Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bountiful Baskets December 22~ gingerbread men, guacamole pack

Awesome basket this week, as well as wonderful add-ons.

Basket~ pineapple, eggplant, romaine, potatoes, pears, oranges, avocados, bell pepper, pomegranates, Asian pears, and onions. $15

Guacamole pack~ avocados, lemons, limes (look like Key), jalapenos, tomatillos, onions, and garlic.  I think this was the fullest add-on I have gotten. $8.50

Gingerbread men cookie pack with butter cream frosting.  We haven't made our men yet, but hope to soon and will try and post pictures :) $10

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bountiful Baskets November 17th~ Basket, Hostess Pack and Tangerines

Another yummy basket week~

Basket~ celery, romaine, oranges, pomelo, honeydew, potatoes, golden delicious smith apples, bananas, tomatoes, carrots and pineapple. $15

Hostess Pack~ onions, potatoes, leaf lettuce, Indian corn, mini pumpkins, granny smith apples, acorn squash, yams, cranberries, green beans and grape tomatoes. $15

Box of Satsuma tangerines $20 for 25 pound box

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Operation Christmas Child Party

This week is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child.  Today we went to a box making party and it was such a good time.  We were able to be a part of packing 201 boxes today!  We brought our two complete and helped fill many more.  Our children really enjoyed being part of the process and choosing items for the boys and girls who would receive them.  We prayed and will through the week for the boxes to get to just the right children.

If you have the money, but not the time to get out and build a box this week and get it to a collection site Samaritan's Purse has a new option this year called Build a Box and you can do it online and they will pack it with the items you choose :)  It is $30 and that includes the suggested donation of $7 for shipping.

Next year I would like to go to the party again and I am already making notes on what I want to bring.  Namely washcloths, pencil sharpeners, more markers, watercolor paint sets, and toothpaste are the things right on the top of my head :)  A good thing might also be some address labels and pictures of the children to put with the letters.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
Unending Devotion
by Jody Hedlund 

Unending Devotion is about a lady named Lily on a mission to find her sister.  She is living in the late 1800s and is working with a man who is her foster parent taking photographs of men in the logging industry.  Lily finds herself in many dangerous circumstances, most of which are caused by her determination and rushing into situations before she had the help she realistically needed.  Unending Devotion has some very tense dramas and is hard to put down.

I really enjoyed Unending Devotion.  It had a bit of romance in it, but wasn't a book that was full of romantic overtones or plain lust provoking imagery.  I would recommend this book.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bountiful Baskets October 20th Asian add-on, pomegrantes, bread

Another great Bountiful Basket!  It has been a while for us.

Today in our regular basket we have bananas, dino kale, romaine lettuce, grapes, pineapple, celery, large butternut squash, onions, Asian pears, pomegranates, and tomatoes.  $15

We also got the bread assortment with savory 9 grain (our favorite so far), a sourdough blunt, and a baguette.$10

Another amazing Asian pack including celery, waterchestnuts, bok choy, napa cabbage, a piece of ginger, garlic, onion, Thai basil, green onions, and peas.  $9 I am so excited for this!  I haven't gotten an Asian pack since getting my new wok.  The wok is such fun tool in my kitchen.  I also bought a negi cutter when I got the wok and haven't gotten to use it.  It is a really sharp tool used for making shreds with veggies. 

Oh and I bought a case of pomegranates, yum! They are on the small side, which will be great because I think the children will be able to eat a whole one in a setting and they will, they really enjoy them and so do I :) $18.50 for 22 pounds 

I am really glad I was able to make it work this week and am realizing what I have been missing, so I will have to see what I can do next week.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Download N Go 3rd Birthday Bash Sale and Giveaways

Tuesday - Saturday this week Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett be selecting three customers who made purchases during the previous day to receive a $10 USAB gift coupon.

They are also having a great sale with different $3 titles everyday in honor of their 3rd birthday!

Today you can get:
 Crazy Cartoons

Chocolate Challenge
or Expedition China
for $3 each!

Also all week you can get Birthday Bonanaza for $5!  This fun unit study is usually only available in a bundle :)

Women Redeemed 2.0

In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on October 10th at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Cat Hoort of Kregel says, "We are seeking to provide safe means for Christian women to be vulnerable with each other, to seek help and guidance from authors and counselors, and to find encouragement from those who have shared similar experiences. Our hope is that the Women Redeemed webcast will become a forum for hurting women as well as for those who can help. Kim, Teske, and Dawn are all survivors and their stories will surely inspire and equip other women to move toward healing and hope."

The authors will also be giving away books and other fun prizes at the Webcast.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston

Call of a Coward
The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife
by Marcia Moston 

Call of a Coward is about a husband feeling the call of the Lord for his family to go and serve as missionaries in Guatemala and the struggle with the decision and the events that unfolded.

This is a wonderful book.  It is a moving memoir.  I was hoping it would make me wonder what I would do should my husband be lead somewhere I didn't think I would want to go and it did just that.  I really enjoy how Mrs. Moston takes us through the journey of her feelings and the process of this major decision.  I enjoyed that it wasn't just a "Disney" type ending or situation once the choice was made.

I would recommend this book for any Christian, it would be a great one to pick up to take on a vacation or over a holiday break because it is not too long and is very enjoyable yet challenging. 

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purposes of review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bountiful Baskets August 25th with tortilla and fajita add-ons

This was a great week to get a basket!  The main basket included cherries, champagne grapes, Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, long green peppers (not sure if they are sweet or hot, I haven't tried one yet), onions, apple pears, grapefruit, mottled pluots, tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Fajita add-on lots of red and green bell peppers, dried peppers, onions, and garlic.

