Bookish fun

813359_book_stack_4.jpgI saw this over at Joyful Reader, who found it at Two weeks from everywhere, and it looked like a fun thing to do. I haven’t done this kind of thing in a while. All links are to my thoughts or reviews.

1. Favorite childhood book?  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

2. What are you reading right now?  The Fruitful Wife by Hayley DiMarco (actually for the second time in a row. I finished it, but it was so full and I didn’t feel I had really grasped a fraction of it, so I am going back and outlining the chapters), Daniel Deronda by George Elliot, and Overcoming Overeating by Lisa Morrone.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?  None at the moment

4. Bad book habit?  Probably buying too many. 🙂

5. What do you currently have checked out at the libraryGulp! by Mary Roach

6. Do you have an e-reader?  I have a Kindle app on my HP tablet and iPhone. It took some getting used to, and I still prefer an actual paper book, but I have enjoyed some electronically. I especially enjoy finding free or very inexpressive e-books!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?  I usually have 2, sometimes 3 going at once.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?  My To Be Read list has grown quite a bit longer! And I probably read things I might not have otherwise because I saw them recommended.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?  Probably The Duet by Robert Elmer. It was not a bad book at all – I just couldn’t engage with the characters. I loved his Wildflowers of Terezin, though.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?  The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?  Occasionally, usually if a book is highly recommended by someone whose judgement I trust or if the subject matter is really interesting to me.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?  Christian fiction, biographies, classics.

13. Can you read on the bus?  I haven’t had occasion to in many years, but the last time I tried it I could. I can read in the car as well, thankfully. I am not a good traveler and reading is the only thing that makes it endurable.

14. Favorite place to read? Curled up on the couch with a throw blanket and something to drink.

15. What is your policy on book lending?  I don’t mind lending books out generally, but you have to be prepared that something might happen to it or you might not get it back. For that reason I might not lend one that wasn’t easily replaceable or had sentimental value or that I had a lot of notes in that I wanted to keep.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?  Rarely.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?  Sometimes.

18. Not even with text books?  Textbooks were my most marked-up books.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?  English – I can’t read any other language.

20. What makes you love a book?  That would take a while to answer…but I guess I’d say I have to really connect with it in some way. Sometimes it is the plot, sometimes one of the characters, sometimes beautiful writing, with the best  books connecting all of those.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? Probably any of the elements mentioned above, or if it is non-fiction, if I found it helpful and truthful.

22. Favorite genre?  Christian fiction when it is good.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?  I can’t think of any I wish I did read more of. There are some I don’t read and have no intention of ever reading.

24. Favorite Biography?  That’s a hard one – I have several favorites. But the top ones would be Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton, By Searching and In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn, and Climbing by Rosalind Goforth.

25. Have you ever ready a self help book?  Oh, sure.

26. Favorite cookbook?  My old faithful falling-apart Betty Crocker cookbook that I have used for 30+ years and the church cookbook put together at our last church.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot.

28. Favorite reading snack?  I don’t usually snack while reading, because I don’t want to get food stains on my books, but I usually do have either a cup of decaf coffee or a decaf Diet Coke nearby.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.  I know I have had that experience, but at the moment I can’t think of any particulars.

30. How often do you agree with critics on a book?  I don’t usually read the critics, but I do peruse reviews as well as that of several bloggers I follow.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?  I feel it is important to give an honest review, whether it is good or bad, both as a matter of character and because people have told me they have bought a book on my recommendation, so I feel a heavy responsibility in what I say about a book. I don’t usually read books that I am expecting to review negatively, but if I find something that troubles me, I feel compelled to mention it, and my readers can take that information and make their own decisions.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?  I don’t know – I really have no desire to learn a foreign language, despite all the reasons I have heard for doing so. Probably Greek, as I’d love to read the New Testament in its original language.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? The unabridged Les Miserables just because of its size, but I loved it.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to beginWar and Peace or Crime and Punishment. I have heard both are good and not as hard to read as one might think.

