September 9, 2019

Book Review: UNREAL by Phil McDonald

You think you know someone, until you read about ‘all those years you missed’, means you don’t!

More often than not, I don’t get caught up with details of a story, probably because I don’t retain facts well anymore.  But the non-stop drama in UNREAL was so gripping and compelling that I’m sure I read every word.  I lost sleep because I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.  

Lots of descriptive words for the author came to mind at the conclusion of this read, ie. Transparent, brave, faithful, foolish, daring, intelligent, compassionate, American (not ugly) …  Some of those should not be a surprise to a close friend, but while reading this memoir, they became more alive with vivid word pictures of jungles, snakes, other lands, rich colors of the Orient, Middle eastern cuisine and strange foods, near escapes, disease and protection of family.  Of course I can't leave out "lions" and "pirates"!

I certainly would loved to have read UNREAL many years ago before we left the states with our children to live cross-culturally.  I highly recommend it as a must read for anyone preparing to live outside the United States.  The 60 principles Phil learned and shared would be invaluable to take to heart for a serious student in preparation for successful overseas work and living.  They are easily referenced throughout, but do not take away from the story line at all. 

Additionally, the adventures of this unique, precious American family who raised their children in and out of the States can be such an encouragement to any family meeting 21st century challenges wherever they live.

January 5, 2018

A Book Review

Faithful Finance
by Emily G. Stroud

I wish I'd had this book 40 years ago!  Even though there was friendly encouragement along the way to invest and plan, we were suspicious, not knowing who had our best interests in mind.  As a result of 2 failed investments and having to cash out retirement accounts twice in health crisis, we definitely have not been prepared for our retirement years.  Ultimately, as we have all along, we must trust God to show us each step of the way even with the plans! 

Emily Stroud, the author of Faithful Finance has done a great job outlining a plan that can work and includes the Lord in all things.  As a Christian, missionary and pastor's wife I have a great appreciation for not only giving to the Lord, but understanding why!  E. Stroud says, "If you cannot be trusted to manage a small amount of money wisely, then why would God trust you with much?"

A young reader could start from the beginning of this book to outline a plan with all the resources at their fingertips while any of us would benefit from the practical steps to estate planning. 

Do you have a will?  Without that legal document notarized in the state you're living, your wishes cannot be guaranteed—even where your children would live.  I was surprised to find out that our last will needed to be updated since we now live in a different state.  I especially intend to use the notebook idea so that in my passing my family will not only know my desires and intents, but where to find everything.  Having this completed could give you and me peace of mind in 2018.

I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

May 24, 2017

Book Review of Hello Stars by Alena Pitts

Hello Stars

by Alena Pitts

My tween granddaughter!

Considering that I am an adult reader reviewing a tween-age book , I was impressed with the application of life’s lessons from a young author to her own age group.  That’s a lot of insight!  It certainly could be helpful for the tween reader to identify with while loving the story line and grasping the lessons.  

The story is cute with a predictable ending, but maybe not so realistic for many families where money is limited.  That's ok, though; it's fiction, and it isn't a bad thing to be encouraged to "reach for the stars" and trust God for difficult dreams--that's faith!

My granddaughter (pictured) says, "I love it and it is well-written!"

Good job, Author, Alena Pitts! 

December 30, 2016

Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Giveaway

Of stillness and storm—a Book Review
By Michele Phoenix

My eyes are blurry and I’m very emotional after spending the day reading Of Stillness and Storm from cover to cover.  I love to read but I don’t usually read a 320 page Christian novel in one sitting.  Once it touched a nerve in my missionary heart, in my own life and ministry I couldn’t put it down.  Parenting on a foreign field as missionaries has more challenges than most people know.  Before I knew anything about the author, personally, I was impressed that she intimately understood the challenges of the missionary call and parenting.

For a while I couldn’t understand the darkness I felt through most of the story.  Most missionary stories tell all the glory that folks back home expect to hear. This fiction was so real to me, I felt so much disappointment and even anger--I wasn’t happy with the missionary husband’s attitude from the very beginning in his approach to his calling and consideration for his family.  The choices of both missionary husband and wife profoundly affected and overshadowed the good.  Ultimately, the missionary child suffered.     

