Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for....

~ Terrible game! The Orioles just lost to the Yankees 15-3. Sheesh!

~ Time. I can't believe that this week is already over. Where did the time go? Next week I go back to the grind, and I'm quite sad about it.

~ Terrific. This week has really been wonderful. Just what my soul needed. I just wish it didn't have to end.

~ Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for the many blessings in my life. I don't deserve them.

~ Tuckered out. It's only 10 PM, but I am craving some quality time with my bed!

~ Tea. I'm going to finish savoring this delicious mug of hot tea first.

~ Tomorrow. In a mere 2 hours, it will be Easter Sunday!!!!

~ This Toddler. I can't even describe how much I love her!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Don't Leave it On the Desk

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution.
Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.

"How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know.... I've never done 300 at a time"

"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to
tell me you can do it," said the professor.

Steve said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it."

Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday.. Let me explain what I have in mind."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"

Cynthia said, "Yes."

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

"Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"

Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Dr. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Sternly, Jenny said, "No."

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"

Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks..

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"

Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?"

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut."

Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "give me a donut."

"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?"

Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes."

"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. "

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.

"Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words."

Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not His Only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid."

"Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"


On this memorial of Good Friday, it is only appropriate to highlight Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for us. Though he would rise again in three days, this day was full of sadness, anguish, and despair. Today is a day of fasting, of mourning, of remembering. Today is a day of quiet reflection and confession. Today we remember that it was OUR sins that nailed Jesus to the cross. He was beaten, humiliated, and ultimately killed so that we might live.

Matthew 27, NIV

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Jesus Before Pilate

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: For Women Only

Click Here to download the first chapter of this book.

In For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn provides insight into the inner lives of men. Touching on subjects such as respect, sex, romance, and competition, the author explores the complex terrain beneath a man’s confident exterior. It is a book written for women who want to support their husbands in becoming all that God intended them to be. The more we understand the men in our lives, the better we can support and love them in the way they need.

I was very excited to see this book available for review - mainly because Shaunti Feldhahn is coming to speak at my church next month. I am so glad I requested it! This quick read is filled with so much valuable information. Even though I assumed I knew a thing or two about my husband, I really had no clue what was really going on inside of his head. After reading this book, I feel so much more confident in our relationship and the way that I relate to him. I was able to put some of the information into practice the very next day, and can I say – it truly made a difference. I feel so blessed that I learned this information early on in our marriage. I know it will make a big difference in the years to come.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Doing Virtuous Business

Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch examines the concept of spiritual entrepreneurship. The global economy is at a crossroad. Confronted with new global conflicts and shifting political and economic fortunes, many people are sensing a growing unease about the direction of our country and the world. With abundant scandal, economic collapse and crisis on every side people are searching for a better, more virtuous form of capitalism. Malloch contends that all companies must be guided by their rich spiritual inheritance in order to succeed in the highly competitive and interconnected international commerce that we have come to experience.

The main reason I requested to review this book was Lawrence Kudlow’s bold tagline that read, “Every CEO should read this book…” While I’m not a CEO and don’t have any plans to become one, I do have a dream of one day becoming a sole proprietor of my own business. I thought, therefore, it would be prudent for me to read this manuscript.

What I found was a book that was rather dull and difficult to get through. With a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in business, I have read my share of business theory. The information wasn’t over my head; it was simply too wordy or too dry. Regardless, I do think the book has some great practical information that corporations would do well to heed. I just found myself wishing for Cliff’s Notes as I read. Apparently, I am not the only one who shared this sentiment. Wanting to spread the information, PBS has created a documentary and a study guide based on the book, making the content more accessible to a wider audience.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher’s BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.


Here is a picture of our wedding rings, taken by the talented Michelle of M.E. Neal Studios.


Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“We ourselves must be full of life if we are going to make life fuller for others.” – David Sawyer

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are you busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

“The trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” – Erica Jong

“Be good to yourself, be excellent to others, and do everything with love.”
– John Wolf

“What you want to be eventually, you must be every day.” – Frank Crane

“One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.”
– Helen Keller

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Pleasure Journal

I have been battling depression since I was a child. It intensified in college, though I hid it well. On the outside I had it all together. But on the inside, my mind was a complete mess. (Luckily, we have a loving and faithful God who never abandoned me!) One way I helped myself feel better was to keep a pleasure journal. It was simply a running list of all the things that brought me joy. I read the list on my darkest days and remembered to smile. Here are some of the pleasures I listed in that journal:

~ Dancing with full abandon
~ Singing
~ True worship
~ Learning something new
~ Bubble baths
~ Smudges of color
~ Starbucks
~ Having my hair brushed
~ Getting an 11 out of a 10 on a presentation
~ French toast in bed
~ Love notes left on my windshield
~ Biggest Loser transformations
~ A clean room
~ Waking up without an alarm
~ Feeling like a grown up
~ Feeling like a kid
~ Laughing until your stomach feels like you’ve done 100 sit-ups
~ SARK books
~ Drum beats
~ Swinging
~ Running away to the beach
~ Roller coasters
~ Chocolate
~ My surgery results
~ Rock n Bowl
~ Babies
~ Puppies
~ Season tickets to the Hippodrome
~ Carving pumpkins
~ Warm chocolate chip cookies
~ Smelling, tasting, feeling, hearing the Ocean
~ 2 hour massages
~ White, straight teeth
~ The feeling after a good workout
~ Vision boards
~ Romantic movies
~ Old fashioned photo booths
~ Irish accents
~ Shooting stars
~ Inspiring women
~ The Earth’s infinite beauty
~ Seat warmers
~ Driving my Cabrio with the top down
~ Dangling earrings
~ Long walks
~ Seashells
~ The first sunburn of summer
~ Girls’ Days
~ Tea parties
~ Playing board games
~ Eating crabs
~ Listening to a powerful sermon

Out with the Old

One of my favorite things to do when it comes time for spring cleaning is to get rid of old things – clothes I no longer wear, books that no longer serve me, clutter that simply collects dust. I like the idea of clearing space for something more beautiful and more nourishing to enter my life.

In the same way, one of my favorite things about being a Christian is the fact that my old life is gone. I am a new creation in Jesus.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The moment I gave my life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit did some heavy-duty spring cleaning in my soul. He saw my sins and swept them away. He scrubbed my mind and polished my heart. He got rid of all the dark spots and he made my spirit shine like new.

But just as my clean house doesn’t stay that way for long (especially with a 19 month old running around!), my soul gets messy again. I’m only human after all, and I fail over and over. Luckily, we serve a loving and forgiving God who gives us chance after chance after chance to start new again. What could be better than that?

"Nature is God's Niggun"

When I was in AmeriCorps, I found myself in a very low tide in my ocean of life. Luckily, I had wonderful teammates who helped me get through it. I didn't quit, even though towards the end, I desperately wanted to. My precious teammate Val introduced me to the following poem by Rami Shapiro on a day I was feeling particularly low. I thought it was so beautiful. (As a note, "niggun" is a Hebrew word for "song.")

Nature is God's niggun,
a wordless melody of unfolding life.
To awaken to God we must hear the niggun,
To awaken to God we must listen in deep silence.
Silence arises when thinking ceases.
If we would know God, we must quiet the mind,
Cease the chatter that passes for knowledge.
When in fact it only flatters the foolish.
We cannot live without words,
but let us not imagine that words are sufficient.
As a symphony needs rest to lift music out of noise,
so we need silence to lift truth out of words.

Midday Movies and Other Magical Mundane Moments

Harry is on spring break. I, therefore, am also on spring break. Our original plan for the week was to head to the beach and then come back home just in time for Easter. But, as I have learned oh too well, things don’t always go as planned. At the last minute, we decided to skip the beach and stay home.

We have been having some uneventful, relaxing, and just-what-we-needed days. Here is a sampling of what has been happening in the Martin household this week:

~ Sleeping in (Yes, 6:30 AM counts as sleeping in!)
~ Warm home-cooked breakfasts
~ Morning walks around the neighborhood
~ Afternoon bike rides
~ Quality family time on the deck
~ Fun at the playground
~ Lots of spring cleaning
~ Healthy home-cooked dinners
~ Trips to the Red Box
~ Chocolate snowballs
~ Chasing Bianca around the house while she giggles
~ Watching Orioles’ games
~ Lots of reading and singing
~ Extra hugs and kisses

Quite simply, it has been heavenly, and I am truly grateful for this nourishing time with my family.

