Sunday, October 17, 2021

Book Reviews | The Gospel You've Never Heard

Having grown up in church and accepted Christ as my Savior as a young child, then becoming a Bible study leader and teacher and starting my own teaching/speaking ministry as a way to encourage women to dive into the Word and use their creativity to draw closer to the Lord, I was intrigued by the title of Maurie Daigneau's new book, The Gospel You've Never Heard. I've had a personal relationship with the Lord practically my entire life, and, during that time, I've heard lots (lots!) of sermons and Biblical teachings, I've read through the entire Bible myself many times, and I've done quite a bit of in-depth study in groups and on my own; so, I was curious to see what/if this book had something new to share.


This is an extremely well-written and researched book with clear and deliberate wording. However, it is in-depth and requires a slower read (and definitely merits a re-reading) and quiet reflection on the information presented. The reader is reminded of scriptures encouraging us to get understanding (Prov. 4:7) and to abide in the Word (John 8:31) so that we can know and understand the information presented in the gospel. We're also reminded that "the priority of life is to be a consistent reflection of the glory and holiness of God."

The author has done a fantastic job searching and studying scripture and (I believe) spending time with the Lord; however, he reminds us that it's important for each of us to open the Word to discover and confirm the truths he presents for ourselves. He continually points to the Bible and our Lord as the source of all truth, yet there's lots of surveys that show very few people actually spend time in the Word anymore. Each chapter ends with a few Questions for Reflection or Group Study, which are designed to help the reader truly ponder the materials. One example demonstrates the importance placed on time in the Word: Does the amount of time you currently spend in the Bible validate it as a priority in your life?

I especially like the analogy that presented our life as an automobile. When we are born, we are in our car ... and so is Satan (as we are all born with a sin nature due to Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden). At the time that we accept Christ as our Savior, the Lord/Holy Spirit enters our car as well. Unfortunately, Satan doesn't get out of the car, but we can now choose to relegate him to the backseat and allow the Lord to take charge and drive the car. However, many of us often continue to let Satan sit in the front seat!

If you're wondering whether this book has something new to share ... yes and no. Honestly, I didn't find any of the revelations completely new as I have been fortunate over the years to attend many Bible teaching churches. However, this book addresses some issues that are common misconceptions in many denominations and does a fabulous job of placing the focus on understanding what the scriptures actually say by including context and etymology of the Greek and Hebrew words that have been translated (in numerous versions). He consistently points out whether the scripture passages are addressed to unregenerate ("the condition of spiritual bondage into which all human beings were born") or regenerate (born again Christians) persons. The discussion of the various words and definitions for knowledge/knowing and eternal life were especially enlightening and thought-provoking.

So, while I didn't personally find anything in this book I'd never heard before, I did find it presented in a logical, Biblical-based format that makes me want to dive into the Word, pull out my concordance, and review the meanings of some of the original verbiage. And truly that's my definition of a good Christian book - it points us back to the Word and makes us want to learn more so that we can draw closer to the Lord and walk according to His plan for our lives!


(Note: I'd like to thank the author, Maurie Daigneau, who sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

Friday, October 1, 2021

SPSH 2021 | A Few Snaps

In all honesty, I didn't do a lot of intentional searching for the items on this year's Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt hosted by Mary-Lou. However, I had the list in the back of my mind and as I've been processing photos from the past few months, I discovered I actually captured quite a few!

1. A Breakfast of Champions - Anytime I say I'm having the "breakfast of champions," it really means I'll be enjoying two of my favorite indulgences. Obviously I can't start my day this way very often, but as an occasional treat, it really satisfies. I snapped this photo in early September since it's a very rare treat these days.


2. Favorite Time of Day - Honestly, I'm not much of a morning person, but Robbie and I have been getting up early to walk most days and I thoroughly enjoy our time together in the morning sunshine. During the week we get in a 20 minute walk in our neighborhood, but on the weekends we're venturing out for longer walks.  I snapped this photo last weekend on one of the trails at a local nature conservancy.


3. Something To Represent Home But Not The Building - Anytime we've been out of town, the Dallas skyline signals that we're "home" ... although technically we live a few towns north of Dallas. I snapped this photo as we were returning home from picking up our great-nephew Andrew for a visit in late June.


4. Head In The Clouds -  I snapped this photo as we sat out on our back patio and watched the light clouds being pushed away by the dark clouds of the weather front that brought some much needed rain in mid-August.


5. The Art Of The Fold - For an illustration in one of my hymnals, I used a cross template folded to fit in the center crease. This allowed me to use gelatos around the edge to create a cross outline on my pages. I snapped this photo in June during our niece Paige's summer visit. She used the same template to create a similar illustration in her journaling Bible.


