Random Reflections- IT”S CAMP WEEK!!

lists

It’s camp Week!!!  What does that mean exactly?

That Means two things

  1. the majority  of our children were at camp for at least part of the week.
  2. I am at our camper–Alone.  It’s actually day four of everyone’s time away.  and tomorrow  it’s all over when hubby goes to pick up the last two kids at camp and makes the long drive west to pick me up!

This has been a different sort of camp week for me.  Usually I come and read and write and write and read .  There is usually  a lot of writing going on.  But over the last few months I have to be honest I have been struggling.

Struggling to know what to write and even how to write.  As writers we go through dry spells.  Once upon a time I could link a dry spell to not being it’s God’s word, But that was NOT the lease this time.  This dry spell was different.  So yes I posted two blog posts right at the very beginning of the week BUT that was a book review and just Kinda an easy post, which I love but I have not written a  substantial meaty blog post in quite some time. AND I’m not sure why, and ya know what THAT’s ok!

So lets  get on with my 5 Random Reflections from this week

  1. Here are the state of the children and their counselors when we dropped them off at camp!  They look so happy including the random child who thought it was his job to photo bomb all pictures.  How do I know that he said so!

Camp

This guy only did a half week of camp, because he already did a full week of special needs camp.  He rocked it but he was ready to come home mid-week.  Looks like he might just go to regular camp!  He has made huge strides this year!

crazy 1

This is old hat for Ladybug.  It’s her last year in this age bracket and she turns 12 in less than a week and a half *SIGH*

Crazy 3

And this little guy…it was his first year at cam pAnd he had a ball. Minus the fact he over did it on candy and got sick BUT he didn’t have to come home.

2. One thing I didn’t mention above about my week at camp is I almost always bring art supplies of some form. The last time I was here I brought jewelry stuff and this time it was some water colors.  For the last coupe of years I have been teaching myself via Youtube videos and the like how to use water colors.  Todays break was a 20 minute art Challenge from the Creative Sparks ebook.  I had to set a timer and do an art project in 20 minutes.  a  mama robin I have been watching all week was my inspiration

camp break

I have never painted a bird before so that was all new territory

3.Usually I walk away from this week away with a bunch of writing done, and a bunch of reading done.  I almost become a writing machine and that didn’t happen.  I told hubby about a week ago thatI was considering giving up blogging.  For various reasons.  But the biggest was that I was not sure where God was directing me.  wWe discussed it. and then didn’t mention it again.  But I knew in my heart That this week would be a defining week for me and my blog. And then I got to camp and for four days…NOTHING. Not one blessed thing. And then last night a couple of things happened.  I started reading a new ebook. and I had a phone conversation. And then I woke up this morning late. and I read some more from that ebook and the wheels started turning. and my heart and mind were flooded with experiences and sights and sounds of 38 years in CHURCH.  I didn’t use any specific example because it’s not specific to any one church.  Unless you make it a cumulative American Church sort of thing.I have been in churches from Vermont to Utah and two churches  half way around the world. It just kinda made sense. Check out that post here.

And then something else happened…I had an IDEA!!

4.  For the first time ever I will be having a guest writer every Thursday for what we are gonna call Theology Thursday.  So stay  tuned.  In the next few weeks I will introduce said  writer.

5.  Another thing that is different for me on this trip is  I have this massive list.  It’s kinda reminiscent of the concept of a brain dump.  It’s a list making technique used to unclog your brain. And in all honestly I think I would really need a milk truck dose of Drano to unclog this think tank of mine!   This list contains some pretty crazy stuff.  Stuff that books suggested a question my mom journal thing asked that Got my wheels turning but still don’t have an adequate answer for and so on.  (OH and things that the speakers said! Ha that promises to be an interesting post for sure!)

When it comes right down to it.  I have grown.  just not in the usual expected ways.

and lastly there is a big announcement coming in the next week or so.  Some already know it, and let’s just stop some rumors before they start:

NO I’m not Pregnant

and

NO we aren’t moving!

have a blessed evening!

 

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Jesus, Me and Nehemiah- It’s a Heart Thing

It's a Heart thing

Jesus, Me, and Nehemiah- It’s a Heart Thing!

