Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saying Goodbye--For Now

I haven't posted in awhile, so I thought I'd let you know that

I did not fall off the planet. (In case you were wondering.)
Haven't gone to my heavenly home.
No--I've been, it seems, in the netherworld of INDECISION.

I see that, now. I also recognize that I need to say an official farewell, to you, my faithful friends and readers! It's time to switch out this blog for something that aligns more closely with my current pursuits.   


Here's the thing:
This blog has been with me for some time now. When I started, my idea was to share the devotionals I enjoy writing, as well as other inspirational posts to support and encourage believers and writers (among whom I have many friends).

As a published author of inspirational romance, I like to write. The blog was a forum. Simple, right?

Not so. I'm still a Christian and still a writer, but my blog focus began shifting from devotionals and Christian issues to other stuff. (Lots of writers post devotionals and some of them do it really, really well. How many of us need another source?)


Then, just to complicate matters further, my WRITING focus started to shift. Instead of crafting novels, which I enjoy doing, I started dreaming of a children's series. Not just any series, but one that would combine my love of children's stories with my passion for Paleo-style food. Voila! A new venture was born. A venture that doesn't exactly fit beneath the heading of "Woman of Faith."

Am I a woman of faith? Yes! At my deepest, darkest moments I may get angry with my Lord and shout all kinds of undeserved things in His direction, but I would find it impossible to ever lose my "faith"--that would be like trying to deny my husband exists. Ain't gonna happen. I've had too many encounters with Jesus to ever doubt Him. (That's another work in progress, by the way. For my family if no one else, an autobiography of my "God-encounters." God is awesome! I want my family, including my descendants, to know it.)



But being a woman of faith and maintaining a blog called "Woman of Faith" are two different things. One is inescapable--that is who I am, by God's grace. A woman redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. A sinner saved by grace, written in the Lamb's Book of Life, not due to any merit on my part. A human being given the greatest honor possible...to know the Lord!

The other gets tricky.
It takes time, planning, forethought, and all that stuff to maintain a good blog.
So, the INDECISION was whether to cut the cord on this baby and let it go.....or not.
My absence was a sort of default option, letting it go by sheer neglect while I focused on the kids, all five of whom are still at home, and that Paleo lifestyle I've adopted. (I told you about that, right? 
It takes time, planning, forethought and all that stuff to maintain a healthy family and kitchen. And I want to create a blog that is a reflection of where my time, planning and forethought are going.)

I also lost a much loved sister-in-law this September. The summer was tinted with grief, knowing she was failing, and it became a flood of sorrow for me. I mention it only because it contributed to my absence from blogging. But, in my grief, I did a lot of reflecting.   
   

And now, much as I've enjoyed this place, I'm saying goodbye...for the time being.


I've got one children's picture book in the works and a whole series after that, for tweens.
I've got novels to work on, too, and I'll check in now and then just to let you know how they're doing.
In the meantime, I sincerely pray that all of you wonderful friends and believers and writers will
continue to be beautiful women of faith, and keep that faith well,
stay in touch,
and leave a little room in your heart for me for when I manage to revive this blog.

Thank you for being with me. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a writer doesn't come with royalty checks. It's YOU--readers!


I'll send out a post when my new blog is up and running, along with an invite so you can come along
on the new journey of health and well-being, and kid lit. I believe with all my heart that if any people in the world should know how to live well, it is God's people. The Paleo lifestyle, despite its name (Paleo, short for Paleolithic) is in reality a call to return to food as God made it.


But more of that on the new blog...
Stay tuned for my invite!
Warmest Blessings,

Linore
PS: When I say to keep in touch, I mean it! Please feel free to contact me at Linore (at) LinoreBurkard (dot) com, or leave a comment here. I love to hear from you.



   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blog for Sale! (And Winner Announcement)

Yesterday's post went out by accident, so I apologize for the missing winner announcement.

I  still can't figure out how that happened, but in any case, here is the winner of the current giveaway: 

 

 

Veronica Sternberg!*


 

 

 BLOG FOR SALE

When I first started this blog, I called it "Today's Woman of Faith" because I was posting devotionals and Christian content with regard to books, ministries, and current events.


I've veered away from those posts--not because I'm less interested in these things but I really enjoy sharing information regarding healthy living and "honest learning." So I've prayed about it and agonized over it and I've decided to put the blog up for sale so that I can start one with a title that is more fitting for my content.

 

Do you know of a ministry that might want the WOMAN OF FAITH blog to call their own? Please spread the word that it's up for sale.

  

As for what to title my new blog? I need your help with that!

There are literally tons of food blogs and recipe blogs, but mine will be geared towards healthy living AND learning. I'll continue to feature Organic recipes, Paleo recipes, make it yourself home products and beauty products, etc. But it will also have posts on visiting museums and historic sites, since I love to do those things and share my experiences.


If you have an idea of something to call such a blog that can incorporate these interests beneath one umbrella--send it along. I'm putting together a basket of goodies for someone who sends me a winning name.

It's not that I see my current interests as clashing with the "Woman of Faith" title, but I recognize that women who lead ministries for other women could make better use of it. And I think it fails to describe the content I've been putting up.

So--as my readers, what do you think? Do you like the idea of my re-vamping what I'm doing with a new blog, new title, to better fit my healthy living and learning themes?

