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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Messy Grace

No one wants to be used as an example, so a whole book on how to respond to the homosexual community may seem at first glance a  tad "too much". Yet is is a hot topic issue these days and there does seem to be an "us vs. them" mentality, which is a sad thing.

Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach is about how a pastor with gay parents learned to love others without sacrificing conviction. LOVE is the key word in this book. While it may focus on homosexuality, the point of this book is for Christians to love everyone. 

This book was an interesting insight into the pain that those in the LGBT communities feel from most Christians. Judgement, hate, fear. Christians should not portray any of these to anyone. We are not to judge, hate, or fear anyone. 

On the other hand, just as one would not want to be judged for being gay, the tables do turn because Christians get judged for being Christian. Kaltenbach felt judged as well as pushed away when he professed being a Christian to his parents. 

Gays are judged by their lifestyle. Christians are judged by their convictions. This book shows us that the judging needs to stop and the loving needs to start.

(Pg. 107) *We can be accepting but not approving.
*We can be loving without applauding.
*We can be compassionate without commending. 

This goes for all areas in our life. I can love a friend who lives with a boyfriend. I can support a daughter who gets pregnant out of wedlock. I can be there for a cousin that gets divorced. 

That's not to say that I need to start changing my convictions on those matters. It's to say that my place is not to judge someone else and to love everyone. That is the part of Messy Grace. People don't like to feel that you are "against" any part of their life. You may seem judgmental if you don't agree with a lifestyle.  I get that.  Kaltenbach writes "Typically, when we wrestle with the tension of grace and truth, we either go all the way to the grace side, where everything is deemed acceptable, or we go all the way to the truth side, where we speak truth and have no love. It’s harder to live in the tension of grace and truth".

While I do not agree with everything in this book, it opens the dialog. It preaches love and not judgement. It's a great book since this topic is such a big one these days.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.     

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Space of Their Own

When we were at Faith's Lodge everyone was drawn to the art room. Crafts were at the ready, paint and brushes were accessible for ease of use. Having it there, right at your fingertips, makes creation flow.

So I decided when we returned home that we would have a little corner of our own and got to work creating a space that is open to the kids. As long as they clean up their mess when finished they are free to use whatever, whenever, if it's on/in this desk. 
Like moths to a flame they flocked. 

Amy got her paint on.

Joe and Amy worked with markers and stickers.

While Becca said the desk is too small for her she loves the ease of grabbing an art medium and running to her room to create.

I look forward to switching up the crafts on the table. Letting the kids explore with clay, watercolors, pencils, beads, and more.  Watching the budding artists emerge.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mind of Her Own

 Who knew making dinner could change your life? Louisa Copeland certainly didn’t. But when the George Foreman grill fell out of the pantry onto her head, resulting in a bump and a mighty case of amnesia, Louisa’s life takes a turn for the unexpected. Who was this Collin fellow, claiming she was his wife? And whose kids are those? Her name couldn’t be Louisa. Why, she was the renowned romance writer Jazz Sweet, not a Midwestern mom of three.

It's hard to know how to review Mind of Her Own by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer. On one hand, it's a "Christian romance", but except for some common cliche's, it was not 'roll your eyes' predictable.

On the other hand, I really didn't like the character who Louisa turned into. Jazz Sweet seems awfully selfish, an example is when her husband decides to take a weekend away for them to get to know each other better and she asks the desk clerk for a room of her own and disappears into herself. Why did she even go on the weekend away then...and make not one point of connecting with her husband? It's hard to know how to rate a book when you don't connect, nor like, the main character.

With that said, this was a very quick read. I read it within a Sunday afternoon and it kept me entertained. I was able to escape the humid Iowa weather and live in this book for a few hours. That, to me, screams a good book. This would make the perfect beach, air plane, or "need to escape my life for a moment" book. 

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Got Tea?

With paring down my grocery budget budget, I've been buying a lot in bulk. Not bulk as in Sam's Club, but bulk purchases when I find good sales, awesome clearance, or in this case, lots of goodies on the Amish bent and dent shelves.

With winter coming up (seriously, I can't even...but think about it...Christmas is just 5 months away!!!) one can never have enough tea. 

We are big tea drinkers in this house. Finding boxes of organic tea bags for just 40 cents a box is a killer deal. This box is arranged two boxes deep, so that is at least 30 boxes of tea. And if there is still some left on the shelf the next time I go I will be grabbing more.

Now to just find a place to store all these...

Friday, July 24, 2015


Being gone for 5 days in July means returning to a bounty in the garden (as well as a bounty of weeds!). 

It's amazing just how quickly things can grow and change in the garden.
Look at the giant cucumber! It was as long as Amy's legs! It actually still tasted good too, no bitterness or giant seeds in it.

One night I tried to make as much of our meal out of the garden as possible. I ended up with:

*Open face bagel sandwiches. They were whole wheat bagels, a slice of tomato (from the garden), bacon, and cheese.
*Green beans and onions (from the garden) and bacon

*Cucumber and green pepper (from the garden) salad


That is a summertime meal! Yummy! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I *Heart* U

When for too long I don't go deep enough into the woods to see them, they begin to enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches then lifts away from the ground. Unless you believe that heaven is very near, how will you find it? Their eyes are pools in which one would be content, on any summer afternoon, to swim away through the door of the world. Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven. 
~Mary Oliver "The Faces of Deer"
(Above photo was taken right next to Jacob's headstone.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


What kind of wings will they be? 

Ostrich wings...which are flightless? 

Active soaring wings which are long and narrow, allowing birds to soar for a long time, like a sea gull?

Passive soaring wings that allow the bird to catch vertical columns of hot air called "thermals" and rise higher in the air, like an eagle?

Elliptical wings are good for short bursts of high speed, like a crow or robin?

High-speed wings are long and thin, but not nearly as long as birds with active soaring wings. As the name suggests, birds with this wing type are incredibly fast, but unlike those with elliptical wings, these birds can maintain their speed for a while, like a duck or falcon?

All so much alike, yet all so very different. 


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