We finally are getting to try the tortillas!  They tend to sell out, I am wanting to try them because the ingredients although not organic are much cleaner than the grocery store.  The package is a nice assortment including 3 dozen packages of huge 12" flour tortillas, 2 dozen 6" flour tortillas, and 2 dozen 6" corn tortillas.  They look really good and I plan to include them in our supper tomorrow to see what they taste like :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cucumbers and lots of ladybugs

The first cucumbers of the season today :)  I think they are the marketmores from Azure, the one we ate was yummy.  We also picked strawberries, blueberries, yellow squash, zucchini we are growing for a friend, and basil.  The tomatillios are just going crazy still, just amazing how covered they are.

The asparagus has had asparagus beetles and we have done some picking of them off, but there have been bunches and bunches anyway.  Well today the asparagus is also full, even more so, of ladybugs.  The natural way seems to be working out well.  There were lots of ladybug larvae and mature bugs.  I moved probably a dozen or more larvae to other areas of the garden.  I am hoping with the squash bug picked and egg squashing and now the ladybugs we will win the battle with them this year.  I found some eggs on the crookneck leaves and did some squashing ;)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bountiful Baskets July 21~ Plummy Paradise~ Sourdough

Another great week for Bountiful Baskets.  This week we received corn, cantaloupe, broccoli, greenhouse cucumbers, yellow squash, green grapes, carrots, plums, strawberries, raspberries, and a living lettuce head.

The Plummy Paradise includes many varieties of plums that may include Black Owen, Red Crimson, Honey Suckle Rose, Green Flavor Queen, Crimson Glo Red Pluot, Dapple Dandy, Black Cherry, Black Ruby, Fortune Red, Red Hiromi, and Black Velvet Apricots.  The Black Velvet Apricots are something we just discovered at Costco and are very yummy, they are a little fuzzy like a peach.

We also got a pack of the sourdough we enjoy so much :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Early Girl Tomatoes

Today we had the first two early girl tomatoes.  They were small and so very good, eating them was such a good reminder of what a tomato is supposed to taste like!  We many other green tomatoes scattered on all the other varieties of tomatoes we are growing, how exciting it will be when we are harvesting more than a couple at a time.

The Company by Chuck Graham

The Company
by Chuck Graham

The Company is about the world after a huge meteor strikes Earth and what life is like for the few survivors.  The story picks up seventy years after the world went dark and the mysterious visitors brought light back to the people of Brigos Glen.  When a group of Brigons are choosen and taken to a conference in the Outlands, an area where people have not tried to go for many years, but the ones who did never came back.  

I thoroughly enjoyed The Company.  Reading an allegory of modern times was a nice change of pace from the current type of books I read.  The way Mr. Graham presents the Trinity in the book is a helpful explanation to believers and nonbelievers.  He made several complex subjects come to life in real world examples.  In the times we are living in I think The Company is a wonderful book for Christians as well as a book that friends or family would be happy to receive and better understand what Christians believe.   

For more reviews visit The Company Blog Tour.

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purposes of review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Book of Man by Bennett

The Book of Man
by William J. Bennett

The Book of Man is a wonderful collection of stories, articles, poems, letters, and other wonderful writings about what it really means to be a man.  This book is divided into areas of life that apply to men: politics, leisure, work, war, with women and children, and in prayer.  There are many authors and stories that you will recognize, but many more that I did not know about.  

This book is wonderful for men, such an encouragement and wonderful examples of strong men.  Men of courage, honor, strength, integrity, and wonderful qualities of true men.  Men who have sacrificed for their country and families. 
As a parent of boys this book is something that will be book that will be a reference all through their growing years.  I think this book would be such blessing for a dad to read to his sons as they grow up.  It will provide true examples of what being a man is all about in a culture that devalues men and boys, generally portraying them as stupid, irrelevant, or brutes.  The Book of Man would also make a great gift, maybe to a young man turning 12 or 13 or parents of a son of any age.  I think this book would best be used in a mentoring relationship, as all ways of helping a boy grow into a man.

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purposes of review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

My Stubborn Heart
by Becky Wade

My Stubborn Heart is about a single woman, Kate, who has had a couple of serious relationships, only finding out they were not the ones God had planned for her.  Kate goes to spend some time with her grandmother renovating a family property.  The man her grandmother has hired for the remodeling is a man who is deeply wounded and private, Kate is determined to help melt some of his heart of stone.

I enjoyed this book.  I am not much of a romance novel person and parts of it made me a little uneasy, but it is a good read.  I am sure for someone who is a lover of romance it would be more enjoyable.  I continued to read because the book has a great story that was also revolving around some other fun characters besides Kate and the hurting hero.  I also enjoyed how the story took some unexpected turns and was not just a love story that was happily ever after the moment the two main characters met.  I didn't enjoy a couple instances of inappropriate language, these were not the big bad curse words, but words I don't want to hear around my home.  And I certainly wouldn't look to this novel as a way to find a Godly husband, or for young girls to get that idea that the guy they have the "hots" for will become a Christian.

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purposes of review, the opinions expressed are my own.    

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ripe Cherry Tomato :)

Woo hoo, we had our first ripe cherry tomato and there is an early girl that is starting to turn.  The zucchinis and yellow squash are starting to get with the program.  Our one yellow squash has a whole bunch of little squash on it, probably at least a dozen.  I think I saw a tiny crookneck while I was weed-eating the path beside it's box.  I need to check that out tomorrow because they are best pretty small usually and grow quick.  Still getting chard and the kale is huge and not seeming threatened by the hot weather at all.  More blueberries are ripening and things are looking good in the garden ;)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bountfiul Baskets July 7th plus Italian pack

Another great week for our Bountiful Basket.

