Friday, August 18, 2017


Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: speak

speak, speech, five minute friday writing prompt

The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4

The Psalms tell us that the world around us speaks of God's glory. 

I must pause and check my own heart... do I declare the glory of God? Not often enough. 

There are so many ways that our actions speak about what is important to us, and then there are our words. Our words that should always be seasoned with grace. (Colossians 4:6) Our words that should be speaking the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

My words have not always been kind recently. They definitely have not been pointing others to Christ as they should. 

Where does this leave me? 

On my knees, at the foot of the cross, where I find forgiveness once more. Where God's mercy and grace become my strength to move on, to walk again, to season my words with grace. My walk should be declaring the glory of God, and filled with grace and truth.

My words should be His words. With His help - they will be!

This song, by Matthew West, reminds me that God uses the broken things of this world to do His work.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rosa of Linden Castle ~ A book review

This was originally written as a review for The Old Schoolhouse® magazine back in March of this year. To read the original post, click here.

Lamplighter publishing, christian fiction, rosa of linden castle

Rosa of Linden Castle, originally written by Christoph von Schmid in 1845, and re-printed by Lamplighter Publishing beginning in 2000 is recommended for ages 9-14. This tale follows Rosa beginning with her early years, growing up in Linden Castle with her Father, the brave knight Edelbert, and her virtuous and humble mother Matilda. The story continues until Rosa is about 15 years old. It uses both the difficulties she incurs, and the blessings she receives, to teach the character traits of sacrificial love, obedience, and enduring trials.

The story starts during Rosa’s young life, when her father is often away fighting alongside the Duke of Swabia, and her upbringing and training are the chief responsibility of her mother. Matilda sets Rosa a good example of being industrious and kind to the poor and needy. Rosa learns to love and obey both her parents and her Savior.

Tragedy strikes when Rosa is about 14 as her mother takes ill and quickly dies. Her father rushes home from battle in time that the family has one last parting scene where Matilda reminds them both to love one another, and remember their Savior. Not too many months later, Edelbert’s arm is severely injured in battle, and he returns to Linden Castle to recuperate. Before he is fully healed, his fighting men are recalled to battle, even thought Edelbert cannot yet join them, and Linden castle is left with meager protection. In swoops Kunerick, the self-centered knight of neighboring Forest castle. He storms Linden castle, imprisons Edelbert for his perceived past wrongs against Kunerick, and overtakes those left behind in order to claim Linden castle as his own. Rosa runs out of the castle gate pleading with Kunerick for her father and too late realizes she is locked out of the castle and any help she might find from their faithful servants. With no other options to pursue she remembers her father’s admonition to seek out his faithful friend, Burkhard the collier.

After a long trek to locate their hidden valley, Rosa is welcomed into the family of Burkhard, his wife, and daughter. As she adapts to life in their humble home, concern for hr father’s well-being is always foremost in her mind. Rosa devises a plan to try and gain employment at Kunerick’s Forest castle to learn of her father’s fate. Burkhard’s family helps her fashion a disguise, and his daughter accompanies Rosa most of the way on the long trek to try to gain employment. As Rosa’s friend waits in the edge of the forest, Rosa manages to gain employment as the servant of the Steward’s ill-tempered wife. 

Will Rosa be able to shoulder the great responsibilities and hard toil her new position requires? Will her humble service win over her ill-tempered Mistress? Can Rosa keep her identity a secret and learn of her Father’s fate? Can the Savior who softened Rosa’s heart overcome the hardness of Kunerick’s heart? All of these questions and more are answered as the reader continues along Rosa’s journey. Rosa of Linden Castle would make an excellent read-aloud for family time, or a solid choice for those 12 and up to read independently. Because of the time when the work was originally published, readers may want to have a dictionary, or dictionary app, handy to look up unfamiliar terms. An example is Burkhard the Collier. in the 1800’s, a collier was someone who carried, manufactured, or sold coal. Today the definition of collier is a coal miner.

Although this book at first may appear long for the recommended ages of 9-14 at 253 pages, the story keeps a brisk pace, making it a satisfying read. At approximately 5x7”, this hardback book with imprinted cover can take its place alongside other quality literature for children on your shelf, or be easily tucked in a purse or backpack for reading on the go. It currently retails from Lamplighter Publishing for $20. Older teens who read Rosa of Linden Castle may find the character of Rosa a bit too goody-two-shoes, and yet, she is held up as an ideal of how we should learn, be chastened, and grow in our following of the Savior. Perhaps it was common at the time the book was first written, but I found it a bit unusual that the words Jesus or Christ are never mentioned, only God and Savior. It does, however, keep to Lamplighter’s goal of promoting a Christian Worldview.

Overall, both Arlene, aged 16, and I enjoyed reading Rosa of Linden Castle. It will take a space on our shelf alongside other Lamplighter titles we have purchased in the past. This book is a solid read for the recommended age group of 9-14. If you have children older than 14, I would suggest you look at the Lamplighter books recommended for ages 12-99, as they would probably be a better fit for independent reading. They have a plethora of titles to choose from with the superb presentation of old-fashioned covers, quality binding and stories with solid morals and interesting plots.

FTC Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review, I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are mine, or those of my family.

Monday, August 7, 2017

When your mind says yes, but your heart says no

heart says no, grief, coping, time

It has been just over three weeks since my dear friend Sharra passed from this life into the next. Her memorial service was filled with joy, light, and Jesus. Since then, there have been several times I wanted to sit down and write. My mind says: hey, you have time to go write now... but my heart has been saying no a lot.

I wouldn't say that all of my lack of drive for writing is because of grief, because while I miss Sharra a lot, I know she was received into the arms of Jesus and she would want me to be celebrating for her, and with her. I am. 

