Friday, December 09, 2016

Book Review - Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix


Of Stillness and Storm is written by Michele Phoenix and published by Thomas Nelson.

I have finally been getting caught up with my reading lists this month. I know, I know, most people are so busy with the holidays that reading, for them, takes a backseat. However, I need that calm in the mornings and evenings to get me prepped for my busy days. I have been hard at work on a new book by Michele Phoenix.

I had not heard of Michele Phoenix before so I had to do a little investigative work to "get to know her". She was born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother. She worked in Germany as a teacher for 20 years, then joined with Global Outreach Mission. She obviously has a heart for missions.

In Of Stillness and Storm, Phoenix paints what I think is probably a fair picture of missionary families. The husband is called to serve in another part of the world and the wife and child(ren), though they might not feel as called, end up following suit. The husband adjusts well because he is doing what he feels God has led him to do while the wife and child(ren) struggle.

The husband in this book, Sam, is a strong believer who has always known that his desire for world missions is at the heart of God's will for his life. However, his wife, Lauren, is not so sure. She does love the Lord and she's always done "the right thing". However, doing the right thing includes taking their son, Ryan, halfway around the world to Kathmandu, Nepal. Sam is gone for weeks a time, ministering to remote villages in the mountains while Lauren and Ryan stay in a hot, dingy apartment that has basically none of the amenities that they were used to back home.

Ryan struggles and, through his struggles, Lauren struggles as well. That's a lot of struggles. And it makes for an interesting read. Rejoicing, aching, working hard to overcome - it all comes together and we get to come along for the ride.

I enjoyed this book for its rawness and good writing. Phoenix paints a vivid picture of what world missions can be like for those who give up almost everything in order to reach the lost for Christ. It's not as glamarous as some of us might think. It's sacrifice, and that is portrayed very well in this book. I recommend it highly for those who want to read fiction with a boost of realism.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review. My thoughts are my own.*

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Book Review: The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson


 The Silent Songbird is written by Melanie Dickerson and is published by Thomas Nelson.

In The Silent Songbird, the main character (Evangeline) and the antagonist (Lord Shiveley) have a really bad relationship. Okay, so Lord Shively convinces the king to betroth to him the king's cousin, Evangeline. This beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a former king has a tremendously lovely singing voice. She keeps that voice silent, however, when she and her maid run away to escape the betrothal. Pretending to be mute, Evangeline hides among peasants and "normal people" with the hope to someday marry a handsome man for love. As it turns out, Evangeline's "protector" is handsome ... and he turns out to be the man she could really love and marry. Now, if only she can keep Lord Shiveley and the king from finding her and bringing her back to the castle and an unwanted marriage, all will be well. Then there is that tickly problem of the lies she has presented to the people she loves the most - that of being a servant, not being able to speak, etc.

This story that Dickerson has so masterfully told kept me on my seat and turning my Kindle pages faster than I originally wanted. I read it in only a few days whereas I normally take a couple of weeks to read a book (I am busy with so much else, though I'd readily admit that I would love nothing more than to read, read, read all day long). The story is filled with action, love, and faith. It is a great princess story and one that I can heartily recommend. My 15-year-old daughter gives it a 5 stars.

*I received a copy of The Silent Songbird in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.*

Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - November 28


Now that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas preparations (and shopping) are in full swing, My menu plans are a bit bland. I don't have time or money to splurge on meals I guess. I want to share with you a recipe for gluten-free pie crust. This is the first time I have made a gluten-free crust that the whole family has loved. The full gluten boys didn't even notice the lack of gluten. Ha ha!



Gluten-free Pie Crust

1/1/4 cups Rice Flour
1 Cup Tapioca Starch
1 TBSP Raw Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup non-hydrogenated Shortening
Milk of choice, about 1/4 cup
Mix the dry ingredients and then cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a soft ball. Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and flip onto a pie plate. Fill with favorite filling and bake at temperature and time of your recipe. Crust burns easily so watch and cover edges with foil if you need to.


