Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Into Reading '11 book review #1: Redeeming Love

I can't believe I finished my first book in the first week of Katrina's Fall Into Reading challenge! Woo-hoo! LOL However, this book wasn't even on my list. I hit "publish" last Friday on my FIR post, went to check the mailbox, and there it was from! Can I tell you how much I *LOVE* getting books for free!?

Anyway, "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers was suggested to me by some of the ladies in my Bible study. I hadn't heard of Rivers before. It appears everyone but me has read this book before. LOL Normally, I'm not a big fan of Christian fiction, particularly historical fiction, and the Old Testament re-telling nearly scared me off! LOL But, I enjoyed "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant so I gave it a whirl.

And, Francine Rivers proved it was worth it.

"Redeeming Love" is a bit of a "doorstop book" at over a couple hundred pages but, once I started, I couldn't put it down. I read it in 3 days.

The characters were real, believable, and deep. The interactions between the characters were of equal quality. The restoration, change, and conversion of Angel/Amanda heart-breaking and bittersweet. The strength, patience, devotedness, and faith of Michael has put him at the top of my "dreamy guys of literature" list. :)

As a word of warning, there are serious issues discussed here: incest, rape, prostitution, infidelity, martial relations, etc. so even the author suggests a book-equivalent of a PG rating. But, all are handled respectfully and appropriately.

To be honest, I was very impressed by Rivers' ability to balance the "raunch" of Angel's former life as well as her coming-to-Christ faith issues. This didn't feel overly preachy or dripping with attempts to keep shoving more Biblical references in the narrative. It was that powerful, faith-filled, everyday walk that we all wish for. And, the discussions of sex didn't pull any punches either.

I would highly recommend this book and, now that I have my own copy, I plan on reading it again...maybe once the challenge is over though. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, go here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Worry List

I recently started a Bible study through the new church we've been attending since school started. Having participated in our former church's women's ministry and its "Just For Joy" Bible studies, including some by Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, it seemed familiar to take "Discerning the Voice of God" by Shirer this fall.

While there are a lot of REALLY good nuggets (and I'm only two days into the homework), one particular exercise has hit me hard...the "worry list."

"...make a list of personal circumstances troubling you. As you work through this Bible study, focus on these circumstances and how God is speaking to you concerning them."

Didn't seem too difficult. And, we've had and have A LOT of worries the last few years. I was able to write a lengthy list.

But...then came another instruction the following day.

"Look back at the list you a plus sign beside the ones in which you are patiently waiting to hear from God and a minus sign beside the ones in which you have taken action before hearing from Him."


Here I am thinking I've really learned to depend on God and to listen to His leadings the last few years. Well, I have...but only to a point apparently.

As I looked down the list of 8 major things I stress about regularly, only two had plus signs by them.


Now, to keep myself accountable for being aware and alert for His voice and to be thankful for the things He does provide, I've kept dates and circumstance that follow that stand as a testament of how God is not only hearing me but He is taking care of things despite my lack of listening.

And, if He is already doing THAT much for me, how much better would it be if I actually STOPPED and LISTENED to Him back?

I'm praying that this study continues to open up these kinds of doors for me. I'd love to have the confidence like that I see in others that I'm truly, sincerely, honestly hearing God speak and that I'm responding to His plan for me and my family.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

Today is the first day of Katrina's Fall Into Reading challenge! This is the first one I've done in this fall season. Usually, I do the spring challenge but, things being as they are around here right now with both kids in school all day and DaHubby working endless hours at his new job, I *finally* have time to do some leisure reading. Woo hoo!

As I prepared my list, I picked eight books I'd like to get done. I have two here at home that I already own so I should be able to start with a bang! LOL But, I'm already having trouble with tracking down the others I wanted. Plus, I have a few that suddenly came up in the last few days via
So, this is my list as of today! LOL But, due my learning curve with my new inter-library loan system here in Illinois and depending on what arrives from PBS in the next few weeks, I'm leaving the door open to change.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp I'm absolutely addicted to Ann's blog and her photography. Her writing breaks my heart (in a good way) often. I can't WAIT to read this book once it arrives via my local library.

