Monday, June 28, 2010

And the winner is????


Congrats! You won my very first book giveaway! =) I hope you love The Heart Mender as much as I did! Will I see you anytime soon? If not, I'll be happy to mail it to you if you send me your address - a message on facebook if you don't want it here for the whole world to see. Not that that many people pay attention to comments on my blog, but I suppose you never know...
Yay for free books! It's almost as fun to give them away as it is to get them! =)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Giveaway! =)

So, if after reading my review of The Heart Mender, you're interested in having your very own, free copy, this is where you let me know.
All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know you'd like to enter my giveaway. Make sure you leave an email address or some way that I can contact you if you win. Monday I'll pick a winner with a random number generator (Thanks Stephanie and Becky!), and some lucky person's book will be on it's way!
This is fun, don't ya think? =)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"The Heart Mender" by Andy Andrews

The summary of Andy Andrews’ book, “The Heart Mender” intrigued me immediately. German submarines sinking ships in the Gulf of Mexico during WW2? I’m fascinated by WW2 history, but I’d never heard anything about Nazis so close to American soil. I was hooked.
Helen Mason’s husband is dead, killed on a volunteer mission training English pilots. Josef Landermann contemplates suicide while unwillingly serving aboard a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Helen and Josef choose between clinging to their anger or forgiving when their lives are thrown together.
Probably my favorite character in this book, Danny, is a 20-something year old man with Downs Syndrome. Danny has such unique insight into the hearts of the people around him. And the people in his life respect his wisdom and talent. Andrews clearly displayed Danny through God’s eyes – as a man created in the image of God.
The other thing I loved in this book was the distinction between Germans and Nazis. Josef is a German history teacher who loves his family and hates Hitler. Yet he was sinking American merchant ships for Hitler's army. Why? He had no choice.
This book would be fascinating fiction, but is it? You’ll have to read to find out! =)

I wrote this review as part of Thomas Nelson's book review blogger program.
Ok, so I feel a little silly. I practically ordered you all to tell me what great fun you have reading my ramblings. I must've been in a weird mood yesterday....
Anyway, before the rest of you feel obligated to say something nice to me, I've decided to give away "The Heart Mender" book to someone who actually wants to read it. No, you don't have to be the first to say nice things about me.... It's a fiction (?) book about German u-boats in the Gulf of Mexico during World War 2. Personally I like to think of it as a true story. Anyway, as soon as I get the review done (hopefully during naptime this afternoon!), you can decide if you'd like to read it or not... And then I'll have to come up with some way to decide which one of you gets it. I wish I had enough for all of you! =)
On a totally unrelated note... You should see what I made myself for my birthday! Peanut butter cup cheesecake with brownie crust and Reese's and LOTS of chocolate. You can find the recipe here I haven't actually tried it yet because I didn't get it made til too late last night. But I am really excited! If you live close to Lincoln, you might have to make up an excuse to come visit me. =)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shameless self-promotion =)

Yay to Uncle Chip for being the first (and so far only...hint..hint..) person to admit they're following my blog!!! I'm particularly impressed by this because Uncle Chip, you are smart. Like, really, really smart. So to think that I would say anything that you would consider worth your time to read is...well, an ego boost. Of course, you could just read it to laugh at the crazy ramblings of your niece, but I can pretend... =)
And for all you other people out there who read this, get with the program! I know most of you only read this on facebook, but this is a blog actually. Here's a link so you can see my pretty background or template or whatever you call it. And the great pic of my man and our kids Easter egg hunting.

Ok, here's your incentive. The last time my book review blogger people sent me a book, "The Heart Mender" by Andy Andrews, they sent TWO - one for me to give away on my blog. Aren't you excited??? So, I just finished reading it. I haven't written the review yet, and I don't want to give anything away. But you should be excited.
I haven't quite decided how to pick who gets it yet. (Suggestions?) Maybe I'll make you guess my favorite number or favorite ice cream or something. Maybe I'll just give it to Uncle Chip for being the very first one to follow my blog. =)
Anyway, I'll have to think about it. But I think I'll only let people who admit they follow my blog have a chance at it. Bribery, I know. Being a mommy for almost 7 years has taught me a few valuable things.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just in case I re-read my last blog post someday and decide I was whining about how terrible my life it, I've decided to make sure I remember the things I love about being mommy. Although days can be long and hectic, I can't imagine investing my life in anything else.