The main basket had strawberries, grapes, cauliflower, nectarines, several zucchini, tomatoes on the vine, head of romaine, limes, plums, mangoes, green beans, and bananas.  Plus and extra grape for volunteering :)  $15

The Italian add-on had mushrooms, basil, rosemary, parsley, white onion, garlic, thyme, eggplant, bell pepper, yellow squash, and a red onion.  $8.50

We also got a box of pineapple, six huge pineapples in this add-on for $12!  I think they are ripe, so we will be eating lots of pineapple soon.  As well as Multigrain Bread with Omega-3, five loaves for $12.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Glamorous Illusions

Glamorous Illusions
by Lisa Bergren

Glamorous Illusions is about a young woman named Cora, whose life as she knows it wasn't what she thought it always was.  She ends up taking a wonderful, sometimes frightening, and grand adventure.  This is the first book in the Grand Tour Series by Lisa T. Bergren.

This book was wonderful.  It was an exciting read, that wasn't too focused on the mushy love aspect of a young woman's life.  It is a great glimpse into Cora's life as a now upper class lady, living in a time where status was very important.  I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to the next books in the series.  This is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a relaxing, lovely read.

I didn't realize this was the same author as the "God Gave Us..." books, that was really fun to learn.  We have read over and over the God Gave Us So Much :)

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purposes of review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blue Berries

Woo hoo the first ripe blueberries today!  They are huge and taste amazing.  I should have taken some pictures before they were swallowed up, the size of grapes they were.  There are still more ripening, I will have to get some photos.

I can't think of blueberries without thinking of The Bigsby Show Muffin Man song.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Weeding, pruning, picking

I spent a good bit of time tonight weeding beds (manure was full of weed seed apparently), pruning suckers off some tomatoes, and picking a few things.  We picked all of the peas off of most of the pea plants, all the purples.  I also plucked a good amount of basil, maybe a little bit of fresh pesto tomorrow will be in the plans.  There are several small summer squash growing well, lots of strawberry blossoms again, more beets ready, some loaded blueberry plants, good sized green early girls and cherry tomatoes, huge nasturtiums, and many other beautiful things happening out there :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren

Glamorous Illusions
by Lisa Bergren

Review coming soon...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bountiful Baskets June 23rd

Another great basket today :)  Our biggest excitement was for the cherries.  This week there were cherries, celery, nectarines, tomatoes, bananas, cantaloupe, two heads of leaf lettuce, onions, spaghetti squash, blueberries, and a bag of potatoes.

We also got a Mexican pack add-on there are tomatillos, a couple small summer squash, two bunches of green onions, three avocados, an onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers, lots of large peppers (not sure which variety), cilantro, and limes.

I tried to get a tortilla add-on but they were sold out, they are pretty clean as far as ingredients.  I wish they weren't made with soy oil, but way better than grocery store tortillas. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pretty beets and a bit more harvested

We got to harvest another great veggie from the garden yesterday, beets.  Mainly they were the fun bulls eye target looking Chioggia.  God is so creative!  Some things I grow just amaze me at the fun design or color.  We also harvested more chard, some lettuce, and lots more peas.  I weeded the small bed that had gotten out of control a bit with weeds and planted carrots, lots of carrots, little seeds and little boys don't always go so well together.  I cooked up the beets as well as the yummy greens and threw in a green onion I harvested as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unit Studies in the Great Outdoors

Some great specials on Unit Studies this week!  

Twisting Tornado $4

Volatile Volcanoes $4

Magnificent Moon $4

Tremendous Trees $4
Gardens $5 for a 4 week study!

 Wonderful deals now through June 23rd.
The buy 5, save $5 is still going as well!

And the June and July specials of buy 10 get one free and buy 15 get two free!
Head on over to Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett to get in on this great sale :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bountiful Baskets June 16th

This week's basket included celery, a baby watermelon, mushrooms, apricots, plums, small spaghetti squash, pineapple, a bag of russet potatoes, bananas, head of lettuce, and grapes. I also got another great Asian pack add-on as well as a sourdough bread add-on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Head to the beach with Unit Studies

There are some great deals this week at Unit Studies, so get ready to head to the beach!

Sunny Seashells is just $4 through 6/6/12

Whale Tales is $4 through Saturday as well

There are some more great deals as well.  It is a great way to have fun and make some learning opportunities this summer, whether you are going to the beach in person or just through these studies :)

To see all the weekly specials head on over to Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett!

There is also for a limited time--
in the months of June and July--
buy 10 studies in one month, we'll give you one free in the next month;
buy 15 studies in one month, we'll give you two free in the next month!
Buy 5, Save $5 More!
     So it is a great time to have a little fun this summer while learning some wonderful information or to stock up for the upcoming year!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bountiful Baskets June 9th

Wow!  Today's basket is awesome :)  I am so excited for the Asian pack as well.  Regular basket included a honeydew melon, some apricots, several plums, several tomatoes, a large head of romaine, one bunch of kale, two cucumbers, lots of little granny smith apples, a few mangos, and celery.  In the Asian pack there is celery, bok choy, a white onion, a head of garlic, green onions, snap peas, huge Napa cabbage, Thai basil, several small ginger nubs, and fresh water chestnuts.  I know I will be giving the add-ons a chance from now on.

