Monday, March 18, 2019

Bible Journaling | Scripture Lettering

In a continued attempt to improve my lettering skills, earlier this year I joined in (a few days of) a scripture lettering challenge hosted be Amanda from the Move the Mountains website. There was a short devotional video each day, along with a lettering example.

The topic for this series was "Daughters of Promise", and some of the letterings were short, simple reminders of the topic discussed.

I added these simple reminders in various places near the referenced scriptures in  my journaling Bible. For the blessed reminder below, I used a small piece of patterned paper (and washi tape, of course) as a background because there was some bleed through from the other side of that page.

Other times, the journaling fit better in the margin and worked well with a few bits & pieces (the arrow & hexie in the example below).

I even got brave enough to try lettering on a full page in my interleaved Bible!

While I didn't participate in the entire series, I enjoyed trying out the lettering styles and the reminders of God's many promises to us throughout His Word.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Take Three Thursday | Seeing, Listening, Organizing

Joining in with Mary-Lou's Take Three Thursday, a meme designed to help us notice more of the ordinary of our lives.

Seeing … a creative idea for old paperback books: the covers have been removed & the spines painted white to give the look of wood. Words are stamped on the spines, then three books are bound together with twine.

Listening … to podcasts on my exercise walks around the neighborhood on sunny days. I inadvertently captured this screenshot of my phone as I was trying to adjust the volume on my new AirPods.

Organizing … our to-read books by color. I think this gives us a new (colorful) perspective when we're deciding what to read next.

What are you noticing this week?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Reviews | Book Club Selections

The last three library book club selections I've read are fiction books that are fairly quick reads.



My favorite, and the most interesting read, is Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours. This historical fiction is based on the atrocities committed by Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home from the 1930s to the 1950s. Children from poor families were stolen (right off their porches or while walking along the street) or signed over to the home's custody (by parents who were lead to believe they would be able to retrieve their children at a later date) and then sold/adopted out to rich families (or in some cases given to law enforcement officials for looking the other way). 

Before We Were Yours is told from alternating perspectives. In the present day, we meet Avery Stafford, a young lawyer who is being groomed to take her father's Senate seat. A chance encounter with a resident at a nursing home (during a press conference) leads Avery on a quest to find our more about her grandmother Judy, who is currently in an elite nursing care facility and suffering from dementia.

Back in 1939, we meet Rill Foss, the oldest sibling of Queenie and Briny, a young couple who live on a shanty boat on the Mississippi River. When Queenie goes to the hospital because she's having trouble birthing twins, Rill and her brother and sisters are taken from the house boat to the Tennessee Children's Home. As this story alternates between Avery's life of wealth and privilege and Rill's struggle to keep her siblings together, we are introduced to a myriad of other characters and situations that kept me wondering until well into the book how the stories would eventually intersect. A great, although disturbing, read.


At first, I really didn't like My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. The story is divided into two parts: "Book One" follows Katie Brenner's life in London, where she works at a marketing firm. She's struggling to make ends meet, is trying to change who she is to better fit in to the London marketing scene, and is faking a perfect life on her Instagram account by snapping beautiful photos as she wanders around London. Honestly, she's not very likable; however, in "Book Two", she returns home (after being fired from her job) to help her dad and step-mom open a new glamping retreat. Here, she's more in her element and able to just be herself. She's much more likable, although the story takes some unbelievable routes (as she gets even with her old boss). At our book club meeting, we had a great discussion about social media, glamping, and not judging others by appearances.


The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is the story of a widower living in the UK and begins one year after the death of his wife. As he begins cleaning out her things, he finds a charm bracelet that he's never seen and ends up going on a search to learn more about her life before they met. This is a quick easy read, although not quite believable. Arthur is in his 60s and is retired from a job as a locksmith, but he seems somewhat naive as he absentmindedly rents a bed in a hostel in London and spends another night sleeping on a vagabond musicians' couch. Then there's his visits to Graystock Manor where a tiger mauls him, the French writer who turns out to be gay, and the jewelry artist who wouldn't return his phone calls. I like the concept of the story (searching for the meaning behind each charm), but the somewhat unrealistic turn of events made this too much of a fluff read for my tastes. 

