Sunday, March 26, 2017

Photo of the Week #12: A Kind Man at Church

Every Sunday when we are at church, EL sits quietly during the service and loves to draw while listening to the sermon. She will go through several sheets of notepad paper, drawing a new picture on each piece; and she always makes sure to write, "To Gib, From ELS" on each piece. Then, after the service, she immediately meets up with Mr. Gib to see if there is a drawing he would like to have for his collection. Mr. Gib chooses a drawing he likes, then asks EL, "Will you take a dollar for it?" She always says yes, takes his dollar, and then (with a big smile on her face) hands it to me to put into her wallet.

I don't remember when Mr. Gib started doing this, I know it has been at least a year, maybe two. But, last Sunday, I took a picture of one of these little transactions. If you are reading this, Mr. Gib, I want to thank you for being such a blessing to our sweet girl in this way! You have developed a sweet connection with her, and she looks forward to seeing you each Sunday.

Proverbs 11:25 - Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Photo of the Week #11: Hot Potato Morale Booster

Today's photo is of EL and JJ playing a game of hot potato in our schoolroom earlier this week. It's amazing what this quick little game can do for our morale - just look at those smiles! (Prior to this game, none of us were in the mood for smiling).

Since EL recently bought this Electronic Hot Potato game, playing it has become one of our newest ways to: 
  • take a school break
  • relieve stress and/or tension
  • practice hand/eye coordination
  • and have fun as a family.

It is a a fun family game for ages 4 and up, and is just like playing any other hot potato game, only this one talks and plays music (Pop Goes the Weasel). As the music is playing, we take turns tossing the potato to each other. The last person to touch the potato before the music stops is given one "potato chip," and the first person to get three potato chips is out until the next game.

Whether you have kids or not, if you are looking for a fun way to boost morale in your home, school, or office, I encourage you to get this little game (or even just a rolled up sock), and start tossing!

Proverbs 15:13 - A glad heart makes a cheerful face...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Laura Story CD - Open Hands

Available for Purchase:  Laura Story's OPEN HANDS CD
You may remember Laura Story's well-known song about Blessings, which was inspired by her real life trials, specifically about her husband's diagnosis of a brain tumor. If you love that song, as well as the many others she has sung, then you need to grab a copy of her 5th studio album, Open Hands. The more I listen to it, the more I like it!

Laura says this about the songs on this new album:
We have this picture all the way through the Scriptures of all these great leaders in this process of surrendering everything. What the Lord is asking them is not, "You need to hold on tighter. You need to manage this better." What the Lord asks us is to surrender. It’s about learning to live with open hands, learning to live life in this constant state of saying, "Lord, my life is Yours. My time is Yours. My resources are Yours. All of this is Yours. Do what You will."
Here is the official lyric video of the title song OPEN HANDS:




What a great song about surrendering your life to the Lord! But, I have to say, my favorites on this album are the songs of old hymns that have been refreshed with new music. I love hymns. They have such great, timeless truths in them; and,then, adding new music to them really brings them to a new level. Laura obviously loves hymns as well. She says this about them:
"I’m pretty sure that the theology that I learned as a kid was from old hymns. It’s amazing, even now as an adult, how those hymns come back and really provide that sturdy foundation for life. It reminds me of how important it is for me to teach my kids those old hymns,” Story reflects, adding, “As long as I am singing, I will be singing hymns."
Here are two of my favorites on the album:

Please enter below to be included in a random drawing for a copy of this CD. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Central time. One entry per mailing address. Must be 18 or older to enter.
 

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Photo of the Week #10: Jobs at the Senior Center

Friday, March 10th - EL preparing coffee filters at the Senior Center

Friday, March 3rd - EL rolling napkin

I mentioned in PHOTO OF THE WEEK #7 how EL and I have started volunteering at the local Senior Center. This past month, we have continued going there every Friday, and have been wiping tables and chairs, dusting, vacuuming, emptying garbage pails, filling napkin dispensers, rolling napkins around silverware, and (new for this week) preparing coffee filters. Vacuuming is still EL's favorite (even though she says it makes her arms tired), but she is doing a good job with everything she has been asked to do. I am proud of EL for doing this with me each week. She is a hard worker, and this has all been a great learning experience for her.

Side note:  She also enjoys eating lunch there on the days we are working. She loves to eat (don't we all!? Hee Hee); so, having lunch there is an added bonus for her.  

Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (NASB)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Photo of the Week #9: Chipmunk at the Nature Center


My son, and several other Boy Scouts, took a Geocaching class yesterday at D.H. Nature Center. I was one of the drivers for the boys, so I stayed at the nature center while they took the class. While I was there, I spotted this little guy through the library window, and just had to take a picture. Chipmunks are so cute, aren't they? I love learning from nature up close - watching, listening, and learning from all God's amazing creatures.