Even though this book is fiction, it can be an eye-opener! I will recommend it to pre-field missionaries as they evaluate their call, to missionaries on the field as they balance ministry and parenting and to those who love and hold missionaries accountable on the field.

December 28, 2016

A Spectacle of Glory, a Book Review

A Spectacle of Glory

God’s Light Shining through Me Every Day
By Joni Eareckson Tada 
with Larry Libby

I don’t expect a “devotional” to be a bible study, but I do expect to get at least one piece of encouragement or challenge for my day.  I keep A Spectacle of Glory on my desk.  It’s a small, beautiful book so it doesn’t get in my way, but reminds me just to take a minute to read some practical, encouraging words.  They are words that always point to the Savior and an evaluation of my relationship to Him. 
I was impacted by Joni Eareckson Tada’s testimony many years ago when her life changed in a diving accident.  She doesn’t ever disappoint me; on the contrary I am so challenged by her walk with the Lord that I also want that closer relationship with Him.  This devotional, authored by someone who has walked the walk a long time would be a great gift for a new believer as well as one who has been walking with the Lord a long time!

April 19, 2016

I Told My Kids NOT to Eat Dirt!

I'm sure they did it anyway, but now I would say making mud pies is a good thing!  I learned that and so much more from Eat Dirt,  Dr. Josh Axe's newest book.  He says "all disease begins in the gut."  With that in mind I dug into his book to figure out what I needed to do to help my family, friends, others and me!

I've been diagnosed with "leaky gut" by two different doctors, but the healing plan was sketchy to non-existent at best.  I fell through the cracks.  I've been following Dr. Josh Axe for over a year now and have compared his guidance to other nutritionists and natural-paths along the way.  It doesn't contradict, yet his presentation is so "user friendly" I get it!  

"You are what you eat" was the focus of one my college speeches.  I've believed that to be true for years, but Dr. Axe disagrees.  He says, "you are not what you eat, but what you digest."  That makes sense to me now.  He says that you can take good supplements and eat healthy food, but if your gut is leaking undigested food particles into the bloodstream, it is all eliminated before it can nourish your body.  So, what's the answer?  In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe gives 5 types of leaky gut:

  1. Candida Gut
  2. Stressed Gut
  3. Immune Gut
  4. Gastric Gut
  5. Toxic Gut

            answering a few questions you can identify yours, if you have leaky gut, and begin the specific plan to heal your gut! Check out the leaky gut lab tests and Dr. Axe's online quiz on his website for more information. 

So where does the "dirt" come in?  The scientific explanation is detailed, but losing our simpler way of life has ultimately become the culprit in destroying the good stuff that we now kill with all of our sanitizers and pills. Since we've successfully killed it we are faced with getting it back into our compromised bodies.  I don't plan on literally eating dirt, and neither does the author, but he gives the reader so many common sense choices to get those microbes and good stuff back.

With autoimmune diseases cropping up in epidemic proportions, it has become personally a great concern to me enough to search for some answers. This presentation by Dr. Axe specifically addresses and offers scientific and practical answers to the causes and successful treatment of autoimmune. 

My book is already highlighted in yellow (my granddaughter who has an unnamed auto immune disease, highlighted in pink), underlined and tabbed for the recipes and information I need.  It's a must read and potentially a life changer! I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given to read this book. 

March 31, 2016

God Orders Our Steps...but Some Times It's Hard!

We moved to North Carolina the end of 2014 and really believe God brought us here.  Perhaps we know now one of the reasons why!  

During our 44 years of marriage we've moved many times and all joking aside, I've loved the moves. We have children in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, scattered as a result of all that moving around!!  The two North Carolina daughters in residence, a son in law and two grandchildren are great reasons to be here. 

Ashley, age 19 leads the pack of our 22 grandchildren and we are very proud of the godly woman she has become.  Ashley has begun to share her story on her own blog and I couldn't possibly share it any better as God is ordering HER steps. Her blog "Between the Detours" is her health journey from her point of view.

March 26, 2015

Review of Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren

Review of Rasmus and the Vagabond
by Astrid Lindgren

I don’t know how I missed reading this delightful story growing up.  It was first published when I was 3 so I didn't expect to even like it a little bit!  I’m a grandmother of 22 children, reading this to recommend, or not, for them, not expecting to be enthralled!

