The Failures of our Faith

My week has been spent with a lot of catching up on household stuff that was put on hold for the school year, the play, and all the other things that I can push aside. I have spent some time reading to relax and we worked on getting the garage cleaned out! Yay! It looks a whole lot better!

 

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Today, after a week of news articles on the failures of many so called Christians, some of which were in leadership…which I will not name as I am sure you all have your own names you can put in their place, I found myself pondering. I guess, wondering if you will, if we have lost something in translation of our walk of Faith.

It is the day, today that many people celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, more people attend church today than ever. There are often holiday family meals together, most women wear bright, colorful dresses that they never wear otherwise, and it is a joyful occasion. How many times though, did we find ourselves caught up in the midst of our to-do list, the meal plans, the food that had to be cooked, the bible verses that had to memorized and we forgot that the person we might see everyday, may need some encouragement.

I am one of the biggest failures when it comes to this. I often find myself, more comfortable slipping in a service here and there, not keen on developing or seeking out relationships. I struggle with making small talk, or meaningful talk at times.

I started to think, maybe that woman that I see at the library often, maybe she just needs someone to squeeze her and tell her you were thinking of her. It could be that kid your son plays basketball with, might be struggling with his faith. Have you asked him to join you in learning more about your beliefs?

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Do we get stuck in the same patterns and think that if we invite someone them to church, we have done our duty? We say hi, and pass on our way. Could it be that you might need to babysit for someone, even though you don’t know them that well? Bring them a meal? Offer to clean their house?

 

These are questions I am asking myself. Am I using my time wisely? I may not fail as publicly as some of the ministers in news, but I am sure we fail each other in other ways. What can we do this week to not fail those that are walking in the faith and those that are not? Are we really living our faith or just a semblance of it?

 

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Menu for the Week

Monday: Sausage, homemade sauce, pasta, and salad

Tuesday: Chicken, broccoli cheddar pasta. (I took a chicken breast, browned it with some spices, added lots of fresh broccoli, homemade cheese sauce and cooked pasta together)

Wednesday: Baked potatoes, salad

Thursday: Chili, cornbread

Friday: Venison Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday: Bierocks, Vegetable soup, zucchini bread

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Rice pilaf with meat chunks, pita bread

Tuesday:  Goulash, corn,  salad

 

This week is more like the week of….”I spent too much because we had to eat sandwiches for dinner for two weeks, so eat out of the freezer week.” It isn’t too bad, but I am once again reminded of how much I hate meat and how I need to buy more salad stuff.

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Play performance

We had a great week with practice, set up, performing and spending time with friends! It went well and the bake sale and silent auction to support it, went well too. I am very thankful to get getting back to a more normal schedule!

 

 

 

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A Beauty So Rare by Tamara Alexander

A Beauty So Rare

By Tamara Alexander

 

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

 

Book Description:

 

Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war–and still had one to fight.

 

Eleanor Braddock–plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty–knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

 

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects.

 

But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

 

My Review:

This lovely book is 480 pages long and meant to savor every page. I felt myself immersed in Eleanor’s life post-Civil War in the south. She faces issues of her father’s dementia, the pressure to marry, and her own desire to do something outside the realms of her station.

I was able to relate to her predicament on many levels. She was afraid to love; afraid to care after losing so many she cared for. Her aunt shows us that she cares, but in a controlled manner. Everything must be done by the book, there are many rules just befitting her station.

The pain that Ms. Alexander pours through the pages of how she had to allow others to care for her father, yet she loves him so much was so deeply moving. This book is not a “romance novel”, but a tale of how when someone feels unworthy of love and care because at every turn, it has let you done, keep looking. It can be there, and not always in a romantic way.

This book was given to me for review from Bethany House publishers. The review is my own words and I was not paid for it in any way.

-Martha

 

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Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Love Comes Calling

By Siri Mitchell

 

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

 

A girl with the best of intentions.

A heart set on Hollywood.

An empty pocketbook.

 

That’s all it takes for Ellis Eton to find herself working as a telephone operator for a look-alike friend. For Ellis, this job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get her a start in the movies. She’s tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can’t deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she’s not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It’s simple: avoid Griff’s attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call…with her very own Griff as the target.

 

With an endearing heroine as her lead, Siri Mitchell takes readers on a madcap tale

of love and discovering one’s true desires!

 

My Review:

 

Ellis Eton is all over the page in this book. You realize right off the bat that there is nothing ordinary about her! She flits from one thing to the next, despite her family’s disappointment and her desire to be a film star.

