What’s On My Nightstand For January

Can you see the kitty? Sweet Aurora, our very precocious calico,
longingly eyes my precious reading stack.
Hello, fellow Bookaholics- You know who you are. No hiding or shame here. I am linking up with 5 Minutes For Books, and “What’s On Your Nightstand”, which takes place the fourth Tuesday of every month. This is my current stack. I will give the details and you can judge for yourself if there is anything worth reading in your eyes!
First, please understand, I am a slow reader. I love to read but I flit like a butterfly from book to book. 
I own a lot of books and still view life as one extended opportunity to peruse books as well as Bookstores, libraries, online, at home. I love to be surrounded with them. I am trying to read more Fiction. Usually I like to read biographies, memoirs and practical stuff. But, really if it’s bound, with a title that draws me, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Red means Finished- Yay, Me! Asterisk means I’m in the midst of it. 
So let’s take it from the bottom of the stack and see what’s on my nightstand this month.
I am not writing book descriptions here for the most part- all that is available through many other websites (publishers, booksellers, atc.) These are just my ramblings and musings on the how’s and why’s they made it to the stack. 
A Place To Belong by Lisa Troyer: Lisa Troyer is part of a ministry called Circle of Friends.
Sometime last year there was a promotion through Facebook to pre-order the book which is about fostering authentic friendships, encouragement and community for women.
 The clincher for me was the one pound of coffee and two beautiful mugs that were thrown in, all for about ten bucks! I actually let my women’s ministry leader borrow it and just got it back. Hence it is on currently in the stack!
*One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp: A fellow blogger convinced me to read this book, but I have been stalking it for the past year and finally broke down with the intention to read it. I have read the first chapter and know I will enjoy this book through and through. I am attempting to keep up with the Joy Dare, through Anne’s Blog. See my efforts here
Be Joyful by Warren Wiersbe: I finished this book earlier in the month. It is a great encouragement and read with excellent application and input on the book of Philippians. Wiersbe rarely, if ever, wastes a word.
He wraps around this short Book of the New Testament and squeezes out sweet delectable truths that will leave you refreshed in your faith and yes, understanding the role of joy in the believer’s life. 
*Praying The Scriptures For Your Children by Jody Brendt: I am about halfway through this book which is wonderfully written with lots of powerful scripture references. Specific direction an encouragement for moms on the topic of prayer make this a great reference. I like to pick it up for a bit and digest it before picking it up again. 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: My daughter really wanted me to read this book. She reads circles around me, seriously. She will pick up a book like this and finish it in an afternoon. I am very fussy with fiction. Although this is young adult reading, I could not put it down. This is the first of a trilogy, and I was skeptical at first and surprised to admit how much I enjoyed this book. Well I finished it so that says something. In three days. Record time for me. I am adding Catching Fire to this list that is the next up in the trilogy and I am dying to know what happens next. 
Grace of Giving by Marja Meijers: I am so excited about this book which I won through Diane Estrella’s blog this month! I am looking forward to reading this book as Marja has three blogs and has authored a number of books. You can catch her here for starters: Fresh Insights On Ancient Truths. Marja has a gift for sharing scriptural truths (as I have seen on her blog) but this will be the first time I am reading one of her published books. 
The Christian Writer’s Handbook by Margaret Anderson:  My daughter’s English teacher offered this guide for me to borrow. Perfect timing. I think I really need a basic grammar primer. Suggestions?

*My Reading Life by Pat Conroy:  I am enjoying Pat’s personal history divulging his love affair with story, stories and life in general. Pat shares so many interesting details of his literary influences and loves. It’s like curling up with a box of delicious treats. Each chapter shares a different experience and the books and people that touched and shaped him, molded his perspectives and eventually found expression in His own writing. I think I will have to renew this one as I am taking a bit of time. But enjoying every bite!

*Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: I can’t get enough of the way she weaves scripture into her writing in the unique way she does- powerful and positive. I reviewed Sarah’s Devotional Here. I really love it. It will be on my stack for the whole year.

This Thing Of Ours- How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Carrie Franceze: I finished this earlier this month and did review it. I found it to have some excellent, positive points for women, but thought at times it was a little slow going. The Review can be found here if you are so inclined to check it out.

 So, what’s on your nightstand?
What's On Your Nightstand

*Also linking up last minute with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday!
Check them out for book inspiration and Jamie’s Top Ten Historical Fiction!

Soup, Balls, Shrimp, and Snow!

Snow Bird! A weekend of snow in New England!

Interestingly this has been a busy week. Apparently if you start Monday off at the Ladies Annual Soup Night at church and watching comedienne Chonda Pierce  it sets the tone for the entire week! My hubby was sweet enough to make his delicious Corn Chowder for me to take to the affair. Soup, pie, women and comedy. But really hold that thought because this was a truly comedic week. That could be my life’s epitaph: Here she lies after living a life full of food, friends and funny moments. 

