Friday, September 30, 2016

52 Books in 52 Weeks Update

I am still on my 52 Books in 52 Weeks journey.  

My newest editions are:

A book with a title that has fewer than 5 words

All I can say is this is an amazing book, and this week, my children and students better be glad I read it!

A book you can finish in a day
I used this book as a read aloud in my classroom.  It is a sweet story, but you have to infer a lot.  I love the biblical reference.

And a look back at other books I've read this year........

A book that cost less than $1
I cheated a bit. This book actually cost $1.  I loved it so much.  It was a life changer for how I view my ever-changing body compared to how Christ views me. 

A book given to me
This book was given to me by one of our church members.  She thought I might enjoy it, and she was so right.  There are so many things I have been able to use in conversation and Sunday school. Billy Graham says things so much better than I ever could...right, Leslie?

A book in a genre I don't typically read
The Iron Trial was a recommendation by a student in my class. He is really into stuff like this. I promised him I would read it. I did, and it wasn't too bad. I actually have the second book in my bag to read this summer.

A book recommended by someone I just met
One of my new students was reading If I Stay as her AR book. I asked her if it was any good, and she said yes, and then she told me I should read it.  I really liked the book. I watched the movie and did the ugly cry even though I knew what was going to happen.

 A book with a title that describes my life
LOVE this book. LOVE a good pair of jeans. LOVE Jesus.  

A book with a blue cover
I used this book in lit circles with my fifth graders. I read it beforehand and fell in love with it. The jaw dropping ending really got me.  Loved the movie too. Be sure you read the book before you watch the movie!

An autobiography
I am fascinated by Malala's story. After reading this, I used it for lit circles in my classroom. My students loved it. It was a wake up call for them because they had such a hard time believing that children in some countries aren't allowed an education like they are. 

 A book based in my town
The setting of this book is my hometown. Our librarian used this book in her Battle of the Books program a few years ago, and I fell in love with it.  All church goers (young and old) need to read this.  Its a story of forgiveness and how God works through all things. 

A book I haven't read since high school
I had forgotten how good this book was. I love that it is referenced in so many other pieces of literature.

A book I've already read at least once
This is another book used in our Battle of the Books program. To Kill a Mockingbird is referenced in this book, you'll have to read it to find out why.  I've always loved this book, but this year, after I completed it as a read aloud in my classroom, one of my autistic students said that he really liked it because it helps you understand how people think differently.  Score one for the teacher!

 A book published this year
A fellow Five Minute Friday Retreat friend wrote this wonderful book about trusting God even if He doesn't answer our prayers the way we want.  For anyone who has had trouble trusting Him, read this book.  Some people are bothered by the fact that Kaitlyn didn't go into extreme details in some of her stories, however, I don't think she needed to. I think we can all relate no matter what.

A book that's under 150 pages
This is an older book that I love and use as a read aloud in my classroom. It touches on bullying in a way that all of my students can relate. I love that it reinforces 2 facts: A) If you don't step up and stop bullying, you are just as guilty B)Bullying has negative effects

 A book written from a child's perspective
This is another book I used as a read aloud in class.   I love this book for so many reasons.  It is actually told from the perspective of a classroom of children and demonstrates the love their teacher had for them and the love they had for him.

A book thats more than 600 pages
I thought reading War and Peace was going to kill me! It took almost a year, but I did it though. I was proud of myself for not giving up although I wanted to at times. I was so excited about the mini series until they cancelled it right in the middle.

Sixteen books for the far so good.  How's your 2016 reading list going? I will be starting Five Minute Friday very soon.  

 I am giddy over this book. I already know it is full of amazing words that will inspire and encourage and challenge. I hope you will consider getting a copy of it.

Five Minute Friday: Collect

It is a happy Friday in the Five Minute Friday Community.  We are all giddy over the release of the Five Minute Friday book.  It is a beautiful collection of stories written in five minutes flat. So, I guess it is only fitting that today's prompt is Collect.

Once upon a time, my husband and I would collect things. Nascar and KISS items for him and Barbie dolls for me.  That was BC: before children.

Now our children collect things. Rocks, Pokemon cards, maps, coins, knives.

Collecting is fun.  I always liked the challenge of finding something that was unique and hard to get my hands on.

But now, those items my husband and I collected are sitting in boxes, collecting something themselves: dust.

