April 2022 Books

I have been enjoying reading but writing about it hasn’t been high on my priority list. Still, I thought I would share with you what I got through in April. I had some really enjoyable reads.

So, I had a couple that I was finishing up from before or still working through.
Before The Throne by Crickett Keeth and Shocking Secrets of America History by William Coates were finished up early on in the month.

Another devotional book I am reading is My Life In Him. It is a compilation of many different writers’ and includes 52 weeks of devotional readings. I really like these as they are not fluff but real challenges taken straight from God’s word. Each day begins with a Bible readings and then 3 or 4 short paragraphs of thoughts based strictly on the Bible passage. It closes with a challenge for the day. Each week is written by the same man and is set on a theme such as family, marriage, fruit of the spirit, or dealing with something such as loss, anger, etc.

My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is a funny memoir and natural history book based off his family’s time in Corfu. Having moved there when he was about 10, he lived there several years. The memoir started out as notes on his nature observations but when he added in his family, it became a hilarious and somewhat bizarre telling of their years on the island. It is a fun and fabulous read that is packed full of character, animals, and learning. A definite recommend. I found that it was the first in a series so I hope to get my hands on the other books, as well.

Your Finances God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. I have enjoyed reading through this study of personal finance and did not find any major Biblical issues with the doctrine included. It is a good look at God’s take on personal responsibility of finance. I do still have a couple more chapters to go as I just set it aside for a bit but I do plan to finish it. Read the full review here.

One Question A Day Journal for Kids by MaryAnne Kochenderfer, PhD. is just an adorable start to creative writing for youngsters. Aimed at ages 6-9, boys and girls alike will enjoy writing about their likes, dislikes, and imaginations gone wild. Read the full review here.

The 30-Minute Gluten-Free Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Simple Recipes for Every Day by Jan Withington was a digital book I received. I found some interesting looking recipes that are do-able but many of them were just not of my type of cooking or eating. I found lots of the high-starch substitutes in the recipes which really turns me off of cookbooks. Those subs just have not flavor and are not healthy in any way. It is a fine cookbook but just not for me overall.

The Story of Jane Goodall by Susan B Katz was another digital book I received. It was an interesting read for younger readers- elementary or early middle school. There was a lot of information that I didn’t know about Jane Goodall and found it a quick, enjoyable read. For an elementary student, it is a solid read with a lot of information about her life, her work, and how to be a part of change.

That’s the list for April, though I feel like I forgot something. Oh well. Not a bad number and I enjoyed the reading. May’s list is not too far behind.

Lori, At Home.

One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me ~ a book review

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

I adore this journal! One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me by MaryAnne Kochenderfer, PhD. is just an adorable start to creative writing for youngsters. Aimed at ages 6-9, boys and girls alike will enjoy writing about their likes, dislikes, and imaginations gone wild.

Journaling, or simply writing down thoughts and ideas, is a fun and creative way for students to get into the habit of putting their own words on paper without it being graded or for someone else to read. It allows students to feel safe in being expressive and creative, even outrageous, with ideas. Freedom to be as detailed or as vague as desired that moment is a wonderful way for students to just let the words flow. Prompts, or simply “setting the stage”, opens up that door and allows the creative juices to flow.

One Question a Day Journal for Kids is a comfortably sized book for students ages 6-9, though I can truly seeing this work a tad bit younger depending on the student or a couple years older for a struggling writer. Or even at the older end of the age range for a student who just wants to create a book about their own ideas and thoughts. There are 365 prompts but they can be completed in any order desired by the writer. After all, authors like some freedom, right? Writing about what strikes the fancy on any given day will create better writing. So, allow the freedom.

The book starts with a short introduction to the journal writer, noting that it is all about the person answering the prompts. It is that person’s journal so make it work in a way that fits that person best. Great advice!

Each day is number (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) and has a space to put the date. Then there is a short question to answer that is just a sentence or two long. These range from “Imagine you are as small as an ant. What would the world look like to you?” to “What was something you did today? Try to make it sound exciting (even if it wasn’t).” “Would you rather”s and imaginative creatures, dream classes to dream animals, there are so many unique and exciting prompts for students to answer! Each prompt includes 3 lines for students to write their answer.