We ate a yummy stir fry for dinner using beef, bok choy, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Japanese steak marinade.  I also added some Shirataki noodles instead of making rice.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Garden, always a work in progress

We did some weeding and checking on things in the garden.  We planted some bush bean seeds and some crookneck squash plants, I need to stay out of the local greenhouse ;)  They had plants 20% off, so I bought the crooknecks, another 4-pack of Lunacy Orange marigolds, an Iceland poppy, and a Purple d'Oro daylily. 

I divided the daylily and put it in the flower section of the garden, I know they spread well and am looking forward to that.  I also put the poppy there, with the way they self-seed there will be many of them the future I hope.  I like to grow things that are low maintenance and reseed themselves, particularly when it comes to flowers.  I hope the bees are attracted to the poppies.  We also broadcast some echinacea, Mother of Pearl Poppy, and Pacific Beauty Mix Calendula in that bed.

I also scattered seed in what is becoming the herb bed.  It used to be herbs just on the end of the bed.  Where the marjoram, sage, chives, and thyme lived.  It is slowly becoming an herb bed where the perennials live as well as were the annuals can self-seed at will.  We tossed around some Summer Savory, echinacea, flat parsley, and maybe some other things.

Behind the back fence there is a large field and an old barn.  The garden is in front of and to the right side of the barn.  We planted some old dwarf sunflower seeds, as well as some more flowers behind the garden there.  I am hoping for the best, but this is not an area I am going to water or do much with, so it will be what can make it there.  With all the rain we are getting they will get a good start and I think they will do fine.  We planted some Mammoth sunflowers, State Fair Mix Zinnia, Giants of California Zinnia, and Sensation Candy Stripe Cosmos.

I am loving having some flowers around even though my main interest in gardening is growing food.  They just make me happy to look at them and the beneficial insects, butterflies, and bees enjoy them too. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I am excited to have learned about a new resource for homeschoolers.  It is called   I learned about it from a friend and it looks like it is going to be really interesting.  It is a website with lots of information and help for homeschoolers.  It is from the same people as The Old Schoolhouse magazine.  So that tells me it will probably be good :)

There are some really experienced homeschool companies and teachers that are making their help available.  From what I can tell so far you can use it as much or as little as you would like and it is for children of all ages.  It includes the digital magazine delivered to your inbox monthly and access to back digital issues that are searchable so you can look for things that interest you.  There are many other benefits.  I am checking it out now, as the first month is only $1!  Then it is only $5.95 a month and I am sure there will be six bucks worth of information for me, but I will be scouting that out the next 30 days.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Peas, Strawberries, and Chard oh my

Today we found the first peas and ate them quickly in the garden, my children love them fresh off the plant.  The strawberries are also picking up production and taste so good.  There is also a fair amount of chard ready to eat.  Some of the potatoes are starting to get buds, I don't know that I am going to worry about hilling them, I might just let them go I think we will harvest plenty.  Oh and the iris are blooming in the garden, such a lovely addition.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Today's Bountiful Basket

Today was a good basket, it seemed like a little more fruit than veggies, but we will enjoy either way.  I will try and remember it all :)  There were three avocados, nectarines, a leaf lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, canary melon, two packages of grape tomatoes, bananas, two cloves of garlic, and oranges.  The basket is totally worth $15.  I also purchased omega 3 organic bread, a flat of strawberries, a pineapple and a box of cauliflower.  We are eating good this week and for a while after on some of these things.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Harvesting Strawberries and planting just a bit more

We were planting a few marigolds, basil, and some dwarf junior sunflower (picture from Azure) seedlings in the garden today and doing a little weeding when the children were very happy to discover ripe strawberries :)  They each got to eat several and I got one little one and it was really yummy.  We have an ever-bearing variety, so this is the start of something good.

The Holstein Cowpeas we planted are coming up as well as the Double Standard Sweet Corn, the cowpeas grow so fast.  The sunflowers are just breaking through as well, we planted some Tiger Eye Mix Sunflower and Mammoth Grey Stripe at the ends of two beds a couple of weeks ago.

The pea blossoms are looking great, we should have peas in now time.  A few of the tomatoes and peppers are getting to be good sizes and have blooms on them.  I stopped pinching most of the tomato blooms and am letting them get going.  The tomatillos are covered with flowers so we should be making some major salsa verde this summer.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Planting season almost complete

I think today will be nearly complete planting the main part of the garden, well maybe not the corn.  I hope to get the rest of my plants in from Azure and a few others and some seeds as well.  I am never quite done as we tweak and add things, as well as planting additional vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes.  A few hours in the morning will go a long way today and it looks like great timing because the weather is calling for rain all next week.  I love rain in the spring, it means the less I have to water, my seedlings will be very happy next week and so will I :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bountiful Baskets

We got our first basket from Bountiful Baskets last week.  It was great!  The ordering has a bit of learning curve, but is not difficult :)  The basket is a wonderful surprise of a close to 50% vegetable and 50% fruit mix.  Saturday's basket included a small honeydew melon, a few avocados, 5 large tomatoes, a pineapple, lots of small red potatoes, apricots, 3 mangoes, big head of leaf lettuce, a spinach bunch, a banana bunch, and a container of blackberries for $15.  They also have add-ons if you buy a basket, so I ordered a sourdough add-on that was 5 loaves of sourdough for $10.  Everything was great, the avocados needed eaten soon, but that is not a problem.  This will be a great option until the garden picks up on the weeks we are going to the town with the nearest pick up location.  I like that they use local ingredients to them when possible, obviously some of the things will never be local to Utah (where they are located) but that they try and support a local community is important to me.  I love my farmer's market and my garden even more, but we buy produce other times of the year because we have a cold winter and I think this will be wonderful as a source of food for our family.  They also offer an organic basket each week for $25, when our income increases I will be getting the organic instead :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Giveaway reminder~ last day to enter for pearl necklace

Remember today is the last day to enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

Harvesting 2012 Mother's Day

We have harvested a few radishes so far this year, tonight I was able to harvest enough to get enough to put in our salad to take to a dear friends for dinner this Mother's Day.  I really like these white hailstone radishes, they are large and tasty.  Happy Mother's Day!