I have been here in our camper for the last four days. 

Just me…ALONE, me and Jesus that is.  And we have been working.  Yesterday I began reading a PDF book I received in my Ultimate Homemaking Bundle a few months back.  The title is Revival by Christi Gee.  She walks you through portions of the book of Nehemiah where Israel is transformed.  One of her thoughts really struck me and got me thinking…

Christi Says about Nehemiah 8 & 9:

Israel went through a process to experience confession and repentance. In that process the Israelites spent THREE HOURS listening to the law being read  and the history of Israel’s failures and sins by Ezra and that brought them to their knees crying out, confessing to their God for repentance for ANOTHER THREE HOURS! (paraphrased from Revival)

MY THOUGHTS:

It took Israel concentrated and extended time in God’s Word to experience growth and yet in today’s American churches we complain, moan and groan if the pastor goes over his “allotted” 30 minutes by 15. I have even read discussions from pastors on reducing preaching to 15 min total. We as Americans have lost sight as to why we NEED church (Church is for the teaching of believers.  Instruction in how to live the Christian life and encouragement to keep fighting the hard Battle for Jesus!). It’s become a deed we check off our “good Christian checklist” so we can get on with our week. 

There are People groups in this world who “count it  all joy” to be taught God’s word for hours at a time, there are even churches (though they are few and far between) in this country that still sit and listen to their pastor teach from God’s word for an hour or more. We sit in churches week after week and we say to ourselves “I’m so thankful we live in a Christian nation,” when in reality we lie to ourselves, not only about being a Christian Nation BUT being in a Christian Church.   Let’s be honest with ourselves. Churches today look more like social gatherings than sitting at the feet of our teachers soaking up truth because we need it to thrive in our daily walk as believers of Jesus. It was their  fuel that kept them motivated to keep walking forward rather than running and hiding in fear of persecution.   Yes our country was founded on Christian principles, but our forefathers sat in church each week from about 9 in the morning til noon.  They then took a break for lunch and came back for another 2-3 hours of teaching depending on the pastor and time of year. That is what a Christian nation was built on. That was the foundation that was laid. 

(Did I mention that in many of those churches the people stood all of that time and others sat on hard wooden benches with no backs- thats dedication)  

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Book Rview: A Memory A day for Moms- 5 Year Inspirational Journal

Memory

This little book is beautiful it’s artwork is amazing. The copper leaf work is gorgeous.  This little book is a journal with the idea to help moms record memories of the precious little ones.  the cool thing about this book is that ut spans a 5 year time period.  It has 366 prompts. and it has a prayer and a verse for each day of the year and that’s about it To describe this book in lengthy terms is not possible, other than what I just gave you I can say  “and the pages have a bunch of lines on it….Let’s get into my critique!

Pros

It’s beautiful- the color scheme is gorgeous.

It feels nice in the hands (it’s just the right size).

It’s a unique idea….BUT….

Cons

The copper foil used on the cover and spine have significantly worn off since receiving it a month and a Half ago.

What is a memory you want to Keep?

THE PROMPTS- ( when I requested this book I didn’t realize it had prompts.  Had I realized this I may have not requested it at all.) I was super excited about this journal and I showed it to a good friend of mine, a mom of 3 kids.  She loved the idea and opened it up. The very first two prompts she opened it up to were about your husband. now no big deal right but my friend left an abusive spouse and so this is rough on her and this spawned some in depth study.  I counted every prompt there are 12 that mention husband/ spouse.  the kicker is that most of them have nothing to do with being a mom (go back and review the title of the book if you are confused why this is a problem.)

As I began to count those something else occurred to me, so I began to count this too.  Out of 366 days there are 159 days that refer to the mother’s offspring as a singular child.  now I don’t know about you bu most of the moms I know have more that one child. SOOO how do you pick which child you will journal about? So you might say  “well Mary, how many prompts refer to multiple children? 100? No 50? Um no. 20? I wish BUT NO.

5. There are 5 prompts that refer to multiple children with a few others referring to “FAMILY”.  ok I get it you need to reach every spectrum of parents BUT that kind of unbalance????  Seriously?

