Summer Reading

If you’re looking for an easy summer read, Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne would be a good option for you to consider. The cover might leave you wondering if it’s a Christian novel, but I can vouch that it is and that it didn’t contain any content that I would call questionable. It did have a much better written description of a calf being pulled than I could ever write and some good thoughts on kindness, family, and forgiveness. To make it even better, the author thanks our very own Nebraska author Mary Connealy for helping her learn about raising cattle.

The story takes place on a large cattle ranch in the state of Washington. One son returns home unwillingly after working in big city, corporate America. He has two brothers who I’m guessing might be the main characters for the following books in the Double S Ranch series.

It’s not an overly deep book, but it is enjoyable. That’s why I call it good summer reading. Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending this book to me so I could review it for you.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley is a great children’s book with lots of facts about animals stated in a way that little people will remember them. The title had me thinking it might be focusing on birds and bees types of information – if you know what I mean – but it’s not like that at all. It asks questions that little kids might ask about animals (How do earthworms dig in dirt? Do monkeys like bananas?) and answers them well.

The only thing I don’t like about Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? is that I think having real pictures of the animals it teaches about would be better. It does remind me of the other book I’ve read by Chrystal Bowman and Teri McKinley in that it has great rhyme and rhythm. They have another “I’ve Got Questions” book titled Does God Take Naps? that I would like to check out. Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? is a book I will enjoy reading many times over. Thank you to the Tyndale Blog Network for sharing this book with me to review it for you.

The Frightening Philippi Jail

The Frightening Philippi Jail by Gary Bower is a children’s book about Acts 16 where Paul and Silas are in prison. It’s written in a rhyming, repetitive, building pattern much like The House That Jack Built nursery rhyme. This makes it easy to read and fun to listen to. By the end of the book, you have the first part memorized because you’ve repeated it so many times. The first part focuses on the awful conditions of the prison, but in the end you read “This is the book that helps us to see how God shakes things up when He sets people free.” I wish that was the phrase you repeated the most when reading the book instead of “…the bugs and the rats and the slugs…”

Gary Bower has written other children’s books in his Faith That God Built collection using this same format. The Frightening Philippi Jail is the only one that is from the New Testament. It is very nice to have an interesting children’s book about a story in Acts since that’s not something you find easily. Young children will enjoy hearing this story again and again and will soon be telling it to you.

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

One of the Few

In honor of Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps birthday this week, I have a book you may want to consider reading. one-of-the-fewThe author, Jason B. Ladd, asked me way back in August if I would review it for you. Reading has been very hard for me to squeeze in these days, so I haven’t been able to get it read. I do think One of the Few looks like a good book. I say this because it is Christian non-fiction and more of the autobiography type of non-fiction. It isn’t all about fighting in a war, which I would be afraid to read, but about many aspects of life. One of the Few has an average rating between 4 and 5 on a 5 point scale on both Amazon and Good Reads. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought; and if you haven’t read it already, let me know if you decide to. I hope to get to read it someday.

A big thank you to all who serve and have served in our military. We have no idea how our lives would be different without their service.

Small Town Nebraska/My Family:
Brad decided this morning to go deer hunting. When you have family with land and live right by it, you can make last minute decisions to go hunting. Wyatt was very excited to go hunting for the first time with Brad, even though he’s too young to actually hunt and probably didn’t have a clue what he was going to be doing.  img_0450Brad got a deer, which means I have one less thing to worry about hitting when driving. Wyatt thought the best part of it was getting to touch the deer, and his second favorite part was helping Brad to gut it. Now we better start making room in our freezer.



Isaiah 61:1-2
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn…

Thankful Heart

Book: god-gave-us-thankful-heartsThanks to Blogging for Books, I was able to receive a free copy of God Gave Us Thankful Hearts to review. Of all the “God Gave Us…” books by Lisa Tawn Bergren that I’ve read, this one is my favorite so far. It teaches children the important truth of finding ways to be thankful even when something isn’t exactly how you like it to be, and it does so in a way children will easily understand.

Where the other stories I’ve read by Lisa Tawn Bergren have been with Polar Bears, this story is a conversation between a wolf pup and his mama and papa. It has pictures children will like to look at with a variety of other forest animals to look at too. God Gave Us Thankful Hearts has a copyright date of 2016, so if you’re looking for a good children’s book to give as a gift they might not have this one yet!

