Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lessons of the Sandpiper

In working through a study this week on the condition of my heart, I got this story as it arrived in my email that speaks volumes to what we all need a whole lot more of in life. I hope it inspires you as much as it did for me today. ~ Love Kat

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. “I’m building,” she said.

“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not caring.

“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.

“That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

“That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s a what?”

“It’s a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” The bird went glding down the beach.

“Good-bye joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.

“Ruth,” I answered. “I’m Ruth Peterson.”

“Mine’s Wendy… I’m six.”

“Hi, Wendy.”

She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

“Come again, Mrs. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”

The days and weeks that followed belong to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me.

The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

“Hello, Mrs. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

“I don’t know, you say.”

“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. “I don’t know what that is.”

“Then let’s just walk.” Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face

“Where do you live?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

“Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.” She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.

Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.”

She seems unusually pale and out of breath.

“Why?” she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”

“Yes, and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt? ”

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.

“When she died?” “Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off. A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in” “Wendy talked of you so much.

I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.”

“Not at all-she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. “Where is she?”

“Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.” Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.

“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no.

She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” her voice faltered.

“She left something for you…if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?”

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS. P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues-a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words- one for each year of her life- that speak to me of harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color sand— who taught me the gift of love.

———————————–

NOTE: I hope you have a few Kleenex tissues in that box. The above is a true story sent out by Ruth Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Love Finds You In Victory Heights, Washington


Imagine you are living in Victory Heights, Washington in 1942 just as the WW2 was beginning. This is the time where men were being drafted into service as the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. Rations were in effect and people were busy selling war bonds and gathering items to help with the war efforts. As men left their homes, women stepped up to take their places in the workplaces that were now being used for supplying the war with planes.

One of these jobs was working for the Boeing plant in helping to create the Flying Fortresses, which are the latest in B-17 bombers that the US is hoping to destroy the enemy. Here we meet Rosalie Madison who has hidden herself away as a riveter at the plant. She has been creating an inner turmoil of her own when her fiancee leaves to fight in the war, and learns that he has died a hero. Unfortunately Rosalie realizes that she never really loved Vic like a woman should who wants to get married, and thus the reason for delaying marrying him before he left. Now a year later she feels the guilt of well wishers who express their heart-felt sympathy to her for losing her future husband. No one knows however what Rosalies true feelings are.

Late for work on her way to pay her respects to the memorial in the center of town to honor Vic and those that have lost their lives in the war, she runs headlong into a news reporter, Kenny Davenport who is on his way to capture Lana Turners speech to encourage the town. When he doesn't apologize for nearly running her down and seems only concerned with his camera she fires off just how she feels to Kenny in the middle of a crowded town square.
Suddenly the crowd grows silent as Lana Turner takes the stand and addresses the arguing couple who have appeared to have taken center stage and addresses them by saying, "Well? Are you two lovebirds coming up here or what?" Shocked that the entire town has now been listening to them argue, they encourage them both to make their way up to the stage to address Lana Turner, what happens to them next is where the story really gets interesting.

See just where this story and the headlines it is going to create will take both Rosalie and Kenny in Love Finds You In Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss. I received this book compliments of Litfuse Publicity and must say I loved it. A perfect 5 out of 5 stars for keeping the reader engaged in the story of both Rosalie and the reporter Kenny as well as all the local supporting characters. Love truly does find them with God's help to realize the forgiveness is something that can keep you stuck in your past if you let it, but with God's grace you can move forward and find love once more.

For more information on this book, the author and where to get a copy for yourself, click on the title below:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Funnies - A Note From Beyond



In joining with Kim at Homesteader's Heart for Friday Funnies, I hope you enjoy this cute and funny story.

An Illinois man left the snow-filled streets of Chicago for a vacation in Florida. His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email to let her know of his safe arrival.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he missed one letter, and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before. When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,

Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

Love,

Your Husband

P.S. Sure is hot down here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Historical Thanks


Today I am joining my blogging friend, Greg at Greg's General Store for Thankful Thursday. Each week Greg invites us to share some things we are thankful for and to put our focus on giving thanks to our God above who so graciously provides all our needs every day.

Today I thought I would share some historical thanks back to our founding fathers.

1. I am thankful for the 56 men in 1776 who pledged their lives in signing the Declaration of Independence to escape the tyranny to freedom. How many people are willing to do that today?

2. I am thankful for all the Christian registered voters that actually voted in the last election. 65 million people consider themselves to be born again Christians, yet only 50% of them are registered voters and of those that registered to vote, only 50% of them actually voted. Thank you for all of you that voted.

3. I am thankful for men like retired Lt. General William Boykin who stated despite being told to keep his personal beliefs to himself said, "Some would say the church has been 'asleep at the switch'. It's up to us as believers to rise up and become a force to be reckoned with."

4. I am thankful for all the Christians everywhere that are still being persecuted for the faith and continuing to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world, despite what the local news programs are willing to share.

5. I continue to give thanks for Israel for being so strong against those who would seek to destroy her and continue to support and pray that American stands firm as an ally to Israel.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Ultimate Survivor - Beating the Enemy


How many of you watch the show Survivor or have at some point?

You know the routine, get 18 people of various genders, ages, backgrounds, and professions and still them together against one another and see who can outlast, outwit and outplay each other to make it as Soul Survivor!

Yet just what are these people willing to do to get to the top? Lie, cheat, manipulate, deceive, control, negotiate, blackmail, and basically whatever it takes to get to the top.

Sounds kinda like the corporate world in some aspects or politics if you ask me.

Yet even in the midst of the church, we have this very same thing going on. We will often do whatever it takes to move ahead. For what reason, do we think God is going to reward those who have the most toys, done the most good, helped the most people? Yet when we look at the motivation of the heart of these people we see it isn't with the right intentions.

They are glory seekers, not soul seekers! I have even heard people so full of themselves brag about how many people they have led to the Lord this week and then turn around and ask well what about you?

Is their motivation in the right place?

I think its safe to assume that the enemy is at work causing these things. It's about pride, envy, jealousy, and arrogance! These are not fruits of the Spirit.

Yet too often we let the enemy win battle after subsequent battle in our life each and every single day, because we fail to remember that we have power dwelling within us that can easily defeat him at his own games.

