Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: The Awakening of HK Derryberry by Jim Bradford with Andy Hardin

The Awakening of HK Derryberry is written by Jim Bradford with Andy Hardin and is published by Thomas Nelson.

HK Derryberry is a remarkable young man. He was born far too early when his mother was fatally injured in a car crash. He suffered many physical challenges that required surgeries and a three month hospital stay. Finally, his grandmother, Pearl, took him home to live with her. His father, Pearl's son, was not interested in his small son and one day left without returning.

Later, Jim Bradford felt the urge to stop at the local Mrs. Winner's Chicken and Biscuits for a cup of coffee. It ended up being a Spirit driven venture that led to an inspiring friendship between the older man and the young boy. Through the years, Bradford watched HK "awaken" from the child who sat alone at a fast food table all day to an outgoing, friendly guy who impressed everyone he met. Today, the duo is often found out and about touching lives and making a difference in the world.

The Awakening of HK Derryberry is a little hard to put down once you begin reading it. It starts out interesting and ends with a bang. I loved reading every page of the remarkable story. The center of the book is filled with pictures that enhance my understanding of HK and the people involved in his life. Great story that everyone should read. It certainly enriched my understanding of disabilities as well as God's power and purpose in life.

*I received a copy of The Awakening of HK Derryberry in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - September 18

I found an interesting cookbook this week. This one is filled with easy and quick gluten-free recipes. Last night I prepared the Waldorf Salad for my husband. He said he loves it and would I please save the recipe. Many of the meals on my menu plan this week include items made from this cookbook, 100 Best Quick Gluten-free Recipes by Carol Fenster. I have denoted these with an asterisk. If you find the recipe book at your library, please check it out and see if any of the recipes fit your lifestyle!

By the way, I made the zucchini butter on Saturday and it is wonderful!


Waldorf Salad*
Fresh Green Beans
Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins*


Pinto Bean Dip*
Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes*


Muffin Pan Chicken Pot Pies
Baked Potatoes with Zucchini Butter


Spaghetti Carbonara*
Grilled Marinated Chicken Breasts
Tossed Salads
Garlic Toast


Pizza & Pop (gluten-free dough)*


Burgers on the Grill
Deviled Eggs
Cherry Clafouti*


On Your Own

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Book Review: Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Portrait of Vengeance is written by Carrie Stuart Parks and is published by Thomas Nelson.

Before I gush on this book, I want to first give you a brief synopsis. Gwen Marcey is a forensic artist who practically begs to be given the assignment of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho because the location, and the details of the case, are something similar to her own experiences as a child. She ends up going out there to find that she is an outsider and, in fact, a target. The investigation goes very slowly while Gwen finds more and more similarities with this case and her own. In the meantime, her life is in danger.

The ending is probably one you won't see coming.

One I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it back down. I think I finished it in record time because it really is that suspenseful and well-written. Obviously, Parks is an accomplished author, but she is also a real life forensic artist. That said, I can confidently say that she knows her stuff. The writing is crisp and, at times, humorous. Parks' ability to keep the suspense going until the end is amazingly well done.

Now I have to go out and find the other books by Carrie Stuart Parks.

*I received a copy of Portrait of Vengeance in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Which Diet Will You Choose?

I don't think our society has ever been more driven toward becoming health conscious than it is now. I work in a library, so I often see new books on one diet or another pop up. I have to admit it. They are fun to read. But, fun or not, the books and diets don't always mesh with one another. In fact, some are quite diametrically opposed to the others and the reader then becomes confused - very confused.

For the last several years I have followed a vegetarian diet on top of the gluten-free one I had adopted prior to that. Once I noticed I was having some problems digesting milk proteins, I began to phase that out as well, leaving my diet very close to a vegan one. 

I liked the diet. I felt good with it. 

I hate to eat meat. I have never liked meat and have always had to psyche myself up before having it. Milk stuff did bad things to me. And I love veggies and fruits.

So, in essence, what I was having was a whole foods plant based diet, but I didn't know that was the term to use. I was Okay with that, but my family was not. And herein lies the problem.

Buying vegan foods (and gluten-free because I have to live that way) is expensive, that is if one has to buy meat and all of the junk that goes with an omnivore lifestyle. 

I had trouble buying everything on our budget, so I found that my diet was limited - and I maybe wasn't getting all of the nutrients that I should have been getting, and would have if I'd had more variety.

So a couple of years ago I read Grain Brain and Wheat Belly. Both of those books denounce grains and encourage people to eat an omnivore diet. I forced myself to let go of grains and focus on healthy fats (and, in my opinion, not so healthy fats with cheese and meats). 

I got sick. Something happened in my stomach or small intestines in the middle of the night and I felt like I was having an intense gall bladder attack - only I don't have a gall bladder, having had that taken out close to 20 years ago.

After a few months passed, I was in the hospital having tests done. The residual effects of that five hour stomach episode were extreme dizziness and nausea. Needless to say, the Upper GI showed a lot of acid/bile damage and GERD, but the hope is that it will heal. The medication I am taking makes me a bit nervous about my future health. Yes.....I am a firm believer in taking medicines only when completely necessary. I don't even take acetaminophen for headaches, opting to tough it out or take a nap instead.

