Nov 19, 2014

HCSB Women's Study Bible - A Review

I have never owned a study bible before and when I saw the opportunity to review this one, I was excited!  And what I thought was just going to be a nice addition to my collection has now become a new favourite!

Introducing - the Holman Christian Standard Bible: The Woman's Study Bible addition.
 I received this copy from B&H publishing in exchange for my unbiased review.


Simply put -I love this bible!!  So where to start for my review....first, I think it's pretty! HA!! But seriously, I do and that doesn't hurt one bit!  It's full of little details, floral accents, pages softly edged in blue, silver lined edges and a lovely cover!


And because this particular version is the Woman's Study Bible, they really focused on us as an audience and tailored the details just so!  It talks about and explains various issues that are of concern to us women and I find that helpful and encouraging!


The format for this bible is excellent!  I love how it's two column, with the foot notes in the right or left margin.   It has neat study helps, including word study, doctrine explanations, hard questions answered, women of the bible notes and biblical womanhood issue sections, to name a few.


From what I understand, this translation is not a translation of a translation but the writers of the HCSB went back to the original text and translated it into today's English.  I find that it is not as poetic as my NKJV but flows even easier in clarity, then my ESV.  I like how it speaks directly in modern English, yet does not simplify or 'dumb down' the intent or meaning of the passages.

Over all, what I requested thinking would be a great study help has now become my 'everyday' reading bible!  If you are looking to get a fresh take on scripture or find a translation that is clear and concise - I highly recommend this one!

Nov 17, 2014

Muskoka Adventures 2014

Ah back to the Muskokas again!! And what welcomed us this year to the Muskoka Bible Centre...??

Snow!! Lots and lots, of much to early, snow!  We couldn't believe it!!  Home was dry, cool, but very much fall! But as we neared the Muskokas things started to change.  There was a lovely dusting of snow on the trees as we drove and most of the drive felt like we were traveling through a real life Christmas card!  We arrived with nary a trouble - quite different then last years travels!  We even stopped and enjoyed a hour lunch break, since we were making such good time!

And there was MBC, waiting and ready for us!  The ladies running the event even remembered us from last year!! ...not sure if that is a good or bad thing!  *wink*  lol!!!

We went with no real expectations - seeing as last year....well it was sorta...monumental.  And though this year was just about every way, it was amazing all the same!

The staff was just as fantastic and lovely!  They had a group of these adorable German intern youth that I just wanted to bring home as my own!  Especially this one young lad, who I swear looked like a grown up version of my Joe!!  The accommodations were lovely and had electricity - a bonus! hahaha!  There were lovely ladies to meet and chat with but sadly our acquaintances from last year where no where to be seen.  And the food...ohhhh, the MBC was amazing....

Those cinnamon buns...ummmm...I don't have words!! Seriously!!! I don't even like cinnamon buns but these Muskoka buns....I'd eat a dozen, at least...!!! 
But that wasn't all the food that was amazing...because the spiritual food - was out of this world! ;)
Last year, I was hit more with a reality check.  A reminder of how awesome and mighty my saviour is and how much I need Him in my life.  But this year was more of a collection of answers to many prayers.  Answers in one way but also, after coming home and meditating on them for some time - I realized they were answers that now I have to figure out what to do with them.

The speaker was Sheila Wray Gregoire.  She is an blogger, author and speaker and I think she's quite amazing at all three!!  I guess she is well known as being the Christian sex lady but I didn't know that before and that wasn't what she spoke on while we were at Muskoka.  But I have checked out her blog and I think she writes very well and extremely biblically on the subject of sex and marriage - so if you're looking for a good resource I would highly recommend her!!

But the conference was titled, "No Strings Attached".  It focused on a lot of who God is and how that impacts us and our view of ourselves and our lives.  I came away with many points and biblical truths that have continued to sink deep within and that God is using to reshape me, my thoughts and my life.

I  could probably write a whole good spiel all that I learned there and maybe I will in subsequent posts - and as the things play out in my daily life.  But for now, I'm just going to ramble the rest of this post about the actual weekend.

So we met some nice ladies, enjoyed amazing food - yes, both physical and spiritual, drank oodles of coffee...again, had a fantastic ride there and a scary, snow storm, in the dark, craziest back roads you can think of ride home.  My Besty and I basically talked from the moment we woke until the moment our heads hit the pillows...much too late...and the entire ride there and home again.  And yes; we even made a snowman!

Sorry...a snowwoman!  Olga was her name and she came over with those sweet German interns. lol!!  Yes there was that much snow and we are still that young at heart! 