So how pray tell do “Balls” fit into this whole scenario, you are wondering? Well, glad you asked. I had another one of those things we call “interviews”. When you work in the field I do, this can vary greatly. See my face? No, so I will just let you know I have a huge smirk. When I say vary greatly, picture what it would be like auditioning for a side show in the circus. I am rarely surprised and have had some, shall we say bizarre and interesting interviews. Since I expect this, it is no surprise that my latest interview was done in the middle of an upscale studio in the Financial District of beautiful Downtown, Providence. On balls. I have no qualms with this. One of the best interviews I had included juggling. Without warning. My interviewer threw two balls at me, watching my response. Then one more. I am of the philosophy that if someone throws balls your way, you juggle them. 
Needless to say, I got that job. You might want to write that down. Never duck when balls come your way. 
You just roll with it. So 40 minute interview on the ball. Two interviewers. Honestly. 

Moving along. 
The shrimp was shared when I had an unplanned lunch date after my Moms In Prayer meeting, Thursday. 
That made for Thursday’s post: Misadventures Of A Praying Mom
I confess, we ate a LOT. It was rather enjoyable.
Shrimp, cocktail sauce, honeydew and conversation.

The beach was amazing this week.
We had a hint of snow on Friday.

I was disappointed except that who can be anything but grateful when you are looking at this:

And then we had this wonderful stuff for the weekend.

Which led to this wonderful time with my girl…

Followed by Cocoa. As well as an afternoon of reading…

which is to say that I have devoured this book at her request:
File:Hunger games.jpg

I must confess I loved it. I could hardly put it down. 
I am not a big Fiction reader. I also am the slowest reader. 
This young adult read really pulled me in and refused to let me go! 
I am looking forward to seeing the movie.

Last but not least I am starting back up on our Psalm 119 challenge and my dear sister in Christ Angela will be helping to keep me from derailing this time! I will be posting on the Facebook page again but not sure how I will do it, exactly. It may be once a week, or I may share different versions. I so enjoy reading a variety of translations. 
Get those index cards ready. Or at least get your Bible open to this amazing gift in the Psalms and enjoy it’s delicious richness! Won’t you join in? 

 א Aleph
 1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, 
   who walk according to the law of the LORD.

Have a wonderful week. 

As always on Mondays, linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Misadventures Of A Praying Mom

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, 
   and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed, 
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, 
   and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
Psalm 63:5-7

Seriously, I am going to have to start a “Chronicles of…” series. It seems whenever I attempt to do something after my Moms In Prayer weekly group get together, God pulls out all the stops and has fun with us innocent moms. I mean it. It’s as if He wants to say, “I am going to have some fun with you ladies, now. Especially the bossy one”. If you read the post on my last adventure when my sweet praying friend, who shall remain nameless (but she knows who she is), left me at the coffee shop, you will surely be amused with my latest adventure. Or as I am calling it a misadventure. However, once again, no-one was seriously injured during these shaninigans AND the kids didn’t starve either! Phew. 
This week we were preparing to start the Fern Nichol’s “Igniting A Passion To Pray” study so I followed another praying mom to her home to meet, discuss details and pray with the intention (once again) on returning to help deliver hot lunches to students back at school once we finished. 
Man Plans, God Laughs

Funny, how time flies when you are praying, planning and enjoying sweet Sisterhood in Christ.
I looked at my watch and realized it was time for me to head back to the school. 
You are getting a Deja -Vu feeling…in 5, 4,  
I chat as I put my books in my bag, grab my purse, jacket, keys thrown in…
still chatting as we are walking out saying goodbyes. 
Hugs, goodbyes,
3, throwing the book bag in the back seat, closing the door.
Bending to pick the purse up (why did I put it down anyway?)
2, opening the front door. 
Guess where my keys are?
The rich part is that the books in the bag actually hit the auto lock on the key fob!
I hardly ever lock my doors on purpose!
Sweet Tracie (since she did not abandon and forget me I can share her name) offers to drive me back to the school and help me deliver the lunches. 
We arrive back at the school, deliver those hot lunches with amazing efficiency.
We head back to her house together and call Road Service.
Do You Like Shrimp?

Tracie decides we should have lunch while we wait. 
Shrimp Cocktail.
Oh, who is laughing now!
God allowed us a lovely unplanned lunch date.
All in a Days Work 
Road Service guy arrives. He has an amazing sense of humor and loves his job.
13 years working happily doing road service. 
He is a blessing.
We have a few laughs as he tries to get the door open.
He succeeds. 
One more time with goodbyes.
Here is the take home:
You never know the adventures
 that will come your way 
when women get together and pray.
Our God is an Unpredictably Gracious God.
He loves to surprise us with unexpected joy,
in uncommon ways, in common places!
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
1 Peter 1:18
Joining in with Bonnie @ Faith Barista today!

