Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't be fooled...

My book reviews had to be posted here because I haven't changed over my blog site on my bloggingforbooks account. However, I am still officially moved to

Come and see me there!

[Close Enough To Hear God Breathe] book review

Close Enough To Hear God Breath
Greg Paul

I love the title of this book. The subtitle is just as catching... the great story of divine intimacy.

I started reading it and just before I was going to sigh in frustration, I came to this sentence:

"Whispering through every Scripture, and into the intimate details of my own daily experience- for it is his life he is breathing into me, and my life he wants to redeem." (pg. 19)

From that place forward I was hooked. Greg Paul takes you on a journey through stories and scripture, to the heart of God's relationship with his people.

It's a beautiful story. One that every Christian should understand a version of. The story of a God who is great and powerful... who willingly came and died for His people... and who chose to never leave them alone.

The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit.
Do you know and understand the three parts of God? This book will give you a glimpse.

:: I received this book in exchange for my honest review through BookSneeze blog program. ::

[A Sound Among the Trees] book review

A Sound Among the Trees
Susan Meissner

This is a story of mysteries. The story of a family line of women and the secrets they are hiding.

Adelaide is the oldest living matriarch of Holly Oak. A woman who believes the home to bear a grudge because of its past. The walls seem to whisper the name of Susannah Page, who is rumored to have been a civil war spy for the North. A traitor to her southern roots.

Marielle Bishop marries the widower of Adelaide's granddaughter. She attempts to form a family with her new husband and two step-children. But Holly Oak doesn't seem like it wants a new mistress. She decides to keep searching, trying to solve the mysteries of the past to give her and her new family a future.


Here's the deal: this is a well-written book. It truly is. But I have a really, really hard time with books based in the south. (Maybe I'm just a true Yankee at heart.) They just don't hold my interest well.

I struggled to get into it. I usually like to finish a book as soon as possible once I've started it... but this one I kept putting down and forgetting. I mean, like, I completely forgot I was reading it. Then I would see it and remember, "Oh, yeah. I think I'm in the middle of that."

Regardless. I can't give it a bad rap because I think that a lot of people will really enjoy it. So, especially if you enjoy southern style books... go for it!

::I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review::

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Those days were long and dark. Hours spent in sorrow. The time I cried from my house to my in-laws, twenty-five miles away. The time I went running from a friend’s house, fumbled for my keys and shook all the way home. In my living room I collapsed in tears.

Over and over it happened.

I would pull myself together, lecture my emotions, fight my sorrow…and end up beaten and bruised and heartbroken.

I can’t tell you how long I hid the truth from myself. The time blends together. Maybe it was a year. Maybe more.

There is one thing I can tell you though. God didn’t leave me there.

[Read the rest of this post by clicking here]

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Friday, October 21, 2011


When we first got our cows- milking took all of my mental focus to accomplish.

How to make sure everything in the milk house is ready so the milk goes into the tank and not onto the floor. How to hold the milker-unit just right so it wouldn’t break suction. How to work efficiently enough to make sure there are cows washed and stripped before its time to put the milker on. How to plug everything in. How to tell if a cow has mastitis. How to tell if a cow is ready to freshen. How to stand so that if it kicks, it won’t get you.

The list goes on. I’m sure you understand…there was a lot to learn and remember. At the beginning we had three milking units. Between my husband and me, it took all of our energy to keep up with them.

But things change with time. You learn patterns and efficiency. Things that once took all your focus become second nature.

This morning as I was standing in the middle of the barn, waiting for the [now] four milkers to finish, I thought about how different things are. In between changing units, I get on facebook with my cell phone. I read blogs. I text people or call them. If my husband is around, I have time to talk to him or steal a few kisses. I have time. Time to be and know and connect and think. [To read the rest of this post click here]

Monday, October 17, 2011


Every fall I dream of playing in leaves.
This fall all my dreams came true. And I taught a new set of nieces the joy of crunching piles of brown, orange, yellow and green.

[I hear His voice] whispering through every Scripture and into the intimate details of my own daily experience- for it is his life he is breathing into me, and my life he wants to redeem. –Greg Paul

Yes, Lord Jesus. Come speak to us now... redeeming, breathing life. Amen and Amen.


Want to take a mini-walk through Narnia? Visit here.
Need a new perspective on a difficult relationship? Read this.
Don't forget to be praying... for Katie in Uganda.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It happened the way it always happens. Ever since, well, a long time ago. I walked in, looked around for a familiar face. Searching for the spot where I will feel the most special, the most loved, will laugh the most…

Then the inevitable. “We have a place over here…” And once again I’m led away from the ones who make me feel safe. Once again I’m sitting at a table with people that I don’t know.

I lean over and whisper to my husband, “I hate this…” and he smiles that sad smile. The one that says, “I would change the world to make you happy, but I can’t.” So I sit back and look around and no one smiles and no one says, “Oh! I want you! Come here!” Instead I sit alone.

Then in the midst of my jumbled confusion I hear the voice. The one that I’ve trying to memorize the sound of. An hour each morning and an hour each night, I run my eyes and fingers over the words, listening so hard. Searching for inflection and thoughts.

