Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse



















Joanna Weaver's 
At the Feet of Jesus

I am sure that if you have a selection of Christian books you probably have at least one or two devotionals on your bookshelf.  I know I have several of them, most of them collecting dust.

This devotional has several interesting additions to the daily devotional.  The daily verse and daily Bible Read and Reflect sections are great. The "Going Deeper" sections are inspiring for a deeper, more meaningful quiet time.  And of course it is wonderful to have a Bible Reading Plan.  This is a devotional that will enrich your daily time with God.

But what really makes this devotional different?  Why am I continuing to keep this one beside me rather than adding it to the dusty shelf?   Simply that there is an honesty to the writing that is refreshing.  Through this honesty there is a deep connection to the struggles I face each day...

To prove this to you, I randomly chose May 25 and read this line..."Yet my most intimate moments with Christ have come during times I felt as though my life were coming apart at the seams."  After a mommy monster moment earlier in the day I really needed to hear the message of that day!

Or how about the message from today..."I'm learning to simply confess my faults, my weaknesses, and even my willful sin, accept God's forgiveness, and move on with my life."  hmmm something about "willful sin" and the amount of candy that invaded my house today.  Yep sure needed to hear that message today!

Those are just two examples of how this devotional has spoken to me - or rather it seems that God has picked up this book and is trying to pound me over the head with it hoping I will get it one of the days.


Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here 


About the Book:


You were made for more than serving God; you were made to know Him.

Intimacy with God-to know Him and be known by Him. It is what our hearts desperately need, but somehow life conspires to keep us busy and distracted.

For anyone who struggles when it comes to daily devotions, At the Feet of Jesus extends an irresistible invitation to set aside your duties and find the amazing peace and incredible joy that come from time alone with Him. Drawn from Joanna Weaver's beloved Bethany trilogy, each reading in this 365-day devotional includes a Bible reading passage and reflection question. All-new material and "Going Deeper" sidebars are also woven throughout.

Discover for yourself the riches that come from spending a portion of each day alone with God. At the feet of Jesus-where true life begins!

Includes a unique One-Year Bible Reading Guide.


About the Giveaway and Live Webcast 

Celebrate the release of At the Feet of Jesus with Joanna Weaver by entering to win an iPad and RSVPing for the "True Life" Webcast Event on 11/8!


One blessed winner will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Year in Bethany Trilogy (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Having a Mary Spirit and Lazarus Awakening 
  • At the Feet of Jesus for YOU and Five of your friends.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at the "True Life" Live Webcast Event on November 8th. Connect with author Joanna Weaver and her special guest for an evening of encouragement, laughter and a Q&A! There will also be gift certificates and books given away to participants.

So grab your copy of At the Feet of Jesus (or one of Joanna's other books) and join Joanna on evening of November 8th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!


 




















Practicing the Presence of Jesus:
Experience the Gift of His Friendship
by Wally Armstrong
 
A little book, with a huge message that will change your life!  This is the story of how one man came to know Jesus as his best friend.  Through this story we are given the insight into how we also can have that relationship with Jesus.    
 
This book has changed how I view the presence of Jesus in my life and also how I present Him to my kids.  Imagine being 6 years old and getting it!  The only thing you need to do now is read this book and you will "get it" too - simple as that!


Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here 


About the Book
Do you want to experience Jesus as real? When we look at Jesus’ life on earth, we see Him calling people to simply know Him. He made no demand on them to believe theological propositions. “Follow me” was the invitation which they accepted. They got to know and communicate with the real person. There is a big difference between believing something is true and experiencing it as real. 

This is the story of how Wally Armstrong learned to communicate with the real person of Jesus in his everyday life. Armstrong experiences Jesus up close and personal and introduces readers to the same experience. In a conversational manner, he explores what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus as if He is sitting right there next to us. He keeps an empty chair ready and imagines Jesus sitting beside him as they talk.

You Don't Know Me Cover

Susan May Warren's  
You Don't Know Me

The story is intriguing, there is drama, there are tears, and there is love.  The love of God finds this family drowning in secrets and pulls them together with His unfailing love and showers them with grace.  I was deeply touched by the idea of the supposedly perfect couple dealing with traumatic life changing events and although they briefly wavered, they decide to stand strong in their vows. I was deeply touched by a mother's love for her child and how deep the desire is to protect them.

However, with all that being said, I did have some trouble getting into and getting through this book. The drama of the story was introduced very early, but the storyline was slow moving until the drama finally unfolded near the end. 

Still a good read and I would still recommend it.


Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here 


About the Book: 

A Deep Haven Novel

Sometimes the secrets we keep to protect ourselves can be our undoing.

To all who know her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses a sporting event, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Deidre received a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker.

Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on parole and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?


Life with Lily

Life with Lily 
Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger's 

If you loved Little House on the Prairie, you will fall in love with the Adventures of Lily Lapp!  Life with Lily is the first book in this series and I can hardly sit still in anticipation of more books in this series.

This is a book filled with the delight of a child's imagination and the mischief that inevitably follows.  If you have children you will want to read this book aloud to your family.  It is one of the best sources of entertainment we have had.  Although you should be prepared to stop often to answer all kinds of questions.  Not only is this a source of entertainment, but it is oozing with lessons and learning opportunities - a parenting handbook in disguise that your kids will never recognize!  We can learn so much from the Amish, and here is a way to step right into it through the life of a six year old. 



Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here and also check out the book trailer


About the Book: 

Book 1 in the ‘Adventures of Lily Lapp’ series.

Lily is six in this story, just starting first grade in a one-room schoolhouse in upstate New York. Her parents are busy building a farm, and soon animals join the family—Jenny the cow and Chubby the miniature horse. A baby brother arrives, too, which Lily has mixed feelings about. (She wanted a sister!) Aside from a mischievous friend like Mandy Mast, Lily is happy at school and even happier at home. 


Trouble is brewing at the schoolhouse and change is on the horizon for Lily and her family.

Summerside's American Tapestries

Queen of the Waves - cover

Queen of the Waves - Janice Thompson

Of course we all know what happened to the Titanic, but how much do we really know about the individual passengers?  In this book the author uses the setting of the the Titanic voyage to give us a possible story of just a few of Titanic's passengers.  

The imagery woven into this story is simply beautiful.  Through the eyes of the characters, we are taken back to those first breath taking views of the magestic Titanic in all her splendourThe first days onboard are delightful, love blossoms and at moments it is so enjoyable to read that you almost forget what is about to happen.  

But it is a story set on the Titanic afterall, we know what happens.  The intense drama unfolds and we are swept along wondering how fate will intervene in the lives of these characters we have grown to love.  Will they survive the horrible disaster? 



Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here

About the Book: 

When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. 

But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.
 
Celebrate with Janice by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends and join Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Summerside's American Tapestries

 Where the Trail Ends - cover

Melanie Dobson's Where the Trail Ends

This is a story of one small family as they traveled the Oregon Trail.  The hardships of this trail are nearly unbearable to read, and I cannot fathom how those who traveled this path continued to put one foot in front of the other.   Yet they did, and through this book we are given a glimpse of what it might have been like to travel this trail, filled with the hope of starting a new life and to learn that when we have hope we can endure anything.

Have you ever considered how people traveled from the Eastern part of the country to settle in the West? Before there were roads and vehicles, or towns and hotels, or all the other luxuries we all take for granted.  A journey that would bring you to the place much like the main character who "Never in her life would she again take for granted the life-giving power of a cup of water."  That one sentence brought me to tears as I looked over to my ice cold cup of water and realized how much I take for granted.

This is book that brings you deep into the suffering of the journey over the Oregon Trail and gives you an appreciation for all we have.  You cannot read this book without appreciating the cold drink sitting beside you, or the comfortable place you have to sleep, or the beautiful blessing of the precious loved ones around you

Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here

About the Book: 

A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone? 

Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.
Celebrate with Melanie by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Where the Trail Ends and  Queen of the Waves and join Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


A couple days ago Ben & Carlee turned 6.  That means that for the next few weeks we have three 6  year olds, then Sam will turn 7.  Yep, we had three babies born in less than a year.  Yep, we had three babies under one for 5 weeks!  And yep, for 5 weeks out of every year we have 3 kids the same age.  As I reflect back over the past 6 years, I am reminded why I called this blog Our Blessed Chaos. 

I am grateful God chose to bless us with these beautiful children, and I am grateful for His grace that continually keeps me from completely losing my mind!


Our lives changed forever the day Ben & Carlee joined our family.

This was a typical morning when they were babies.  The poor puppies are patiently waiting their turn to be fed!

There were occasional peaceful moments during the day...but not many

Then Ben &Carlee started to move, and getting a group photo became impossible.  I nearly lost my mind trying to keep up with three kids going in three different directions.

In this photo they were all one.  This has become my cue to get family photos done.  I think it was this photo that made me think of the term Blessed Chaos!

Then they were all two.  Terrible twos times three!

And still an occasional peaceful moment...but still not many

I pray they will be best friends for life.

