Tuesday, February 21, 2017
God Bless our Baby is written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Steve Whitlow. It is published by Tommy Nelson.
God Bless our Baby is a beautiful board book with a super soft cover. The premise of the "storyline" is that different animal families have new babies. The first one, a squirrel family, is expecting a baby. The child squirrel feels the mother squirrel's belly, lovingly awaiting the birth of a new brother or sister.
The story is set to rhyme and is wonderfully done. All of gives God credit for bringing another baby into the world, as well as reminds the readers to ask God to bless the new babies in their homes.
Throughout the book, the families are diverse. I love how the bear family claims that they do not look the same but they all share love. For those children who have a diverse family (such as in the cases of some adopted children), that can be a very pertinent point.
The illustrations in the book are gorgeous and sure to keep a very young child turning the pages.
I love God Bless our Baby. It carries with it a strong message of love and family that we, as Christians, never want to lose.
*I received a copy of God Bless our Family in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.*
Monday, February 20, 2017
These last few days have been so beautiful out (we still have lots of snow but it shown in the sun!) that I am more motivated to do things around the house. Don't ask me why, but when the weather warms up to spring-like temperatures, I receive a burst of energy.
This morning it was donut making. I had made some many years ago, but had forgotten about them. Then, last night, my husband watched a YouTube video of a woman frying donuts in an electric skillet on top of a wood burning stove. I didn't have any of my original recipes, so I googled some. I decided to try this one from Ree Drummond.
I have to tell you, they look and smell amazing. I can't have them, as they are not gluten-free. They are in no way healthy for you. Just fun. The recipe made fifteen and a handful of donut holes. I had a tad bit of dough left over but didn't think it was enough worth rolling again and again, thus becoming tough. If you decide to try them, keep in mind that you really need to start them the night before and let them raise in the refrigerator overnight.
Here's my menu plan for the week:
Spaghetti with Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Oven-baked Chicken Thighs
Roasted Root Vegetables
Pizza & Pop
On Your Own
Monday, February 06, 2017
The Daniel Code is written by O. S. Hawkins and is published by Thomas Nelson.
This a beautiful book - on the outside and within the pages. Hawkins identifies the elements of our culture that is "losing its way" very well. We'd have to be blind not to notice that something is amiss in our society.
That something is what Daniel and his friends DID have. They had convictions from which they did not waver for anything, including the threat of death.
What Hawkins does in The Daniel Code is tie the strength Daniel had in uncertain and difficult times to the strength current believers MUST have in order to turn the cultural tide around.
And they can't do that without the Holy Spirit.
I love how well Hawkins delivers the message. Everyone should read this.
*I received a copy of The Daniel Code in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*
I am trying to get my family to eat fewer animal products and focus more on whole, plant based foods.
I have not made much headway. They are balking at the idea of cutting out meat and dairy. My husband thinks that since he is a diabetic, he HAS to have animal protein.
I have been sneaking in vegan dishes with mild success (the family can't know it is vegan or I'm sunk). I have not given up.
The plan this week has meat on the menu. We had a lengthy discussion about this last night. I have faith that we'll get there - no matter how long it takes.
Roast Beef and Potatoes
Grilled Chicken Thighs
Zucchini Carrot Cake (vegan if made minus frosting)
Wild Rice Pilaf
Grilled Ham and Cheese
Homemade Vegetable Soup
Pizza & Pop
Round Steak & Gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
On Your Own
Saturday, February 04, 2017
The Dog who was There is written by Ron Marasco and published by Thomas Nelson.
I was originally drawn to this novel when I saw who wrote it. Ron Marasco is an accomplished writer and actor (Lost, West Wing, etc.). He is also very well educated, holding degrees from Fordham at Lincoln Center and UCLA. Even better than his long list of accomplishments is that he has written a great Christian book with The Dog who was There.
