Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Place Called Blessing... a book review


A fantastic story!

John Trent invites you into the life of Josh and his brothers.  Josh is an orphaned boy whose story of "loss, love, and eventual acceptance by the most unlikely people" brings him to A Place Called Blessing.

a dysfunctional family ~
absentee parents; poor providers

drunk driving ~
the death of the only parents they had

foster care ~
separated from siblings

reunion ~
the boys are placed together in a home in the country

heart-wrenching tragedy ~
the accident that changed everything

a children's orphan home ~
no longer allowed in the foster system

alone ~
Josh's brothers are adopted... without him

John Trent previously wrote The Blessing, a non-fiction book discussing 5 crucial elements on how to bless others. Through A Place Called Blessing, he has breathed life into these ideas and gave a new audience a "view" of what it looks like to be a conduit of God's love and blessings.  A reader's guide and discussion questions help you to gather your thoughts and make this a reality for you.

A Place Called Blessing shows us tangible ways
to show God's Blessings!

In The Blessing, John Trent discusses specific ways to move toward others and bless others using these 5 essential elements...

~ a meaningful touch
~ a spoken message
~ attaching high value
~ picturing a special future
~ an active commitment

Think of your life... how would it be different, if, in the worse situation you found yourself in, you had someone come into your life and bless you?  

a word of encouragement ~
this will pass and I'll be here for you

standing in the gap between you and God ~
praying for you and with you when you don't have the words

 believing in you ~
hearing... "You CAN overcome."

 a hug when you felt the most unlovable and dirty ~
a healing touch... no words necessary

This book is a MUST READ for anyone looking for ways to show God's unconditional love to people He has placed in their (our) path.  Thank you John Trent for reminding us that "the choice to give the blessing to another person is really a choice to be a conduit of God's blessing."

Star Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

For more information on John Trent and his book The Blessing and The Blessing Challenge, click HERE.

I look forward to reading The Blessing and learning ways to bless not only my family, but everyone God places in my path.

"I (God) will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make  your name great, and  you will be a blessing." 
~ Genesis 12.2

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.
On the contrary, repay evil with blessing,
because to this you were called
so that you may inherit a blessing."
~ 1 Peter 3.9

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publisher ( for my honest review.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early Summer Garden 2011


We have harvested (and enjoyed) the beets, broccoli, radishes, strawberries, snow peas, and Romaine lettuce.  Now, we are enjoying the last of the strawberries, green beans and tomatoes!

We have recently planted 2 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow bell pepper plants.  They are already blooming, so I'm am anxiously awaiting their arrival! 

After seeing pictures of a friend's garden last year, I planted zucchini and yellow squash in tires in our front bed.  I wish there was a better place to place them, but I have no backyard... just a back HILL!

They seem to be enjoying their new home, check out the first blossom on the zucchini plant!

Homeschool lessons:

1) Remember to harvest and water!
(Do you wonder how I know this?!?!) 

2) Remember to use gloves when working in new, ummm, manure.

3) The teenagers aren't as excited as I am, but we are spending time together.  This means a lot to this homeschool mom of 2 high school seniors and 1 sophomore.  My time is limited.  : [

More garden photos:

Pepper plants and tomatoes

Green beans, last 2 strawberry plants, tomatoes

Green beans and tomatoes

Green beans and snow peas

Backside of trellis... check out the tomatoes!

2 of many tomatoes... YUM!

Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer Storms

During the first severe storm of the summer, a huge, tall tree (about 50 feet tall) was pushed into our house.  Thankfully, it hit the corner of the house/roof.  If it was angled 5 feet to the north, it would have taken out both of our cars!  We still are concerned because the tree is hovering over our teenagers' bedrooms.  They get to enjoy "camping" in the basement until the tree is removed.

Now the fun begins as my husband is on the phone with the insurace company and tree services.  We need to have this removed as quickly as possible, so we can cover the damage with a tarp until the repairs can be made. 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Jambalaya... slow cooker style!



1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken - cut into 1" cubes
1 lb. andouille sausage or smoked sausage, sliced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp


1.  In a slow cooker, mix all ingredients except the shrimp.

2.  Cover and cook 7-8 hours on LOW, or 3-4 hours on High.  Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

3.  Enjoy!

(serves 6-8)

Note:  We enjoy spicier food, so I increased the Cajun seasoning and the cayenne pepper to 3 teaspoons each.  Also, if you are using smoked sausage, consider adding it half-way through the cooking time.  It becomes soft with too much cooking time.  Since I prefer a thickened sauce, I use corn starch dissolved in warm water to make the "gravy."

This post may be linked to:
Tasty Tuesday Link Party     This Week's Cravings  Hunk of Meat Monday     Delectable Tuesday       Totally Tasty Tuesday     Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays     Tasty Tuesdays      Tuesdays at the Table      Hearth and Soul Hop      Tasty Tuesday      Tuesday Night Supper Club      Slightly Indulgent Tuesday     Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday      What's Cooking Wednesday      What's for Dinner?      Foodie Wednesday      Real Food Wednesday      What's On the Menu Wednesday What's Cooking Wednesday      Full Plate Thursday      Fun with Food Friday      Tuesday Tantalizing Taste      Sweets for a Saturday      What's Cooking Wednesday      What's on Your Plate?      Recipes I Can't Wait to Try      No Whine Wednesday


The Sweetest Thing.... a book review

The Sweetest Thing

Elizabeth Musser has just written another best seller!

Set in Atlanta, during the Great Depression of the 1930s,  we step into the lives of Anne "Perri" Singleton and Mary Dobbs Dillard. 