Love In The Mail: DaySpring Product Review And Giveaway

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others
will themselves be refreshed.
~Proverbs 11:25
Dayspring and (in) courage = Love in the mail!

What a wonderful way to encourage another by simply sending a lovely card with a personal, handwritten note included inside. Consider the times you have been the recipient of such a gift and the blessing it has been to you. I know I have received my share, and I do so enjoy sending a bit of love and encouragement in the mail. When I heard about the card offer through (in) courage, I was very happy to be able to participate as I already love DaySpring products! I love the journals, gifts and especially the line of encouraging cards this fine company distributes.

DaySpring sent me a free Peanuts Encouragement & Friendship Card Pack and I also received received  6 premium Peanuts thank you cards and an accordion card organizer. I was very impressed (but not surprised) at the quality of this collection. The texture, color and detail were all top notch. I was excited to consider all of the love and encouragement I could send in the mail. Who doesn’t need a bit of love in the mail? 

Personally, I am a Peanuts fan so these sweet sentiments had just the right amount of kindhearted humor I love to share! Of course the artwork is memorable, especially if you appreciate that crazy, Beagle and his friends!

The accordion file had monthly tabs and a removable file sized card to write dates to remember for each month!

I chose to write a few notes to special friends who needed a bit of encouragement and I am still working on sending some love to the list of 10 I made out (A card-stock list with prompts was also included in the package). The very first card I wrote out was to my dear friend Sharon, thanking her for a lovely lunch last Friday and for just being the fabulous, faithful friend she continues to be. Do you know anyone who needs love in the mail? Check out the DaySpring offer and site! All are linked below. I would love for you to enter the giveaway because hey, it ‘s nice to get cool stuff for less AND Free!

Here is the post that started me off, but check out inspired deals below for current opportunities!

DaySpring is supplying me with one (1) coupon code for $20 off your DaySpring purchase.
(Please know that shipping charges will apply to the winner’s order. For the coupon code to work properly, there must be a $20 minimum purchase. The coupon code will expire December 31, 2012.)

To Enter:
Must be 18 or older.
Choose one of the three ways from below to enter Giveaway:  
*Leave a comment sharing a memory of a special card/note you received.
* “Like” my Facebook Page and let me know you did with a comment. 
*Share a DaySpring product that you love in the comments (I love the journals!)

One entry only please. 

I will announce winner via random drawing on Facebook page and on my “Miscellany Monday”‘ Post.
Please make sure your e-mail is available, so I can contact you with the coupon code! 
Contest will close Friday January 20th @ 10PM Eastern Standard time. 
Tell your friends! 

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned products through Dayspring at (in)courage for the (in)spired deals review, The opinions contained in this review are my own.

Check out Inspired Deals here!

Martin’s Monday

Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have to say that I love Martin Luther King Day. First of all, he is one of the few men in whose presence I wish I could have been. That I would have loved to hear with my own ears, seen with my two eyes and stood seeing, in his vision. That I would run to see and stand in the masses yelling, “YES!” One who inspires, challenges. Dignifies. One who saw light and truth and transformed humanity with his own understanding. So today is a special Monday and I will not ignore this great man in my Miscellany Monday post today! My daughter actually won an award in her 5th grade Speech Meet as she recited His famous words. Every single one from that famous speech. It saddens me I was not there to see it. Yeah, that job I no longer even have cost me that opportunity. Won’t happen again. Trust me. Here are some of my favorite quotes by him.
I pulled these from The Quotations Page.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

Well I do have an interview scheduled tomorrow. Prayers welcome. However, it seems, my Inner Writer and Inner “Lazy” Child are having an affair to remember. They have kicked my Inner Personal Trainer to the curb and she appears to be down for the count. Hopefully they will all pull themselves together and cooperate for the interview tomorrow. Perhaps I should consider employment as a Librarian, as my friend Susie has considered, and retire from torturing the hopelessly, unmotivated masses. I am slowly moving into that terrain, myself, Egad!

A wonderfully contemplative week. Rain and puddles helped.
I will be sharing some of my reflections this week.
Some of you have already read about one rainy day with my daughter
this week!
My girl has re-discovered the joys of Play-Doh. Hooray!
I am thoroughly enjoying this little Library find!
Wonderful. I may have to read The Prince of Tides. Maybe. 

A place I used to frequent,back in the day.
Revisited, with a dear friend made my week sweet!
rue de l’espoir =  How you say? Delicious. 
Friends make life sweeter, indeed.

 Life is Short!
 Enjoy your friends as you enjoy dessert!
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

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