Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jane Kirkpatrick is at it again.

The perfect pairing of a heart retrenching tale and a real life view of a Utopian community, both set in the1800s, any fan of Jane will be sure to love! Even if you are new to Kirkpatrick’s work, you can certainly expect to be captivated and longing for more while discovering new fascinations you never knew you had. Her extraordinary experiences mixed with her rich history have given her the ability to draw you in and make you feel like you are experiencing her unique stories as they happen. This rare gift has helped her to become one of today’s best selling authors. Be prepared to be blown away by her words as you get a glimpse into an entirely new world.

Summary for A Flickering Light:

Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother’s photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.

She took exquisite photographs,

but her heart was the true image exposed.

Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.

With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.

This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

I'll admit that I was a little surprised at the trail this book took, but it was captivating. But that I later found out it was "biographical fiction," or "a true story, imagined," well, you can't help the direction that real lives took after the fact. I enjoyed it, and I expect that you might as well.

Summary for Aurora:

Wrap yourself in a fantastic journey,
a remarkable commitment, and a spare and splendid story

Master storyteller Jane Kirkpatrick extols the beautiful treasures, unknown to a wider public, rediscovered in the Old Aurora Colony of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. The people and legacy of Aurora, a utopian community founded in the mid-1800s, will stir your imagination, hopes, and dreams; and remind you that every life matters—that our lives are the stories other people read first.


Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations

More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today

Cherished stories from Aurora descendants

Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections

An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser

Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.

Author Bio:

Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.

You should know it will be one of "those" mornings when it starts at 5:38.

So why do I wait for the baby clock me, break the lotion bottle lid and dump and entire pot's worth of coffee grounds where it shouldn't be before I figure it out?

Jeez I have a crappy attitude this morning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's a sad, sad day when you wake up face to face with your failures and you are already so far gone, you aren't sure you'll recover.

Now, don't all seven of you get worried. In the whole scheme of things, these particular failures aren't that big of a deal. Except to me. And those that depend on me. K? K.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just for Mrs. Lemon

Smart People, Dumb Things

I'm so tired of people that think they know everything. Particularly when I'm sure they're wrong, but even when they are right, they can be tiresome.

Just give me someone that doesn't have all the answers to all of life's difficulties and I'll show you an honest person.

For example: Potty training. Ask anyone the "right" way to do it and they will have an answer. Of course if you ask most people that have potty trained more than two children and they'll tell you that if you can figure it out, good for you. I used to be in the first crowd. I potty trained my first two well before their second birthday. My third before his third. I'll be lucky if my fourth is trained by kindergarten. (He'll go a week without an accident and ten days without hitting the pot one STINKING time. ((yes, I know, perfect parents, consistency is the key as are cotton underwear. I want to see you potty train at soccer games in a couple years.))).

And guess what? Faith matters are very similar.

I'm tired of people spouting stuff off to me that isn't even correct just because it is the accepted norm.

Just Because “Everyone Believes It”

Doesn’t Make It True

People don’t set out to build their faith upon myths and spiritual urban legends. But somehow such falsehoods keep showing up in the way that many Christians think about life and God. These goofy ideas and beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth . . . until life proves they’re not. The sad result is often a spiritual disaster—confusion, feelings of betrayal, a distrust of Scripture, loss of faith, anger toward both the church and God.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In this delightfully personal and practical book, respected Bible teacher Larry Osborne confronts ten widely held beliefs that are both dumb and dangerous. Beliefs like these:

• Faith can fix anything

• Christians shouldn’t judge

• Forgiving means forgetting

• Everything happens for a reason

• A godly home guarantees good kids

…and more.

No Excuses

My baby is bathing himself in the sink.

He MUST do this every time I begin to do the dishes.

It's hard to resist him when I didn't want to do the dishes in the first place.

Besides, he took off his own jammies and looked so cute there in his saggy diaper.

I'll get to the dishes later.

Or not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh yeah, uh-huh, get yer groove on,,,,

I was thinking about getting on here and mentioning (in excruciating detail) how much difficulty I'm having coping with reality today and then I hear from the other room, the Tiny Tyrant chanting, "Oh yeah, uh-huh, oh yeah, uh-huh....."

