December 29, 2014

10 Great Reads of 2014


I love this photo, it's kind of how I felt about picking my 10 favorites this year. : ) I read a lot of great books and it was so hard to choose! I probably read more non-fiction then fiction so most of my picks are from the non-fiction genre.

I made my goal of reading 55 books this year, but it was a stretch to the finish line this past month! How did I ever read 70 books last year?

Well now for my top 10 favorite reads of 2014.


God's Smuggler - This was an amazing autobiography by Brother Andrew, a man from Holland who smuggled Bibles into Communist countries in the 1950's. And is still working to bring Bibles to all he can today. It was co-written by John and Elizabeth Sherrill who helped co-wrote the Hiding Place with Corrie Ten Boom. Read my thoughts HERE



Abraham Lincoln: Civil War Stories - I really loved this book! Filled with great stories of Abraham Lincoln, which showed his great character. Read my thoughts HERE



Living Water - Brother Yun is a missionary in China. In his book he imparts his wisdom and encouragement. This was an extremely soul moving book. Read my thoughts HERE



Women Living Well - I first heard of Courtney over at her blog. She is a bubbly, fast-talking lady who loves the Lord and I found I could easily connect with her through our love of being stay-at-home wives and moms. Read my thoughts HERE



Jane Austen's First Love - Super sweet novel! Read my thoughts HERE



Out of a Far Country - This is a moving book about a gay son and a broken mother. I loved reading about their journeys and the wisdom they both impart. Read my thoughts HERE



The Hiding Place - This is probably my favorite read of this year. So much of God is this family's story. Read my thoughts HERE



Dear Mr. Knightley - This was a beautiful modern day story with a Austen flare. I really enjoyed this novel. Read my thoughts HERE



When We Have Failed - What Next? - K. P. Yohannan is the founder of the organization 'Gospel for Asia.' This booklet is very short but so profound. It shares an encouraging and Biblical way on dealing with our failures and how to move past them. Read my thoughts HERE



The Treasure Principle - I learnt so much from this little book. It will change the way you think about your money and about eternity. Read my thoughts HERE




                          Wishing you all a Happy New Year in 2015!


December 23, 2014

A Christmas Thought by John Huss



"Rejoice! that the immortal God is born, so that mortal man may live in eternity."
                                                                                                     John Huss


December 16, 2014

A Christmas Thought by St. Augustine



“He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.”  

                                                                             St. Augustine   

   

December 9, 2014

A Christmas Thought by Corrie Ten Boom



"Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life."
                                                Corrie Ten Boom 



December 5, 2014

The End of Friday's Thought

Friday's Thought:

Well, this will be my last 'Friday's Thought' post for the year.

For the next few weeks I'll be sharing Christmas quotes on Tuesdays and then sharing my top 10 reads of 2014 at the end of the month. And of course, more thoughts on books in the new year. : )




For my last Friday's thought, I'll leave you with this beautiful song, one of my favorite renditions of 'Mary Did You Know?' by the group Pentatonix.

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!







*Note - You can check out all my 'Friday's Thought' posts on my right-hand side column under Categories - Friday's Thought.

December 2, 2014

#GivingTuesday!

Today, Compassion International wants to help fund and launch a brand new Child Survival Program  in Gujarat, India - ALL IN ONE DAY, #GivingTuesday!


Why a Child Survival Program in India?

Because nearly one in every three newborn deaths in the world occurs in India. And because every year, more than two million children under age five die in India.

But we can change that. We can change that in one day.

Funding this center means we can:
  • prepare moms with training to help care for their babies
  • help mothers learn to read and write
  • give children a safe place to learn and grow
  • ensure lifesaving medical care for babies and moms proclaim the hope of God to families living in poverty


Would you like to help? Today you can donate to compassion to help babies in India. You can go HERE and have a look and see what it's all about.

Hope you are able to join me in the joy of giving this season! : )

Click HERE to donate.

November 24, 2014

Torn Asunder - A Giveaway!!

Alana Terry's new novel, Torn Asunder, comes out in December and you have a chance to win a free e-book here!

I'm so looking forward to reading it. Her first novel, The Beloved Daughter, was amazing and moving. One of my favorite reads from 2013.

This one sounds like a moving story as well.

