Mama

Mama

It is, perhaps, the sweetest word I have heard in my entire life. Not the “Mama” spoken by Husband, or Nana or Grandma or even myself. That has been uttered for months now. Nine of them. Longer, if you include my pregnancy. No, the sweet little two-syllables now uttered by my baby girl.

I knew it would come and didn’t really worry about it. I wasn’t jealous that she said Dada first. After all, she ALWAYS wants me. I was glad for Husband to have something special. But now that she says it, now that she utters that beautiful word, I am enraptured.

She crawls toward me, “Mama, Mama, Mama.” She cries from her crib when she doesn’t want to nap, “Mama?” She (apparently) invokes my name when angry at the nanny, “Mama! Mama!” She sleepily murmurs my name when I pull her from her crib for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, “Mama…Mama…”

I can’t get enough of it. Oh, perhaps some day it will start to get old, the incessant, never-ceasing iterations from little voices. But right now? Today? I am relishing each and every instance.

Mama and Fiona

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Book Review: The Fir Tree

Book Review: The Fir Tree

The Fir Tree by Hans Christian AndersenI absolutely adore this beautiful little book by renowned tale-teller Hans Christian Andersen. The cloth binding and the illustrations are beautiful and classic. This will be a keeper for sure, perhaps even a new family heirloom for us!

Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic tale of naive greed and dissatisfaction is retold through the striking and contemporary illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in rich forest green, with gold foil embellishments, The Fir Tree is elevated from a children’s book to a unique work of art and makes an ideal gift for people of all ages.

The story is beautifully told, short enough for me to read to my daughter, but deep enough to maintain so much meaning. In the tradition of true fairy-tales, The Fir Tree is rife with lessons to be learned and takeaways that provide wisdom and insight for life well beyond the childhood years. Read more

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Book Review: All is Bright

Book Review: All is Bright

All is Bright by Nancy Guthrie AdventI am absolutely loving this Advent coloring book. Might this be the one that finally pushes me to complete an entire Advent season of devotions??

All is Bright, by Nancy Guthrie and Lizzie Preston, is a beautiful adult coloring book and devotional for the Christmas season.

Grab your colored pencils, cozy up with your favorite blanket and a cup of tea, and settle in for a night of peace and wonder with All Is Bright.

I have already admitted my love of coloring, and when I saw this special holiday coloring book focused entirely on “a devotional journey to color your way to Christmas”, I thought this would be right up my alley. Sure enough, it’s a lovely collection of reminders of anticipation of our Lord’s birth (and, in fact, all the way to December 31). Most of the coloring pages are absolutely lovely, a few leave something to be desired. But I think that’s typical, as not every drawing is going to speak to every person.

The author of the devotionals, Nancy Guthrie, is familiar to me through the GriefShare program that she and her husband developed and host and through a women’s conference where I heard her speak. I know her teachings are Biblical and on point. Read more

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The Night Stand

The Night Stand

What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):


 

The Brutal Telling

by Louise PennyThe Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

I am absolutely loving the Inspector Gamache series, but I am trying to make it last all fall and at least up to the holidays. (Props to me if I can make it last all winter!) The Brutal Telling is the fifth in the Gamache series and at this point I love that I am getting to know all of the characters, including the best character of all — the town of Three Pines itself — a little more with each story. They are believable, enjoyable, engrossing mysteries. But it’s about so much more than murder, it’s about humans and emotions and real life. Penny’s writing has caused me to pause and think about my own life in new ways.


Read more

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Adventure: Swing Time

Adventure: Swing Time

Adventures don’t have to involve travel to a distant place, they can take place right next door. When Hurricane Matthew struck the Virginia Beach area this past weekend, we ended up with flooding, downed trees, and closed roads. By Sunday morning the rain had ceased, but there was no getting out and about. By the afternoon, I knew Husband and Fiona had cabin fever and even me, homebody that I am, was ready for some fresh air. So we ventured out, just down the street to our local park in search of a baby swing for Fiona.