This journal really becomes a part of the writer as it is completed. Each day, it tells a little bit more about the special person filling it in. What a wonderful gift for later in life. Hopes and dreams! I can see this being a treasured keepsake.

Many youngsters will love this journal. You may even have a youngster who is a bit younger than the stated age and who is not yet independently writing. Don’t let that deter you! Just allow the child to narrate and you scribe their answer. What a great way to see the child’s growth. You could even do a question a week and allow the book to grow with the child. There are so many ways for this to be used! I wish my girls were not so much older. I still may try to get them to complete some of these just to see what they would do! I can see my youngest (she’ll be 8th grade next year) using this in some way to keep her creative writing going. Writing is not her favorite thing but quite a few of these prompts would get her imagination running!

One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me by MaryAnne Kochenderfer, PhD. is definitely something I recommend looking into. This will be a wonderful journal to look back on and will show you things you don’t know about your student now. Check it out. It is for purchase on Amazon. (Not an affiliate link.) Visit the author at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting or on Facebook.

Lori, At Home.

Your Finances God’s Way ~ a book review

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook by Scott LaPierre, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Your Finances God's Way

Title: Your Finances God’s Way

Author: Scott LaPierre

Publisher: Harvest House

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Genre: Christian living – nonfiction

Experience the Peace that Comes with Wise Stewardship

Financial insecurity can be one of the greatest threats to your well-being—but the good news is that even if you’re on a tight income, you can eliminate many of your monetary worries when you create and abide by a biblical plan for your spending.

In Your Finance’s God’s Way, you’ll identify the negative money management habits you need to break and the positive habits that should take their place. Implementing the teaching laid out in the Bible, this book gives you advice and practical steps backed by proven principles, helping you

• get the most out of your money by paying off debt and building up savings

• make wise spending decisions that enable you to avoid anxiety, regret, and conflict

• find a healthy balance between being financially frivolous and frugal to a fault

Even when you have less to spend, you can use what God has provided to thrive. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, working or staying at home, Your Finances God’s Way will give you everything you need to be a careful steward of the resources you’ve received from the Lord.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub



Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is a senior pastor, author, and popular conference speaker. He holds an MA in biblical studies from Liberty University. Scott and his wife, Katie, live in Washington State, and God has blessed them with nine children. Learn more about Pastor Scott at his website, www.scottlapierre.org, and connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH SCOTT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook!

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 9, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 16, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Books US only, Amazon gift card where available. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links from JustRead Tours.

My Thoughts About The Book and Workbook:

Your Finances God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to Making the Best Use of Your Money has been an interesting read. I have found it, thus far, to be biblically based and without denominational influences. This is a huge plus when talking about money and God’s word. The style of writing is easy to understand and Scott LaPierre approaches the topics with a unique approach.

Topics included are:

  • stewardship and faithfulness,
  • God’s kindness and severity,
  • Money is the foundation of faithfulness,
  • The Dangers of loving money,
  • Learning from a rich fool,
  • How to avoid being a rich fool,
  • Give willingly,
  • Give sacrificially,
  • God’s Generosity encourages giving cheerfully,
  • Good stewardship toward the poor,
  • Spending problems versus an income problem,
  • God’s view of debt,
  • Avoiding and eliminating debt,
  • Saving the right and wrong way,
  • Retiring well,
  • The greatest riches.

So far, one of my favorite chapters has been when he is dealing with the parable of the unfaithful servant in Matthew 25. He really dissects the parable in a way I have not seen done and deal with the monetary decisions made in it. While this parable is often used to talk about the use of the talents, Mr. LaPierre looks at the fact that the steward was going to have to give an account and that he took that very seriously. Did he do it right? No, as Jesus called him dishonest but looking at how seriously the steward took the fact that he was going to have to be accountable, he prepared for the future. He knew he had a limited amount of time so he worked quickly, he knew it was coming so he worked hard, and he used the situation to create some safety for him in the coming days after he had faced judgment. I found this look really interesting. And there have been other looks at things that were different and interesting. I am really enjoying this study.

