Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflecting on the Old and Preparing for the New

Earlier this week a friend pointed me to a site with 10 questions for the New Year and I thought I might try to work my way through them.  Reading through these questions, however, started me thinking about my own 6 questions.

Was my relationship with God what it should have been this year?

Was my relationship with my husband what it should have been this year?

Was my relationship with my children what it should have been this year?

Was my relationship with my neighbours what it should have been this year?

Was my relationship with my friends what it should have been this year?

Was my relationship with my church what it should have been this year?

I will be taking some time to reflect on these specific questions during the next few days.  I want to acknowledge things that I did right, confess things I did wrong, and come up with specific plans to do better.

post inspired by the "Repentance and Renewal" theme in this week's

holy experience

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Fun Contest and Another Reading Challenge

Trudy Morgan Cole has turned her 2009 Top Ten favorite books list into a fun contest.  She doesn't actually name the books but gives you hints to help you figure out what they are, and she's going to select 5 winners from the correct entries she recieves before  January 6.  I just finished searching her blog and finding the answers.  Along the way I also found some books to add to my list of possibilities. Give it a try and see how much fun it is.

I know I've already signed up for an over abundance of reading challenges but I have one more to add to my list.

100 books a month challenge - Now before you call to have me committed let me explain.  This challenge is to read Children's books. To meet it I merely have to read at least 3 books a day for 20 days of the month and 4 books for the other 10 days.  Rereads count.  Shouldn't be a problem.  My little one loves to be read to and we can easily read 3 or 4 or more books a day.

To be perfectly truthful, the thing that really drew me to this challenge was reading what inspired the challenge.  The lady is attempting to read through the children's section of her local library.  I like that idea!  So while I'm saying I'm going to attempt to read 100 children's books a month my real goal is to read through the children's section of our library. Maybe I should call this the Reading through the Children's Section of your local library challenge.  :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

The counting of blessings continues...

holy experience

13. receiving a long awaited Nativity set!
14. watching youngest daughter play with the set
15. sharing oldest daughter's delight of having found the perfect gift for someone special
16. oldest daughter and father going on a late night last minute Christmas shopping trip out of town together
17. getting to stay at home with little one
18. oldest son calling to tell us he's asked permission for us to all come spend a night with him while his house mate is away
19. youngest daughter saying "Know why I love you, Mom? You're the bestest Mom I ever seen."
20. the delight in youngest ones eyes when she saw the decorated tree, even if it was an artificial one
21. a night out with friends - good food and good company
22. visiting with oldest son
23. a poinsettia from oldest son - I've always wanted one
24. simple toys that bring much joy
25. blessings from family and friends
26. having a puzzle to do
27. a child that also enjoys puzzles
28. an unofficially adopted son sharing time with us
29. BBQ and good time with friends
30. cleaning for company

Ann explains The Thousand Gifts challenge - to start listing the gifts in the everyday and watch as your list grows...first to 1000...and then beyond...until it becomes an Endless Gifts Lists.  Ann says that she tries to "add to the endless list of gifts every Monday... to begin the week with a heart spilling with gratitude!" I am following her example.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Everything we need!

2 Peter 1:3 says "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

"His divine power" - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead - the same power that created the heavens and the earth.

"has given us" - it's available to us - He's given it to us - it's there for our taking.

"Everything we need" - do you get that?  Everything we need!

"for life" - to live our lives on this earth - we don't need to worry or fret

"and godliness" - to live a godly live - we can't do it on our own, but we don't have to, we're not supposed to try to - it's only possible through His power working in us

How do we get it?

"Through our knowledge of Him." - as we get to know Him better - as we spend time with Him - as we talk to Him - as we learn about Him through His Word and through His servants - as we allow His power to work in us

He has given us everything we need!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happiness is....

