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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Antonio Meets His Match: It's About Loving Your Neighbor DVD

I was provided this DVD free by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review here on the blog. 

Max Lucado, Hermie and Thomas Nelson have done it again!  My four year old and I sat down and watched Antonio Meets His Match today and it did not disappoint.  We own one other Hermie DVD and I was excited about getting this one for review.

Based on Luke 10:27b ("Love your neighbor as yourself".), Antonio is forced  with deciding how to handle his new neighbor who has moved into the garden.  This new neighbor is Angus O'Reilly, the Kilt wearing, bagpipe playing red ant.  Through a series of exchanges with Angus and conversations with God, Antonio is challenged an encouraged to love his neighbor.  I was especially pleased with the reminder that loving your neighbor is more than just putting up with them.

This DVD did an excellent job of presenting the truths of scripture and addressing attitudes of the heart on a level a child can grasp.  The cartoon short "Caterpilla", which was included on the DVD was a delightful reminder of Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

My only criticism would be one regarding a technical issue.  I initially went looking for the cartoon short in the bonus section, but it is included in the chapters section making it more difficult to find.  On the positive technical side, the DVD has the "auto-start" features allowing a little one to watch the DVD by simply inserting the DVD into the player.

I give this DVD five stars, because I find it an excellent aid in helping me guide my children into having a biblical worldview.  And the little guy, well he gives it "two thumbs up"!

This DVD can be purchased at Amazon. 

Coram Deo,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes and other advice from an unlikely pastor's wife

A couple of summers ago, I had the huge blessing of a trip to San Antonio, TX to attend a Living Proof Live Event (Beth Moore) and meet some of the friends I had made through blogging.  Lisa McKay was one of the girls I roomed with on that trip.  She was the sweetest thing; so real and so funny!!!  It was a great time to get to know her a little bit.  At the time she was working on a book.

Guess what?  She finished her book and it can be purchased through LifeWay Christian Resources.  This would be a great gift for your pastor's wife!  (This is not intended as a hint for you Northside readers, I promise!)  Really!

I have been reading Lisa's blog, The Preacher's Wife for a couple of years now.  I'm telling you, she is the real deal!

The link to more information about her book can be found by clicking on the button in my sidebar.

Coram Deo,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Stirrings

While I was pregnant with JennaBeth, I came across this video.  I was connected with Jason French, the author of the song, and he graciously sent me the lyrics to use in JennaBeth's baby book.

In honor of Right to Life Sunday, here is "I'm Holding a Miracle" by Jason French:

Also, if you missed my post with the video telling Patrick Henry Hughes' story, you can find it  here. 

Both videos uphold the strong view and concern for life that Jesus had and we should have also.  That's just what we covered in Sunday School this morning as we looked at four passages out of the book of Mark.  Jesus didn't give in to the ideas around Him about how to treat people.  Despite the costs to Him, He had great compassion and concern for the plight of those around Him.  

One of the passages we looked at was Mark 10:13-16.  Here's the verse that spoke to me loudly; it was verse 16:
"And He (Jesus) took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."
In my prep to teach the class I found this in a commentary:
"The form of the Greek verb rendered 'blessed' conveys continuous action and presents the picture of Jesus unhurriedly placing His hands on each child in succession and invoking God's favor on each one."
Scripture doesn't tell how many children there were, but Jesus took the time to bless each one.  What compassion and tenderness our God has!  I want to have that kind of compassion towards those God places in my path!

And then my sweet husband shared this verse from Nahum 1:7 during our worship service tonight:
"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him."
My heart has been breaking for the people of Haiti this week, especially as I have thought of the many children separated from their moms and dads and all those children in the orphanages.  I almost can't stand to think of the suffering of those families!  And I've been wondering a specific scripture to pray over this concern and I found it tonight in Nahum 1:7!  I'm praying that the people of Haiti will find God in the midst of the rubble and will become aware of His care for them.

On the subject of Haiti, please be in prayer for Tchella Civil.  She is the wife in the family mentioned in this post
She and her husband both have been in touch with their families in Haiti.  They are all alive, but have lost their homes.  Tchella will not be able to get a flight into Haiti until the 26th.  She is going there to make contact with her family and asses their needs.  Please pray for the following:
  • Travel safety for Tchella to and from Haiti
  • Ease in being able to find her loved ones once there
  • Tchella's safety while in Haiti
  • Northside Baptist Church as we help this family during this crisis
Coram Deo,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Primal Book Study

I am joining one of my sweet blog friends Jenilee over at

my awake journey

as she leads us through a study of the Mark Batterson's latest book "Primal:  A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity".  I won a copy of this book from Angela when she was giving away a copy on her blog Refresh My Soul.  Thank you Angela!