As for the workbook, well, I am not as impressed with that. It is a good supplement, especially if you are needing something to document completion (as with a high school student getting credit) or as a guide for a small group study. As an independent study, I feel that the workbook is unnecessary. A large part of it is basic knowledge questions that don’t require a depth of understanding or application. Those types of questions are there but they are not the majority. Still, the workbook has its place in certain situation but it is not required to make the study helpful.

As of this writing, I am only about halfway through the study. There could be things later in the book that I have not yet come across to be concerned about but I don’t suspect there will be based on what I have read so far. I am finding this an enjoyable study that has presented some financial ideas in a bit of a different way. I have enjoyed that.

Lori, At Home.

March 2022 Books

Busy times mean a late post on the books I have read. So, here you go. Only 3 weeks into the next month. 🙂

Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream – Francine Rivers

My oldest daughter (can you believe she is 18 now!?!) asked me to read these. I had tried another one by Mrs. Rivers that I did not like, though it is currently crazy popular. It was too graphic and gross for me. She told me this set of books was quite different. So, I tried it. And she was right. It was a lot different from the other and I did enjoy it a lot. It is a story about mothers and daughters, somewhat based on Mrs. Rivers’ own past. I found the historical parts interesting. I enjoyed some of th characters quite a bit and others none at all. Overall, I enjoyed the stories. Still not planning to pick up any other of Mrs. Rivers work.

Before The Throne – Crickett Keeth

Pop over and read my full review of this one, if you are interested. I have enjoyed this Bible study about prayer during difficult times. There is a good focus on God’s word and has given me some good thought. I like this study.

Called For Life: How loving our neighbor led us into the heart of the ebola epidemic – Kent & Amber Brantly

I cannot recommend this biography enough. Kent Brantly is a doctor and he and his family moved to Africa to serve as medical missionaries. He contracts ebola and this is the story of how their faith got them through the tough time, not knowing whether life or death was just around the corner. The medical treatment advances were able to preserve the life of Dr. Brantly but that is just one small part of the intrigue of this story. The truly remarkable part is the steps of faith that are recalled and documented throughout this medical struggle. After time to recovery, the family returned to the mission field in another part of Africa to continue serving God. This is a high recommend, one you should definitely read.

Shocking Secrets of American History: 115 Surprising and Amusing Tales – William Coates

This nonfiction selection was a ton of fun. Written by a history teacher who wanted to introduce his students to the more unique aspects of history, these stories take us through the history of America by examining some strange and unknown tidbits about people and events. From the founding of America through World War II, these short stories will captive imaginations and foster interest. Most of the stories are just a page or two long and so can be quick additions to a history curriculum or can be a stand alone read. In fact, my oldest has decided it looked interesting and has added it to her stack of books to read. I recommend this one.

Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life – Sutton Foster

Sutton Foster is an actress who has found an outlet for the craziness of life surrounding the acting business – crafts. This autobiographical story works looks Sutton’s career and life through the lens of crafts that she worked on during that show/time. Each craft represents something she struggled with or how life was difficult for her at the time. Her family life was strange. Her acting life was crazy and difficult, fraught with emotional difficulties, and life itself was hard to take sometimes. But crafting, well, that was where she found an outlet that helped her keep all of that in perspective and focus on living well. This was an interesting take on a biography and I truly enjoyed it. Another one that is worth the read.

Counterfeit Love – Crystal Caudill

I have posted a full review of this book for you to read but will share a blurp with you here. My basic little bit: Secret service, counterfeit money, mixed up emotions, a mystery in the family – could things come together to confuse Theresa Plane? As a lady who faces life full on and full force, these things may cause her pause but they will not derail her. That is, until her ex-fiance, who disappeared after her close call with death, shows up. Confusion combined with her grandfather’s death, push her further into the unknown.

