Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Cups ~ Book Review

I told you I have been reading a lot lately.  While I love to read, reading seems to come in cycles...whether or not I have the time, make the time or am into something really interesting.  Lately I have read a string of really good books and this one is no exception. 

I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review Three Cups by Tony Townsley with Mark St. Germain.  It is actually a children's book and I had seen it in a store a while back and made a note that I wanted to buy it.  Then I got into whatever it was I was into and forgot about it.  When it popped up as a choice to review, I jumped at the chance.

Three Cups is a story about a boy who received three cups from his parents, who promised this was the beginning of an adventure.  The three cups are used to teach him about how to manage his money.  One cup was used for saving money, one cup was used for spending money, and the third cup was used for money to give back to others.  Each week when upon receiving his allowance, the boy would divide his money out into the three cups.  This set a pattern for how he would manage his money throughout life. 

One of the reasons I liked this book was that we have been doing this with our children for several years now, and here is the story.  When Hubby and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University this was one of the suggestions he made.  Our children receive commission for jobs they complete around the house.  When payday comes, they each have 3 jars labeled "Spend," "Save," and "Give."  This system has worked well for us and has taught our children the value of saving money and seeing it add up so they can buy something they really want, instead of piddling it away and having nothing to show for it. (Although they do have a little bit of money they can spend however they want)  Additionally, they have learned that they can take their "Give" money and really do something with it for someone else.  Sometimes they give it to church, last Christmas they each bought a toy for a toy drive.  There is no set formula for how much goes into which jar, you decide what works for your child.  I would highly recommend this book as a conversation starter for parents and children to discuss money and how to use it responsibly.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm back at the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  A huge thanks to Joyce, who never takes a break from the hodgepodge and provides us with questions each week.  Go see her HERE and link up your answers too!
1. Who taught you how to cook?

My mom taught me how to cook, but I never really appreciated it until I got married.  I now take great pride in making things from scratch, just like my mom and especially pulling out old family favorite recipes.  I also have learned a lot from watching the Food Network.

2. Have you been told you think too much? Are too much of a perfectionist? Are too sensitive? Were they right?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Wow, you hit a lot of touchy subjects with this question, Joyce!  These are things I don't particularly like to talk about, but yes they are all true of me. 

3. As a child did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it.
One year as Christmas was getting closer, I went shopping with my Mema and we went into the local Toy King in the mall.  There was a doll in there that I just loved and I really wanted her, but she cost $80, which was an insane amount in those days (it's an insane amount these days!)  This doll was really special be cause she was a life-size baby, probably as big as a 6 month old, and she would suck her finger or her pacifier and she cried and opened and closed her eyes.  For the 80's, this was big stuff.  The problem was in the price tag.  I knew I would never get that doll unless Santa brought her.  Christmas morning came and I was so excited to go see what Santa brought.  I got some nice things, but I didn't get the doll.  I tried not to show my disappointment as I opened the presents from my parents.  Later, we went to Mema and Grandaddy's house to open presents.  I opened a couple of presents, clothes I think, and that was that.  After everyone had opened everything, Mema said that she had forgotten to put one of the presents out.  I figured it was for my parents or uncle or someone.  Out she came with a present for me, and it was the doll I wanted.  I named her Mary Geraldine after Mary and Gerald, my grandparents. 
4. What 'institution' do you have the most faith in?
The institution of marriage.  Two people who are in love and committed to each other are a force to be reckoned with.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV

5. Chrysanthemums-pansies-burning bush-ornamental cabbage...your favorite in an autumn garden?
I just love pansies.  I can see their little faces just like in Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

6. What superpower do the kids in your neighborhood seem to posses?
The teenagers in my neighborhood seem to think they have some sort of protective force field about them that allows them to walk in the middle of the street and think that if a car is coming they won't get run over.  They don't move to the side of the road, they simply continue to amble on down the road carrying on whatever oh so important conversation they are having.  You have to slow down and get right up behind them before they will move.  These are the same kids that speed down the street at 50 mph while mine are outside playing. (Wow, I sound like an old grouchy person!)

7. Are you a fan of the cranberry?
I do like cranberry very much.  I don't however care for cranberry scented things like candles.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
For the month of November I am counting my blessings, becoming more aware of the many things I take for granted each day.  I am posting what I am thankful for on my facebook wall.  I invite you to do the same, or to keep a thankful journal.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Heaven Is For Real for Kids ~ A Book Review

Heaven is For Real for Kids, by Colton Burpo and his parents tells about Colton's trip to heaven and back on a child's level.  In the For Kids version of the book, Colton explains in "kid language" what happened to him and what he saw when he went to heaven.  Colton's underlying message in this book is that "Jesus really, really loves children!"