That would be thanks to Eldest.

The child hardly speaks sentences, but he can brag like a big boy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening Eden

Now that my entire yard has been dug up and redistributed so as to keep the rain outside of my home and (hopefully) grass and other lush things in the mudpit I call my backyard, I've been working diligently to create my own personal Eden.

That, and clearing my head of a raging sinus infection turned bronchitis while catching up on half a month's laundry and housework that fell to the wayside while I did family the last couple of weeks.

Yes, miracle remedies welcome.

No, Alka Seltzer, Robitussin DM, NyQuil, and giving up soda haven't worked.

Any-hoo, digging in the dirt and making my surroundings beautiful make me feel like a human in this suburban landscape I call home except for when I'm actually AT home in the middle of a field 150 miles to the west of here.

I love this earth. And I want it to be green and beautiful for my sanity and for my kids (and grandkids infinitum) future. So I'm reading this:

Before the snake, the apple, and the Ten Commandments, God created a garden, placed humans in it, and told them to take care of it.

“Spiritual environmentalism” did not start out as an oxymoron—it was an invitation. Yet today, many believe God’s original job description for humankind has been replaced by other worthier pursuits. So when did this simple instruction become so controversial? How does one sort through all the mixed messages? Is making the world a healthier place for the next generation really a responsibility—or even possible?

Gardening Eden is a new understanding of how the spiritual dimensions of life can find expression and renewal through caring for our incredible planet. Empowering, simple, and never polemical, Michael Abbaté outlines the Bible’s clear spiritual benefits of caring for creation, exploring new motivations and inspired ideas, and revealing the power of our basic connection to all people and living things through the growing interest in spiritual environmentalism.

Green living is no longer a fad—simple lifestyle solutions are now available to everyone. Gardening Eden shows readers how this shift transforms not only our world, but their very souls as they’re drawn into deeper harmony with the Creator. This book invites them to discover the powerful spiritual satisfaction of heeding the call to save our world.

A nationally recognized expert in “green” development strategies, Mike Abbaté is a founder of GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture design firm. He frequently speaks to students and leaders about practical ways to minimize the impact of building and landscape design on natural resources. Abbaté’s work has been featured in national magazines such as Metropolis and Landscape Architecture and in many local newspapers and trade publications. He and his wife, Vicki, have two adult daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I just noticed something

All the couples in the Lowes and Home Depot commercials are well dressed and childless.

No wonder I watch and think I could possibly accomplish something on my home in DIY fashion.

Where's the reality? Where are the four bored children climbing the walls (or driving the lawn mowers as it may be)? Where is the picture of the mother trying to transplant her lilies while keeping her two-year old out of the street? Where are the broken potato forks that were run over six seasons ago with the lawn mower? Speaking of lawnmowers, where is the rusting out one under the deck that the husband uses for spare parts for the other rusting out one that was given as a handout by someone who thought it might only last the summer more than seven years ago? Where are the chipmunks that dig up the tulip bulbs or the hooligans that use hyacinths as soccer practice? Where is the freeze/boil season of spring? But, let me get back to the real problem, where are the four children that won't let the attractive, well-dressed, happy couple choose their new bushes? (And who wears button downs and khakis to the home improvement store, anyway?)

All I'm sayin'

Last one, I promise, then I'll find a new topic

Oh Mister Taxman, give me a break,
I need some money for goodness sake.
I know you need to feed the masses,
But some of them should just get off their asses.

Taxman, I'm all but broke,
I have no money, can't have a smoke
but those you're feeding, with my pile of money
seem to have enough for smokes AND HONEY

Taxman, go for a ride
leap off a bridge, right off the side
I'm glad to help those truly needy
Just send my money back real speedy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To Paraphrase Ed Forman

I'd ten to one rather have a whopping tax bill than to have never made the money in the first place.

Now, to just get myself and B to believe it.

Ronnie, where are you?

For Your Viewing Enjoyment

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Dave Ramsey

Dear Sir,

The problem with emergency funds is that you then have emergencies.


