Monthly Archives: March 2012

River’s Call

River’s Call by Melody Carson tells the story of Anna, as she struggles to overcome the difficult relationships in her life. For years she has borne the verbal abuse of her former mother-in-law, Eunice, and she is currently trying to resolve the wedge that Eunice has driven between herself and her own daughter, Lauren. Things become even stickier when Anna discovers that Lauren is pregnant, and does not intend to keep the baby.

This book was a little different than the other book I have read by Melody Carlson. Personally, I enjoyed the set-up of the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, and it was hard for me to make the switch to a more conventional method of storytelling, especially since I knew that it was written by the same author. The writing wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t as much fun! That being said, the book is heart-felt, and brings to into question many modern relationship problems, along with potential ways to resolve them. I did not always agree with the protagonists’ opinions – I happen to think that Anna should have taken her daughter in hand rather than let her figure things out for herself, and the feminist views of Anna’s new, more desirable mother-in-law, Hazel, got under my skin a bit. I don’t mean to be critical though, because everything else about the book was good! I enjoyed spending time on the river with Anna and her friends, and I will most likely read the other books in the series.

If you want to find out more, check out the product page for this book. Or you can preview it here.

Note: In exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book through Glass Road Public Relations.

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A couple of new cursive writing worksheets

Here are a couple more worksheets that I created over at WorksheetWorks.com. Since we are focusing on capital letters right now, I’ve made one with Cursive Books of Bible, and one with the names of Months and Days.

A Prompt Disguised as Taking out the Garbage

Throw away something that you hate. Maybe it’s a trinket that you hate to dust or a pet rock that reminds you of the horrible summer you spent away from home. Maybe it’s a pair of earrings that were given to you, but you can’t bring yourself to wear. How would you feel if what you threw away turned up again the next day? And the day after that? And the day after that? Perhaps your husband saw it in the trash and thought it was a mistake. Each time, you become more creative in getting rid of what you despise, but it always finds its way back. What does it mean? Are you supposed to keep it? What will happen if you attempt to rid yourself of the thing again?

Post from the Past: Can God Be Wrong?

A few minutes ago, I read a Facebook post that really bothered me. One of my Christian friends from college posted a question asking whether it is wrong to mess up people’s lives just to see if they were loyal to you. He implied that he was going to wait to gather several “yes” answers, and then prove a point. The point being, that God is wrong to test people like Job and Abraham.

I’m always amazed that Christians can believe that God can ever be “wrong.” After all, what are our options? There’s God, and there’s Satan. Could you possibly get angry enough with God to choose Satan over Him just to hurt His feelings? I think people are forgetting the supremacy of God in these situations.

First of all, God made us. Everything we know comes from Him. He gave us reasoning skills –  you know, the ones we use when we try to prove He is wrong. He also instilled in us the very idea of what is good and right. I always find it amazing that people think they have a higher understanding of right and wrong than God does. Some people become angry because there is pain and suffering in the world. Some blame Him when a loved one passes away. Sure, I don’t understand everything, but I don’t allow myself to entertain the idea that perhaps I know more than God. Or that perhaps I love people more than He does. The love and knowledge that I do have are just itty-bitty pieces of God’s love and knowledge.

Secondly, we can only glimpse an infinitesimally small piece of reality. God is the only one who can see the whole picture. He is winding things down, wrapping them up for the last inning. He’s been working on the future since He set the world in motion, and everything that happens, happens for a reason. He is working on our behalf even when we can’t see Him. If you’re going to believe in God, don’t believe that you’re better than Him. And if you’re not a believer, I suggest looking into the creation/evolution debate with an open mind.

Thirdly, once you develop a relationship with God, you begin to trust Him with everything – your pain, your life, your death, your eternity – everything. You begin to realize that maybe your life is a tool in God’s hands that He is using to bring others to Him. Whether He does that by making me famous or by allowing me to be tortured and martyred, whether I become a millionaire or whether I lose everything that’s dear to me, I want Him to accomplish His will in my life. My goal should be bringing others to Christ and encouraging other Christians to be strong enough to lead others to Christ. He created us for His own glory, and we are to lift Him up so that others may see and glorify Him.