 I appreciate the feedback I've already received on this question, but please keep sending in your thoughts and ideas. What blog title would grab YOUR interest? What sort of content would make you check the blog often for new posts?

Regarding the sale of this blog: Interested parties please email me for details at Linore (at) LinoreBurkard (dot) com.
(*Veronica, please send me your complete mailing address via the above email so I can send out your prize!)        

Monday, July 01, 2013

No-Bake Brownies and Healthy Mini-Cakes

I promised to begin posting some of our favorite healthy desserts, so today I have two for you. Both recipes fit the bill for when you need something sweet, but don't want to sabotage your healthy eating lifestyle.

 

The Brownies are of the gooey sort; if you like yours more like cake, this may not be the recipe for you. (You could always add 1/4 cup of almond flour to the recipe and see if that makes it more cake-like, but I haven't tried it so I don't know if it will.) 

 

One of my daughters is a true chocaholic and these brownies pass her taste test AND satisfy her chocolate cravings, yet they're free of refined sugar and white flour--I call that a winning recipe. :)


Raw (No-Bake) Brownies & Frosting

1 cup walnuts

1 cup dates, softened

1/4 cup cacao powder, preferably raw

1/4 tsp vanilla 

 

Place walnuts, dates, cacao and vanilla in a food processor and process until a ball of dough forms. (Process well--until smooth)

Place brownie batter into an 8 x 8 in. baking dish and press down to form a consistent thickness.

Frosting  

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil, (liquid)

 

Mix cacao and coconut oil by hand or in blender until emulsified. Frost brownie. Freeze for 10 minutes and then cut into squares and enjoy! 

The following recipe would work as a donut if you have the pan for it. If not, just make muffins as we do.  The glaze topping is optional, but it adds a wonderful touch. You won't believe how sweet it tastes--with no sugar!


Paleo Mini-Cakes (Muffins)

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

2 Tablespoons honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Mix all together. Bake in muffin cups @ 350 F. for 10-15 minutes, or until brown. Add glaze topping. (optional)

 

Glaze Topping

1 banana

2 Tablespoons milk

 

Microwave 30 seconds and then mash up banana and milk. Add another dash of milk, if necessary, to bring to glaze consistency. Use a knife or pastry brush to glaze muffin tops. 

 

You could also sprinkle cinnamon or chopped nuts, (or even chocolate mini-chips) over the tops of muffins after glazing, if desired.  My favorite is finely chopped nuts.   

In a hurry? 

If you absolutely must have something sweet but don't have time to make something, my go-to solution is organic dark chocolate. Trader Joe's has some good selections. A small piece of chocolate, which I sometimes slather peanut-butter over, is a craving-quencher that is very low on sugar but high in antioxidants.  You may be surprised to find that one or two bitefuls is really enough to give you that feeling of having indulged in something decadent, but without the guilt. Try it!

Giveaway Still Going On

Don't forget that the giveaway of Inspiring Women of the Faith is still going on. Leave a comment to be entered. Each comment counts as one entry.

 

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Kids Think

WE HAVE A WINNER  Did you enter the drawing for the beautiful romantic cupcake set I'm giving away? If so, the winner announcement follows this post, so read on!


How Kids Think

Any mom knows how tough it is to keep the whole family happy when it comes to food on the table, or even in the cupboards, for that matter. I try my darndest not to run out of the staples my husband cares most about, such as eggs, milk and cream for coffee.  But keeping the offspring happy can be tricky.

For instance, anyone following this blog knows how I've reformed my eating habits. I eat mostly organic, fresh foods, and have drastically decreased consumption of processed foods for the family. If anything, it raises the challenge of keeping happy campers because the kids need to re-learn healthy habits, too.

Kids are supposed to learn quickly, aren't they? Ha--witness the list I found on the fridge this morning: 

Older child put up the list. Youngest child added items 2 and 3: "Junk Food" and "Maccoronie"(sic)"


 The youngest knows it would be fruitless to say to me, "Mom, we need junk food!" but apparently putting it on a list is different. (I'm surprised she didn't add "Thou Shalt Buy," before her items.)

Just so you know, I sometimes DO buy food I consider "junk" because it's my fault I've raised junkies, and I don't want their transformation to healthy eating to cause withdrawal pains! (Some people consider sugar to be a drug, by the way. Sally Fallon includes information about this in Nourishing Traditions, a book I've spoken about before here on the blog. Dr. Mercola also warns about sugar as being drug-like; check out his post called "Is Sugar More Addictive than Cocaine?")

At the same time, I believe our penchant for preferring sweets is a God-given thing, so it's not all bad. Fortunately, I'm seeing my older daughter making more and  more healthy desserts, with no prodding on my part. (I'll share some of those recipes eventually.) She benefits in two ways: learning the ropes in the kitchen, (as she experiments with substituting healthy sweeteners for empty calories in white sugar) AND by discovering that eating healthy can be satisfying and yes--even sweet!