35. Favorite poet?  Hmmm…probably Robert Frost or Edgar Allen Poe.

36. How many books do you usually have check out of the library at any given time?  1

37. How often have you returned a book to the library unread?  Not often.

38. Favorite fictional character?  Oh wow. That is a hard one. Maybe Aslan. Or Jean ValJean in Les Miserables. Or Mr. Peggoty, the old fisherman in David Copperfield. Or…

39. Favorite fictional villain?  Javert in Les Miserables.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?  Just whatever I am reading at the time, but probably Christian fiction or biographies rather than non-fiction or older classics with older language styles that require more concentration.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. I’ve not gone more than a few hours without having read something, but I’ve gone a day or so without dipping into whatever book I am currently in.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. I’ve seen bloggers mention this name for years and I finally decided to check out one of her books. I had to put this one aside due to quite explicit sexual content. I had no idea that would be in a story about ladies coming together over knitting! Very disappointing as I have seen a lot of bloggers favorably mention her books and they look so good.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?  Other people talking or playing videos on their electronic devices.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novelAnne of Green Gables and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.

46. The most money I’ve spent in the bookstore at one time?  Several hundred dollars – but that was not for myself. 🙂 That was when I was in charge of buying items for our church’s mission closet. For myself – I don’t really know. Maybe upwards of $75…or more….on occasion…

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?  I will usually skim the table of contents and occasionally look at a page or two ahead of time with non-fiction, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise of fiction.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?  Bad language or illicit sexual scenes. Otherwise, if the writing is poor or the characters uninteresting, I keep hoping it will get better and usually persevere til the end.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?  Yes, they are organized by genre and some genres are organized by author name or subject.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? I prefer to keep them, but one only has so much room, so I have to be discriminating about what I keep.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?  I don’t know if I’d use the word avoiding. I haven’t gotten into the Harry Potter books because I just have no interest in them and have stacks of books I do want to read. If my kids had been interested in them I probably would have read them.

52. Name a book that made you angry. There was a book we checked out from the library when my kids were younger that was like a New Age allegory complete with a personal note from the “spirit guide” in the back. Much of it was subversive, and I wanted to destroy it.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? I can’t say I liked The Picture of Dorian Gray per se, but it was fascinating in some respects, and though it wasn’t meant as a book to draw lessons from, I did glean many pertinent observations.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’tIntroverts in the Church by Adam McHugh. I did glean many good things from it, but I expected to thoroughly love it, and instead I found many things that troubled me or that I could not endorse.

55. Favorite guilt free, pleasure reading?  I think about all of my reading could be described that way.

Wow….that was a long meme and took a lot longer to do that I thought it would. But if you decide to do it, too, let me know and I’ll come read your answers.

(Graphic courtesy of the stock.xchng)

Time Management


Susan and I are thinking along the same track this week. She wrote about time management and I was thinking on the same subject this morning. I’m going to copy borrow her idea and share a bit of what I have learned along the way.

1. A process, not perfection. With both time management and household organization, it helps to think of it as a process of growth. If I have as my goal to be perfectly organized and scheduled all the time, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. When I fail or find flaws in my system, instead of beating myself up over it, I can use it as an opportunity to try another approach.

2. Adaptability. No one system works all the time for everyone. We all have different personalities, families, responsibilities — and before we can get fully settled, life changes: we move, the kids become teenagers, etc. Our own system needs to be adaptable through the seasons of life – and sometimes through any given day.

3. Gleaning. Some people find a particular book, person, or system and follow it exactly. I tend to be more of a gleaner: I pull different ideas from different sources. Either way is fine: just use whatever approach works for you and your family.