9 year old Rasmus lived in an orphanage, kind of like the stereotypical orphanages of years gone by with strict, non-loving discipline.  He ran away with many misgivings, but was compelled to search for parents who would love him… even though he had straight hair!

He stumbled on a tramp, the “vagabond” who became his best friend-- leading him in and out of trouble, good times, hunger, with music and freedom on an amazing journey.  The end of their journey was quite a twist to the story that would delight any reader, young or old. 

The author, Asrid Lindren (1907-2002) created the character of Pippi Longstocking to entertain her daughter.  Lindgren was awarded the Hans Chritian Andersen Medal for her contribution to international children's literature.

Thanks to Plough Publishing for sending me Rasmus and the Vagabond to review.  It was a delight!

October 14, 2014

A Book Review of Noah

A Book Review of Noah by Marky Ludy

Noah took dinosaurs on the ark!  I was thrilled to see dinosaurs included in the beautifully illustrated book by Mark Ludy.  It makes sense, though, since the author/illustrator certainly took a non-traditional approach to a wordless retelling of this all important biblical account and so many don’t include dinosaurs in their depictions.  

When I decided to review Noah (A Wordless Picture Book) by Mark Ludy I had no idea that it would take longer to finish than a book with words!  Each page is full of detail that children love and adults will too.  Parents will love sitting down with their children giving details the pictures bring to life and perhaps they hadn’t thought of before.   It can be opened many times and with each telling there will be more to see and tell.  The caricatures of the very real people are so unique they made me smile. 

All the important details of the account including Noah’s direction from God, the building of the ark, the rejection of everyone except Noah’s family, and the flood are there.  The most intriguing point for me personally was the birth of Noah’s children which caused me to look into the scriptures to see when they were actually born.  The author’s interpretation is a different point of view which you must see! Ultimately, I could reimagine the rejection, joy and sorrow of the time and experience the great deluge that God doesn’t want us to forget!  

I received this book from Handlebar in exchange for my honest review.

August 13, 2014

Review of The Healing Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter

The Healing Quilt  by Wanda Brunstetter

The intriguing title, The Healing Quilt, coupled with the cover picture of contrasts--an Amish woman in very modest, plain dress sitting on a beautiful quilt with an Englisher woman in traditional summer shorts and tank on a beach (whew!)-- causes the reader to want to dive in to the story right away! 

Wanda Brunstetter weaves the lives of six men and women in a quilting class with their challenges and mysteries as only a skilled storyteller can do.  Of course main characters Emma and husband, Lamar  held the keys to success for their quilting students, if they would only follow the kind directions given!

As each student faces life changing decisions, their lives interact with their previously unknown classmates there in Florida as well as students from Emma’s former Indiana quilting classes from a year or more in the past.

As a lover of Amish fiction I enjoyed the change of the typical setting from the Amish in the north to snowbird Amish in sunny Florida.  Amish folk are encouraged to adhere to their church doctrine, but in this story the main Amish characters became missionaries to the English community with their kind, non-judgmental treatment of all the folks in their quilting classes and relationships.  They certainly portrayed a convincing scenario of “winning a hearing” by their kindness and generous lives.  As the quilts come together in the end, so does the story for a great ending.

I received this book from handlebar in exchange for my hones review.

August 4, 2014

Review of Woman of Courage by Wanda E Brunstetter

Had Quaker, Amanda Pearson, married her fiancé as planned she probably wouldn’t have even heard God’s call into missionary service nor been challenged to reveal the strong, courageous woman she was.  This wasn’t your typical wagon train trek to the dangerous frontier.  There was no train and no wagon.  Was she foolish to set out on this 3000 mile journey with only her father and a guide?  The guide was seasoned of course, but Amanda learned that ultimately God was her guide and protector.

This was a bit of a detour from the author’s previous Amish story lines, giving a little insight into the Quaker mindset and speech.  Additionally, Amanda’s first convert, Indian Mary gave a glimpse into the culture of the Indians.  Their very real feelings and struggles in 1800’s America through Mary and her family gave the story a depth that it lacked in the beginning. 

I loved Woman of Courage because its story of danger, courage and romance brought to focus missionaries as real people in their daily lives and ministry.

