Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen” - Book review

Cathy Williams was raised by strong women, a grandmother who was an African Queen and her mother, a slave.  They taught Cathy to have pride in her heritage as a “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen,” even as she is torn from her family on a Missouri plantation and sent to work as a cook for the army.  Even as a slave and woman in the civil war, Cathy chooses to keep her strong African heritage and her identity, and refuses to allow her circumstances to change them.  Eventually, she finds herself enlisting as a buffalo soldier and disguising herself as a man.  This book shares a powerful side of the civil war, unknown to many.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hidden Treasures

Have you ever started a project and the entire thing turns into an even bigger project and into something you never thought it would?  Well, this last weekend, I thought I was starting just a small project, and found some hidden treasures along the way.

We bought our house last fall, and right in front of our house, leading to the front door, there are small stones buried in the ground.  They seem to be evenly spaced out, but they were pretty deep in the ground.  I thought they were some stepping stones that had sunk into the ground.  We'd found a bunch of 12x12 inch blocks buried in the back yard last fall. Since the weather is so beautiful, I thought I'd just pop them out.
 Here's what the lawn looked like before I started. 

None of the stones are peeking out more than about 4-6 inches around.
  So, I started to dig.  And dig. And dig!  I found an entire rock path from my front door to the driveway!  It had anywhere from 4-8 inches of sod covering all of it.
The bottom step of my front stairs was even buried!  It's not in wonderful shape, but at some point, we will be doing something to it.
 We moved all of the sod that was there, out to a low spot in the front yard.
We eventually, we plan to dig the whole thing up and put rock and sand under it to even out the path more.  There are a few bricks poking through on the outside edges of the path, so we think it is lined with bricks.  I plan to widen the path and make that front area between the path and the brick flower box into a flower bed.
So, there it is, my hidden treasure!  I'm pretty excited at what a change this weekend project ended up making to my front yard!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Ours for a Season" - Book Review

Years after losing a child and the inability to have more children, Anthony and Marty, Old Order Mennonites, take a friend up on a chance to get away from their close knit community to try to heal their marriage.  Little do they know all the ways that thier one act of desperation can actually bring so many more to a personal relationship with Christ.  “Ours for a Season” by Kim Vogal Sawyer weaves in so many heart-wrenching issues of today, with God’s power to heal: a battle with cancer, loneliness, human trafficing, teen foster care issues, etc.  This story brings together people of different backgrounds and faiths, and through the wonderful healing of Christ not only heals themselves, but begins a new work in Him!  I cried. I smiled. I loved this book!

All opinions from this review are my own, however, I recieved an advanced electronic copy of this book from in exchange for my review.

Professional Reader

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Check the Bucket List: Ukulele

I've always loved learning a new instrument.  Of course in college, I had to study my major and minor instruments for hours and hours, but my favorite classes were learning new instruments!  Prior to attending college, besides piano and trumpet, I had studied drums and guitar, but college really opened so many more doors for me.  I always have a "bug" to learn a new instrument.

In the last few years, my "bucket list" instrument has been the Ukulele.  I've literally studied everything I can about it; from which to purchase, how to teach it, how to play it, etc.  I finally took the dip and bought this beauty!

It took me several months to settle on which one to get and since I don't live near a music store, it was hard to choose, but this Luna Mahogany Mo'o ended up being the one!  I ordered from another seller on Amazon and waited impatiently for two weeks for it to come, to discover that the company cancelled my order and didn't notify me.  In fact, it showed that it was shipped the entire time (and still does)!  So I re-ordered, hoping to have a better outcome. It came in two days!

I really thought that figuring out what to buy would be the most difficult part of learning the ukulele!  Guess what - it's not!  Keeping this fun baby away from my younger children is posing to be the most difficult. They aren't careless or rough with it.  In fact, they treat it like a precious baby. But darned if they aren't learning to play it faster than me! Of course, I can't get it away from them to get my own practice in! 

As a Music Therapist, I have to say that this is truly turning out to be a perfect instrument to introduce to anyone!  It sounds pleasant, it's easy to play (several of the main chords are one finger), and it's makes you feel good.  What more can a therapist ask for?  I can't wait to start my first class.  Oh, and guess what my three kids are getting for Easter instead of candy?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

“Be the Hands and Feet” Book Review

I have read one of the Nick Vujcic’s other books and always find myself sitting at the edge of my seat, so to speak to learn about Nick’s life without out arms and legs.  As before, Nick did not disappoint me in providing a wonderful and inspirational book!  “Be the Hands and Feet” is about God’s call to Christians to go out and share His love and word.

Not only does Nick share his own advice and stories from his life and walk with God, but he shares many stories from every day people and the unique ways they share God’s love with others.  For the new Christian or even the seasoned Christian, this is a refreshing well planned and thought out guide for how to get out there and do God’s bidding.   There is so much information packed in this book that it’s a definite candidate for another read thru (which is saying a lot, because I rarely read books twice!)

Even more meaningful, is Nick and his father’s heart wrenching experiences with illness and death, and how their faith grew.  To be able to read of other’s doubts and reactions in really rough times, gives me hope that even I can keep my faith.  This book packs in so much inspiration and hope for all Christians of all walks, from the newborn Christian to the pastor that I highly recommend “Be the Hands and Feet” for all!

I am doing this review for Walterbrook Multnomah Books in exchange for a free copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Like New Driveway

Before the driveway was covered
Mr. Right and I have been discussing the fact that we have some major potholes in our driveway, partially because we did some work on the part next to the house in order to pour cement and then because we have a lot of vehicles in and out of it.  When my older kids are home, they bring their cars with them, so we have four vehicles in and out, and then I have piano students in and out for two days each week, so we've worn the driveway down quickly (and part of our lawn.
We had fair weather today, and we decided to call and see if we could schedule a truckload of gravel to be dropped on the driveway.  They came in an hour!  That's service!  We actually widened the driveway, so we can park cars two wide.  Eventually, we plan to wide it more and also put in a load up near the house as well.

 This truck driver, knew exactly how to lay the gravel flat in the driveway, and even put extras into the holes at the end of the driveway.  It took very little raking to get it to even out!  It is pretty exciting to not have such a mud pit in the driveway now!  I can't wait for the part next to the house to get a load too!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Valentine’s Happy Mail

I love gifts!  Both giving and recieving gifts makes me the most fulfilled.  I know, there are many that don’t enjoy or value gifts like I do, but hey, I don’t enjoy hugs at all!  Gifts are my form of hugs!  That being said, it doesn’t need to be expensive at all to give my joy!

I have two children in college, so I love to find creative things to send in the mail to them.  Several years ago, I discovered Happy Mail!  The idea is, to find items that are non-traditional to send in the mail.  So, 1-2 times a month, my college kids, get a fun package in the mail, that is unexpected.   Of course, Valentine’s Day affords a great gift in the mail - a tin of chocolates!

For the Star Wars tin, I put: “Join the HEART side!”
For the Minnie Mouse tin: “There are so MINNIE things we love about you!”

I just put address labels on the back side and they go through the mail, just like that!  No box or anything!  I did choose these because they come in a tin and thought it'd be really cute and safe in the mail.

Yes, the are corny, but my kid’s friends fight over them when they see them!  The college students just love them!  It would be so much fun to get this in your mailbox, wouldn't it?