Learning to Embrace God's Love

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 8:42 AM 0 comments
"Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways," David wrote in Psalm 17.

I stopped when I read that the other day. Because while I know God loves me and I've been overwhelmed by it at various times, when things are ordinary and simple and simply fine, it can be difficult to really understand, much less accept and appreciate, the immensity of God's love for me.

I find myself praying, over and over again, "God teach me how to love you more, how to love you better."
And that's part of it, but there's more to the equation than just me learning how to love him. There's another part: Letting him love me.

I don't know how to do that other than to ask him to do it, by repeating this verse from the Psalms and asking God to make his love for me not just some head knowledge but something real.

This is part of the premise of Joanna Weaver's latest book Lazarus Awakening, which I received from WaterBrook Press for review. (Weaver is most well-known for her book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.) She attempts to help readers take this knowledge of God's extravagant love and learn to believe it, once and for all. She illustrates this message by looking to the story of Lazarus' death and how Jesus raised him from the dead.

She offers readers beautiful biblical insights into this oft glazed-over story and opened my eyes to new details that I'd never thought twice about. In that way, I felt like I gained a much deeper appreciation for this story.
The part of the book that really provided the most practical application regarding learning to live in God's love was from an example Weaver provided of two friends: "When she'd asked Joan how she finally became convinced of God's love, Ann had expected a dramatic story--something about how God had spared her friend from tragedy or brought her through a dark time. Instead, Joan described a simple decision to 'set aside one month in which to act as though God loved her.' All that month 'whenever she was tempted to doubt his love, she simply shifted her thoughts and then put the full force of her mind behind believing that God loved her. And that settled it for her--for good.'" (page 94)

It reminds me of the father who so eloquently and desperately said it best: "I believe, help my disbelief!" We believe, and yet we still have to continue asking God to help us remove those bits of doubt that keep us from fully living in the truth.

So for now, I keep repeating, "Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways."

Cookbook with Recipes for Cooking from Scratch

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 4:35 PM 0 comments
When I was growing up, I loved reading books about life on the frontier and wondering what it must have been like to churn your own butter or go mushroom picking in the woods. There was something that always fascinated me about this do-it-yourself, homegrown spirit. Perhaps it was because all I the hunting and gathering I experienced took place in grocery-store aisles.

Which is why when I first got my hands on The Homesteader's Kitchen by Robin Burnside, I felt that nostalgia from girlhood come back. This is the cookbook for me: A refreshing cookbook filled with more than 100 recipes that get back to the basics of cooking and baking and making foods from scratch.

And I don't just mean homemade pizzas or pies. That's one of the things I like best about The Homesteader's Kitchen. While those kinds of entrees and recipes are included, Burnside digs deeper and provides recipes for making even the simplest of ingredients and pantry items from scratch, down to the gravy for your turkey, breads for your sandwiches, dressings for your salads or cheese for your pasta dishes. There are recipes for making your own mayonnaise, chai tea, tortillas, vegetable stock, crackers, sushi rolls, teriyaki sauce, as well as complete meals (vegetarian, meat and fish options) and desserts. Many of these simple recipes also offer a tasty twist on a familiar favorite, like a Kiwi Vinaigarette, Thai Cilantro Pesto or Hot Carob Cocoa.

And the recipes themselves are stocked with real and fresh ingredients. I didn't see one recipe that called for canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones, for instance. The cookbook is intended to be used as a resource for making use of your garden-grown fruits and veggies. She even includes guides for edible flowers or growing your own salad sprouts! Even though we aren't able to grow our own food just yet, I love that that's the premise of the cookbook, and one that I hope to make baby steps toward in our future.

The only drawback I do have about The Homesteader's Kitchen is that, more often than not, there aren't photos of the finished recipes, which is usually a priority for me in cookbook buying. But, the whole-food aspect and down-to-earth recipes more than makes up for that. (And, from a publishing point of view, I can only imagine how costly it can get to photograph every recipe.)

I love being able to have this sort of variety of recipes for making everyday foods from scratch compiled into one go-to resource, and I find the idea of cooking from scratch to be freeing. I love being able to turn to my pantry and, in just a couple of hours, make my own daily bread, rather than have to run up to the grocery store. And baked into that little loaf is a labor of love and a sense of satisfaction at what my hands hath wrought. It's like stepping back in time and delivering some of those culinary basics and how-tos from generations past to the dinner table tonight.

Find The Homesteader's Kitchen by Robin Burnside on Amazon.com.

Win $1,000 for Books!

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 8:27 AM 0 comments
Okay, so this doesn't really have anything to do with books (bear with me a moment, though!), but it's a contest where you can win $1,000. Now friends, if that won't get you a bunch of books, I don't know what will!

Here are the details:
Enter the Rayovac Rock the Holidays contest for a chance to win $1,000 cash by:

  1. “Like” Rayovac on Facebook: Facebook.com/Rayovac
  2. Go to Rayovac.com, complete the entry form and at their option, tell Rayovac in 120 words or less how you (or your mom) rocks the holidays.
Grand Prize: Three (3) Lucky winners will win $1,000 cash from Rayovac.
Runner Up Prizes: Twenty (20) First Place Prize winners will receive a Rayovac Jam kit including a Paper Jamz guitar, drum, amp and guitar strap as well as 2 packs of Rayovac Alkaline AAA 24 packs (prize package valued at $90).

The sweepstakes runs through Monday, December 5th.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, make sure you take a moment to tell Rayovac and you might win!

Followers who promote the Rayovac Mom Rocks the Holidays Sweepstakes may receive gifts from Rayovac.