Are you trying to re-educate the youngsters in your life? How is that going for you? Maybe you're still trying to educate yourself--aren't we all! Share a comment and you'll be entered in my new drawing for the following:

  
Inspiring Women of the Faith--Stories about Sojourner Truth, Florence Nightingale, Corrie Ten Boom and many others. This is the sort of book I like my daughters to read; books that show women have always had gumption--courage--and used it for God. Recently I noticed in the Book of Chronicles, for instance, that there was a woman named Sheera who is credited with building three cities! A woman--in ancient Israel--BUILT three cities. (I'm not saying she was the actual brick-layer, but she WAS the mastermind, the architect, the visionary and director. I call THAT inspiring.)


Leave a comment and you're in the drawing for the book.

AND NOW: WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JUNE GIVEAWAY:

   

 The winner of this lovely set (left) is MELODY, "Missionwife." 
Congratulations, Melody! Perhaps you'll find a healthy dessert recipe here or somewhere else (like Wellness Mama) so that you eat well while eating beautifully. :)
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Welcome to the Regency!

My youngest daughter in front of a regency gown display at the Cincinnati Museum
Just for fun, I thought I'd share some illustrations from my favorite era in history to write about: The Regency, of course! If you're not familiar with this turbulent dawn of the nineteenth century in England, please check out my free PDF, "Welcome to the Regency." It will give you a fun, quick overview so that you'll understand what it means to read a "regency romance" as opposed to Victorian, or Early American, etc.

Far too often, this blog is SERIOUS, so today is just for FUN. I have an eclectic collection of period illustrations, and I'll be sharing some of my all-time faves. 

Here goes!

The "quintessential" Regency Evening Get-Together. Cards and Conversation.

The female waistline shows that this illustration is actually post-Regency (but pre-Victorian) and I love it because it is indicative of a wonderful spirit of worship which existed among the faithful during even the hedonistic Regency.
A Regency Girls' Day Out?
Headgear 1802

 Bonnets! 1812
I use the above as the background of my Twitter profile--gotta love a great bonnet! 

 
This exquisite outfit fascinates me. The shawl is a work of art in itself.  

This woman's hat looks suspiciously like a mobcap. I love it's exuberance of lace. This portrait, in fact, was the model I used to imagine the housekeeper for Mr. Mornay's residence in The House in Grosvenor Square

Quintessential Early Regency Style--feminine and beautiful
I have a weakness for illustrations with mothers and children. I'll do a post someday with this theme. (Btw, look how nicely the serving-man is dressed!)


Lord Grantham. A Regency hunk. :)!
A many-caped greatcoat. (I love to put one of these on any of my heroes when they're at the whip, that is, driving an equipage.)
Men's Fashions 1810
Hope you enjoyed this peek into this beautiful era. Don't forget to download my free PDF "Welcome to the Regency," if you haven't, already. 

CURRENT GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for the current giveaway:

Leave contact information in your comment, please, so I can notify you if you win! Drawing will be held on 
Sunday, June 19th, after midnight.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sale Ends 11:59pm, Monday, June 10th!



I don't often use my blog for promotion, but this sale was too good not to share. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from my publisher (Harvest House) regarding the current sale of my regencies, as well as to receive the wonderful image (above) that they made. Isn't it pretty?

So now I know the details of the sale, and it's all good: Except it's ending 11:59PM, Monday, June 10th.

Here's the scoop:

They are available at bargain-basement prices wherever the ebooks are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD.com, (The lowest price I've ever seen! Only $1.59 here!)  iTunes, etc.  (Would you believe I didn't even know they were available on iTunes? How neat.) 

A Regency Inspirational Romance Series:
Before the Season Ends – on sale for $1.99
The House in Grosvenor Square – on sale for $2.99
The Country House Courtship – on sale for $3.99

They told me, "That means your readers can get the entire series for less than $9.00, which is a really great deal."

So go get your summer reading on the cheap!

But the sale ends Monday night--please tell your friends.
 
And if you've read my books but are interested in other Christian fiction, check out the rest of the sale Harvest House is doing  by clicking HERE.  Don't go on vacation or relax this summer without a few good books! 

 NEW GIVEAWAY!

 I promised to show a picture today of this month's romantic but fun giveaway, and here it is: 

 Isn't it sweet? The set contains 24 paper cupcake cases & 24 paper cupcake toppers. The toppers read 
"love," "always," "forever," and "yours." 
Adorable!

Leave a comment telling other readers why they would want to get and read any of my books (especially now, while they're on sale!). If you've got the books or one of them but haven't read it yet, tell us what made you buy it, or what you're hoping for from the book. Just share something relevant, reader to reader and you're in the drawing for this lovely, elegant set. 

Thanks so much, and  may you find a great summer read (or two)!

Warmest Blessings,

Linore
Small print: Drawing open to US/Canada Only. People from other countries may enter, but will receive an ebook as their prize (one of my books). All winners are drawn using random.org. Drawing ends Sunday, June 16th.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Three Things & Contest Winners!

1. Announcing

...winners for the last two giveaways here at Woman of Faith!  (Finally!) The first giveaway winner receives
the book English Country House Murders, and the CD, "Voices of the Faithful," from Beth Moore Presents.

And the winner is....MARY PRESTON. Congratulations, Mary! I'll need your mailing address to send your prizes so please email me at Linore(at)LinoreBurkard(dot)com.