I enjoyed this story a lot, which was surprising as I don’t typically enjoy mysteries. This one was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed this historical take on it all. Again, it was worth the time.

Really Woolly My First Easter – Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Since this is a board book, I am not sure if it counts as a book for me to read but it was so cute! This is a precious board book (full review here) for a little one to snuggle up with someone and read. It is bright and colorful, with a special rhyme about joy and a prayer on each 2 page spread. The joy of spring, rain, new beginnings, growing, Easter, Jesus, and in “my heart” are sweetly covered to help a young child learn about all that God has placed around us. Each page also contains Easter eggs in the illustrations to provide an egg hunt for the readers, encouraging new discoveries each time. This gorgeous book will captivate the child’s wonder and scripture will place the truth of God in their heart, moment by moment.

The Master Craftsman – Kelli Stuart

Jumping between history and present day, this is an enjoyable read about one of the most fascinating art houses to ever exist – the House of Faberge. The historic portion dates between about 1900 and 1920. It recounts some of what the people were going through as the Russian government changed hands and turned communist. We view this historic portion through the eyes of one who is searching for a fabled egg, not sure if it existed or not, but feeling that gut pull that it did. When Nick cannot search on his own, and as a way to reconnect with his now-adult daughter whom he hasn’t seen for years, he sends her into the search. Knowing there could be danger along the way, they take all the necessary precautions. Now that the treasure hunt is under way, what will be found? This was a super enjoyable read. I flew through it and truly enjoyed it. I adore historical fiction and this was right up there with the best.

So, I got 9 books read this month. A pretty big month, I guess. I enjoyed all of them and they were easy to read. I would spend the time to read them all again, also, as I found them so enjoyable.

Lori, At Home.

Before The Throne ~ a book review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Before The Throne: finding strength through prayer in difficult times by Crickett Keeth is a new Bible study that takes a look at prayer in the Bible. With all that is troubling the world today, there is no time more relevant than now to take a look at prayer in the Bible when the speaker of the prayer is in difficult times.

About Before The Throne, from Moody Publishers

God’s people know they can turn to Him when times get tough. Instead of trying to fix things on our own, we can enter God’s throne room in prayer. The access granted to us by Jesus our High Priest is our comfort when the world is turned upside down. In Before the Throne, Crickett offers eight prayer warriors from Scripture who turned to God when times became difficult. You’ll learn to pray with:

·        Moses in times of disappointment

·        The Psalmists in times of need

·        Jonah in times of disobedience

·        Hezekiah in times of battle

·        Habakkuk in times of questioning

·        Jesus in a time of intercession

·        Paul in times of hardship

·        Revelation saints in times of worship

As you study these prayers, you’ll be strengthened as you see how these godly Bible characters poured out their hearts to God and how He responded to them. You’ll learn how to pray with the same power when you feel weak, helpless, stressed, or afraid. As you turn your focus toward God’s character through prayer, He will supply the strength you need to face whatever is before you.

About Crickett Keeth

Crickett is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of several published Bible studies, including On Bended Knee (Moody), The Gift of Rest and Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn). Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. She offers free resources for discipleship and encourages others in their own walk with God through her website at www.crickettkeeth.com. Her life purpose is to encourage others to passionately pursue Jesus Christ.

How I Used The Study

This study is designed as an 8-week study, with each week having an introduction and five days of study. I have used it as a part of my daily study, so I have been moving through it faster than one lesson a week. I have found it a comfortable size to read and the print, for the most part, is easy to read. There is plenty of white space on the pages, making it relaxing and enjoyable to work through. This also means there is plenty of space to write your answers, notes, and thoughts.

I found that Ms. Keeth has chosen to look at the prayer of some of the most prayerful people in the Bible – Moses, Jesus, Paul, the Psalmists. But she has also chosen some people with short prayers – Jonah – or who we may not think of first when we talk of prayer – Hezekiah, Habakkuk, the saints in Revelation. Such a variety of people who dealt with different types of hardship all sought God through prayer in their difficulty. This makes for an example for each of us today. Ms. Keeth examines the prayers and the context in which the prayers are made. Each chapter has you looking directly into God’s word and examining the prayer and what it included. It asks you to look upward, wrestling with thought-proking questions and perhaps creating some discussion. You look deeper, into more scripture and how it relates to the scripture prayer examined earlier. And finally, you look reflectively into yourself, how will this change you, how will you use it to change yourself and your relationship with God, applying what you have learned.

