Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Most Touching and Thoughtful Gift

I received the sweetest, most thoughtful gift, from my youngest son for Mother's Day. It's something I will cherish always as he really thought about me and honored me in a way that truly blessed me.

The Pooh plaque is so perfect - Pooh and Piglet confirming their friendship.  It's the adorable original Pooh illustrations that I love so much. Next to the plaque, we have the book, "Because I Had a Teacher".

Isn't this absolutely precious? I have put it on the wall next to my bed so as I'm going to sleep and waking up, I see it. It brings me such joy as I know my son and I will, indeed, be friends forever.

Then we have this amazing book. I was so touched that he honored me as his teacher. *sniff* As a homeschool mom, I gave everything I had to help my children learn and become better than I ever will be.

The illustrations in this beautiful book are so sweet! They rather remind me of the original Pooh illustrations.

Adorable, yes? The whole book is about what his teacher means to this little bear.

He inscribed the inside for me and I love what he says, "To: Mom - the Best Teacher". I have tears in my eyes just typing this. This was the most thoughtful gift! I am going to put the book in my new cabinet I just got (pictures next Tuesday) so I can see it all the time and also give it a place of honor.

Thank you, dear Cody, for the beautiful gift and for being such a wonderful son and friend! - Mom

Blessings - Julie

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Review - English Lessons


The church wasn’t just a part of Andrea Lucado’s childhood. It was her childhood. It provided more than happy moments. It provided an invitation to know Jesus.

 When Andrea arrived in Oxford the year after she graduated from college, she expected to meet God there. What she didn’t expect was that God would be much bigger than she’d believed.

 In this engaging memoir, Andrea speaks to all of us who wrestle with doubt and identity. “So many nights in Oxford,” Andrea writes, “I felt like the details of my faith were getting fuzzier. Nights turned restless with questions. I questioned God’s existence, and the doubt was getting into my bones."

 In English Lessons, Andrea takes us through the roads of England and, more importantly, the paths of the soul.


Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. The daughter of best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado, she inherited an obsession with words and their arrangement. She has a masters degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and She Reads Truth. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop or running in the Texas hill country.


This is a very well written book and enjoyable to read. Andrea shares her faith and her struggles as she goes to Oxford for college. Suddenly, she has to stand on her own beliefs and takes us along on her journey.

She was raised in the church, her father being Max Lucado, and she has, for lack of a better word, taken her faith for granted. She has been around other Christians and had Christian friends her whole life and then she lands at Oxford. Suddenly, she is around others with totally different beliefs and she also has to get used to the new culture.

Andrea has to figure out what she truly believes and why. Many long walks along the Thames help her in her quest to walk more boldly in her faith. I love how she shares the atmosphere of her time in Oxford and what it brought to her faith-wise.

Her writing is poetic, yet readable, and you feel like you are with her on her adventure both in England and on her spiritual journey. It's a lovely book and would especially be great for the young adult who is going to college. However, it's a wonderful read for anyone. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Stay The Path by Bobbie Houston


God calls all women to some level of leadership. Yet seeing yourself as a leader, discerning what one is meant to do, and navigating one's role as a woman and leader can be a challenging task. Drawing on the wisdom of forty years of ministry, Bobbie Houston helps all women to discover their specific purpose and divine calling in Stay the Path. She shares the truths and experiences that have kept her and her husband, Brian Houston, on course, on point, and focused on the path before them.

Readers will be able to recognize and believe in their unique gifts. Packed with personal stories, helpful advice, and leadership strategies for women, this audiobook will challenge listeners to claim their God-given potential and lead with confidence, poise, and grace.


Pastor Bobbie Houston is passionate about seeing all people find Jesus as their Saviour, gain a revelation of their value in Him and rise up to make a stand for justice on the earth. She is a beloved Pastor with a prophetic teaching gift, and has redefined the face of ‘women’s ministry,’ raising up a strong and capable company of women through a local Hillsong Sisterhood, global Colour Sisterhood and flourishing annual Colour Conferences that take place across five nations.

Visit her at


This is a very inspiring book and so easy to read. I love how Bobbie is so giving and honest in this book and it has made a huge difference in how I see my calling from God.