6. Something That Makes You Laugh or Happy - When our great-niece Mariah was here in June, she and I spent a day baking and cooking. She also covered a composition book with scrapbook papers and created pages with photos and stories from her visit. This page about our cooking mishaps makes me laugh remembering the FUN we had and it makes me happy that she took time to record all the details.


8. Window Views - Every view (inside and outside) of the windows at our favorite bed & breakfast in Mineola, Texas, is amazing. This window perfectly frames the beautiful roses Robbie ordered before we arrived for my birthday weekend in July.


12. Something That is Cause for Celebration - Seeing Mama and our niece Paige enjoying the scrapbook I created last year definitely makes me smile and want to celebrate this hobby of scrapbooking.


18. Upside Down, Right Side Up - Our great-nephew Andrew checking out one of the life-size animatronic dinasours at the factory we toured in June.


Alternate A: COVID Safety - Waiting at the airport to pick up our great-niece for her summer visit and give our great-nephew a hug as he changed planes on the way to his mom's for the summer.


Did you participate in this year's hunt? How did it go?

[Sending a huge thanks to Mary-Lou for hosting another FUN hunt this year!]

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Scrapbooking | More 2-Page Scrapbook Kits Available

During my summer break, I did quite a bit of scrapbooking, including creating several new 2-page layout kits for our local scrapbook store (which also offers online ordering).

It was so much FUN putting these together and using some of the tools I hadn't done much with in a while. 

I'm still using my original small Cricut machine, which works great for creating title letters and embellishments like the ones on this Sweet Baby Girl layout.


I pulled out a couple of small dies and used the Cuttlebug Embosser and Die Cutter for the stars and footprints on the It's A Boy page.


And a large leaf die worked perfect for this Fall layout, along with a leaf border punch.


I pulled out a couple of rarely used stamps (journal box with lines & the word JOURNEY) to complete this yellow and brown layout that uses two inch by two inch squares along the bottom.


What older tools have you pulled out to create with lately?

Monday, September 27, 2021

Book Reviews | Healthy Living

Once again this year, my reading has leaned heavily toward really good fiction. However, as usual, there have been a smattering of healthy living books that I've read as motivation to make healthy choices.

A few were quick reads:
*21 Days to Better Fitness is a thin book that I've had in my personal library for many years that's filled with nuggets of wisdom for healthy living. One of my favorite quotes from this book states that "Reading articles and books on nutrition and exercise is an excellent inducement because it increases your knowledge of fitness and helps you maintain motivation." (You can read other quotes from my previous review HERE.)
*The Mayo Clinic Diet is a practical guide to losing weight by incorporating healthy eating and exercise habits while eliminating bad habits that sabotage progress. It is easy to read and offers recipes and menu suggestions as well as tips for overcoming challenges and obstacles that arise.
*I borrowed my physical therapist's copy of Bulletproof Your Should
er as I continue to strengthen my shoulder after a previous injury and frozen shoulder earlier this year. It was a concise look at the shoulder muscles with specific targeted exercises for the shoulder. (My physical therapist is amazing and I have been following her guidelines and exercises for the past six months and have regained all range of motion and eliminated almost all pain in my shoulder!)

By far, the most informative book I've read has been Master Your Core: A Science-Based Guide to Achieve Peak Performance and Resilience to Injury. This is an extremely dense book in form and content. The book itself (which I received free from TCK Publishing in exchange for an honest review) is a paperback that feels dense when you pick it up; it's well bound and hefty while not being over thick or unwieldy. The material is extremely well-written and easy to read, but it is filled with science facts, medical terms, and a wealth of information that makes it a slow read.

The author, Dr. Bohdanna Zazulak, is passionate about helping each person develop core strength and control in order to avoid injuries, build strength and improve overall health. Her Core BASE System involves Breathing, Awareness, Stability and Empowerment and incorporates an integrative holistic approach that involves mind, body and spirit. Rather than jumping into a list of exercises designed to strengthen the core, Dr. Zaz begins with an explanation of the importance of core strength and the research behind the system she has developed. She then begins with basic breathing exercises and meditation, posture improvement, and finally to lists and charts of exercises designed for maximum core strength and overall health. This was a good read that I'll definitely be referencing again as I work on strengthening my own core.

Do you read healthy living books for motivation to stay on track with your health goals? Which ones have you found most helpful?

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunday Musings | Have You Been With Jesus?

As we were heading home at the end of vacation a few years ago, Robbie said to me, “Your southern accent really came out these last few days.”