One thing that I love most about these trips is the bonding time I get with my friend.  It is such a great time of connecting!!  It's funny how people think of us as so similar when in fact we are quite different!  We do share many interests, so that is great but personality wise we are very opposite! In fact she is very much like my husband and I like hers - it's kinda weird...! But these trips, alone, together, is a wonderful time of strengthening our friendship all while surrounding ourselves in God.

I'm am so thankful for my BFF and I cherish our friendship more then words can say! 


So two for two, Muskoka - namely our time at MBC, has hit my heart, soul and mind pretty powerfully.  I feel, so much, that this time in the 'wilderness' is essential and I encourage others to look to making time for things like this as well.  It doesn't have to be entire weekends or hours away from home - but focused time, surrounding and surrendering ones self to God!

And yes, we are already planning on next year!


Nov 10, 2014

Breaking Free: Day by Day, Devotional by Beth Moore - A Review

This little gem I received from B&H Publishing, in exchange for my unbiased review.


This devotional, Breaking Free Day by Day - a Year of Walking in Liberty, is by Beth Moore and is a year long companion to her book, Breaking Free

So no, I did not take a year to review this book - but from what I have gleaned from it, makes me eager to get my hands on the paper back counter part!

I've read through a number of the days, and though each day is quite short - consisting of a verse and a couple of small paragraphs - I find the messages quite meaty and in need of further meditation and study!  In Beth's short and sweet accompanying paragraphs to the texts, she gives the reader much for application and take away and provides great motivation to continue in further, personal study.


One of my favourites that I came across:

February 18

The peace of God which surpasses
every thought, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

I decided to bring home the impact of this passage by
paraphrasing it from a negative standpoint,
turning this prescription for peace into a no-fail
prescription for anxiety. My results looked like this:

"Do not be calm about anything, but in everything,
by dwelling on it constantly and feeling picked on
by God, with thoughts like,
'And this is the thanks I get,'
present your aggravations to everyone you know
but Him. And the acid in your stomach, which transcends
all milk products, will cause you an ulcer,
and the doctor bills will cause you a heart attack, 
and you will lose your mind." 

As for the construction of the book, I love the compact size of it.  The plush, hardcover is easy to hold and feels 'friendly' in my hands - hahaha! I know, that sounds funny...but it's true....!  The ribbon bookmark is great - especially if you are minded like myself and easily forget what day of the week it is!!


So overall, if your looking for a big devotion in a compact size, I think this would be the one!  And because I have a dear friend, who is a fan of Ms. Moore and who also happens to have a Birthday this month - I passed this great little book onto her as a gift!

Nov 5, 2014

The Truth Behind Homemaker Design

Ahhh, the truth eh?? You see, I decided to write this post (which I will turn into a page, here after, that you will be able to access at the top of my blog, anytime) in response to some comments I had been hearing from a few people who read my blog.  These comments were well meaning and honest but they got me thinking....

What were the comments that caused my brain to have such strain?  Well they went something along the lines of, "I love your pictures! It's beautiful there!" "You and Dave are so romantic!"  "You are so happy!" "You're such an amazing mom!"  and others along those lines.

And well...this old brain got to thunking along and I realized that maybe, from the outside, I didn't best represent the truth...or the whole truth here on Homemaker Design.

The thing is, when I started blogging, it was just an experiment of sorts.  I had never been one to write much, was always told I wasn't very good!  I never kept a diary or journal, at least not very faithfully.  So when I started to blog, I figured it would be a phase and be over before I knew it.  But something happened - apparently I like to blog and really do enjoy writing!  So I have kept up on this old gal here and continued to record life with my family, thoughts on faith and many a varying rambles!

So, often when I'm putting things down, it's because it's stuff I want to remember.  I have a poor memory and it has been great keeping this blog and recording things so that I can look back and go, "Oh yeah! I remember that!!"  But honestly, I often forget that others read this!!  I know I have a few "loyal" readers, they often leave the only comments...that's how I know they are there!  But over all I write so that I can record and remember.

But after those various comments about how things looked on the outside, I got to thinking - maybe it's time I give you a glimpse at the truth, real, raw and honest!  As, when I blog, I'm trying to keep a record of our life - just like in photos - it's not often you take pictures of the bad or hard times; I don't often record those times either....for various reasons. 

Mostly I record the good or the light versions of our struggles because I don't think it wise to dwell on the bad.  I try to find God in every situation and praise Him in all areas!  But I see now that I may not be being real enough and I figure it's either time to anti up - or quite this whole thing all together! 