She shares the experiences she and her husband have had as pastors of Hillsong church. They have had wonderful experiences but also very hard experiences. She tells us that if satan is out to destroy Jesus, he is out to destroy his bride, the church. We shouldn't be surprised when we become targets and are attacked.

We are taught how she stood her course by being grounded in God's Word and how these difficult times have shaped her and helped her to be a stronger woman of God. I love how she tells us we have the capacity to hear God's heart for our life and calling as we trust Christ. He definitely has a plan for us and we do have a calling. This isn't always easy to remember as we go about our daily lives that seem so mundane. She helped me to see that my calling is just as important as hers.

She also shares how we can and should know how to fight spiritual warfare. As targets for satan, we need to know we have a God who is more than able to see us through these situations and we need to call on Jesus during these hard times. We need to stand on our strength in Christ.

I got so much out of this book and I'm sure you will, too. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Hatchett Book Group

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Never Unfriended


In a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last?

But what if we knew we could never be unfriended? Would we risk friendship then?
Starting with that guarantee from the most faithful friend who ever lived—Jesus—this book is a step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. It answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship—What are we afraid of? What can’t we change? What can we change? And where do we start?—with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, that lasts.


Lisa-Jo Baker is convinced that the shortest distance between strangers is a shared awkward story.
She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband and their three very loud kids, where she connects, encourages and champions women in person and online through her honest take on life and her ability to laugh at herself and learn out loud from her mistakes.

Visit her at


I wasn't sure I wanted to read and review this book. After all, friendship has not been that good to me and reading another book on finding and keeping friendship just seemed like more salt in my still open wounds. However, I am so glad I read this!

The first pages absolutely drew me in and made me feel like Lisa-Jo has been inside my head and my life. I had tears in my eyes because her honesty touched my heart so much and I could relate to what she was sharing. The book got better after that.

She shares how tough women can be on each other. It's easier than ever to unfriend others on social media and crush each other's feelings. This can make us pull back from friendship and say, "never again". However, we first need to know how to be a good friend and care about others as Jesus cares about us.

I love how honest and open Lisa-Jo is in this book because I found my self nodding in agreement so many times. I really learned a lot from this book because I wasn't feeling defensive about things. I highlighted almost every page in this book because it was so full of Biblical wisdom.

My favorite part of this book was "What Are We Afraid Of"? Plenty, I wanted to shout! However, after reading this section, I could see that I have let fear rule my life when it comes to friendships. I love this book because it gave me the courage to try friendship again.

This is a great book for women to read. It shows us how to be a good friend and how to cultivate the friendships we so want to have. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by B&H/Lifeway

Blessings - Julie

Friday, June 16, 2017

Being Kind and Gentle

There's a lot of pressure in our society to do great things and be a success. It's wonderful to have goals and work on things but it's never good when this pressure becomes stressful. There's always talk of being kind to others, but how about being kind to ourselves? It's always good to include ourselves in that kindness.

I have been feeling really tired and a little under the weather recently. I don't know if it's allergies, heat, or that I'm still trying to recover. Regardless, my first "go to" emotion is guilt because I'm not getting things done I think I should. Can you relate? I tried to push through and work on things but finally realized I was doing something to myself that I would never do to someone else. If I knew one of my family was not feeling well, I would tell them to rest and take it easy. Why not myself? Finally, I decided I would just rest and work on my cross stitch and watch my favorite British tv shows. I pulled out my bears and blocks project and worked on it.

It ended up being a productive day, just in a different way than I had envisioned. Plus, spending the day resting was really helpful in making me feel better the very next day. Even if I would have had to spend more than one day resting, that would have been okay. I realized that putting pressure on myself to achieve whatever goals I had in mind for that day, is counterproductive and that I need to listen to my body and mind.

We all work so hard in our lives but it's also good to rest. God rested on the seventh day after spending six days creating this amazing world and all that is in it. He set the example of showing us that we need rest. It's not a sin to rest (only to be lazy) and I do think I need to remember that it's okay to be kind and gentle with myself. Perhaps this is something you need to remember for youself, too.

Many blessings - Julie