Monday, December 15, 2014
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the holidays, but Christmas is so special. There are so many traditions and memories surrounding Christmas. Some good, some maybe not so great, and some even sad...
My mom has always made the holidays special and so memorable. In turn, I still want to make the holidays great. I get caught up in the planning, the gift buying, the decorating, the baking, and all of the "things" of Christmas. This year, is no exception.
Today I saw this little picture on Facebook from an author.
It is the "WHO" we celebrate. It is about the family and friends around us, but even more importantly, it is about Christ coming to earth. He came as a just a babe, a very unlikely Savior. He offered hope to a world in darkness. Today, He still brings light to the world.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:2, 6 NIV
And Christ also calls us to bring light to the world.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV
I look around me and see so many people in need. There is so much hurt in this world. I pray that this season we can shine for Christ! And be there for the people in our lives. It may be that we have to give up the "things" of Christmas. We may have to let a lot of things go. We must remember what is most important and share Jesus' love with the world this season and always.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
I have many favorite Christmas songs. In fact, I probably like Christmas more than I like any other genre of music! It is hard to narrow down favorites, so I will share a few. A lot of these are sad songs, but I dearly love them.
One other note, I am very strick when it comes to playing Christmas music. It cannot be played before Thanksgiving, unless it is in July. (There is just something about "Christmas in July"). I recently found a song that shares my feeling very well.
The Day After Thanksgiving by Brandon Heath
Listen to it here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XvmLSk9C3Js
-Going Home for Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman
-Christmas Shoes by NewSong
The following songs by Matthew West:
-The Heart of Christmas
-One Last Christmas
-Give this Christmas Away
-I heard the bells on Christmas Day (love the Johnny Cash version)
-I need a silent night by Amy Grant
-Toy Packaging by Sara Groves
-Christmas with a Capital C by GoFish
And many, many of the traditional songs as well.
Here are a couple of my favorite Christmas CDs:
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I had never read a book about a mermaid before, so I was a little unsure whether I would like that type of genre. But I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I loved the allegory weaved throughout the story. It reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Mermaid, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies all rolled into one fun story.There is a lot of depth to the story, while at the same time it is like one of the fairy tales you read growing up. The whole story has you cheering for the heroine to find true love, everlasting love. And of course you want to see the curse lifted...The icing on the cake is the fact that my favorite parts of MaryLu Tyndall's books are ones that take place on ships, and in this story, much of the time is spent on the ship or on the sea. MaryLu Tyndall's books have yet to disappoint me and this is another well written books. It will make you want to keep reading!
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Abandoned Memories by MaryLu Tyndall
Abandoned Memories is the third book in Tyndall's series, "Escape to Paradise". This book does an excellent job of weaving the whole series together. There are many different story lines going on in this series because each of the characters seem to have some kind of past that they would like to a escape from as the series title suggests. However, this new settlement may not be the "paradise" that these individuals are looking for.
Throughout this book, and the entire series, the characters struggle in real life situations. They want to be free from their past, but something is holding on to them.
In Abandoned Memories, the story reaches the climax and each character we have met must come together and work together to face their past, present, and possibly their future in the new town. But the question remains, will their past hold them back or will it make them stronger in order to face their current trials?
I thoroughly enjoyed the ending of this series, Tyndall does such a marvelous job of tying all the books together. I have to say when you get to the epilogue, you will have enjoyed all three books from start to finish, and there is quite the finishing touch. Make sure you read all the way to end, for the last few chapters and the aforementioned epilogue were my favorites!
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I am grateful for...
1. Getting to see family members that I haven't seen in a long time and meeting new members of the family
2. A warmer fall day
3. Having some great local candidates running for office and being able to support them today by putting up some yard signs.
Wed. - 10/8/2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Be content - Day 1
I have decided to start 100 days of contentment. For 100 days, I am going to write and share with you things that help me with contentment. Now I realize that, again, true contentment doesn't come from things or even people, but all of the things that I will be writing down are blessings and gifts from God, and in Him we will find that contentment.
A couple of rules to get me started (and feel free to join in):
-I will probably not post every day. Yes, I am planning to do it for 100 individual days, but that doesn't mean it will happen everyday!
-I am only going to post 3 things each day.
-The style: some may be "I am thankful for..." and some may be "I find joy in..." or possibly some other format.
To just be more content and recognize those blessings and gifts around me. To be more grateful. To find joy every day and even in the little things!
