Keeping Holiday

My mom is the church librarian and one of the perks of her position is getting to read and review all the books before they end up on the shelves.  She found another great one to share with us…

As Church Librarian, I’m always looking for good books, especially for the elementary age and that in-between age often called “tweens”.

Keeping Holiday by Starr Meade is a keeper!  Starr Meade is a Mom and Grandmother, who teaches home school students and knows how to write a captivating book!

She writes in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, making more to the story than meets the eye.

Join Dylan and his cousin as they search for the real Holiday, the one the Founder has for them.  “The Founder is also the Finder” is phrase they hear often as they continue their journey.

This spellbinding story of God’s work in the lives of those who are called according to his purpose will captivate readers from 8 to 78.

I’m sure it will become a Christmas tradition in your home!

Until next time,

Nana Shirley

Advent For Kids

It’s hard to believe that is time to start preparing for Christmas!

With all the decorating and baking and shopping, I want to make sure every year that our hearts are also ready.

One way we do that is by celebrating Advent.  We have an advent wreath on the table and we light one more candle each of the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. We also a special family devotional together in the evenings.

When the kids were younger we had a favorite devotional book called “Do You See What I See“. It’s a devotional seek and find book with bright pictures and “I Spy” type pages that really captured the attention of our preschoolers.  You can still order the book from Creative Communications for the Parish.

Then as the kids grew older we used different devotional books until we discovered Jotham’s Journey.

Oh. my. This is a good one!

This devotional for Advent had been out of print for many years, but has just recently been republished in paperback.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading it two years ago – seriously – my kids loved it!

We equally enjoyed the sequel, Bartholomew’s Passage last Christmas.

So we were very excited to see the third book in the trilogy, Tabitha’s Travels,  is now available this year.

Each of these books is an exciting family story specifically designed for Advent. The story is divided into a reading for every day from the first day of Advent to Christmas Morning, with a devotional thought at the end of each one.

There’s enough action and adventure to keep the attention of every member of the family – with a splash of humor thrown in to relieve the tension.

Each day’s reading leaves you wanting more.

The books are loosely tied together, and my kids love seeing some of the characters from one of the other books appear in the one we are reading.

You could read them in any order, but I recommend starting with Jotham.

Your Christmas will never be the same!

A Pocketful of Pebbles

I rediscovered the book Mrs. Miniver recently at the library. It’s been fun to read it again and savor some of my favorite parts.

I especially love this section:

“As she walked past a cab rank in Pont Street, Mrs. Miniver heard a very fat taxi-driver with a bottle nose saying to a very old taxi-driver with a rheumy eye: ‘They say it’s all a question of your subconscious mind.’

Enchanted she put the incident in her pocket for Clem. It jostled, a bright pebble, against several others: she had had a rewarding day. And Clem, who had driven down to the country to lunch with a client, would be pretty certain to come back with some good stuff, too.

This was the cream of marriage, this nightly turning out of the day’s pocketful of memories, this deft habitual sharing of two eyes, two pairs of ears. It gave you, in a sense, almost a double life: though never, on the other hand, quite a single one.”

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

I love the idea of collecting ideas, events, attitudes, thoughts, etc… like pebbles in my pocket. Then when my husband comes home, I slowly empty them one by one and share them.

It really is the cream of marriage.

What pebbles did you collect today?

Acts of Faith

The weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and nice cup of hot chocolate and once again my Mom has a great series to share! This time it’s from our family favorites, T. Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.

The Hidden Flame

As Church Librarian, I try to keep the shelves updated with new items that will help our Faith Family grow spiritually. I read and review a lot of books and media items, and as soon as I discovered this one, I just had to share it with you! It’s a winner!

Davis Bunn and Janette Oke have teamed up to write a new series, “Acts of Faith.”  The setting is first century Judea.

In the first book of the series, The Centurion’s Wife , Alban, a centurion in the Roman army is given the order to find the truth behind a rabbi’s death and missing body.

In the second book of the series,  Hidden Flame, the “followers of the Way” have burgeoned into a vibrant, growing community that cannot be ignored by either the religious leaders or the Roman rulers!

The books are listed under historical fiction and really give you a taste of what living in that time was like. This series offers a fresh, unique perspective on the life of Christ and His followers!

These books are well written and hard to put down!

Till next time!

