Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shelfie: The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow

Book Description

In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and placed for adoption.For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter. She kept loving and praying for her even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring.Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets. An unforgettable true story of enduring love and the power of prayer.

Book Review

 If you don't know, I love true stories. Whether in conversation, books, or movies. This one was no exception. I couldn't put this book down! I loved reading about Minka's faith and perseverance through out her life and trials. She never gave up on finding her Betty Jane. As a mother of a little girl myself this book hit home. I loved how dedicated she was to praying for her sweet girl. As we all should be! It was beautifully written. I loved reading about the reunion of Minka and Ruth (Betty Jane) I could barely read my pages through all the tears. It is one of my new favorite books! 

Reader’s Note: I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Shelfie: Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist

Book Description

Part devotional, part cookbook, all Shauna! Focusing on food, faith, and Shauna's genuine, heartfelt voice, this devotional for women will be as comforting as a pan of homemade mac 'n' cheese on a cold winter's night.
Combining content from Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, and Bittersweet with takeaways, this devotional from Shauna Niequist speaks spiritual truths to women in easily digestible bites that are perfect any time of day.
A foodie, gourmet cook, and master entertainer, Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life-friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.
About the Author 
Shauna Niequist is the author of Bread & Wine, Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. As an author and blogger, Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life - friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God. Shauna is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron and Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.
Book Review
So, before we even dig into the devotional can I just tell you how much I love the design of this book? It's gorgeous! Striped canvas cover and navy page edges?  I'm not sure I've ever seen such a pretty book! I love picking it up everyday!
This book is a 365 day devotional as well as being filled with really yummy recipes through out. The one for Monica's Goat Cheese Toasts. Swoon. Every day starts off with a Bible verse, then a devo from her own life that applies to the verse, and then ends with a question about your life. Overall, I love it and not just for the design! I strive to get in more than five minutes of the Word everyday, but when I can't I'm thankful to have this book on my night stand. This would make a great gift for Mother's Day! 
Reader’s Note: I received this book from Bookloook Bloggers in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Kendall-isms #2

Kendall: Gracie {our Great Dane}, you can't come outside to wash the car because you don't have your bathing suit on!

Kendall: I had a racy dream last night.

Joe: You better not have! 
Kendall: You know Dad, it was about people racing.

Kendall: You know how come I fell asleep? My eyes were blinking and my ears closed. I was tired.

Me: Kendall, you know who decides when you watch a movie again {meaning me}...

Kendall: Yeah, Dad.

Kendall: Mom, let's go swimming in that water fountain! 
Me: Fun to think about, not to do. We'd probably be arrested...
Kendall: Well, we could run when they come. I'm pretty sure I'd make it!

Me: Kendall, I'm so hungry I could eat you up!

Kendall: Don't eat me! Lets eat Grandma!
Me: We can't eat Grandma she doesn't have any meat on her bones.
Kendall: Yeah, cuz she's old.

Kendall: Mom, I totally look better than you!

Kendall: Mom, did you see that guy smoking? I held my breath when we walked past him, because I didn't want to get drunk.

Kendall: Mom, you're the boss because your hair is the curliest!

Kendall: I wish they made Lucky Charms with only marshmallows. 

Me: They do for special people. 
Kendall: Who says I'm not special?

Kendall: It's unbeliebable!

So this morning Kendall made blueberry muffins and I helped her. 

Me: Kendall, you did a great job! 
Kendall: Yeah, and my outfit is awesome! 

(We were watching Kendall's caterpillars make a cocoon.)

Kendall: Oh no! The caterpillars butt just fell off!!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shelfie: Nobody's Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle

Book Description: There is nothing as precious in life as a friend who knows you and loves you in spite of yourself. Yet over the last couple of decades, we’ve substituted the joy of real friendship with cheap imitations. We settle for “community” on Facebook and Twitter and a series of text messages that allow us to communicate with someone without the commitment. We like each other’s beautifully filtered photos on Instagram and delude ourselves into believing we have a community. But real friendship requires effort. It’s showing up, laughing loud, and crying hard. It’s forgiving and loving and giving the benefit of the doubt. It’s making a casserole, doing a carpool pickup, and making sure she knows those cute shoes are 50 percent off. Written in the same comedic style as the New York Times bestsellers Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living RoomNobody’s Cuter than You is a laugh-out-loud look at the special bond that exists between friends and a poignant celebration of all the extraordinary people God had the good sense to bring into our lives at exactly the right moments. From the friendships we develop over a lifetime to the ones that wounded us and the ones that taught us to love better, Melanie Shankle reveals the influence our friends have on who we were, who we are, and who we will become. And on a day when our jeans feel too tight, our chins have decided to embrace hormone-related acne reminiscent of our teen years, and our kids have tested the limits of our sanity, they are the ones who will look at us and say, “Nobody’s cuter than you!”

Book review: It's true that we live in culture where we can get by exchanging "likes" and "emojis" on social media and text messages and be "friends". It's weak and shallow. We have no commitment and no accountability that way. This synthetic type of friendship can't hold a candle to real friendship. Melanie's book is a memoir about the beauty of friendship. You get to read about how Melanie's friendships have shaped her life. We all need those people who love us in spite of ourselves, and to some we are those people. I loved this book about the beauty of friendship and faith. People who add to your life and can speak into it because you've done life together. People who have a front row seat to your life and you to theirs. People who you've been vulnerable with and can point you back to God when you need it. 