1. My parents - for all they have done for me and have taught me.
2. Christian fiction authors - just to name a few: MaryLou Tyndall, Lisa T. Bergren, Karen Kingsbury, Cynthia Ruchti, Lauraine Snelling, and the many, many more that I am missing.
3. My baby nephew that was born today, making me an auntie 15 times!
Sunday, October 5, 2014
When I look at the people around me, I wonder if they are really content with where they are in life, in their current situation. I think many of them are happy at times, but sometimes I wonder about their true contentment. Sometimes, I think it is because we live in a society where we are told to always want the next best thing or what everybody else has...
Before I go farther, I think I need to define contentment. I see contentment as having joy in your life and when I say joy, I mean that happiness that is found on the inside. I believe it is all connected. To be content is to be satisfied with what you have and where you are at.
When I looked in the dictionary, this is what it said:
Contentment: the state of being happy and satisfied : the state of being content
The Bible calls us to be content, and in doing so, that is where we can find true joy and satisfaction in Christ. It is not really about what is going on on the outside, it is about what is on the inside. In the midst of life and craziness and whatever else is going on, we can have peace on the inside because we have God on our side.
A Bible verse that I always think about when I think of contentment is:
Hebrews 13:5 – ...be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
The more I think about contentment, the more I feel I'm able to define it. I feel that contentment encompasses so many things. Many things that I have already talked about.
To me contentment equals:
God's love for us and ours for Him
Awareness of blessings
And probably many more things. Maybe only some of these, maybe all of them. But one thing I do know is that I want to be content. I know I am not always content and will probably never be completely content this side of Heaven. However, I want to strive to that goal. I want be content in Christ and the blessings He has given me.
True contentment can only be found in Christ and the salvation He offers. We will never be completely satisfied unless we have Him in our lives.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
I realized that I had never finished the swimsuit saga. In part 2, I mentioned that I was waiting to get yet another top in the mail. I did get a swim top in the mail finally! It was sent to me by one of the sister stores of the company that I had originally had been shopping at. I'm so glad the company worked with me in order to help me out. That is good customer service!
About a week later, my mom and I were at our local store where I had gotten my other swimsuit pieces from. They also had a few swimsuit left there, so I thought I would take a look. I ended up finding the same exact top that I had sent to me, only in a different color. I bought that piece as well.
So in the long run, I did end up with two complete swimsuits! All from the same company. I ended up paying less than $40 for each swimsuit (top and bottom). Since I ended up with two that worked in the end, I decided to keep both. I just hope they last a while! And I don't have to go on the great swimsuit hunt again any time soon!
Part 1: http://musingsmadebymandy.blogspot.com/2014/07/swimsuit-shopping.html
Part 2: http://musingsmadebymandy.blogspot.com/2014/07/swimsuit-shopping-part-2.html
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
What do you write when you don't know what to write?
I apparently write nothing. I have been wanting to get a post up for a few weeks now, but I can't think of anything to write... Well, I have thought of a few things, but they either are only relevant at that moment, are long forgotten, or are the last thoughts I have before I fall asleep at night (in which case, they don't get written down). Top that with the busyness that seems never-ending and, well, you get no blog post from me...
So here I am writing, rambling, sharing my musings with you. Hoping that I am reaching you where you are, in your season of life. What is it that you long to be doing? Are you making time for what is important to you? Are you letting excuses keep you from what you should be doing, maybe what God wants you to be doing? Or are you running away? (Makes me think of Jonah!)
When it comes right down to it, I may be asking these questions of myself as much as I am throwing them out to you. Yes, I am busy. It is an honest excuse to why I don't write as much as I would like to. On the other hand, I could make more time, give up something. Or I could just let the musings flow as they do, off and on, now and then. Or I could be more intentional. Take notes when I have ideas and then write them when I have time. I'm not sure...
When I started to write tonight, I didn't have anything in mind to write. My goal was just to write. Writing is very therapeutic to me and I hope that in some way my words may help you as well! So those are my musings for today, enjoy!
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Back in August, our family went on vacation. We traveled to the Branson, Missouri area. It was beautiful! I fell in love with the area.
I was excited to travel to Branson for a few different reasons. One was because it was a place my grandparents had been to many different times and very much enjoyed. Another reason was because I read the book called "Love finds you in Branson, Missouri" by Gwen Ford Faulkenberry which tells about the Shepherd of the Hills Play that is produced there. And lastly, I was excited to go there because I wanted to go to some of the productions around the area. In particular, I wanted to go to the Sight and Sound production. Last year on our vacation, we were going to go to their production of Noah which they were doing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but that was when our car broke down and we were not able to make to it. Thus, I was thrilled that we were going to get to go this time around. Even though it wasn't for Noah, we did get to see the Jonah play.