Job 7:10 -  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (ESV)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Photo of the Week #8: First Aid Event for Boy Scouts

Yesterday, our local Boy Scouts joined several more troops at a big First Aid Meet in Springfield, IL. Each team went around to 13 different stations where they had to assess the situation and work together to provide first aid treatment to each patient. This was JJ's first year attending. He learned a lot and believes this event has helped him to improve his skills. I am thankful to see he has shown an interest in helping others if the need arises.

Philippians 2:4 - Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Photo of the Week #7: A New Learning Experience

This past Friday, EL and I spent our first day volunteering at the local Senior Center. I recently mentioned to one of EL's therapists that I had been thinking about finding a place where EL can gain a bit of work experience. So, the therapist took the initiative to set up a volunteer opportunity for EL and I to do together.

EL did a great job wiping tables, dusting, and vacuuming at the center. I don't think she was thrilled with wiping tables, but she did become excited when it came time to vacuum. I found out later, she likes to vacuum because she has fun imagining the vacuum being a monster who is eating all the crumbs off the floor. Ha ha ha.

I am looking forward to sharing this weekly appointment with EL. I know it will be a great learning experience for her, and we will both be able to serve others at the same time.  

1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.  (ESV)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Photo of the Week #6: Content Kitty

 Sofie has been with us for 8 months now. She seems to be very content in her new home.

Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (ESV)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Kari Jobe CD "The Garden" [GIVEAWAY CLOSED


In the jacket of Kari Jobe's newest album THE GARDEN, she says the songs she wrote for this music project (her 4th one) are personal, raw and honest. They helped her through a dark time when her faith and trust was challenged. Kari says:
“The truth is we can all go through seasons of heartache and loss in our lives. We can find ourselves in places of grief and sorrow because the miracle didn’t happen in the way we prayed it would. But as we look up and around us, that’s when we can give God the opportunity to show us what He’s doing. How He’s not distant or disconnected from our pain. He’s right there, turning ashes into beauty in the midst of the difficulty.”
This CD is not one that you should pop in the CD player and listen to while you are busy doing things around the house. You will want to sit down and listen to it without distractions, read the words included in the lyric book, and just be still. Be still and listen to the beautiful voice God has given to Kari Jobe. Be still and listen as God speaks to you through her music. It is calming. It is healing. It is beautiful. It is worship.

Listen to the title song here:



MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE THEME OF THIS CD:
It’s said for everything there is a season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. One by one, we experience these seasons throughout our lives. Our souls grow dark and weary in the thick of winter, and just when we think we can’t endure another cold night, we recognize the first signs of spring. Slow and unexpected, welcome shades of green break through the frozen ground. Sometimes our Creator uses His own creation to remind us that even amidst winter’s chill He is always at work. For it’s in the unseen where life’s most beautiful moments take shape. Worship leader Kari Jobe knows this to be true in her own life, and on her fourth album, TheGarden (Capitol CMG), she invites listeners to drink of the wellspring of hope she’s found in the midst of unimaginable tragedy. 
In the past two years, Jobe married her husband Cody Carnes and moved from her hometown of Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, where the couple bought their first home and had a baby. With due dates three months apart, Jobe and her sister, Kris, were excited to be pregnant at the same time. Yet, in the midst of happy life changes, heartbreak struck. Seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Kris gave birth to a stillborn daughter, James Ivy. Jobe, four months pregnant with her son at the time, was devastated.
While the birth of her son, Canyon, was undoubtedly a milestone to celebrate, her sister’s loss weighed heavy on her heart. Yet, a reminder of God’s kindness came in a surprising way. As Jobe held Canyon in her arms, she stood looking out the kitchen window of her new home. And there in her backyard, she glimpsed the first signs of spring. When she and her husband purchased the house, a garden that resided on the property was overgrown; and though they knew it needed to be tended, they were advised to wait and see what it produced. The result was a breathtaking bounty of harvest. That day, Jobe made her way through the garden—a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Looking up, interwoven in the archway, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw what only God could produce: thick, green ivy lacing its way overhead, immediately reminding her of her niece’s namesake.
“Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.”
In the time leading up to The Garden, Jobe has experienced both indescribable joy and unimaginable pain. Life and death, side by side. Yet, through it all, she’s found God to be inextricably faithful because she’s learned to trust the Gardner and the beautiful, unseen ways He tends to our hearts.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a sample of this CD in exchange for my honest review. I have shared my own opinion and was NOT influenced by monetary compensation. Enter below for your chance to win a copy of this CD. One entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from my sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Central Time Zone. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Photo of the Week #5: Simple Pleasures


Yesterday, we visited with my parents, and EL took some time to sit next to her grandpa to show him one of her favorite toys, Alfie. As you can see by her smile, she was so thrilled to share Alfie with Grandpa, and to show him how it works. Listening to Alfie talk always brings a huge smile to her face. It is the simple things in life that make her happy.

Proverbs 15:13 -  A glad heart makes a cheerful face