Free Ebook Giveaway!

Torn Asunder is the upcoming release from award-winning Christian suspense novelist Alana Terry. 


You can pre-order Torn Asunder on amazon now for only 99 cents and have it delivered right to you when it's released in December. 


As an added bonus, Alana, along with recording artist Cherie Norquay, is offering free downloads of one of the songs featured in Torn Asunder.

 
Synopsis:
  
"After graduating from the Secret Seminary, Hannah and Simon are ready to return to their homeland. Their training has equipped them to carry the gospel to a country ravaged by darkness and despair. If necessary, they’re even prepared to face the North Korean labor camps, but the hardest part of their mission isn’t the hunger, cold, and incessant danger. The hardest part is cutting off contact with one another.

In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, staying together might not just compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives."

A Christian romantic suspense from the author of The Beloved Daughter, which won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, Readers' Favorite, The Book Club Network, and more.


Pre-order Torn Asunder for only 99 cents or enter the giveaway below! 

You can also sign up to get a free mp3 song download from Cherie Norquay, whose work is put out by Grammy-award-winning producer, Phil Naish, and whose lyrics helped inspire certain scenes in Torn Asunder. 

Click below or get her free song downloads here. (Several of her song lyrics also appear in the novel itself.)


You can also sign up below to help spread the word about Alana's fundraiser to help rescue North Korean refugees on a modern-day underground railroad.

November 21, 2014

Trust and Obey

Friday's Thought:

I've been thinking a lot lately of a song I loved as a little girl. It was called 'Trust and Obey.'


There was a freedom in those words.

No striving to be good enough, no doing it all yourself, but simply surrendering and trusting the Lord and obeying His Word with His help.

That's what being a born again Christian really is, surrendering all in trust and obedience to the One who has your back. The One who has removed your sin as far as the east is from the west, the One who will never leave you or forsake you, the One whose love is like no other.

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You."    Psalm 5:11


"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us."    Psalm 103:12
 
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”    Heb. 13:5

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."    1 John 4:10

Here's Big Daddy Weave's version of the song:


Trust and Obey

When we walk with the Lord
  In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
  While we do His good will,
  He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

 Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
  But to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise,
  Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
  Not a doubt or a fear,
  Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
  Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
  Not a grief or a loss,
  Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
  The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
  For the favor He shows,
  And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
  We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
  What He says we will do;
  Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

John H. Sammis (1846-1919)

A Little History:

In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike: "I'm not quite sure. But I'm going to trust, and I'm going to obey."

Daniel Towner was so struck by the power of those simple words that he quickly jotted them down, then delivered them to John Sammis, who developed the lyrics to Trust and Obey. Towner composed the music and the song quickly became a favorite. It remains popular with hymn singers today. 

*Note: This history was shared from the Share Faith website.


November 17, 2014

The Hiding Place

Why did I wait so long to read this!

What an amazing story!

I have to say I've read a lot of great books over the years, but this one was extraordinary.

Corrie, her sister Betsie, and the rest of their family are such an inspiration.

I often cried reading their story and long to know God more after reading it.

He is so good.


Corrie uses the first few chapters to share her family life in Holland. A little background of a normal everyday life. Then the war came, they hid Jews in their home, were later caught, sent to prison, then to a horrific concentration camp.

One thing that stood out to me in this book was that it wasn't just their story, as much as it was about the Lord and how good and faithful He is. How His plans are not ours, and how He teaches and grows us through adversaries. All of these people are now with Him, experiencing the fullness of joy from the Lord.

Betsie Ten Boom
I loved Corrie's sister Betsie in this true life story.

Betsie understood God.

She knew Him well and praised Him in all things. She gave me a better understanding of who God is, His greatness, His holiness, His faithfulness and His love for us.

It was beyond encouraging.

Here Betsie encourages Corrie after Corrie finds shrapnel on her pillow during a bombing:

"'Betsie, if I hadn't heard you in the kitchen...'

But Betsie put a finger on my mouth. 'Don't say it, Corrie! There are no 'ifs' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!"

Corrie Ten Boom
God used Betsie to encourage Corrie and then He took her home.

Corrie then went on to accomplish only what God could accomplish. And she gave Him all the glory for the many lives He touched through her.