....doing a puzzle with my girl

Christmas is just not complete for me without having a jigsaw puzzle to work on.  I've been a jigsaw puzzle fanatic from quite an early age.  The harder and more pieces the puzzle has the better it is.  It was tradition for me to get at least one jigsaw puzzle for Christmas, until I got married.  Neither my husband or my three older children really enjoy jigsaw puzzles and so I stopped getting them.  I miss my puzzles.

Thankfully, I finally have a child that enjoys puzzles.  Today I went out and bought a puzzle for my four year old and I to do together.  I was actually looking for one just for me - at least 1000 pieces - but another one caught my eye.  The description on the box said that it was a Family puzzle with big pieces for little ones and smaller pieces for adults.  I'd never seen one like it before.  It was only 400 pieces but I decided to get it anyway.

Little one and I had great fun putting it together.   I think I'll make a point of getting one for us next year too.

Post inspired by 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Are You Ready for Christmas?

How many times have I heard that over the last month.  What exactly does it mean?  What do you need to do to get ready?  So many people have so many different ideas in that regard.  I never really know how to answer the question because I'm never really sure what it means.  I know that I don't do half the things to get ready that other people do.  If they knew how little I did they'd probably think I'm crazy.

Christmas is coming, whether you are ready or not.

Something else is coming, whether you are ready or not, and it's much more important that you be ready for this coming.

Jesus is coming.  are you ready?  Once again people have different ideas on how you get ready, but there is really just one way. Romans 10:13 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Call on His name.  Accept His gift.  Be ready for His coming.  It could be today.

Inspired by the Christmas is coming... theme of this week's 

holy experience

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stories and Movies about Christmas Miracles...

....have me thinking - why is that some people have no trouble believing in, or giving credit to, Santa, or the magic of Christmas, for miracles but they really struggle, or out right refuse, to believe in, or give credit to, God for miracles?

Monday, December 21, 2009

A different kind of gift list

Gift lists.  Most everyone has one or more on hand this time of the year.  Either it's a list of gifts to give or a list of gifts you'd like to receive, or both.  I've decided to join Ann and start writing a list, not of gifts that I want or that I am going to give, but a list of gifts that I have in the everyday happenings of life.  The idea goes right along with the  Make a List suggestion that I wrote about in yesterday`s post.

For some time now I've been toying with the idea of joining Ann's Gratitude Community.  The clincher for me was the post on her blog today - Notes of an Avid Grace-Collector: Lessons From 1000 Gifts.  I love the list of lessons at the end of the post.

Ann explains The Thousand Gifts challenge - to start listing the gifts in the everyday and watch as your list grows...first to 1000...and then beyond...until it becomes an Endless Gifts Lists.  Ann says that she tries to "add to the endless list of gifts every Monday... to begin the week with a heart spilling with gratitude!"  

I am going to try to follow her example, and so I begin with my first post for the

holy experience

1.  playing games with youngest daughter

2.  healing bones in oldest daughter's hand
3.  listening to oldest daughter play her guitar and sing
4.  safe travels to the doctor in another town
5.  bumping in to friends while shopping
6.  unexpectedly seeing and having the chance to hug my "brother by heart"
7.  the time and funds to buy little gifts
8.  seeing youngest son's smile as a friend from the past shows up
9.  seeing his friend from the past
10.  being able, through the wonders of the internet, to watch oldest son perform in his church's Christmas program
11.  knowing oldest son is settled into a church, a job, and a community
12.  being able to connect with like minded people that encourage me in my walk

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Feeling stressed about the holidays?

Want some peace?

I came upon the 12 Days of Peace idea a little late, as I only discovered it today.  December 13 the blog owner started sharing daily ideas for something easy to do to hang on to peace in your home.  I liked the idea and decided to skim to see what she had suggested so far.

I really like the idea for day one - make a list of things you're grateful for.  She suggests putting it where everyone can read it and add to it.  I think I'm going to make one tomorrow for your fridge door.

I also like the Unplug idea.  She suggests that you "Reinvest the time you would have spent facing a screen and give that face time to those you love." It goes right along with where my mind has been lately.  I know I need to set aside time for this.  