Guest blog: What I Didn't Know by Rhonda Shrock

What I Didn't Know by Rhonda Shrock

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  As a girl, I played house with my dollies, shushing them when they cried and kissing their plastic heads.

Looking back at that girl, I realize now that there was a lot she didn't know.  This morning over my fresh-ground coffee, this mother of 22-1/2 years scratched out a list of 10 things she didn't know then that she knows now.

1.  I didn't know - how could I? - just how completely a tiny, helpless scrap of humanity can capture the heart and hold it forever.  From that first whooshing heartbeat and the first butterfly brushes, a mother's heart is never again her own.  For all eternity, it enlarges, walking and pulsing and moving outside of her body; in my case, in the shape of a blue-eyed boy with rooster tails.  Times four.

2.  I didn't know that the size of a mother's heart is always changing, stretching to embrace each new baby that comes, then growing again to love their friends and then their own families.

3.  I never knew, as I changed my dolly's dress, how many reasons there are to worry when you're a mama.   Didn't know about the nighttime vigils.  Didn't know the anxiety of separation, the terror that floods when you turn around in the grocery store and they're gone.  Didn't know about the fear of the pond next door or the concern that pays for swimming lessons.  Didn't know the thousand-and-one reasons that keep a mother awake, whispering prayers on her pillow in the dark.

4.  No one told me that loving so much means that you will hurt hard and keen;  that what pains your child hurts you even worse.  I didn't know then that a playground taunt travels through that smaller heart and lands square in yours, stinging and burning like fire.  I didn't know that motherhood makes lionesses of us all and that there'd be days I'd have to bite my tongue and pray to not sin.

5.  I didn't know how exhausting it is, being a mother.  I didn't know that it takes everything you've got and then some.  Didn't know the bone-deep exhaustion; how it strips you bare and shows how selfish you can be, but, too, that you have more strength than you know.

6.  I didn't know, playing house, how much joy mothers feel; joy so big that it makes up for the pain.  Just looking at those eyes and the curve of the cheek can make you so happy it hurts.  Watching them grow and find their talent and win at something...all the money in the world can never buy that kind of happiness.

7.  I didn't know how making babies and raising them, how it binds you to their father.  I didn't know the intimacy you feel when your eyes meet above those tousled heads, and your smiles say, "Just look at what we've done."

8.  That girl in the homemade dress, she didn't know that letting go is one of the hardest things a grown-up mama will ever do.  Rocking those babies in that small rocking chair, she didn't really know that babies grow up and walk away and there goes your heart, out into the big, wide world.  No one told her that part.

9.  I had no idea how rewarding it is, being a mother.  How the happiness that comes from boy kisses and awkward hugs can't be bought or sold.  How proud you feel when you see what they're growing up to be and that all the planting and pruning and watering and feeding is finally making fruit!

10.  I didn't know how much my babies would enrich my spiritual life or how they would change the way I pray.  I didn't realize they would lead me to a deeper dependence on the Heavenly Father or how I much I would need His wisdom to raise them aright.

These are things I didn't know before I was a mother.  But I know them now.  Oh, how I know them now!  And I’d do it all again.


Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News.  She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, "Cooking & Such:  Adventures in Plain Living."  She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Guest blog: He Will Walk With You by Carey Bailey

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

He Will Walk With You by Carey Bailey

As a little girl, I loved baby dolls. Loved them! I played school, adoption agency, daycare operator and babysitter all day. I felt like I was born to be a mama. Therefore, I was a bit anxious when the ages, 22, 25, 28 and 32 came and went and there were no babies. Have you ever desired something so much and feared never getting it? That was me.

My day finally came at the age of 34. I soon realized that God knew what He was doing when He had me wait. To my shock, it wasn’t as easy as playing with dolls. I was surprised that it wasn’t the dream world I imagined it would be! I felt like life became a gigantic prayer.

“God, HELP me!”

“Please, God. Please, please, please make it all better. I can’t do this!”

“God, this feels impossible. Where are you?”

While I adore motherhood, it is harder and there are more adjustments than I expected. (I am hoping there are some nodding of heads and Amen’s being said out there in cyberworld.) Not only did I have a new life to care for, but my identity suddenly felt all scrambled up. It took me until my son was one to finally feel confident in my new role as a mother, confident that I could drop my child off at preschool without crying, confident that I could go out with the girls’ and the world wouldn’t fall apart, and confident that I could go on a date night and have conversations that didn’t revolve just around our son.

I was feeling settled in my new world and then WHAM! I discovered I was pregnant again. Can I be vulnerable with you? I actually cried when I found out. And they were not tears of joy. I feel awful saying that out loud, and I hope you will give me a moment to explain. It was not that I didn’t want another baby or feel like I couldn’t love a new life, it was just that I got scared. Discovering a little person was on the way sent a panic through me. Would my son still receive the love and attention that he deserved? How was my husband going to feel about my body changing again? Would I ever be able to pursue the vision I felt God had for me in writing and publishing? I was truly wondering if I was going to be able to handle another intense wave of identity crisis like the one I had just been through. I wasn’t sure.

God and I needed a serious talk. And in that conversation He carefully reminded me of this:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He reminded me in our time together that I, too, am His child and He has every intention of loving me, caring for me, and giving me the future that He has planned for me.