The park entrance was closed due to flooding, but we parked down the street and walked in. We had a delightful time in the crisp, fall-like air, enjoying the sunshine after such a storm. We found walnuts (and ate a few) and multiple bird nests that had blown out of the trees. Our walk in the fresh air and playtime with the babe lifted our spirits in more ways than one. I pray that I always remember that sometimes, adventure is just around the corner.

Swing Time with Baby Read more

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Book Review: Zacchaeus and Jesus

Book Review: Zacchaeus and Jesus

zacchaeus and jesusI love children’s books, and now that I have a child of my own, I have an even better excuse to pick them up at every chance! I sometimes shy away from “Bible” story books, only because I have several storybook Bibles for my daughter and I was raised with plenty of Sunday school experiences to show me how cheesy these books can be.

But when I received Zacchaeus and Jesus by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Lisa Manuzak, I had a feeling it would be different. The story is the age-old, familiar tale of Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree to see Jesus. But, it’s told with a bit of a twist to capture my little one’s attention.

Read from the front to back, it is the tale told from Zacchaeus’ perspective, but from back to front it is told from Jesus’ perspective. I love this device to teach my child not only a Biblical story, but also to help her understand perspective, point of view, and perhaps how we see ourselves vs. how Jesus sees us. To help her learn more than just a story.

This book has large, colorful pictures and just enough text to tell the story without taking too long to flip the pages (very important for an impatient little one!). I would recommend this book to Christian moms and dads thanks to its new and innovative storytelling technique!

Want to win your own copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus? Enter here! (Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, entrants age 13+.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a complimentary copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using this link.

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One Thing: A Season of Stories

One Thing: A Season of Stories

Season of StoriesOne Thing: Where I share one thing that is making my life better or bringing me joy.

So I’m super excited about this opportunity for readers. Crown Publishing and Penguin Random House are hosting a free “Season of Stories”: an incredible collection of short stories featuring writers who have won the National Book Award and topped the New York Times Bestseller list. A bit of culture and truly good writing all the way through the end of 2016? Sign me up!

Starting October 11, for a limited time we’ll be emailing eleven fiction tales directly to readers, all written in the first person. Dive into a great story when you need a quick escape from daily stresses.

Lean more about Season of Stories.

Sign up here!

(Please note this caveat from the publishers: “Some of these stories contain mature themes and are more suited to an adult reader.”)

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Book Review: Tangled Webs

Book Review: Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs by Irene HannonHaving read some Irene Hannon in the past (Guardians of Justice series), I was excited to jump into Tangled Webs, her latest novel. Tangled Webs is the third in the Men of Valor series.

Finn has packed away his combat instincts — but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action — ready or not.

Not having read the first two of this series, I was pleased to see that I had no trouble diving right into the Men of Valor world. Read more

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Loss

Loss

It’s been a while since I’ve written about loss…but it is rarely far from my mind. I guess that’s really what I want to say. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, simmering just below the surface. Remember that when you speak with someone experiencing loss.

We lost Michael more than three years ago, almost four. But that loss is still so very present.

There’s the green ribbon from last fall’s Out of Darkness walk, green representing a sibling.

I was glad when Husband and I ventured out to attend the walk. I thought it would be good for him, for us. I had no idea how comforting it would be to walk among so many people and identify their loss through the color of their ribbon. All those wearing green knew the pain of losing a sibling. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. There truly are others who understand. I hope Husband felt that too. Read more

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Book Deal: Susan May Warren

Book Deal: Susan May Warren

If Ever I would Leave You by Susan May WarrenHey all, just a quick update to mention that If Ever I Would Leave You, the prequel to Susan May Warren’s Wild Montana Skies (which I reviewed earlier this month), is available on Amazon absolutely free right now!

Wild Montana Skies is available for pre-order and releases on October 18!

 

 

 

 

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using this link.

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