I have to say, the Sight and Sound production of Jonah was the the best play I have ever seen and I would highly recommend going to one of their productions. If I am ever going through Lancaster or Branson again, I am going to go to another one! It was so real! The sets were unbelievable. There were real live animals in the theatre. The music and sound effects were great. I absolutely loved it!
Below is a picture of the keychain that I got there.
So we saw "Jonah" the first night, then we went to the Shepherd of the Hills production. I enjoyed this play, too. It had a great message in it. It was also cool because the book I mentioned above was about people who were in this play. This play was also one that my grandparents attended while on one of their many trips to Branson. Oh, and did I mention that it was an outdoor theater!
Here is the keychain I got there and it has my name on it!
The final production we went to while in the area was The Great Passion Play that is in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was also an outdoor theater. I very much enjoyed it. Besides the play, we also saw two shorter shows while there. One was about the potter and the clay and the man that that did it was actually making a vase while he talked about it. The other was about David, the Shepherd Boy. The man who did this one also gave a good talk and showed everyone how to use a sling like the one David would have used to kill Goliath. (My sister actually made one of these when we got home. Just by seeing them, she was able to make one!)
Here is the keychain I got from there.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip! I would love to go back there someday. There is so much to see and do. And it was beautiful. We stayed at Table Rock Lake and it was gorgeous there!
On our way home, we got to visit my great-aunt and my great-uncle! It was great to see them as it had been a few years. I will treasure the time that I was able to spend with them. All of my grandparents have passed away and it made me miss them a lot. But I feel privileged to have people like them in my life, even if I don't get to see them often.
The trip was a very much needed break and I'm so thankful that it worked out so well! Now summer is mostly over and school has started here. But I am going to enjoy whatever is left of the summer and I hope you will, too!
Friday, August 8, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Yesterday, I received two packages in the mail. If you will remember I ordered three different times and one of them got completely cancelled. (You can read the beginning of the story here). I was excited to see what actually showed up. I ended up with one swimsuit top and two swim skirts. I tried it all on and only the bottoms worked for me. I tried the top and it just wasn’t what I was looking for. So I had two halves to a swimsuit, but not one complete suit.
I decided I would try again…not sure why, except for the fact that I would like to have a swimsuit that I like. So I checked the store online again and it said that a couple of the tops that I wanted were still on the site. I called the store and asked them to verify if the items were still in stock. I was told they were. So I went ahead and ordered three tops. I got an email within five minutes telling me that, sure enough, they were cancelled. I called the store for the second time and this time, they told me that the items were no longer in stock. They did however say that I could call another a number and they could look for it in a store and have it shipped out to me. I called this number and the lady I talked with graciously looked for it in the store. She said she couldn’t guarantee anything, but she would try hard to find it. I gave her all my information to order one of the tops and now I will wait again and hopefully have a complete swimsuit by the end of the summer! I have not lost hope yet!
Friday, July 25, 2014
Swimsuit shopping. Let me tell you, it is not the most fun thing in the world for me (unless, of course, I am willing to spend a ton of money!). It is something I have been avoiding all summer long, but I decided to do it since it is the end of the season and I was hoping to find a good suit without spending a lot of money. Ha!
I suppose I should first explain my dilemma before I "dive" into my swimsuit shopping story. The problem is I want to find a suit that is modest, that doesn't look like underwear, and that I would be comfortable wearing in front of others. I want a swimsuit that would be pleasing to the Lord. A swimsuit was designed to go swimming in, not to show off your body. When I go shopping for a swimsuit, I want something that is like shorts and a tank top. Something that is cute, but modest.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been avoiding looking for a new suit and part of the reason was because of how much fun (not!) my younger sister had looking for one. (You can read about that here on my mom's blog). So a few weeks ago I began my search, yet I wasn't finding anything that I liked... One of my favorite websites for swimsuits is Land's End. In the past, I have usually been able to find something there and if I wait until the end of the season, I can find a good deal. I have been checking for the last couple of weeks for something that might work, but just haven't found something that would work. Then the other day, I decided to check out some other online department stores. I had an email about free shipping and a percentage off, so I decided to try this one store. I started looking and actually found a couple of tops were "high neck" and were quite fun. I also found some bottoms that looked like they would work. I ordered two different bottoms to try and one top. I was excited and thought my search was over...