As mothers, we can get so caught up in parenting that we forget that we, too, have a spiritual parent who loves us as His child. He loves you as much as He loves the children He has given you. He will never forsake you.  And on those days when motherhood seems too overwhelming and too impossible I step back and take a deep breath. Then I remember that this journey I am on, right now, is the one He has designed and create uniquely for me. I simply need to live in it, learn from it, and allow His love to sweep over and through me.

He will walk with me! He will walk with you! Grab His hand.


Carey Bailey is a recovering perfectionist, wife, proud mama, and the Family Life Director for her church in Arizona. She hosts an online community for moms called Cravings: desiring God in the midst of motherhood where she strives to make God time easier. Not less meaningful, just easier. She is the author of Cravings {The Devotional} which is a set of forty devotional flashcards for the mama on the go. Visit Carey online blog: Facebook: and Pinterest:

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest blog: Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

"Darcy . . .”

“Yeah, Mom?”

I momentarily held the undivided attention of my teenage daughter. Her thumbs, free of their ubiquitous texting keypad, quietly dangled by her side. Her computer and its omnipresent Facebook page were completely out of sight. I had almost forgotten what she looked like without all these adolescent accoutrements. As we sat down together on the burgundy leather sofa in our living room, I realized this fleeting state of electronic dislocation was my chance to hatch a plan I had been formu- lating for the past several weeks. Carpe diem.

“How would you like to write a book together?”

“About what?” I asked my mom. Write a book? This was a real surprise. I felt a bit suspicious, but still curious.  I love to write, and Mom kept telling me I was really good at it. I like writing poetry, fantasy, and sci-fi, though.  The books Mom wrote were all nonfiction.  I wondered what we could possibly do together.

“Well . . .” I hesitated. If I wanted her to commit to any extra work out- side her busy schedule at school—not to mention work alongside her mother—I had to make this really great. “It would be about women as leaders,” I continued, “a mother-daughter investigation into leadership styles and structures.”

“Leadership?” I blurted. It came out as if I had a bad taste in my mouth—which I did.  I couldn’t imagine a more boring topic to write about. What is there to say about leadership anyway? When you’re in charge, you just get things done, right? Who wants to talk about that?

Her furrowed brow told me I was losing her fast. “Um . . . we could find women leaders all around the world!” I said impulsively, frantically casting the ultimate bait.

“Really? Would we get to travel a lot?”  I hadn’t thought about that. Heck, I’d write about the mating habits of tsetse flies  if I got to go to Africa to do it!

But this project wasn’t just about the influence it would have on Darcy. I wanted to do something that could have a potent impact on an alarming trend I had witnessed in workplaces across the country: far too many women appeared to be making a choice not to apply for top leadership positions when presented with the opportunities to do so.

This project, then, was a bit of a Trojan horse. On the one hand, the saga of a mother-daughter journey could seduce female readers, who might never bother to read the Harvard Business School dissertations on the subject, into a meaningful conversation about leadership. At the same time, if Darcy met a series of brilliant, accomplished women— people even a cynical teen would be in awe of—perhaps they could tell her all the things I’d like her to know—and more.

And she just might listen.

But where to start? How would we make it work? I suggested we do most of our research by phone, as I did for How Strong Women Pray. My telephone interviews with a governor, some CEOs, actors, sports figures, a college president, and others yielded great stories and information. I promised my intrepid co-author, though, that we could punctuate these conversations with a few visits in person to exciting and exotic places—all with reasonably priced airfares.

“Why don’t we follow each subject as she goes about her daily life? That way our readers get to come along with us and get a behind- the-scenes look at what happens to them. Instead of just a boring interview, we—and our readers—get to hang around with these women, see them in their natural habitat, and even see how other people treat them.”

Although I agreed it was a wonderful approach, this idea of “job- shadowing” each featured subject wasn’t going to be easy. Would these high-powered, important women deign to allow us that kind of access? Would they be able to impart the kind of wisdom that would resonate with our readers and truly make a difference in their lives?  We looked at each other, both of us hooked on a crazy idea that we weren’t sure we could pull off.

“It sounds impossible, Darcy,” I said. “We might as well get started.”

And so, we stepped out . . . on faith.


Bonnie is a 1984 Paralympics silver medal winner in ski racing. Her education includes a degree with honors from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, and an M.Litt in Economics from Oxford.  Her career includes positions as an award-winning sales rep for IBM and a Clinton White House member of staff. She now is a much-in-demand speaker, who makes nearly 100 speeches each year to corporations and civic groups. You can visit her on the Web at

Re-printed with permission from How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guest blog: What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer

What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer

Becoming a mother is a complicated thing. Not only am I trying to negotiate a relationship with my child, I am trying to negotiate a relationship with myself as I attempt to determine how I mother, how I feel about mothering, how I want to mother and how I wish I was mothered.
— Andrea J. Buchanan, in Mother Shock3

Sometimes the easiest way to discover who we are is to know who we are not.

We are not our children. We all know mothers who go overboard trying to make themselves look good by making their children look great. I saw one woman on the Oprah television show who had bought her preschool daughter more than twelve pairs of black shoes just so the girl could have different styles to go with her numerous outfits! Just as we -don’t get report cards for mothering, we also -don’t get graded on our child’s looks or accomplishments. While you want your children to do their best and succeed in life, your self-esteem -shouldn’t be wrapped up in your child.

Life as I See It:

My individuality will never end. There will be no one exactly like me, not even my child. She will be like me in some ways, but not at all in others. I -wouldn’t have it any other way.
— Desiree, Texas

We are not our mothers. I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth. The words “because I told you so .  .  .” escaped before I had a chance to squelch them.

