Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Reading

While I did get a good bit of reading done this month, I didn't make much progress on my "to read" list.  I'm still working through Richard Baxter's The Saints' Everlasting Rest which is wonderful but a tough read.  I'll have to get cracking in April!  Here's what I read:
  • Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon.  Another book in the Father Tim/Mitford series.
  • Light from Heaven by Jan Karon.  And another one.  ;)
  • Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman.  Basically, a woman Robin Hood.  You can read my full review here.
  • DragonKnight by Donita K. Paul.  The first two books in this series centered on Kale, the young Dragon Keeper.  This book focuses on Bardon and his adventures while on a quest.  
  • DragonFire by Donita K. Paul.  This fourth book in the series has Kale and Bardon, who have married since the last book, separated by their different tasks that are necessary to save the land of Amara.
  • Easter Stories by various.  Wonderful collection of Easter tales!  Read my review here.
  • Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl.  A decent book, you can read my review here.
Looking at this list, I see a theme:  reading through and finishing series I enjoy!  But I also think it's time to branch out a little bit.  Let's see what April's reading has in store.  

What have you been reading lately?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Family Camping Vacation

We went camping last weekend at Garner State Park.  Despite rumors to the contrary, I have been camping before:  a handful of times as a child and twice as an adult (before we had children).  

When we looked at the map, we saw that there was a trail to Crystal Cave and thought that would be fun.  It was listed as an "extreme" hike, though, so we figured we would turn back if it got too difficult.  

We never did turn back, though; the kids just trooped along, having a great time, even Mary.  This picture was from the trail, but what we walked on wasn't quite that bad...most of the time.  And we were glad that we had hiked the trail, although we'll probably never do it again!  ;)

Rachel tagged along with Sarah Beth and Daniel, following in their mountain goat footsteps.

The trail also took us to Painted Rock where the view was breathtaking.  

Down another difficult, but much shorter, trail behind our campsite, was the Frio River.  This part was very shallow, and John and the kids had a great time playing in it.  (It was too cold for my taste.)

Mary was game for anything and everything!  Except a nap.  ;)

I love this picture!

Here's our campsite yesterday morning before we left.  The kids were in one tent, and John and I were in the other one.  

Saturday morning was cold!  Thankfully, John woke up first and got the campfire and breakfast going, along with some hot water for my tea.  It was nice not to have to deal with breakfast!

We had a great weekend, and we look forward to visiting Garner again!  I have a feeling that this trip was the first of many camping trips.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

In this Robin Hood-esque tale, Merry has to take care of the children of her village after her parents and theirs are killed by King John's men.  Having been a noblewoman, she finds the transition to living in a forest hard, but when she learns to trust, she finds the help she needs.  Of course, there is romance, but the reader knows all along which man she will choose.

If you can suspend belief a little (which you have to do with this type of book anyway), this book is a fairly enjoyable read.  Too much is made of the one kiss between Merry and Timothy, but at least, that's all there was.  If you enjoy Robin Hood tales and/or the thought of a woman using a bow sounds like fun, you'll probably enjoy this book.

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Today is the due date for the baby I miscarried last summer.  I want to remember this baby; I don't want anyone to forget that there should be another child in our family.  But I also don't want to dwell on my loss, especially since it's hard on one of my children.  Finding the thin line of remembering and not dwelling is hard.

I think about this baby every day, multiple times per day.  But I'm not devastated about the loss anymore.  Mostly, I think about where I would be in the pregnancy, and I guess now, I'll think about how old this child would be.

As a memorial, we planted this satsuma tree.  It's a visual reminder every time I go out in the yard which is every day, but it's not a "pushy" reminder.  I thought about doing something special for today like a birthday cake, but I'm not sure how well my other child will deal with it.  Maybe next year.  I think we're just going to have a nice, quiet day at home, and I won't even mention it to my children because one of them will break down.

I've also found that people are uncomfortable with miscarriages.  I guess they just don't know what to say; I know that I didn't before it happened to me.  But now I know; "I'm sorry" is enough.

Today, I will quietly remember and mourn the loss of who might have been.