I have a new favorite book! If you're a female and have friends you need this book! I laughed and cried my way through this book. You get to follow along Melanie's life reminiscing her friendships all the while remembering your own. There were multiple times that my husband or daughter came into the room where I was reading to ask me what was so funny! I would not recommend reading this book in public. It may result in people seeing the ugly face you make when you cry. Maybe you're into that sort of thing- I'm not. Don't forget your tissues! My one regret about this book is that after such a descriptive narration of their hair for Tiff's wedding there was no picture. I'm just saying...

Reader’s Note: I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fair Trade Friday: Box #7

"FTF exists as an avenue for women to empower women. We are tackling poverty through job opportunity and empowerment rather than enablement. 100% of the proceeds support the artisans, 
more than 500 women and their children from all over the world. FTF is a ministry of Mercy House Kenya, a non-profit organization." 
-Fair Trade Friday 

If you are interested in signing up for a fair trade Friday you can do that here. They also have a new earring of the month you should check out!

"Your box employed approximately 7 women this month."
{I still love seeing that part each month!}

This scarf is from JOYN! They're really pretty! You find one for yourself hereJOYN takes artisans living in poverty and joins them with the thriving fashion world. Each step of our process is done by hand—creating more jobs, bringing more joy, and connecting more artisans with YOU.

Organic English Breakfast tea from Equal ExchangeTheir Fair Trade and organic teas come from their small farmer partners in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Most teas on the shelf - even Fair Trade teas - come from plantations, where tea workers have little say. Join them in supporting a tea model in which farmers control their futures.

This crotched flower Mother's Day card is from The Refugee Project in Houston, Texas. All the items are handmade by refugee women of Burma, Bhutan and Nepal who have been relocated to Houston, Texas by the United Nations for religious and ethnic persecution. By purchasing an item, you are empowering women by helping them meet some of their basic needs.

This is the "Foldover Clutch" from TukulaTukula (meaning "we grow") is an accessories line based in Jinja, Uganda. We hire young women who are trained as seamstresses but aren't able to find consistent work.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Here we go...

Gearing up to go, again! 

Tambo, Ecuador and Hope of Life, Guatemala

 Hi friends and family! We've had a busy start to our 2015! Joe's still in school full-time and keeping straight A's! Jenn and Kendall continue to homeschool. We've had many speaking engagements about our time on the mission field since coming home in August! Including one on Thursday {4/9} so if you would join us in prayer for that we would be so grateful! Here's a few of the other things we've been up to!

So far this year we've continued to develop the Children's Ministry at Crosswalk Community
Church. Doing lessons with the kids on Sunday and teaching missions on Tuesday nights. We've had so much fun! We even did a bake sale for The Mercy House {a maternity home} in Africa! They raised $350! {Picture of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake!}

We also went down to Port Canaveral and took part in Walk for Bibles! We love that ministry! {Picture of us in front of First Baptist Church of Cape Canaveral}

This past Sunday we did a 5 station Walk with Jesus with the kids at church for Easter. It was a blast! We took them from Jesus being falsely accused to the Empty Tomb. {Picture of Joe with the Cross}
The other picture is of Kendall wearing a chitenge from Zambia to hold her "baby" while she plays! 

In June, we are planning to go to Ecuador. It will be June 26th- July 6th. We are going to try to bring Kendall this time. We will be ministering to the same people as we got to minister in October of last year. While there we will be teaching {Old Testament}, working on infrastructure projects, and reaching rural villages. The amount we still need for our family of three for this trip is $3,500.00. This includes everything that we are going to need: airfare, lodging, food, equipment, materials, and most importantly the vessels to carry the message of the Cross.

In October, Jenn will be heading to Guatemala with World Help. World Help is a faith-based humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. She will be there from October 19th- October 25th. While there the team will care for malnourished children at the Operation Baby Rescue center, visit remote Guatemalan communities and perform medical clinics for the villagers and pass out shoes, work at St. Luke's Hospital and Kelly's House, interact with with orphans at the Hope of Life children's home in Zacapa, as well as visit the Feeding Center at a community based around a trash dump. She will need about $2,000 for this trip. This includes all in-country transportation, lodging, meals, international medical insurance, and airport fees.

We’re once again honored to ask that you take a part in these trips and the furthering of the Gospel and to expand the Kingdom of Heaven. The ways to take part in these trips is to pray and when we ask pray, nothing is going to be accomplished in our own strength, we need the Power and Voice of God. Another way to partner is if God lays it on your heart after praying is to donate. All donations are tax exempt and taken through Crosswalk Community Church. Their address is 77 N. Carpenter Rd. Titusville, Fl 32796. Please put Hennis Family Mission Trips in the memo line. If God leads you to give could you send us an email that you did so for our records? We would REALLY appreciate it! We thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you!

In His Love, 
Joe, Jenn, and Kendall