4. Priorities. It helps to sit down and establish your priorities and then come back and revisit them from time to time. For instance, time with God is a must: if I don’t make that a priority, then I can get caught up in other things and neglect it. For me that means spending time in the Bible and prayer as one of the first things of the day. Also, my husband is the head of the family and I’m a help for him, so when he asks me to do something that crowds out what I had planned for the week, I need to remember that those hours when everyone is at work or school are not my own to do as I please. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it and work something out if there is a genuine conflict, but it does mean I should not be selfish with my time or schedule things without regard to the rest of the family.

We see Jesus exercising priorities throughout His earthly life, but one clear place that shows this is Mark 1. After a busy day of healing and casting out demons, “in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (verse 35), and then when the disciples found Him and told Him people were looking for Him, instead of going back into town to heal more, He said, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth” (verse 38). Healing was one part of His ministry, but the higher priority was preaching the gospel. And spending time with His Father was the first priority of the day.

5. Scheduling. Some years ago I came across a few women online who didn’t believe in scheduling their day: they felt they needed to be open to the leading of the Lord and let Him arrange their time. But being open to the Lord’s leading doesn’t negate planning. James 4:13-17 says, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” That doesn’t say don’t plan anything: it says keep the Lord’s will in mind when you plan.

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have some kind of plan for the day, I’ll just float along and not accomplish much of anything. Ephesians 5:15-16 says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” While not talking specifically about time, obviously a diligent person is busy. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Have you ever had to act in haste because you didn’t plan ahead, and then were impoverished in some way because you forgot something or lost your temper and acted impatiently with your family?

When I was in college, I didn’t know how to plan my time well and ended up rushed, with lower grades because I kept turning things in late. In high school I had stayed up til 1 or 2 a.m. doing homework: that wasn’t an option in a Christian college which required lights out in the dorms at 11 p.m. (and that was probably good for me.) I think it was my junior year that I had a course in time management, and I felt that should have been a freshman course! One exercise the teacher had us do was to try different ways of scheduling. One was a minute-by-minutes schedule: that is probably too tedious for most people, although keeping a journal of how you use all your minutes for a few days will help you see where most of your time is going and help you know what areas you need to improve on. That kind of schedule might be helpful in isolated times, like preparing Thanksgiving dinner, when you need to plan what’s going to be in the oven when and try to have everything ready and hot at the same time, or a program, or a wedding, etc. The next was an hour by hour schedule, and that worked well for college when most of my time obligations were parceled out by the hour. I don’t remember the name for the last one, but it involved broader time frames: morning, afternoon, an evening. That worked well as my children were growing up. My schedule is a bit “looser” in my present season of life.

6. Lists. I couldn’t schedule much of anything beyond the everyday routines without a list of some kind. Lists can be frustrating to some people, but it helps to remember it’s not binding, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t check everything off at the end of the day. It’s a guideline. It helps me prioritize which things have to be done and which I can leave for another day. If I just do things off the top of my head, I may spend quite a bit of time something good but forget something critical.

One of the requirements for each of the schedules I mentioned above was that we keep a list of “5 minute tasks” that we could do if we found a few minutes free here or there, like clipping nails, sorting mail, etc. I’ve expanded that to keep a list of tasks that aren’t urgent but still need to be gotten to some time, and that helps me when I am in a slump and would otherwise gravitate to the computer.

7. Interruptions. Once I started learning the value of scheduling, I would get highly frustrated if something interrupted my day or threw me off course. That’s when I needed to remember the “if the Lord wills…” part of James 4:127, along with, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:8). What helped me the most with this was the realization that Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood right in the middle of going to see Jairus’s daughter. Jairus and Jesus were on their way to Jairus’s home when a woman touched the hem of Jesus’s garment, and Jesus stopped and asked who it was. He was calm and unruffled. Nothing is mentioned about Jairus’s state of mind, but it’s not hard to imagine that he might have been distressed, perhaps even impatient. And then he heard that his daughter died, and he could well have blamed her death on the delay. But Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). And then He brought her back to life, an even greater miracle than healing. Sometimes God has greater things in mind and will get greater glory by what He has planned rather than what we had planned.