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies I've had this on my wish list at for a while. And, if you believe in coincidence, I just so happened to pop up as available the same week I started Priscilla Shirer's "Discerning the Voice of God" Bible study. So, I can take a hint! LOL

Lost Hero by Rick Riordan My first reading love was young adult lit. There's a very good reason I became a middle school language arts teacher! LOL This is book one of another series from Riordan who wrote the Percy Jackson series.

Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye This is my hat tip to my homesickness - a fictional account of a family's reaction to a shipwreck on Michigan's Lake Superior.

Wreck of the Carl D by Michael Schumacher This time a true story of a Great Lakes shipwreck - this time in Lake Michigan.

Plain, Honest Men by Richard Beeman (I tried but I just couldn't do it. LOL WAY to academic for me. LOL) This is a large doorstop of a book so I'm not sure I'll get through it but this book is reported to be an in-depth , detailed, humanizing, personality-driven account by an acclaimed historical Constitutional expert of our Founding Fathers and the Constitution Convention in 1787.

Rhythm of Family by Amanda Soule With all the upheaval in our family the last few years, I've been looking for parenting books that can restore some peace, help us focus on what's important, and knit us together even more tightly. I think this may be one of them.

Rite of Passage Parenting by Walker Moore Ditto for this one what I wrote above.

Well, that's my list. Stop by Katrina's page today and see what everyone else will be reading. I'll guarantee that you will find some other gems to read and, if you are participating already in this challenge, you'll find some you'll want to add! :)

I ended also reading the following:

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
And, a batch of Kindle books...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

More WW here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Square, Level, and Plumb

We've been at our new address here in Illinois for about 7 weeks. Lots of unpacking, purging, cleaning, and hanging stuff up going on.

Despite the gender stereotypes, I have no talent and no real interest in house decorating. The extent of my need to decorate usually entails covering windows with curtains so I don't feel like I'm living in a fishbowl or, not liking a blank wall and finding something to put something on it. LOL Generally, DaHubby and I work as a team to sort out what goes where.

One thing I never try to do alone is hang pictures. If I did it solo, the wall would end up looking like a half-done demolition project with a large, crooked photo put up on the wall with tape and a couple push pins.

DaHubby has a better eye for all things square, level, and plumb so I'm generally standing at the wall, too close to tell what's going on, responding to his directions of "a little to the left" and "push that corner up just a bit" as he stands back and sees the whole picture and wall. I trust what he tells me and it always turns out perfect.

So why can't we trust God the same way with our lives?

We are too close, focused on the little details while He has the whole "wall" in His sights. If we could only listen to his "a little to the left" and " up a bit on the right," we could have faith that it would always turn out perfect.

Trust God's plan and His direction and your "picture" should turn out square, level, and plumb enough to give Him all the glory He deserves! :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

What was in MY hand this week?

I stumbled across a post at Frugal Hacks this week from its "DeputyHeadmistress" and how she solved a home decorating/organization problem without buying a thing! *gasp*

Imagine that!

She did it with what she already had and re-purposed it.

Now, "re-purposing" is either exalted or looked down on depending on which side of the frugalness aisle you're walking these days.

But, after the last four years, we've walked the line between forced frugalness, to be able to splurge but being responsible about our resources anyways, and back to not having any other choice.

That being said, we were looking to decorate the big, bare walls in our new rental home in IL. Thinking about what had made the trip already from our home in Michigan, DaHubby remembered that we had several homemade pieces of canoe-related stuff. So, I let DaHubby decorate the living room walls.

First to go up on the wall, his handmade Inuit kayak paddles....followed by his prize wood and carbon-fiber canoe paddles in a corner.

Then, we found several hand-caned canoe seats that were going to be used on a newly-built canoe some day in the future. Instead of them sitting and collecting dust, DaHubby took them - along with several pieces of scrap wood in the garage, and made us some wall art.

Now, my living room is decorated in "early paddler," DaHubby gets to show off some of his handiwork, and I get a decorated room we all can enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

When You're Stressed - CRAFT!

