Thursday, January 01, 2015

Books Read in 2014


Here is the list of books I read in 2014.I will be clearing out the sidebar and starting fresh for 2015, but I want to keep previous years' lists so I am putting it into a post. If I reviewed a book, a link to the review is next to the book title below.

I had a nice mix of fiction vs. non-fiction this year, although my reading load was light. I hope to read more in the coming year and have a lot of great books to start me off. 


January (1)
Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything by Anonymous (Read Review)
February (2)
A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson
Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God by Sam Crabtree
March (2)
Serving Without Sinking by John Hindley
A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson
April (0)
May (0)
June (0)
July (0)
August (0)
September (2)
The Walk by Richard Paul Evans
Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans
October (1)
The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans
November (0)
December (3)
Daily Light from God's Word by Samuel Bagster/Anne Graham Lotz (Read Review)
The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Read Review)
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie (Read Review)

Nonfiction total: 6
Fiction total: 5
Total books:11

What did you read this year? What were your favorites?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Review: Devotionals

2014 was the year of the devotional for me. I read three devotionals this year, so I wanted to say a word about each one.

First, I will talk about Daily Light from God's Word by Samuel Bagster/Anne Graham Lotz. The unique thing about this devotional is that it is COMPLETELY Scripture. I love that about it! Each day there is a morning and evening reading of topically-arranged Scriptures. The references are below the passage, so if you want to look up a Scripture to see the context, you can. It also comes packaged in a lovely, small leather-bound book, perfect for gift-giving. I have given these as a graduation gift before, because sometimes busy college students don't have time to read large chunks of Scripture.

During the Christmas season, I also read Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie. This book is really intended to be used for family devotions, so it is written on a simple level suitable for children. It also has discussion questions at the end of each day that can be used for family discussions. I probably didn't get as much out of it since I was just using it for my own personal use, but it was still nice to think about different aspects of the advent story each day to prepare my heart for Christmas. As an added bonus, it has a few additional sections which break down different Christmas carols and discuss their meaning.

My favorite devotional by far this year was The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I loved this book so much, I gave a copy to my mother, friend, daughters, sister, and sister-in-law! Every day, Nancy challenged me, encouraged me, and gave me great food for thought. It is also packaged with a sturdy and lovely blue leather-like cover, which makes it a really nice gift. I really can't say enough good things about this devotional. It is one I know I will use many times in the years to come.

Did you read any good devotional books lately? I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gift Mix 2014: A Few of Our Favorite Things


For this year's gift mix, I knew I wanted to wrap them in "brown paper packages tied up with strings." It was a logical conclusion, then, that I needed to repeat a "favorite" gift mix.

The last time we gave out Cranberry Hootycreek Cookie mixes was 2005 and I STILL have people ask me every year if I'm giving that cookie out as our mix. It's a great cookie and a favorite of many of our friends.

So this year, I borrowed a decorative hole punch from my friend Mae (I think I borrow something from her for every crafty project I do! What would I do without her?!?!) and used that on some regular brown paper lunch bags. My friend Gina gave me a good Etsy source for the bakers twine, so I bought that after Christmas last year. The results are seen below.


We made 120 gift mixes this year. This is most of them. Some were on the chair behind the table. I forgot to put in the leaf, so I ran out of room! :)

I designed the tag based on a few others I saw on the internet. You can click on the images below to open them up larger and/or to copy them. One little note on the recipe side: it is probably too small to read, but the words around the edges of the border are the words to the song "My Favorite Things." I thought that was a fun detail. :)




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Encouraging Snail Mail Happies

Everyone likes to get fun stuff in the mail, especially college students. I've been trying to send Alyssa something small in the mail roughly every 2 weeks.

I try to make sure each item is something she will actually USE and that each one costs less than $5. I also try to tie in a spiritual truth by adding a verse or quote to each one. Here are a few of the ones I've recently sent.

A Tide to Go pen. (Because who doesn't need instant spot removal, right?) The verse on the pen is 2 Peter 3:14, "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, SPOTLESS and blameless."


Flip flops to use as shower shoes. The verse on these is Psalm 17:5, "Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip."

Encourage-Mints. I put these in an old Crystal Lite container and tied it with a ribbon. I put a tag on each mint with a graphic I found here and a different encouraging quote on each. You can download a printable version of my labels with the quotes I used here. I just used double-sided tape to attach them. You could also use the Andies chocolate mints and wrap the quote around it like a candy bar wrapper.

I don't have a photo of this one, but last year I sent some of her favorite pens along with one of my favorite quotes, "I was but a pen in God's hands, and what praise is due to a pen?" (Richard Baxter)

I plan to send more in the weeks to come, but I won't post them until she's received them, since I don't want to spoil the surprise. :) Do you have ideas for encouraging, inexpensive gifts for college students? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Seeing Dots


Last week we moved Alyssa back into the dorms. Since she's an RA and her dorm was newly-built, we weren't sure what her room would look like, but we knew she would have some wall space that needed decorating. I found this idea on Pinterest and decided to do a twist on it by adding some photos of family and friends. The result is pictured below.


DETAILS
Instead of using a strip of natural wood, I purchased a 4' piece of trim that was already painted white. We used a staple gun to staple the twine to it and added two picture hangers to the back to hang it with. My circles are all 4", 3", and 2.5". I borrowed some hole punches and a Cuttlebug from my friend Mae to cut them, which was a life-saver. Cutting all those circles by hand would've taken FOREVER!

I just taped the circles to the string. I probably should've used cardstock for all the circles to make it more durable or at least made them double-sided, but I didn't have time for that. When I hung it on the wall, we used poster putty to lightly tack down a few circles that wanted to turn backwards. I think that will keep it from twisting too much, but still looking like it's not completely stuck to the wall.

I was really happy with how it turned out, and more importantly Alyssa was happy with it, too. I think it really compliments her bedding, which is on the same wall.



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