I'll leave you with a conversation between Betsie and Corrie when they are both overwhelmed by the hatred and brutality within the concentration camp.


Women being forced to parade around in the cold, naked., humiliated. Their dignity stripped from them.

Corrie writes here:

"...it was one of these mornings while we were waiting, shivering, in the corridor, that yet another page in the Bible leapt into life for me.

He hung naked on the cross.

I had not known - I had not thought...The paintings, the carved crucifixes showed at the least a scrap of cloth. But this, I suddenly knew, was the respect and reverence of the artist. But oh - at the time itself, on that other Friday morning - there had been no reverence. No more than I saw in the faces around us now.

I leaned toward Betsie, ahead of me in line. Her shoulder blades stood out sharp and thin beneath her blue-mottled skin.

'Betsie, they took His clothes, too.'

Ahead of me I heard a little gasp. 'Oh Corrie. And I never thanked Him..."


Buy it HERE on Amazon



November 7, 2014

You Are Loved

Friday's Thought:


"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved - loved for ourselves or rather in spite of ourselves."
                                                                Victor Hugo

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." 

                                                               Jesus (John 15:9)



November 4, 2014

Jesus > Religion

I can't believe the author of this book was only 23 when he wrote it. It is filled with such wisdom and grace.

This book will convict you, while simultaneously encouraging you to live life for Jesus, rather than religion. It will make you think about who you are in Christ and what changes you may need to make.

Here's an example of his straightforward writing about Jesus and us:

"We've lost the real Jesus - or at least exchanged him for a newer, safer, sanitized, ineffectual one...

...In our subculture Jesus would have never been crucified - he's too nice...

...Most of the time we're persecuted not because we love Jesus, but because we're prideful, arrogant jerks who don't love the real Jesus. We're often judgmental, hypocritical, and legalistic while claiming to follow a Jesus who is forgiving, authentic, and loving."

Ouch!

But so true.

Who are we in Christ? Judgmental, hypocritical, and legalistic or loving, kind and full of grace like Jesus? How did we get to this point? Why do we care more about being right than loving others? And are we right if we aren't loving others with grace and compassion, like Jesus does?

I loved the chapter headings in this book. As each chapter actually spoke about what it was titled. And with great Biblical truths that cut to the heart of the matter.

Here they are:

1. Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

2. Why I Still Think Jesus Hates Religion (and You Should Too)

3. Fundies, Fakes, and Other So-Called Christians

4. Religion Makes Enemies/Jesus Makes Friends

5. With Religion, There Are Good and Bad People/With Jesus, There Are Only Bad People in Need of Grace

6. Religion Is the Means to Get Things from God/If we Seek Jesus, We Get God

7. With Religion, If You Are Suffering, God is Punishing You/God already Punished Jesus on Your Behalf, So Suffering is His Mercy

8. Religion Says, "God Will Love You If..."/Jesus Says, "God So Loved..."

9. Religion Points to a Dim Future/Jesus Points to a Bright Future

10. Why Jesus Loves the Church (and You Should Too)

This is one of those books you really need to read with yourself in mind. Our relationship with Christ is between us and Him and we were never meant to be judgmental of other believers in their walk with the Lord, but rather encouraging and full of grace. (read Romans chapter 14)

This book is a 'look in the mirror' kind of book.  As well as a 'look to Jesus' kind of book. : )

Here are a few great quotes from it:

"The problem we have with Jesus isn't that he gives life and grace freely, but that we have to admit our need for it."

"I realized that fighting to prove I was good enough was actually the one thing keeping me out of heaven. A grace economy is backward to most of us - those who think they qualify, don't; and those who admit they don't qualify, do."

"The paradox of the Scripture is that it calls us way more sinful than we think we are, and it calls us way more loved than we think we are."

"Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy. He owes us nothing, but he gives us everything."

"Jesus knows what life is like. He doesn't hang out in heaven and tell us to be good and moral without reaching down to us. Jesus doesn't make us come to him; he comes to us."

I wanted to share so much more from this book but I felt it's one of those books you really need to read in context.

So... I highly recommended you read it!

Buy it HERE on Amazon 



October 28, 2014

5 books on my future reading list

Surprised by Oxford

I love memoirs!

I've had this one on my TBR pile forever and I'm really looking forward to reading it soon.