Well, that was a year ago and I am still on the medication and still healing. But I'm getting better and still hope to get off the troublesome medicine soon.

Last month, I read The Whole30. It sounded good to me. You see, I want off of the medicines really, really badly and realy, really soon. I was grasping at straws. I tried the Whole30 diet. You're supposed to go on the diet for 30 days and then follow a Paleo diet after that - which, when you look closely, is just another form of the Atkin's diet, just a little more fruit friendly.

So, I gagged on eggs and forced myself to take in meat. With the program, you can't have any carbs other than some fruit. You eliminate dairy. You basically just eat meat, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. But the focus is heavily upon meat, meat, meat. You center your food around the meat. Always the meat.

And I caved in after six days. I couldn't handle it. I chucked it. I already knew that dairy and gluten were bad for my particular body. I was now dreading eating because I hate eggs and meat and especially love legumes (legumes are disallowed for the first 30 days and then limited). 

And I was feeling worse than ever. I know; the diet is meant to be done over 30 days and sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. At least that is what the book says. I just couldn't get that far.

So I am now back on my vegetarian, low-fat diet. I eat lots of legumes and I remain 101 pounds. I allow a little soy, which is not exactly the evil food it has been made out to be. I keep it limited - I refuse to eat processed foods with processed soy unless it is kept a secret from me. 

The bottom line is that you should eat what is best for you. Personally, I believe that dairy proteins are dangerous and meats, if eaten, should be grass-fed or free-range and only in limited amounts. I don't think fat, in excess, is ever good for anyone. 

Talk to a nutritionist, your doctor, and/or pray about it. Your gut feeling is usually right.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review - The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston

The Beloved Hope Chest is written by Amy Clipston and is published by Zondervan.

Every now and then I get in the mood to read a good Amish story. This is the second fiction book in a row in that genre that I have read - and enjoyed. In The Beloved Hope Chest, Amy Clipston has woven a touching and slightly mysterious tale that kept my attention through to the end.

The bulk of the book is a flashback, told in the viewpoint of Mattie Fisher. Mattie relates to her three daughters the story behind a lock of hair and a baby's onesie that is kept in Mattie's hope chest. She tells her girls of heartache and pain that she went through, pain that was kept a secret from the daughters until now.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story because it openly and honestly reveals that anguish doesn't afflict a select few. The Amish are not immune and neither are we. The story is well written and the main characters well developed. I think there is even a lesson in there of which we can learn.

*I received a copy of The Beloved Hope Chest in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review: Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God's Deliverance, by Beth Moore

Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God's Deliverance is written by Beth Moore and is published by W Publishing Group (Thomas Nelson).

First of all, Get Out of That Pit is not a newly released book, per se. It was originally published in 2007 and is now published with a new, updated cover. Don't let that fool you, however. It is still as relevant today as it was ten years ago, perhaps more so.

Beth Moore speaks quite candidly throughout this helpful self-help book. Actually, the book is not a self-help at all, but is a God-help volume. Throughout the book, Moore takes us the depths of the pit to the top of what God has in store for us. And it's not pity.

Moore doesn't mince words and help us along in self-pity. Instead, she outlines for us the steps that got us into the pit and the hands reaching upward that will get us out of the pit - for good. I like that. I don't want anyone babying me. I want the Truth. The Bible says that "the Truth shall set you free". 

What a great place that is to be.

In Get Out of That Pit, Moore includes some sample Scripture prayers to help us in our prayer lives. The reason for praying Scripture, according to Beth Moore, is that God loves to hear His Word, not because He has an ego thing going on. It is more of a love thing going on. He loves our dependency upon Him. He wants to carry our burdens and lift us from the pit. He isn't handing over the tools to aide us in getting out by ourselves. We're climbing on His back and holding on. And never letting go.

I found this book to be a great reminder of the greatness of the Trinity of God. I think it's a keeper, not just a single read and toss sort of book. I think you just might agree.

*I received a copy of Get Out of That Pit:Straight Talk About God's Deliverance in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Monday, July 24, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - July 24

Happy Monday! How is your summer going? Mine is rapidly passing by. Here in the north, we don't normally get a lot of high temperatures. Last week we saw some upper 90's, which I happen to love. Most people here think it is hot at 70 degrees, but not me. Today, it is only in the 60's, so I am lamenting. It is hard to get a good garden going when it is never really warm for many days (and nights) in a row. So, if you live anywhere near northern Michigan, don't come to me and complain about the heat. I will be quick to remind you that come September, you're going to see temperatures quickly plunge. Then, come January, you're going to be telling me how freezing cold it is.

The moral of my little story is: You can't control the weather. Only God can. If you don't like what we have, either live with it or pray to the One who can change it.

I found a recipe for a gluten-free, dairy-free cake roll this morning. I plan to make it in an hour or so. It is sort of fancy looking. I won't be tackling the design today but maybe someday ....


Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans
Macaroni Pickle Salad (made with GF macaroni)
Custard Pie


Grilled Marinated Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Garden Salads
Sugarless Oatmeal Cookies


Spaghetti with Burger
Garlic Toast 


Roast Whole Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Zucchini and Cheese


Pizza & Pop


Veggie Burgers
Potato Salad
Fruit Salad


On Your Own