The 2nd giveaway was for a free copy of Pearls from the Sea, by MaryLu Tyndall and Debbie Mitchell.
And the winner is....VICKIE MARNEY. Congratulations, Vickie! Your ebook will be automatically mailed to you by one of the authors.

Hope you both enjoy your prizes. :)

2. UPDATE to "If Sickness Doesn't Kill You, Modern Medicine Will."

Last week I wrote about having gone for a CT Scan at my doctor's request, which he felt was necessary because I have high cholesterol. I mentioned that high cholesterol, according to the latest science, has absolutely NO causative relation to heart disease, especially in women. I went for the scan, received a chest full of radiation (yuck!) and said I'd get back to you with the results. I felt that maybe the toxicity of the test would be worth it if I found out something useful.

So--the results came back (the very next day): I have a score of ZERO cardiac calcium. "You have NO heart disease," the nurse told me during the call. So I underwent getting all that radiation to find out it wasn't necessary. I am trying to console myself with the fact that it was good news--even though the test WASN'T necessary--it is far better to find out that I have no diseased cardiac arteries, than to feel it was worthwhile getting it because I do. 

Bottom line: Don't be eager to undergo tests that aren't necessary, especially if they entail radiation exposure. If I could turn back the clock, I'd ask, instead, for a test that measures arterial blockage in the neck, and that is far less toxic, if at all. I'm not sure why my doctor didn't suggest this test to begin with, and I will ask him that at my next opportunity. 

3. The Sale Continues! (But for how much longer?)

 

It's odd to be an author and not know when your books go on sale but it happens. Recently I was on Amazon and discovered accidentally that my books (the Kindle editions) were on a deeply discounted sale! Apparently, ( a reader told me) that the Nook editions are also at these bargain prices.

Before the Season Ends   Only $1.99                                    



The House in Grosvenor Square  Only $2.51

The Country House Courtship  Only $3.03

I love sales because it means more readers take a chance on me; some of my dearest friends are women who read my books and contacted me! Of course I enjoy getting more readers anyway, but a great deal on my books is something I'm happy to tell others about. I love a deal myself, so I can totally identify with you on that.  

The Regency Books on Sale on Nook

Stay tuned for an announcement of the new drawing--June is the month for weddings and romance, so I have something beautifully fun and romantic to give away! All commenters this month are automatically entered in the drawing, so even if you comment today, it counts.  I'll have a picture of the June giveaway by tomorrow.
Hugs and Blessings,
Linore


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If Sickness Doesn't Kill You, Modern Medicine Will

Note: I have excerpts from Mary Lu Tyndall's and Deb Mitchell's new devotional for you (and a giveaway!) below, but first, pardon my rant. I have something to get off my chest--or out of, you might say!

OK, so I have high cholesterol, which, in case you haven't been following the latest science, is not shown to cause heart disease, especially in women. Read this carefully: CHOLESTEROL IS GOOD FOR YOU. Nevertheless, mine is VERY high, and so I agreed, at my doctor's suggestion, to get a cardiac calcium score. Somehow I was thinking it was an echocardiogram type of test. He assured me it wasn't in the least invasive.

Today I went for the test, only to find out it's a CT Scan. So I just filled my chest with radiation to check a score due to high cholesterol which isn't dangerous.  Aargh! I spend more to buy organic food, raw milk, free-range eggs, and so on, all in an effort to ensure good health. Then in one fell swoop I am dosed with countless radioactive particles--on doctor's orders. If it turns out that my cardiac arteries are in fact loaded with calcium clinging to their sides, then I suppose this may have been worth the toxicity. IF it turns out that way. I'll let you know. In the meantime, take a lesson from me and learn to ask more questions than you think you need to when your doctor orders a test.

(Oh, and I had to pay $100 bucks to get a chest full of radiation. I found out when I got there that my insurance won't cover it--which in itself raises questions. If a test is necessary and helpful, shouldn't it be covered?) 

Well--onto something much more edifying.  I have great excerpts for you from

 Pearls from the Sea: 180 Days Sailing the High Seas with Jesus at the Helm.  

    

Read the excerpts and you'll see this is a book that will enrich your devotional time with the Lord. I love the theme of oceans and sailing as we all know that wind and bad weather accost us from many sides in life. Mary Lu Tyndall, in case you're not already acquainted with her, writes wonderful historical swashbuckling adventures, and so she is on very familiar territory. Deb Mitchell is new to authorship, but is an avid reader and Christian.

Ryan Smith, an Amazon reader, says, "This devotional is awesome, and easy to read and understand. It has humor too. I highly recommend it. I love it!!"