The Let it be idea also goes along with what I've been thinking lately.  It's time to let some things go and just "let it be."

This also goes along with a verse that really spoke to me in my devotional time this morning.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.

That's the key.  Give it all to Him.  Be sure to do what is important to Him and let the rest go.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

6 more days...

...and I don't have a thing done. Seriously. Nothing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christian Authors I've read in the past

I have read a number of Christian authors over the years and I wanted to make a conscious effort to read more books by Christian authors in 2010 so I looked for a challenge to read Christian authors.  I came up with four such challenges - the 20 New Christian Authors in 2010 Challenge (which isn't open to Canadians and I didn't really want to commit to reading 20 new authors when I really wanted to read more of some of the authors that I have already read), the Christian Non Fiction Challenge (which wasn't what I was thinking about originally but I like the idea), the Christy Awards Reading Challenge (which interests me but still wasn't quite what I had in mind because I have to pick from a list of books rather than have complete freedom to choice ones that I want), and the Biblical Fiction Challenge.  I didn't bother to join the first challenge but I did join the last three.  

To prepare for the Christy Awards Challenge I checked out the Christy Nominated and Awarded Books list. I decided to make a list of authors mentioned on the Christy list and see if I had read any books by these authors, whether the actual books I had read were on the list or not.  It ended up being a great walk down memory lane for me, as it had been quite some time since I had read some of these books, and I also found some books to add to my TBR list. 

It wasn't that long ago that a friend introduced me to Liz Curtis Higgs books and I quickly bolted through three of her books: Thorn in My HeartFair Is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince.  These three books tell the stories of Jamie and Evan McKie and and Leana and Rose McBride.  It is a retelling, of sorts, of the Biblical story of  Jacob and Esau and Leah and Rachel.  I loved the books!  These would be a great pick for someone participating in the Biblical Fiction Challenge

It was quite some time ago that I was introduced to Francine Rivers books.  The first one I read was Redeeming Love, a retelling, of sorts, of the story of Gomer and Hosea.  Loved the book! Another great one for the Biblical Fiction Challenge.  Next I read the three books in her Mark of the Lion Series: A Voice in the WindAn Echo in the Darkness, and As Sure As the Dawn.  Excellent books that would be great choices for anyone doing the Historical Fiction Challenge because they are set in the time of the crumbling of the Roman Empire.

The same friend that introduced me to Liz Curtis Higgs books also introduced me to Lynn Austin and I am so glad she did!  I devoured her Chronicles of the Kings series which included these five books: Gods and KingsSong of RedemptionThe Strength of His HandFaith of My Fathers, and Among the Gods.  They would be a great pick for someone participating in the Biblical Fiction Challenge.  I also read her Candle in the Darkness, which I didn't realize was a part of a three book series set in the time of the civil war.  These would qualify for the Historical Fiction Challenge.  I also read one of her stand alone novels, All She Ever Wanted

I know I read at least some of the Zion Covenant Series by Bodie and Brock Thoene, but I don't remember which ones or how many. My dad was into this series big time and he was the one that introduced me to it.  I seem to remember enjoying the books I read but it was such a long time ago that I don't remember much about them.  I wouldn't mind rereading them or reading other books by them.  There are a lot to choose from, most of which fit into the Historical Fiction Challenge.  On this page they answer the question "How do I read the books in historical order?".  

I read a number of Gilbert MorrisHouse of Winslow Series a few years back and loved them.  I don't remember which ones or how many I read.  I would love to have the whole series and I wouldn't mind rereading them all.  These fit into the Historical Fiction Challenge, as they are set in American history from the time of the Mayflower on.

Many years ago I read a number of Gary Smalley's books, all of which would fit in the Christian Non Fiction Challenge. The ones I remember for sure that I read are Love is a DecisionMaking Love Last Forever , If Only He KnewFor Better or Best, and The Two Sides of Love.  Recently I also read some books that he co-authored with Karen Kingsbury.