They certainly can get each other in trouble.  Nice that they wore boots...too bad they didn't tuck in the pant legs.

Yikes!  Imagine potty training three at a time.  This must be the definition of chaos!

ummm...I am still speechless over the chaos of this day

Then they were all three, with imaginations overflowing.  In this photo they were waving goodbye because they were in an airplane and were going on a trip.

Just a hint of the chaos that occurs when it is time to get ready for bed.
Then they were all four.  Whew, what a day.  I nearly lost my mind trying to control the chaos from ruining my brothers wedding!
A group photo is still nearly impossible, but every year I try to get it and every year I nearly lose my mind!

Imaginations are still strong.  Here they are construction workers wearing their overalls.

Wow, they are even clean once in awhile.  Of course they create chaos, even in the tub!
And I am still praying they will always be each others best friends.

They are even prepared with "helmets" during Hurricane Irene! Yep we had chaos even in the middle of a hurricane.

WOO HOO they all started school and I got some peace during the day!
Sam started Kindergarten and Ben & Carlee were in Preschool

Then they were all five!  It is getting slightly easier to get a group photo.

AH HA!  We now see the source of some of the chaos in our house!

...ummmm... still speechless over the chaos they created on this day.

And an occasional quiet moment...still not many though

HOORAY back to school!!! and some peace for Mama!
Sam is in 1st grade, Ben & Carlee are in Kindergarten

Now that we have three 6 year olds, I have a feeling the tooth fairy is going to be busy coming to our house.  Enjoy the last weeks of being 6 Sam, you are growing so fast I can hardly believe you will soon be 7!  But I pray that no matter how old you are, you will always be my sweet boy.

Happy 6th Birthday Ben & Carlee! I love how in this photo you can see their personalities are like night and day. Our precious Carlee, and then there is Ben, our darling Ben!  



Sam is reading Green Eggs and Ham to Ben and Carlee. About halfway through I heard this conversation...
 
Sam sighs loudly - I am getting so tired, this is a VERY long book!
Ben - Are you gonna fall asleep while reading?
Sam - I might, I am getting pretty sleepy
Carlee - Oh well it's okay, Ben, if Sam falls asleep I can finish reading the book to you
 
Sam continues to read but Ben suddenly comes over to me and asks...

 
Ben - Mama, does Chrysanthemum have all 26 letters just not in order? 
Me (laughing) No, it doesn't have all the letters
Ben - HEY it is not funny it is a VERY serious question!

Me (still laughing) sorry, but no it does not have all the letters
Ben - well it is a really really really long word and it really does have all the letters

Carlee - No Ben it doesn't

Ben - Oh YES it does

Sam - Oh no it doesn't... chrysamanthamamum see it don't have no D sound or a Z sound

Carlee - yeah it probably has 22 letters but not all 26... chryzzzzanthemum oh Sam, yeah it does have the Z sound!

Ben -Yeah like I said it has all 26 letters

Me - well what about the F sound?

Ben - its in there, you just can't hear it!


How can you argue with that logic!!!

just heard in the other room...CRASH...


Sam: oh no! Carlee you are gonna be in sooooo much trouble


Carlee: nah, its not that bigga mess, just get the broom


Sam: nah-uh I ain't helping you, you did it and I am busy eating


Carlee: oh quit lazing around and get over here and help me (then she giggles) or I will make you eat all this dirt on the floor.


Sam giggles: oh all right I will help you



I did not go to investigate.  I think they had it covered.

just heard in the other room...CRASH...
Sam: oh no! Carlee you are gonna be in sooooo much trouble


Carlee: nah, its not that bigga mess, just get the broom
 

Sam: nah-uh I ain't helping you, you did it and I am busy eating
 

Carlee: oh quit lazing around and get over here and help me (then she giggles) or I will make you eat all this dirt on the floor.
 

Sam giggles: oh all right I will help you


Meanwhile ...heard at church during the Pastor's children's time.
(btw I stayed at home with Sam & Carlee while Ben went to church with Daddy)
 

Pastor Wayne: Ben, where is Carlee today?
 

Ben (loud enough for the entire church to hear)...She's at home Quiltin'!

 
entire congregation laughs...of course they did!  It is kinda funny!  Except now everyone at my church must also think that I skipped church to stay home and quilt...nice Ben Thanks a lot.

For the record, I stayed home with a fever and I would like to be quilting but I am working instead. The kids are "quilting" on my new quilting table... 

 


My friend Helen asked what it looked like...well here it is! Can't really see the back piece that flips up to double the work space. Someday in my spare time I will move it to a better place and when we both have spare time at the same time we can quilt up a storm :-D

Have you ever been upset with your children?
How about your husband?
How about all of them at the same time?