So, I'm SO tired of packing and unpacking boxes, de-cluttering, sorting, organizing, and cleaning that I needed a crafty "coffee break".

I took this idea I found on Pinterest and made the little dry erase board for our bathroom ($1.20):

Then, I took this idea from Pinterest and made this fall banner for our front porch ($3):

And, finally I took an idea from our house in Michigan and asked DaHubby to install a new version for our new dining room here in Illinois ($9 in hardware, $2 in clips):

It's not much but it's starting to feel even more like home. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank

It has been another emotionally brutal week at the Viking bones about it.

At one time or another this week, one or more of us has collapsed under the combined pressure of all the stress we've been under the last couple apart, then new jobs, schools, homes, states, friends, churches, etc.

And, it's been hard.

Really hard.

But, we will praise Him in the storm. So...

Thankful for my home. Not just this house but the HOME we've created. DaHubby and I, even in our pre-Vikings life, have always wanted our home to be a safe place for all of us to take refuge from the world. Even with all the upheaval and even with some unexpected things that have slipped passed our "radar" that have tipped us off balance, where the four of us gather is still HOME.

Thankful for honesty. Even when it hurts. WAY better than the alternative.

Thankful for those who God sends to reach out with help even when you don't know or don't think you need it.

Thankful for friends who hear "something" in a voice and say "hey, are you all right?"

Thankful for the gorgeous summer-turning-to-fall scenery that is NW Illinois farmland.

Thankful that Pojke's intestinal problems yesterday turned out to be nothing.

Thankful for quiet time doing simple things with DaHubby before he heads back to work after several scheduled days well as thank you, LORD, (again) for the new job!

Pam is my thankfulness "coach" of sorts so stop by her bloggy home and see what's she's thankful for today!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank

It has been a simple week here at the Viking Hus. Simple in that we are FINALLY in our new home. That we have made a conscious decision to move towards less clutter and only things we love coming into the house while all the mess of moving boxes and such stay out of sight in the garage.

Simplify, simplify, simplify has been a type of glue holding everything together through the last 4 weeks of chaos of starting school, being the "new kid" myself, and DaHubby being on rotating shifts (days, nights, weekdays, weekends).

So, in the spirit of simplicity, here's what I am thankful for this week: new neighbor and "momma friend", Erin. She lives four houses down and our boys are in the same kindergarten class. She's also a growing Christian who is interested in possibly starting a Moms In Touch International (MITI) prayer group for the kids PLUS she hooked us up with a new possible church. AND, knowing we have no family around and haven't found any babysitters yet, she's offered to corral the Vikings for one evening so DaHubby and I can have a date night before a major project begins at DaHub's new job which will require him to work six 12 hr midnight shifts/week for 3-4 weeks. (An aside: I didn't want to freak her out but the day before I met her I had prayed [along with several of my friends back in Michigan] that I would find just one other mom to start a MITI prayer group. Twelve hours later, I met Erin at the bus stop. :) Yea, God!)

...the Vikings' new teachers. While Flicka is adjusting with relative ease, I'm still thrilled to have found out that her teacher is a Christian who used to teach in a Lutheran school. Meanwhile, Pojke has been simply miserable with the whole school experience to-date but his teacher (a "rookie" of three years) has been helpful and accommodating in assisting him acclimatize to yet another change in his little life this year. We have been running at high-flyin', survival-only speed since about 2009. While the move has been more upsetting and discombobulating than expected, there have been times recently of sweet, sweet rest and silence lately in the new house. I'm home alone more during the day with both kids in school. PLUS, DaHub's schedule is such that he not only rotates shifts but what days he works as well so he has been home some weekdays and it has just been the two of us for the first time in a VERY long time.

...reading. Directly relates to the resting thing. Being out of "survival mode" means more time for pleasure reading, time to put feet up and lose myself in a good story for an hour or so. My local librarians are probably already tired of me, probably thinks my account's been hacked, and I've found a new addiction on a Facebook page with daily listings of free books for my Android Kindle app.

That's what I'm thankful for this week. What about you? Pam hosts Thursday Thanks Tank. Stop by her bloggy home today and see what see has to say.