8. Don’t compare. My biggest discouragements about my own housewifery came about when I compared myself to others. “How come she gets so much done and I can’t?” “How come she is so much more organized than I am?” I had a friend in early married days with the same number of young children I had, yet she worked part time, sewed her own clothes and her daughter’s, made her own curtains, her house was always (when I saw it) not only clean but also nicely decorated, and she was active in several ministries at church, while I felt like I could barely keep my head above water between dishes and meals and laundry. She was one I most often compared myself unfavorably to. One time she invited our family to dinner, and I realized for the first time that she rarely sat still for long. She was constantly up and down, getting something, doing something, going, going, going. It was hard as a guest to relax because she didn’t seem relaxed. It dawned on me that it was ok that I had a different style and temperament. My energy level, metabolism, priorities, and best time of day to do certain things will vary from others. I could learn from her and from others, and probably should have asked her for some tips, but I didn’t have to try to be just like her or lament that I wasn’t.

Similarly, another friend who was known to be highly organized said one time that she had one type of soup and sandwich for lunch Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and another type Tuesday and Thursday. That saved time planning for lunch each day, but it sounded totally boring to me. If it takes me a little longer to look into the open refrigerator to decide what to have for lunch, that’s ok with me. She also was on a committee involved with doing projects for missionaries the church supported, and she wanted to do the same exact thing for each missionary family: that way she only had to plan once instead of planning something different each month a different missionary was focused. That would be good except that each missionary didn’t have the same type of ministry: some had children’s programs, some were involved in translation work, some ministered to college students. Sending children’s stories would work for the first one but not the others. That’s when I learned that sometimes there are higher priorities than efficiency.

(This is not to talk down about either of these ladies: it’s just to say it’s okay if we each do things differently.)

9. Know your strengths and limitations. If your sleeping habits are regular, you probably have regular parts of the day when you have more energy, and parts of the day when you don’t. Plan accordingly: don’t plan something that’s going to take a lot of mental or physical energy in the afternoon if you experience a bit of a slump then. Likewise, if having people over on Saturdays leaves you too tired for church on Sundays, see if there is some way to rectify that: maybe have guests another night, or meet earlier in the day, or plan simple meals, or do as much cleaning and cooking as you can ahead of time. Hospitality is important, but some people can handle it more often that others. Some people like to constantly have things going on; some of us like time to regroup at home with only occasional outings or activities.

A part of this is learning when to say “No” to certain activities, even good ones, even ministries. Some people say no too easily, some don’t say it often enough. I used to think that anything anyone at church asked me to do was the Lord’s will. Well, one can quickly get snowed under that way. Over the years as I learned more of what my inclinations, gifts, and aptitudes were, I had more of an idea of which ministries to participate in. Sometimes I said “Yes” to something I didn’t really have a desire for, yet I just didn’t feel the liberty from the Lord to say “No,” and I saw Him stretch me out of my comfort zone and enable me in marvelous ways as I learned to depend on Him. Other times I’ve felt no qualm at all about saying no except for feeling bad for the person who asked me, and then saw God bring someone else along who did a wonderful job, much better than I could have: I would not only have robbed the person of the opportunity but the results would have been poorer if I had done it. Part of that discernment comes with time, but part of it is just walking with the Lord and asking His guidance for what He wants you to do.