As I type this, I’m not afraid that God will prove me just to see if I really believe what I’m saying. If He does, that’s His business. I trust Him. This life will soon be over anyway, so what happens to me between now and death doesn’t matter much. It’s my eternal destination that counts, and He’s already taken care of that!

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.

Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

Job 23:3-14

Our Favorite Sins

Our Favorite Sins by Todd D. Hunter was written to help every sinner who is tired of his sinful lifestyle. Mr. Hunter addresses the fact that we commit the same sins over and over, and it’s difficult for us to get out of those ruts. Basically, we have trouble because we try to force ourselves to quit sinning, but we do nothing to address the desires that tempt us to sin again and again. If we could only steer our desires away from evil and toward goodness, it would be easier to just say “no.” We won’t fall into sin if we have no desire to commit that particular sin.

This was a great book for me to read. I would recommend it to all who find themselves falling for the same temptations again and again. All too often, we wander aimlessly through life, succeeding or failing to overcome temptation in a haphazard manner, without addressing the root of the problem. We neglect to ask ourselves which desires really drive us to temptation. In addition, we unknowingly nurture the desires that trip us up the most. For instance, if we are prone to sexual temptation, we read romance novels and watch romantic movies. These things just serve to enhance our desires, and will intensify the temptation to sin when it comes our way. If we are sick of our own sin, we need to make a concentrated effort to address our desires.

If you want to find out more, check out the product page for this book. Or you can preview it here.

Note: In exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®.

A prompt disguised as Freaky Friday

Think of someone you know well, but whose personality is nothing like yours. Write what would happen to your lives if you switched bodies for a day. You can pick a mundane day or a day that will affect the rest of your life.

Post from the Past: Budget Planning

I was printing out my grocery list and my budget for May this morning, when it occurred to me that somebody else may benefit from my Grocery Double Check List, so I am uploading it. While I’m thinking about it, here is my Budget Form as well.

A couple of notes: I try to save my receipts from week to week, and anything that isn’t already on my grocery list gets added, along with the price, before printing the list for the following week. The question marks are things that I haven’t bought since I started keeping track, or things that I have forgotten to record.

We use one of our savings accounts to pay for yearly expenses such as income tax (I’m self-employed, so we almost always owe) and property tax. You could also use a savings account to save for vacations or health care.

Our tithe is variable because my income varies from month to month. We pay tithes on our gross amount, so in the rare years that we actually get money back from the IRS, we don’t have to pay tithes on that (it’s already been done).

We always give ourselves a small monthly allowance. We try not to make any unnecessary purchases from our budget. If my husband really wants something, he buys it from his allowance, and I do the same thing. Unnecessary purchases usually include things like eating out, books (my major pitfall), and video games, but soda and other frivolous snack foods, such as beef jerky, fall under this category as well.

Jesse and I have an agreement that whoever suggests eating out pays for it out of their allowance. Needless to say, we don’t eat out as often, but when we do, it feels like we’re on a real date because one person is paying for the other person’s meal. It’s always very sweet and intensely gratifying, regardless of whether you are the giver or the receiver.

Personal allowances are also nice because we can buy whatever we want without checking with each other first to see what kind of shape the budget is in. It also keeps me from feeling guilty for buying things that are only for me. And if I really, really want a $30 book, I can buy one without feeling silly in front of Jesse.

Something that saved us $700 last year: we switched from Sprint to Net10. We signed up for $15/month plans (200 minutes that roll over). We save almost $60/month.

We don’t pay for cable: Netflix is way cheaper, and we can almost always find something that looks interesting from their instant library.

Occasionally, I will go on a freezer-cooking spree. It’s nice to have food in the deep freezer for months when we are over budget on groceries. I keep thinking that I will make some appetizers to freeze for impromptu party invitations. That would keep us from having to run out and buy soda and chips every time someone invites us to a BBQ, etc. I haven’t done this yet, but I know some moms who really seem to be on top of things, so maybe the idea can help you save a little more money.

Hope somebody out there finds this post useful! If you have any favorite money-saving tips, feel free to send them my way!