 

As a person that is driven by duty and desire to accomplish tasks, I struggled to relate to her at first. However, the historical story set in the 1930’s, the telephone operator’s tasks and the issues dealing with the prohibition intrigued me. When I read that the author wanted you to feel what someone would have faced at that time period with ADD or ADHD, it really caught my attention.

 

I didn’t find this book as descriptive in the historical sense as some of Ms. Mitchell’s, but more a very enjoyable story that was a little lighter than some of her subject matter. As always she touches on a topic not discussed as often, with learning disabilities being looked down upon as laziness or stupidity before recent times. I found Ellis a little frustrating because of her inability to concentrate. It seemed that it jumped all over, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was on purpose. It really got the point across about how difficult it would have been.

 

This book was given to me for review by Bethany House Publishers and the thoughts contained therein are my own!-Martha

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Menu for the week/School week

I will be away from home for dinner every night this week, so we are planning on eating a lot of sandwiches, fruit and vegetables while out. However, I am going to try to have something at home for the boys to eat when they get home as I know they will be hungry otherwise.

 

Monday- Leftover Sloppy Joes, carrots

Tuesday- Rice pilaf with steak chunks and vegetables (I am planning on browning some meat chunks and putting in the rice cooker with some vegetables and spices)

Wednesday- Pita bread pizzas

Thursday- Broccoli soup

Friday- Eating out

Saturday- Crock pot meal to bring with….

 

The school week is interesting and will look different. Last week, we did testing and school around it. This week is filled with music, drama and dancing practice. I am promoting lots of sleep, exercise and healthy food hopefully with history, science and other subjects mixed in!

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Blog Hop- Hopscotch to learn more about writers that blog =)

 

 

I was tagged by my lovely friend Joy, whom writes over on her blog “More than Words

Head over there to leave her a comment!

She left me some questions to answer about my writing journey!

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(Myself and writer friends at a recent writing conference)

What am I working on?

At the moment, I am working on a pregnancy book. I want it to be a visit over tea with a friend, who will tell you the why behind the mysteries of pregnancy. I found that so often many care providers will throw out statements without explaining them. The client goes home and seeks out the internet or a pregnancy book. The pregnancy books will say “If this happens….call your doctor.” The internet says “This is a very scary thing and look at the statistics of all the pregnant women that died or their babies had such and such happen to them.” or it says “It happened to my friend and it was no big deal.” I am seeking to give concise advice for the busy mother or non-reader, in layman terms that will be checked and gone over by medical professionals, in order to hopefully give you accurate info on those topics you are wondering about.
How does my work differ from others in it’s genre?

My fiction deals with not your normal “Boy meets Girl, fall in love, live happily ever after.” My fiction, I want to address more the questions we might have as someone that has been burned by love. I want to talk about cult groups as well, and deal with issues. However, that is tough to write and to sell, so we will see if anyone ever gets to read it! =) I write about pregnancy, as education is my passion. Education for pregnant women is my top priority.

I gave birth to my first two children without any medical support or prenatal care by any professional. That means, yes, I attempted to perform my own prenatal care for the most part. It did not go so well. I wanted to educate myself and went to the library and checked out every pregnancy book they owned. (Yes, I really did.) I read all of them and was so frustrated when I wanted to know why if you see spots and get dizzy, they want you to go to the doctor right away. I wanted to be in control of my pregnancy, which was why I chose not to go with a medical care provider. I learned the lesson the hard way, and highly recommend education instead of unassisted birth if you want to be in control of your pregnancy. My book will differ from what is out there, in it’s way it is written, in more of a conversational style, than medical as well as being short, but full of information.

Why do I write what I do?
I write an assortment of things. I love writing fiction, and especially women’s fiction as when I was struggling through some very different life circumstances, it really was what pulled me up and helped me to look above what I was going through. I really hope that someday others would be able to read the stories I have written and that God can use them in their lives as well. I write non-fiction about pregnancy right now, and I hope that it educates, informs and makes people laugh, while actually getting the info they need.

How does your writing process work?
For me, I have to work on discipline. I found that I have to have an idea that really grabs me at the beginning, and then in order to run with it, I have to lay it out, act it out or even talk it out. This happens sometimes out loud or in my head and looks pretty weird. Writers, I have found, though, are usually those people that don’t mind being called “weird”, “geek” or other titles that normally would bother a person. When I was younger, I used to make stories in my head, and work them out as I did chores, milked the cow,  or other things around the house. It was better if the house was empty!

The same hold true for me now! I love an empty, quiet house to write in. But as Joy mentioned, I have four, very busy boys….so quiet and empty does not describe my house at all! I have to often take snippets where I find it and work on writing every day. Lately, it has been at play practice!

 

Next, if you would, head over to Nicole’s Blog….http://www.nicoledeese.com/blog/

 

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