Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Deep, Dark Place

I would love to tell you that I am strong, going forward with determination and joy. However, I can't honestly tell you that. I have been struggling so much with what I'm going through with this ileostomy and the waiting and wondering of what's going to happen. The uncertainty wreaks havoc with my mind and I have days that are dark and dismal. I know all the things the Lord tells us in His Word but some days it's hard to believe it in my heart. The darkness descends and the enemy whispers his fearful thoughts into my ear and I believe each and every negative thought. The one thing the evil one reminds me over and over is that God is punishing me for some horrible thing I’ve done (I’m never sure what this horrible thing is) and that He doesn’t really care about me at all. This, my friends, is a deep, dark place to be. 

I am still waiting to hear from the new surgeon’s office. They have had my records nearly two weeks and it has been torture waiting. I still don’t know if he will even see me, let alone fix this mess I’ve been left with. My heart tells me to have faith and hope but my mind reminds me that I have been down long, horrible roads before and this could be an endless one. 

I try very hard to not talk about my issues too much. Frankly, most people don’t want to hear about it, and if they do, they want the condensed version. I understand this but sometimes the road gets too lonely...the pit too dark. We all need people to come along side us to shine the light into the darkness and remind us we are not alone. Yes, in my soul, I know God is there but how good is it to have real, human contact in these hard places. 

This is where I am right now. Struggling to reach those rays of light and hold dear the promises from the One who holds our lives in His loving hands. I pray that I will feel them on my face and be able to touch the promises of healing through Jesus and the human hand of a skilled surgeon that the Lord will use. My heart longs for the prayers of others to sustain me and to help carry me through. 

Blessings - Julie 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bible Study Review - This I Know by Laura Dingman


We live in a culture of unknowns. Every day, the headlines report news of acts of terror, political upheaval, and grievous sins against others. In our personal world, we may receive unwanted news from the doctor, struggle with wayward children or worry how we’re going to pay the next bill when finances are stretched thin. We want to know the future—to know what is coming—so that somehow we can control the outcome, often leading to needless anxiety and fear.

In her second title in Moody Publishers’ Bible study line for women, Dingman, a Bible teacher and creative arts director at a large Indianapolis church, leads women through a 6-week Bible study focused on biblical truths about the trustworthy characteristics of God, helping them see how better knowing God leads to a life free from anxiety and fear and allows them to step confidently into an unknown future.


Laura Dingman spends most of her time creating and leading worship experiences that help connect people with the story of God. She has served in vocational ministry as the Creative Arts Director at The Creek, a large church in Indianapolis, for over a decade.

She loves to show people where their story intersects with God’s story. She enjoys belting Broadway, laughing hysterically, reading great books, and living life with her favorite two people in the whole world, her husband, Matt, and her spunky daughter, Abigail. She is the author of Life Rhythms: Learning to Live in God-Centered Time and I Am Found: Quitting the Game of Hide and Seek with God and Others.

Laura has developed curriculum for This I Know and is planning to teach the material at her church. The teaching sessions will be recorded and available for purchase in June 2018. You can learn more about her journey and connect with her at


The thing I love about every Moody published Bible study is that I can trust it to be Biblical and beautiful.

This is a six week study and it was such a blessing to me as it addresses those horrible feelings of fear, anxiety and worry - all things I've been dealing with. I loved how she points out who God is, His promises for us and all this helped to alleviate those horrible fearful feelings.

I really liked how she pulled her own personal stories into this Bible story, too, making it feel more personal and also reassuring me that she knew how I was feeling when I get into those fearful areas of my life.

The five days of study were perfect for each week, leaving the weekend free for time with family or for making up a day if I missed one. I also love the beautiful turquoise font throughout and how they did so much to make this study beautiful for the eyes as well as for the soul.

I love this study and highly recommend it! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and hope that you'll make this your next study.

*This Bible study was provided to me for my honest review by Side Door Communications and Moody Publishers

Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Counting Our Blessings Linkup!

Hello friends:

I'm so sorry I missed last week's linkup. I had such good intentions but I just wasn't up to posting on my blog. I always hate missing this but so happy to be here today! So - let's get started!

30.  As you all know, I love crocheting. I have been doing it since I was four years old and it's my "go-to" craft when I'm not feeling well. It's so relaxing to me and comforting at the same time. I think of my beloved Grandmother every time I crochet and her love and patience in giving me the gift that has brought joy into my life.

She has been gone for over 40 years now but the blessings she poured into my life continue.

31. The reason I bring up the crochet is because I started a new afghan for my youngest son. He really liked the ones I did for myself and my husband and so I told him I would make him one. Here's the start to his blanket.

This will be a twin size blanket when I'm done. I'm using the Caron Cake yarn in the Cake Pop color. I really like this color combination - especially for a man.

32.  I've been painting again as I'm able. I'm working on this Bear/American Indian family. It's a ceramic piece and I just have to paint the family's faces in. This will go into our new library.

The picture is a little hard to see, but I'll share the completed piece when I get it done.

33.  During Christmas, I painted pins to give out as random acts of kindness. Those pins were a design from another artist, but for Easter, I wanted to design my own. Here's a picture of the beginning of my pins/magnets I'll give out.