I discovered Karen Kingsbury this past year when I was browsing the shelves of our library.  The books in her Redemption Series caught my eye because they were co-authored with Gary Smalley so I decided to give them a try.  I was hooked!  I quickly devoured all 5 books in the Redemption Series, and quickly moved on to devour both the Firstborn Series and the Sunrise Series.  I also read On Every Side.  While these don't fit any of the challenges I've signed up for they are still great books to read.

So, that's some of the books by Christian author's that I have already read.  I'm looking forward to reading more.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Own rewrite of a Christmas Song

I'm making a list,
Checking it twice,
Gonna find out what the library has
January first is coming up fast
I need to get some books
To get ready to start to read
I've joined so many challenges
I need an early lead

So, I'm making my list
Gotta get it done fast
Gotta check out
What the library has
January first is coming up fast

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Books that I have read by Newfoundland Authors

To encourage people to consider joining my 2010 Newfoundland Authors Reading Challenge, I thought I'd share some books by Newfoundland Authors that I  have read in the past.  I may reread some of the same books this year or I may read other books by these authors.

Trudy J. Morgan Cole`s Esther: A Story of Courage is a book that I loved.  I seriously couldn`t put it down.  If anyone is looking for a book to count for the Biblical Fiction challenge I would suggest this one.  I was thinking about using it for the the Flashback Challenge but then I discovered her blog and learned about all the other books she`s written and I want to taste some of them first.

Kevin Major`s No Man's Land is another that I really, really enjoyed.  It's another I'm considering for the Flashback Challenge.  I originally read it because it was required reading for my son for highschool.  He loved it and I'm thinking about rereading it with my daughter after Christmas as part of her schooling.  It could also be counted for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and I think it would fit the Young Adult Reading Challenge.

As Near to Heaven by Sea is another of Kevin Major's books that I enjoyed, even though it is a history book instead of a novel.  I'm also considering doing this one with my daughter as part of her schooling in the New Year.  It would count for the Flashback Challenge.

I also read Blood Red Ochre by Kevin Major, but this is one of those books that doesn't especially suit my reading taste.  I think it is a very good book, but a little out of my comfort zone. It would make a good choice for someone participating in the Young Adult Reading Challenge

I think I read a couple other Kevin Major books but I can't remember for sure if I read them or just thought about reading them.  I may look at more of his as possibilities for some of the challenges.

Cassie Brown's Death on the Ice was required reading for either a high school or university course, or maybe both.  I remember enjoying it somewhat but also not liking some things about it.  It would be a good fit for someone looking for books for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.  I am consider re-reading it or reading one of her other books.

Earl Pilgrim is a great story teller and from the books that I've read by him over the years I've found that he was improving as a writer.  Will Anyone Search for Danny? is the first book that I read by him and while I really enjoyed the story, I did not enjoy the writing.  Some other books that I've read by him are The Captain and the GirlThe Day of Varick Frissel, and The Curse of the Red Cross Ring.  I think I read some others too but I can't remember for sure.  Many of his books would count for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

This is just a small sampling of some of our Newfoundland Authors, there are many more, and I will be posting about more of them in the near future.  If there is a particular Newfoundland Author that you enjoy I'd love to hear about it.  Also, please consider joining my 2010 Newfoundland Authors Reading Challenge and spreading the word about it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Reading Challenges

I love challenges.  I don't always totally complete challenges that I take on but figure that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.  If I at least try I may accomplish something, but if I don't try anything then I am sure to accomplish nothing.  I'd rather accomplish something than nothing. With that thought in mind I have decided to take on the following Reading Challenges in 2010.  It seems like a lot but in reality there will be a whole lot of overlapping.  All books will fit in at least two challenges, and most will fit in a lot more than that.

2010 52 books in 52 weeks reading challenge - Plain and simple - read at least one book a week for the whole year.  I will be looking for very thin books.  :)

Reading Through the Seasons 2010 Challenge - Read one book for each season with the season word in the title.  Pretty simple.