Taxes, sheesh. When do we get to save up for the real emergencies?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Have you ever had one of those weeks/weekends/days when you come out on the other side and you are pretty sure you'll never be the same again?

Yeah, just had one of those.

No one spectacular thing happened, and yet I feel completely different.

Still processing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Experience the Treasure

Flip-Flop Your Concept of Giving!

Bestselling author Randy Alcorn introduced readers to a revolution in material freedom and radical generosity with the release of the original The Treasure Principle in 2001. Now the revision to the compact, perennial bestseller includes a provocative new concluding chapter depicting God asking a believer questions about his stewardship over material resources. Readers are moved from the realms of thoughtful Bible exposition into the highly personal arena of everyday life. Because when Jesus told His followers to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He intended that they discover an astounding secret: how joyful giving brings God maximum glory and His children maximum pleasure. Discover a joy more precious than gold!

Story Behind the Book
After years of writing and teaching on the theme “God owns everything,” in 1990 Randy Alcorn was sued by an abortion clinic (for peaceful, nonviolent intervention for the unborn). Suddenly he had to resign as a pastor and was restricted to making minimum wage. Legally unable to own anything, Randy gave all his book royalties to missions work and need-meeting ministries. He and his family have experienced the reality of The Treasure Principle—that God really does own everything, takes care of us, and graciously puts assets into our hands that we might have the joy and privilege of investing in what will last for eternity.

Serve God as never before

The first Christians “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) shaking the gates of hell even in the face of severe persecution. The result: People all around “were filled with wonder and amazement” (Acts 3:10).What can give Christians today the same impact?

God’s Holy Spirit is ready to answer that for us in an awesome way, as Henry Blackaby and his son Mel Blackaby make clear in Experiencing the Spirit. You’ll see how the proof of the Spirit’s presence is our awareness of God’s personal assignments for us, plus our supernatural enablement to carry out those assignments. You’ll find essential clarification on the difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts. You’ll explore the dynamics of being filled with the Spirit through intimate relationship with Him, committed obedience, and radical departure from sin.

Instead of considering what you can do for God with your abilities and talents, you’ll be encouraged here to seek what God wants to do through you supernaturally by His Spirit, empowering you beyond your personal competence and capacities. Release the Holy Spirit’s work at the very core of your experience of the Christian life.

Monday, April 06, 2009

March Madness Gone Mad

I will be so very glad when this stupid season is OVER (which it was a WEEK ago when the Jayhawks lost but does anyone else in this house know that? Nooooooo).

Have mercy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rest In Peace

Say "hi" to Jesus for me, Grandpa, and make him some of your tea. We'll miss you.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Word Fast ... or not

Hubs is reading a book on creativity and the author suggests that when you are in a creative slump, you should go on a word fast. In theory, if you fill you mind (that needs a certain number of words a day to be stimulated) with the stimulation of other people's words, you won't feel the need to express your own. And though she started by suggesting giving up reading (I gathered novels), she also dissed on the newspaper, TV, and talking on the phone.


And what's worse, I think she's right. When I have something I want to write, an outside deadline or my own, I don't let myself start reading anything I "want" to read. Which means I spend my time in front of the TV. Because that is oh, so much better for my mind.

I know myself. I can turn off the TV. Can't put down a book. Certainly not to write. All I can think about is what I'm reading and how anything I write would in no way be remotely as good as what I'm reading (most of the time, that is).

So, that said, last weekend, when I had just over a week to get some stories in by deadline, I devoured a couple books that you should know about. Just before my word fast. That produce four stories.

I think there is something to it.

Daisy Chain by Mary E. DeMuth

Oh, mercy, she can write wounded people better than anyone I know. I know people who read Mary's first book and will never, (I repeat never) read her again. "Too tragic." I always want to ask them, "Did you finish it?" Tragedy happens in life, people. It's what you do with it that makes you into who you are. And Mary makes her people deal with their tragedy. Sure, you go through it with them, but dang.

Oh, and I loved this: "'...our life is like a winding path with a deep ditch on either ditch is our full fisted rebellion. The other, she said, is our response to someone else's rebellion. She told me, 'The Devil couldn't care less which ditch we fall into, he just wants up off the road.''"