I hadn’t realized it, but it was easy to slip back into that distinctive Delta drawl when I was around my extended family in Mississippi (despite having grown up and lived in Texas for over 40 years now!). Just spending time with Aunt Betty and Uncle Adrian and my cousins brought out a dialect I rarely use. The words I spoke and the way I spoke them made it obvious who I’d been hanging out with; and, the more time I spent there, the more I sounded like them.

Similarly, when Peter and John were arrested and brought before the leaders to explain by what power they preached and healed, it was obvious who they’d been hanging out with. Peter spoke boldly proclaiming that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the one that healed and offered salvation … and the leaders knew they had been with Jesus.


Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. ~Acts 4:13

Before Peter and John were arrested in Acts 4, they had spent three years with Jesus and then had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. It was obvious to those listening that they had spent time with Jesus!


Wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time we spoke, others were able to tell that we had spent time with Jesus!

We don’t necessarily have to be boldly preaching or quoting scripture defending our faith. Maybe we display a sweet spirit and offer encouraging words to a friend in need or have a calm demeanor and comforting thoughts to share during a crisis. Maybe we show love in all our words and deeds and give the Lord credit for our many blessings.

But just like my Mississippi drawl is only evident when I’ve spent time with my family, the fact that we’ve been with Jesus will only be evident when we spend time with Him and His Word.

As you go about your week, take note of the time you spend with Jesus and ask Him to let His light shine boldly in your life so that others will know you’ve been with Him.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

God Hasn't Changed (Virtual Bible Journaling Class)

The theme of the 1994 Nederland (Texas) Heritage Festival parade was “Flash Back to the 50s.” The Twin City Church of God entered a flatbed float with a young “preacher” wearing rolled up jeans & a cardigan sweater at the podium in front of his teenage “congregation” balancing on wobbly wooden pews and wearing poodle skirts, saddle shoes, jeans and white t-shirts. Old-time hymns blasted from speakers, and the hand painted banner read, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” It was an overcast day with a few glimpses of sunshine … and it’s a favorite memory of mine from the time I served as volunteer youth director in the church where I’d grown up.

I remember discussing the scripture in Hebrews 13:8 with the teens as we painted the words on that long banner. We talked about how clothing styles had changed and which music we should play/sing to go with the 1950s theme. I don’t think any of us could have imagined the many changes we’d see in the following decades – from clothing to hair styles to technology to globalization to the increase in megachurches and the advent of social media to living through a worldwide pandemic.

Yet, one thing remains the same … our Lord has not changed. He truly is still the same yesterday, today, and forever.


While I was on my blog break, I announced my next VIRTUAL Bible Journaling Class and there's still time for you to sign up! This class will be presented live via Zoom, so you can join in from anywhere as we dive into the Word and use our creativity to draw closer to the Lord. (Times listed are CDT.)

God Hasn’t Changed
Virtual Bible Journaling Class presented via Zoom
September 17 or 18, 2021 (Friday or Saturday)
10am – 12:30pm
$25

Join me for a virtual Bible journaling class in September as we take a look at the importance of understanding and acknowledging His never-changingness in a world that is ever-changing. Your class fee includes Biblical teaching, illustrated Bible journaling technique demonstrations and ideas, a printable notes handout and a traceable image.

Please note:
* This class will be presented live via Zoom. Due to the interactive nature of these classes, replays are not available.
* Your spot is reserved once payment is received. The link to the Zoom classroom and the notes handout will be sent separately as we get closer to the class date.
* There is not a supply kit for this event. However, I will be sending a list of items you may want to have on hand during the class. You’ll definitely want to have your Bible and a pen on hand. Otherwise, I encourage you to use what you have available as you illustrate what the Lord is showing you through His Word.

Click the appropriate link below to reserve your spot today!



BTW - If you or someone you know could benefit from attending a class but the cost would be a hardship at this time, please contact me!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Goodbye Summer!

Labor Day weekend always feels like the end of summer to me, despite the fact that it doesn't officially end until September 22. So, as I wave goodbye to summer and end my blogging break today, here's the story of our summer 2021.

As vaccines continued to roll out, most businesses returned to normal operating hours, coronavirus case numbers declined and travel restrictions eased, we were cautiously optimistic as summer began. The month of June was similar to many past years as we enjoyed summer visits from our 11-year-old great-niece Mariah, 16-year-old niece Paige, and 11-year-old great-nephew Andrew. During those visits, we ventured out a bit, still practicing social distancing and wearing masks (not counting the couple of times I took one of the kids ice skating). It was a FUN month (except for those two days without air conditioning as we waited for the repair part to arrive).