Excerpt #1: (Mary Lu Tyndall)

A Stuck Rudder

Jumbo, one of the largest elephants in captivity, was part of the Barnum and Bailey circus for a number of years. He was a gentle giant who used to give rides to children on his back. When Jumbo was captured as a baby, his owners would tie him to a stake to keep him from escaping. Since he couldn’t pull himself from the stake, he learned to remain where he was. As he grew, he became so strong and mighty that he was known to pick up massive trees with his trunk and uproot them from the ground. Yet, still, every night, his owners would tie him to this simple, tiny stake in the ground, and he never tried to escape. Why, when it would have been no problem at all for him to yank that stake from the ground and gain his freedom? Because he had learned when he was little that he couldn’t pull up the stake, and he continued in that belief well into adulthood.
Now, think of yourself as that tiny elephant. That’s you before you met Christ. That’s you when you were young in the faith, or when you didn’t really know God or understand His power, when your spiritual muscles were weak. Problems easily overwhelmed you, and your rudder got stuck in the mud. You couldn’t move. You couldn’t live the life God had for you because you didn’t know how to pull your rudder from the mud and sail away. You thought you were helpless. You didn’t know who God made you to be.
Do you realize that as a committed Christian, you are the child of the King of the Universe? Do you realize who your Daddy is? Do you realize the power He’s given you at your fingertips, the strength? the wisdom?
Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37 NLT).
If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31NIV)?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)!
Why are you standing there next to that tiny stake? Why are you allowing that same problem to keep your rudder stuck? Change your thinking. Seek God. Study His Word. Mature in your walk with God. You are a child of the King! Call upon the God of the universe, your Daddy, and flex your faith muscles, and then wait and see what He will do.
One of the biggest problems many Christians struggle with is unbelief. They simply don’t believe who they are in Christ. They are still encumbered with problems they’ve had since childhood, not realizing that God not only wants to set them free, but can set them free.
Don’t be like Jumbo. Wise up and free your rudder.

Walt, another reader on Amazon, says:  "If you are tired of the same old devotionals that all feel and look the same this is bit of fresh air. Well worth the time very well priced."

Excerpt #2: (Debbie Mitchell)

Shake the Sand out of Your Shorts

I love going to the ocean and walking along the shoreline, allowing the waves to caress my feet. During the course of the day, the tides can change how the waves come and go. Sometimes, the waves are small and gentle, and you can walk along the shoreline without any fear of being pushed into the water. Then there are times when the crash of waves is so strong, you have to be careful your feet don’t fly out from under you.
Years ago, when I used to go to the ocean quite often, I saw a small child playing along the shoreline, and a wave came in and knocked him down. When he got back up, his shorts were filled with so much sand that it weighed him down as he waddled back to his parents.
Life can hit us as hard as a wave crashing onto the shore.
In our spiritual walk, when things weigh heavy on our minds, we can be like that child. Our shorts get so full of sand (worry, fear, illness, etc.) that our steps begin to slow down. At times like this, we need to call upon our Savior to lighten our load.
In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus doesn’t want us to be burdened by this life. He wants us to be strong so that we can face anything that comes our way. And when we occasionally fall in the sand and water, through Christ we are able to stand up and shake the sand from our shorts and continue on without delay.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10–11 NIV).
Be prepared for what’s ahead. Plant your feet firmly in the sand so that you can stand against any waves that may come your way.
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Amos 1:24–25 NLT).
 Click here to see the book on Amazon.com, and leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free download of the ebook.  Do you use devotionals? Tell us why or why not, and you'll be entered in the drawing! I'll choose a winner next week, using random.com.  Thanks, and may you be blessed with that free copy!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pearls from the Sea Giveaway!

I have a recommendation for you today for a unique devotional by two Christian women, one of whom (Mary Lu Tyndall) is multi-published in historical fiction. I've really enjoyed the novels by her that I've read. Co-author Debbie Mitchell is a woman much like you: an avid follower of Jesus, a reader, a learner. These ladies got together and, using the motif of taking a "journey with Jesus at the helm of your ship," they've produced this sweet little book that I hope to read soon, myself:
Pearls from the Sea: 180 Days Sailing the High Seas with Jesus at the Helm
From what I know of these two women, this book has got to be a treasure. 

And thanks to their generosity, one of my commenters can win a free ebook copy! Leave a comment to enter the drawing. But first, read more about the book, below.     



 All aboard! From the shores of salvation to eternity's horizon, embark on a 180 day journey with Jesus at the helm of your ship. You'll encounter storms, ship wrecks, and battles but you'll also enjoy days of smooth sailing, glorious sunsets, and rainbows that span the skies. In short:  Life with Jesus is an adventure. But He will never steer you wrong. Is your compass broken? Need some wind in your sails? Lost your anchor? Or maybe you've spotted an enemy ship on the horizon--they come all too often. If any of the above sound like you, come aboard! Join us as we help you trust in the Captain of your souls. (And hang on. You're in for the voyage of your life!)

MaryLu Tyndall Bio

MaryLu Tyndall is a Christy Award Nominee and author of eleven Inspirational Historical Romance Novels.  Her books are not only known for their romance and adventure but for their strong spiritual themes. MaryLu has been walking with God for fifteen years, but prior to that, her experience as an agnostic has given her a unique perspective on things both spiritual and carnal. Her life mission is to encourage believers to not take for granted the love and power of God and to live their lives fully for Him!  MaryLu lives in California with her husband, six children, and three cats.


                                     Debbie Mitchell Bio


A Sunday school teacher for over 20 years, Debbie Mitchell is a firm believer in reading through the Bible annually; she is working on her 13th time through. Keeping in the Word and teaching Sunday School has helped her to recognize and face the enemy. She lives in California with her husband Jack and their two dogs. She has one son, two daughters, two sons-in-law and has been blessed with grandchildren that truly make her days.


Note From the Authors:

It is our prayer that readers will be blessed by this devotional, that these messages God has given us will bring them closer to Him and empower them to keep sailing strong for His glory! Especially when the storms hit.