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Well-Planned Surprise

When I learned that my twin nieces would be reading The Hobbit as part of their homeschool curriculum, I volunteered to re-read the book and have weekly FaceTime discussions with them...and it was so much FUN!

Our first meeting began with a discussion about J.R.R. Tolkien and how he originally wrote/told this story for his children. We looked at the Wilderland map showing the various locations Bilbo and the dwarves traveled through in Middle Earth and Thror's map with the finger pointing to the secret door to enter the Lonely Mountain. 

Each week, we discussed several chapters in-depth, then went through the questions and vocabulary in their workbooks (which we'd usually already covered in our discussions). The seventieth anniversary edition of the book (which I was reading) has a dustjacket with Tolkien's original three-color jacket design, as well as his illustrations throughout the book; so, we also discussed how these resembled or changed the way we imagined the scenes as we read. One week, I had the girls read the dialogue between (the dragon) Smaug and Bilbo that took place deep inside the mountain, and they did a fabulous job bringing that scene to life!!

As we neared the end of the book, I called my sister and we planned a surprise for the girls. We had our final FaceTime scheduled for a Wednesday afternoon, and they were all set up in one of the back bedrooms, waiting for my call. Unbeknownst to them, I had been on the road all day so we could have our last meeting in person! (It's been over five years since the last time I surprised the girls with a visit!)

My sister went into the room ahead of me and captured this fabulous group of photos as the girls turned around stunned when I walked in, then jumped up in excitement for a big hug.

It was so much FUN to discuss the final chapters of the book with them in person. I'm thrilled to report that both of them thoroughly enjoyed the book. They had each taken notes to keep all the characters (especially the thirteen dwarves) straight and their insights and understanding of the plot and theme and the various conflicts was excellent.

After a delicious dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate their 14th birthday, we stayed up late that night watching the 1977 animated movie based on the book.

This 90-minute movie is a very shortened version of the story, much of it told through narration and/or from Bilbo's perspective. We paused the movie quite a few times to discuss the differences between the book and the movie, especially how disappointed we were that they left out the entire chapter about Beorn (and his animals serving the meals) and did not even include the Arkenstone (and its impact on Thorin and Bilbo's decision to give it to Bard). We also discussed how we could see the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien's illustrations for the animations in the movie and that the words to the songs were directly from the book.

If you've been reading here for a while, you know that I enjoy reading and discussing books, and it was even better being able to share a book I really like with these two beautiful young ladies! And, this well-planned surprise visit made it even better!

Have you planned any surprises lately?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Take Three Thursday | A Blimp, A Stack of Bibles & A Box Lid Idea

Joining in with Mary-Lou's Take Three Thursday, a meme designed to help us notice more of the ordinary of our lives.

On my exercise walk earlier this week, I spotted a blimp! Robbie says growing up in the Akron, Ohio, area, it was common to see the Goodyear Blimp flying around. However, it's rare to see one here in the DFW area. This one was advertising Carnival Cruise Lines.

As I was snapping a photo to show the size of my Interleaved Bible versus my journaling Bibles, I was reminded of my tendency to read and enjoy the New King James Version. Although we have Bibles in quite a few translations (including an interlinear one with the original Hebrew and Greek), I gravitate to the NKJV when I begin studying or reading a particular book or topic.

At a card class a few days ago, I noticed that the instructor had the supplies for each card (inks, stamps, bling, sample card) separated into small box lids. This made it easy to keep the supplies together and transfer them from one group to the next. I'm definitely going to remember this idea!

What have you noticed this week?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Take Three Thursday | Mixed Media Quote Canvases

Joining in with Mary-Lou's Take Three Thursday, a meme designed to help us notice more of the ordinary of our lives. However, I'm cheating a little bit and sharing three collages instead of three single photos today. 

Yesterday I had the privilege of volunteer leading the monthly craft class at our local library. We created mixed media quote canvases using a variety of products and quotes or scriptures.

It's always FUN to meet up with Rebecca and get everything set up early. The library offers these classes free on a first-come basis, so we never know for sure how many to expect.

After a few gray, cold, rainy days, the weather turned nice and the sun came out yesterday, so we had a wonderful group of seventeen ladies. After I shared a few tips and directions, I was blown away by the creativity as they set to work.

Here's a peek at a few of the completed canvases.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I really enjoy our library and the variety of activities they offer each month!

What are you noticing this week?