I received this book from Handlebar in exchange for my honest review.

May 31, 2013

I Like Homeopathic Because It Gives Relief Without Side Affects

Homeopathic relief should not be under-rated!

Recently, in the process of looking for homeopathic remedies for shingles for my mother, my husband decided to try some Homeopathic tablets that supposedly would help relieve his ankle pain.  Within 3 weeks the pain is almost gone.  Almost none is so much better than excruciating!

Just today my daughter and I were trying to think of all the possibilities for her baby's sleeplessness and crying. She's a little young but it is certainly possible that teething pain is the culprit.  It's certainly worth a try to find a homeopathic remedy for teething pain just in case-- if not to use now, later!

Have You Read This Fictional Amish Book?

A Wedding Quilt for Ella


April 3, 2012

"Wedding Veils by Denise"

Officially launched!

When our youngest daughter, Carrie  was preparing for her wedding last year she naturally tried on veils at the same time she purchased her beautiful gown. We were shocked by the high cost of veils so she asked me if I could make her veil.  A little scary!

I spent many hours sewing on beads and ribbon and lovin' it.  I surprised her when I flew in for her bridal shower a month before the wedding carrying in the short veil.  (The plan was to wear a short and a long one so the long one would be removed for the reception.)  Whew!  That was a big thing to check off our growing list, but somehow, somewhere
the veil disappeared

following the last gown fitting!

Five days before the wedding I began re-creating her two veils.

As a result and thanks to the encouragement of my daughters I began making veils to sell at a much lower price than are sold in bridal salons.

I love deciding what I will do different on the next veil--each one unique, some with beading, some with silk ribbon or satin cording,  or some with decorative stitching.  Before I make the first cut I must decide will it be  "simple" elegance, long, short, full, single or a double veil.  Each bride has her own "idea" of her dream look!

I suggest trying on veils at the salon for length and style to catch that perfect complement for the bride and her gown.

So, today I launched "Wedding Veils by Denise" online at with the help of pinterest and Facebook.    Check them out.

Perhaps you'll find your dream veil that will work with your budget.  Prices range from $35-$50...

January 1, 2012

Greenacre Cousins born 2 weeks apart in 2011!

Aren't Riley Faith & Annah Grace precious?!  I couldn't believe how much these two little dolls looked so much alike.  We are blessed!  These two additions give us 18 grandchildren.

Carrie & Jayson Married!

Our youngest daughter, Carrie married Jayson Salvador November 12, 2011 in Casa Grande, Arizona.  It certainly was a beautiful day for a very lovely wedding!

January 3, 2011

Yogurt Maker Beats the Oven Method!

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

  • Yogurt maker
  • Comes with on and off switch and light indicating unit is working
  • Timer on the side marks time as to when yogurt will be finished cooking
  • Cord storage
  • Make homemade with any kind of milk and different flavor in each glass ja...

Yogurt Maker Beats the Oven Method
By Denise the Blogger from Queen Creek, Arizona on 1/2/2011
5out of 5
I had a yogurt maker years ago and wasn't always pleased because it didn't consistently make great yogurt. Recently I made a batch using the oven method and then another with an ice chest. They both turned out great, but quite a hassle! My new Cuisine Yogurt Maker, a review gift from CSN, was so easy to use and made the tastiest, thick and creamy yogurt. The easy to understand directions gave me the choice to use different fat percentages of milk as well as the option to add fruit or flavorings in advance. I love the 6 ounce jars that conveniently go from the machine... to refrigerator... to table.

October 13, 2010

Review of Anne Bradstreet by D. B. Kellogg

     Anne Bradstreet has impacted my life!  I’ve read many biographies of many great people, but I identified with Anne, the Puritan more than any other.  The country she helped create is mine and her God is mine as well!  It was quite a shock to realize that I would have chosen to be a Puritan!  They were not what I’d always believed them to be, but were simply a courageous, God fearing people who paved the way for our religious freedom.  Anne Bradstreet was an integral part of the group who fled England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who chose to live according to the Word of God.