One of my favorite things to do is rock my baby to sleep. Julia let me rock her to sleep forever - until she was almost 2. But Ava's being less cooperative. Every once in a while, though, she gives up while I'm holding her. I love feeling her little hands stop grabbing at things and start running over my hands softly. Her little body relaxes against mine, and I just want to freeze that moment forever. Funny how I was in such a rush to get Ethan to go to sleep on his own in his crib. I wish I had just held him more.

Kids overflow with joy and awe at things that I would miss if they weren't there to point it out to me.
"Look, mommy! A butterfly!"
"What a beautiful pink flower!"
"Hey! There's a kitty!"
They remind me to get out of my narrow, "I'm in a hurry to do this and move on to the next thing" mindset and live.

Maybe this is just the teacher in me, but I love to watch my kids learn something new. The sense of accomplishement on their faces as they learn to crawl, walk, talk, or read delights me.

God has used this season of my life to teach me so many things about myself and Him. I've learned that His grace covers my impatience, quick temper, and failure to listen. He has taught me so much about what real love looks like and how He feels when His people just don't get it. I am learning to rely on Him for strength every minute of every day and to come to Him with my "impossible" problems. He gives me supernatural patience, joy, energy, and love for the unlovely when I abide in Him.

These are not things that will look good on a resume someday. The world doesn't value many of these qualities highly. To some it may look like I'm wasting my life - my potential. And even though some days it's tempting, I continually choose not to see my life that way. I know that the things God does in me today are the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see - not only in my life but in the lives of my kids. What could be better than that?

Now that I've written these nice things about being a mommy, time to put them into practice. My girls are screaming happily and woke up Ava.... Time to stop rambling and move.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who am I?

I was feeding Ava today thinking. One of these days, before I know it, I'm going to be babyless. Then diaperless, binkyless, sippy-cupless, napless, --I know I'm making up words left and right, but it's my blog, not a research paper! ;)-- and eventually kidless. Most of the things that absolutely consume my every waking moment right now (and some sleeping ones, too) will be over soon.
And I wonder, who am I without all these things? I define myself as "mommy". But what happens when all my kids need from me is an occassional text message? Who will I be then? It scares me that I don't know who I am.
Someone asked me recently what my hobbies are. I'm supposed to have hobbies? Things I do for fun? I think grocery shopping without four kids is fun. My hobbies are making the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich and pushing a two-year old on the swing just high enough to make her feel like a big girl but not too high to be scary. What happens when those hobbies are worthless? When no one needs or wants them anymore?
I can just see me at a job interview:
"What makes you qualified for this job?"
"Well, sir, I can kiss all your owies and they'll magically heal. I can read "Green Eggs and Ham" 300 times in a row with exactly the same voices every time. And to top it all off, I can bathe a baby, talk on the phone, wipe bottoms, and clean the tile floor all at the same time!"
So, just to make me feel better, here's a list of things I like to do that have nothing to do with kids.
~Read! I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on. (Do they pay people to do that?)
~Write! If you haven't learned that by my endless ramblings here...
~Go on evening walks.
~Bake! I love to make sweet (chocolate anyone?) things especially. =)
~I liked scrapbooking before I got so hopelessly behind that it became terribly discouraging.
~Music! I seroiusly sing all the time. Even now I just turn the music up louder and sing over the chaos.
Hmmmm.... That's all I can think of.
Of course since I started writing this I've managed to keep Ava awake for an extra half hour so she won't (hopefully!) wake up at 4:50 in the morning, bathed Julia and put her jammy dress on, and kept updated on Caleb's latest project. So my mind may not be focusing very well.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

3,000 days!!!

Yesterday, June 1, 2010 was my 3,000th day of marriage. That's right. Caleb and I have spent 3,000 days as husband and wife. And we celebrated! Caleb took the day off work, Tam watched the kids (even Ava!) and we went to Grand Island. We learned something valuable.
There is nothing to do in Grand Island.
We went to Walmart and bought diapers. We almost bought m&m's so we could count 3,000 of them to see how many that really is. But we didn't really want to spend $20 on m$m's - let alone eat them all afterwards.
3,000 m&m's is ALOT of candy!
So we bought polkadots instead - and we're pretending there's 3,000 of them - even though I'm too lazy to actually count.
Our day was a good representation of our marriage. We didn't do anything exciting or extraordinary, but we had FUN together.
That's the best part about marriage. Most of our days are ordinary, mundane, 8-5 at work, diaper changing, bathroom cleaning, kid raising days. But we enjoy each other's company. We share ideas. We laugh together at frilly pink ruffles and silly kid conversations. We've built a life together.
It's work. It's not always fun or easy. But it's the best thing I've ever done.