Mr. Batterson is the Senior Pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC.  I've never read anything written by him until now.  I have to say that the first chapter of this book has me interested in what he has to say!

The scriptural premise of the ideas he presents in the book is Mark 12:30:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Batterson calls this the Primal Commandment and asks those reading to think of it as love to the fourth power, a love worth living for and dying for.  As I considered that last part, I thought not so much of physical death, but of the kind of dying to self Luke 9:23-24 calls for:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." 

There were several things he said in chapter one that really struck a chord with me.  I'll present them in the form of questions I'm asking myself:
  • Have we diluted the truths of Christianity and settled for superficialities?  Have we accepted a form of Christianity that is more educated but less powerful, more civilized but less compassionate, more acceptable but less authentic?
  • Those around me know what I'm against, because I can be quite verbal about that, but do they know what I'm for?
  • I can get real worked up about confronting what's wrong with our culture, especially since I'm raising three children, but am I willing to be humble enough and honest enough and courageous enough to repent of what's wrong with me?  
  • Does my heart break for the things that break the heart of God?
  • How maybe have I lost my soul while serving God?
  • Not that things like the methods of ministry we use are wrong, or the traditions we follow are bad, but have we complicated Christianity?
  • Mr. Batterson says, "God calls us to simplicity on the far side of complexity.  For that matter, He calls us to faith on the far side of doubt, joy on the far side of sorrow, and love on the far side of anger. So how do we get there?"
Mr. Batterson says we get there by "being great at the Great Commandment".  
I'm tying to evaluate as I read on through this book, with the help of the Holy Spirit, how great I am at the Great Commandment.
So, what do you think?

Coram Deo,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Take Six Minutes, Please!

This is unrelated to this post, but I wanted to urge you to pray for the people of Haiti in the wake of the recent devastating earthquake.  If you want a specific way to pray then please pray for the Civil family.

You might remember Lenes, Sharon, Carl (and the mother Schella, not pictured) that we spent Christmas evening with.  They are members of our church and are from Haiti.  Their families are in Haiti.  I have no word on if they have been able to communicate with them or not, but pray that this family's loved ones are safe and taken care of in Haiti.  I will update when I have details.

Update (1/15/10):  We just got word that Schella's family has made contact with her.  They are all okay, but their home was totally destroyed.  We are praising God for their physical safety.  Please pray for God's provision now in a new place to live.  Schella can not get into Haiti right now, but plans to go on the 26th of this month.  Thank you for your prayers on behalf of this family!

Now, if you have six minutes to spare (and I certainly hope that you do) please watch this youtube video.  A friend from MS emailed this to me and I had to share it here.  

When I saw this, it spoke strongly to me on many levels.  It spoke to me as a parent; how I need to see the possibilities in my children and serve the Lord in being faithful to serve my family selflessly in all the ways that may be necessary.  It spoke to me of the love my Heavenly Father has for me.  It reminded me that when I was blinded to the gospel truth by my sin, He died and gave Himself for me (Rom. 5:8).  It also reminded me that He never slumbers, but is always watching over me (Psalm 121). 

So, take about six minutes and watch this.  You might want to grab a tissue!  Leave me a comment at the end and tell me how it speaks to you.  Turn the music player off in my sidebar so you'll be able to hear the video.

Coram Deo,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Stirrings

If you are a regular reader of blogs and you are not reading Jodi over at her blog Fruit Inspection then you should be!  She is one of the most genuine ladies I have met through blogging!  If you are looking for someone transparent about her struggles and joys in being a  wife, parent and homeschooler and how to have an abiding faith in it all, then read her blog!

Jodi is hosting Sunday Stirrings at her blog and I am excited about participating!

So, here is a recap of yesterday for me...

I teach a Senior Adult ladies Sunday School class and right now we are going through the book of Mark.  Yesterday we were in Mark 8.  After the feeding of the 4,000 in verse 11 the Pharisees began to argue with Jesus.  You know they were always trying to trip Jesus up.  They demanded a "sign" from Him.  They didn't really want to understand Jesus.  The Pharisees only wanted to fit Jesus into the context of what they already believed about Him.