We all need strength behind our sails during storms. Has God helped you through a storm, recently? He can do so through so many different means, but often simply by the taking to heart of his Word. OR by a good devotional that helps us do so! Leave a comment for your chance to win this one. :) Thanks. And thank you to Mary Lu and Debbie for supplying that copy for one reader.   

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Productive Days & Recipe

What do you consider a productive day?

Getting errands done?
Grocery shopping?
Cleaning a few rooms?

For me, productive days fall into categories (and probably for you, too), such as, Homeschooling,
Writing, Editing, Shopping, or Baking or Cooking, to name a few.  Today I had a productive Kitchen day. (Don't you just love a productive kitchen day?)

For me, it looked like this: I got the kids started on their respective homeschooling lessons, made fermented oatmeal, started a batch of yogurt, picked up our week's supply of raw milk and cage-free eggs from a local farm, AND I started a fermented granola recipe (which takes 24 hours to ferment so you can't finish it all at once) and made my first-ever loaf of Paleo bread. (I'm really proud of that bread! It's sitting on my counter cooling right now and smells great.)

Here. I took a picture for the curious. :)  It didn't rise as high as the picture on the recipe looked. I used a different bread pan, which I suppose could account for that.

 It came out more as a quick bread style loaf, rather than sandwich style, so I'll keep trying new recipes until I get one that works for sandwiches. BUT I just tasted a slice and it's really good! (recipe below)

I also finished up my May recipes for the month, and have almost finished the accompanying shopping lists. When I get a month's worth of recipes in place, that means I have a plan and I don't have to worry about last-minute "what's for dinner" panic moments.  I also feel that I've accomplished something worthwhile.

My youngest is done with school for the day and my high schooler is almost there, so I'm just about ready to take an iced drink outside to the deck to enjoy this beautiful spring sunshine before starting dinner.

How about you? Did you get any good gardening done today? Or baking? Writing?
Tell me what makes you feel like you've accomplished something worthwhile by leaving a comment and you'll be entered into the current drawing for ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE MURDERS, book on the right.
("More Tea, Vicar?" is unfortunately no longer available--I'm substituting it with another English and/or Jane Austen themed CD. Details to follow. Sorry for the change!) But the book and a similar CD will be awarded to one commenter by the 15th of the month.) So leave your comment today!  
:     And here's the Paleo Bread recipe I followed, originally from Elana's Pantry. (Click the link and you'll see her bread looks much more like a sandwich bread than mine. I'll have to look into getting that "Magic Line Loaf Pan," that she used.) Anyway, the bread has no flour, no sugar (a small amount of honey) and practically no carbs at all. I wouldn't go crazy eating half a loaf, however, since it does have a lot of nutrient-dense nut flours and healthy fats. Enjoy!

Paleo Bread
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Place almond flour, coconut  flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor. (I just whisked my ingredients. This could be another reason my bread turned out differently. When I saw that it only called for "pulsing," I figured I could get the same results without the processor. Apparently, I was wrong!)

2. Pulse ingredients together.

3. Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar

4. Pour batter into a greased 7.5" x 3.5 " Magic Line Loaf Pan

5. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

6. Cool and serve. 

Happy Baking! And don't forget to leave a comment to enter the drawing. When you comment on more than one post, you get more than one entry. (One entry per comment)
Thank you and Good luck!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

One of the things I really enjoy about Nourishing Traditions is a feature in which they have a sidebar that says "Know Your Ingredients. Guess This Product." It goes on to list the ingredients of an everyday product on the shelves of the grocery store, probably an item many of us have purchased in the past.

It's sort of horrifying, first of all, to read the ingredients, but somehow fun to go to the appendix and find out what the mystery product is. Many times I've been able to guess, but there are actually products out there with so many fake "foods" and convoluted-sounding additives that the actual item is really camouflaged. To think, we're eating this stuff!

A better headline to the sidebar might be: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid! 

Recently I was on the road for a few hours with some of my family and we stopped at a popular fried chicken eatery. I just plain won't eat a lot of fast food, but I was hungry, and it smelled good, and we were far from home....you get the idea. I don't eat biscuits, but might have been tempted if they'd had real butter--which, of course, was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was a "buttery spread," full of hydrogenated oils and lots of other unhealthy things. What really got me, though, was the "honey" sauce. Check out the ingredients to what should be a fully natural and single ingredient item:

(Fried-Chicken Fast Food Place) Honey Sauce
High fructose corn syrup
Corn Syrup
Sugar
Honey (hooray! There's some in there)
Fructose
Caramel color
Molasses
Water
Citric Acid
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Malic Acid 

From what I've read, "natural and artificial flavor" could mean MSG--by another name, so even this ingredient is suspect.

Notice the first ingredient? I've been on a crusade of sorts to abolish high fructose corn syrup from my home since last year, and it's absolutely amazing how many items in the grocery store contain it. Once you start reading labels, you'll see what I mean. I have one daughter who loves soda, and, even though I've convinced her not to drink diet types, she still asks for the regular type, especially coke. I didn't realize until I started checking labels that not even soda is sweetened with real sugar, however. So, even if you avoid the artificial sweeteners, you can't avoid high fructose corn syrup if you buy most brands, even the big names.

