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Creative

It hardly seems possible that I've been doing this for six years, but the telltale links are at the bottom of this post.

I don't really feel up to writing a whole lot today, which belies the word creative, I suppose. I've been in recovery mode from ear surgery #3 inside of 24 months. I took the winter term off from teaching. I have only subbed one half-day. I've been mourning the loss of the possibility of restored hearing, and getting tired of explaining the anatomy of the ear for those who look confused, and yes, pouting just a little bit. I took a break from writing, from blogging, from blog editing and blog team leading at Wives of Faith, and was lazy if you want to know the truth. I read a lot, wrote very little, and tried to spend more time with my family.

This business of life is hard, sometimes. 


I was not really looking very hard for a word to express my theme for 2014. In fact, I was really okay with taking a year off. However, as is the usual mode of themes, i…

Review with Giveaway: Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore

Whispers of Hope is the latest from Bible teacher, author, and speaker Beth Moore.

Publisher's Summary:

Best-selling author Beth Moore addresses how to pray without ceasing and pray effectively in Whispers of Hope, by walking readers through an easy to remember and apply method of prayer, coupled with seventy daily devotionals, and followed by prompts to put this prayer method into practice. In turn, readers will better understand how devotional reading and prayer are central to a stronger relationship with God.

Review:

I received a copy of this book to review recently, and I was surprised at how pretty it is. It's got such a beautiful cover design (photos are mine via my non-smart cell phone!), and the edges of the pages are really uneven and soft.

This book invites writing.

I took another photo of the inside. Each day of the ten weeks of wonderful devotionals has a prayer guide for you to use. To write in. To dig deep and learn much about God and praying to Him. The devotiona…

CFBA Presents Merry Humbug Christmas

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingMerry Humbug Christmas B&H Books (October 15, 2013) bySandra D. Bricker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading…

Where ya been?

This probably seems like a crazy title for someone who purports to be somewhat of an expert in American English language usage. Indeed.

But sometimes, friends, we gotta tell it like it IS.

I've been offline a lot the past couple of weeks (well, I've been on Facebook playing games and stalking friends' holiday photos, but who hasn't?). I have not, as you might wonder, been writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. I started, but then, well, I got bored. I'm not sure why.

So I quit.

Then I had surgery. Again. On my right ear. Again. It's the third ear surgery I have had in the past 24 months.

This time around, I gave myself permission to take time off, to recover. Thankfully my husband was okay with me taking the winter term off from teaching, so other than possibly substituting after my next check-up with the ear surgeon, I am off till January.

I'm also taking a break from most of my volunteering with Wives of Faith. I love the ministry, but it was ti…

CFBA: Paige Rewritten Book 2 in Paige Alder Series

My review is at the end of this post.


This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingPaige Rewritten NavPress (October 8, 2013) byErynn Mangum

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



A few things about her:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Paige Alder is in…

All For a Song by Allison Pittman

All for a Song is a fascinating novel by Allison Pittman. It tells the story of Dorothy Lynn Dunbar, a woman who is used to singing for church, but longs for something more.

From the Publisher:

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing …

Review: Greetings from the Flipside

CFBA presented this book a couple of weeks ago, and I posted that intro here. I received my copy of the book about a week later.

Greetings from the Flipside is a quirky story by coauthors Gutteridge and McKay. I signed up to review this novel because I had totally enjoyed their previous book Never the Bride. I was not disappointed. Quirky is the best word I can think of to describe this novel. Fun, funny, silly, and profound all at once, the story of greeting card writer wannabe Hope is a fun, yet profound, view into the world of a creative woman who feels trapped in her own life.

The best part of the book, for me, is the characters. They're fun and unusual, and yes, quirky. Not bizarre, but certainly not "stock characters" or what anyone would consider "normal" in the usual sense.

The plot twists were enough to keep me guessing, and for an English teacher and avid reader (and sometimes cynical critic of fiction), that's quite a job. But I enjoyed this book,…

Day 31 of Inspiring Quotations

I hope you have enjoyed my 31 Days series of inspiring quotations. I have enjoyed sharing them with you!