I read the original "Heaven is For Real" several months ago and couldn't put the book down.  When I saw there was a version for kids, I was intrigued.  The kid version begins with a letter to parents and grandparents, telling us what to expect in this book.  There are a few differences in this book than in the original book because Colton has so many memories that they couldn't all be written in just one book.  There are two things that I really like about this book.  One is that there are illustrations in this book to go with the story.  Colton oversaw the illustrations so they could be as accurate as possible according to his memories of what he saw and experienced in heaven.  The other thing I love is that the scripture references that match each description are printed at the end of each section.  It was a great read and I can't wait to read it with my own children and to discuss with them and get their impressions.  At the very end of the book is a question and answer section about heaven. 

I highly recommend this book to parents and would recommend that you read it first for yourself to be able to process it before discussing with your children. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Stained Glass Hearts ~ A Book Review

I have enjoyed Patsy Clairmont since I attended my first Women of Faith Conference many moons ago. She is a funny lady with a quick wit and I just enjoy listening to her and reading her books. 

Stained Glass Hearts, Seeing Life From A Broken Perspective was an honest look into Clairmont's life and some of the struggles she has had and her road to healing. The book is divided into 13 chapters, each on their own topic, yet strung together by the stained-glass or mosaic theme. I felt like I was sitting with a dear friend as I read. Clairmont says it well when she says "All God's people have glass hearts," reminding us that we all are broken in some way and we all are in need of healing. I liked the recommendations at the end of each chapter for art, music, etc. I would recommend this book to women of all ages.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

This Is The Stuff

A horrible, nasty stomach bug came to visit our house just in time for the weekend.  Late in the night Friday night, Prince got sick in bed.  Hubby slept through most of it, although he did wake up just in time for me to finish getting everything cleaned up.  (How convenient for him ~ he honestly did sleep through it though)  Poor Prince, I can't tell you when the last time he had a stomach bug was, but I'm pretty sure it's been a couple of years.  He just doesn't get that kind of sick very often.  Prince and I were up most of the night together.  I think the only hour on the clock I didn't see was 4 and believe me, I thanked God for that small blessing of getting at least an hour and a half of straight sleep.  Saturday night was uneventful and we thought we were out of the woods until Sunday morning early when Prince was again sick.  Princess got it Sunday night and Hubby got it Monday morning.  I've had a grand time spraying Lysol on everything, keeping up with dirty laundry and dishes, and doing it all myself.  Let's just say that this Mama is tired. 
This morning I may or may not have snapped back at Hubby when he grumped at me.  I also may or may not have started feeling a bit resentful that I've been single-handedly taking care of all of this sickness while everyone else was getting the rest they needed and being waited on hand and foot.  I may have gotten a bit agitated when Princess said she couldn't find socks this morning that were right in her drawer, matched up and ready to go.  Yes, it was one of those mornings.  Yet as I was rushing to get myself ready after making sure everyone had what they needed, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  I'm not sure where it came from, except for His prompting, but I started to sing "Change my heart oh God, make it ever true.  Change my heart oh God, may I be like you."  As I sang, I started to calm down a little, but felt this small voice inside of me saying, "You aren't really feeling it, keep singing."  So I did, again and again.  I sang it as I drove the kids to school and on my way to work.  
I began to think about how this is the life I always wanted ~ the life I chose.  I always wanted to be a wife and a mommy and to take care of my family.  In sickness and in health isn't always easy.  In fact, I think that one is harder than for richer or poorer.  The point is, when you think and dream about having a family of your own, it seems wonderful and magical and everything will be like the Cleavers.  But life is messy and reality sets in and I realize that this is exactly what I signed up for.  I also realize that the change must come from my own heart.  I am grateful that my Hubby is involved and helps me with the kids when he gets home from work.  On these difficult days, it seems even more difficult because I am used to having help.  I am thankful for the help he does offer because doing this alone day in and day out would get really old.  I am thankful that Hubby comes home to me at night and that he likes being with us, thankful that I can create a home environment where he's comfortable.  I am thankful for those snuggles on the couch when the Prince and Princess are feeling bad, thankful that I am the one they want and that I can be their mommy.  That is what makes it worth it all.   
You've probably figured out by now that God uses music to speak to me ~ a lot.  When I hear a song I remember it and can usually retrieve its message in my brain for years to come.  Here's a good one that also came to mind this morning.