It’s not until we have kids that we truly understand our mothers — all their frets, their nagging, and their worries.

It’s also then that we truly understand their love.

Since you are now a mother, it’s good to think back on how you were raised. If there were traditions or habits that now seem wise and useful, incorporate them into your parenting. You also have permission to sift out things you now know -weren’t good. Just because you’re a product of your mother, that -doesn’t mean you have to turn out just like her. Repeat after me, “I am not my mother.”

We are not like any other mother out there. Sometimes you may feel like the world’s worst mother. After all, your friend never yells at her son — and sometimes you do. Then again, your friend may feel bad because you have a wonderful bedtime routine that includes stories and songs. In many cases, the moms you feel inferior to only look like they have it together. All moms feel they -don’t “measure up.” Instead of feeling unworthy, we should realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is where we place our focus.

The Bible says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without .  .  . comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we -aren’t” (Romans 12:5 – 6, MESSAGE).

The problem with comparison is, we always measure our weaknesses against the strengths of others.

Instead, we need to thank God for our strengths. We can also ask God to help us overcome our weaknesses — not because we want to compare ourselves, or look good in someone else’s eyes, but because we want to be the best mom out there.


Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. You can find her online at or at her weekly radio show, Living Inspired.

Mother of Pearl Giveaway

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest blog: She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.
--Cardinal Mermillod 

Just a few more months. My mother was hoping Dad would hang on long enough so they could celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in April. But on January 1st, as the sun rose on the new year, my dad’s worn out heart beat its last. Dad had battled Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years. As many of you know, AD is a long, hard journey. Hard on the one afflicted with the disease, hard on the caregivers.

But not without its blessings.

Four years ago, as I began researching stories for Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, my path crossed with a handful of Plain families who were coping with Alzheimer’s. It was just about the point when Dad’s illness was shifting from early to mid stages AD and the timing was a divine accident. I learned so much as I observed the calm acceptance of these families. Rather than waste time shaking a fist at God for allowing this disease to take their loved one, they put their energy into trusting God’s sovereignty. They didn’t deny the difficulties and complications and sadness of Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t dwell on them. “God has a plan,” one woman told me. “He always has a plan.”  

Something else I noticed was how privileged my Amish friends felt about caring for their loved one. Caring for the elderly, they believe, is the time to give back to them.

Those encounters shaped my perspective of Dad’s illness. I started to pay attention to how God provided answers to new wrinkles created by Alzheimer’s, just in time. God may be slow, but He is never late.
I started to cherish special moments or good days with Dad—just as he was at each point in his illness. Not mourning the past, not dreading the future.

I really miss my dad. I miss his scratchy whiskers and the way his eyebrows would wiggle at us, even as words failed him. Yet I have such peace in my heart that he was well loved and well cared for, right to the very end. And as hard as Dad’s end of life has been, it isn’t the end. We will meet again. As the saying goes, “Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.”

There’s a beautiful story that illustrates my parents’ 59-year marriage. This event happened about a year or two ago. My sister had accompanied our mother to the doctor appointment for Dad at the Stanford Memory Clinic.

Dad had declined quite a bit that month. He was weak and lethargic, even to the point of whispering, as if it took too much energy to project his voice. During the doctor's appointment, the doctor told my mother and sister that Dad was now in late stages of Alzheimer's. Dad didn’t have much vocabulary left, but when the doctor asked him who mom was, he whispered something back. The doctor looked at Mom and asked, "Did you hear what he just said?"

Mom shook her head.

"When I asked him who you were, he whispered, 'She' everything.'"


Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post. Suzanne can be found on-line at

Re-printed with permission by Cooking & Such,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guest blog: Joy Comes from Perseverance by Sheila Walsh

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Joy Comes from Perseverance by Sheila Walsh

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my own life is the joy that comes from perseverance. Eugene Peterson, borrowing a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote his book  “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction …Discipleship in an Instant Society.” He points to the Psalms as the way believers have always learned to pray what they live and live what they pray but it is not a short journey. It is an intentional commitment to keep walking even when you are worn out.

*If we want to see lasting results in any area of life it’s important to keep walking in that direction.

*If we want to have a better understanding of the Gospel of John then it takes time and commitment to dig deeper day after day.

*If we want to be thinner this summer than last summer then the work begins now not then.
So too in our relationship with Christ…..

*If we want to know Him at a more profoundly intimate level, that also takes an intentional seeking after Him every day.

As a grown woman I have come to love the beauty of this gift. Passing this “mined treasure” onto my son on the other hand has been an interesting challenge.  We live in such a fast paced, attention-challenged culture where the latest thing can be delivered to your doorstep by tomorrow for a few dollars more. But, as you know, by the time it is delivered it has already been replaced or updated!

How do we speak then into the lives of our children to help them understand and value perseverance?

For me…part of the puzzle meant a large piece of poster board, scissors, some photos and a bottle of Elmer’s glue. My son, Christian and I spread everything out on a sheet in the game room as I explained our project. “We’re going to make a family faith-tree,” I said. “These are photos of family on your dad’s side and on mine. Many of them have gone on to be with Jesus but the seeds they planted into our family continue to grow.” Then we wrote down their names and when they came to faith in Christ (as many as I knew).  It was quite something to see when we were finished.

“Your life matters Christian. Running your race well matters.”

That night we read these words from the writer to the Hebrews,

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up.
Hebrews 12:1 (NCV)


Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess® and her new series, Gabby, God's Little Angel. Meet Gabby in Gabby's Stick-to-It-Day. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability and humor with God’s Word. She resides in Dallas with her husband Barry and son Christian. Visit for more information about Sheila, her other books or Women of Faith.