On a whole I think the prompts are pretty much worthless anyway because honestly they really aren’t about “mEMORIES as the title would suggest. honestly I don’t want the memories of what the kids bedtimes were…THATS CHEEZY in my opinion.

the things I want to remember was that a certain child thought he needed to stand in the toilet to pee in it. (yeah that’s real life in this house) or the first day of camp, or first crush or  cute thing the littles talked about at dinner.

The prompts make the journal feel underwhelming and purposeless. it would be a much better book with out it.

The verses and prayers- Ive never been a fan of prayers written for me.  How about a prayer prompt instead?   Something to make you think and converse with God over.  I think that the Christian writing community has the idea that people don’t know how to pray for themselves.  this was a discussion not long ago amongst some friends.  The general consensus we would rather pray for ourselves so we skip them.  the verse a good idea but put it at the top f the page rather than an afterthought at the bottom.

Overall I give this 2 stars and you got them solely on Aesthetics.  I think you can do much better Thomas Nelson.

A Big thanks to book Look Bloggers for sending me this free copy for review purposes and for letting me write what I really think about this book

 

 

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Crazy- Happy Homemaker Monday- 7/23/2018

To say the last few months has been crazy would be nothing short of a gross understatement.  I sit here alone tonihght in our camper and my head is swimming with all that needs to be done, what I want to get done and what I want to do!

Here’s the thing…What NEEDS to be done is 3 hours from here and I can’t drive! Ha guess I am stuck

What I want to get done is  a ton of reading and writing…..the writing stuff I REALLY wanted to work on…left on my desk…at home …..three hours from here…AND  I can’t drive!!! as for the reading I’m just slightly overwhelmed by how far behind I am (they are my own goals- I should just say …SING IT WITH ME…let it go, Let it Go…..BUT I CAN’T!)

So here I sit doing what I want to do BLOGGING!  I haven’t in such a long time and I miss it more than anyone realizes and yet Life has been so crazy.

So let’s get into this!

The weather:::. RAINY and I love it.  It’s one of my favorite things while at camp is hearing rain on the camper roof

As I look outside my window::: Darkness…..

Right now I am:::  TYPING Duh.  and reading an ebook in between

Thinking and pondering::: about our 3 youngest kids who are at a different camp this week!

On my bedside table::: nothing there is no bedside table here but we can talk kitchen Table : 2 planners, 2 pen cases 7 books 4 notebooks, 3 journals and a trail mix container containing my own concoction of my favorite things

On my tv::: NOTHING (and yes we have a TV in our camper but it won’t get hardly used while I am here alone)

On the menu for this week::: There is no menu for this week.  It is all quick convince foods.  – not the healthiest necessarily but I don’t eat a whole lot this week either.

On my to do list::: read, write , pray, study the Bible, go to or listen to services on the radio

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::: nothing though I did bring my painting/ drawing tools

My simple pleasure:::  chocolate while I write, though it is securely in the closet as we speak because it does horrible things to my stomach if I eat it at night!

Lesson learned the past week::: do not have your kids pack for camp while you are having a meeting AND Always check your son’s bags BEFORE they leave for camp.  I did this at the last minute and I don’t regret it.

Looking around the house::: the camper is neat as a pin!

From the camera:::  3 kids and there camp counselors  (and one crazy random child who wanted to photobomb)

crazy 1crazy 2Crazy 3

Prayer List::: On my prayer list for today are our four kids, three of whom are at camp. our youth group, ladies Bible study and me as I see to grow closer to God this week

Bible verse, Devotional::: I am currently reading about the woman at the well.  and the author I am reading posts out that Jesus intentionally met her there (at the well). He went that way to meet her specifically.  He  had purpose and the author points out the same thing about us.  God is intentional about meeting us where we are.  I needed that so much!