10. Prevent problems as much as possible. Prevention is probably my biggest watchword in housekeeping: I’d much rather prevent a mess than clean one up. I used to lay my clothes on a trunk in our bedroom when I changed at night, but then they’d be all wrinkled the next day: if I took a few seconds to hang them up immediately, I could maybe wear them again, or if they needed to go  in the hamper, they were taken care of instead of having to sort through them later. Putting something back where it belongs when done with it avoids clutter and avoids losing it. When my family puts dishes in the sink, I ask them to run a little water in them: that makes them easier to rinse when I load the dishwasher later than than if food or drink has dried. If someone pours coffee down the sink, I ask them to rinse the excess off rather than have a coffee stain I’ll have to scrub out later. If I hang up or fold clothes right away after they’ve been dried, I have very, very little ironing to do, plus I am not overwhelmed by a mountain of laundry needing folding. Tossing junk mail away when I first bring the mail in saves having to sort through it all later. Preventing piles of papers by putting them where they need to go immediately is easier than sorting, filing, or discarding them later. Etc., etc. Someone once shared with me the OHIO principle: Only Handle It Once. When it is possible to do that, it prevents much of the need for decluttering.

One thing to remember with all of these is not to get so fanatical about any of them that you drive your family crazy. You have to work not only with your own personality and temperament, but with everyone else’s as well. Gentle requests or reminders are better than nagging, and some things you might have to just let go of or only do yourself rather than insisting on them for everyone. Explaining why you want something done a certain way during a calm moment, not in the heat of a disagreement, might help.

I’ve gone on much longer than I intended to, but I hope some of these things I’ve learned along the way will be helpful for you, too.

What has helped you manage your time?

This post will be also linked to “Works For Me Wednesday,” where you can find an abundance of helpful hints each week at We Are THAT family on Wednesdays, as well as  Women Living Well.


One who has influenced my life

Annette at This Simple Home and Dorie at These Grace Filled Days have teamed up to create Together on Tuesdays as “a casual way to meet and connect with other women” over the summer. They’ve created a schedule of topics to discuss in order to get to know one another better, and the topic for this week is someone who has influenced our lives.

I could name several, but one who has had a significant impact is Mrs. C. I had become a Christian as a teen-ager, and my family was mostly unsaved. On Sunday mornings I would take my younger sisters to Sunday School and church with me, but otherwise I went by myself. My church was my second home, and I think of that time as my childhood in the Lord. The church folks were wonderful to me.

During my sophomore year of college, a new family moved to our area and began attending our church. I met them when I came home for the summer. On Father’s Day several of us were asked to give testimonies about our fathers. I don’t remember what I said except that, with my father being unsaved, there was something missing from our relationship, and I began to give testimony instead to God as my heavenly Father. (If I were to give a similar testimony today I would also emphasize that the Lord had taught me to respect my parents, even when they did things that did not invite respect, and more than that, to love them, and that godly love is the greatest testimony and influence to them.)

Afterward this new family, the C. family, spoke to me. They told me if I ever needed someone to talk to, I should feel free to call them. I warned them that I would take them up on that offer. :) At some point they invited me to their home for dinner, and our relationship just grew from there until I began to think of them as my spiritual family.

I don’t think they took me “under their wing” with a view to teach, to instruct, to be an example — I don’t think they saw me as a ministry or a project. I think they were just extending love. But just seeing the example of a godly Christian home was such a tremendous influence on me. I had always, in all my childhood imaginings of what I wanted to be when I grew up and alongside those other aspirations, wanted to be a wife and mother. After I became a Christian I wanted to have a distinctively Christian home. And in the C. household I saw that lived out. I saw the father’s firmness and headship of his family. I saw the children, though normal and not perfect, sinless children, love and respect their parents. I saw a loving cheery atmosphere. But most of all I saw Mrs. C. — her merry heart, her loving submission to her husband, her gentleness with her children, her creativity and industriousness in her home, her servant’s heart at church, and her interest and care for me. She was the same sweet, cheery, helpful, outreaching person in every venue. I began calling her “Mom” (not to replace my mom — I loved my mom dearly — but in a way different from my mom) and her daughter, who was a few years younger and who happened to look like me, and who later was my maid of honor, my sister. To this day she is “Mom C.” Though Mr. C. passed away several years ago, I still keep in touch with Mrs. C. She remembers all of my family’s birthdays and our anniversary.

