Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ending October Hodge Podge

FYI there will not be a Hodgepodge next week because Joyce is finally getting to move into her house!  YEAH!   November 9th Hodge Podge she is going to play by ear.  For now we are back to our regularly scheduled Hodgepodge Day! Here are my answers to Joyce's questions for the week. If you've played along add your link at the end of her post, then leave some bloggy love for the blogger linking before you. We like to keep it friendly here.

Here we go-

1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'?
My friend Susan's house.  I never feel like a visitor and I love that feeling
2. When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain.  I can't remember the last time I hit a home run at anything.  The only hitting I have done is just like a bug on a windshield.
3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade'.
Terri and Mandy have given me so many wonderful homemade gifts that I have scattered all around my house.  I love homemade stuff.''
4. 'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and  why-
Neuschwanstein in Germany is at the top of my list.  I want to see it because it is Cinderella's castle and I know it seems childish but I would love to see this in reality.  I hlanave seen a number of castles in England, Ireland, and Wales and was captivated by them all.  Windsor was one of my favorites.  I would love to see Edinburgh, Swallow's Nest and La Alfombra( in Spain) to round out my castle explorations. I love the haunting sounds of history they have
5. What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?
I want to design o0utdoor garden areas for the parsonage.  I have been watching a lot
 of gardening shows (Curb Appeal), and reading several books on the subject.  I am planning to start this spring.

6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not?  As a teacher, I'm not a fan of giving homework for the sake of giving homework, and I do think excessive amounts of homework might be an unnecessary evil...BUT! I have to agree with Joyce.  I do give it once in a while and  not all homework is a waste of time. 
7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. There are too many so I will abbreviate them for you......Skim boarding in the streets after a heavy rain, Banyon Street Park, John Prince Park picnics, days spent at Lake Worth beach and Lido Pool, A & W rootbeer stands for rootbeer floats and  hamburgers, bike riding, Florida cherry wars, going to the movies at the Florida or Carefree.  I had an awesome childhood.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Have you ever watched any of the TED videos?  I found this one by Candy Chang, adapted it to my Spanish class and thought you might enjoy it.  My
students love it. The link is:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas


About The Book: A Sister's Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016) - In Shelley Shepard Gray's third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.  Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman---at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she's also harboring a secret: She's been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he's about as far from "perfect" as an Amish man could get . . . but that's exactly why she's so drawn to him.  Life hasn't been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he's determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.  He's loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas---who just happens to be Simon's best friend---has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he's the only one who can truly make her happy.  But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together---and face their past mistakes. There's a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.  Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts On The Book:  A Sister’s Wish is the third book in the Charmed Amish Life series.  It is a not entirely a stand alone, it helps to have read the other two but you can read it without having read the other two.  I am a huge fan of Shelley Shepard Gray and the way she makes her readers part of the lives of her characters.  This was my favorite of the stories so far. This story seemed to touch the very soul of the Amish family beautifully though many different emotions. The main characters, Amelia, a sweet, wonderful woman who has always loved Simon and Simon who bears the scars of a brutal childhood which lead him to making many unAmishlike mistakes come to life on the page.  I don't want to spoil the story.....and I promise you will love it if you are a fan of Amish life and romance books.  This one is the tops!

About The Book: An Amish Family Christmas (Avon Inspire, October 2016). In Shelley Shepard Gray's fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles---and love.  Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.  But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can't help having doubts. There's something about Julia that doesn't ring quite true . . .Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships---but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she's hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.  Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.  Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts On The Book:  An Amish Family Christmas is the final book in The Charmed Amish Life written by Shelley Shepard Gray. It was a wonderful ending piece that drew the reader in from the start.  I could not put it down.   The characters came to life on the page and mix that with some family Christmas festivities you have a winner.   down to the freezing cold snow.  In this story we meet Levi Kinsinger first hand.  Levi is part of the Kinsinger family we have read about in the other Charmed books.  Levi does not return to the family compound, he lives on Jupiter Street. It is on Jupiter Street that he meets the mysterious Julia Kemp and her daughter and the plot thickens.  If you want to find out what happens then you need to read the book.  I cannot wait to see what Shelley Shepard Gray has in store for us.
About The Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book  from Avon Inspire and Litfuse.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Christian's Hope

About The Book:  Christian's Hope (Herald Press, October 2016)  When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted.  Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian's budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.  Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family---who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?  Christian's Hope tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family, Christian's Hope brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

About The Author:  Ervin R. Stutzman is author of Jacob's Choice, Joseph's Dilemma, Tobias of the Amish, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish. Born into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa, Stutzman based the Return to Northkill series on the life of his ancestor, Jacob Hochstetler. He has been featured on TLC's Who Do You Think You Are?