For more Happy Homemaker Monday posts check out Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

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Book Review: I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard

Imagine

Why read the Book

Good evening everyone!  I am sure that most of my readers have heard the Contemporary Christian song “I can Only Imagine ”  written and sung by one of CCM’s (Contemporary Christian Music) biggest groups MercyMe, and maybe just maybe like me you have seen the movie BUT I’m guessing just maybe you haven’t read the Memoir of Bart Millard.  One might ask why should I read the book if I have already seen the movie.  Well let me tell you honey, the movie really is just a condensed snapshot of Bart’s life. The book has far more details and is a fascinating read.

One of the neatest things about this book is that each chapter is titled after  one of  MercyMe’s songs.  and then a snippet from the song.  Bart then takes the  theme from that song and the scriptural truth behind it and weaves in through the chapter.  You are left stunned seeing just how much his life has impacted the music he writes and we like to sing on the radio.

Bart’s Life

Bart’s life would be defined as difficult.  with an abusive father and a mother who leaves her husband and children behind (though not quite how it was depicted in the movie) it would be  understandable Bart rejected any sort of Faith.  BUT God…..had a much bigger plan for Bart! and just so you don’t think that life was all peaches and cream for that Texas boy once “I Can only Imagine” became a hit, you couldn’t be farther  from the truth.    just keep reading as you learn about the struggles that abuse can have on your life even after the abuse is over.  Then there’s the death of a loved one (not referring to his dad) and the lifelong illness of a child.

Bart skillfully writes a poignant autobiography that has you in stitches one minute and reaching for the tissues the next.   and back to laughing just a minute more.  This is the first review I have struggled to write in a long time, except for this time it’s not that it’s bad.  It is because it is soooooo good!  I know I am breaking how reviews are written BUT. this , this is different.  I struggle in what exactly to share only because I want to share it all, but that my friends would be plagiarism, and quite frankly I like to blog!

I’ve also said before that is so very hard to critique ones life story because it is their God-given story.  BUT there is something to be said about the skill level and talent in  writing ones story.  And just like his music Bart has written this  book with great passion, love and sincerity.  One of the greatest things weaved throughout this book is to see his passion for ministry and to reach others with the gospel of Christ.  * if you bear with me I will share a personal experience with MercyMe that exemplifies just that!- yep I said PERSONAL.

What is “I Can Only Imagine”

“I Can only Imagine” is the MercyMe song that talks about what heaven might be like.  It quickly rose to #1 on the CCM charts and surprisingly made big waves on secular radio as well.  It came from Bart’s Mammaw Millard’s statement about what her son was witnessing in heaven – so not only did Maammaw Millard  name the band, she also named their biggest hit.

This is quite easily the best book I have read this year.  It was so down to earth and real I couldn’t put it down.  I seriously read it in a week….and that’s huge for me!  I walked away feeling like I have been Bart’s friend for years.  That is just the way he writes.  Like it’s a conversation!  I walked away being challenged in my faith and to forgive !

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Bart for such a real, open and honest peek into his life.  It is refreshing to know you aren’t alone in your struggles and that those struggles and insecurities don’t go away even when everything appears to be “better”. What an amazing testimony of God’s great love!

Another Amazing thing is the two resources at the end of the book.  The first is  a bible study of sorts.  It’s all about our Identity in Christ with verses that go along with each characteristic. And secondly is a run down on the history of the band….a bulleted timeline if you will.    I found it interesting going through the timeline I learned a lot.

Let’s Get Personal

Now on for my personal story with MercyMe.   First off let me just say I have never met any of them in person, but in October of 2017 we were able to go see them in concert.  We had a ball and they put on a FANTASTIC show (HAPPY DANCE-if you don’t know what on earth I’m talking about go to  YouTube and search MercyMe and Happy Dance, you will NOT be sorry!!) .  But as I said before  they seek  to lead people in worship and to have a personal relationship with Christ.   And that was exemplified through a rare action.  I have been to numerous CCM concerts BUT MercyMe s the only band I have ever seen that has put ALL of their CD’s down to just 5$ a CD. including their newest CD Lifer.   They do it for   Every. Single. Concert.  No joke!

It’s no surprise that I’m going to give this book a whopping 5 stars.

Now go get the book and be blown away!

Thanks so much to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing.  They never expect a positive review just my honest opinion and that is AWESOME!