Farming and My Family:
Liza had a busy week last week. She got to ride in the combine, sprayer and the tractor. She was quite happy about it too as you can see. She rode along with Brad to take the combine to the field and they “filled it up with corn” one time to see how wet it was.
img_0328 img_0327 After they got done with that they rode the sprayer home since it was at the field.

img_0329 Then a few days later, she rode along to take the tractor to a field to drill some wheat. I could’ve brought her home before they got started, but she wanted to keep riding, which also turned into napping.img_0332 When I went to pick her up later, Brad trusted me with hauling this fertilizer trailer back into town to get it filled at the co-op.
img_0334 I asked him if he had any words of wisdom for me before I left. All he said was to not go too slow over the weeds so they wouldn’t catch on fire. (We’re a little dry out here.) img_0333 Nothing started on fire, and we completed the task without complication. Phew!

It’s a tough time of year to be a farm kid in school, but Wyatt was glad to get some tractor time with Brad this weekend. He also made it so Brad didn’t spend most of his birthday alone in the tractor.  img_0335 wheat drillWhat I’ve Been Thinking:
Anyone else fear that pain and suffering might be in your future or you’re tired of the pain and suffering you’re dealing with right now? I’m constantly having to remember to not worry about tomorrow. I listened to this message by Bryan Clark this week and it put my worries into such perspective. It always comes down to the question of “Do I trust God?”

Below is an excerpt from the message, but I would recommend at least downloading the transcript and reading the last few pages or listening to the whole thing if you’d rather.

“There’s nowhere where the Scriptures say, “Let’s make a deal! You be a good preacher and everything will work out. No pain and suffering, everything will make sense.” There has to be an understanding when that’s my theology, I’m not really pursuing God; I’m pursuing the best deal. That’s a very selfish pursuit. We set ourselves up for pain and disappointment when we think I’m being really good; I’m following the rules; I’m doing what I’m supposed to; now God betrayed me; God let me down. We are saying, “God, You didn’t keep Your end of the deal.” And God says, “What deal? I didn’t make that deal.”

Really trusting God is a choice of your will. You decide: I’m going to choose to trust God. I’m going to choose to believe God is who He says He is.

Good Bye Summer!

Farm Education:
This poor calf apparently hasn’t learned that he only eats plants. I thought he would spit it out but he got the whole thing in his mouth. I meant to ask Brad when I got home from my walk if we should contact it’s owner and let them know their calf ate a big piece of plastic, but I forgot. It wasn’t lying there dead when I went past today.

Don't Litter! Would you like a huge plastic bag on your plate?

Don’t Litter! Would you like a huge plastic bag on your plate?


What I’m Thinking:
Maybe my attitude would’ve been better this summer if I would’ve read this excellent post at the beginning of it. I had high hopes going into the season of reading, getting the house organized, enjoying being home, you know, all those things you hope going into the summer when you’re an educator. I have adjusted expectations for next summer and a good reminder that I just need to do what I can to enjoy the current season.

That said, I’m one burned out mother at the moment and am looking forward to working again this coming school year. I can’t wait to be able to have a list of things to do that I can actually accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.

Books:A Dolphin WishThe little reading I did get done this summer was this book because I had requested it from Booklook Bloggers and needed to review it like I said I would. I requested A Dolphin Wish by Natalie Grant (yes, the singer) because I thought Elliana might like to read it. She started it and didn’t finish, so much for her reviewing it for me! At halfway through the book, I didn’t really want to finish it either. At this stage in my life if I’m going to be reading it’s going to have to be worth my time. I haven’t read a lot of young girl chapter books, but this didn’t move fast enough for me. I can understand why Elliana got stalled out reading it too.

A Dolphin Wish is a mystery and is about a family on vacation in California. The family is one a lot like Natalie Grant’s – three girls, two of which are twins, and the mom is a famous singer. The majority of the story tells about their time at an amusement park. At the middle of the book you know what the mystery is that they’re trying to solve but you don’t have much of an idea as to how they’re going to go about solving the mystery.

Grant writes very descriptively and gives a lot of details about each activity the family is doing. Positive Christian ideals, such as praying and being kind to your siblings, are naturally built in to the story. Grant also uses some words that would be good vocabulary builders for children, like bungalow and porthole.

Thank you to Booklook Bloggers for sending me this book to review for free. I’m sorry it took me so long to get a review posted!