My Thoughts On The Book:  This book was the third in a series and I have read the other two books.  I struggled with this one.  I asked to review it because it was based on a factual account and it was written by a descendant of the family.  I struggled to get into the book because for some reason I did not like Christian.  He seemed like a spoiled, coddled kid....and then I realized he was taken from one world, thrust into another, then sent back to the original world all before he was 18.  I guess he had a right to act the way he did.  By the time I finished the book I was drawn in to their lives.  This book is a stand alone although I believe it would help if you read the other two first.  If you are a fan on historical fiction, Indians, and Amish this is the book for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book  from Herald Press and Litfuse.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Words With Hodge Podge

Joyce is moving in less than three weeks, and yet, here she is jumping right in to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Excellent! If you've answered the questions, add your link at the end of her post then leave a comment for the blogger before you. Here we go-

1. What would you say is your strongest sense?  Hearing according to my students.  I can hear a whisper in a crowded room.  I have a strong sense of smell too.

 2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not? I am like Joyce on this one.  I pay attention at the Holy Spirit's prompting and therefore am extremely aware of things.
  3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.  Often I find I'm not much of  slave to time. Sometimes I get so caught up in the busyness of life and work that I miss the simple things. 

 4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be?  I worked in a restaurant during college. It was a nice place, nice people, and served the best chicken wings you had ever eaten.  They were awesome.   Things I did not enjoy? I agree with Joyce on the clothes.  I could never get the grease smell out of my clothes, and one night late, a particularly demanding party of 12(automatic tip now a days), who received stellar service, left me a dollar tip.  There bill was well over 100.00  and as they were leaving.....and I was clearing their table....there was that dollar.....I walked out the front door with the dollar in my hand and handed to the man who front of his friends.....he reassured me that it was my tip.....and I countered back little regard I had for that dollar and obviously he needed it more than I did.  I am surprised I kept my job.  I will give working in a restaurant a 7.  It was not the best job I ever had....and certainly not the worst.  I have never ever wanted to own a restaurant, but if you forced me I'd have a tearoom or a little dessert shop ...with sweets and books.....and great coffee.

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.  I have several family members who have worked on family tree stuff.  I have a cane that my great great grandfather carved, inserted a newspaper clipping into during the Battle Above The Clouds. He was wounded during that battle.  I also love the story of my great great grandfather on my mom's side who rode a horse into a courthouse and shot the lights out.

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?  It varied in colors from the time I was 5.  When I went away to college it was a green color.  There was a love seat in the little alcove(that took the place of the piano I tried to learn to play), two lingerie dressers that were white in one of the closets, a twin bed, and a stereo.  My room was small with a capital S.
7. Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?
Cades Cove in the fall....heck for that matter they know I love fall....period.

 8. Insert your own random thought here.
October has been a busy month. It seems like we have had something going every single weekend,  I am actually excited to see it come to a close.  Maybe November will be quieter.  I hope so, but it is not looking to promising.  I am finished Christmas shopping....all but two about you?  Are you a person who shops ahead?,,...or one that waits til Christmas Eve?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alabama Irish

About The Book:  Brian was raised on "the wrong side of the railroad tracks" in inner-city Alabama. Now, at nineteen, with a troubled past and juvenile record, Brian struggles to earn a living and find a life purpose. When he journeys to New York on a chance trip, Brian meets and falls in love with Shannon; a bright eyed, aspiring actress from California. Brian returns to Alabama stirred by Shannon's courage and passion for life. With a new zest and reason for living, Brian is determined to turn himself into a man worthy of her love. Unable to afford college, Brian discovers the Os Guinness Scholarship, which provides free tuition to Pepperdine University for Irish students who desire to train for Ireland's ministry. With some innovative thinking, Brian fakes his Irish citizenry, accepts the scholarship, and moves to Southern California to attend school and pursue Shannon.  However, when Brian visits Alabama, all the lies come crashing down and Brian comes face to face with a past he thought was finished. Now, Brian must make a choice: lose Shannon by spinning more lies and choosing vengeance in hopes of putting his past to rest. Or choose honesty and forgiveness and embrace a new life with the only woman he ever loved.  Alabama Irish will make us sit back and laugh, then lay the book down and cry. But in the end, we'll be reminded that no matter our pasts, the possibility to find true love again is never lost.  (This coming of age love story teaches readers the necessity of honesty and openness in the pursuit of loving, long-lasting relationships.)

About The Author:  This amazing young man needs to be checked out,  so hop over to his website and learn more about him.  James Russell Lingerfelt was raised on a cattle ranch in a northeast Alabama town of 750 people. Literature was his high school emphasis, gravitating toward the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Longfellow. He started at point guard on the varsity basketball team, served as president of the student government, and was the first recipient of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership award at his high school. His writings have been featured in A New ModeThe Elephant JournalElite Daily, and The Good Men Project. Lingerfelt keeps readers briefed at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, which garnered over 5 million views within one year.  Lingerfelt is currently helping spearhead The Alabama Film Education Initiative, which is developing the state's first standard high school film curriculum. The program is predicted to help bring an estimated $4.6 to $6 billion into Alabama before the year 2025.  He received the DeKalb County's Top 40 Leaders Award by The Time's Journal in April 2016, and he's raising funds for his first major feature film My Home's In Alabama. Talent attached consists of actress Sandra Lafferty (Walk The Line, Hunger Games, Selfless), music Grammy-nominee David Hammonds (Executive Producer for Norman Blake), and Red Sky Studios, which will oversee post-production.   If you would like to write James Russell Lingerfelt or book him for a speaking engagement, see Contact above. He is represented by The MacGregor Literary Agency.