I don’t know what I would be and what my home would be without her example and influence. I am thankful for her and I love her dearly.

Backyard fun

The Together on Tuesdays topic last week was backyard fun, but I didn’t post because we don’t have much of a back yard now and haven’t spent much time out there in ages, except when my husband grills food.

But over the next few days, some backyard fun from earlier days came to mind.

I’m not sure how old the boys were when they wanted a treehouse. Just buying lumber from a commercial store was beyond our means at that time, but somewhere Jim found a place with a bunch of old wooden pallets, and he asked for them, took them apart, sanded them, and built a treehouse, compete with trap door. To my chagrin, it doesn’t look like we have any photos of it. But they and the neighbor kids spent hours out there.

I found a couple of other photos of their backyard activities:

These little scooters were all the rage at one time.

They pulled each other around in the wagon, and this time it looks they cooled off by adding water. 🙂 (The boys are mine, the girls are neighbors).

There was a little rise at the back of the property that allowed just enough of a thrill for small boys when it snowed to sled down or use an inner tube, or in a pinch, a flattened cardboard box.

Once my husband built a teepee for them.

I think a few times they camped out in the back yard.

We had a sandbox for several years, and when we got the dog, she was always someone to play with in the backyard. They blew bubbles, played ball, constructed mazes out of big cardboard boxes. They had a kiddie pool at one time.

And the trampoline was a big hit, but the pièce de résistance was when Jim put together some PVC piping and punched holes in it to make a sprinkler for the trampoline:


You’d think the water would have made it slippery, but it actually slowed down the bounciness some. It combined running through the sprinkler with jumping on the trampoline. And it looks like it made a handy water fountain, too.

I had always wanted a swing set, and we never had one, but I don’t think they missed out. 🙂 They associated swings and slides with the park which we visited often in those days.

I enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thanks, Annette and Dorie, for the prompt!

House Tour

Annette at This Simple Home and Dorie at These Grace Filled Days have teamed up to create Together on Tuesdays as “a casual way to meet and connect with other women” over the summer. They’ve created a schedule of topics to discuss in order to get to know one another better, and the topic for this week is where we live, either our local area or our home.

We moved to the Knoxville, TN area almost two years ago, and I promised some blog friends last year I’d post some photos of the house when I got it all together. Well…it’s still not as together as I’d like it, but I decided to go ahead and show it.

First, though, I’ll share a little bit about the area. Eastern TN is a beautiful place. I love the hills and the fact that, though it’s a landlocked state, it has plenty of lakes, rivers, and streams. Knoxville is a manageable city: I’ve lived in both Houston and just outside Atlanta, and it can be such a headache getting around cities that size. Where we live, we’re just a few minutes from downtown in one direction, and a few minutes from rural countryside in the other direction. This is big University of TN country, and though we’re not sports fans, it’s fun to see the team spirit for the UT Vols and even the local high school.

Now for the house itself. I do love our home. I think it is a bit smaller than our old one, though I am not sure about square footage. But it is more compact, so it’s much easier to get around and to clean.

Here is the entryway:

This is the living room — though it’s not quite a full-sized room. But it’s nice if one of us wants to take a book or something when someone’s watching TV or playing video games in the family room.

This is the dining area:

Just off the dining area is this little alcove we’ve made into an office:

I’ve been trying to decide whether to make valances for those windows or just leave them be.

I love my kitchen. This was taken before we bought the house — it looks the same now except for stuff on the counters. 🙂 In fact, that’s why I didn’t take a picture of it as is now: we had a party for Jason last Saturday and a lot of their supplies from it are still there.

All the lights are great for working, but they do get hot on one’s head.

This is the family room:

And this is the other side of the family room, taken from in front of the fire place:

Here’s our bedroom:

And the master bathroom:

The sewing/craft room is the one that still needs some organization, as you can see:

This we call Jesse’s bathroom, though of course it’s not exclusively his. But since he’s the last son at home, he’s pretty much the only one who uses it unless we have company.

