Wednesday, September 26, 2012

God's Will--Spiritual Tidbit

Loved this quote from the Karen Kingsbury book Reunion . . . was a great encouragement to me.

"Sometimes things just aren't God's will" "God's will is a little like taking a Sunday drive with God behind the wheel.  God's driving.  He might turn where you don't expect a turn or go through a valley that feels too dark but you don't have to worry about a thing because you are just the passenger.  Whatever happens, God will get you home in the end as long as you let him drive.   . . . . . no matter how scary the ride gets, God's in control and in the end he'll get you home safely."

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Lord, help me to let go of the steering wheel, open my eyes, and just watch what you are doing in our lives.  Take away my fears and my lack of faith and replace it with complete trust in you and your plan for our lives.  Help me to grow closer to you and more like you as I continue to be a passenger in your plan for my life.  Amen

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rejoice and Reunion by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley



Rejoice and Reunion were books 4 and 5 (and the last two) books in the Redemption Series.  I have enjoyed this series and since these two books would make very little sense without the rest of the series I'll group my review of them together as a set.  I can't tell you much without giving away the plot but I did enjoy the drama in both of these books.  Tim labeled them as "Christian soap opera" and that really is probably pretty accurate.  Some decent scripture references and deep topics that make you really think about your views on mental illness, cancer, what to do when God doesn't answer prayer . . . help you deal with a lot of the Christian view on tough topics, but the drama just keeps on coming (often unrealistically) like a soap opera.  :-)

Overall I give these books one thumb up.  I was expecting a lot of coverage on the daughter who was trying to adopt a child in these last two books and while they do cover it . . . the happy ending is quickly reached and very little of the text is devoted to this topic . . . maybe because that topic hits very close to home for me I was hoping for a more realistic view of the struggles of adoption and the tole on those struggling . . . no such luck.  Therefore only one thumb up for this series from me. 

The peek into the lives of those losing someone they love is so deep though that it literally brought me to tears on two different occasions.  I would NOT recommend these last two books to anyone who doesn't like sad books because to be honest . . . it does NOT all turn out perfect in the end and some parts are downright hard to read emotionally.

I have enjoyed this jump back into Christian fiction but I will be taking a break for a while now.  I just really enjoy reading magazines this time of year . . . seeing the recipes and decorating ideas helps me get into the feel of the season and gets me motivated to make my home a welcoming place for those that come in as well.  If you are looking to get into a 5 book series that will keep you entertained and let you escape into someone elses drama for a while then this is definitely the series for you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Let me Hold you Longer by Karen Kingsbury

My mom read this children's book to my sisters and I a couple Christmas ago to tell us how much she loved us.  She also wanted us to cherish the times with our children because quickly the time with our precious babies would pass.  Rereading it last night and I realized some of these have already passed for me with Andrew.  Knowing that my "lasts" with Baby K are happening every day now that we are within a couple weeks of her going home . . . just makes you realize how much we take for granted.  Cherish your children, and even when you are at your whits end (trust me, I join you there frequently) this is only a season . . . a precious season that is passing all too quickly and we will miss when it's gone!



Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten, those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes, your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time, I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remember and Return by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

Remember (Redemption)Remember is the second book in the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley and I actually enjoyed this one a little more than the first book.  The series continues in this book with the same characters but I do believe this one could be used as a stand alone book if you were not interested in the series.  This one follows daughter Ashley (single mom) but follows son Luke (college student) quite a bit as well. I especially enjoyed the look at Alzhemier's patients and a little of a glimpse into what their minds go through. (no doubt Gary Smalley's contribution to the book)  I also enjoyed the view into one families reactions and lives surrounding the events of September 11.  A look at ground zero for what it may have been to those there on that tragic day.  I enjoyed this book and would say it was this one that has me now hooked on the series.  I am such a counseling/pshchology nut that I actually enjoy Gary Smalley's real life help sections at the end as much as the books . . . maybe I need to invest in a non-fiction book of his on relationships next.  :-)  Overall two thumbs up . . . maybe this series will match my love for other Christian fiction yet.

Return (Redemption)Return was the third book in the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley.  This book is about son Luke (college student) and his leaving the faith of his family and going on his own path.  This one was not one of my favorites and answered a lot of questions from the first two but left me with more unanswered questions than it answered.  This book was more sad than happy and although it had a happy ending (almost all Karen Kingsbury books do) it left me needing to read the next book not because I can't wait to see what happens but because I feel so let down . . . this book dwells a LOT on the "free thinking" viewpoint of life and I honestly thought it dwelled so much on that it almost spent more time convincing you of that viewpoint than leading you back to Christ.  I was disappointed in this books scripture content and felt it was lacking in Christian values.  I finished it and will move on but this was more a necessary bridge to another good book than it was a good book in itself.  No thumbs up to this one . . . just neutral.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Soccer

Well, we started our first organized sport and signed Andrew up for soccer.  We had a rough start at the first practice, but thankfully he has done really well at the other practice and game today.  Super proud of him for sticking with something he doesn't yet enjoy all that much and playing in the cold rainy weather today especially.  Hoping that team sports is something he will come to really enjoy . . . soccer or otherwise.



Ready for his first game . . . Thanks to Dave, Nicky and Ben for the jersey and ball . . . saving us lots of $$ on this new sports thing . . .



It was cold and rainy today so K and I stayed dry in the car . . . Tim sat field side in the rain.  :-)  This was by far Andrew's favorite member of his cheering squad . . .