Nana Shirley

Bible Time Line

Nana Shirley has a great resource to share with us today!
Bible Time LineReading the Bible can be a bit confusing when you try to place all the stories in chronological order. There is a Bible published just for doing that.

As you study prophecy it is important to also know history in order to see how God’s Word is true and accurate. Our faith is increased as we see prophecy fulfilled.

We found a helpful tool, Bible Time Line, published by Rose Publishing, Inc. It is a laminated fold-out with the Bible time line from Genesis to Revelation featuring 300 key people and events in the Bible. Also printed along this time line is World History and Middle East History relating to the same time frame.

Papa Jim is teaching a Bible Study on Daniel. We found it interesting to note that Buddha and Confucius were both living at that same time. Were the “wise men” surrounding the kings teaching their beliefs?

As a student or teacher you can relate what you are studying in your World History class to what God is doing in the lives of His people at that time period.

We are thankful for men who take the time to relate dates and events of the past and put them in one place to simplify our study!

Until next time!

Nana Shirley

Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook

Hershey's Chocolate Cookbook

I not only have a chocolate addiction, but I’m also addicted to cookbooks. Finding a cookbook that features chocolate is like striking gold!

I must say, that I have looked at many chocolate cookbooks over the years, but not many have found their way to my collection. Why? Because not all chocolate cookbooks are created equal.

The Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook , however,  is a classic.

It’s filled with real recipes – you know that kind that use real ingredients that I already have in my cupboard or can easily find at my local grocery store.

The directions are easy to follow – not complicated and don’t call for strange or unusual processes.

But the real highlight of this book is the gorgeous full-cover picture for every recipe.  And I mean gorgeous!

These photographers are amazing! My kids are forever leafing through the book, drooling over the pictures and begging me to make something.

Which is what I should be doing right now – making something chocolate – something warm and rich and gooey.

Now how’s turn is it to choose the recipe?

Quilts from Heaven

Quilts from HeavenOnce again my Mom has found another treasure to share with us! (Can you tell we are a family of bibliophiles!!)

While looking for new books to put into our church library I found Quilts from Heaven by Lucinda Secrest McDowell.

Just the dust jacket would make me want to pick it up and read it!

Beth Moore states, “This book is like sharing a hot cup of tea with a good friend.”

The subtitle is “Parables from the patchwork of life.” That is what I found when reading through the book.

Sixteen different quilt patterns are pictured. Sixteen different stories are sewn together with scripture, testimony, heartwarming stories and insight on the details of the traditional quilt patterns to giving you a perspective on life.

Nothing is ever wasted! God truly can make something beautiful from the scraps of our lives!

This one goes on my shelf, but I will order another one for the Church Library!

Until next time,


Homer Price & The Homemade Doughnut Caper

DoughnutsIt all started so innocently.

I pulled Homer Price off the book shelf thinking it would be a fun book to read aloud this winter.

It is! The children and I have been enjoying the antics of Homer and all the gang in Centerburg.

Actually, all was well until we got to the doughnut chapter.  You know, the infamous chapter when Uncle Ulysses’ doughnut maker goes on the fritz and starts turning out doughnuts by the hundreds.

Add in an eccentric heiress, a missing diamond bracelet and a sandwich man named Gabby, and you have all the makings of a great read-aloud!

Even my high school kids stopped doing their Algebra and joined us for the reading, commenting “That’s a classic!”

So what was the problem you ask? It was the doughnuts!

After reading Robert McCloskey’s  mouth-watering descriptions of doughnuts and seeing his amazing illustrations of doughnuts, all we could think of was- you guessed it – doughnuts!

So we yielded the the temptation and made some homemade doughnuts.

So warm and sugary and wonderful!

I don’t even want to know how many calories each little bite of greasy goodness packed!

Just in case you, too, are tempted, I’ll share the recipe.

Betty’s Cake Doughnuts

Beat together 2 eggs and 1 cup of sugar until lemon-colored.

Add 1 cup of commercial sour cream, 1 taspoon baking soda, and a pinch of salt.

Stir in 2- 3/4 cups of flour.

Chill the dough for several hours.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a doughnut cutter (or a round cookie cutter and a salt shaker lid for the hole like we did!)

Fry the doughnuts in very hot oil. When browned on both sides, carefully remove from oil with a slotted spoon and put in a paper bag with 1 cup of sugar inside. Shake to coat and place on cooling racks over paper toweling.

They are best eaten hot! But if there are any left-overs – just keep them in a plastic container.