Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Book Review: One Perfect Word

During January, I read the book One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber. I don't know where the practice began of choosing one word to focus on during the new year, but apparently this author has been doing it for quite a while - all the way back into the 1990s!

I love the idea of choosing a word to focus on for a year, but each year that I've done so, I've ended up just choosing the word that sounded good to me . . . and nothing happening from there. This year I wanted my word to be chosen more deliberately, and I wanted it to be something more from my inner heart than in years past, something that had personal meaning for me. Debbie's book definitely helped me learn to choose my word with deliberation, and to choose it with my heart in mind rather than my outward life. The funny thing is, the word I chose this year will affect my heart, and as a result, it will affect my outward life.

In One Perfect Word, Debbie describes in detail how she has chosen some of her words for different years of her life, and how those words have changed her and shaped her life each year. I enjoyed reading her insights into various words, developed as she studied, prayed over, and journaled them each year. Each chapter includes her suggestions for discovering your word for the year, how to explore and study that word, and how to apply the lessons you learn from studying your word for the year. She offers excerpts from her personal journals, and gives tips for transforming your word from an abstract concept to a tangible part of your daily life. Each chapter also has a theme Bible verse for the word highlighted.

I enjoyed reading her personal stories of how her word for the year played out in her life in ways she never expected. Some of her words are things I would not naturally choose, like "obedience" or "hunger." But God used those words in her life to teach her throughout the year exactly what obedience and hunger are biblically. Several chapters contained practical advice for words such as "balance" or "goals." I especially enjoyed the chapter on "purpose." I love that God has a purpose for each person's life! I'm sure that there will be at least one chapter that will resonate within your heart; I found several that touched my heart!

The quote I most enjoyed from One Perfect Word was in the beginning of the book:

"When we choose one single word from His Word and spend a year with it, I've found that the Lord takes us by the hand and walks us through the year, teaching us about that word, about ourselves, and even more, about God Himself." Page 11

I found One Perfect Word easy to read, with plenty to think about, but not so heavy that you have to spend a lot of time digesting what you've read. I would recommend it if you're thinking of choosing a word as your theme for a new year, or even just for quick tips on how to study a word in-depth. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links!

Friday, February 20, 2015


Even in the midst of busy times, I'm still pecking away at crafty things! I'm not a super-achiever, by any means, but I'm learning that even a few minutes a day can lend progress to all my little crafty
irons I have in my fire. Here are a couple of recent finishes, and one project I'm working on this month.

My first finish for 2015 was this patchwork heart from Lovely Little Handmades that I started two years ago and loved at the time - and said I would finish at the time. I was going to make it into a pillow cover, but decided to make a table topper instead. And I hate it! LOL I finished the back with a plaid fabric that I had in my stash, and tried to give an "interpretation" to my quilting on the front. I was going for an arrow look through the heart, like Cupid's arrow, but I just winged it and didn't get everything arranged like I had it in my mind. And the colors and fabrics are not much my style anymore. I will use them for things for others, but I'm not fond of this color scheme myself. So this one will be chalked up to "don't work on it if you don't like it." Lesson learned. Maybe another color scheme would work, and just plain quilting. I don't know. I just know I don't like how this one turned out.

My next finish is one that I love, though! It's a table runner I began several years ago, before we moved from North Vancouver. The fabric is Nostalgia by April Cornell. At the beginning of the year, All People Quilt magazine offered a 2015 UFO Challenge for finishing your WIPs (Works In Progress) or UFOs (UnFinished Objects). Each line on the worksheet has a number 1-12, and each month, All People Quilt will choose a number. That number will correspond to the WIP you work on finishing that month. This table runner was my assignment for January.

When the month started, the table runner was basted into a quilt sandwich with top, batting, and backing. All I needed to do was quilt and bind it. This runner was begun early on in my quilting journey, so I found that the backing was too small and would draw up as I quilted it and wouldn't fit under the top. So I found another backing piece. It wasn't wide enough or long enough, but it was one of my bigger pieces that I felt would work with the top, so I pieced it with some leftovers from the top.

Then, even though I really want to learn free-motion-quilting, I haven't done it yet, so I had to do straight-line quilting with my walking foot. Except I tried something I'd seen someone do on Instagram: I quilted with a wavy line that is one of the stitches on my machine. And I love it! I chose to make my binding from the backing of my very first quilt, a blue and tan floral. I really enjoy binding my projects for two reasons: (1) I find the handwork of binding to be relaxing, and (2) binding is the last step of the process and the project is done!