     Of course Anne’s life was very hard once she landed in America as she moved from place to place, struggling with a lifetime of sickness, tragedies and giving birth to her eight beloved children.  In the midst of it all she was a prolific poet who influenced her world.  Women in the 1600’s were typically NOT writers, nor educated.  One of the last things she wrote with a challenge, “Children do naturally rather follow the failings than the virtues of their predecessors, but I am persuaded better things of you” is one of my favorites.

     This Christian Encounter series biography of Anne Bradstreet can be a comfort and challenge to us all as we read of a Christian woman who recognized her own failings, yet in the midst of it all, humbly raised a family, honored her husband and loved God with all heart, while remaining “above reproach”.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

July 9, 2010

Book review of She Still Calls Me Daddy

By Robert Wolgemuth

If you’re a Dad with one or more daughters She Still Calls Me Daddy is a must read! From the early years of doll houses to the day of their marriages, the author shares lots of practical experiences and stories that will cause you to laugh, cry and remember. You’ll be caught up in Wolgemuth’s journey as he bares his heart and soul sharing with his readers the lessons he learned about giving his daughters away to another man, adjusting to son-in laws and acknowledging the reality of getting older.

Whether you’re a new Dad just starting out, or one with years in the trenches this is a great read and one you shouldn’t miss! This book will give you special insights and the tools you need to gracefully expand your family and continue to cherish the young woman who still calls you Daddy.”

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

February 28, 2010

Living at Mayo Clinic Hospital was like Tom Hanks in "Terminal"

Walking through the huge expanse of the Mayo Clinic Hospital Arizona at 3:30 in the morning made me realize I was like Tom Hanks living in the airport in "Terminal"!

I woke up in my recliner/bed in the Critical Care Waiting Room a few nights ago and reached for my empty bottle of water. I tried to go back to sleep hoping I could forget how thirsty I was. It didn't work! I remembered the vending machine down the hall... but first I had to find my keys to my lockers. I wasn't sure which one held my purse so I had to open both. Of course I ended up having to take everything out to find a dollar in the bottom of my purse...trying to do it quietly so I wouldn't wake the other ladies tossing and turning in the other chairs. It wasn't far to the vending machines on the same floor just around the corner. The wording didn't make sense, but I finally figured it out that they didn't work!

I had passed by a drinking fountain, but thought it wasn't wise to drink water in any hospital where germs are said to lurk on every surface, where sanitizer machines hang from most walls. Now I was wide awake so I thought I'd just take the elevator to the lobby floor where the cafeteria was located thinking I would surely find another vending machine. It didn't happen! Hospitals are like any large building when there are no people around--creepy! Back upstairs by way of the elevator to the drinking fountain with all the hidden germs praying for protection. At 4:00 am I was back in bed thinking I wonder how many hidden cameras recorded my wanderings.

My only connection to the outside world, my cell phone was dying another I made my way down the same elevator, through the lobby, and cafeteria doors to our car a few feet away. I located my phone charger and was anxious to get back to the warmth as evenings in the desert can be chilly, especially with no jacket and slippers. The doors refused to automatically open as I neared. I had no idea that no one is allowed to reenter the facilities after 9:00 pm. Some workers were watching television looking in the opposite direction while another was vacuuming close by. Knocking on the door failed to catch anyone's attention, but I eventually caught one guy's eye. He shook his head "no" and turned away.

I went to the front door and of course it was locked too with instructions to go to the emergency room... wherever that is! About that time I heard a raised voice in the distance calling me to come back. Somebody had a change of heart! Afraid he would change his mind, I hurried back to the cafeteria door where he was holding it open. He chided me saying "when you leave you are not allowed to reenter and I am not allowed to let you enter." I said, "You mean you aren't going to let me in?" He shrugged and told me to go ahead.

While the above stories were short lived challenges for me I have found living at the Mayo Clinic Hospital a great experience as I've observed the excellent care received by my husband. Everyone has served us with compassion and a smile, not to mention the medical skill and organization exhibited consistently on every hand. I know because I've lived in Mayo Clinic Hospital!

The Worth of Second Opinions...Medically

We were certainly caught by surprise in November 2009! That was only 3 months---a bumpy roller coaster ride-- ago! A routine ultra sound was ordered in October just to make sure my husband, Jim's pancreas had not been compromised from the polycythemia he has. The ultrasound was inconclusive so he had to have an iodine contrasted CAT scan--not an invasive procedure and certainly not something we worried about. A few days later on the way home from an errand Jim got a call from the hematologist.