Flashback Challenge - The challenge is to reread books you've already read but it includes a mini challenge to read at least one book from your childhood, one from high school, and one from adulthood.  I think I can manage that.

1st in a Series Challenge - I love reading books in a series!  I'll be attempting to read at least three books that are firsts in a series.  Now to find some interesting sounding series.  Hmmmm...

2nd Reading Challenge - At first I thought this was the same as the Flashback challenge but it's totally different.  For this challenge you read either a second book in a series or a second book by the same author.  Once again I'm aiming for at least three books.

Wish I'd Read That Challenge - There are a few books I can think of that I wish I had read so I figure this one will be easy.  I'm aiming for at least three books that fit this challenge.

E-books Reading Challenge - I know that some of the books that I wish I had read are available as e-books so this one should be easy. Once again I'm aiming for at least three.

Read the Book See the Movie Challenge - The kids and I have done this a lot over the years, and loved it!  In our experience the movie very really measures up to the book.  There are lots more out there that we haven't done yet, or we may just redo one or more.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - I love historical fiction!  Had to join this one.  I'm sure I can manage at least three, if not more.

The Art History Reading Challenge - I love art and I've been wanting to learn more so that I could add more to our home learning.  The minimum for this challenge is just three books so I figure I can manage that.

Science Book Challenge - Not my favorite kind of reading but necessary for our home learning so I'm going to do my best to do at least three non-fiction science/nature themed books.

Support Your Local Authors Challenge - This is simply a challenge to read local authors.  It's something I'd like to put more effort in to.  I know there are a few people in our community that have written books and I should make the effort to read them.  This is a perpetual challenge and there are no minimum requirements

Canadian Authors Challenge - I want to make a conscious effort to read more Canadian authors and was planning on starting a challenge to do so until I came across this one.  The challenge is to read a minimum of three books by Canadian Authors.

2010 Reading Challenge - Newfoundland Authors - This is a challenge I issued myself because I want to make a conscious effort to read more Newfoundland authors.  I haven't see a goal of a certain number but will simple see how many I've managed to read by the end of the year.

Christian Non-Fiction Challenge 2010 - I like the idea of this challenge but I'm not sure I will manage to read as many as required.  The challenge is to read ten or more.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to read as many as I can fit in whether I reach the ten or not.

Biblical Fiction Challenge 2010 - The challenge is to read at least six fiction books based on stories or characters from the Bible.  I like those kind of books so I will attempt to include some of them in my reading list, though I'm not sure I'll manage to read six.  I guess we'll see.

The Christy Awards Reading Challenge - I wanted to include more Christian authors in my reading and this challenge will help with that.  The challenge is to read at least three books that have won a Christy Award.  Lists are available on the site.

Young Readers Reading Challenge -I will definitely be reading some children's books to my four year old so this one is a must.  Must read a minimum of 12 for the challenge but I will read more than that.  I will be keeping a list to see how many we have actually read by the end of the year.

Young Adult Reading Challenge - The challenge is to read at least 12 young adult novels.  I'm hoping to find some to recommend to my young adults.

Take Another Chance Challenge - This is a list of 12 very different challenges to find books books to read in "unusual or random ways".  You only have to do three to participate.  Ones I'm thinking about using are: #1: read an author who has the same initials, same first name, same last name, or exact same name as you; #3 read a book that is on a provided list of 100 best books, I'm thinking of choosing from either the Mystery or Non-Fiction list; #4 read a book that won a literary award; #11 read two authors from the same family

2010 Genre Book Challenge - There are no minimums for this one, basically just a list of different genres to encourage people to read different genres.  I'm going to see how many I can cover.

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge - I like this challenge.  I'm hoping to get most of my books from my local library so this one should be easy.  Minimum is 25 books.

Throughout the year I will be posting about books I read and reporting on how I am doing in the different challenges.  I'd love to hear from you if I should happen to inspire you to take on any of these challenges, or if you have already signed up for any of them.