We have the ultimate Survivor as our personal God and Savior, attempting to do good works in our lives if we would merely get out of the way and let Him work through us.

Too often we let life wear us thin and wear us down to the bone.

We believe the lies we are told day after day in our mind. We grumble and complain about everything and think that somehow that will change our attitude for the day, yet what we fail to realize is just how much we contribute to our own bad attitudes and bad days.

There are some of us that literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and stay that way all through the day, complain about it, feel physically ill despite it all, and then complain to God, "Why me?"

Well why not you? You did it to yourself!

Instead of waking up feeling bad, how about telling yourself it's going to be a fabulous day! The best day ever! Just speak those words out loud and see if it doesn't just change your mind set just slightly.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and realize that we have the power to get over how we are feeling, claim the promises God has for us, through His Word, and start living a victorious life.

How many times are we going to go back to the same old thing and yet forget we can get out of it just as easily?

We are professionals at meditating on our worries, our problems and everything that is wrong in our lives and in the world, but complain about how hard it is to meditate on God's Word. Its the same way, just changing our minds and attitudes instead of dwelling on the bad, dwell on the good.

The best way to survive is that no matter what horrible thing is going on in your life right now, praise God and give Him the thanks for it. Stop complaining and start praising! It's the ultimate play in the Survivor Handbook which is the Bible.

Every promise in the Bible is yours to take if you have the faith to believe it. Do you have what it takes to be a Survivor for God? Or will you let the enemy outwit, outlast and outplay you?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Take Your Life Back!


We all know the commandment that God has provided to all of us that reminds us to keep the Sabbath day holy, but what does that mean to us now that Jesus has come.

We all know what the Old Testament reminds us what it was suppose to entail but does that still apply to us today?

I don't believe so in the same respect to the rituals that were from the Old Testament but I do know in today's fast paced world, we all need more time and definitely a break from our lives.

Dads and Moms that work more than a 40 hour work week in this economy in order just to make ends meet are wearing themselves ragged putting more hours in, working late, weekends and forgoing their vacations in search of the next promotion that might mean a break at last. But seriously who are we kidding. Won't that mean even more work?

We also are aware in the working world that employers expect far more than they did from our parents, With the fact that we are able to learn more, know more and do more, yet not be paid the equivalent of the rate it would take the average person to do that job, we are running ourselves in the ground. I say the world could do with less rats in this race.

What are we striving so hard to work for? I think we have lost the real reason why? Our kids want more time with us, but we feel guilty that we can't or we may get passed up in the process by a younger person who can do our job better than us. We pass up the opportunities to go home on time, because we think we will look better to companies who are willing to put the company first.

Yet if you were to suddenly find yourself out of work, the company won't miss us one day. They will move forward and not look back. So we need to stop defining ourselves by what our employers see in us. Jobs will come and go, but our families won't. Our kids grow up, wives and husbands married for a reason, that was to have someone to come home to at night, not to sleep in a bed and wait to see just how late you will come in today.

Keeping the Sabbath holy means to step away from what you would normally do on any given day. This means you decide which day you will celebrate Sabbath, it doesn't have to be Sunday or Saturday, you need to dedicate this day to God.

Separate yourselves from your daily routines. Take a break from it. Which means mix it up, spend some time doing absolutely nothing, enjoy life. Turn off all things requiring a plug and give them a day off. No checking emails, voicemails, TV or even cell phones. Give this day back to our families. Spend time really being present, not having your family staring at the back of your head. Really engage the person. Perhaps if you don't have kids this is the perfect day for a date night. Go back and doing something from your dating.

The point is to do nothing you would do normally. No errands if you run errands during any of the other 6 days, no housework if you normally do something during the week. No blogging, no talking to our negative people in our life. Take your dog out for a walk, talk with your neighbors, do some gardening and dig into God's earth and feel his creative powers.

I challenge you to take back the Sabbath and give it back to God. During the day, praise God for all His goodness, for everything going great in your life. I think you will agree, you will be so much more productive when you do and your relationships will ultimately benefit all the way around.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this! What does this mean for Kat? No blogging, no housework, no emails, or cell phones, emails or reading books. I am engaging with my family. Going on a picnic, taking a drive into the mountains, perhaps talking a walk on the beach. God promised us an abundant life, so I am taking mine back from this world and finding purpose in it.

How about you, what are you going to do to change?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Removing Stress From Our Lives


"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." - Psalm 94:19

The busy executive, the mid-level manager, the high school teacher, the stay-at-home mom - we all face our own stress makers each and every day. The demands of our roles in life affect our souls. Like a sponge we soak up what we experience around us and look for ways of letting it all out. When we are squeezed too tightly or jarred, we leak at best and spew at worst on those around us - all the stuff that has built up inside our impressionable souls. Stress consumes physical, emotional, and mental energy.

What most of us forget is that stress is both residual and cumulative. Layers and layers of prolonged stress affect every aspect of our lives, and if not dealt with, lead to burnout - where coping skills and fundamental ways of dealing with stress are short-circuited in a person's soul. There is no margin, no reserve, nothing to pull from with which to deal with what is happening around and in you.

Physical exhaustion, inability to sleep, nightmares, depression, change in eating habits, irritability, anger explosions, withdrawing from meaningful relationships, shrinking back from engaging in meaningful conversations, a feeling of emptiness, sexual dysfunction, and escapist thinking all manifest in the soul.

When not properly dealt with, stress manifests itself in dangerous ways: high blood pressure, panic and anxiety disorders, heart disease, gastric disease, and even some forms of cancer. In extremely stressful situations, faith sometimes becomes mute, prayers nonexistent. Spiritual dryness often results from long seasons of exposure to various forms of stress. The ripple effect of this is enough to disturb every person around the stressed-out person.

What are you feeling during these days of economic challenge, social change, and international war? Are you seeing your dreams erode like sand at the beach? Are you suffering the silent stress of being overworked and underpaid? Do you have pain in your lower back, tension with your child, conflict with your spouse, and pressure at your job?

There is hope to be found in these areas of your life. You can reduce the stress in your life and cultivate the fruit of serenity to the everlasting benefit of your soul.

1. Take your concerns to God first.

2. Practice spiritual discipline and slow down. Begin with a few moments of silence. Journal how you might eradicate hurry from your life in the next day, week or month.