My Thoughts On The Book: I was a  a  huge fan of Lingerfelt's first book, The Mason Jar, I could not wait to get this book for review.   As an Irish Alabamian the location and subject were near and dear.  In Lingerfelt’s novel is such a surprise for romance readers.  I am not a huge journal entry reading fan.  I write in a journal, but am not fond of reading others. ...but I was captivated immediately.  I fell in love with the story’s hero, Brian,  as a high schooler.  As a teacher of high schoolers I was drawn to his lack of drive in school....but these are the students I am always drawn too.  As I read on I so wanted Brian to succeed.  Uncle Mike was my hero when he encouraged young Brian to begin journaling. I remember well my first journaling experience.  From the first Brian does you can see him come to life.  I felt as if I knew each one of these characters personally.  They sprang to life on the page and I love it when an author can master that.  This was an awesome read and I encourage anyone who loves  a good "coming of age" story, a good romance, and great character development to read this.  I promise you will not regret it.  Thank you so much Mr. Lingerfelt for giving me this opportunity.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from William and Keats Publishing and James Russell Lingerfelt, the author.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Moving On With Wednesday Hodge Podge

Joyce took some time off last week but  here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here to share answers with the rest of the world. See you there-

1. What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house? The best is starting fresh somewhere else and getting to change up your d├ęcor.  The worst has to be leaving friends behind and packing up all the stuff you thought you had to have.  You find yourself asking...."why was this important?"  Unpacking once you arrive is not a piece of cake either.  We moved last 7 years ago and I am still finding things.  Frank and I are itinerate we can be moved any time at all.
2. What's moved you recently?  It Is Well by the Issacs.  I heard it yesterday and was moved tears.

 3. Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?  It depends on the day.  Some days I am charging forward with amazing clarity.  Other's I meet a headwind that thrusts me backwards.
4. On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.  I am moving mountains.  I have so much I want to accomplish and when I feel as if I have met a mountain that is too big....I say a prayer and God and I move that bad boy.
5. What song makes you want to get up and move?  To be honest....I have a couple.  The first is by Toby Mac called Move.

 6. Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?  Pretzels, an apple, or some cheese.
7. What one accessory makes your house feel like home? Family pictures.
8. Insert your own random thought here. What is fall like where you live?  I grew up in South Florida....there was no fall.  I love the seasonal changes we  have here in Alabama.  Leaves are starting to change and there is a crispness in the air.  What is your favorite season?  Bet you can't
guess....mine is Fall in Cades Cove.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Thinking About FALL!


What’s your idea of a perfect weekend? Is it a trip to the mountains?  Is it a trip to the lake? Is it a weekend at the beach? Is it a camping trip? Is it a weekend getaway with someone special or some friends? Everyone has their own idea of what is the perfect bit of time doing something they enjoy. So when I tell you what I find to be a perfect weekend, you might be surprised, confused or a little bored. Kat was home last fall, and since she is just here for a few weeks before heading back to Moldova everyone wanted to spend time with Kat and Brian. I planned a big family gathering, but also had planned for the two of them to hang out at the house after the guest had left and just chill with Frank and I….you know…simple time together…..but that wasn’t going to happen and I was disappointed.  They had a lot of people to see and a lot to do to prepare to get the Christmas gifts packed up and ready to go to Moldova.  Don’t feel bad for me….Kat and I found time to be together….it wasn’t what I had in mind….but it was time.  We shopped for the orphans, ate a few meals together in Montgomery and in Auburn….you know…just hung out together.  It was heavenly just spending time with each other.  If I enjoy spending time with my daughter that much I wonder how much our Father in heaven likes it, when we just “hang out” with Him. Sometimes I think we make it quite a complicated endeavor to spend time with God. It’s as simple as a personal conversation with Him, sharing time in the words he left for us to get to know him, singing a song on our hearts for him, being thankful in thought and deed. We can do everything, honoring God even in ways that seem quite small and inconsequential to us or others. He loves it when we think about him, even when we’re just going about our day, doing ordinary tasks. We can enjoy his being with us anytime, just like our family can enjoy being in the room together doing very little, but just being together. Acknowledgement is really everything, as it reminds us we “belong”. I’m so grateful I can always “hang out” with my father in heaven.  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Blessings,  Karen