"I have the results of your CAT in front of me. You have two huge masses sitting on the top of each kidney in your abdomen. I don't think they are cancer, but you need to see a surgeon as quickly as possible."

Our primary care physician sent us to a urologist who, after reading the radiology report recommended that we see a surgeon. The radiology report suggested that it was liposarcoma--cancer. Many days of conferring with friends, specialists, sarcoma support alliance groups and our PCP we began weeks of working with our insurance trying to find a surgeon who was very skilled in sarcomas.

We found that waiting at home for others to "get around to it" was not an option. Since we didn't know how fast they were growing and now he began experiencing periodic serious pain in the kidneys we took matters into our own hands. So...after many failed attempts to reach the schedulers we began picking up records to hand carry them ourselves to various offices in the Arizona Southeast Valley.

Surgeon #1 could not work with our insurance company but recommended another Surgeon #2 who had impressive credentials. That appointment with Surgeon #2 took place right before Christmas. We weren't prepared for his definitive Cancer diagnosis, nor his surgical plan which included removal of what he thought was only one tumor, both kidneys, partial removal of the pancreas and bowels. Following the appointment the surgery date was scheduled for January 24, 2010 with no pre-surgery biopsy option. He was very nice and confident that after the surgery Jim would feel better than ever and have a perfectly normal life! After we began sifting through that information, common sense told us that was not possible!

We began seeking advice from friends and called one cancer facility after another. All of those were dead ends for one reason or another--either they didn't accept our insurance or they didn't give second opinions. I don't even remember now when Mayo Clinic was first suggested, but with further research that seemed worthy of a pursuit. Maybe "pushing" is a more accurate word.

Everything about Mayo Clinic from start to finish has demonstrated thoroughness, caring, organised and skilled care.
Surgeon #3--Dr. Wasif's specialty is liposarcoma. The appointment with Dr. Wasif took place one week before the scheduled surgery date with Surgeon #2. After a thorough exam which included listening to every aspect of Jim's medical history, he concluded that there needs to be more definitive testing before surgery. In that interview he heard what we had shared repeatedly with every other physician who did not "take note" of it. At the end of the appointment we asked, "should we cancel the other surgery?" He said, "I don't think you would survive it." We cancelled.

Jim was diagnosed at age 3 with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. He took cortisone, prednizone or dexamethazone since that time until an endocrinologist suggested it was all right to discontinue all medication at age 30, before we left for our first missionary term in the Philippines. He was still taking it on our arrival in the PI, but when he ran out and no longer could get it there, he stopped. He felt great so that was that! In all of the years that followed no PCP ever seemed concerned with his childhood disease until we met with Dr. Wasif in January.

In the days following Jim had appointments with the endocrinologist, tests and a biopsy. The new diagnosis was: no liposarcoma, no cancer; the massive tumors were NOT tumors at all, but were in fact the adrenal glands that had grown to massive sizes, previously undocumented. It's what Surgeon #3 thought all along. The surgery would not be without risk, but without removal the risks involved compromising the other organs and bleeding...they had to be removed.

Today, I write 4 days following the successful removal of both of Jim's adrenals, cancer free. He is recovering very well with all of his organs-
in place-minus the adrenals of course. We will always encourage seeking 2nd opinions, but the bottom line is God is in control and directed our steps.

September 28, 2009

The Latest Greenacre Wedding

"Greenacres is the Place to Be"
Jon & Addie's Wedding Reception

Our 3rd son, 6th born, 7th child to be married was indeed married on
Friday, September 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm.
Most weddings are beautiful, but this one was very beautiful with black bridesmaid gowns, red roses, a very happy, handsome groom and a glamorous bride in white!

This was a Fil-Am marriage!
Filipino-American, that is...

Jon, a twin, was born in the Philippines while we were missionaries.
Addie is one half Filipino, but born in Ohio, USA.
Jon says that makes him the Filipino!!

August 14, 2009

My Tribute to My Husband on Our 38th Anniversary

38 years ago this morning I was preparing for my wedding in St. Louis, Missouri. Can a young woman of 18 even imagine a life living with one man a year...much more 38?