So true.

Back cover: A picture-perfect small town hides more secrets than the curved petals of a blood red rose. In the simmer of 1977, innocent young Daisy Chance goes missing. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He's convinced it's his fault.

As Jed follows the trail of clues Daisy left behind, he traces the path of pain hidden in his own family as well. When Jed's carefully constructed world comes crashing down, will he dare to find hope? Or will his guilt crush him forever? haunted by Daisy's memory and pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis, this achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story brings to life God's sometimes confusing but always present redemption.

And in a completely different genre:

Miss Match by Sara Mills

Funny thing. I didn't used to think I liked mystery/noir/whatever (which is why I can't quite classify it). Turns out, I wasn't reading the right author. Or maybe series? I love the Allie Fortune Mysteries.

Set in post WWII NYC (and then Europe), it's got all my favorite things. (Why DO I have a hangup about the 40s? Michael Crichton's NEXT would call it the Neanderthal Gene--but that's another day.) Intrigue, romance (but not too much), history, story. Good stuff. So if you're into that kind of thing...

Back cover: Jack...I'm in trouble, big trouble. Once, many years ago, we trusted each other completely. I'm asking you to trust me like that again. I need you . If you can, come to Berlin. I'll find you.

FBI agent Jack O'Conner receives this cryptic letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks another woman to help him investicgate. Wasting no time, Allie Fortune, the best private eye in New York City, comes up with a plan to get them both into Germany.

Maggie was a Red Cross nurse in the war, and she has stayed in the divided city of Berlin to look after an orphaned child. Trapped and in hiding, she has nowhere to turn...except Jack.

And little does Allie Fortune know that this case might just lead right to her own mysterious past...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

There She Goes About Ice Cream Again

OK, WHAT, may I ask, are ice cream companies doing, introducing new flavors and then ripping them from the shelves forevermore? Just as I find myself insanely hooked on a flavor, I can no longer find it.

For example? Blue Bunny Premium's Take 5 (TM) Ice cream. Just the right amount of salty and sweet. No crazy walnuts or pecans. Just the ingredients you would find in a Take 5 bar. Lessee, what are the five? Pretzels, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Caramel.....grrrr, can never remember the fifth. I could google it, but I have a limited amount of time to blog today and I'd rather complain to the ice cream companies via my blog. But next time you're in the check out line, see for yourself what is in the Take5 bar. Peanuts. I bet it is peanuts. Pure heaven in a dish. Couldn't get enough. Bought the store out. "For a limited time." At which time I quit buying Blue Bunny Premium AT ALL. Because they don't make another ice cream that I like. They are all either too sweet OR too nutty. Oh, for the Take5 ice cream.

I still check, every time I walk past the Blue Bunny Premium section in the frozen foods. It's been years, people.

And WHAT IS UP with Blue Bell introducing Snickerdoodle ice cream late last summer as a "new" flavor and then dropping it like a ball of hot lead once winter rolled around? They kept the OTHER "new" flavors (which aren't remotely as good, I might add, even "Candy Bar" which I hoped would be but isn't a Take5 replacement). I know Snickerdoodle flew off the shelves because on the off chance that I ever saw any in the freezer I bought them out. (That because there was only ever one carton, but if there had been more I was prepared to buy them out.)

I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't like to pay full price for Blue Bell. Six fifty a half gallon is crazy. But when it goes on sale I stock up. (That is what deep freezes are for.) I'll let you in on another secret.

I BOUGHT SNICKERDOODLE AT FULL PRICE. SEVERAL TIMES. EVERY TIME (but the first when I threw it in the cart on a "we'll see").

Everyone in my family loved it. We could take out a half gallon in an evening. I introduced it to my parents, who don't really like ice cream. They each had two bowls and wanted to know where they could buy it. My in-laws like it. I told everyone "you gotta try this" and they all did and liked it.

So, WHY, may I ask, for the love of ice cream, did Blue Bell quit making it?

Nothing on that label ever said "for a limited time." It said "new." Insinuating that it would continue to be available. I still check that freezer every time I go past, also.

You know what I eat now?