October 31:


"No one is useless in this world who lightens the load of another."
Charles Dickens author
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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 30 of Inspiring Quotations

October 30:

"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."
Virginia Woolf, author

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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 29 of Inspiring Quotations

October 29:


"Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time." 
T.S. Eliot poet

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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 28 of Inspiring Quotations

October 28:

"Learn the lines and don't bump into the furniture."
Noel Coward actor and playwright _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 27 of Inspiring Quotations

October 27:

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow."
Alice Walker, author
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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 26 of Inspiring Quotations

October 26:

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.
Eleanor Roosevelt First Lady, writer, speaker _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 25 of Inspiring Quotations

October 25:

"Life is short, but it is wide."
Rebecca Wells, author
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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 24 of Inspiring Quotations

October 24:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
Anne Frank _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 23 of Inspiring Quotations

October 23:

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 22 of Inspiring Quotations

October 22:

"The last of human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
Viktor Frankl _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 21 of Inspiring Quotations

October 21:
"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." Jane Austen
Author _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

CFBA: Greetings From the Flipside

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingGreetings from the Flipside B&H Books (October 15, 2013) byRene Gutteridge

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't w…

Day 20 of Inspiring Quotations

October 20:
"If you're not looking forward, you're looking backward
and you're going to smack into something really hard." 
Uma Thurman, actress _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Class Reunion Series Review - CFBA

You can see the CFBA review of book 1 here. I enjoyed the whole series. I ended up reading them all in a row and really enjoyed the maturing of the characters through the three reunions. I related to bits and pieces of each character. I hope you give the series a try!


ABOUT THE BOOKS


Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren’t exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.

As Priscilla Slater’s 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity… and to flaunt her latest achievement—taking her business to a nati…

Day 19 of Inspiring Quotations

October 19:
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher _____
Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 18 of Inspiring Quotations

October 18:

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
Dolly Parton, singer/songwriter
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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

In case of emergency, please call me

October 17:

For a military wife new to the area, this is one issue that is SUCH a concern. It may not seem like a huge deal, but it really can be.

Offer to be her emergency contact person.

You'd be surprised at how often paperwork of various kinds asks for an emergency contact that is not family. I think you'd also be very surprised at how much your offer to do this means to her.



Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

Link to my other #31Days series of Inspiring Quotations

Day 17 of Inspiring Quotations

October 17:

"Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold."

Zelda Fitzgerald
writer and wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Vehicular Care

October 16:

This would be a great way to help a friend or family  - or if you're really ambitious, make it a church project for all military families, single ladies, etc.

Offer to change her oil.

Or, you can offer to pay for her oil change with a nice little gift certificate or something, too.

Or, you can offer to watch her kids so she can go get the oil changed and grab a coffee and some quiet time in the process.

Sometimes it's the things that seem little to some people, but are a huge monster deal to someone who's already feeling overwhelmed.



Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

Link to my other #31Days series of Inspiring Quotations

Day 16 of Inspiring Quotations

October 16:

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Helen Keller
writer and activist



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

3 Ways to Encourage with Dinner

October 13, 14, and 15:

Dinner plans when the military service member is away can often be hit-or-miss for a busy spouse, especially when she's doing it all with the kids' schedules, working part-time or full-time, or both!

Here are three unobtrusive ways to help your military spouse friend out with her dinner plans.

1. Invite her over, old-school. (If she already started her dinner, have her bring it over like a potluck.)
2. Make dinner and take it over to her house.
3. Give her a gift card to her favorite restaurant so she can go out on a day she doesn't feel like cooking.

Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

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Unspoken by Dee Henderson

I received a NetGalley ebook from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. (UPDATE: I also ended up getting a paperback copy of this book later on in the mail, that I will pass along for someone to enjoy. Thank you to Bethany House.)



Publisher's Synopsis: 

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history. 

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life. 

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or brea…

Day 15 of Inspiring Quotations

October 15:

"The quality of my life is determined by one thing: my attitude toward it."

Nicole Johnson
speaker, dramatist, author



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 14 of Inspiring Quotations

October 14:

"Happiness is not a station to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."

Margaret Lee Runbeck



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

We Get It

October 12:

If you are not a military spouse but have a friend who is, you may have come across a few of those venting blogs. You know the ones. "I hate it when my civilian friend says her husband's business trip is just like my husband's deployment." On the other side of the coin, it's more like this: "My friend's husband is in a war zone and I don't know what to say. I mean, my husband only had to go to Austin, not Afghanistan."