“Embrace where you are.” He says it quietly and I know that if I hadn’t been working at listening, I would have missed it. But I hear it.

What did I have to lose? So I sat back. Breathed deeply, looked at the lady across the table from me and smiled, entering into a conversation where I felt awkward and insecure.

A few minutes later another woman entered the room. She wasn’t like the women around me who were laughing and telling jokes in private circles. She was alone. And because of a strange set of circumstances, I know some of her inside things. The pain that is trying to strangle her. So I stood and walked and smiled and talked. And for a moment I glimpsed something beautiful.

And it starts a chain reaction. Person to person I move. Talking. Not chatting but real talking. Opening and showing and being. And His voice gets louder and my flesh burns. And I see beauty.

It’s in the girl with the crooked smile who is serving my dinner. The woman across from me who is searching so hard for acceptance. The ladies to my right who lean over to each side of me and cover me in grace. In the tears of a friend who is sharing her heart- right there, in the middle of all these people.

Then the truth hits. It really isn’t any of them. It’s Him. It’s me having my eyes open to Him. And I see His reflection all around.

I look up in time to see the bridegroom sweep his bride off her feet and into his arms. Everyone laughs and cheers.

And I remember times when he was ready to give up- ready to settle for something less than beautiful- and my heart aches at the joy on his face as he looks down at his new wife, the fulfillment of so many dreams. My childhood friend has grown up to be a man worth knowing.

And I remember a time when I was ready to give up. Ready to settle for something less than beautiful. And my heart aches with joy. That my King should be so gracious to me, so loving, so patient… someday, someday, when all this flesh is burned and gone- Oh, God, let the things that are left be worth knowing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

[on the sailboat] a photographic journal

The day was beautiful. The company excellent, even when Nate showed up... (that's just for his benefit if he happens to read this) The sunset lovely. The moon on the water, breathtaking.
Outstanding for an October day in Northern New York!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

[The Harvest of Grace] book review

The Harvest of Grace
Cindy Woodsmall

I'm not usually big on the Amish genre. Cindy Woodsmall has managed to make something other than sap out of it. Which is why I chose this book for a review.

This book, like the previous two in this series (The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace) is a journey through the Amish life in a "real-life" way.

This story follows Sylvia, a quirky Amish girl, who hires out as a farmhand to avoid her ex-boyfriend who is married to her little sister.
In true Woodsmall fashion, Sylvia's story is interspersed with the characters from the previous two books and their tales are wrapped up in the end, bringing the Ada House Series to a close.

Those who have been waiting for this final book in the series will not be disappointed.

I've never liked it when a series depends heavily on additional books for the reader to be satisfied. Woodsmall's books, in my opinion, should be put together. I'd rather read one long book than three chopped up ones. That, however, is just me. Those who enjoyed her first series, Sisters of the Quilt, will love this one as well.

I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review through WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


the blood was thick and deep red. almost purple. my skin crawled. my heart ached. I looked up at the man standing in front of me, the man who had just pronounced death to my Savior. “someday you will realize what you’ve done and you’ll wish you had died in his place.” my voice caught as tears spilled and burned paths down my cheeks.

the crowds grew louder. I turned and looked. he was wearing a purple robe, thorns on his head. his face was bloody and I knew that under the robe his body was beaten and raw. I started running, calling his name. “Abba, my Abba…” I stopped short of throwing my arms around him. I knew it would cause him pain.

he didn’t stop. he drew me close, even as his face contorted in agony.

“I’m sorry, Abba.” I whispered into his neck. “I don’t know what to do. I’m sorry.”

his voice came then. rushing and running like a river. “I’m making all things new. Go, tell them.”

I looked up at his face. he was looking past me toward a field that sat below Golgotha.

I saw them then. hundreds of children playing in the shadow of a cross.

“Tell them, daughter,” he whispered in my ear, “tell my loved ones that I am making all things new.”


I woke up from that dream back in 2004. I was attending Bible School at the time and we had gone as a school to watch The Passion. That night I couldn't sleep even though I had watched the movie with eyes covered. I finally prayed, "God, let me sleep... I need to get up for school tomorrow." And that night I dreamed.

I had found my passion. It might have been a dream but it wasn't just a dream. It was God speaking. And anytime I close my eyes I can see them. The children playing in the shadow of a cross.

It was the winter of 2005. My floor was littered with graham cracker pieces, icing and candy. And five young girls with smiling and laughter. We were making "Cookie Houses" and talking about God's dreams for our lives.

I was in the beginning stages of Women of Promise, a mentoring/accountability group for young girls. It has grown and changed since those days but the purpose and heart is the same: to establish a place where girls are challenged to develop a deep relationship with God while they are still young.

I've always been passionate about WoP (as we affectionately call it) but the reason goes much deeper than just those five girls. It goes back to my childhood and the confused wanderings of a lonely twelve-year-old girl who longed for something real and deep to sink herself into.

The story of how my journey into God happened is something precious and lovely to me.

The knowledge of a God who calls lonely, confused twelve-year-old girls into a radical deep relationship that is spanning a lifetime.

I am passionate about young girls finding that. Finding something real. Not being left to wander aimlessly through a world that entices and pulls and leaves wounded aching women in its wake.

A Peek Into Your Passion at