Something else I have been doing is asking God to give me direction for what to write about Sharra's influence on my life and how God used her to draw me into an even deeper relationship with Himself. Friendships like that are rare. 

I want to treasure the memories of our time together, while still looking forward to what God has planned for my life. It's not that I'm uninspired - I have a lot of things on my list to write about that I want to share with you, it's just that right now my heart is saying no to writing. 

I'm hoping you'll stick around and see what God does with this time of reflection I'm going through. Hopefully by next week my heart will stop saying no, and start saying yes again. It can be a challenging thing, when your heart and mind don't agree. Have you ever been there? I'm waiting for the release that I know the Holy Spirit will give in His timing, for the joy that comes in the morning and stays. In the meantime, would you join me in prayer for Sharra's family?

There will still be hand-lettered Scripture verses on Sundays, Wednesdays, snd Saturdays, and hand-lettered song verses by Arlene on Thursdays. Hopefully I'll be back next week with some joy, and writing, to share!

Friday, August 4, 2017


Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: try

five minute friday writing prompt, try

Do or do not, there is no try. 

What comes to mind when you hear the word try? For me, this quote from Yoda from a Star Wars movie popped into my head. Why? Maybe I was just in a strange mood this morning, or maybe, it's because it is true.

We often hear about trying harder to achieve a goal, or trying something new. But the reality is, more often we need to decide to do something well, or not do it at all. 

When our children are little it makes sense to encourage them to try again. To continue to work at a skill, like tying their shoes or riding a bicycle. But as adults, we might need to just buckle down and do something. Maybe we do not do it as wells we would like, thus we might say we tried to do it. Let's just be keepers of our word and do the things we say we will. If we really do not expect to get something done, we should just say "no," not... "I'll try."

We cannot make God love us more then He already does. We do not need to try to win His favor. What we need to do is simply follow Him. Some days we will do a good job of it, and some days we will mess up. But we will be doing something. We will not try to read His word, we will read His word. We will decide to give up the world for Jesus - at least that is my hope for each one of us!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jarro-Dophilus Women ~ A Moms Meet Review

I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions. 
Compensation for this post was provided and this post may contain affiliate links.

Jarro-Dophilus Women, gut health, vaginal health supplements

Good digestive health is not just helpful, it is necessary for our bodies to function correctly. For women, that need for a healthy balance goes beyond our digestive tract. Let's face it ladies, we also need to take care of our urinary tract and our reproductive tract health. Whether you are 20 or 50, Jarrow Formulas has a probiotic formula that can help you keep your body working well.

For this Moms Meet review, Jarrow shipped their Jarro-Dophilus Women formula, plus a few extras. The Women's formula is based upon years of clinical research. The four strains of probiotics used in this formula are strains found in the vaginal tract of healthy women. To read more about these, visit Jarrow's website.

After reading some of the research on Jarrow's site, I wanted to try this women's formula out for myself. I've taken regular probiotics for digestive health for years...and I can tell if I've missed them for more than one day. But this was the first time I had tried a formula to help the rest of me - something specifically designed to help my reproductive tract health. I was not disappointed! This formula has a food-grade enteric coating, something I knew was important because I wanted the probiotics to stay potent until they reached my small intestines. 

The first thing that impressed me was the way Jarrow Formulas sends their products. They use a cool ship packaging that helps the probiotics arrive still in their optimal temperature range so they stay effective.  If you order online you can have them cool shipped to your home. I looked at our local Fresh Thyme Market for the Jarrow Formulas line. They keep it in the cooler case so they all stay fresh and effective. You can also get them from other local health food stores like: Whole Foods Market or Sprouts Farmers Market.

Jarrow Formulas, cool ship, probiotics

Once I got into the box to the products that Jarrow sent, I saw that they had sent us four different products. The Jarro-Dophilus Women, Fem-dophilus (designed for vaginal and urinary tract health support,) Yum-Yum Dophilus (a chewable probiotic formula for children that needs refrigeration,) and Jarrow-Dophilus Infant (probiotic drops for babies.) 

While I have been trying out the Women's formula, Arlene (age 17) has been trying out the Yum-Yum Dophilus chews. While Arlene is above the originally intended age for the Yum-Yum Dophilus chews, she found that taking them daily during the past month has helped her digestive tract stay regular, and she has been sleeping better as well. As a teen with an activity packed summer, I was thankful yo be able to provide her system an extra boost for the month of July which is usually her busiest month of the year. 

More about Jarro-Dophilus Women

Why is vaginal health a key component that we often overlook? I really don't know except that maybe we just get so busy being women: wives, mothers, daughters, employees and employers that we only think about it if something goes wrong. What if we started taking one extra minute a day to keep our reproductive tracts healthy so we wouldn't be slowed down by something going awry? I think it is time to take that minute! Jarro-Dophilus Women uses the patented Astarte strains that have been researched multiple times. If you're going to choose a supplement, make sure it is a quality one like this one from Jarrow Formulas!

I've been taking the Jarro-Dophilus Women for four weeks now. The very first night I started sleeping more soundly. By the end of the first week I could tell my digestive tract was back where it needed to be. Since then I have seen a gradual increase in my energy level. Being completely honest here: this past month has been one of the mentally toughest I've been through in recent years. Having my gut and reproductive tract in excellent health has gone a long way to help combat the stress!

Overall, I have been duly impressed with the quality and scientific research behind the Probiotic supplements from Jarrow Formulas. I can highly recommend them for you and your family. Take the time to get educated about which probiotic strains are recommended for the issues you are facing and then take action - take that one minute a day towards better health!

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