Let me share something with you from my perspective. It's okay to talk to your friend. Because the truth of the matter is this:

Gone is gone.

When the husband is gone, things are not the same. Your heart is in another location, and it makes life harder when the one you share that life with is not at home.

It's okay to talk about it, but it's not okay to make assumptions. You know what they say about the word assume :)


Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

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Day 13 of Inspiring Quotations

October 13:

"Life is change.
Growth is optional.
Choose wisely." Karen Kaiser Clark



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Day 12 of Inspiring Quotations

October 12:

"You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

Eleanor Roosevelt
First Lady, writer, speaker



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Prayer for Patience

October 11:

One way to encourage a military wife friend in your life is to pray for her to have an extra measure of patience. Patience is a tough commodity for your military wife friend, one that is needed often. We military families, who often seem to live by the saying "Hurry up and wait," tend to do a lot of waiting: We wait for news about our husband's promotions, his next school assignment, his next TDY (like a business trip), his next deployment, his next duty station (will we move? where? when?), and the list could go on and on.

Patience would be a welcome commodity in the life of any military wife.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23, (NLT)

Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

Link to my other #31Days series of Inspiring Quotations

Day 11 of Inspiring Quotations

October 11:

"We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
minister, writer and activist



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

The Leaf and Snow Corollary

October 10:

The corollary to yesterday's post about yard work:

It's autumn, so that means if you live near any trees at all, leaves likely cover the bulk of your yard. Another way to help a military wife whose husband is gone would be to rake the leaves in her yard.

During winter, helping with snow shoveling really, really helps too.



Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

Link to my other #31Days series of Inspiring Quotations

Day 10 of Inspiring Quotations

October 10:

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."

Victor Hugo
author



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Yard Work

October 9:

When I asked friends about how best to encourage a military wife whose husband is away for any length of time, the #1 answer was:

MOW THE YARD

You'll give her the biggest blessing with one of the hardest tasks if you mow and trim the yard. If you're a gardener, offer to help weed the flower beds too.


Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness

Link to all the posts in this series

Link to my other #31Days series of Inspiring Quotations

Day 9 of Inspiring Quotations

October 9:

"There is no perfect time to write. There's only now." Barbara Kingsolver, author


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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Please don't say it

October 8

I read a lot of military spouse information online, so oftentimes I'm not sure what content makes it out of the mil-spouse bubble and what doesn't. But one of the least helpful things I've ever heard or read is this:

You chose this life. You knew what you were getting into when you married a __________ {soldier/sailor/airman/marine/coast guard/reservist/guard member}.

Friends, this is not helpful. At all. Because there are many of us who did not marry a military service member. Then there are others of us who got married with stars in our eyes and love in our hearts, and we didn't have any clue what was in our futures.

Just like everyone else.

So the next time you hear a military wife friend express frustration over something with her husband's job, or worries aloud about whether or not her husband's next paycheck will be coming, extend to her a bit of grace. Don't say that least helpful thing; instead, offer to pray with her about her concerns.

Proverb…

Day 8 of Inspiring Quotations

October 8:

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

Helen Keller
writer and activist



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Part of The Nester's #31Days - click to find more fabulousness
To read all the posts in this series, click here.
My other #31Days blog: 31 Ways to Encourage a Military Wife Friend

Let's talk about pets, baby...

October 7

There are many reasons why military families travel. Sometimes there is an opportunity for a pre-deployment or post-deployment vacation together, or an opportunity to visit their extended families. Sometimes the family needs to travel for an emergency of one kind or another. And sometimes, like anyone else, they want to take a special trip for a special occasion. It's not always feasible to take their furry, feathered, or finned friends with them, and kenneling is sometimes difficult to find and expensive, too.

Enter the world of pet-sitting. Dogs and cats and hamsters and fish need attention when their families travel, especially around the holidays. If you're willing and able, offer to watch a military family's pet while they travel. Better yet, if you have older children, ask them to do this. The military family will appreciate having their pet pampered while they're away, and it will cost them a fraction of the cost of a professional kennel.



Part of The Nest…