I really enjoy a study that looks to God’s word for the majority of the material, using a bit of personal input and thought to guide only, not as the bulk of the lesson. This study definitely does that and pushes your thinking about God’s word. The study also includes a group leader’s guide at the back to help a group leader consider which questions to dwell a bit longer on or to focus on.

I enjoy the fact that this study does focus first and foremost on what God is giving us in His Bible. This is what a Bible study should be and this one does just that. If you are looking for a study to support you in tough times, when prayer seems far away or harder than it should be, this might be just what you are looking for. Come Before the Throne and see what God will do for you.

Lori, At Home.

Really Woolly My First Easter ~ book review and giveaway

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my opinion.

If you are looking for a sweet addition to a young child’s Easter basket, Really Woolly My First Easter fits the bill. This die-cut board book has a bright, glittered cover and is in the shape of an Easter basket with a handle. Written by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips, and published by Dayspring, an imprint of Tommy Nelson, this adorable book will provide hours of snuggle time with you little one while you read and teach the truths of God’s love.

This is a precious board book for a little one to snuggle up with someone and read. It is bright and colorful, with a special rhyme about joy and a prayer on each 2 page spread. The joy of spring, rain, new beginnings, growing, Easter, Jesus, and in “my heart” are sweetly covered to help a young child learn about all that God has placed around us. Each page also contains Easter eggs in the illustrations to provide an egg hunt for the readers, encouraging new discoveries each time. This gorgeous book will captivate the child’s wonder and scripture will place the truth of God in their heart, moment by moment.

The Really Woolly line has been a best-selling brand for 15 years. It is known for sharing encouragement about the relationship Jesus, the Shepherd, has with us, His sheep. The characters are well-known and loved.

This beautiful board-book is perfect for those aged 0-4, and beyond, to reflect on the beauty of spring, new life, and the resurrection of Jesus. Purchase your own copy today. Or visit JustRead Publicity Tours on Instagram to enter to win a copy of this book.

Lori, At Home.

Middle School Science – an overview series

Miss J had been working on a middle school level chemistry course using several books I located for her. After completing that, I found a series of 4 books from Usborne that I purchased for her to go through. She has really been enjoying them. She is currently on the 3rd one and will finish the 4th by the end of May pretty easily.

The series is Kitchen Science: The Complete Collection published by Kane Miller. It is a set of four books: The Math of a Milkshake, The Chemistry of Cola, The Biology of a Banana, and The Physics of Popcorn. Each of the books, as is indicated by the titles, handles a branch of science or math. The books have been a lot of fun, with tons of unique tidbits of information that were interesting. They have presented a lot of ideas, some in depth, some fairly simply. They have been a great exploration of each of the branches of education they address. They all have lots of experiments, some of which we had already done and some we had not. The books had a good balance of reading, quizzing, and doing.

I found these books to be fantastic for middle school, as they push the envelope of known information in a way that has generally resulted in Miss J wanting to find out more about it. We have pulled additional books to complement the learning because she wanted more. Rabbit trails that produced more in depth learning.

The depth of information definitely requires a parent to be around to help with some of it but they are manageable for student led learning. If you have a middle school student and are looking for an overview course that will help students really learn about the different parts of science and math, these are great. There is plenty of material for a year-long course in my opinion, especially if you are doing all of the experiments, quizzes, and tests. This is a recommend from me.

I was not asked to write this and I purchased these materials myself. I am not a Usborne consultant but will happily connect you with Leslie (who I purchased these through) if you would like to order these or something else.

Lori, At Home.

Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill ~ a book review

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book Counterfeit Love from Audra Jennings PR for the purpose of this review.