This is a book about an event in Christian history that is like none other - the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The story is told through a dog's viewpoint - Barley, the ragtag orphan who was fortunate to even be alive. It is a book about redemption, of course, but it is also an entertaining story with a different perspective of an event that truly happened and that means everything to every believer.
I absolutely devoured every page of this masterfully written novel. Every page read kept me moving ahead to "see what happens next". I have passed my copy down to my teenage daughter. She loves animals and she loves Jesus. There is nothing in the book to which I object but everything to which I think she needs to read.
It doesn't replace the Biblical account. It simply adds a dimension to it that helps it to become more personal. We all need the reminder of what Jesus did for us.
*I received a copy of The Dog who was There in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*
If you haven't begun reading the Bible every day, let me encourage you to do so now. God speaks to us in His Word, and that Word is Jesus Christ (John 1:1). For me, reading the Bible daily has become a habit. I read the Bible through in one year, every year since 2001. For you, perhaps it doesn't mean getting it all in within the span of a year, but maybe a chapter a day over the course of two years. No matter which route you choose, reading Scripture and letting it infuse your life is vital to your spiritual well-being. If you aren't sure about that, try reading a verse or two every day for a month and see what happens.
"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people's faces. You won't go in yourselves, and you don't let others enter either." Matthew 23:13- 14 (NLT)
That's Jesus speaking. For those of you who have the notion that Jesus Christ was always a soft spoken, laid back sort of guy, guess again! This passage, as well as others (Jesus toppling over the money changers' tables, for example), show us that the "Lamb who takes away the sins of the world" didn't always give people the impression that He was all that gentle.
But the Bible also calls Jesus "the Lion of Judah". Yeah, a roaring Lion, in fact.
Back to the passage in Matthew. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they were effectively turning others from salvation because of their religious laws - which were not God's laws, but rather those which the Pharisees had accumulated over time, essentially making it impossible to live and breathe without breaking one.
I think that, in the beginning, their intentions were good. They wanted to honor God and not break any of the Ten Commandments (God's original Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai). Over time, however, they began to add more and more "laws". Keep the Sabbath holy? Don't even carry a needle and thread in your pocket because that means you might sew, and sewing was doing work on the Sabbath.
By imposing these impossible rules, the Pharisees were shutting the door in people's faces. They wanted no part of the Kingdom because it was made up of rigid rules and nothing more. And remember that the Bible says not to add to or take away from it. (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19)
Jesus also said that the Pharisees didn't go through the "door" either. Hmm. No wonder we use the word hypocrite to mean those who preach something but don't live it themselves. As an aside, the original meaning of "hypocrite" means "actor". Hypocrites "act" one way but live another.
And God sees that. He sees the heart. And He says that hypocrisy turns others away from God. From the salvation that is freely offered but seldom received.
This hypocrisy is rampant in the world today and rapidly growing worse by the day here in the United States. Our politics have caused division in our country, but sin underlies those politics. Both sides of the fence are calling each other hypocrites. And the people are hurting.
Furthering the Kingdom of God, however, doesn't begin at the presidential level. It starts at home, with you and me. Maybe if we live as we preach, showing love to people who aren't of our political persuasion, praying that God blesses our efforts and heals our land, then just maybe we will see people saved and living lives full of hope for an eternity with Christ - the Lamb sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins - the Lion of Judah, the mighty Savior before whom "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". (Romans 14:12)
Go to YouTube and listen to this song. It will bless you.
The Lion and the Lamb by Big Daddy Weave.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Meatballs aren't all that hard to make, but they can be messy. The meatballs in the picture below are cooked but do not have any sauce on them yet. They are sitting in the slow cooker.
Mix together an egg with a pound of ground beef (or venison, or whatever ground meat you want to use). Some people add a "filler", such as bread crumbs or oatmeal. I did add a little oatmeal in order to stretch out the little bit of meat I had on hand. The less filler you use, the firmer your meatballs in the end. Season with salt and pepper, as well as any other spices or herbs you like. Garlic and onion are always nice additions.