2010 Reading Challenge - Newfoundland Authors

I've searched high and low but I can't find a challenge to read Newfoundland Authors in 2010, so I've decided to issue my own challenge. :)

Newfoundland and Labrador is my home province. I love it. I know there are a number of authors from Newfoundland and Labrador and I've read some of them. To be perfectly honest, I haven't always enjoyed books written by Newfoundlanders. I have read a few that I've liked, but the ones I haven't especially liked are more numerous. I think it is a matter of my own taste in books rather than a reflection of the quality of our writers. I don't especially like books that are full of crude language and questionable behavior and many of the books that I've found by Newfoundlanders seem to have both. Regardless of that, however, I want to make an effort to read more books by Newfoundlanders in 2010. I'm hoping I'll find more that I actually enjoy. I am not going to set a goal of a particular number, just going to see how many I've actually read by the end of the year.

If you are interested, you are welcome to join me in this challenge. I haven't a clue about the wonderful Mr. Linky that I've seen on other pages for people to use in joining challenges. If I happen to learn I will add it to this post, but at least for now you can simply leave a comment on this post letting me know that you are planning on joining the challenge. If you should happen to write reviews of the Newfoundland authors books that you read, I'd love for you to share links to those, too, throughout the year.

To help myself and anyone else that might be interested in this challenge, I will make a post in the near future with a list of Newfoundland authors and books. If you have authors or books that could be added to the list, feel free to tell me about them in a comment on this post.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I'm Back

It all started when Alex interrupted the silence of her "create corner" blog by sharing about the 2010 52 books in 52 weeks reading challenge.  Before that I was happily enjoying my long term blog writing break, while once in a while skimming blogs in my google reader.  The challenge, however, stirred something within me.  I love to read, and I love challenges.  I couldn't resist.  I had to check it out. While the rules said that you didn't have to blog to participate, I knew it would be that much more fun, and motivating, to blog about the challenge.  That started the wheels churning about the possibility of reviving my sleeping blog.

I decided to check out the list of participants that had already signed up for the challenge.  This led me to the Book Dragon's Lair.  I noticed in her side bar that she was hosting some challenges and it was there that I found the Reading Through the Seasons 2010 Challenge.  I thought this would help me choose some of the books I'd read for the 52 books challenge.  I had I noticed that the challenge rules stated that books may overlap other challenges and this challenge said the same thing.  I could participate in both without adding to my required reading. Good idea!  That got me thinking...maybe I could find other challenges that would help me in deciding what to read for the 52 books challenge!  I did a google search for 2010 book challenges. There are lots of them out there.  It became more and more tempting to revive my blog so that I could post about these challenges and why I was interested in them.

While going through all the different challenges that I found, I came up with a few of my own ideas for challenges that I want to challenge myself with.  That got me to thinking that if I revived my blog I could post my own challenges and invite others to join me.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Yes, I would revive my sleeping blog and join the challenge - er, challenges!

Stay tuned for a list of the challenges I hope to participate in and a couple of challenges I would like to pose.

Like my new look?

I spent the afternoon and evening working on my blog. Found this great document on creating a blogger template. I used a picture of my girls that I took this week as part of the blog banner I created. I originally used a pattern on this page from Squidfingers for the background of the blog. I changed the pattern and the photo to black and white because that's the color scheme I wanted. What fun! I may play some more but I like it so far.

Edit:  I ended up creating my own background pattern and using it instead of the pattern from squidfingers, simply because I wanted my background to better match the blog banner.  I'm pretty pleased with what I've created!  I think I'll keep this look for a least part of the winter.

Edited again in April when I changed the look.  I wanted to show the look that I had created and was talking about in this post.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Changes coming

I have plans to revive this blog for the new year. I'm planning pretty much a complete overhaul so please be patient with me as I experiment with changes

Trying something out

Just trying this out to see how it works