Truly hot weather arrived in July, and we were able to escape for a weekend get-away to our favorite bed & breakfast to celebrate my birthday. Our suite was lovely and we enjoyed the Country Gourmet Breakfasts, Artesian Grazing Board, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and Picnic Basket Lunch prepared by our friend Carol, the best innkeeper ever! Robbie had also called ahead and had a dozen roses and specialty birthday cake waiting when we arrived. We were the only guests at the B&B, so we were able to relax in the common areas and at the swimming pool as well. It was a much-needed and enjoyed get-away.


As July came to a close, the number of Delta variant cases began to increase throughout Texas and across the US. August brought news that my step-grandmother passed away from Covid, a flare-up of Robbie's back pain that resulted in several doctor visits, and the decision to cancel our planned trip to Ohio over Labor Day weekend. Honestly, I had a couple of weeks of the doldrums, feeling discouraged that we're still dealing with this pandemic and disappointed that we're not comfortable planning any travel for the foreseeable future. The news of fires and hurricanes and controversy over masks in schools and the rising number of children in ICUs obviously did not help my disposition.

So, we retreated to our habit of staying home except for weekly forays to pick up (curbside) groceries and the occasional library book. The heat (temperatures close to 100 degrees) kept us mostly indoors, but we were able to complete a few projects (cleaning out, decluttering and reorganizing a couple of closets and updating the layouts and display on our Memories shelf) and try some new recipes and watch several great movies. Plus we had a nice lunch and visit with Mama & Daddy this past weekend.



Don't worry - there was also lots of scrapbooking and crafting, the scheduling of Bible journaling classes (all virtual so you're welcome to join in from anywhere), and other bits & pieces that I'll be sharing about in future posts.

Throughout the summer, I've been scrolling blogs & commenting occasionally, but if I've missed anything you think I'll especially enjoy, please share in the comments & I'll pop around.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Hello Summer!

Memorial Day weekend always feels like the beginning of summer to me, despite the fact that it officially begins on June 20, so I'll be taking a break here for a bit as I get out and enjoy the longer days and beautiful sunshine (in between all the rains and storms we're having)!

Happy Summertime Y'all!

May Every Day | Remembrance Sunday (UK) ~Guest Post by Ruth

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

As we celebrate Memorial Day and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country here in the United States today, please join me in welcoming my friend & today's guest blogger Ruth from London, England, as she shares about a similar day celebrated in the United Kingdom.

__________

In the UK, Remembrance Sunday is commemorated on the nearest Sunday to the 11th November (that date being the day the Armistice was signed in 1918 signalling the end of the Great War). It’s an important date in our nation’s calendar.

The country’s main focus for commemoration is at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Her Majesty the Queen is present (although she no longer physically lays a wreath) and is joined by senior members of the royal family, all ranks of the military and politicians.

At the same time, across the country in cities, towns and villages, communities come together at their own war memorial. When the clock strikes 11am, there is a two-minute silence followed by the sounding of the Last Post.


We attend our local war memorial in West London and The Boy usually wears my old RAF beret. I place a memorial cross in remembrance of Flying Officer Roy Stewart Wilson – you can read why here.


Remembrance Sunday is how we unite across faiths, cultures and backgrounds to remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Thanks to Melissa for inviting me to write a guest post; I hope you enjoyed it. You can find me blogging at: thiswestlondonlife.com and on Instagram as: @thiswestlondonlife.

__________

Thanks for this wonderfully informative post Ruth! I hope we'll be able to meet up in person again one day - in your country or mine.

And thanks to each of you who have popped in and left comments as we've celebrated and observed a variety of days & weeks throughout this month!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

May Every Day | National Photography Month

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

What better time to focus on your picture taking skills than National Photography Month? This celebration of all things photography was first organized in 1987 by the American Photographers Association. Photography plays a huge role in modern society and it has become easier for everyone to enjoy this hobby with the advent of digital images and smart phone cameras.

Photography allows us to preserve memories, capture the beauty around us, tell stories, share things with others, see changes over time, etc.



With our cameras or smartphones, we can capture the big picture or focus on the details.


We can snap photos quickly to capture a moment or activity, while other times we can carefully compose a shot (and take numerous snaps to get just the right one). If you haven't already done so, be sure to slow down and capture, enjoy and share some photos this month!

Monday, May 24, 2021

May Every Day | Victoria Day (Canada) ~Guest Post by Mary-Lou

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Please join me in welcoming my friend
& today's guest blogger
Mary-Lou from Ontario, Canada.