If you've suffered a miscarriage, how do you remember your little one?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday: A Wonderful Visit and Cavities

Watching videos on the phone.

My parents came for a visit last Tuesday and stayed through Tuesday of this week.  We had a great time visiting with them.  Now I'm trying to get caught back up with my blog writing and reading along with other things like school that were neglected while they were here.  Here are a few things for which I'm thankful:
  • a wonderful visit with my parents!
  • they enjoy my children so much
  • John was able to come home early Friday and play some golf with my father
  • John and Dad played in a tournament Saturday and had fun...
  • and the icing on the cake was that they won a little money!
  • while the weather started out cold and rainy, it was sunny and warm for the rest of the week
I have to admit that I am not thankful for my cavities, even though I know that I should be thankful in all things.  Last week, I had a dentist appointment, and I'm going in today to have my cavities filled.  However, I am thankful that:
  • my dentist found my cavities before they started bothering me
  • one of our babysitters was able to come during the week so I could get my cavities "fixed"
  • I haven't had a cavity since I was seven

While my parents were here, I got some more chicks!  Sarah Beth sells some of our surplus eggs, and Daniel wanted in, so we got him some chicks.  We got four Easter Eggers this time so we'll have plenty of blue eggs.

For what are you thankful this week?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: Easter Stories

Easter Stories:  Classic Tales for the Holy Season compiles many wonderful stories about Easter by well-known and not-so-well-known authors.  Several of the tales deal directly with Christ's crucifixion, but several others tell stories that point back to Jesus' sacrifice but not directly.  All of them help the reader to think about what Jesus did for His chosen when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.  According to the back of the book, it is a "treasury of read-aloud tales selected for their spiritual value and literary integrity."

Honestly, when I received this book, I wasn't thrilled.  But as I started reading the stories, my opinion changed.  I enjoyed every single story, except one.  While I haven't heard of many of the authors, something tells me (probably how well the tales are written) that I should be.  Here are the authors I am familiar with:  C.S. Lewis, Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Lew Wallace, and the Brothers Grimm.  My favorite story was "A Dust Rag for Easter Eggs" by Claire Huchet Bishop, which tells a story of a group of children who each contribute to make a sweater for a sick friend during World War II in occupied France.  Next year when my children are a little older, I plan to use this book as intended and read it to them in order to help prepare for Easter.

I want to thank Handlebar Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday's Quote: Do We Deserve our Heavenly Rest?

I'm still reading Richard Baxter's Everlasting Rest, and I came across these quotes which I wanted to share:
And as the objects we here enjoy are insufficient for our rest, so God, who is sufficient, is here little enjoyed.
We have things backwards, don't we?  We enjoy the things around us which are not enough to satisfy us, instead of God who is sufficient.
And can any soul that hath made God his portion, as every one hath that shall be saved by Him, find rest in so vast a distance from Him, and so seldom and small enjoyment of Him?
Can we really be satisfied with distance between us and God, the One that we truly desire?  Can we help but to draw nearer and nearer to Him?
Nor are we now capable of rest, as there is a worthiness must go before it.  Christ will give the crown to none but the worthy.  Are we fit for the crown before we have overcome?  or for the prize before we have run the race?  or to receive our penny before we have wrought in the vineyard?  or to be rulers of ten cities before we have improved our ten talents?  or to enter into the joy of our Lord before we have well done as good and faithful servants?  God will not alter the course of justice, to give you rest before you have labored, nor the crown of glory till you have overcome.  There is reason enough why our rest should remain till the life to come.  Take heed, then, Christian reader, how thou darkest to contrive and care for a rest on earth; or to murmur at God for thy trouble, and toil, and wants in the flesh.
Sometimes, I wonder why things have to be so hard here on Earth before I get to Heaven, and this paragraph helps me to understand.  While Christ has secured my place in Heaven for all eternity, I still need to go through some trials and tribulations in order to mature so that I'm more worthy of what He has done for me.  This is also a warning to me, not to complain about what my Heavenly Father has ordained for me.

I love reading books about Heaven, learning what it might be like although it will be even better than I can imagine.  As I learn more, my desire for Heaven and eternity with my Lord grows.  Isn't it wonderful!