I'm Alive

Hello, my faithful few followers who noticed I went missing the past week or so! I just want you to know that I am alive and well, I and have every intention of completing the A-Z Challenge. Today's letter is R, so obviously, I am a bit behind. I'll do my best to catch up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Leaving a Legacy of Love

I once completed an exercise that was somewhere along the lines of “Picture yourself at age 85 telling the story of your life. What would the big picture look like?“ I thoroughly enjoyed dreaming of my life, complete with a satisfying and happy marriage, well-adjusted and healthy children, church, service, travel, a meaningful job, close friendships, tons of fun and a beach cottage.

But when it comes down to it, if I could only be remembered for one thing, I would want that thing to be love. Despite my mistakes, despite my failures, despite my successes, despite my job title, I want to make a difference in other people’s lives. I want people to remember me – not for anything I did, but for how much I loved them. I want to be remembered for the hugs I offered when there were no words to speak. For the tears I cried with them in both happy and sad times. For the little words of encouragement I spoke that made their darkest days just a tad brighter. For believing in their dreams, even when they stopped believing in themselves. For knowing when to let go when it was the kindest thing I could do. For seeing their beauty and potential when everyone else turned their backs. For loving them on the days they felt the most unlovable.

When my time on earth has come to an end, I simply want my love to live on. I want to love others the way that God loves me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kid Foodie = Koodie

I recently found out about the blog Adventures of a Koodie, and I thought it was adorable. So on this "K" day, I have decided to show some love to Eli, the Koodie who lives in my neck of the woods. Why not pop over to his blog and say hi?

Juicy Jewels of Delight

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

Some things that make me come alive:

~ Blank journals
~ Magazines
~ Drums
~ Live music
~ Spinning in circles with Bianca
~ Singing
~ Lifting my hands in worship
~ Dancing with full abandon
~ Performing in the spotlight
~ Taking pictures
~ Swimming in the ocean
~ Napping in the sun
~ Deep conversations
~ Coffee with friends
~ Tea with myself
~ Sparkles
~ Romance
~ Laughing until my belly hurts
~ Making collages
~ Writing
~ Listening to an inspiring message in church
~ Reading inspirational stories
~ Buying unexpected gifts for friends
~ Connection
~ Wind blowing through my hair
~ Swinging
~ Drawing closer to God
~ Puppy love
~ Dark chocolate
~ Feeling beautiful
~ Being challenged and inspired by strong women
~ Hiking
~ Riding my bike
~ Hugs
~ Knowing you are seen, appreciated and loved

Monday, April 11, 2011


Sometimes images speak a lot louder than words.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review: Secure Daughters, Confident Sons

Click here to read an excerpt from this book.

In “Secure Daughters, Confident Sons,” Glenn T. Stanton discusses the essential differences between the genders and clearly shows what natural God-given masculinity and femininity look like. While the author recognizes that every person is different and will show their masculinity and femininity to different degrees, he points out that there are basic commonalities when it comes to the essence of being male or female. Stanton offers practical insights into the ways both mothers and fathers can help guide their children into embracing the distinct differences between daughters and sons. This book offers parents rich tools for raising gender-healthy boys and girls who will grow into healthy men and women.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having been raised in an all-female household with a mainly female extended family, the male gender was a bit of a mystery to me. Reading this book helped me not only to gain valuable information on how to raise a healthy son, but I also acquired insight into some of my husband’s needs and actions. It also showed me how essential it is to have a strong male influence in my daughter’s life. My husband doesn’t read much, but I found myself telling him several times, “You really have to read this book.” Stanton provided interesting, scientific information combined with a Christian perspective. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is trying to raise healthy children in a gender-confused world.