Those boxes are doing us no good whatsoever.  They could now be considered a waste of money, space, and time.  Although I wouldn't go that far.  We had a great time bonding with one another as newlyweds to find those items.

But now, I try to store up other things.  I live differently and try to teach my children differently.  The things I do and buy now have more of a purpose.  Hopefully, they are more meaningful.  Now, I want the things I do and buy to make a difference, strengthen, encourage, or be helpful to some one.

And I think of what my sweet friend Glenda always said, "Store up things in heaven.  Lead others to Christ, for those are the things that matter."

Isn't that a beautiful thought?  Oh, that we would have heart so filled with love and compassion that everything we do is a treasure in heaven. Souls saved, hungry fed, naked clothed, hurting loved.  We should be the hands and feet of Jesus in all we do.

And I want to say this about the Five Minute Friday Community.  They love, they encourage, they make a difference. They do it each week through these writing prompts, and Susan Shipe has helped by publishing a collection of five minute stories.  This proceeds from this book are going to help two amazing charities.

Get your hands on one of these books today.  You'll be blessed by the collection of words inside. Oh, don't forget to get your Five Minute Friday gear too.  I have it on good authority that I'm getting something from this collection for my birthday. Thanks, Mom!

Before you go, read this week's blog posts and enter to win a copy of the Five Minute Friday book.  Yep, that's right.

I've got one for me and one for you!  You can enter write now by clicking on my picture!  Good luck and happy Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's all the Hype About?

A few years ago, I came across this thing called Five Minute Friday.  It was this online writing community of amazing people.  I found it hard to believe they were able to write such awesomeness in a matter of five minutes.  There's no way I could ever do anything like that, I thought.

But then, one day.....

I wrote.

For five minutes flat.

As we cuddled on the couch admiring our Christmas tree, I longed to stay in that moment.

With your arms around me.

The quiet.

The two of us.

Our children fast asleep in their beds.

As I heard your alarm go off this morning, I longed for you to stay in bed longer, pushing aside what had to be done today.  I climbed back into bed with you, hitting snooze. I wanted to stay that way.

As I think about what is about to come, the "going" you must do, I am reminded that we are not called to stay, but rather to go. We are called to make disciples of all nations. We are called to go to the outermost parts, just as you reminded us in your sermon Wednesday night.

Some people actually go, while others of us stay behind.  Whatever the case, I will stay strong, growing in the Lord, making you proud, being the wife I have been called to be. I will stay with arms wide open.

That day, the words came to me. I saw how it was done.

That day, I knew I could do anything because I had just said goodbye to my husband as he left for war.  Nothing could be any scarier or more difficult than that.

So, I looked at Five Minute Friday as my comfort blanket.  I had such a love for words, and this community allowed me to express myself.  Strangers would stop by the blog to read what I had to say.  My heart was touched when they found comfort in my words, when my words were what they needed to hear.

During a difficult time, the Five Minute Friday community became my people.  Online relationships grew. We encouraged each other each week.  My confidence grew because of these amazing people.  This boost led me to do something I never imagined I would do......

The Five Minute Friday Retreat....Yep, a weekend getaway with online friends and strangers who quickly became friends. Laughter, tears, writing, bible study, sunrises, coffee, and bacon. All of my favorite things.

So the hype is about this.....

Five minutes can change your life.

Five minutes can strengthen and encourage you.

Five minutes can touch the heart of a stranger in amazing ways.

Five minutes.

Words are power.  How we use them is of utmost importance. You know...words are like toothpaste. Once you speak them, you can never put them back where they came from.

So, that's what the hype is about.

And why am I promoting this book?

Because I love this community, and I want you to be a part of it.  I want to share with you the people and words who have changed me, loved me, and encouraged me.

If you want to be a part of this community, I encourage you to get a copy of the book. You can order at Amazon or by clicking here.  You can also leave a comment below to enter to win a copy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


A few years ago, something had happened, can't remember what, but I had said to Colin, "I've lost my marbles."

Later he went to the store with Jeff, and when they were shopping, he told his daddy, "We need to get some marbles."

Jeff asked why, and Colin replied, "Because Mama lost hers."

Bless his heart.

How many times have I felt like I've lost my marbles?  Too many to count.  But I thank God everyday that He helps me to find them.  He may take a few away and replace them with better ones, but God always provides (my marbles).