3. Seek to explore what is contributing to your stress and resolve to reduce it by 20%. Such as leaving for work a little earlier or later to avoid dealing with traffic.

4. Park in the farthest parking place and pray as you walk. Talk it out with God.

5. Put some humor in your life. Rent some funny videos or check out some great Christian comedians.

6. Join the slow food movement and decide not to eat fast food for a month.

7. Do something that gives you life everyday. What makes you come alive?

8. Choose one day a week to give up all technology for the day. No emails, voicemails, or the internet. Give them a day of rest.

9. Become less available to people's demands. Learn to say No to some things.

10. Walk at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Go with your friend, a spouse or your family and just get out and talk.

See if incorporating some of these things doesn't reduce the wear and tear you feel on yourself and the way you interact with those around you for the better!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Joint Custody

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." - Proverbs 14:12


Ever wonder about the soul? I mean what is it really, is it like our spirit within us? Can it be seen?

Doctor's can't open our bodies up and begin to dissect us in hopes of locating one but the daily battle we wage between good and evil every minute is for the distinct opportunity to chose where we will spend our eternal lives.

I know death isn't something we ever really chose to think about, and hopefully for this generation, Jesus will come back for the church before we ever have to think about putting our bodies in the ground but it may come to that.

Where will you chose to spend your eternity?

Will it be with Jesus Christ in eternal bliss in Heaven?

Or will it be with the devil in eternal torment in Hell?

There is no option C and quite honesty, option B shouldn't even be one to consider. Yet often times we spend our lives here on Earth with the thought that only our eternal lives matter and if we suffer in this one, well so be it.

We each have only one soul. We will not get another. This is the only life we will live - so let's live it well. In living well, we honor God, honor every facet of our souls, and see that the life that Jesus offers us really is a life of "robust sanity." Soul care is living with the end in mind but also living well now.

Every single person who feels more dead than alive, more tired than energized, more burned-out than motivated, more unfulfilled than thriving is a soul in need - a soul who needs to be cared for.

The Chinese have two characters for the English word busyness, which they define as heart annihilation. We're killing ourselves with all our busy, busy, busy. One of the reasons for overwhelming amount of annihilation around us and in us is that the sin of busyness is very subtle. It's a subtle sin because busyness is validated, applauded, and affirmed everywhere and sometimes especially among Christians.

Why should we lose our lives in vain attempts to live? For me, caring for my soul has been a journey to reclaim my life - the life I want to live and the life I was intended to live. By choosing to live in live-giving ways, my own life is being healed, cured, and restored.

Taking custody of your own soul is all about being mindful of your soul and your God, your life and your future, your heart and what it's beating for - whether for the sacred or only for what is of this world. Being mindful of your soul simply requires loving the Lord your God will all of your heart and mind. Sometimes loving God is easier than mindfully choosing to live in ways that are life giving not heart annihilating.

Soul custody is taking back what we've almost lost in order to gain what we should never want to lose. It's doing what the word custody implies - taking responsibility for souls and hearts. This is our sacred privilege.

Of course we really share joint custody of our souls with God. But we can be sure that He will do His part to look after our soul's well-being. Are we holding up our end of the partnership?

Abdicating our role as the custodian of our own souls is handing over our responsibility to someone or something else who may not have our best interests in mind. You know as well as I that there is always someone who wants to tell s how to live, what to buy, where to go. Relinquishing the God-given role of caring for our souls usually results in the paying of a tremendous price, not once, but throughout life. We can choose to sit down and throw our hands up in surrender, or we can assume the God-given role each of us has in caring for our souls. The choice is ours to make.

What will your choice be, soul custody or joint custody?

Friday, August 20, 2010

God Bless Chick Fil A - Friday Funnies

Knowing what a huge fan of Tim Hawkins I am, I had to pass this latest video from him for today's Friday Funnies courtesy of Kim at Homesteader's Heart.




Here is my all time oldie of the same title:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Detours


Frustration seems to be the ongoing theme this week and I find that whenever I am faced with these, God undoubtedly will use them for a lesson for me and something for me to blog about that day providing I get home in enough time to share them with you and I don't forget.

Today's is about detours. Sometimes they do make us frustrated but I have noticed it's only when we are expecting to be somewhere and we have to be delayed or detoured and what we had planned has changed, temporarily.

There are traffic detours usually because of road construction and changes the city may have planned or accidents that will take longer than we would want, so we are provided with an opportunity to go around rather than wait it out.

Then there are the detours of our prayers or should I say delay responses. Its in choosing how we will handle them that determines our attitude in the coming moments. If you were like me, I used to get mad when faced with the construction or road issues and wonder why in today's technology can't they plan it better. Yet what was really going on was, you have inconvenienced me and I hadn't planned on it.

Now if you know me today, you will find I plan on always being early somewhere I am planning on going to avoid the extra stress I would normally be faced with if I am delayed or detoured. Now I see it as God's will in everything I do. Maybe it was God's will to detour me, and now I am seeing things I wouldn't have seen before had I not gone this way. Thank you God!

Or perhaps the delay I was facing was the result of the prayer of protection before heading out and had I been in a hurry, the accident I am detouring around may have been me. Thank you God for watching over me always.

We need to change our perspective when dealing with life when it doesn't go our way. We need to find something to be thankful for in it. The search may be challenging but there is always something there. Let's trying conquering our enemy today and thanking God for the detours he places in our path, either to slow us down, to get us to change our direction and return to His path, or to gently guide us in His loving care.

Ephesians 5:20 - "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Short Cuts!


Don't you just hate it when you are standing in line, waiting patiently for something whether in line at the grocery store, amusement park, or waiting for that prime parking space less than 25 yards from the front door of the store, and then someone takes your spot? What do you do? How do you handle it?

I know for me, I am a very non confrontational person so I say nothing then complain about it when I get home. Wishing I could just speak my mind but the words just won't come out right. I think my biggest fear is that it may turn hostile or even violent especially in today's world so perhaps my choice is the best for know.

However voicing my concern at home or to someone else just doesn't get the job done either. Lately I've been battling my words. I do a great job at encouraging everyone else to be positive and speak in kindness but looking back at my conversations over the course of the day, I cringe. I failed. Again!

Yet, I am not a failure. See if I gave up and just said to myself well that is just me, I verbalize things and it's better to let it out than keep it inside. At least that's what I've been told. Yet God's Word speaks the truth.