I looked further at the word "sign" in the original Greek language using my Key Word Study Bible's Greek dictionary and lexical aids.  This is what I found:
The word "sign" is translated "Semeion" in the Greek and means miracle with a spiritual end and purpose. In the plural it leads to something our of and beyond the miracle itself, the finger-marks of God, valuable not so much for what they are a s for what they indicate of the grace and power of the Doer.

Are you aware of the "finger-marks of God" in your life?  I couldn't help but think back over my 38 years and realize so many I missed as just that, finger-marks of God, along the way!  Oh, I don't want to miss any more!  I don't want to be a Pharisee, always asking and looking for a "sign"; wanting God to fit into the boundaries I set for Him as if I could do that anyway.  But, we sure do try sometimes, don't we?  I want to live and worship Him in the boundaries He sets for me!  To see His finger-prints all over my life, because they are there!

Then came our worship service!  I am so blessed to be a part of a church where the pastor preaches the word unashamedly and boldly and where the fellowship is so sweet and encouraging.  Right now Hal is preaching through Ephesians.  He preaches through a book from beginning to end, verse by verse.  Yesterday, he was finishing up chapter two.

Verse 13 of chapter 2 was discussed in a former sermon, but referred to again yesterday:
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
Yesterday's focal passage was verses 19-22:
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit."

In his comments regarding the fact that we are members of God's family, Hal made this point:  The church (that's you and me as believers) are to be a slice of heaven in a broken and fragmented world.

I'm praying that in the days, weeks, and months to come I'll be more conscience and deliberate about being a "slice of heaven" to those around me, starting with my husband and children!

Coram Deo,


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Loaded Potato Soup

It's about 30 something degrees here right now!  For SW Florida, that's cold.  So, for us it's going to be a day inside for sure.  On the agenda are movies, football, and taking the Christmas tree and decorations down.  Yes, my tree is just now coming down!

There is also a crock pot full of Loaded Potato Soup going.  I found a recipe on the internet and kind of tweaked it a bit and came up with a recipe that my family loves.  So, I thought I'd share it here:

Jennifer's Loaded Potato Soup

4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 small onion
1   32 oz. carton of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint of half-n-half
green onions
velveeta cheese - 16 ounce size 
I spray my crock pot with cooking spray.  Then I put a layer of potatoes topped with a layer of some of the onions.  I continue this layering until I've used all the potatoes and onions.  Sprinkle with as much salt and pepper as to your liking.  Then I pour the chicken broth over the potatoes and onions.  
Cook this mixture on HIGH for 4 hours.  Then mash the potato and onion mixture with a potato masher.  Stir in half and half.  If the mixture is too thin for you just thicken with some corn starch (I usually thicken ours.)
Then add the velveeta, cubed, into the mixture.  Cook for 20 more minutes on HIGH.  Just before serving, stir in the bacon you have fried and crumbled.  Garnish the top with the green onions in individual bowls.

Hope you enjoy,


Thursday, January 7, 2010

God's Colors

Two of the things about Florida that I have come to love are the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets here.  I have come to believe there is no place with more stunning sunsets especially than the state of Florida!

Take a look at these pictures I took just a few minutes ago...

God painted this picture for us right outside our front door!  I had to call Cecily and Bentley outside to see this!  

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."  Psalm 19:1

Coram Deo,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review.  There was no monetary compensation, so this is my honest opinion of the book.

In Love & Respect, Dr. Eggerichs introduces the concept of the "Crazy Cycle"; without respect, He reacts, without love, She reacts and on the cycle goes over and over.  As stated in the subtitle of the book, women most desire love and men desperately need respect.  Dr. Eggerichs points to Ephesians 5:33 as the biblical basis for this "love and respect" theme:  "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Part Two of the book spends time looking at how a husband can spell love to his wife and how a woman can spell respect to her husband through the acronyms "couple" and "chairs" respectively.  These ideas are Dr. Eggerichs's answer to the crazy cycle and introduces the power of the "energizing cycle" to motivate biblical love and respect in the marriage relationship.  

Part Three of the book ends with the "rewarded cycle" which states "His love blesses regardless of her respect; her respect blesses regardless of his love."  

There are two main things I appreciated about this book.  Dr Eggerichs didn't just give his theories or ideas, but pointed to what God's word said.  It wasn't another marriage book with a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo.  Also, the entire book was peppered with his personal experiences with these concepts in his own marriage, which made the case that employing these concepts would actually work.