Monday

Tacos

Tuesday

Broiled Pork Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Wednesday

Baked Beans
Hot Dogs
Salads

Thursday

Pizza & Pop

Friday

Eating out after homeschool program

Saturday

Baked Chicken
Scalloped Potatoes
Zucchini

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, November 21, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - November 21



HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We had snow here in the north this weekend, not a happy sight for me as it made the roads slick - and people don't know how to drive in the winter yet. Today it is a balmy 24 degrees Fahrenheit but with sun. There is hope. Here is what I have planned for the week's menu:

Monday

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables
Salads

Tuesday

Hamburger Stroganoff
Squash
Carrot Cake

Wednesday

Vegetable Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Salads

THANKSGIVING DAY

Turkey
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Croissant Rolls
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Rolls

Friday


Saturday

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sunday

On Your Own


Monday, November 14, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - November 14

So tonight is to be the "Super Moon". I thought last night's moon was pretty impressive. It was a clear night here in the north and the moon's craters were highly visible to the naked eye. My husband and I both said we could see "the man in the moon". As I gazed at the moon, I thought about the day God created the sun and the moon, those bright and lesser lights. The moon had to be made perfect, with no craters and valleys made by heavenly collisions. God deemed what He had made "good". That means no defects. My personal belief is that Noah's flood, when the floodgates were opened, caused immense atmospheric imbalances that, in turn, caused planets or other heavenly bodies to collide with the moon, creating the craters. Someday we'll know for sure (when we reach Heaven).

I am looking forward to seeing the moon tonight and I'm hoping it is another clear night.

Here's the menu I have planned for this week, always subject to change of course!

Monday

Chicken & Potatoes in the slow cooker

Tuesday

Cubed Steaks
Cauliflower
Baked Buttercup Squash
Gluten-free Cherry Muffins

Wednesday 

Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Brussels Sprouts

Thursday

Sloppy Joes
Green Beans

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, November 07, 2016

Book Review - Child of the River by Irma Joubert


Child of the River is written by Irma Joubert and is published by Thomas Nelson.

Persomie is a young girl at the beginning of this story. She is living in her native South Africa, a child of the Bushveld. Her family is the poorest of the poor, sharecroppers for the Fourie family farm. Throughout the novel, we watch Persomie grow up during World War II and the age of apartheid. She watches her stepfather tear the family apart and yearns for a better life with "real people". During this time, she yearns to know her roots, who her "real" father is. Her mother won't tell.

This is a story of a girl who pulls herself up in spite of everything being against her. I find the tale to be marvelously woven together and rich with history. I couldn't seem to pull myself apart from the story and often read when I should have been doing something else. The story is that good. It should become a classic piece of literature.

I cried with Persomie. I rooted for her when the odds were against her. She became very real to me as I thought about all of the legitimate poor in our own country today. But there is hope. The message, in the end, is very inspiring. I recommend this book very highly. It will enlighten you if you know very little about the 1940s and the rest of the world beyond the United States.

*I received a copy of Child of the River in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Menu Plan Monday - November 6


How's the weather where you live? We normally have very cold temperatures on the first day of Daylight Savings Time in the fall. Today it topped out near 70 degrees F. Absolutely beautiful!

Monday

Tacos
Tossed Salads
Cookies and Rice Pudding

Tuesday

Potatoes with Bacon
Green Beans and Water Chestnuts

Wednesday

Bacon wrapped Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Zucchini Saute

Thursday

Oven-fried Fish
Baked Squash
Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Fettuccine
Peas
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own


Monday, October 24, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - October 24


Making good use of the slow cooker this week:

Monday

Hamburger Soup (slow cooker)
Rice Pudding

Tuesday

Chicken Breasts
Cauliflower
Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday

Roast Beef & Root Vegetables (slow cooker)

Thursday

Beef Stew (slow cooker)
Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Chicken Florentine 
Gluten-free Pasta
Peas

Sunday

On Your Own