__________

Wikipedia says this about May 24th – Victoria Day:

Victoria Day Victoria Day is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada's ten provinces and all three of its territories. Initially set to honour Queen Victoria's birthday. It is informally considered to be the beginning of the summer season in Canada.

The holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845, originally falling on Victoria's actual birthday (May 24). The holiday has always been a distinctly Canadian observance and continues to be celebrated across the country. It falls on the Monday between the 18th and the 24th and so is always the penultimate Monday of May (May 24 in 2021 and May 23 in 2022).


As time changes connections, Canada is no longer an annex of the British Empire, but a willing member of the Commonwealth, the Victoria Day weekend informally took on other names. It’s now either the May Long Weekend or fondly referred to as the May Two Four weekend. Two Four, 2 4 refers to the size of beer container many/most people purchase at the start of the weekend, a case of 24 beer bottles or cans.

In Ontario, May long weekend is also the date we use as calendar marks for things like when to plant our tender annual plants and vegetables, as it is unlikely that after this date, we will get snow and/or heavy killing frost.


It is also the weekend that for many signals the wearing of white shoes, you stop after Labour Day in September by the way. There are lots that don’t follow this “rule” & wear white shoes any time they feel like.

For many, May 2 4 weekend signals the time to open the cottage after a long winter season, hence the need for beer substance. It is also the weekend that begins the camping season, which is also when the black flies appear on mass and torment all. These tiny little flies have a big bite, which can cause great swelling and pain at the bite site. If you have never been tormented by these little nasties, consider yourself truly fortunate.

Fireworks, for the May weekend is a hotly debated/argued pro/con issue. It is the first of the three big holiday weekends that fireworks could be called for. The other two long weekends would be for Canada Day in July and Labour Day in September. It is written, in most community by-laws, that Monday is technically the only day of these holiday weekends you can use fireworks, but it seems that many ignore that … I’ll say no more.

Besides the fireworks debate over the weekend, the other hotly contended debate, even within civilized families, is who makes the best potato salad. If you Google potato salad you get back hundreds of recipes, all with little subtle differences. I can settle this argument right now, my Mother’s recipe makes the best, ever!

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have a pair of white sandals to find and a potato salad to make.
__________

Thank you for this delightful and informative read Mary-Lou! I hope you are having a wonderful Victoria Day/May 2 4 Long Weekend!

Did you know today is also National Scavenger Hunt Day? Each summer, Mary-Lou hosts a Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt on her blog. It's always FUN, so be sure to pop over and check out this year's list - the hunt begins June 1.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

May Every Day | National Taffy Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Today is the day to celebrate taffy, that sticky sweet chewy candy that comes in many colors and flavors. It is made by boiling sugar, molasses or corn syrup with butter (and other ingredients), which is then pulled until it's porous and glossy.

My favorite place to get taffy is at La King's Confectionary on the Strand in Galveston, Texas. This wonderful candy store and ice cream parlor is always on my list of places to visit when I make it to Galveston Island. Along one side of this deep store is a soda fountain with a wide variety of ice cream flavors to choose from. The other side houses long cases of chocolates and candies of all colors and varieties. A taffy-pulling machine is set up near the back of the store. If you're lucky when you arrive, there's might be a taffy pulling demonstration going on - stand back and watch for a bit and the candy maker just might toss you a taffy!


Then it's time to browse all the baskets of taffy and choose which flavors to take home. A few of my favorites are vanilla, cotton candy, and watermelon.

Do you like taffy? What's your favorite flavor?

Friday, May 21, 2021

May Every Day | National Strawberries and Cream Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Today we celebrate another delicious snack - it's National Strawberries and Cream Day! Typically this means fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream; however, my favorite "recipe" for strawberries is what I affectionately call "Central Park Strawberries."


I first had this delicious dessert when my friend Elinor and I traveled to New York in May of 2001. A friend met us late one evening in Central Park with a bag of strawberries, a container of sour cream, and a sack of brown sugar. I was terribly disappointed because I don’t didn’t like sour cream and I thought we were going to visit one of the numerous dessert spots in New York.

However, when I grabbed a fresh strawberry, dipped it in the container of sour cream then into the sack of brown sugar, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was absolutely wonderful! As we strolled through around the park and through Columbus Square enjoying the beautiful evening and watching the general hubbub that is New York, we dipped and ate and dipped and ate until the entire bag of strawberries were gone and we were well satisfied!

Of course, anytime I've visited New York since then, I run into one of the grocery markets around Central Park and grab some strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar. Then I/we wander around and enjoy this tasty treat!


