Fresh Friday – Devotions

Last year, I decided to make the commitment to read through the Bible within the calendar year. I found out how many chapters there were and divided them by the number of days in a year. The number came out to just under 4/day, so I rounded up to read 4 chapters each day (with Psalm 119 taking up the spot for 2 chapters). I marked them off and plotted it out for the calendar year. With that set-up, it landed me at finishing the Bible just before Halloween. That would give me a whole lot of wiggle room if I missed days throughout the year…which I did. In fact, towards the end, I would frequently skip my readings on Sundays.

I enjoyed my reading times. I fit them in to the 1st half hour of my day – plopped down in the corner of my couch with a cup of coffee and read away. I found some amazing chapters that I hadn’t read before, relived some of my favorite Bible stories, found fodder for research throughout the day, particularly through parts of the Old Testament. Some of it was monotonous -genealogies and the rigid Mosaic laws – but some surprised me as being way more interesting than I gave credit for.  I’m really glad that I did this for the first time. I will probably read through the Bible again at some point in the future. I’ve been trying to break it down a little better so that certain days wouldn’t be so overwhelming and the reading pack would be more equal and spread more evenly throughout the year.  It could be fun to read the Bible in chronological order and not just in the Canon. I’ve even joked about reading through alphabetically! Could be fun.

I used an ESV Global Study Bible and I pretty much used it just for my daily reading, but there are some amazing gems of information in there. I love having a historical context for events and traditions. There are so many things that I don’t understand from the Bible just because I live in a 21st Century developed nation.

Now, I have this allotted time each morning which I could easily fritter away with either more sleep or just mindless perusal on the internet before getting ready for the day.  I started looking for devotionals that I could find online to do each day. It is tough! Crosswalk.com has some devotionals, but as I’ve found over the last week, they are not always updated by the time I have my quiet time. In some cases, they are too story-ish and fluffy for my taste. I want Scripture. I want depth. I want substance, not frills and feel-good.

On instagram, I kept seeing some of my favorite grammers posting screenshots from shereadstruth.com. I went through their “O Come, Let Us Adore Him” plan throughout the Christmas season. I LOVED it! On the mobile app (available on both platforms), they have a great layout. Each day has three pages. The first, Scripture. The second, commentary by one of their contributing writers and a cool square graphic with a key line or verse featured which is easy to share on social media. The third, and probably the coolest, are comments from other women readers from all over! It makes this online devotional accessible, real, and so utterly encouraging as you hear tidbits and gems gleaned by other women who are really not so different from us (no matter what we might believe).

Starting January 1st, they began a study on the Book of John. I’ve only done two days of it now, but I’m already pretty pumped to get through it.  Another AWESOME thing they just unveiled, though, is a 365-day Scripture reading plan! It’s right there on the app and, while some of the studies they offer cost a small fee, this one is FREE and allows comments just like the others. I’m all for more organization, especially when it comes to getting more Bible-reading in your daily life.

How about you?!? Do you have a favorite devotional? What do your quiet times look like? Are you a crazy, earlybird (I know for those who have kids, it might be the only down-time you have) or do you just cram it in whenever you have an opening? I would love to hear how YOU get your daily dose of God and His Word.

And if you are struggling with getting this to happen, I would highly recommend adding She Reads Truth to your daily activities. Also, feel free to check over on the Bible Verse Calendar tab at the top of the page. I am humbled that it has been getting a steady stream of hits each day. It includes free printables for a daily Bible verse calendar – each month represented. Heads up that is is US-based in any reference to holidays in the graphics. I’m not very skilled at design, so please be gracious when you see them. 🙂

Happy New Year!!!

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Fresh Friday 11/21/14

Hey everyone!

I’ve had so much going on lately! I’m sure you all are in the same boat. Such a busy time of the year.  We have a shake-up of staff at work so that’s been going on, prep for holidays, and a mother who had surgery at the start of the month. There has been a lot of highway driving to go to the hospital, rehab center, and her place to hang out or to get things prepped for her return home. We (well, really, the Huz) installed a stair-lift at mom’s place for her to get between the 1st and 2nd floors. That was a HUGE ordeal, but after 2 weeks, it’s all finally taken care of and installed. Mom is thrilled. I’m glad that she can be more independent in her home now.