*You can make vegan meatballs by using cooked, smashed beans and a flax egg. Add a little nondairy milk to keep from drying out.*
Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 or 375 F for about 15 minutes or until they are done inside. I cover my baking sheet with foil to keep them from spattering inside the oven. If you use beans to make vegan "bean"balls, you might still want to cover them to keep them from drying out.
When the balls are done, place in the slow cooker and cover with whatever sauce you like. I usually use some bottled barbecue sauce with a couple of spoonfuls of grape jelly. Set cooker to low and heat until bubbly. Then use or put on warm setting.
I have been reading up and studying the different "diets" of the world and what the scientific evidence says concerning them. The China Study has some really compelling conclusions regarding a very long and well reviewed study involving lab rats, stemming from the question as to why the Chinese, who ate very little to no animal protein while consuming vast amounts of starchy vegetables, thrived. In fact, they not only thrived, but they had little to no cancers reported over a long period of time. So far, I can't get any of my family on board for a vegan diet, However, I can get myself on board. I plan to decrease the animal based foods from our meals slowly, without anyone really noticing. For instance, the rice pudding I am making for dessert tonight will be made with cashew milk. I did this before and my meat loving husband, not realizing it was vegan, ranted and raved about how good it was. In fact, he has been requesting I make it again.
So, here's what I have planned.
Roast Beef (slow cooker)
Tossed Salads (no cheese)
Beef and Noodles
Wild Rice/Basmati Pilaf
Enchiladas (vegetable based)
Refried Beans (no animal fat)
Pizza & Pop
On Your Own
Saturday, January 07, 2017
You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir is written by Melissa Ohden and is published by Plough.
Wow, is this a powerful story! Melissa Ohden was delivered in the form of an abortion. She was born in a hospital but was supposed to die during the saline abortion. However, she was delivered alive. If not for a nurse who heard her crying and saved her from being left to die on a table, she would not be here today to tell her story. What is her story? She speaks out for the voiceless today: those who have been murdered by abortion.
As a pro-life believer in Jesus, I resonate with this message. No, I have never had an abortion. I'm not sure if I personally know anyone who has - nobody has ever told me that they had one. Still, I feel for those mothers who have aborted their children. According to Melissa Ohden, those moms and dads and other family members often feel pressured into abortions and carry their pain for the rest of their lives.
There are other abortion survivors; abortions don't always end in the deaths of the babies. I found that to be amazing - and sad. In fact, learning more about the abortion industry and lives it touches was a real bonus for me. Before reading this book, I only knew the basics. It hurt to learn more, but it was necessary. As a pro-life Christian, shouldn't I back up my beliefs with facts?
I found the book to be well written and very informative. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more or who simply wants to read a compelling true story.
*I received a copy of You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*
This beautiful hardcover NIV edition by Zondervan contains the complete NIV text. What is different about this one, however, is that there are nicely lined margins on each page of Scripture on which girls can journal their thoughts. As they read a passage, those thoughts, and possible sermon notes, get put on the page as they see fit. When they have read and re-read this Bible, hopefully they will notice how their own maturity and wisdom concerning the Scriptures developed over time. I love it.
I gave this Bible to my daughter (15 years old, so not exactly just for tweens) for Christmas. She loves it and I notice that she has begun bringing this edition to church with her. She is a great journal believer so I believe it was the right thing for her.
As for me, I have Bibles in different translations, the NIV being one of them. I am glad that my daughter has a copy that she can understand and that she WANTS to read. As an aside, I love the elastic that keeps this particular edition closed and looking cute.
*I received My Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.*
Monday, January 02, 2017
Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you richly this year. I have finally finished my week's menu plan. What a busy week this last one was!
Chicken Ranch Flatbreads made with left-over turkey
Mashed Potatoes with Garlic
Left-over Cake & Pie
Pizza in a Skillet
Soft Italian Breadsticks
Baked Butternut Squash
Pizza & Pop
On Your Own