James 3:2 - " We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."

WOW! I have a lot of work to go. This is my study and one area of work that may take me a life time to control. God's Word says if we can control what we say, we would be perfect. What is in our minds and hearts comes out of our mouths.

So we need to change that. We can't however on own merits succeed in this endeavor. We need God's help, every single day, every hour, every minute and every second to keep our thoughts pure and our hearts thinking on those fruits of the Spirit.

Have you thought of just how small things control larger objects? The Bible speaks of two examples in James 3:3-8. They are a bridle or bit in a horses mouth that controls the direction we want our horse to go, and a rudder on a ship. One small piece of wood or steel will steer the course of a large ship. So our tongue therefore controls our bodies.

We may try to change everything else about ourselves but if we truly want to move forward in the way of God's will for our lives, we should begin by controlling our tongue first and then everything else will fall in line. With God there is no short cuts!

Monday, August 16, 2010

As Requested

I have a couple request for some pictures of my kitchen, my sink and the paint on my bedroom walls, so without further adieu here they are:

Here is our master bedroom. The paint color is Tiffany Blue just like the jewelry box. We've painted our bedroom 3 times and this is our permanent color now. It just feels so light and tranquil. You can also see the massive headboard on our bed where our kitties love to sit on top and check out the view when the blinds are open too!



Here's another view from the right side of the room looking into our attached bathroom.



Next is our kitchen. We are rethinking some creative decorating ideas for our kitchen including painting our cabinets. Any suggestions? Would love to hear them.



Finally here is the kitchen sink that is made of black granite. I LOVE IT! It's virtually indestructible and so easy to care for. The only thing I would have changed looking back would be to eliminate the divider in the middle and just have one really large deep basin!



Well there you have it. We are resting from this weekends whirlwind activities and staying cool outside. We have temps into the 103's today with higher than normal humidity. YUCK! So we are staying inside and cool!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up Disneyland and Fruit!


Whew it's hard to believe it's Sunday already and so much has happened, I can't wait to share some of the fun with all of you.

To start things off on Friday, Steve worked remotely from his phone, which basically means he was on call while we all headed to Disneyland for some family fun and relaxation. We started our morning off with some California Adventure which is directly across from Disneyland. Granted it's turning into a Pixar park.

Here are the girls pretending they're toys. Anyone want to purchase this gift box?



Next even though our youngest now 11, has been on this ride when she was 7, there was no talking her into riding California Screaming, so Steve and I rode it while the girls got frozen lemonade and took our pictures.



Yes, we opted from front row seats. LOVE IT!


Since it's been awhile that we had a family picture, here we are in 2010!



Before leaving the California Adventure side, we decided the girls needed some Pixar pictures with some famous celebrities from Cars, Mator and Lightning McQueen! KaChow!



They have all these wonderful letters in front that spell California so the girls get pictures every year in front, this time they chose A!



At Disneyland now, we all decided to cool off with Splash Mountain, we are the final four in the back. Notice our faces! Classic!



Then on Saturday having never been before, we decided to pick these beauties! Raspberries! Just think of the treats we can make with these!



Our oldest daughter snapped a picture of us leaving the fields! Aren't we cute! Hard to believe it was about 95 out!



Here are the girls and our bucket of berries all ripe! OK we probably ate most of them while picking but isn't that the best part?

The worst? All the bees that were buzzing around looking for pollen. We actually felt like we were in a hive there were so many! They didn't bother us though, they were looking for pollen.
Thanks Bee's for the fruit!

Sunday, is being spent catching up on things and Steve and our youngest will be bowling in their final three games later today. Meanwhile Steve is undertaking a huge ARK project, no not building an actual ARK but is helping our 90+ neighbor upgrade her sprinkler system and putting in a new lawn. I will update you all more tomorrow on my ARK blog. Hope you all enjoyed our trip!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Taking Driving To A Whole New Level - Friday Funnies

I am away from my computer today enjoying a fun filled day of being a kid again at Disneyland. So in order to keep things on the fun side, please join me with Kim at Homesteader's Heart for Friday Funnies. Have a great weekend!



Funny Driving Videos with Mr. & Mr. Potato Head



Space Driving

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Robin Williams As The American Flag

For Thankful Thursday, I thought I would use this post as a tribute to all the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, whose sacrifices we take for granted and the freedoms that they fight to sustain here in the United States. Let us remember not just on Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Veteran's Day their service but every single day, take but a few minutes and ask God to protect and comfort those families and service persons who are fighting for freedom every day. If you have trouble viewing it, double click on it to watch it directly from YouTube.



If you wish to join in on Thankful Thursdays visit Greg at Greg's General Store. It's time to be thankful for the things we so often forget every day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perseid Meteor Showers Begins Tonight


If you aren't doing anything and really want to see a free magical show than do what we did last year, and take your lawn chairs and find a remote dark location after midnight and let your eyes wander to the heavens.

After midnight tonight and through tomorrow night the most amazing meteor shower begins. You are almost guaranteed to see a meteor a minute. You need to find a dark location if possible and a clear sky. Here in the desert that is just right outside our front door and we ask our neighbors to turn off their porch lights to really make it dark.

For ideal conditions we could drive about 10-15 minutes out into the remote locations of the desert since it really does surround our entire city and just begin to star gaze. Not only that but three planets will be visible tonight as well in the lower southeast sky, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Last year, we literally saw more falling stars than our kids could count and it was truly something amazing. We set our alarms for about 2am and then meet outside, recline the chairs back and begin watching the night sky. We try to see who can spot them first.

If you have never done this before, you have until midnight tonight through tomorrow evening to catch God's spectacular nighttime show. It's free and is truly a one of a kind night, especially if your kids have never seen a falling star. Tonight it will be magic.

Here's more information as well as a link to the Farmer's Almanac to show the stars visible tonight.