Last night, the Huz and I went to see Interstellar at the IMAX. Oh man! It was beautiful! I want to go into so many details with you on here, but I hate spoilers, so I’ll just give you the highlight reviews. No spoilers.

I mean, everything was beautiful. The plot, the actors/characters, graphics, sound effects, music (Hans Zimmer…great job!), concepts. Just beautiful. They did an amazing job of getting me to relate to the characters and their plights. For the raw content review: no sexuality, not much language, some violence, some intense frightening situations. I would not take a little kid to see it. Apollo 13 was an emotional movie, but this was more intense on that regard. I got choked up and teary in several spots. If you’re worried about non-Biblical philosophies, there was no mention of religion, except for a sarcastic comment about prayer to an object. It was a pure science-fiction movie and one with no agenda besides getting people curious about space again and what could be out there. That was very refreshing.

I am not one of those people who thinks there could be life “out there” in space somewhere. I think the Earth is God’s unique creation. But the universe is so enormous and so diverse! All of it was created to give God glory and I think it does an amazing job of that. I have always had an explorer spirit so the idea of going to see something brand new would be incredible. I would not be able to survive in space though. Yipes! But I enjoy (most) movies that take me there instead.

One comment by Anne Hathaway’s character was so poignant and, I thought, almost a hint of the Gospel, but not quite there. She made a comment that love is something that could not be a survival instinct. Love for the dead especially, but that it must be a kind of artifact of a higher dimension. I whole-heartedly believe that the higher dimension is God. He put the capacity for love in our hearts and it is beautiful.  Anyway, I would highly recommend this film and if you can see it at an IMAX, it is well worth the price!!!

Before heading out for the movie, I had some time to make some cookies. Our local Kroger carries persimmons and I have been dying to find more things to do with persimmons. I found a few cookie recipes on Pinterest and tried of them out. Yum, this recipe is so good!!!

You’re welcome and enjoy!

Fresh(ish) Friday – Imported Posts

Yesterday, I decided that I should finally import some of the posts from my old Xanga blog. It’s a work in progress…I was quite a prolific poster back then, but not all of the posts line up with what I want to present on this blog, so I’m sorting through them slowly.  In the meantime, you can check out the category Imported from Xanga to check out what’s made it over so far. There are a few posts which show the steps leading up to my time in Japan and some posts that didn’t go into my weekly newsletters while I was there. Fun times! I think one of the funnest things for me is that any comments left on those posts also came through. Some are spam comments, but some are from people I connected with long ago. Xanga had quite the community going on over there.

Hope you all have had a great week. Is it as cold where you are as it is here? I saw flurries yesterday and I was NOT happy about it!

Storytelling – My Grandpa

Storytelling is one of my favorite things. I grew up in a storytelling family, well at least on one side. On my mother’s side, we are Italians, and it seems like Italians are top-notch for storytelling – with our hands, especially. Mom has always been a storyteller. She got it honestly from her parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and passed it on liberally to me and my sisters. Growing up, my sisters told me so many stories of their own memories that sometimes I don’t even know which was a true story, something I experienced myself, or something completely made up. Maybe sometime I’ll share stories on here and have you guess if it was true or not.

On my father’s side, storytelling has never been a strong suit, unless it was related to Bible stories. I have never known much of my family history on that side besides what I or my mother experienced herself. I know some of the high points of my dad’s grandparents. During the war, while Henry was over fighting, my great-grandmother worked with other wives of factory-workers in the jobs they left vacant. Leona, along with the other wartime women workers, were honored for their services eventually. That is most of what I know about them. For a long time, I thought that Henry had been hit by a train (not really sure where that even came from) but actually, he died from emphysema developed from years of factory work. Leona lived to be 97, but suffered from Alzheimer’s.