So here, in The Truth Behind Homemaker Design, I am recording the nity-grity of our life.  This should help to nock my life off of any pedestal it may appear to be on, it should help you see the real people that we are and you can always refer back to here when you have (crazy!) notions that we have it all together!!

So enjoy, don't judge, but realize that blogs are just glimpses into peoples lives - the controlled, polished glimpses that don't always paint the whole picture!!

The Truth Behind Homemaker Design:

  • We do NOT have it all together!

  • I am a normal mom - I have great amazing...moments with my kids and I have terrible moments too!
  • I yell!  Too often!
  • My kids are super sweet and I think them amazing, but they have tantrums, throw fits, fight (often lately!), lie and all the other 'bad' things that any kid can do!
  • I have mommy guilt - but show me a mom who doesn't...seriously!
  • I have said things to them that I regret...most I have apologized for...some I have not...

  • My husband and I are romantics, to a fault!!
  • My husband and I also argue and yes even fight - to the point of yelling and bad words being said!
  • Dave and I love each, more then words can say, but we don't always agree and that's life!
  • We have been married over a decade and yes, we still have that same know the one, we all have one, the one fight that never seems to get resolved....why is that???
  • No, he has never slept in the "dog house" but I have threatened to sleep on the couch a few times! ;)

House and Home
  • Yes, it is gorgeous out here!
  • But gorgeous doesn't heat the house, and our house is old and cold!  It can be cozy and the smell of the wood smoke is charming...but when the wood is wet and the temperature drops and you get up in the morning and can see your breath....the gorgeous loses some of it's charm.
  • We get cluster flies.  They are annoying...and gross.
  • It takes two hours to mow our lawn! Though I do love to do it...that's not always how I want to spend two hours on a sunny day.
  • We renovated, top to bottom, our first two houses, that was how we got the down payment for our current home.  We enjoy renovating...mostly - and my hubby only works 36 hours a week - so we have the time!  We don't do it all - we just chose to renovate instead of cable T.V., vacations, gym memberships, etc..  This is what we do and it works for us!

  • I struggle with issues of idolatry/gluttony - obviously pertaining mostly to food and I am working with God on changing that...but I need prayer!
  • I get addicted to computer games...well I get addicted to lots of things...but the internet and the computer are key in time stealing for me!
  • If given the choice for how to spend my time...I will often...if not selfish.
  • I...dislike going to church....not so much once I'm there - I love the people...but getting up and ready and out the door on a Sunday...well, it's a challenge to me.  I love Sundays at home! It's bad...I know....

  • We are terrible with money! And at any given moment are probably in debt to some degree! 
  • We are trying to change our money habits - and God has been good and gracious with us in this!  It's a slow process...!
  • I'm stubborn! So is hubby!
  • My husband struggles with leading - he's a good, kind, generous man but he is not good at leading, in any form....and I too naturally jump in where he doesn't!
  • Yes, I Photoshop my photos.

I believe in being real and this, dear friends, is why I have created this list!  I never intended to make anyone think we did have it all together and so I am taking down the fa├žade that we are 'perfect' and let you in on the real us!  I'll add to this list as it comes to mind or if you have anything you really want to know - I'll honestly tell you, just ask!

Dave and I believe in trying to be real, it's not always easy, that's for sure but we are trying!  God is most glorified in our guess we are one God glorifying household!



Oct 31, 2014

October Photo Challenge - Day 31 - Whatever You Please

After a big day out, fun with cousins, lack of a nap, and a drive in the van, my boy was beat and fell fast asleep!


And after 31 days of photo challenge adventuring - I feel pretty much the same way!!  I'm beat!! 

This was fun but I found this challenge less inspiring then my first photo challenge, last year.  I found this one harder to be artistic with the word prompts and not just capture a documentation of the word for the day.  The last challenge I found to be more technical, which was great, but also because of that it seemed to lend it's self easier for creative images.

At least, that's my take away from this year's challenge.

Over all, I thought it was still a good exercise to expand my skills as a photographer, both technically and artistically.  I also like how these challenges cause me to open my eyes more, to take the time to notice things that I might other wise pass by if I wasn't really looking. 

I don't mean that one should 'live behind the lens', for life is more then the captured moments but it's good to slow down, now and again, and really just; see!

Congratulations and well done to everyone who participated - whether you did all, some or just a few I hope you learned a little something....and if nothing else, had a bit of fun!! .


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