Road Work

Small Town Nebraska:
I don’t know about your Nebraska county; but in our county, the county road maintenance (or lack thereof) is a hot topic. They decided to rebuild one of the roads that is next to the pivot Brad farms by bringing dirt from the ditch onto the road. So this is basically what the ditch was before they did their work.
ditch before road work This is the ditch now.
ditchditch after road work They did at least leave him one driveway into the field (see the left side of the following picture), although he rather preferred having many options.
field driveway The ditches are an okay thing to have, but the condition of the road is another story. Four inches of rain on a new dirt road meant the county road equipment even got stuck trying to fix it, and our friends (the only people who live on the road) had to use a tractor to get anywhere and their vehicle windows were too dirty to get a picture.

Farm Education:
Today marks the first day of the 2016 planting season for Brad. He’s mainly just making sure that everything is working correctly and will probably not plant much until after the predicted coming cold snap is over.

1st day of corn planting 2016I learned a great conversation tip for when talking with farmers by listening in on some farmer talk at the local gas station/restaurant/tire shop/coffee and donut shop. In the spring, a meaningful question to ask a farmer about their operation is,

“Are you doing anything different this year?” 

Or in the fall, after you get done asking how their harvest is going and then don’t know what else to ask, you could say,

“Did you do anything different this year?”

They may answer with something that you don’t understand, but that will just give you more questions to ask them. I’ll keep my ear out for more good farmer conversation tips for you.

You’re welcome.

Jesus- experiencing His touch
I’ve enjoyed doing several Precept studies in the past, so when I saw that Blogging for Books had Jesus: Experiencing His Touch by Kay Arthur and David Arthur has a review options I was happy to request it. The difference between this study and the ones I have done before, is that this is a “no-homework Bible study” designed to take 40 minutes. It says it is a small group study “for people are interested in learning for themselves more about what the Bible says on various subjects, but who have limited time to meet together.”

Jesus: Experiencing His Touch takes you through Mark 1-6. You study approximately a chapter each week, and the book gives clear directions of how to study the passage together as a group. You observe what’s written in a few verses and then discuss and then repeat through the rest of the selection for the week. The Arthurs also provide some helpful insights along the way. I’m excited to try this with my Bible study during the busy months of summer. I can tell it’s not as in depth as a study with more homework, but it is still studying the Bible! If you try it and like it, they have 40 Minute Bible studies for the rest of the book of Mark too.

Lamentations 3:21-23
This I recall to my mind,

Therefore I have hope.
 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.


Loads of Information

To answer the title of my last post, we were enjoying the Burr Hall Bull Fry on UNL’s East Campus. East campus is where Brad and I met, and I think every college bound student should go to UNL and live there; but that’s kind of like saying I think my kids are the best.

If this celery doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. Check out the progress from when I first showed it to you.
Celery GrowingWhat I’m Thinking and Learning:
I went to a conference for work last week. That means you’re going to get some education about kids.

Have you heard about the Marshmallow Test? It was originally a Stanford study done in 1970 that showed kids who could wait to do something they wanted because the reward was better than the immediate gratification scored better on the SAT by 210 points 14 years later and when they were 30 they had better jobs and health than those who couldn’t wait. This was a better predictor than their parent’s education level.

So if you would like a healthy laugh, watch these kids try not to eat the one marshmallow because if they wait, they will get two marshmallows. It’s way cute.

Since you now see I didn’t lie to you about how cute that was, maybe you’ll take a minute to browse this post about preventing screen addiction. It challenged me. This is the first line, “A recent article in The Telegraph describes a very scary trend: “Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment.”” And I can’t argue with this line, “As SLPs, we see the effects on language and pragmatic skill development caused by overexposure to screens, be it smartphones, tablets, or video games — not to mention the effects on attention, executive functioning, fine and gross motors skills, imagination, and higher level thinking.”

Farm Education (Farmer DIY):
Inside an old semi
When your luxurious semi doesn’t have a center console, you have to get creative with your cup holder.
DIY cup holderDon’t worry. That’s my cup, not his.


BookLook Bloggers let me have an eBook of Love’s Complete, A Russian Adoption Journey by Teresa Travous Hull to review for you. I don’t see it stated directly, but I would guess the author wrote this based on personal experience. It’s written as a very simple poem that would be easy for little kids to understand. The pictures help tell the story since each page only has 14 to 28 syllables on it. I would see it as being helpful to read to young children in a family in the adoption process. I wouldn’t recommend it for any book awards, but it does tell the story it was intended to tell and provides additional information about Eastern European adoption.

Loves Complete