Mars skims below Saturn on the 1st. Venus passes below Saturn from the 6th to the 8th, then finally catches Mars from the 15th to the 22nd. All are now low in the southwest at nightfall. The trio form interesting triangles during the first half of the month, with the crescent Moon dangling below them on the 12th. Perfect moonless conditions prevail for the great Perseid meteor shower on the night of the 11th–12th. The action intensifies after midnight, with one meteor per minute, on average. Jupiter, at a dazzling magnitude –2.8, rises by 10:00 p.m. at midmonth and is nicely up at midnight, dominating the sky. Venus closely meets Virgo’s blue star Spica on the 30th and 31st. There are expected to be 50 meteors per hour with the origins beginning in the sky at the NE, so begin your search there.

http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=3a44d786956aa578740994626&id=faeab4057c&e=9916df01dc

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Your Life - White Water Or Calm Waters?


It's time to live differently. Take a look at this story that illustrates the point perfectly.

My brothers and I had traveled to the western edge of Zimbabwe to raft the Zambezi River. We boarded our raft at the base of Victoria Falls. Massive amounts of water spilled over the top of the giant falls and dropped almost a thousand feet; the roar was deafening. The falls are the largest in the world, more than a mile wide and over three hundred feet high. Mist from the spray that fills the air like fog can be seen for fifty miles; the locals call it "smoke that thunders."

The water from the falls rushes down the gorge in torrents, creating the world's largest rapids. In the United States, the highest-class rapid you are allowed to raft is a Class 5. The Zambezi's white-water rapids can top 7 and 8. Here's what I read later about white-water classes: "Completion of a Class 6 rapid without serious injury or death is widely considered to be a matter of luck or extreme skill." Great.

As I sat on the edge of the eight-person raft, all suited up in a tight, overstuffed life jacket and a thick crash helmet, I felt like an overcautious tourist about to mount an underpowered moped in Honolulu or rent roller-blades on Huntington Beach. The Zambezi couldn't be that dangerous, could it?

But then our guide caused me to begin questioning my logic. His first words were, "When the raft flips..." There was no "If the raft flips," or "On the off chance we get flipped," but "When the raft flips." He went on..."stay in the rough water. You will be tempted to swim toward the stagnant water at the edge of the banks. Don't do it. Because it is in the stagnant water that the crocs wait for you. They are large and hungry. Even when the raft flips, stay in the rough water."

Stagnancy will kill your spirit. The Christian who is not being used by God to change lives, to make a difference for Christ, will dry up, stagnate. Transformation will not happen.

Are you restless? Is your routine boring you mad? Do you sense that you should be doing more with your life than you are today? For most, I am almost certain the answer is yes. The Bible tells us that God put this dissatisfaction with a stagnant life in your heart.

God has a hard time working change in a life that is not going anywhere.

To finish the Zambezi story, the very first rapid we hit violently twisted our raft, folded it in half, and shot it into the air to land upside down. You bet I stayed in the rough water. After we pulled everyone back on board, our faithful guide started heading for the banks with other rafts in our group. "Why are you stopping?" I asked.

"This is the chicken run; we stop here and let the chickens out to run." He was right - eighty dollars was not enough to keep about a dozen tourists from the other rafts in the white water risking their lives.

Many believers sense this restless heart but do nothing about it, usually because of fear. Fear is the cord Satan uses to bind our hands and hearts, keeping us self-justified in spiritual stagnancy.

The missional church of tomorrow will be global in it's purpose and function - not afraid to stop feeding its own church machine in order to change a broken world. Not afraid to get out of the boat to do things locally and globally that make its people uncomfortable.

My brothers and I stayed in the raft that day. Our raft must have flipped four more times. We were tossed like rag dolls and left in the river to battle the crocodiles. But we stayed in the white water. Yes, there were moments when I thought I would die, but I wouldn't trade that Zambezi thrill ride for anything.

The church of tomorrow must resist stagnancy. God needs us out there in the rough waters, pouring our lives into people.

We can't be still - we can't be silent anymore.

The life following after God is so much more exhilarating than many have allowed. Let's become like revolutionaries of the early church. God has an unparalleled adventure waiting for you. There's purpose, there's danger, there's transformation for all who step out.

Live that way. Live in the white water. Live where it's just a little bit uncertain and unsafe. Live where there is something thrilling just might change you forever.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A to Z's of Kat's Life


I got this idea from a post that Debby at Just Breathe did last week and thought it might be something fun to do as well as a way to share a little bit more about me for those of you who don't know a lot. Feel Free to join in the fun!

A- My AIR CONDITIONER is set on: 80 during the day and 70 at night.

B- My BEDROOM theme is: Tiffany blue and brown.

C- The CAR in the driveway is: none, unless it's one of my daughters friends. We always park our cars in the garage. Yes it's that clean, mostly!

D- My DESK looks: like a huge reference center, a desk top calendar for organizing my blog deadlines, a candle for peace, my Bible, commentary, a devotional and two self help books I read a chapter a day from.

E- The EXACT time I wake up daily is: 7:30am ish. I used to be consistent about 6am but don't know how I got off track again.

F- The FIRST thing I wash in the shower is: my hair.

G- My GARAGE is filled with: Christmas stuff, two cars, washer and dryer and all the gardening and tools for our home, along with a freezer for meat.

H- My HOUSE is: a two story residential that sits in the middle of the desert.

I- If you peeked INSIDE my bedroom you'd see: Everything organized, a pile of books lined up in the order they need to be reviewed on my dresser, a made up king size bed, and probably my cats sitting on the top of the headboard looking for birds.

J- My favorite JUICE is: Tomato. Love that salty taste first thing in the morning. Plus think of all the antioxidents.

K- The best part of my KITCHEN is: my granite sink. Everyone who visits compliments us on it everytime. It's black and virtually indestructible.

L- The LAST person who visited my home was: My daughters, friend, Katie, she spent the night last night.

M- The last piece of MAIL for me was: An application for a college for my oldest. This is her last year and we are getting them like crazy from everywhere.

N- My NEIGHBORS think I'm: a hermit. We are the ones that smile and wave at you. We'll say Hi if you can hear us but our neighbors all keep to themselves. It's really sad.

O- If you OPENED my fridge you'd see: A Pitcher of Raspberry Lemonade, milk, your standard fare of kitchen items, butter, condiments and tons of soda. We do have teens here all the time.

P- My last house PARTY was: my youngest daughters birthday party in January.

Q- A QUICK meal I like to fix is: Pasta with homemade sauce. I usually just cut up tomatoes, saute some onions and garlic and put it on top of pasta!

R- My favorite ROOM of the house is: my backyard. It's where I live the garden Steve made for me.