I'm not saying that soda--or sugar--is good for you, mind you, but I'd get her soda with sugar on occasion (if it was readily available. Maybe it's good it isn't!) whereas I won't buy the diet or HFCS ones. Now and then I'd like a soda myself, and guess what--there's a solution! I drink ZEVIA--it's soda sweetened with all-natural, zero calorie stevia. SO glad they came out with this! But it's pricey, so having a can of soda only occasionally works out well. My daughter knows that if she wants a can of soda, she's got to earn it.

Before I go, here's an interesting article I read recently about this subject of what's in our foods. :
Do Healthy Processed Foods Exist?
(If you enjoy this article, click the link to high fructose corn syrup (above) and let Dr. Mercola explain how bad this stuff is.)


All of this reminds me why, when I go to a grocery store, my mantra could be: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid! (Read labels!)
What about you? Have you taken any steps to put your family on a course towards better eating? I'm working on a free pdf called, "The Top Ten Easiest and Pain-Free Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet and Health."
Watch for it, coming soon. :)

And don't forget to enter this month's free giveaway by leaving a comment! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Recipe --and Giveaway

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

You get the same puffy-creamy soap as in the commercial stuff, only you'll know exactly what yours is made of.
Last summer I was at a Bed and Bath Store when they were holding a special sale of their wonderfully scented foaming hand soaps. It was something like 6 for $20, plus a bonus free one for a total of 7. Needless to say, those nice smelling soaps are long gone. With a household of seven, the only ones that lasted any length of time were the two I kept for the master bathroom. (Coconut-Lime, yeah!)

Well, had I known then how easy it is to make my own foaming hand soap, I wouldn't have spent $20 bucks on theirs, good scents notwithstanding. I've also since learned that fragrances are some of the worst offenders when it comes to carrying heavy toxic loads of nasties, and who knows what else is in their soap? Most commercial soaps and skin care products--of all things--have really bad neurotoxins like parabens, sulfates, and propylene glycol. (Check your favorite brand--you'll probably find one or more of these few that I've just listed!)

When I recently discovered how quick and easy it is to make my own foaming style soap, I determined never to buy another commercial concoction unless my dispenser breaks. (You need a foaming soap dispenser to start with, so you'll have to buy one if you don't already have one.)


Foaming Soap Recipe  

(This is so easy, I can hardly call it a recipe.) 

 

Fill soap dispenser 3/4 full with cool water. Fill the rest of the way with Castile soap, leaving just enough space for the pump, so it doesn't overflow when you close it up. Shake to blend, and presto! You now have your own foaming soap.

 

For those who really want a recipe, or if you're a purist, you could do it this way:

Take about 1 cup of distilled or boiled water, and mix with about 1/4 cup of Castile soap.

 

Not a purist, but just want to save money by making your own? Use the 3/4 water to 1/4 soap ratio, but use any liquid soap in place of the Castile. It will still work just as well. The only difference is that you've got commercial dyes and fragrances as usual. 

 

Like homemade but miss the fragrance? Buy some essential oils and add about 20 or so drops to your soap. You may need to experiment to get it to the level of fragrance you want. 

 

I have only one caution if you use my method, which is, the Castile soap. There is a warning on the label not to get Castile in the eyes. For adults, the soap poses no hazard since it's very diluted, and most grown-ups don't go around sticking their fingers or fists in their eyes. Children, who love to play with suds and, in this case--foam--may experience some irritation. So, if you have little ones in the house, you might want to avoid the liquid Castile. 

 

 GIVEAWAY**GIVEAWAY**GIVEAWAY**GIVEAWAY


The current giveaway is still open. Just leave a comment related to any post this month and you could win!  Please include your email so I can notify you.

This month's giveaway is the hardcover: English Country House Murders and, the British CD "More Tea, Vicar?"

English Country House Murders is an exciting collection of some of the very best writing in the genre by top-notch writers of the past century (and the 19th). You'll find names like P.D. James, Wilkie Collins, G.K.Chesterton, and even P.G.Wodehouse. Dame Agatha Christie  is here, of course, as well.  As the insert of the book says, this is the "first hardcover anthology devoted entirely to mystery, crime, and detective stories set in the specialized and surprisingly dangerous world of the manor."



The dust jacket is a bit dog-eared but otherwise, English Country House Murders is in perfectly eerie-reading shape. 

More Tea, Vicar?-- "Gentle Teatime Classic". "Music on the theme of tea, with a hint of coffee thrown in for those who like their caffeine from beans, not leaves! A light-hearted brew of old favourites and familiar songs for tongue in cheek listening while sipping the glorious nectar which is tea!"

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment. Start off by telling us of a lovely house-museum you've visited, or perhaps how you may have been influenced by Billy Graham at some point in your life.

Warmest Blessings,

Linore



 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Come to A House Museum

Have you visited the Billy Graham House Museum? The site is officially called The Billy Graham Library, and there is a library, but it is much, much more than that. Even those not overly fond of Mr. Graham will find the trip to the house and grounds in Charlotte, North Carolina well worth it.  I was there last summer with my husband, two daughters and some friends who had just moved to the area.