Disclaimer: I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Harry, My Handsome Hubby

He is strong of character.
He is dedicated to everyone and everything important to him.
He is a wonderful father.
He has a great smile.
He can quickly calculate math problems in his head.
He makes me laugh.
He cuddles with me....sometimes!
He is respectful.
He is generous.
He goes to church with me.
He is willing to grow spiritually with me.
He has a positive attitude.
He is truly grateful for the blessings in his life.
He is a hard worker.
He is a positive role model.
His students can talk to him about their problems.
He beats me at every game we play.
(Although I beat him in a game of mini golf once in 2006!)
He doesn't put me down.
He encourages me to follow my heart.
He has introduced me to the world of sports.
He takes me to musicals and concerts when he'd rather stay home.
He is financially responsible.
He has a Master's degree combined with street smarts.
He sticks to his values.
He is fun to be around - even if we're doing nothing.
He was a chess champion and a star athlete at the same time.
He is a successful coach.
He fits in great with my family.
He is willing to help people in need.
He isn't very messy.
We rarely fight, but when we do, we make up quickly.
After our very first fight, he gave me an eraser and said we could always start with a clean slate.
He knows my faults and loves me anyway.
He lets me have my space when I need it.
He has strong arms and gives great hugs.
He has a silly and playful side.
He takes good care of me and Bianca.
He didn't take away from my life at all - only added to it.
He loves food as much as I do.
He is patriotic.
He loves watching sports, the news, and the weather channel.
But he'll watch reality TV with me.
He makes me feel safe and secure.
He waves at me in the rearview mirror when I'm following his car.
He has mad thumb wrestling skills.
He would be willing to let me name his first racehorse.
We make a great Wheel of Fortune team.
He bought me a pair of diamond earrings two weeks after we met.
He proposed to me with a Scrabble board.
He married me on the beach.
When I picture us growing old together, he looks great with gray hair!

Friday, April 8, 2011


One of my greatest gifts from God is my Grandma. She is one of the most wonderful people I know. Always loving, always welcoming, always trying to make me laugh and feel great about myself at the same time. She sits on her swing and says hi to everyone who goes by. To her, every stranger is a friend. She says that dogs are the best friends because they never tell your secrets. She loves the color blue, sitting in the sun, and watching basketball. She used to make me pancakes in the shape of animals and letters. She told me worms would grow in my belly if I kept sneaking sugar from the sugar jar. She made "Silberzahn steak" for those who didn't eat liver. She taught me how to play Candy Land, Tiddlywinks, and Michigan Rummy. She sent me outside with a bar of Dove soap on rainy days and told me to take a Polish shower. She calls me her Carey Bear. She tells me to keep her straight. She asks me the same question 20 times in a row, but I always answer it like it's the first time she's asked. She tells me I'm beautiful and my daughter is an angel. She forgets a lot of things, but she never forgets me. My daughter is named after her. I love her more than words can say.

A Few Favorites

A day late and a dollar short, but better late than never, right? For my "F" post, here are a few of my favorites on this fine Friday:

Favorite color = purple
Favorite food = pizza
Favorite musical artist = Alanis Morissette
Favorite musical group = MercyMe
Favorite musical = Wicked
Favorite day of the week = Saturday
Favorite animal = tiny puppies with big eyes
Favorite smells = coconut, lavender, and Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion
Favorite beverage = sweet tea
Favorite footwear = flip flops
Favorite mystical creature = fairy

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Emotional Evening

Ok, I realize I'm a day late with my "E" post, and I do apologize. I ended up leaving work early to take care of one issue and ended up taking of a completely different one. I'm not going to blog any details because it is not my story to tell. I just winded up right smack in the middle of it. Regardless, it was an emotional experience that had me counting my blessings last night. And as I drove to work with tears in my eyes this morning, I realize that I haven't quite gotten over it yet.