S- The SHAMPOO brand I use is: Tresseme Moisture since we live in the desert, it dries everything out.

T- My largest TELEVISION is: 32 inch and its in our family room.

U- UNDER my bed you will find: My cats, they think it's their ultimate hideaway.

V- The last time I VACUUMED was: a week ago, I have since assigned it to my daughter.

W- Looking out my WINDOW I see: Our neighbors houses across the street and someone replanting their lawn. They should wait until the fall.

X- I wish I had X-TRA: ulimited bank account and ATM card. That way I would always have plenty of cash whenever I needed it.

Y- My YARD is: green even though our temperatures are on the move back up again.

Z- ZZZZZZZ My bedtime is:10pm.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Controlling Nature


CONTROLLING NATURE
by Joseph Walker

A toothbrush. That's all I needed.

But not just any old toothbrush. None of your bargain basement,
wimpy bristled, use-it-twice-then-throw-it-out toothbrushes this time.
No sir. This time I was going to get a toothbrush that could
withstand the beating I seem to inflict upon instruments of dental
hygiene (you should see what I do to dental floss -- it isn't pretty).
Perhaps I have toothbrush-intolerant enamel. Or perhaps I have
latent hostility issues that cause me to turn in to Iron Man in front
of the bathroom mirror. Or perhaps it has something to do with the
fact that I grew up with two dentist brothers-in-law who insisted on
vigorous brushing -- or else. Whatever the reason, I am hard on
toothbrushes.

My wife, Anita, is still using that really nice toothbrush I
gave her for our 28th wedding anniversary five years ago (what,
you've never heard of the Toothbrush Anniversary?) I, on the other
hand, go through them like Lady Gaga goes through sequins. I buy a
toothbrush, it works well for a few days, and then, before you know
it, the bristles stop bristling. Or the handle breaks. Or the brush
doesn't brush -- it just sort of rubs.

So I was determined to get the best toothbrush I could find. It
was the only thing I needed when I walked into the store that day. I
was prepared to spend as much as three or four dollars on the brush.
Little did I know that three or four dollars wouldn't even constitute
a decent down payment on a state-of-the-art toothbrush. There are
toothbrushes with engines -- I'm not kidding about this. They have
more horsepower than my Hyundai.

I don't want to compete in the Indianapolis 500. I just want to
brush my teeth.

Finally I settled on a nice, sturdy, no-nonsense toothbrush that
looked like it would get the job done for at least the rest of the
month. Then I noticed that this toothbrush was also available in a
five-pack for even less per toothbrush than I was going to pay for
the one I had selected. If one toothbrush is good, then five is even
better, isn't it? Sure, it was more than I was planning to spend
during this trip to the store. But it would be worth it in the long
run.

Wouldn't it?

After picking up the box o' brushes I noticed another good deal:
a package of four tubes of our favorite toothpaste for a very good
price. Well, I couldn't pass on that deal, could I? It seemed so
cosmically synergistic: toothbrushes and toothpaste. It flowed
naturally from one to the other -- and such good prices!
Then I noticed another great price on a multi-bar pack of soap.
And then another great deal on shampoo. And they had such a good
price on "The Blind Side"...

Nearly $100 later I escaped from the store with my debit card
smoking. Of course, this isn't unusual for me. Anita often sends me
to the store with a five-item list, and I end up at the checkout
stand with a fully loaded shopping cart. It's called impulse buying,
and I'm about as impulsive as they come. I'm the reason store
managers prepare those attractive displays and mega-sales offers --
they want to entice me into being impulsive. And usually I oblige.
But no more. Although it is my nature to be impulsive in the
grocery store, I've decided it is time to go against my nature. Our
burgeoning cupboards and our crashing budget both demand it -- not to
mention Anita.

And that's OK, I think. One of the most important things we
learn in this life is when to trust and act upon our natural
inclinations, and when to control them. There are times when "that's
just how I am" is an explanation, and times when it's a cop-out.
Even when dental hygiene is at stake.

-- Joseph Walker

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Funnies - Cletus Take The Reel

In keeping Friday light and with smiles on your faces, please enjoy this video in conjunction with Kim at Homesteader's Heart, Friday Funnies Meme!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is The Fear of Your Past Holding You Back?


"The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." - Isaiah 65:17

I watched a TV program recently called The Dog Whisperer. On the show, a dog trainer named Cesar Millan deals with all sorts of behavioral problems in dogs.

In one episode, Cesar went to help Ernesto, a smart, successful businessman in his forties. Ernesto had four children, all of who loved dogs and wanted one as a pet. Yet Ernesto was utterly paralyzed by a fear of dogs. He, too, had once been like his children and loved dogs. Growing up in Mexico, most dogs Ernesto knew played independently in the streets, and he had no fear of them.

One day Ernesto and a group of friends were being silly and teasing one of the dogs and it snapped! It turned on the group of children and started chasing them. Ernesto ran behind his friends toward his mother's house. The others all tumbled in and shut the door on him. He was left standing on the porch, and the last thing he remembered was the angry, snarling, vicious dog jumping for his throat. He woke up in the emergency room, and though he recovered from his horrific injuries, he was left deeply traumatized by the attack. By the time the Dog Whisperer came along thirty years later, a deep fear of dogs gripped Ernesto every day of his life. If he saw a dog or heard a distant bark, he relived the horror of that moment on the porch. Every day he feared a dog would attack him and lunge for his throat. His past utterly paralyzed his future. The intuitive and gifted dog trainer, Cesar Millan spoke to Ernesto with a gentle authority.

"My friend," Cesar said, "what is holding you is the memory, but the incident is gone. You are allowing that memory to live on with you every single day. We have to break the power of the memory and allow you to live in the freedom. It is over!"

Cesar took Ernesto to a rehabilitation center for wayward dogs. He opened the door to the dog's exercise area, and there before Ernesto were around fifty dogs.

Ernesto was terrified, but again Cesar spoke with gentle authority and brought truth that freed this poor wounded man from his thirty year prison.

"The dog that attacked you is dead," Cesar said. "You are not going to be attacked." In other words, forget the past and live in the present.

In that moment, Ernesto faced his fear and became a free man, completely transformed and released, and he went and petted the dogs and walked alongside them without fear.