...but it wasn't. I got the email confirmation of my order and it said one of my items was cancelled. The swim top. I still had free shipping so I thought, well I will just find another one and order it. I found two more and ordered both, just in case one got cancelled for some reason. I got another email confirmation and it said both items were cancelled... By this time, I was not too happy. I just wanted a swimsuit. I decided I would order one more time, I still needed a top. Again, I picked out two tops. I also found some board shorts this time around, so I added those to my cart, too. I placed my order for the third time and waited for the email confirmation. This time, I finally had a top still left on the order, one, anyway. And the other items were also cancelled.
Monday, July 14, 2014
A Bigger Vision?
Sometimes I think I forget that we should be living for something bigger, Someone greater. Maybe we think it is about the things and not the who. I feel often times that I want to do so much more than I am doing, but I struggle with the what. What am I supposed to be doing?
I truly feel called to be involved in politics. I feel it is important for Christians to be witnesses in this sphere, but sometimes I wonder if I'm doing enough.
I suppose in some respects it is a good thing to question. Maybe it will make you try harder. On the other hand, I'm not sure you can ever do enough in whatever part of the world you are called to serve in.
I think we need to remember that we aren't the ones that can actually change hearts. Only God can do that. We are called to plant the seeds, but we can't force them to grow. It is God that makes the difference.
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor."
1 Corinthians 3:6-8 NIV
Lastly, God has put us where we are for a purpose. No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, no matter who are are with, we are called to give the glory to God and be a witness for Him. We are called to a "bigger vision". Let's keep a Heavenly perspective and always remember to give Him the glory!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
Saturday, July 12, 2014
It seems as if summer has just flown by. It is already a good ways into July. I know I have been bad about writing, but honestly I'm not sure what happened to June. It was pretty busy. I'll try and recount a bit so you know where I'm at.
The first week of June we celebrated my sister's birthday. Then throughout the month we continued to celebrate birthdays for 3 of my nieces and 1 of my nephews.
In between all that, there was also a few political things I was involved in. Attending a couple of meetings, walking in a few parades, organizing volunteers, and helping candidates in other ways were just some of the things that took up time.
On top of those things, there was just the everyday things that we try to get done! Mowing lawn is a good example of this! It has been raining a ton lately. Which makes the grass grow...a lot. The other week I was going to mow lawn and every time I said that or went out to do it, it rained... finally got it done, but now it is time to do it again!
On a side note, we did see quite a few rainbows even a few double ones!
The beginning of July had also been as busy as June! Of course we celebrated Independence Day! It is one of my favorite holidays! We were in 2 parades walking for political candidates, had a picnic, and then watched a great fireworks show on the 4th.
Below is a picture of how I did my sister's hair for the 4th. I thought it would be fun to share with all of you! It is a star braid!
I started writing this post last Thursday and as I was writing it out I thought I would share what was coming up in July. But now a couple of those things have happened, so I get to share that as well! We were waiting for my nephew to be born and his due date was on Thursday, but he decided to show up just yesterday! I'm so excited to be an auntie for the 14th time (and to think I'll be an auntie x 15 come this Fall)!
Today, we celebrated the little guy's oldest sister's birthday. Lots of celebrating going on! We got to go to a brand new playground in town. I have to say I even had fun "playing" at it! It is one of the best parks I have ever seen. It even has a zip line!
I think all of that finally gets us caught up to today! Coming up the rest of the month, we are celebrating a few more birthdays, including my own, and my parents' anniversary! July is getting to be a busy time for celebrations!
So what is keeping you busy? What kinds of things are filling your summer days?
Monday, May 26, 2014
One of the worst parts about growing up is that you learn all these things in life that you thought were true are the opposite. My parents tend to burst my bubble when it comes to things like this. For example, a few months back, I found out that Betty Crocker isn't an actual person. I guess I didn't expect the lady on the cover of the cookbooks to be a real live person, but I thought she was perhaps at least based on someone. (I guess it could be argued that she is based on the women of the current generation or whoever is opening that cookbook). But as a young person, I believed she was real. Why wouldn't she be???
Then there is the whole thing about drawings/giveaways... (My parents claim most of them are rigged and they are not just by chance).
Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the list goes on and on. As a child you have no reason to doubt these things. And some of these things may not even have been things people have told you, it may have just been that you were a trusting child and believed the world was a wonderful place. Perhaps you even believed you lived in Never Land, which of course brings up the whole Peter Pan thing. I always wished I could be Peter and just stay young forever...