This month's WIP for me is a cross-stitch project I began while we were in South Africa. I always think I can get a cross-stitch done a lot faster than I can. Which is why I have several of them in the WIP stage! ;) My favourite cross-stitch magazine is Cross Country Stitching (which is sadly no longer being issued), and this project is Keeping Room from the February 2008 issue. 

I'm working on it in the evenings. I don't know if I'll be able to finish it by the end of the month or not, but I'm giving it my best try. It will at least have more done than if I hadn't put it on my WIP sheet!

What kind of crafty things are you working on right now? I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ministry Last Week

Sorry to have disappeared again! Last week ministry looked like this:

Monday: Valentine's dinner for church couples. We used a room at a local restaurant and decorated it ourselves. I made candle holders from vintage mason jars. I bought paper heart doilies at the Dollar Store, punched out pink and red hearts in two sizes from shimmery card stock, stamped a heart design on the smaller one, and tied them to the jars with twine. I also added some little red berries from an old Valentine-heart wreath I had bought but never used. Then I partially filled each jar with epsom salts and added a tea light candle. I loved how they turned out! We also ordered cupcakes and wrapped them in little cupcake boxes covered in cellophane, with little heart tags. And we had a photo booth made from a canvas paint cloth, with several props. It was a blast! Our most popular game involved three couples, a tube of lipstick, and kisses all over husbands' faces. Hilarious!

Some of the jars at home, after I finished making them

On the table, candle lit, at dinner
Tuesday: Helped an elderly friend with her grocery shopping and banking while I did my own grocery shopping. Hope to fix dinner, then Tuesday night enjoyed coffee with a church member.

I am amused by simple things, like finding a face on my husband's piece of pie
Wednesday: Home all day, but had nursery at church that night. Brought home two small girls, ages 3 years and 18 months, to babysit for the weekend while their parents took our teens to winter camp in Alberta.

Thursday - Saturday: Taking care of above-mentioned little girls who are early risers. Like 6:00 am early! Lots of answering questions, snuggling, reading books, kissing boo-boos, refereeing sibling spats, changing diapers on the toddler, going potty with the big girl, bathing, cooking, feeding, cleaning up under the table, running up and down the stairs. They napped for 1-2 hours in the afternoon, then went to bed at 7:00 and 7:30 each night. By then I was exhausted! This is why God gives most of us our children when we are young!

All sweet and snuggly after their baths
Sunday: Getting two little girls ready for church, cooking breakfast, preparing meat and veggies for lunch, then getting myself ready for church. Played piano for morning service. Home for lunch and a nap. Back to church for the evening service, picking up above-mentioned elderly friend for the service and taking her home again afterward. Got sandwiches at Subway for supper. Came home and crashed.

The drive into town for church on Sunday morning - we've had sunshine all week, but it's still cold, right around freezing. Notice that most of our snow has melted away
Last week was unusually busy! But every now and then, that's how our week goes - so busy with ministry opportunities that I can barely think. I am not complaining at all; this is our chosen life, and it's our privilege to serve the Lord and others. Just sharing with you a little of what life looked like for me last week!

The new necklace Wes gave me for Valentine's
What's up in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: A Little Salty To Cut the Sweet

This post contains affiliate links!

One of my favourite bloggers, BooMama, aka Sophie Hudson, wrote a book a couple of years ago sharing stories of her southern roots. I knew about the book, but . . . you know . . . I just never got around to reading it. Until a couple of weeks ago. Sophie has a new book that just came out, Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong, so I thought maybe I should read the first one. I'm sharp like that. And now I want to share it with you (in case you're like me and like to wait two years till a new book comes out to read the first one).

In A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon, you'll meet all of Sophie's family, including her gracious hostess mama, Ouida; her Southern-gentlewoman mother-in-law, Martha; Martha's mother, Sissie, and a host of other relatives that will make you laugh till you cry, and then turn the tables on you and make you cry again. I was raised in the South, and this book had me laughing out loud over our southern mannerisms, comfort food, and all the quirks of the South. I say "our" because I felt an instant connection with Sophie and her very Southern family. They were like old friends with new stories!