How about all of them for several days in a row and then all at the same time on that day of the month when your hormones are through the roof and you think that if it gets just one ounce worse you will need to be committed?

I had one of those days recently.  I woke up in a bad mood, and it got worse as soon as...well I don't need to get into details or complain about all that - which will make sense in a minute.

I was almost home and I didn't want to go home. I was avoiding the chaos that I knew would cause me to lose it as soon as I walked in the door.

I am incredibly blessed to have a wonderful friend who totally gets it so I sent her a quick text "Please pray that I don't explode".  She texted back "Prayn".  I took a deep breath and drove into my yard.  But then decided I should clean the van a bit - then I wouldn't have to go in quite yet.  But soon the mess of the van started to annoy me...

...sigh...I would have to go in, so I walked to the house and me and my clutzy ole self tripped going up the stairs.  Banged my shin and fell on my hand. Well, that WAS IT, the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.  I sat down on the step and lost it.  I texted my darling friend and said "Pray harder"

Well, I sat there for while and rubbed my very minor almost nonexistent injuries, face dripping all over the place, texting back and forth with my friend.  Then the mosquitoes started to bite and I texted "Dang mosquitoes"  to which she replied "Gotta decide between the lesser of two evils - mosquitos or going in the house". and then she said "God said, get up off the step and go in the house. Or Else!"...sigh I knew I had to.

By then I was feeling a bit better, you know, less likely to lose it. So I got up and went in the house, the very quiet house - for the moment at least it was quiet.  I sat down at the computer to turn it on and while I waited for it to start I opened my very cool memory verse App called Remember Me. It is an amazing help to memorizing scripture!  I have been using it and I have been successfully memorizing verses.  Anyway, while I waited for the computer, I decided now was a good time for a new one from my list of many that I want to memorize.

I randomly picked one.  It was Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.

I sure didn't want that one!  I randomly picked another one.
It was Proverbs 21:19 It's better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife.

UH OH!  Apparently it was not random.  God was speaking loud and clear, and obviously I needed to keep my big mouth shut!

I texted my friend the verses that came up and told her "You prayed too hard!"
Her response?  "Roflmbo"  For those of you who are not familiar with text lingo (Hi Mom!) that would mean "Roll on the floor, laughing my butt off".

Yep, that was it, and I started to laugh too. My whole day changed, my whole attitude changed and I was suddenly filled with gratitude. 

I am grateful for being aware when God is speaking to me
I am grateful that He gave us technology like Smart phones and memory verse Apps
I am grateful for friends that get it
I am grateful that all I have to do it text "Please pray for me" or even "Pray harder"
And I am especially grateful for my family who puts up with me!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


The Trouble with Cowboys, Denise Hunter

The Trouble with Cowboys
by Denise Hunter

Pick up the book and you might think, contemporary romance.  Turn the book over to read the category and you will see Christian romance.  OK, you might think, this will be a nice light read - a book to simply get lost in for a few hours...right?

Oh, so wrong.  This book was pure delight.  The main characters are truly charming and I found myself grinning from ear to ear through most of the book.  The dialogue is witty and clever, which is a refreshing change from other contemporary books I have read lately.  Of course the big picture ending is somewhat predictable, but who cares when you are drooling over the pages just imagining having a moment with this charming, winking, flirting, dimpled cowboy.  Love Love Love IT!

So once you get beyond the drool, what else is there?  Nope, not all drool, it has a wonderful Christian tone and a clear message of surrender to God.  A surrender that can only come when you give yourself, your life and all your plans over to Him.  A message of taking a good look at yourself and realizing you need to make some changes within yourself, changes that can only come with God's help.


Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program. Buy the book here and read other reviews here

About the Book: 

Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.

Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.

Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.
The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.

When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust—her head or her heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs.



Denise Hunter’s “The Trouble with Cowboys” 
Facebook Party & Kindle Fire Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Trouble with Cowboys Denise is hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. She'll connect with readers and give away some amazing prizes - including a Kindle Fire! 
Save the Date for October 11th!

Grab your copy of Denise Hunter’s latest book and join her for an Author Chat Party on October 11th at 8:00 PM EST (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)! Haven’t read The Trouble with Cowboys yet? That’s okay, don’t let that stop you from coming to the party! (You may win a copy!)

During the evening she’ll be sharing the story behind the book, posting discussion questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways – books, gift certificates and – a Kindle Fire! She’ll also be giving you a sneak peek of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 11th … and bring your friends!