Secret service, counterfeit money, mixed up emotions, a mystery in the family – could things come together to confuse Theresa Plane? As a lady who faces life full on and full force, these things may cause her pause but they will not derail her. That is, until her ex-fiance, who disappeared after her close call with death, shows up. Confusion combined with her grandfather’s death, push her further into the unknown.

I truly enjoyed reading this one but my practice in writing summaries has gone by the wayside recently so let me share with you the formal one.

About the book:

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves—or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancé is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here

About the author:

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at crystalcaudill.com or find her on Facebook (@crystalcaudillauthor) and Instagram (@crystalcaudillauthor). You can also join fellow readers in Crystal Caudill’s Reading Friends group on Facebook.


You can read more and enter to win a copy of Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill on the Audra Jennings PR site.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The mystery and danger level was just enough to intrigue me without turning me away from it. (I don’t typically care for mystery stories.) I read through it quickly and with great interest. I found the history of the Secret Service fascinating and will be finding more to read about it. While some aspects of the mystery I suspected early on, there was just enough to keep my mind engaged. I enjoyed the historical setting and the research done to insure it was an accurate portrayal of the times. I passed the book along to my 17 year old and she loved it, too. It is well written, clean, and enjoyable, something that is harder and harder to find these days. I would definitely recommend it.

Lori, At Home.

Time In The Sun

I’ll be honest. We don’t get nearly enough time in the sun. The girls’ extra-curricular activities are indoors. Their exercise is indoors. It is difficult for them to do schoolwork outdoors when they have to spread out quite a bit with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, and more. So, outdoors is just not as common a place for us to spend time.

We recently took advantage of the spring break for dance and headed to The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for a field trip. (Yes, even high schoolers get field trips!) It is springtime so the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths were in full bloom. The tulips were the big draw for me and they were beautiful! We also saw some cherry trees in bloom and several other flowers. There were some gorgeous topiaries in the shapes of peacocks with the tails done in blooms. We saw plenty of water features and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a lovely few hours of sunshine, walking, and family time.

It was a joy to spend this time with the whole family and the girls really enjoyed it, too. And that’s not just their mom speaking hopefully. They said it over and over. They were glad we spent the time and money to do this outing, even if we were all tired at the end of the day.

Time in the sun. Time together.

Lori, At Home.

Be Strong and Courageous

Today (March 12), I gained a new picture of courage. It is the man whose memorial we attended. It was such a joy to listen to the stories of this man and hear the beautiful story shared of his life. But what kept hitting me was his courage – he faced life with the courage of one who knows God. And he did. A quote that was shared about him today was “John did not just believe in God; he believed God.”

That kind of courage gives us the ability to face life with hope. And John did just that. I wish you could have seen him lovingly caring for his wife during her years of decline. I wish you could see the friends and family that packed the church building today to remember this gentle man. I wish you could see the light in my daughter’s face when she speaks of Mr. John and how she knew he would have loved the cookies she was planning to give him. I wish you could have seen the smiles and the joy and the handshakes he freely gave to those around him.

Courage. It runs deep. Just like the faith that was obvious in Mr. John’s life. We see courage in many places in the bible. Some of the obvious ones include Joshua. God speaks to Joshua over and over, reminding him to “Be strong and courageous.” Look just in the first chapter and you see it three times. It keeps coming up but those same words come up in other books throughout the Bible.

When I was writing Luke 6:48-49, I found myself contemplating courage. The man who built his house with a deep foundation had courage to dig deep, to set down a foundation that couldn’t be rocked, not knowing for certain he was going to need that foundation but not willing to forgo it. The man who built without the foundation, well, maybe he had a different kind of courage but not the kind that will get you safely through life. It wasn’t deep and strong so as the stream broke against the house, it also broke.

As I wrote those words, I pondered again the faith-filled life that Mr. John lived, showing that deep foundation that he had. Believing God. He set his roots, his foundation, deep and when he needed it, that foundation was the courage he needed to step each step of his journey.

What a legacy Mr. John left us as his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I Chronicles 22:13
Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

Luke 6:46-49
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Lori, At Home.

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