On days like today, when my heart feels extra heavy, I turn to the language that my soul can relate to best - music. This morning, I have Mark Schultz's song "He Will Carry Me" in my heart.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dreams for My Daughter

It's no secret that I have big dreams for my life. And I am confident that if I keep my eyes focused on the Lord, I will see a majority of those dreams come true. But I am equally as passionate - if not more - about the dreams I have for my daughter:

~ That she has a close relationship with God.
~ That she knows true happiness.
~ That she is true to herself and always follows her heart.
~ That Harry and I give her the space and freedom she needs to explore her inner workings.
~ That she experiences true, deeping, forever friendships.
~ That she loves passionately and has that love returned.
~ That she never has to live with constricting debt.
~ That she understands that true beauty comes from within and radiates outward.
~ That she has a strong yet quiet self esteem.
~ That she feels the joy that comes with loving and serving others.
~ That she makes a difference - whether it be to one life or to a million lives.

Monday, April 4, 2011


In general, I don't consider myself a very creative person. Yes, I like to write - but mostly I record the mundane happenings of my micro world. I've taken a stab at poetry in the past, but the results weren't very good. I love to sing and play music, but I've never created my own songs. And when it came to art class, let's just say I wasn't the highest achiever in the class.

But on Friday, there was a creative energy filling the air. In my e-mailbox, I received a quote that said, "Changing your tools can lead you in new directions." I was also finding myself keenly drawn to images when I am usually more drawn to words. To make a long story short, this creative energy inspired me to go buy some paint on Friday afternoon. I simply purchased some children's washable paint, but as I drove home with my new treasure, I was extremely excited. I was ready to change my tools!

I didn't get to paint until Sunday afternoon, when I was blessed with an hour and a half of uninterrupted Me Time. I can't say that I turned into an artist overnight, but I was rather satisfied with tapping into a new part of myself. I think that some more creative exploration is waiting for me in the future.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for...

~ Bianca. My beautiful daughter! I was able to spend most of the day with her, which is always so, so good for my soul. I absolutely love the weekends because they are filled with quality time with my baby girl.

~ Blood. I try to donate to the Red Cross every 56 days. This morning, I did just that.

~ Bumper Stickers. I added one to my car today that says, "Give another chance. Give blood."

~ Books. I love to read, but with my schedule, I'm finding it harder and harder to do so. Today, I was able to read three chapters of "Secure Daughters, Confident Sons" by Glenn T. Stanton (Book review coming soon!)

~ Bed. Harry, Bianca, and I took an hour-long nap together this afternoon. It was heavenly!!

~ Baseball. The Orioles won two games in a row! What a great start to the season!

~ Bubble Baths. As soon as I finish this post, I'm heading upstairs to take one!

~ Blogging. I hope my future A-Z Challenge posts are a little more interesting than this one!

Friday, April 1, 2011


I just realized that I haven’t written a blog post all week. I truly hate when that happens - especially when I also neglected my journal all week. I’ve learned that I NEED to write. It keeps me focused, it helps me sort out the craziness in my head, and quite frankly – I love it. My soul sings a little louder when I’m in touch with that part of myself. (Although, Steph, I think you’re gonna love my approach to Sacred Friday this week! I’ll email you soon!)

So today begins my journey with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I had originally planned on writing about Ayurveda and why the heck a Christian woman would be interested in learning the principles of the ancient medical system anyway – but after having a really uplifting conversation with one of my favorite co-workers this morning, I’ve changed my mind.

Instead, I will write about April – and why it is my absolute favorite month of the year.

~ It’s my birth month - and this year I am going to be intentional about celebrating myself every day of the month!!

~ I love April showers. I feel like the earth is being cleansed, and my soul is right there with it. Just listen to Michael W. Smith’s “Healing Rain” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

~ It’s Easter season!!! This is the most significant season for Christians. Jesus is risen!!! And He gives new life to anyone who seeks it. How amazing, exciting, and humbling is that?!?

~ The adorable baby animals and beautiful flowers that make their appearance in April remind me of that new life!

~ I always try to take a trip to the beach (my most favorite place in the world!) in April. This year, we’ll be heading to OCMD the week of April 18. Quite simply, I can’t wait!!

~ I had my infamous surgery in April 2005. One of the best decisions of my life!!

~ Harry and I met on Match in April 2006. One of my most favorite blessings!!

~ I was baptized with one of my most favorite people in April 1999. One of my fondest memories!!

I walk a little lighter, sing a little louder, and smile a whole lot more in April. For me, it's the most wonderful time of the year!! : )