Many of us are like Ernesto. Memories of past events, traumas, and mistakes live on in our minds and affect how we react to our circumstances today. It may not be a fear of dogs; it may be something more horrific - but a memory can hold you captive, influencing your thinking and the decisions you make.

I want to encourage you in the midst of whatever painful memories may hold you or rob you: God is calling you to look up and see the rainbow. It may seem insensitive or frustrating to think outside of or above your pain, but that rainbow is an incredible reminder for you that God is good, a new day is coming, eventually the rain will stop, and beauty and promise will reign over your life!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rescued From The Island


Well I told you I would reveal the secrets behind the questions to the movie items in Castaway in comparison to what those items would represent in your own life. If you haven't answered the question and have no idea what I am talking about, click here for yesterday's post and read that one first before coming here for the finale.

The first question I posed was what is Wilson represent in your life?

Or the volleyball that Tom Hanks held onto until he was washed away one night at sea and it was a choice for Tom to swim to Wilson and abandon his raft at sea or let Wilson go. He chose the best, and let Wilson go, if he had tried to swim to save him, he would have exhausted himself so much that his death would have been likely.

So what does this question mean to you in your life today? It simply is rephrased as this, who gives me companionship?

My response to that question before I knew the real meaning behind the items was my husband Steve. When I thought about the question, I thought back to the symbolism of the volley ball character Wilson and what that meant to Tom Hank's character in the movie. The one person you'd be willing to risk your life for, and couldn't see your life without. I think it's a great statement of where Steve's value comes into play in my life.

The next question was What is the FedEx box in your life?

Again back to the movie where this is the only box he does not open on the island, cares for it, and makes sure when he is rescued that it is returned to the rightful owner. Many have speculated it contained all he needed to get off the island, but we will never know. The real meaning behind the question is this,

What gives me purpose?

For me it was my computer as sad as that sounds because I saw the item as something I can't do without in my life, and what my life centers around and where you find me most days. Sad because it should represent hope. What gives me hope? Yet knowing that I am encouraging people through blog posts and visiting their blogs, praying for them via emails, and blessing them with wonderful books does give me hope in my life right now. It makes me feel like I am making a difference in the lives of the people I can touch.

The next question is whose image would you draw on the cave wall?

In the movie Hanks draws his finacee's picture over and over on the wall as he counts down the number of days he has been on the island. What the question really means is ...

Who gives me relationship?

My response to that question was God which is a perfect answer since He is the author and creator of everything. I can find no greater answer than that one. He defines what works and what doesn't in any relationship including how to sustain one.

The last question was about the plastic sail Tom Hanks creates to get himself off the island and the question was,

What is the sail in your life? - It means, What provides me a way to overcome obstacles?

Just like the sail was the only way that Hanks could get his raft past the reefs during the high surf, which was the only obstacle keeping him from leaving the island. My response to this question was prayer. It's where I find myself in the midst of my own personal storms or praying for those who need their own way out of obstacles. I cry out to the only one who can help.

I hope this really touched you and I would encourage you to ask these same questions to the people in your life. Their own answers may just surprise you and them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Castaway


Have you ever seen the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks? If you haven't I would strongly encourage you to do so. In fact if you haven't seen it for quite some time, please watch it again after reading this post. I would love to know what you think and hear your answers to the questions I will pose in this post.

In the movie "Castaway" which many people felt was a huge FedEx commercial because Tom Hanks works for FedEx as an account executive that meets with clients for the benefit of saving every minute to make sure things are delivered on time. He carries the latest in today's technology which includes, a cell phone, a pager, watch and probably a planner or calendar but we are assuming it's built in to his phone. He travels a lot! More so than most people could imagine and while struggling to maintain a long term relationship with Helen Hunt who is busy working on her degree in college. Both are very driven people. Yet the one thing that is missing in both of their lives is time.

Probably what most of us want most of in the world. More time! Yet why do we want more of it? To do more things, whether its planning time with family, taking more vacations, volunteering more, getting more work done, and so the list is never ending. Yet God gives us all the same amount of time. So why can some people get more done than others in the same time frame?

It's the amount of stuff in our lives that gets in the way.

Let's strip it down to the basics we need to survive in life. If you found yourself deserted on an island with no one around, what would be the top three things you would need to survive?

For almost every single one of us, they would be food, water and shelter. Clothes will fall under shelter since it's a covering for us to protect us from our environment. Yet once those three things are met, enough food, water and clothing/shelter, what else do you really need?

What are you top three needs? Here are mine!

1. Someone to share the island with. I don't like being alone. I need companionship and I'd rather it be a person.

2. A Bible, since it provides the instruction I would require to keep myself happy with my basic needs being met.

3. A boat just in case the island gets to be a bit too cramped and a way to change the scenery. We all want the option out, don't we. When life gets too overwhelming we want space or a way out. Not necessarily permanent but a time out.

Back to the movie, now for more precise questions I would love to know your answers to besides the top three I just listed after the basics in life are met. In the movie, Tom Hanks finds himself lonely and in need of companionship so the only thing on the island that remotely comes close is Wilson! A volleyball that he creates a person from after an accident that causes him to cut his hand and in a rage, grabs the ball and tosses it from him. In his aftermath of anger, he looks at the ball and realizes it's a face and thus he creates a persona to talk to on the island and calls him Wilson.



Who would your Wilson be on your island?

Tom Hanks being the only survivor of the FedEx plane crash finds boxes of FedEx packages washed up on his island. At some point he stores them thinking he may be rescued soon, but then thinks the possibility isn't likely and begins to open them, hoping that they may help him in his island survival. He doesn't open on of the packages because it contains a pair of wings. In fact, he never opens that package and by the end of the movie actually delivers it to the owner. What is inside, we are never privy to. Why does he do this? What is the significance?

What would your FedEx package be in life?

After too many rainy days and nights trying to live under the shelter he has built on the shore, he manages to find a cave that he can stay inside to avoid the water and winds of the island. When he left his girlfriend on Christmas Eve, she provided him with a pocket watch with her picture inside, his favorite to keep her memory with him wherever he went in his travels. Now stuck in a cave, he begins to draw her picture on the cave wall. Over and over, he studies her image and paint and carves it onto the wall.

What is the picture you would carve on the wall of the cave?