If you've ever read Sophie's blog, you know she has a down-home way of writing that instantly draws you in, pours you a glass of sweet tea, and sits you down at the kitchen table for a heart-to-heart. Her book is no different. You're drawn into each chapter and family event like you were really there. Sophie includes some hilarious memories of her family (must-read chapter: The Night We Neither Camped Nor Fished) but among those hilarious tales runs a thread of the serious stuff of life - family, friendship, tradition, grief, aging, faith - the salty things that cut through the sweet of all our lives. You learn to love her family with all its quirks, and in turn, begin to realize the love you have for your own family, with all its saltiness among the sweet.

If you are a southerner, definitely read this book. You will identify with everything, down to the recipes included in the last chapter (her mama makes devilled eggs just like my mama did!), and you'll find yourself laughing and nodding over all the similarities of her childhood to yours. If you're not a southerner, definitely read this book. It will help you understand us a little better! No matter who you are, I know you'll love A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet.

Because it's about real life.

And it'll bless your heart, Honey!

Check out my 2015 Reading List to see what else I'm reading!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Trip of a Lifetime: London - Buckingham Palace

I hope you're enjoying the pictures of our globe-trotting adventures! I'm trying to get these done quickly, but I don't want to lump everything together into one post. Thanks for reading!

On Tuesday of our week in London, we visited the place I did not want to miss: Buckingham Palace! I was super excited about seeing the palace and visiting the various attractions related to it.

The famous balcony
The first thing we did was walk around to the front of the palace and just look. We wanted to see the guards, the balcony where the royal family gathers to wave at the crowds, the changing of the guard . . . anything I could see without getting in trouble! ;)

The most amazing thing to me was that the palace is just right there in the city! Of course, I knew that, but I didn't realize that there would be traffic going right past, and that we could just walk right beside it. I'm sure there are plenty of security measures in place, but I was surprised that we could get as close as we did.

The Queen Victoria Memorial, in front of the Palace
We looked through the fence at the front of the palace and decided to come back for the Changing of the Guard. We knew there would be a crowd, so we decided to come back about an hour before the ceremony. We learned that was wise!

In the meantime, though, we toured the Royal Mews. This is where all the horses, carriages, and cars are kept for the royal family. Basically any and every kind of transportation for state duties or for personal use was in this building. We saw a few horses, but most of the displays were of carriages and cars. We saw the carriages that have been used for hundreds of years, all the way up to the most modern ones, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee State Coach. It was easy to spend lots of time here, especially with our audio tour headsets! We could take our time.

The Queen's Jubilee State Coach
We headed back to the front of the palace to see if we could catch the Changing of the Guard. There was some doubt if they would have it that day, because of rain. But eventually we realized they were indeed having it, and we were in a fairly good place to see it. If you look at the front of the palace, we were on the far left, standing behind just a couple of people. We all got to be good friends in the hour and a half we stood there! The police came by several times to remind us how to protect ourselves against pickpockets - a very common occurrence because of all the people crowded around - as we stood under umbrellas and waited. And waited. And waited. Have you ever tried to stand beneath 5 or 6 umbrellas held by people of varying heights, with the little points dripping from the rain? I don't know how many times I nearly got jabbed in the eye!

This was my view of the Changing of the Guard. Doesn't look like much, but I was only one person away from the fence. By the time it started, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people crowding in to see.
Finally the ceremony started. The "guards" are actually composed of five infantry regiments. The group guarding the Queen at any given time is the "Queen's Guard." When the guard changes, a new regiment marches to the palace grounds and changes places with the guards on duty, and they become the Queen's Guards. As I've said before, I love pomp and splendour, and this ceremony had plenty of it. Lots of marching and music and slapping of guns on the ground. The whole ceremony took 45 minutes. After it was over, we were a little underwhelmed, but I'm glad we got to see it. There are just some things you have to do when you go to London, you know!

Here comes the new guard!
This guard was leaving the grounds after his shift

This carriage with a couple of people in it drove into the palace grounds during the ceremony, the people got out and went inside, but we have no idea who they were!
What would be your must-see thing in London?

Trip of a Lifetime!
South Africa
London - Windsor Castle
London - Tower Bridge
London - Tower of London
London - Buckingham Palace
London - Westminster Abbey and Churchill War Museum
London - Bunhill Field


Blog Widget by LinkWithin