Anne Perri: "family seemingly untouched by the Depression, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta girls' school, and an enviable social life."

Mary Dobbs Dillard: "the passionate and fiercely individualist daughter of an itinerant minister," a family who lives in poverty along with those to whom they minister.

Perri and her mother ride with Aunt Josie to pick Mary Dobbs up from the train station.  As the girls meet, their differences shine through.  Perri feels that Mary Dobbs is a "strange person" who is a bit dramatic... not to mention her "potato-sack dress;"  Mary Dobbs knew that Anne Perri didn't like her or her ailment called poverty.

After the group returns to Aunt Josie's home, Perri and her mother continue home.  Expecting to find her father in his study, Perri goes looking for him.  As soon as she steps into the stable, she finds her father...
                        hanging from the rafter...

A father's death, stolen items from numerous wealthy homes, the innocent sent to The Alms Houses until repayment could be made, and budding romances all bring this poignant story to life.  The Depression wasn't just about the banks closing; it is about the resilience of the human spirit 'to get up and get on' with life. 

Through the pain of death, a friendship is born.  One that "will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets."  As the story unfolds, we see the Spirit working, first through Dobbs, and then through others.

The Sweetest Thing gives the reader an intimate look into the lives of people during the Depression.  It wasn't  just a time in history; it helped shape a generation.  When we learn about this time period, it is just facts and dates.  Through historical fiction, we can feel and see how regular people not only survived the Depression, but lived through it to show the love of Christ to all.

Click HERE to read Chapter 1!

Thank you, Elizabeth Musser, for writing a moving story and bringing this time period alive!  I loved this book and was able to get a glimpse into the life of "real people" during the Great Depression.

Star Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of The Sweetest Thing from Bethany House Publisher for my honest review.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas



2 (16 oz) jars picante sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp taco seasonings OR chili powder
2 cups cubed or shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend
10 (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed


1.  Stir 16 oz. picante sauce, sour cream and taco seasoning (OR chili powder) in a large bowl.

2.  Add the chicken and 3/4 cup Mexican cheese to the picante sauce mixture and blend well.

3.  Spray a shallow baking dish, 11 x 8, with non-stick spray.

4.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture down the middle of each tortilla.  Roll up the tortilla and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Pour 16 oz. picante sauce over the enchiladas.  Cover the baking dish with foil.

5.  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and top with 3/4 cup Mexican cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted.

6.  Enjoy!


This post is linked to:
This Week's Cravings    Hunk of Meat Monday Delectable Tuesday     Totally Tasty Tuesday       Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays Tasty Tuesdays       Tuesdays at the Table      Hearth and Soul Hop     Tasty Tuesday       Tuesday Night Supper Club       Slightly Indulgent Tuesday       Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday       What's Cooking Wednesday        What's for Dinner?       Foodie Wednesday       Real Food Wednesday      What's On the Menu Wednesday      What's Cooking Wednesday      Full Plate Thursday      Fun with Food Friday      Tuesday Tantalizing Taste      Sweets for a Saturday      What's Cooking Wednesday      What's on Your Plate?      Recipes I Can't Wait to Try      No Whine Wednesday

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Seraph Seal... a book review


 Book Description from the publisher -

"An epic tale of good and evil based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse found in Revelation.

Using the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to symbolize the four Gospels, four transcendentals, and four forces of the universe (air, water, earth, and fire), Sweet and Wagner weave a fast-paced, end-times tale of good vs. evil and the promise of a new dawn for humanity.

Set in 2048, when planet Earth is suffering from the damaging effects of years of misuse and abuse, cultural history professor Paul Binder receives a mysterious letter that leads him to examine a lost 2nd-century Diatessaron manuscript. Ancient prophecies, cryptic letters, and strange events set him on a course to uncover the missing clues that could lead humanity into a new age. Layered with forgotten symbolism from the ancient, Jewish, and Christian traditions, the novel is a type of engaged fiction in which the main character's lost journal serves as a guide to the reader in interpreting clues and understanding the novel's conclusion."


I am a lover of mystery and Christian fiction, so this book seemed to fall right into my lap.  The introduction / preface was too long as it was trying to explain the type of book.  This just set me up for even more confusion.

The simple premise of the book is a fictional account of the end times as written by John in the book of Revelation.  The year 2048 is THE end times; the sun is moving closer to the earth and the North and South Poles are relocating.   Both of these occurrences, along with political unrest in all countries, spurs the destruction of earth. 

Reverse in time to 21 Dec 2012.  Nine people are born on this date at exactly 9:00 PM worldwide.  Four will usher in the new heaven and the new earth,  while the other four will bring it to complete and utter destruction.  The fifth person, Paul Binder, brings the four "good" together.  Can they win over evil?

I enjoyed the book, but always felt as though I had to reread sections to make sure of the characters, setting, etc.  The authors introduce many characters and settings throughout the book, and change settings / characters numerous times within the same chapter.  Perhaps Sweet and Wagner felt that jumping from different sets of characters and settings so quickly helped spur the book to the final scene.  Also, if this is a tale of good and evil based on the Holy Bible book of Revelation, why are other supposedly spiritual books referenced and referred to - like the Kabbalah and others?  Furthermore, I was expecting more scripture interspersed to help explain / discuss what was happening in the storyline.

Star rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The authors included notes and current information at the end of the book.  Since I was reading a digital edition, I didn't find them until the end of the book.  Many of the notes seemed to speak in riddles or circles.

This e-book was provided to me free through Thomas Nelson Publishers ( with the understanding that I give an honest review.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...