What's your favorite way to eat strawberries?

BTW - It's also Strawberry Month, so if you weren't able to enjoy some today, you still have time to celebrate this yummy fruit.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

May Every Day | National Be A Millionaire Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines millionaire as "a person whose wealth is estimated at a million or more (as of dollars or pounds)." Collins Dictionary says, "A millionaire is a very rich person who has money or property worth at least a million dollars." The term millionaire was first coined in the 17th century when there were only a few individuals who had amassed a net worth of a million dollars. Today there are millions of millionaires around the globe.  I remember reading something a few years ago about millionaires here in American - the majority of them have a net worth of between one and ten million dollars and are your typical next-door neighbors.

Be a Millionaire Day is celebrated on May 20 each year and honors the desire to be financially secure. There are many ways to celebrate today - take time to review your financial situation and future goals, open a savings account, set up regular contributions to a retirement plan, create a budget, etc.

Over the years, I've read numerous books on personal finance and Robbie and I use a budget and financial planner to help us progress toward our goals. I've even taught Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course to adults at church and teenagers at a private school. However, the first and best piece of advice that I give anyone who asks me about finances is found in the following scriptures:

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it."
~Malachi 3:10~

"Give, and it will be given to you:
good measure, pressed down, shaken together,
and running over will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure that you use,
it will be measured back to you.”
~Luke 6:38~

I believe wholeheartedly that we can never out give the Lord and following His command to tithe is the best thing anyone can do to increase their financial security! Many financial planners will recommend paying yourself first, but the Bible says, "Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine." Tithe first, pay yourself second, then watch the Lord provide all you need with what's leftover!

How about you? What's your best financial advice for those seeking financial freedom?

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Upcoming Class | Esther's Time Virtual Bible Journaling Class

I'm excited to announce my next VIRTUAL Bible Journaling Class! This class will be presented via Zoom, so you can join in from anywhere as we dive into the Word and use our creativity to draw closer to the Lord.

Did you know that the book of Esther in the Old Testament is the only book in the Bible that does not mention God? However, He is ever present in this story that can rival any fiction thriller on the market – it has a hero, a heroine, a villain, a plot to overthrow the government, women's lib controversy, a nationwide beauty pageant, lots of eating, drinking & celebrating, a beautiful palace setting, irony, humor, intrigue, revenge, and suspense.

Join me for a virtual Bible journaling class in June as we take a look at how Esther captured the hearts of all who knew her and how she prepared for the most dangerous step of her life.


Your class fee includes Biblical teaching, illustrated Bible journaling technique demonstrations and ideas, a printable notes handout and a traceable image.

Please note:

* This class will be presented live via Zoom. Due to the interactive nature of these classes, replays are not available.

* Your spot is reserved once payment is received. The link to the Zoom classroom and the notes handout will be sent separately as we get closer to the class date.

* There is not a supply kit for this event. However, I will be sending a list of items you may want to have on hand during the class. You’ll definitely want to have your Bible and a pen on hand. Otherwise, I encourage you to use what you have available as you illustrate what the Lord is showing you through His Word.

* I have previously taught classes on Esther – if you attended one of these classes, some of the devotional materials will be the same. However, I will be doing a fresh study of the book of Esther in preparation for the class and will have new Bible journaling pages and ideas to share.

Click here to reserve your spot for the FRIDAY class!

Click here to reserve your spot for the SATURDAY class!

(This class has ended; please check HERE for upcoming classes & events.)

May Every Day | National Devil's Food Cake Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Devil's food cake is a moist rich chocolate layer cake. It tends to have a darker color than a regular chocolate cake and is topped with chocolate icing. There are many recipes for this delectable dessert, some dating to the early 1900s, so the "devil's food cake" is often used to describe any super chocolatey cake.

Since today is National Devil's Food Cake Day, it's the perfect excuse to do a little baking and enjoy some chocolate cake!

Any day that involves chocolate cake is a good day in my book! How about you?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

May Every Day | International Museum Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Since 1977, the International Council of Museums has organized International Museum Day to stress that "museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples." It is celebrated on May 18 with museums around the world participating.


It's been a couple of years since we've visited a museum, but here are a few of our favorites.

MoMA in New York City - Some of the highlights for me were seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night, the art of Andy Warhol, and Monet's Water Lilies (which have their own room).

Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas - You can view the museum's collections online HERE.

Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas - One of our favorite places to take friends and family of all ages. There are several virtual exhibit resources HERE.

Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam - When we visited Amsterdam several years ago, we thoroughly enjoyed this museum that showcases the numerous ways the Dutch resisted Nazi occupation during World War II.