I have quite a bit left to paint on them but am enjoying doing my painting again. Honestly, I'll be so glad when I have more energy again to do more of the things I love. I did do a little stitching this week, but it's so little, I didn't bother to take a picture. I'm hoping to finish up my Celtic Santa this week!

Please share your own blessings on the linkup below!

Blessings - Julie

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Star is on DVD!!

Golden Globe® Nominated for Best Original Song by Mariah Carey & Marc Shaiman


The Tale of Faith and Friendship Includes Six Sing-Along Videos from Mariah Carey, Fifth Harmony, Kelsea Ballerini,
A Great Big World, and Kirk Franklin

Includes a Dance Along, “How-to” Crafts Video and Much More

Available on Digital February 6 and
On Blu-ray + DVD + Digital on February 20


From the studio that brought you 
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN & CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS comes the timeless tale about faith, friendship, and the importance of believing in yourself. 
AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR arrives for the first time on Digital on February 6 and on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital February 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The heartwarming animated comedy follows a small but brave donkey named Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun, “The Walking Dead”), who yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (voiced by Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Friends From College), a dove with lofty aspirations, along with three wisecracking camels voiced by 
Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock”), Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Bo and his new friends follow the star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast including Gina Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”) as Mary, Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as Joseph, Grammy® Award-Winner Kelly Clarkson as Leah the horse, Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) as Zach the goat, Ving Rhames  (Mission Impossible) as Thaddeus the dog, Gabriel Iglesias (Coco, Ferdinand) as Rufus the dog, Patricia Heaton 
(“The Middle”) as Edith the cow, Emmy® and Tony® Award-Winner Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the mouse, and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) as King Herod.

THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from 
THE STAR.  Families can enjoy crafting and baking with “how-to” videos “Star Mason Jar Votives” and “Sweet and Sparkly Stars,” and they also can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life.  In “Faith All Year Round,” 
renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers a fun and engaging children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart, screenplay by Carlos Kotkin, and story by Simon Moore and Carlos Kotkin. The film is executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook. The Star is presented by AFFIRM films and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, Franklin Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The uplifting theme song, “The Star” by Mariah Carey and veteran songwriter Marc Shaiman was also nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. “The Star” song is now available on The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which assembles new music from a bevy of powerhouse superstars.


This is SO exciting to be able to purchase this amazing movie for your own home viewing! What a wonderful message this movie has! Perfect for every family! I don't have small children any longer at home, but it's still such a great message for my husband and I! 

There are so many bonus materials with this DVD, which I love. Here's a list of those:

Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth and the unforgettable camels 
"Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along
Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists
o “The Star” by Mariah Carey
o “Can You See” by Fifth Harmony
o “Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini
o “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin
o “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World
Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round 
Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft
Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day

An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

Don't you love all the extra goodies that are on the DVD's? It makes it even more enjoyable than seeing it in the theater because you get lots of extras plus the behind scenes information you wouldn't see otherwise. It makes the movie that much more meaningful!

There's also a Facebook group for you and your family to be a part of a LIVE GUIDED BIBLE STUDY with Devon Franklin! How fantastic! The link to this group is HERE (or you can click on the graphic above and that will take you to the Facebook group)

There's a lot more information on the website for The Star HERE. Be sure and visit as there is a lot of fun stuff on there! 

You can purchase The Star at Walmart, Best Buy, Target or from Amazon (my associates link is below).

You'll be so blessed by this wonderful, uplifting story!!

Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Review - Last Stop in Brooklyn


It’s the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man’s brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it’s up to Mary to make right the city’s wrongs.
New York City’s untouchable head of detectives, Thomas Byrnes, swears he put the right man behond bars, but as Mary digs deeper, she finds corruption at the heart of New York’s justice system, involving not only the police, but the most powerful of stock titans. Disturbing evidence of other murders begins to surface, each one mimicking Jack the Ripper’s style, each one covered up by Thomas Byrnes.   

As Mary pieces together the extent of the damage, she crosses paths with Harper Lloyd, an investigative reporter. Their relationship grows into a partnership, and perhaps more, and together they must catch a killer who’s still out there, and reverse the ruthless workings of New York’s elite. It’ll be Mary’s most dangerous, most personal case yet.


LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and a two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Last Stop in Brooklyn is his third novel in the Mary Handley Mystery series.


There's nothing I love better than a good female detective story. This one has a lot of interesting historical information as well as a detective you find yourself rooting for!

Mary is on the type of case she doesn't like doing - following a woman whose husband thinks she's cheating on him. She follows her to Coney Island where she sees the woman meeting someone she knows. This opens a whole new dilemma for Mary until she can get to the bottom of it.

While she's following the woman, someone is following her. When she finally confronts the man, he asks her to help him because his brother has been accused of a crime he hasn't committed and he wants her to find the real culprit. This opens the horrific murder investigations that are eerily like the Jack the Ripper.

Mary is an interesting person, full of indignation at the injustices she sees around her. She has a mother who presses her to get married while her kind father is proud of what she's doing. The story itself, is quite interesting in that it pulls real life historical figures into the story and makes it feel very real.

I liked this book very much and would like to read the first two in the series now. It's a good detective story with a good mystery that keeps you interested. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by the Blogging for Books program

Blessings - Julie