Amazon says of it:

"Surprised by Oxford is the memoir of a skeptical agnostic who comes to a dynamic personal faith in God during graduate studies in literature at Oxford University.

Carolyn Weber arrives at Oxford a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of Truth, love, and a life that matters."

And Randy Alcorn says of Carolyn:

"Carolyn Weber is a formidable intellect and a sought after college professor, as well as a great wife and mom. But what I love most about her is her heart, which you'll find on every page of this book. She is candid, insightful, and charming."



Yawning at Tigers

This looks like such a interesting book.

We have an awesome and powerful God. Who is often referred to as a Lion and a Lamb in Scripture, but we often cling to the Lamb and forget the Lion.

Amazon says here:

"When was the last time you were overawed by God’s majesty? Have you ever stood in stunned silence at his holiness and power?

In our shallow, self-centered age, things like truth and reverence might seem outdated, lost. Yet we’re restless. And our failed attempts to ease our unrest point to an ancient ache for an experience of the holy.

Drew Dyck makes a compelling case that what we seek awaits us in the untamed God of Scripture—a God who is dangerous yet accessible, mysterious yet powerfully present. He is a God who beckons us to see him with a fresh, unfiltered gaze.

Yawning at Tigers takes us past domesticated Christianity, into the wilds where God’s raw majesty, love, and power become more real and transformative than we could ever imagine."

Here are a few reviews:

“A needed corrective to self-indulgent Christianity.” Philip Yancey

“A stirring challenge.” Lee Strobel

“A strong antidote against a domesticated God.” Matthew Lee Anderson



Love's Fortune

If you love Christian historical fiction and you haven't picked up a book by Laura Frantz...go now! : )

Her books are some of my favorites, with stories so beautifully and historically detailed, and with wonderful characters and Godly messages.

This is the third book in a trilogy called 'The Ballantyne Legacy.'

Here is Goodreads book description: 

"Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. 

When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. 

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?"

And Liz Curtis Higgs says of Laura's writing:

"Laura Frantz surely dances when she writes: the words sweep across the page with a gentle rhythm and a sure step."

I have to agree! : )



Emotions

I'm an emotional person. And that can be a good thing at times and a not so good thing at other times. 

I really have a great respect for pastor Charles Stanley and I'm looking forward to reading his newest book on emotions. 

Goodreads say of it here:

"Emotions contends that God has gifted us with emotions since the very beginning--and He did so with very concrete purposes in mind: so that we can enjoy life, so we can connect with others, so we can reflect God's image in us.

But too often, instead of making the best of this gift, our emotions make the worst of us. Though we cannot see, taste, or touch our emotions, we are constantly affected by their forceful presence and the incredible influence they have over us. They can alter how we view our day, other people, and even the major events in our lives. Through our feelings, we have the capacity to enjoy amazing triumphs and deep fulfillment or experience crushing defeat and ruined relationships." 




Rebellious Heart

I really enjoyed the last book I read by Jody Hedlund (A Noble Groom) and I'm excited to read this one which was inspired by the lives of Abigail and John Adams.

Publishers Weekly says of it here:

"Hedlund offers another beauty for fans of historical romance, unfolding an unlikely relationship in the midst of political and social machinations in pre-Revolutionary War Boston. 

This fast-paced drama draws the reader in quickly while introducing engaging characters who wrestle with ethical and emotional challenges. As tensions begin to flare between the king’s soldiers and colonials, young lawyer Ben Ross finds himself winning court cases by day and smuggling molasses by night. He’s drawn to Susanna Smith, an intelligent young socialite with a heart for the less fortunate, but Ben knows his common social status is no match for her mother’s expectations. 

As their feelings for each other warm, Susanna struggles to reconcile her religious obligations and honoring her parents—duties that seem to conflict with her desires. Ben and Susanna form a growing, but seemingly impossible, bond while risking their lives to save an abused runaway. Both are faced with the same question affecting their personal and political loyalties: what is more important—doing what is right or obeying God-ordained authorities? 

Twin themes of faith and loyalty animate the story’s conflict. Don’t miss the author’s note revealing her real-life inspiration for these characters."



October 24, 2014

He Knows

Friday's Thought:

This is such a beautiful song.