How-to Book for Canning and Preserving

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 4:35 PM 0 comments
When I was little, my grandparents had a small but robust garden in their backyard. Each summer, they preserved the fruits of their labor with the generations-old pastime of canning. In their cellar, there was a little room lined with shallow shelves that held can after can of their homegrown produce, ready reminders of the summer's bounty and waiting to be enlisted at the supper table for the seasons to come.

There was something that captured my fascination back then when I'd run my finger along the light film of dust that had gathered on the rows of glass containers in their basement. And now that I'm older, the desire to pick up that pastime of canning has only grown.

Which is why when I came across Canning and Preserving by Ashley English (who also blogs for ReadyMade and Design*Sponge), I was thrilled.

Her book is a primer on canning, offering an overview of the science behind the process, a list of all the essentials you'll need to get started, a handy reference guide to which fruits and vegetable varieties are best suited to canning, trouble-shooting any difficulties that might crop up, in addition to all the how-to's of canning itself, which are thoroughly illustrated step-by-step through instructional diagrams and photographs.

There are recipes and complete instructions for making jams, jellies, relishes, pickles, marmalades, chutneys, butter, sauces as well as preserving whole fruits and vegetables—basically whatever you might dream of that will fit into a glass jar.

I have not gotten to make any of the recipes just yet—I don't want to waste my effort on store-bought produce—but have pages earmarked that walk you through making strawberry jam, apple butter, and tomato basil sauce (although I'll need a pressure canner for that one). Those are some pretty basic recipes, but there are also more exotic ones like Fig and Thyme Jam, Curried Winter Squash Chutney, or Peach and Lavender Butter.

I think that if you're just starting out with canning and preserving, like I am, this is a great resource. However, it's not an exhaustive guide if you're looking for tons of recipes: In total, there are 28 recipes provided, which cover 8 canning classics and then 20 unique seasonal recipes (like the examples listed above). Personally, I wish there were more of the "canning classics" recipes included, but I guess they figured that you can look those up easily anywhere?

Regardless, I look forward to the day when I can line my own pantry shelves with little glass jars that suspend summer for just a little bit longer...

Find Canning & Preserving by Ashley English on Amazon.com.

Chronicle Books Haul-iday!

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 8:18 PM 20 comments
How neat is this?! Just in time for the holidays, Chornicle Books (one of my f-a-v-e-s) is having a gigantic giveaway: a Happy Haul-iday, where you can win up to $500 worth of your favorite Chronicle titles.

If I won, here's the list of the titles I'd pick:

Farm Together Now
Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living
Wallpaper Projects: More than 50 Craft and Design Ideas for Your Home, from Accents to Art
Love in Spoonfuls: Fast and Easy Ways to Make Nutritious Food for Your Baby
My Baby Record Book
Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby: 24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers
Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects
Mom Essentials: A One-Stop Organizer for Moms on the Move
Soil Mates: Companion Planting for Your Vegetable Garden
I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More
Garden Anywhere
Homeowner's Record Keeper: The Perfect Place to Keep Track of Home Repairs, Maintenance, Plans, and Dreams
Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora: 225 Vintage-Inspired Textile Designs
Fast, Fresh & Green: More Than 90 Delicious Recipes for Veggie Lovers
A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: The Best Vegetarian Recipes
French General: Home Sewn: 30 Projects for Every Room in the House
The Printmaking Bible: The Complete Guide to Printing Materials and Techniques
The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Eastern and Central North America: A Cornell Lab of Ornithology Audio Field Guide
Twentieth-Century Pattern Design: Princeton Architectural Press
Appliqué Your Way: 35 Pretty Projects and Patterns

What would you pick?!

Decorating with Books: Get Frameworthy

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 12:12 PM 0 comments
Here are some beautiful prints from Etsy, taking vintage illustrations and overlaying them onto vintage book pages. Wouldn't this make for a beautiful collection grouped together?

The prints are from BlackBaroque on Etsy.

Contemporary Fiction Book About St. Francis

Posted by Grown-Up Girl On 8:36 PM 0 comments

All I knew about St. Francis of Assisi was limited to a statue with his nameplate that stood on the edge of a San Diego garden that I visited a couple years ago. I even took a snapshot of the statue, as it stood strikingly against a breathtaking California backdrop. (At least, I think it was his statue...)

Then, I read Chasing Francis by debut author Ian Morgan Cron. It's in these pages that the author brings this 800-year-old Christian and his revolutionary insights and actions to life for the modern-day reader.

This is one of the best books I've read in quite a long time--especially because it's a fiction title. Oftentimes I feel that fiction titles can be a bit of a waste of time. Here, though the plot of this book is fictional, it is steeped in the historical and authentic--a genre called "wisdom literature." So while you get to read a beautifully, cleverly written and poignant plot, you actually end up learning a great deal about Francis.

Not only is it filled with rich storytelling that will teach you a thing or two about history, but this book will also make you think about what's next. The story is told through the eyes of a megachurch-pastor who is starting to wonder about the depth of the faith that he's grown up on--is there more to loving God and following Jesus than he's been fed?

As the pastor learns more about Francis (while visiting Assisi and living alongside Franciscan monks), Cron begins to unravel what we as modern-day Christians can learn from Francis, a man who cast off his riches, preached to crows, directed the first Christmas play and who revolutionized the floundering faith of his day. What might it look like if we loved God, loved people, like this man did?

Seriously. Read it. (It struck me as a fictional complement to Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution if you found that compelling.) Whether you like fiction or not, it is an incredible story that you can't help but find inspiring.

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