My grandmother, Ann, passed away just before my husband and I started dating. He never got to meet her, but we have spent some time with my grandfather Ed. Like I said, I never heard stories from their past, not really. I think it subtly led to a disconnect between me and that side of the family because we never had those connections. I seldom ever saw them as anything younger than my parents. I seldom saw pictures of them from before they looked like grandparents. It was bizarre, but I can see now how essential storytelling is for connecting across generations. I always felt closer to my grandparents who lived a whole state away from us than the ones who lived in the same town.

Formals031

On a recent visit with my grandpa Ed, we got him talking about life before my dad came around. Life before and during the war, when everything changed for that generation. He grew up in the city and grandma grew up on a farm. He was 17 when he decided to enlist. He went downtown and had himself the biggest, fattiest meal he could and then went to the recruiter’s office. He took his shoes off to be weighed just like the rest of the guys. The recruiter squinted, told him to put his shoes back on and then said he was within weight. Hah!

Grandpa had had some training with repairing radios and whatnot with an after-school job. When he got on his first ship, the skipper said the radio wasn’t working on-board. He pointed to grandpa and said, “Your file says you have radio experience. Go fix it.” Grandpa didn’t have much of an idea what to do, but he went to look at it. Someone had attached a wrong part and he just twisted it a bit and got it to work. He said that after that, he was pretty much gold. Was promoted two ranks and got a raise!

I don’t think he ever saw combat, but he did have some crazy stories to tell about being on ship.

One night he was on deck and noticed a streak in the water coming straight for the ship. He alerted the Skipper who came over and commented that it was indeed a missile probably fired from a U-Boat. He said it would miss them. They watched it. Watched as it shot straight toward them. Watched as it passed under the ship and went off to the opposing horizon. Watched as it blew up as it came up to the surface. That would be crazy!!

He was on the ship that landed troops on Utah Beach at the invasion of Normandy.  He showed us a picture where he and the other guardsmen were walking on the beach right with their ship. The tide had gone out and left a good 100 feet behind their ship stranded on dry land. They had to wait for a few hours for the tide to come back in before they could get back to sea.  There was a great shot of him in his uniform, leg propped up in front of him and his elbow bent towards his knee. He looked sharp! And really, that picture looked JUST like my nephew currently serving in the USAF. What a neat thing!

These stories were new to me. I am hopeful that I can learn even more from him before he’s gone. I hope that I can glean more stories from my family history.

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Today is Veteran’s Day. I am so grateful for those men in my life who have served in the Armed Forces. Whether they saw combat or not, their sacrifice has determined the freedoms I have in life. If YOU have served, are serving, or have a loved one who served in the military, thank you so much!

Midterm Election Voting Tool

This year, WordPress along with The Pew Charitable Trusts has unleashed a great tool to help you find out what you need to know for midterm elections. Just type in your address below and you will be shown your voting location along with voting resources and who will be on your ballot. That’s amazing! For my voting district, it gives me a link to the county Board of Elections website where I can look up any issues that will be on the ballot as well.

Now, that’s all well and good if you’re just looking for the names of candidates, but if you’re doing any research to decide who you will vote for, I would recommend checking out a site I’ve mentioned before:  Project Vote Smart. just type in the name of a candidate and then select the Bio, Votes, Positions, Ratings, Funding, and Speeches tabs at the top for more information. They try to be as comprehensive as possible and biased. The site provides mostly the raw data leaving you to decide what to do with it.

VoteSmart.org

As always, voting is a right under our US Constitution. It’s no good to just complain about things. If you don’t vote, even if you just vote in the Presidential elections, you are not putting your thoughts into action. Educate yourself and then go VOTE!

Fresh Friday – Last 10 on Pinterest

Some recent Pins that have made me happy, inspired me, or just piqued my interest:

via daisiesforviolet.com – How to Finish an Embroidery Hoop. This has been the bane of my existence, finding an easy way to finish a stitching framed in a hoop. I think this is probably one of the easiest I’ve found. Felt at Michaels for $.29/sheet!!

via gardeningknowhow.com – Pruning Pepper Plants

via goodhousekeeping.com – 11 Exercises You Should Never Do

via gardeningknowhow.com – Overwintering Pepper Plants – mine are all tucked into the garage for the winter. Hoping this will help me kick start a harvest when the weather turns for Spring!

via megduerksen and raisinguprubies on Instagram – LOVE anything related to the states and crafting 😀

via kitchenstewardship.com – 20 Ways to Use a Random Half Cup of Pumpkin – I hate wasting that last bit of pumpkin puree after a recipe!

via swingncocoa.blogspot.com – Covered Greenhouse Garden – My goal in life is to have a greenhouse!

via guff.com – 20 Lesser-Known Travel Destinations – yep!