When we take the focus off of ourselves and onto the Lord Jesus Christ there is always a freedom and release. He knows what each of us is going through and when we focus on Him, His goodness, His kindness, His everlasting joy and His unconditional love, we can rest in Him and find peace.

Because He knows.

October 20, 2014

Still Growing

I love the ways God works.

His timing is always prefect.

Kirk's story is one of those ways and I really enjoyed reading about his life so far.

Kirk shares from his early years at home to his introduction to commercials at age 10. He continues to his teen years and his big break playing Mike Seaver on the hit TV show Growing Pains.

I enjoyed some of the inside info on Hollywood and how things work. It was nice to hear there are some great people working there. People like his co-stars which he described as family.

Growing Pains along with shows like Family Ties and The Cosby Show were some of my favorites as a teen. I wish they still made clean family shows like that today.


One secret Kirk reveals about the show, I thought was really fun.


It's about a competition he and Michael J. Fox, who was staring in the hit show Family Ties at the time, had.

He describes it here:

"Michael and I had this one-upmanship thing: who could incorporate the most 360s in a show. We'd have to walk onto a set and somehow do a complete, 360-degree turnaround. But we had to spin so naturally it was undetectable to our directors. We had to find a reason for our characters to do a 360. And it only counted if it made the final cut of the show.

Since our shows taped on different days of the week, some of the Growing Pains crew worked simultaneously on Family Ties. A cameraman would come to the set on blocking day and say, 'Cameron, Fox did two yesterday.'

'That's nothing,' I'd scoff. 'I can top it.' I had to think of places to sneak them in. It was a fun challenge.

Sometimes the cameraman would go to the other set and say, 'Fox, you're slacking, Cameron did four this week.'

I think four was the record - but I'm not sure who set it. (Now that you know the real competition, look for our masterful 360s in re-runs.)"

Kirk was on the show for it's 7 year run, but something happen during this time that would change his life forever.

He was 17 and a self proclaimed atheist. Then he met a girl and she invited him to church.

He shares the experience here:

"It was a big church. The head honcho was a man named Chuck Swindoll. He had a booming voice and spoke with authority. I listened as he read from the Bible, which I thought was nothing more than a book full of rules designed to suck the fun out of life. This pastor began to share the biblical description of God in terms I had never heard before, in a way that grabbed my attention and dazzled my intellect.

He spoke of God's omnipotence: God is all-powerful. He talked about God's omniscience: He is all-knowing. And he addressed God's holiness: He is morally perfect and, therefore, He alone defines what is good.

I spent a lot of time thinking about those things...

...Dr. Swindoll spoke about heaven and hell, and immediately followed that up with talk of God's mercy and love. He explained that God, in His kindness, provided a way for sinners to be forgiven of their sins, washed clean, changed and made new. He spoke about the value of grace, repentance and faith.

I was blown away. I felt like someone had unloaded a theological dump truck on my head. These were not the words of the irrational, big-haired, crazy loons I had seen on religious television, swindling Social Security money from senior citizens desperate for a miracle. 

Dr. Swindoll wasn't promising health, wealth and prosperity in exchange for a donation to his ministry, but rather freedom from God's wrath and a relationship with the Creator of all things. Swindoll appeared totally sincere in his beliefs and genuinely concerned about the welfare of his hearers.

I left the church with a long list of questions."

Kirk's friends dad then tried to answer his many questions and encouraged him to read Josh McDowell's book, 'More than a Carpenter.' (one of my favorites!)

Then one day he realized he, like everyone else, was going to die one day.

He realized the state of his heart was not right with God and that God had every right to exclude him from heaven.

He says of one night sitting in his car:

"I wanted to pray, but didn't know how. Closing my eyes - hoping no one was watching - I muttered, 'God, if You're there, will You please show me? If You're real, I need to know. And would You please forgive me for the things I've done that are wrong? I don't want to join a religious cult or believe in a fairy tale, but if You're there...I want You to change me into the person You want me to be.'

Tears came to my eyes. Goosebumps formed on my arms. I felt that I was unworthy of talking to God.

When I opened my eyes, I didn't see a vision of Jesus on the wind-shield. The Holy Spirit didn't rush in through the air conditioning vents. Nothing weird. I just sat there thinking that I had just spoken to the Creator of the universe and that He had heard me.