The National Gallery in London - I've been in this museum three different times so far, and there's still so very much I haven't seen!

These are just a few of our favorites. Many museums now offer virtual tours or online views of their collections, but I'm looking forward to the time when we feel comfortable traveling and visiting more museums in person!

Which museums are your favorite? Please share in the comments!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

May Every Day | Armed Forces Day

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

Here in the United States, we have three holidays focused on our military men and women. These holidays are often confused and many times the meaning of each is lost in the celebration of a long weekend or the excess of retail sales or the beginning/ending of summertime. However, they each serve to honor members of the United States military.


Armed Forces Day honors Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. This holiday was established in 1949 and stemmed from the unification of all the branches of the military under the Department of Defense. It is celebrated the third Saturday in May. This is the day to thank those who are currently serving our country.

Memorial Day honors those who gave their life while in military service to our country, particularly in battle or from wounds suffered in battle. It is celebrated the last Monday in May. This is the day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Veterans Day honors all those who have served our country whether in war or peacetime. It was originally called Armistice Day and is celebrated on November 11. (Because November 11, 1918, is considered the end of World War I, many countries have some sort of military observance/celebration on this same date.) This is the day to thank living veterans for their service and their sacrifices.

Do you know anyone currently serving in the military? Be sure to thank them for their service today!

Friday, May 14, 2021

May Every Day | Get Caught Reading Month

May Every Day is a series of (almost) daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

The Get Caught Reading campaign was founded in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers and actually runs all year long, with May being designated as Get Caught Reading Month. It is designed to encourage people of all ages to enjoy books and magazines and to share the pleasure of reading with the young children in their lives. This is definitely my kind of celebration!

I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading something, and I love sharing about books here on the the blog, reading books to children, discussing books with others, participating in book clubs, and using books to teach.

In fact, one of my favorite traditions involves reading. The first time I meet a new niece or nephew (or now great-niece or nephew), I read them a book. I think I started this first-time-meeting-tradition when my twin nieces were born in 2005, although I read many (many!) books to the older three before that time. That first meeting has taken place at different times for each of the kids, depending on family schedules and traveling distances. I've done first-time reading to preemies in the NICU, babies a few months old, a toddler, and even a 10-year-old (who joined our family when her mom married my nephew).


Of course, I keep reading to them anytime I get the chance! I'm always happy to read something the kids/teens are reading so we can discuss it. I've been known to have the whole family act out a book I'm reading at get-togethers, and last year I even read some Christmas stories over Zoom!


Yep, this is definitely my kind of celebration!

Did you know about the Get Caught Reading campaign? Who will you be sharing your love of reading with this month?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

May Every Day | Twilight Zone Day

May Every Day is a series of daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

When I hear this introduction coming from the TV (or laptop or iPad), I know immediately what Robbie's watching: 

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone first aired in 1959 and many of the original episodes can still be viewed on TV, Prime Video, Netflix, etc. These shows are a unique combination of sci-fi, mystery, horror, comedy, and superstition. It's completely bizarre at times, but the old black and white thought-provoking shows stand up to the test of time.

Two of Robbie's favorite episodes are Time Enough at Last (the story of a bank clerk who loves to read but can never find the time, until he is left completely alone after an H-bomb attack) and It's a Good Life (starring Bill Mumy who also played Will Robinson on Robbie's all-time favorite TV show, Lost in Space). This show is definitely not for the faint-of-heart, but if you're willing to travel into the bizarre and horrifying dimension known as The Twilight Zone, here's a scene from It's a Good Life where 6-year-old Anthony controls everything. (If you're reading this on email, you may need to click over to the blog to view this video.)


We'll be watching a few episodes of The Twilight Zone on Netflix this evening. How about you? Will you be entering The Twilight Zone today?

Monday, May 10, 2021

May Every Day | National Shrimp Day

May Every Day is a series of daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

As I've been researching all the interesting and significant days this month, I've discovered that quite a few foods and/or food groups have special days associated with them throughout the year. Today is National Shrimp Day, which is great for us because we enjoy a good meal of shrimp (grilled, fried, sautéed, scampi, stuffed, shrimp cocktail, etc).

One of our favorite shrimp memories occurred years ago at Pier 99 in Corpus Christi, Texas. We were on a long road trip and had arrived at this coastal town starving after a long stretch of highway with very few dining options. We strolled down the beach a little ways from our hotel to Pier 99 Restaurant, which sits "just right ... on the water." Literally, we were sitting by the restaurant's patio fence enclosure with the beach on the other side and the Gulf of Mexico waves rolling in several yards away.