And we’re blessed with even a third bathroom, nice when we have company, not so much at cleaning time. 🙂 Sometimes it’s even nice when it’s just the three of us at home. 🙂

Some of you might remember that when we first moved here, our garage was listed as a three-car garage. It was an L shape, and we (I say we — Jim) walled off the “L” part and made another room. We call it the “prophet’s chamber” or Jim’s room. There is a futon in there for company and Jim’s desk, microscopes, telescope, etc., are in there. He put the closet in and sheet-rocked and painted the walls. Some time we need to put carpet in, but there’s an area rug for now.

And that’s about it.

Some of you may remember that our previous house was much more colorful (and girly) — most rooms were painted or had wallpaper on them. Some times these neutral walls seem plain, but most of the time they seem more restful. I don’t know if I’d ever do wallpaper again and since the paint is in good condition, we’re not thinking about painting any time soon.

So that’s our humble abode. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

The Last ‘Week in Words’


Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the Week in Words for some time now, for several reasons. Only a very few people participate in it, and maybe a few more than that read it. I thought I’d be posting more quotes from books, but I tend to want to save those for when I review the book. I have a file where I put the quotes I collect through the week, and the last couple of weeks I haven’t put any in there and have had to go looking for something for the WiW. And sometimes I’ll have something else on my heart I want to post on Mondays, but I don’t like to have more than one post a day.It’s starting to feel more like a chore or a weight than a joy.

I have enjoyed it so much. Those of you who have joined in have provided some good food for thought to start off the week. If someone else wants to take it over, that’s fine with me. If you want to rename it, post it on a different day, or whatever, once it’s yours you can shape it as you want to. If you do, let me know and I’ll post a note to that effect so that others who might want to continue with it will know where to go.

I’ll probably still post quotes from time to time, just because I like them and want to share them. Before the WiW I would occasionally post a handful of quotes on one topic, and I might do that some times.

As for today’s quotes:

This was from Everyday Battles: Knowing God Through Our Daily Conflicts by Bob Schultz which I mentioned before in my review here, but in case anyone didn’t see it:

If you find yourself frustrated because you’re losing, don’t lash out in anger. Discover why you’re getting beat. Let it motivate you to learn new skills or develop more strength.

He goes on to mention wrestling with one guy repeatedly through the years and never beating that guy, but learning things he could use in other matches. I had a similar experience with Scrabble on Facebook: one friend used to beat me every time when we first started, but now I’ve learned some of her tricks and win about as often as she does now. In the larger issues of life, whether a besetting sin or not achieving victory in some area, instead of just getting discouraged, we can ask the Lord for wisdom about what we should do differently. Sometimes we might new new skills or strength or methods: sometimes we might need more dependence on Him.

And this was from Don’t Mistake Doing What You Love With Doing What’s Important, HT to A Holy Experience:

The difference between doing what’s important and doing what you want is that the important stuff is usually harder. It’s not so much fun. It generally won’t fulfill all of your deepest personal longings. Working a boring job to provide your family with financial security often gets a bad rap from motivational wonks who would have us drop everything to pursue our dreams, but I believe there’s something valiant, even noble about it.

That’s kind of the lesson in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (which I saw on TV and was relatively clean but may have been edited for TV). Each had a dream that was never fulfilled as they had envisioned it, and had a job they didn’t really like, but each touched various lives in ways they hadn’t realized. There is a time and a place for stepping out on faith and dropping everything to pursue your dreams, but that’s only under God’s leading. Moses in the desert, David as a shepherd, Joseph in prison, even Christ as a carpenter, each had to be faithful for years in one place before it was God’s time to step into a larger area of responsibility and the ministry they would become known for.

And finally, my last quote for the Week in Words:

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32.