Little did I know that those feeble and honest moments of seeking God in my sports car would forever change my life."

A couple years later Kirk met his wife, Chelsea on the set of his show.

From this point on in the book they both speak and share their story together.

I really loved this.

Kirk is no longer just Kirk, but now united with his wife Chelsea. Their love for each other is very apparent and so refreshing. They also have 6 children!

Kirk says this of marriage:

"Through reading the Bible, I was learning more and more about God's design for marriage. According to divine design, marriage is a covenant, not a contract. A contract can be broken, but a covenant is forever. 

When marriage is just a contract, you will focus on your rights, when it is a covenant, you will focus on your responsibility. 

If you see marriage as a contract, you look for loopholes; when you realize it's a covenant, you learn to stay committed for life. Contracts are written on paper and based on mistrust - which explains why you put it in writing...A covenant, on the other hand, is a verbal promise based entirely on faith and commitment."

I thought that was just so beautiful. : )

He then shares how he meet Ray Comfort and how they started their ministry together and how Ray's bold walk with Christ encouraged him in his walk with the Lord.

At the end of his book, Kirk shares several points on who he is. I'll leave you with the first one which applies to all of us who have received Christ:

"I'm a child of God, a sinner rescued by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. 

As my pastor once said, 

'You don't find God - He's not lost. you are, and He finds you."


Buy it HERE on Amazon




October 17, 2014

Time Away

Friday's Thought:

It's been a little quiet around my blog this past week or so.

My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and instead of going away on our own we decided to take one last family trip before our children (18, 22, 24) all go their separate ways.

We went to Disneyland and had a lot of fun, though the weather was pretty hot! : )


I have to say my favorite thing, besides some of the fun rides, was the Lincoln memorial. We've been to Disneyland before but had never seen it. I highly recommend it, especially if you have children.

It was a great reminder of how one should live with integrity.

I'm reading a history book right now, about medieval kings and queens and how their lives were a mess of adultery, backstabbing, and betrayal. It's made me realize what a prize the world has had in Abraham Lincoln, a simple farm boy from Kentucky. You can read a little more about him in my post on the book: Abraham Lincoln Civil War Stories

I also picked up Walt Disney's biography, 'An American Original' by Bob Thomas, when we were there.


And I'm looking forward to reading about his life and family. : )


September 29, 2014

Nature's Sketchbook

I was cleaning out some of my cupboards the other day and came across this book that I hadn't looked at in years. So I decided to sit down and have a read through.

What a delightful book!

Filled with the art of Marjolein Bastin of Holland, and her insights and experiences from the nature she paints.


I love this kind of art, so full of color and life. So much detail you can look at one painting for hours and enjoy all it has in store for you. : )

I thought I'd share a few paintings and insights Marjolein shares throughout the book.




Strawberries are my favorite summer fruit! Here she paints some in a new basket.

She writes:

"The spiders and beetles loved 
my old basket... it was perfect
For playing hide-and-seek.
To them, 'old is beautiful,'
but I must advert that
as a flower basket,
it had become pretty rickety.

But here is my new one...
and I'll try this time not to leave it
out in the rain!"




Here she writes some interesting facts about these butterflies and violets:

"This 
beautiful
butterfly has made
his life very difficult:
his tiny caterpillars
will not eat anything other than these violets.
And when they are not
there anymore,
the butterfly
will vanish, too."




I love making bouquet's of flowers. It's always fun to create something new each time.

Here she writes about painting this lovely bouquet:

"This beautiful bouquet
inspires me to paint with
such enthusiasm that there
is hardly enough room left for my words!

Just imagine this
in a jam jar on the table...
how opulent!

Bluebells here are protected, so you're not allowed to pick them.
That's way drawing is so nice - I can always sit among
the bluebells with my brushes and enjoy
their natural beauty."




Though this isn't a book of faith, I found God's creation bursts forth on every page. He truly makes beautiful, intricate things for us to enjoy.

Here are a few of her paintings that aren't from this particular book, but as a gardener who loves flowers, I had to share!






I'm not sure if this book is still in print but here is Marjolein's website where you can explore all her gorgeous creations... Marjolein Bastin's Website


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