Orphaned baby elephant Themba was unable to feed himself and faced certain death until Albert the sheep provided some much needed company and assurance. The six-month-old elephant was orphaned after his mother died in a fall down a cliff. The pair now spend every hour together at their home in the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

My favorite! Sleeping Beauty! (although the Once Upon a Time version of her was kind of weak…)

You are welcome to find me on Pinterest. There is a quick button to the right of this post, just under the Instagram feed.

See you there!

 

Fresh Friday – Quizzie Edition

So, the big thing going around the interwebs are these quizzes to find out just exactly who you are – in tv, movies, books, philosophy. Yep, you can now know exactly who you are based on just 12 easy questions.  Here are some just for kicks:

You got: Jasmine

Daring and adventurous, you are considered the daredevil or you group. You enjoy having fun, taking risks and living life to its fullest.

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What Kind of Best Friend Are You?

Their partner in crime

You and your best friend have stories for days and you’ll probably still be telling them when you’re in a nursing home together decades from now.

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Silly questions….yes! lol Um, comments are pretty silly too! Read: “I just want a list of all the books! What is the one with the question mark?” Answer: “There isn’t one…they are just using that as a filler for the pic.”  haha

You got: “The Dog” by Joseph O’Neill

Joseph O’Neill, author of the best-selling and award-winning “Netherland” returns with a comic novel set in Dubai. “The Dog” details the post-breakup life of a man who leaves New York for a fresh start in Dubai, but struggles with constant feelings of guilt. Though humorous, “The Dog” is also a profound commentary on ethics and the human condition that will make you reflect as the leaves begin to change color. Publication date: September 9, 2014

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You know Gilmore Girls is on Netflix now?!?!  I’m so excited..totally going to have a binge fest while the Huz is on second shift.

You got: Lorelai Gilmore

(But I’m probably waaaaay more Rorey than Lorelai….yep)

You march to the beat of your own drum — life is more fun that way. Your quick wit and charm draws everyone in your life towards you. You’re not too worried about being on time for events or parties; after all, the party starts when you arrive. You’re self-sufficient, passionate, and a true go-getter.

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The Ultimate Disney Quiz

AMAZING! You are a Disney scholar. (29 out of 29)

You know your Disney animated films inside and out. Now wear your Disney scholar badge with pride.

(I retook it, just because I wanted this picture for the result:)

Pretty good challenge! 😀

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This has been a question plaguing me for the last…two weeks.

Are You More Hipster Or More Basic?

You got: More Basic

You have somewhat traditional tastes, and don’t really care much about being “cool.” You enjoy being part of a close-knit group, and would rather be comfortable and relaxed than go out looking for the hip new thing.

(Oh good. Throw in a PSL and we’ve really got something!)

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Which British Prime Minister Are You?

You got: Neville Chamberlain

Sure, sometimes you’re misunderstood. But you’re a person of substance. You’re consistent, considerate, and on time. No-nonsense, all-business, and always impeccably dressed: That’s you.

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You are Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. You’re a little bit of a conundrum. You probably love to travel and see new things, but you shirk the spotlight and aren’t very comfortable around people. You’re your own harshest critic, but you’re great at solving problems, whether you know it or not. Mysterious and more than a little bit shy, you see music and art as an emotional outlet and important form of expression for the occasionally overwhelming moments in everyday life.

(Yes! Love Tchaik! He’s the closest to Prokofiev I think they could have on this quiz.)

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When you take these things, how close to you think they get? Some are totally silly, but some seem to do a good job of summing up people. If you take the ones above, what results did you get??