Though I love gleaning wisdom from others, the most important source is the Word of God itself.

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.

Thank you all, once again, for your interest in The Week in Words.

The Week in Words


Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

Sorry to be a little late with this. I try to have it up before bedtime the night before, but we played a new game with the family last night, got done around 11, and my brain was fried. 🙂 It was fun, though.

Here are some poignant quotes from the last week:

I mentioned this one in Saturday’s post, but wanted to highlight it again here. From Praying Past Our Preferred Outcomes.

To go deeper than praying only for deliverance means that we approach prayer not as a tool to manipulate God to get what we want, but as a way to submit to what he wants. ~ Nancy Guthrie

The gist of the article is that we usually pray for deliverance from trials and problems, but sometimes God has something He wants to teach us or accomplish first. Another quote:

What would happen if we allowed Scripture to provide the outcomes we prayed toward? What if we expanded our prayers from praying solely for healing and deliverance and success to praying that God would use the suffering and disappointment and dead ends in our lives to accomplish the purposes he has set forth in Scripture? Scripture provides us with a vocabulary for expanding our prayers for hurting people far beyond our predetermined positive outcomes. Instead of praying only for relief, we begin to pray that the glory of God’s character would be on display in our lives and the lives of those for whom we are praying. We pray for the joy of discovering that the faith we have given lip service to over a lifetime is the real deal. We ask God to use the difficulty to make us less self-reliant and more God-reliant. Rather than only begging him to remove the suffering in our loved ones’ lives, we ask him to make them spiritually fruitful in the midst of suffering he chooses not to remove.

And from the song “See, What a Morning” about Resurrection Day:

Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered!

That’s been ringing through my mind through yesterday and this morning.

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.

The Week in Words


Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

Here are a few that spoke to me:

From ivman:

“If all we show people is our high standards, we offer them no hope.” – Drew Conley

Our standards may be a part of our testimony, but if that is all people see, if they don’t see Christ in our lives, as Dr. Conley said, we don’t offer them hope.

This was actually from a few weeks ago, from With the Word by Warren Wiersbe, p. 609, commenting on Haggai 2:1-9:

Beware that golden memories do not rob you of present opportunities.

In that passage in Haggai, the Israelites were rebuilding the temple after their Babylonian captivity, but it seemed “as nothing” compared to Solomon’s temple that some of them remembered. Yet Haggai prophesied that “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” The Lord of glory Himself would minister in that temple during His ministry on earth. Memories are wonderful, but we can’t let them obscure the present.

Also quoted in With the Word by Warren Wiersbe, p. 591:

“To fear God is to stand in awe of Him; to be afraid of God is to run away from Him.” ~ Carroll E. Simcox

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.

The Week In Words


Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

Here are a few that spoke to me:

From our youth pastor’s wife’s Twitter:

“Worship that is not based on God’s Word is but an emotional encounter with oneself” ~ Erwin Lutzer

And from a friend’s Facebook:

Any attempt to produce love, joy, peace, endurance, and so forth apart from the Spirit of God is reliance upon strategies that are in competition with God. – Jim Berg

They both are similar in theme: our worship and our spiritual lives must be based on God’s Word and enabled by His Holy Spirit, or else they’re just…emotionalism or worse.

From Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s Twitter, retweeted by John Piper:

“Sin has been pardoned at such a price that we cannot henceforth trifle with it.” ~ Spurgeon

If we could keep that perspective, that would keep us from many a misstep, I think.

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.

The Week in Words


Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

Here are a few that stayed with me recently:

Seen at Challies:

“Pride can look like arrogant self-confidence, or it can look like timid self-pity. Real humility is courageous un-self-consciousness.”~ Jared Wilson

I don’t know who Jared Wilson is, but this rang true and echoes a C. S. Lewis quote about humility.

The Ink-Slinger posted several quotes from G. K. Chesterton. A few of my favorites:

“Feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”

“It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.