He provides by answering a prayer.  He provides by sending a friend.  He provides by bringing peace.

He Provides.

I will continue to lose my marbles, my patience, my temper.  But God will continue to be there for me to pick up the pieces, to calm my nerves, to find me when I'm lost in my own sinful nature.

Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound! I once was lost, but now I'm found!

Thank you, sweet Jesus!

This Five Minute Friday post was originally published on June 27, 2014.  What is Five Minute Friday you ask?  It's a wonderful online community of writers who take a one word prompt and write for five minutes flat. No overthinking. No editing (although some of us ELA teachers have to).  Just writing. The love of writing has brought forth the Five Minute Friday book, an amazing collection of some of our favorite posts.

You can order your very own copy now!  You should probably go ahead and get one for a friend to because each purchase will benefit the Ten Dollar Trip and The Vine School.  You can order HERE at Amazon or HERE at Create Space.

If I were you, I'd enter below to enter to win a copy.  I'll even sign it for you since I am contributor to the book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

While you're at it, check out the Five Minute Friday gear available.

These items are available for a limited time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I am totally a morning person.  My favorite thing to do is make a pot of coffee, check out the sunrise, and read my Bible.

Morning is just a special time. It's quite for the most part (I'm usually the only one up). The beauty of the sunrise amazes me.  Although the view out the back door is the same, the image is always different.

And morning reminds me of renewal.  A fresh start.

There's so many ways to connect that thought to Christ.

Joy comes in the morning.

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

He makes all things new.

The earth is filled with His glory.

I like to think that God is a morning person too.  Its full of beauty and peace and so is He.

I'm thankful for mornings, not just for my routine during this time, but for the new start.  Waking to the realization that God has blessed me with a new day, and regardless of what the day brings, He is in it. He's ordained it.

Because I know, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."

And I can rejoice each morning because of Him.

This post was originally published on February 26, 2016 for the Five Minute Friday Prompt: Morning.  Did you know that three ladies have their Morning posts published in the Five Minute Friday book?  One of those is my dear friend Christy.

Melinda, Me, and Christy

I would love for you to check out this book!  You have two ways to get your hands on a copy.  The first way is to visit Amazon or CreateSpace to purchase your very own copy.  Go ahead. Order one, two, or eight.  Your purchase helps benefit The Vine School and Ten Dollar Tribe.   Another way is to enter to win.  If I were you, I'd do both.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the prompt Morning.  Click below to enter to win a copy of the Five Minute Friday book. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to order your Five Minute Friday gear too!

These items are available for a limited time only!

Monday, September 26, 2016


It's Release Day!

Today is the day you can get your copy of Five Minute Friday Book: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat.  Go ahead, do the Happy Dance!

This week, I have a treat for you.  I will be reposting some of my favorite Five Minute Friday posts. AND you will have the opportunity to win a signed copy of the book. A book, signed by me because I was blessed with the opportunity to contribute to this book!

This Five Minute Friday post was originally published on November 30, 2012.

I remember being so excited about Christmas as a child. The anticipation. The laying in bed hearing noises and wondering if it was Santa I heard.

Now, I watch my own children. Trying my best to raise them in a godly home, I watch the wonder of the season in their eyes. How they touch the tree. Watching the lights. Flicking the ornaments.  The quietness. The stillness. The holiness of it all.

We talk about the true meaing.

The birth of our Lord, our Savior.

Jesus Christ.

The truth.

I wonder how many people really truly believe.

Not in Santa.

In Jesus.

The first gift.

The only gift that matters.

Oh, how I love Him.  How I want to please Him.


Awesome. Holy. Wonderful.

Because of Him, I live. Because of Him, I have a hope and future.  Because of that gift of His life. Of His death. Of His Resurrection.

Thank you, God, for the wonder of the season.  Thank you, God. for your Son, Jesus Christ.

Are you wondering about the Five Minute Friday Book?  Want your own copy?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First you can click HERE  or click HERE to go ahead and order one or two or ten.  Second, click on the Rafflecopter thingy to enter to win your very own signed copy.

All profits from the book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe!

Oh, and don't forget your Five Minute Friday Gear.  I'm definitely getting my hands on these!

You have to order now, because these products are available for a limited time only.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway and leave a comment telling me your thoughts about the one word prompt WONDER.