My marriage has been a glorious package of time-- not to focus on any one segment since individually those “times” are not always the norm of a marriage. Actually, our marriage has been a series of hundreds of happenings testing our love, patience, endurance that most might say are outside the realm of normal America. I can’t even identify or begin to understand “boring”!

As an engaged couple we typically discussed our future—size of our family, more education, where we would live, how we would raise our children... I’m the oldest of four children, but that first born instinct of mothering someone else’s children had not been given to me so my thoughts all those years ago were that two or three children would certainly be plenty. My fiancé had never met a child he didn’t like and was aspiring to be a father of a houseful. Our compromise was four in that year before marriage in 1970, but by March of 1990 we had our eighth child and I had been won over! Our eight children have been the greatest blessings of our marriage, giving us a real understanding of “children are an heritage of the Lord”.

I really don’t think we realized the importance of our wedding vows when we pledged our love on that hot, muggy Missouri afternoon in 1971. After all, we were 18 and we had certainly never heard a discussion of the Biblical responsibility and significance of making a vow! Within months the Lord showed me he was doing a work in my husband’s heart that certainly and ultimately would include me. I always thought I would be in ministry so why was I surprised when God called my new husband into a “full time” preaching ministry. It’s been a series of surrendering for both of us ever since.

The five years we spent in college after marriage preparing for ministry, in hindsight, are very revealing to me of my husband’s total surrender to the Lord and his perseverance to keep his life long commitment to the Lord and to me. Those college days were so foundational for our family and ministry as we had to totally rely on the Lord for every provision and to learn that the Lord would provide. Now, in 2009 the Lord is still calling us to trust Him for today and our future. Even when it’s so very hard I am thankful I have a husband who continues to trust God. I am so thankful for my husband this “anniversary day” and for the Lord who leads us along. Happy Anniversary, Jim!

July 30, 2009

Free Video Camcorder for tasting Progresso's Newest Soups!

MyBlogSparkTM sent me two of Progresso's four newest soups. I know fiber is important in my diet so I was impressed that these have 28% of our daily fiber intake per serving.

The new varieties (available in stores in August) include...
  • Chicken Tuscany
  • Creamy Tomato Basil
  • Hearty Vegetable and Noodles
  • Homestyle Minestrone

Today my husband and I ate both the Chicken Tuscany & Creamy Tomato Basil for lunch. I wasn't surprised that my favorite was the Chicken Tuscany and his was the Creamy Tomato Basil even though we loved both!

The "spark" for doing the taste test was quite a bonus. They sent me a Flip video camcorder to keep after videoing my review. How great is that!

July 22, 2009

Review of the American Patriot's Bible NKJV

I wish we had had the American Patriot’s Bible to use as a devotional tool when our children were growing up. As Americans our children should know that our founding fathers believed, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” That quote attributed to George Washington is among the hundreds of entries inserted throughout the pages of this beautiful study Bible. The inclusion and interspersion of historical documents makes it a wonderful addition to the classroom as well where the truth of our American history is allowed and encouraged.

I appreciate the thorough and easy to read subject index that allows a student to quickly find and focus on a particular time/subject in American history. Additionally, the quality of the paper used, easy to read script, the colorful drawings and overall presentation make it a joy to read. Dr. Richard G. Lee, the general editor along with Thomas Nelson Publishers is to be commended for this beautiful New King James Version Study Bible and the successful accomplishment of showing that, indeed, biblical truths and our Christian faith formed the foundation of America.

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

June 24, 2009

Mystery Solved! Fifth Cousin to Susan B. Anthony Found

I'm a fifth cousin by marriage to Susan B. Anthony, but the bloodline of course is really through my husband. My search to find out the family connection to Susan B. Anthony goes back a decade at least when my mother in law, Doris Brollier Greenacre, asked me to help her prove that she really was related to her.

Doris prided herself in that relationship, but if she once knew where she connected she'd forgotten. Even in her latter years "women's rights" and "status" in the community was in the forefront of her life's work. I knew it was important to her and she had ignited that research bug in me to hunt down every connection in our family tree.