And lastly, after struggling with waiting on the island for over 4 years, he finally decides that attempting an escape beats waiting to die on the island. After uncovering a washed up piece of a Port A Potty bathroom, he decides he can make a raft and use the piece of large plastic as a sail.

What is the sail in your own life?

Each of these four questions provides some insight on what is important in your life current and each of them leads to a very real question. Tomorrow, I will reveal what those insights are in my post Rescued From The Island. For now, share with me the answers to the questions I have posed:

1. Who is your Wilson?

2. What is your FedEx box?

3. What picture is on your cave wall?

4. What is your sail?

I look forward to hearing from you all soon. ~ Kat

The Blessings of The Animals - Review


Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami’s messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage’s great mysteries—and its disconnects.

My Review:

I loved the story that is woven throughout the pages of this novel, The Blessings Of The Animals by Katrina Kittle even though there are elements about it you may not care for. One of these is the gay marriage between Cami's brother Davy to his partner David and their subsequent attempted adoption of a child. This is something that goes against my beliefs but I found that I could still enjoy the story of Cami and her daughter, Gabriella, as they struggle to find a way to keep their farm intact while going through a rough divorce from her ex husband Bobby.

Since dealing with this exact situation in my own personal life, I could relate to Cami's struggle to see her husband leaving and divorcing her as something as a blessing of a life to come. The wonderful parallel between a horse she has rescued from an abusive woman as part of an animal control raid, teaches her through the love and compassion of caring for a wounded horse, that she too can learn to trust and love again. There are so many great parts of this book, between all the animals that Cami gets stuck with caring for when no one else will and besides the horse, Moonshot, is the relationship she has with Muriel her beloved goat.

This story truly is a must read for anyone that has that unique connection with animals and the love that coexists between us and them in our own language of love. I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and would still rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars for the story content.

If you would like more information on this book, the author and where to purchase a copy, please click on the book title below:

The Blessings of The Animals

Also Katrina Kittle will be on Blog Talk Radio with Book Club Girl (actually, with Book Club Girl's co-worker, Erica) on August 26th at 7pm ET? Here's the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/book-club-girl/2010/08/26/katrina-kittle-discusses-the-blessings-of-the-animals.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Technology Overload?


I had the very rare opportunity to go to Disneyland this weekend with my family as a way to celebrate Steve's 42nd birthday. We weren't able to do too much since he is on call during the work week so it's hard to really plan anything on his actual birthday cause we never know if he'll be called into work or not. So we planned a weekend celebration since we haven't been in about 4 years.

Steve is truly worth it since we honestly needed a break from the stresses of everyday life that can really overwhelm you at times. This was a nice change of pace.

The one thing that I kept seeing over and over while we were there while people are standing in line is that rather than talk to the people they came with, they were busy with their blackberries, Iphones or Ipods to really be with people.

People were busy responding to emails, sending text messages or just playing games on their devices while we were waiting in line. Waiting in line for rides, food or just meandering around the park.

It really upset be because it seemed like while people were physically present they were not really there at all. They were wishing to be someplace else with some one else. Why can't these people take a break from technology when it comes to spending time with people any longer?

Have we really moved away from relationships in return for a virtual one?

If I had to base that on what I saw on Saturday, that would be a resounding yes! And yet people wonder why they are so stressed out, taking prescription pills more than every before, and can't sleep at night. They can't turn themselves off. What is it that is worth missing just being with someone anymore? Would these people be any more likely to put their devices away if they were with the ones they were emailing, texting and calling?

I wondered why most of them were really there??? To appease the kids that they simply don't have time for anymore out of guilt? Do you honestly think your child isn't aware of your lack of attention for them at that moment?

We take our phones into the park for emergencies only. We take no calls, send any emails or text messages while we are there. We've been lucky enough to actually need to use a phone when someone has fallen ill or had a serious accident before.

Even our oldest daughter spent the entire day, well at least 80% of it, texting her friends. When we asked why, she told us, "Well I'm just telling them what I am riding, how long the wait is, and what's going on?"

Can this not wait??? How often can we all be at one place just to be with one another to share the day of being a family? Like I said, it's been 4 years since we did this last? Steve worked 95% of the time for the last two years and with people being sick and in the hospital, this was a rare moment.

It saddens me to see people forfeiting personal communication whether it be face to face or even over the phone anymore. With text messaging and emails, its not necessary any longer to stay in touch. Where does that leave us any longer when it comes to making relationships work??

Here's hoping for a solar flare to wipe technology out for a few hours or perhaps a couple of days to remind people just how dependent we have become on instant satisfaction and the things we are sacrificing in lieu of real physical relationships any longer.

I for one, am taking our kids phones away the next time we plan on spending time together as a family! That text, email or phone call can wait. People need to know that they are important, more important than we let them know anymore!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Defense Against The Dark Arts


I can across this email this morning and had to share it with all of you. It never really clicked until today when I realized how deceptive our enemies ploys are in bringing us down on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy! ~ Kat

Counting on Our Vanity and Blindness

The core of Satan's plan for each of us is not found in tempting us with obvious sins like shoplifting or illicit sex. These things he uses more as maintenance strategies. His grand tactic in separating us from our heart is to sneak in as the Storyteller through our fears and the wounds we have received from life's Arrows. He weaves a story that becomes our particular "Message of the Arrows." Counting on our vanity and blindness, he seduces us to try to control life by living in the smaller stories we all construct to one degree or another. He accuses God to us and us to God. He accuses us through the words of parents and friends and God himself. He calls good evil and evil good and always helps us question whether God has anything good in mind in his plans for us. He steals our innocence as children and replaces it with a blind na?vet? or cynicism as adults.

At the same time Satan is at work reinterpreting our own individual stories in order to make God our enemy, he is also at work dismantling the Sacred Romance-the Larger Story God is telling-so that there is nothing visible to take our breath away. He replaces the love affair with a religious system of dos and don'ts that parches our hearts and replaces our worship and communion services with entertainment. Our experience of life deteriorates from the passion of a grand love affair, in the midst of a life-and-death battle, to an endless series of chores and errands, a busyness that separates us from God, each other, and even from our own thirstiness.

Part of Satan's grand strategy of separating us from our heart, once Jesus has drawn us to an awareness of being his sons and daughters through believing faith, is to convince us that our heart's desires are at core illegitimate.

(The Sacred Romance , 107-9)