters. By the time I was halfway through the story, I wanted to live in Winter Hill. Melody Carlson has delivered another charming holiday tale. I think I've read all of her Christmas books, and this is one of my favorites. Christmas in Winter Hill is a quick read and perfect to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus the cover is beautiful! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sparkle

Philippians 2:1-4
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

More than 40 years after living life with the class of '79, we gathered together on the campus of Kentucky Christian University, and the years melted away. My dear friends, Helen and Terry, hosted a picnic. What a grand time of visiting and singing! Even though I had not seen some of these fine folks since 1977, we fell right into step with one another.

Among those who attended the Alumni weekend, our core group (who keep in touch almost daily) visited in person with joy and many hugs. When we arrived, our sweet Holly gifted each of us with a handmade package filled with tea and chocolate. I tucked the little treat in my suitcase. After I arrived home, I unpacked and pulled out the bundle of goodness. When I went to place it on my microwave beside some pretty cups, I noticed cards sticking out. I pulled them from the package and found words of encouragement. Holly not only gifted me with goodies, she gave me expressions of love. "You are inscribed on the palm of His hand." Isaiah 49:16. Plus other verses about being created in Christ and letting my light shine. At that moment I wanted to cry tears of joy.

Holly's bundle reminds me of the joy I find in Jesus. On what seems like an ordinary day, God surprises me with his encouragement. Somewhere tucked into the day, if I take the time to look, Jesus shows me that I'm his child, and He loves me. Maybe through nature or my husband or a friend, He lets me know I am his. God wants me to pass the same encouragement He pours over me to the individuals He places in my path. Whether family, friends, or strangers God calls me to value people. Philippians 2:15-16 reminds us to "shine like stars in the universe" as we hold on to the word of God.  
You were created to sparkle for Jesus.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: A Poem for Fall


Apples and pumpkins made into pie
Warm shades of leaves, a brilliant blue sky.
Cook up the chili.
Wrap in a sweater.
Let's get ready for cool autumn weather!


I love the crispness of fall. 
What do you like about fall?

Gourds at Young's Dairy Farm