I laughed out loud when Robbie said he was going to get a hamburger, one of his go-to orders. I said there was no way he was going to be sitting on the beach at one of the best seafood restaurants around and eat a hamburger! He, of course, immediately saw the logic of enjoying seafood in this seaside setting, so we ordered the Shrimp Bonanza to split.


We thoroughly enjoyed the huge platter that included "hoss size jumbo shrimp, sautéed shrimp, blackened shrimp, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, cole slaw, cob corn, new potatoes & toasted French bread!"

We won't be having quite that many options tonight, but shrimp is definitely on the menu for supper here. What will you be enjoying this evening?

Sunday, May 9, 2021

May Every Day | Mother's Day

May Every Day is a series of daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday here in the US to honor mothers. To celebrate Mother's Day today, I'm sharing a short video of the School Years scrapbook I created for Mama late last year.

Mama had her school portraits and reports cards, plus some extra bits and pieces, and I had a FUN time putting them together with a few stories. (If you are reading this on email, you may need to click over to the blog to watch the video flip through of Mama's album.)

Mama was thrilled with the results, and I snapped a few photos when I delivered the album to create a layout for our 2020 chronological scrapbook.

Happy Mother's Day to Mama 
& all the moms out there today!
Hope y'all have a great day!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

May Every Day | National Have a Coke Day

May Every Day is a series of daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

This is my kind of day - National Have a Coke Day! I can't remember when I started drinking Coca-Cola, but it has been a constant in my life as long as I can remember. Even in the 1980s when I was a pre-teen, I knew that the company was making a mistake with that New Coke formula! I realize it's not the healthiest of habits, but I do enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola most days. 

There are, of course, quite a few options for enjoying a coke - iconic glass bottles, fountain drinks, plastic bottles, over ice, with ice cream to make a coke float, and (in other countries I discovered) with a lemon. However, my favorite way to enjoy this beverage is straight from an ice-cold red can!


If you haven't seen it in a while, here's the classic Coca-Cola commercial filmed on a hilltop in Italy in the 1970s, along with a 1990 reunion.


I do hope you'll find time to enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola today! 

[BTW - It's also Coconut Cream Pie Day. I checked the pantry and it looks like we have all the right ingredients, so Robbie assures me we'll be having a slice of pie to go with our coke this evening.]

Friday, May 7, 2021

May Every Day | School Lunch Hero Day

May Every Day is a series of daily blog posts for May 2021 sharing days and weeks that we celebrate or observe. Some of these days are well-known holidays while others are more obscure observances, some are celebrated internationally while others are more nationally focused, some are significant while others are just plain FUN!

I had no idea there was something called School Lunch Hero Day until I started researching this series, but I immediately knew what I wanted to share when I saw it! Robbie's grandmother worked in the school lunch room of a junior high school for many years. We have a couple of her school portraits from that time, so I used inspiration from Shimelle's Half and Half class to create a layout about her and the little pizzas Robbie likes to make.

Robbie's journaling reads: In the 1950s and up to sometime in the late 60s, Grandy worked in the lunch cafeteria at Sill Junior High School in my home-town of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She was always an excellent cook, and I like to think my ability to cook and bake, as well as my talent for ‘creatively cooking,’ comes directly from her! She and the other ladies were responsible for feeding hundreds of junior high students daily, and she would come up with several unique recipes from time to time to add something a bit ‘extra’ to the then-standard daily school fare. Several of those recipes were favorites of mine (and my brother Tommy) back when we were young … and still remain so to this day. One recipe was for what she called “Little Pizzas,” which I call “Grandy’s Little Pizzas” for obvious reasons. It is made up of ground beef, ketchup, water, sugar, breadcrumbs, and oregano all cooked together and then scooped onto sliced English Muffins, covered with a slice of American Cheese, and put in the oven for 10 minutes or so. These things are addictive and are one of my favorite ‘comfort foods’ to this day. I probably make them about half a dozen times a year – with the majority being made on Sunday afternoons during football season, or if Tommy happens to be in town. When I was in elementary school and then in Junior High (long after Grandy had already retired), they still served the same “Little Pizzas” every so often – they were called “Pizza Burgers” by that time, but it was the same recipe for years until it too was finally changed. Nevertheless, I’ve been making them myself for nearly 50 years and the recipe was probably more than 20 years old by the time I started making them myself. I think Grandy would be pleased to know that Tommy and I still make them (and enjoy them) to this day. (~Robbie~ May 2021)

I love that we now have this story preserved in our scrapbook of Robbie's family stories! Have you scrapped any memories of older generations lately?