So what, you may ask, started this whole rant and rave? Well, you see, I am a self-proclaimed, hopeless romantic. I love to read chick lit and watch chick flicks. Tonight, we (my family and I) got into this whole discussion about this super romantic marriage proposal from a book that my mom and I had just read***. She said that romantic proposals like that don't happen in real life (at least not a lot of the time) and of course I believe they do. (And don't even get me started on happily-ever-afters). So then this discussion got started and now I'm on a mission to prove that proposals do/can happen that way today, in real life. So please tell me all of your wonderfully romantic tales of real life!
And if, in the small chance that they might not be that romantic, I guess I will just continue to read my wonderfully romantic chick lit by all of my favorite authors out there! I do have to give a shout-out to all those great authors who write great, clean, romantic, humorous, Christian books! I really appreciate all of you!
***The whole proposal discussion started based on Janice Thompson's series "Weddings by Design". The third one, "The Dream Dress," has a wonderfully romantic proposal, but I won't tell you about it because it will ruin it for you! Make sure you read the book!
|"The Dream Dress" by Janice Thompson|
Ronald Reagan Quotes for Memorial Day
-The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves.
-You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.
-Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
It was great Good Friday service at Church tonight. It really brought me back to the meaning and reason of what this day is all about. We went through the 7 last words of Christ. And then we were also brought back to the fact that hope and salvation wasn't lost. If Jesus had stayed in the tomb, we wouldn't have hope. But we do have that hope...Sunday is coming!
Saturday- I shared this on my Facebook page: How Jesus Died for You - it tells what a death is like on a cross. http://gods411.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-jesus-dies-for-you.html?m=1
Happy Easter! He is risen! Sunday is here!
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6 NIV
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6 NIV
Monday, April 7, 2014
I am working on memorizing some scripture again. I thought I would share with you what I am working on this week. I am planning on doing all of 1 Corinthians 13, but for this week I'm focusing on the first three verses. I think often times when we are talking about the "love" chapter, we forget the beginning of the chapter.
Friday, April 4, 2014
I have the privilege of hosting Lisa Tawn Bergren and sharing with you about her new book here on my blog! This is the second time I have been able to interview her. (The first was on JOY Blog). I recently had the opportunity to read Remnants: Season of Wonder, Lisa's lastest YA/Teen book. Not only did I have the honor to read and review the book, but I also was able to ask her a few questions that I will share with you! My review, the interview with Lisa, and details about a GIVEAWAY are below!
Review of Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Did you like the Hunger Games books? Are you looking for another story like that, but hoping for something with a little different ending?
Unlike the previously mentioned books, this book offers hope. The characters in the Remnants book are working to make a difference in the world, a world that is much different from today’s world. The Remnants are a chosen people and each one of them has a knight to protect them. Each Remnant has a gift. And they are all called to save the world, no matter the cost. They must be willing to give up everything. Some already have, losing everything, and everyone, that is dear to them. They face many trials along the way and they do not know all that lies ahead of them. It will be a tough journey ahead.
The story pulls you in and you won’t want to put it down. When I reached the end of the story, I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I guarantee that you will enjoy the story and that you will be anxious for the second story to come out so you can continue reading.
You can pre-order the book on Amazon, CBD, or Barnes and Noble. Also , check your local bookstores.
Interview with Lisa Tawn Bergren
1. What made you decide to write YA/Teen books?
|Lisa Tawn Bergren (*Photo Credit)|
LTB - I’ve been reading teen fiction since my girls got to that reading level—both because I wanted to share some books with them and be aware of what’s out there to choose from. I was hooked! I now love YA fiction…it’s so fun, and themes are relevant to people like me who are middle-aged too!
2. Where did your inspiration come from for the Remnants series?
LTB - I loved the Hunger Games trilogy, but it got me thinking about a potential dystopian with more hope in it, as well as a spiritual thread—things I missed in THG. That’s all it takes to get a seed planted in my brain...
3. How did you pick the name for your lead character?
LTB - It’s an ancient female warrior name. Most of the Remnants and their knights are warrior names, because they’re entering an epic battle!
A couple fun questions
4. What do you like to have to drink in the morning with your breakfast?
LTB - Coffee with a pack of Truvia and creamer.
5. Since many of us are longing for summer... What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?
LTB - Ride a river on an inner tube. :-)
Lisa has offered to give one winner a signed copy of Remnants! To enter to win: (1) you must live in the U.S. (so she can ship it to you) and (2) you must comment below to be entered!
A few questions to get you started...
- What did you find interesting from this blog post?
- Did you read the Hunger Games books or watch the movies?
- Have you read any of Lisa's other books?
- What kind of books do you like to read?
- Have you read dystopian books before?