I took on that challenge right away because I was convinced that with a few clicks online I would be able to solve this mystery and make her so happy. Periodically she would ask me if I'd found "the link". I was so sorry to disappoint her, but began to doubt that there was a connection at all!

Just recently I was doing some online research for another part of the family and decided to see if there was anything new that would link our Anthony connection to the famous suffragate, Susan B. I found a free e-book produced by Project Gutenberg, a two volume biography of the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, by Ida Husted Harper. For the next few hours I added the detailed information of her family dates and relationships into my Legacy Genealogy program.

Later, after taking a break, I decided to click back through my genealogy program from my mother in law to see if the information I had entered had linked anyone. I could not believe it! Dr. Levi Anthony, my mother in law's great grandfather was a FIRST COUSIN to Susan B!

Unfortunately, Doris has been gone 8 years now, but I know she would have been so thrilled to know she was right. Genealogy research has given me some of the greatest fun through the years. Many, many times I have found a nugget of information that solved a family mystery. One of the keys in genealogy research though resides in the memories, pictures, family Bibles and those bits of paper tucked away in old trunks! If you think you might like to join in the genealogy fun, don't put it off--family memories pass away and those old letters and pictures fade and crumble!

April 26, 2009

Walking the Streets in Arizona, but it's not what you might think!

It's true I've been walking the streets in the town where I live in Arizona and as a result it's been a while since I've posted to my blog or even read another. It was for a good cause. I've been a US Census enumerator.

In the year 2000 I worked for the 2000 Census in Northern Colorado. It was fun because it was a followup for all the folks who didn't mail in their form for one reason or another. My husband and I had some fun trips as we drove up into the isolated areas where houses were in obscure places in the hills and valleys of vast ranch lands.

This time, though, I used a hand held computer to map each and every home in my assignment areas. I really understood why people were leary when they saw me approach their door. Was I a religious fanatic, or the government wanting to get information so more money could be taken from them, or even worse was I looking for illegal immigrants? If given the chance I quickly tried to set their minds at ease. "Not to worry! We were just gathering a GPS spot to make the maps for the 2010 Census that would be conducted next year." That information often brought an immediate facial change of relief and often a hint of a smile. Only once was a dog let loose to chase me away!

The experience, first of all was supposed to bring in the income we needed. The $15 hourly salary + mileage offered great promise. The job was supposed to be 10-12 weeks, but... we were too quick, completing it in 4. We're sure the addition of the hand held computers was the key, but they tell us that the hiring pool was immense so they could be more selective this time.

I felt blessed to get the job for the income and the exercise until I experienced my first week of severe foot pain with new blisters every time I switched to a different pair of shoes or insoles. I thought walking 8-10 miles a day would yield a significant weight loss. It didn't!

Otherwise, I have to admit the typical, beautiful March/April days here with the citrus fragrance on every breeze made it an enjoyable daily walk.

In April of 2010 the Census questionnaires will be mailed to every home in America. So, to avoid those scary Census enumerators coming to your door, just fill out completely and return them. I'm going to send mine in and opt for an office job!

The Noticer by Andy Andrews—A Book Review

It must be true. I wanted this story to be true. Aren’t all allegories based on truth?! Yes, it is actually based on the remarkable true story of the author, Andy Andrews. The Noticer is one of those books you would like to give all your friends and those who aren’t because it gives hope. The hope that you can change things in your life now, today, given a new perspective and the immediate motivation to begin your life over!

I could not put this book down. It’s a good thing it is only 167 pages because I was driven to finish it in one sitting; to see the next bit of wisdom Jones had to share. Jones, not Mr. Jones, just Jones was a mysterious old man who always appeared at just the right moment to offer wisdom to folks who were on the edge of making bad decisions. Each character was someone we all know facing a challenge we all either need help with to help ourselves or someone else.

This thought provoking story is set in Orange Beach, Alabama, a town filled with people who have marriages on the brink of divorce, homelessness, bankruptcy, and many of the other challenges that we struggle with everyday.

Jones always seems to show up to give folks “a little perspective” that he gets from his gift of noticing things that others miss. The wisdom he shares is profound, but so simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought about it that way or why I hadn’t been a “noticer” of that perspecitive.

After you read this story you will be compelled to share it, as well, to give hope to someone else.