A visit will include a tour of the modest home Mr. Graham grew up in, replete with original furnishings and wallpaper, right down to several thousand bricks--which is remarkable considering that the house has been transplanted to this site from miles away, where Mr. Graham grew up. (How they do that, I'll never fathom!)

Even before entering the home, visitors are greeted outdoors with lovely hymns, as if an angel choir is hovering about somewhere. It turns out that the music is wafting out of fairly hidden speakers, and these are scattered about the walking paths so that one is never too far away from the peaceful, happy sounds.   On a beautiful day, you might think you're on heavenly grounds!

As you enter the house, it is immediately apparent that Mrs. Graham (not Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of the famous evangelist, but Billy's mother) had an eye for tasteful decor. I couldn't help snapping photos as we moved along.
Victorian Lady. (from the Billy Graham Homestead)



Dining Room (Billy Graham Homestead)

It may not be overtly apparent in the photos, but upon entering the house you can't miss an abundance of creamy light-blue, present in the painted walls, the drapery and upholstery and in other accessories. It was Mrs. Graham's favorite color. (I like a lady who knows how to please herself in her decorating style--especially when it is so esthetically successful.) ;) 

We were only given access to the first floor rooms, and even some of them were tantalizingly roped off so that you couldn't see the whole room. (Must be what makes me an avid researcher for my novels--a really well developed sense of curiosity!) Those we could view, however, were lovely. The kitchen was small and definitely low-tech. Not a granite countertop in sight, but it had the winsome charm of days past, which is what I enjoyed throughout the home.

Right Wall in Dining Room (Billy Graham Homestead)
More Victorian vignettes. (Not a great picture, unfortunately!)


Georgian Vignette. I could not get this photo without the reflection, much as I tried. 
  Once you complete the short tour of the homestead, you follow the path, still enjoying the hymns along the way, to the Barn. This is where the real tour begins, with state-of-the-art animatronics in the huge "reception" room and bookstore, where it all starts. There is no charge for any of this, by the way. Admission is free, which is a delightful surprise, considering the cost of even small museums, today.

Once you listen to an animatronic cow give you a little amusing introduction, you follow a mostly self-guided tour from room to room. "Self-guided," because no one rushes you, but there is a presentation or short film in most every room, so that, even though no one is moving you along, the tour goes in order of Mr. Graham's life, and you learn, not only about him and where he traveled to preach the Word of God--these things seem almost incidental--but about the various countries he went to. There is political, social, and spiritual information, so you don't feel as though it is all about him. Instead, it is a great testimony of what God does with a willing soul, and even a history lesson for anyone willing to listen, read, and learn.

Exhibits range from written paraphernalia, pictures, films, recorded excerpts, artwork, and a couple rooms full of personal artifacts, letters, and other things of interest. I don't think I spent a boring moment. Then, at the very end of the tour, we went through a wonderful doorway, which (if I remember correctly) is meant to represent the door we all hope to pass through one day--the gateway to heaven. (See below.) It is actually like going through a short tunnel--fun!

Notice the Cross: Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Afterwards, you can browse the bookstore or get a bite to eat. 

And outside, follow the trails to see a few memorials, including the gravesite of Ruth Bell Graham. [Gotta love that lady. On her stone is an inscription she saw one day near a construction site and immediately wanted for her own memorial: "End of Construction. Thank you for your patience."] Beside her stone is an empty spot for Mr. Graham, but trust me when I say there is nothing macabre or sad about it. (As Paul the Apostle says, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.") 

For more information on the Billy Graham Library, hours of operation, and more, see the website HERE.

Wonderful friends, Javier and Beth Buch, with my youngest daughter. I love combining out of state visits to see friends with trips to museums, homesteads, and the like. Don't you?

MARCH GIVEAWAY WINNER:  Chaplain Debbie! As one of my very faithful blog readers, I couldn't have been more delighted by the pick of the draw. (Winners are always chosen using random.org.)
Debbie wins a three-tin set of English Teas. Congratulations, Deb! Enjoy a good cup of tea before it gets too hot outside! :)

NEW GIVEAWAY: Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment after any post. Please include your email so I can notify you if you win!
This month's giveaway is the hardcover: English Country House Murders and, the British CD "More Tea, Vicar?"

English Country House Murders is an exciting collection of some of the very best writing in the genre by top-notch writers of the past century (and the 19th). You'll find names like P.D. James, Wilkie Collins, G.K.Chesterton, and even P.G.Wodehouse. Dame Agatha Christie  is here, of course, as well.  As the insert of the book says, this is the "first hardcover anthology devoted entirely to mystery, crime, and detective stories set in the specialized and surprisingly dangerous world of the manor."

The dust jacket is a bit dog-eared but otherwise, English Country House Murders is in perfectly eerie-reading shape. 
More Tea, Vicar?-- "Gentle Teatime Classic". "Music on the theme of tea, with a hint of coffee thrown in for those who like their caffeine from beans, not leaves! A light-hearted brew of old favourites and familiar songs for tongue in cheek listening while sipping the glorious nectar which is tea!"
 
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment. Start off by telling us of a lovely house-museum you've visited, or perhaps how you may have been influenced by Billy Graham at some point in your life.

Warmest Blessings,

Linore
Billy Graham Library and Bookstore photos from BillyGrahamLibrary.org. All other photos copyright 2013 of Linore Rose Burkard.