I'll end with this quote from page 276:  "After more than a quarter of a century of counseling married couples and conducting Love and Respect Conferences, I have concluded that we don't have a "marriage crisis" in the Christian community; we have a crisis of faith.  The point is that we all have to come to grips with one question:  "Do I or do I not believe what Jesus Himself said?"  The whole point is that you really can't do Love and Respect unless you do it unto Jesus Christ.  And if you doubt the reality of Christ, if He is not truly Lord of you life, it won't work."

This book can be purchased at Amazon.  

Coram Deo,

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Lil' this and a Lil' that...

This post may be as coherent as JennaBeth's "baby babble" is right now, but here goes anyway...

Winter has come to SW Florida!  There is a bit of a nip in the air.  I don't think we are supposed to be out of the 50's all week!  My crock pot is going to get a work out as a result of this "coolness in the air" as Bentley likes to call it.  I'm cooking Chili tonight with cornbread and I have other meals planned for the rest of the week that can be done in the crock pot.

I guess you could say our family is getting back to normal this week, whatever that means! Ha Ha!  Cecily went back to school today after a two week Winter Break Christmas break.  Mike went back to work after being off for a week.  It sure was nice having every body home and getting to sleep a little later.  Of course JennaBeth determined whatever time that was!

It was fun getting to spend time together as a family last week.  We did a little after Christmas shopping.

These two had fun "driving" through BJ's while we picked up some diapers for JennaBeth.  That same evening, we went to an outlet mall.  Cecily had fun spending some of her Christmas money and we found some really good deals on some warmer clothing for Bentley.  It was really nice to find him a light jacket at the Carter's outlet store for $9.99!

There were several pretty fountains like this one around the outlet mall.   Cecily and I had Mike take a picture of us in front of one.

Yes, we splurged on two Caramel Apple Spice drinks from Starbucks!  It was so cold that evening and those drinks were so goodand warm!
The little ones could only take so much shopping so we stopped for them to play in the play area before we had some major meltdowns!
Big sister didn't mind playing on the "baby" side with little sister.  Bentley went to the big boy side with daddy.

The rest of our time was spent much like pictured in the above picture...just lazy for most of the day in our jammies.  It was so relaxing and I wouldn't trade last week's time with the family for anything!

So, has everyone made their new year's resolutions?  I wasn't really entertaining the idea of really nailing down any until after Sunday morning's sermon.  I'll provide the link to listen to the sermon as soon as it is up on our church's website for all you non-Northside readers.  The sermon title was "Knowing and Doing" and was based on John 13:1-17.

One of my resolutions is to have a scheduled "school" time with Bentley each day of the week.  His Sunday School teacher has been working with him on his letters at the end of that time each Sunday morning and look what he was so proud to show me this past Sunday morning...

We are so proud of him!!!  He recognizes all his letters and can write each one.  Debbie, his SS teacher, says that she can now just call out the letter to him and he can write that letter!

Praying your 2010 has gotten off to a good start!

Coram Deo,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mater's Wisdom

My son Bentley loves the movie "CARS"!  Actually, "love" may be an understatement.  I just don't know what other word to use!  He has watched that movie like...well, I lost count somewhere around 5,000 and something.  As a matter of fact, his first movie of 2010 to watch was... you guessed it...CARS!

As I was loading the washing machine this morning, I heard a bit of Mater's (you know Mater the tow truck?) wisdom.  At one point in the movie, Mater is showing Lightning McQueen his backwards driving.  McQueen asks him, "How do you do that?" to which Mater replies, "Don't need to know where I'm going.  Just need to know where I been".

I'm not sure what 2010 will bring.  

I'm not sure the places we'll go in the physical or in the spiritual realms.

What I do know as I look back on one of the hardest years in the life of our family is this...
God is the Faithful One.
God has been teaching me personally what it means to trust in Him ALONE PLUS NOTHING ELSE!!

It has been such an adventure learning to lean on Him and trust Him!  I can't wait to see His work in my life in this new year.  I am praying that the Great Rabbi will teach me more of what it means to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

Speaking of 2010, here is a review in pictures...

JennaBeth Grace completed our family on Feb. 23rd.

  Cecily completed elementary school...

and began Middle School.

Mike turned 42...

and I turned 38.

This little boy turned four and grew up so much this year.

A summer visit from the best of friends...

and family...

and more family...

and more family!

A year full of "firsts" as a family of five.

And so many things in between that it would be impossible to recapture every moment.  But like Mary long,long ago, I am treasuring this year in my heart and pondering the goodness of the Lord to our family!  I almost feel as if I need to be face down on the floor in awe of Him!

Coram Deo (before the face of God),