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Guest blog: Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson

Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson

We've heard it said and often find it true:
You don't know the value of a treasure until you're without it. 

We take for granted the things in life that seem so readily available.
   A paperclip or rubber band, to hold things together.
   A tissue or napkin, to wipe our nose to clean our face, to absorb our tears.
   A Bible to speak words of wisdom and instruction and life and love.

And a Mother, who is all these things and more.
   She is readily available.
   She holds things together.
   She wipes our nose, cleans our face (and our fingers, and, well…everything else!)
   She absorbs our tears and calms our fears.
  "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26)
   She loves.

Within hours after my mother passed into the gates of our heavenly home, I was missing her. Her quick wit…humor…charm. Her warm smile and melodious laughter, which served her well to the very end, as did our Lord Jesus Christ, who so graciously allowed her to slip quietly and peacefully into His arms.

She simply stopped breathing.

As I stood at her bedside in those priceless moments after her passing, I wanted to touch her skin as much as possible while there was still warmth in her body; to nuzzle my nose against her head and breathe in the scent of her hair while she was still there. Priceless treasures I was guilty of taking for granted, clouded by unmet needs. I was so consumed with what she was not, that I never fully appreciated who she was. It’s like I was blind, but now I see!

I see her strength, her commitment. Her perseverance…sacrifice…her unspoken love. I see how much she meant to me, how much she did for me, how much she taught me, and how much of the good in me was modeled by her.

She was a virtuous woman, as described in Proverbs 31 of the Bible.
“Her children stand and bless her… a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise (vs. 31).”

This last verse of the poem serves as an epitaph for the woman of virtue. It speaks of the legacy she leaves in her passing. It spurred me to write a personal epitaph for my mother, which I read at her funeral.

We publicly declare your praise today, 
and in the days to come,
for you deserve to be praised and blessed,
"We honor you, Mom, for all you have done!"

In my earliest of memories, 
You worked so hard, striving for the rest.
You persevered through great trials
and did your very best.

I know you are being rewarded
in ways far beyond our reach.
We honor you now by practicing what you've taught,
and even what you preached!

You've stood for us for all these years,
Today, we stand for you!
I pray that our applause on earth
will reach your heavenly ears.

With the reading of this poem, I asked everyone to stand. We clapped our hands in celebration and praise of the life of my mother, Margaret Alice Stiltner.

Imagine our surprise to discover that she had left a poetic epitaph for us! She had clipped it from an old magazine and framed it. I found it when I was cleaning her home, on a nightstand by her bed. My mother was never versed at expressing emotion. This was her sweet way of kissing us good-bye: a priceless treasure to remember her by.


Cynthia (Cindy) Stiverson is a speaker, writer, and artist.  In 1998, she founded Woven: Women of Virtue Network, a spiritual formation and friendship ministry. She pastors the women at Newark Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. She is currently working on her fourth Woven Workbook, and also a book for mothers and daughters on the subject of sexual abuse. Cindy considers raising her daughter, speaker/author Nicole Braddock Bromley, to be her greatest achievement. She loves the men in her life, hubby Mark, grandbabes Jude and Isaac, and son-in-law Matthew. You can find more of Cindy at and

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother of Pearl Mother's Day Blog Series

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Planting season continues

Tonight I got some of the lovely plants in the ground.  I am trying tomatillos this year, they are the regular green variety so I planted two of those plants.  I have heard you need two plants for pollination but only two because they are so productive.  The basil was planted and I separated the plants as there were many seedlings in each pot so I have quite a little row lined up.  Next to them are some La Roma tomatoes from the local green house and a bit further are four Anaheim peppers, I haven't grown them before, but I think they will be a great one for salsa for us. Sun Gold tomatoes made the garden this year for a cherry variety.  I am not loving that many plants are hybrid, that is unusual for me, but buying them from greenhouses some will be.  They sounds like a nice cherry choice.  Two celery plants also made it in the cold bed.  As well as a Vates Curly Kale that was free from ordering so many plants from Azure.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Planting season... more plants arrive

This year since we are buying most of the plants, I ordered from Azure Standard to get some lovely organic plants. We are trying some new things and getting some more herbs that they bees will enjoy.  I hope to get them in the ground soon, but it is pretty rainy right now so if that doesn't happen for a few days they will be just fine.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Planting season continues

I have another bed almost completely planted.  The peas in this bed are coming up great and so are the herbs.  This bed has herbs at the end that are a mix of annuals and perennials, the annuals are not in yet.  I am doing mainly store bought plants this year because of the early warmth and the greenhouse delay. I planted early girl tomatoes (seems like another variety I might have forgotten at the moment as well), several colored bell peppers, four jalepenos and a couple types of marigolds.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flowers reinvigorated

This year is so productive!  We also replanted the small flower bed in the front.  It was not the grass taking over that bed, but the yarrow.  My husband built a pine box for the bed so it would be taller than the previous concrete edging and hopefully that will help to keep out the yarrow and grass.  My iris and lilies are so much happier!  I am going to try and mulch them to keep them that way.  I also pulled the weed from my two half wine barrels and got some seed planted in them as well as a new columbine in one as one barrels didn't come back  and put in a couple of pansies.  The little flower bed also got a some crysanthymums and violas to go around the tulips that are in it.  Only one tulip is going to bloom this year but I am still hopeful they others will next year.  I normally don't do annual plants, but those lovely viola and pansy faces were too much to pass on this year.  I am enjoying getting some instant beauty in as well as I wait for the Love in a Mist seeds to come up and the columbines to flower.