Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book Review-Sylvia Bambola

Every once in a while, I come across a new author (at least to me) that really makes me think. Sylvia Bambola is one of those authors. She is not really a NEW author as far as writing, but her name and her books are new to me. I have read two of her books and they both have made me think. I love Christian fiction, but there is a difference between books that make you think and those that just give you a wonderful story.

Refiner's Fire will make you think. It is about some Christians who are trying to serve God behind the Iron Curtain. It is fictional, but the characters have depth and they really touched me. It made me realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we can worship God without having to worry about soldiers busting in to put us in prison or worse. I just really liked this book.

Return to Appleton is a completely different book. It is about a daughter who is trying to make peace with her mother and the people she grew up with. It tackles some environmental issues, which are not normal book subjects.

Sylvia Bambola tackles different subjects than I have previously read about. That is what I like about her books. She is not afraid to give you a wonderful story woven in with issues that are important. What could be better than that?

I have a few more of hers to read. I am really looking forward to seeing what they are about as well. What have you read lately? Any new authors (to you or new to writing) that you have really enjoyed? Share them with me!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Doctor Visit

I broke down and went to the doctor today. I have some antibiotics and should be on the mend soon. Thanks for all the good thoughts!

Be back in a day or so!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mommy Monday

I won! I entered the bow naming contest over at Love-Me-Knots and I won! Woo-hoo! My littlest princess will have a new bow to wear. Their bows are just too cute, so if your little princess enjoys bows in her hair, then visit them to see what you can find!

Nothing is coming to mind in mommy issues today. That must mean that my kids are doing pretty well. I am trying to get myself together, however, because school will be ending in a month or so and I want to be prepared. I have been unraveling lately in Bible study, exercise, and taking care of myself, so I need to get back to that. This nasty UTI that I have had for two(yes, 2) weeks is not helping matters. Of course, if I would break down and go to the doctor, then it would probably get better much faster. I just hate to visit the doctor! Hubby is off work tomorrow, so I will go tomorrow if it is not better.

I hope that everyone is doing well. Still keep Heather in your prayers. She leaves this week for the Mayo Clinic. Also, remember my friend, who is adopting three kids into her family.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Funnies

How is your day today? Fridays are so frenetic for me. Of course, I make it that way because I save up all of my errands, including grocery shopping to do on this day. I sure don't want to wait until Saturday, with my three younguns in tow! Anyways, I just wanted to share some funny or interesting pictures that I have taken or found on the internet.I think I have shared this one before, but I really think it is funny. It reminds me of some of my "big hair" days in high school. The Preacher's Wife probably remembers my big hair(she had it, too!)! This is funny, because you know that this animal thinks that he looks great, but someday when he is older, he will look back on this picture and wonder, "why?".

This is a picture of my youngest when she was a baby. It is my favorite baby picture. I wonder what she was thinking when she was looking at all of those weird, furry faces?

This picture was taken at the Pumpkin Patch in the fall. My kids wanted me to get in the bus with them, but my bottom half sticks out. I just find it humorous.
Hubby did a much better job getting his body covered by the train. Of course, his face is sideways, but you at least can't see his body!
Delight in the Lord! Sing a joyful song! Smile, Laugh, and Love this weekend! Don't forget to pray for Heather at Especially and Christine at Fruit In Season. They would greatly appreciate it! Have a wonderful weekend!
Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Weekend and Thankful Thursday

This is a dual post, since Blogger decided to eat my weekend post, including the pictures. My weekend was a great deal of fun with the kids, but it was too cold for April. Other than that, we all had fun and enjoyed being away from the normalness of home for a couple of days. We ate, ate, swam, ate, went to a show, ate, went to the flea market, and did I say, that we ate? Here are a few pictures.
This is the stream behind the hotel. It would have been fun to wade in if it was warmer. See the ducks? They were so cute!You know it's cold if the horses have to wear their coat/blanket. This was outside of the Dixie Stampede. The horses are just so beautiful!

This is me and the kids at the aquarium. See the pigtails on the girls? KA thought that I should wear pigtails, too, but my hubby forbid it. I compromised with the ponytail. The Aquarium of the Smokies is a must see if you have kids. There is a tube that you ride a escalator-type belt through and the sharks, stingrays, and other fish swim above and around you-very cool. Of course, my favorite part was the flea markets. It was cold and rainy, but flea markets are fun anyways-especially indoor ones!

Thankful Thursday
1. I am thankful that God loves me. I don't deserve it in any way, but He is still right there waiting on me.
2. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my hubby and kids this weekend. We don't get to do that very often, because hubby works so much, so I am thankful for a stolen weekend away.
3. I am thankful for my mom. She is so good to me and my kids. I am thankful that we made it through my teenage years to become friends now.
4. I am thankful for my friends. They make me feel loved and needed. I only hope that I give them the same.
5. I am thankful for my home.
6. I am thankful for my work. I am behind this week, but I am thankful that I have clients that continue to allow me to work with them. I am a very blessed woman to get to work at home.
Thankfulness can make you more appreciative of what you have. To read more thankful posts, visit our wonderful host, Iris.
Smiles and Loves

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Most of you have heard that one of our fellow mommy bloggers, Heather, has a brain tumor. Today, we are coming together to bless her and her family as they fight this. For more information on Heather, click here. To find out how you can help her and her family, click here. This is one of the greatest things about blogging. We are all one big family. This young mom needs prayers right now. Keep her in your prayers and thoughts.

Back later with a personal update. Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, April 13, 2007

Off For the Weekend....

I am off for our little weekend trip. I hope that everyone has a wonderful and blessed weekend. I will leave you with this picture and Irish blessing.

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

May the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thankful Thursday

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalms 5:11

1-I am thankful for God's protection-even when I don't know that I need it. There is no way to know how many times He has protected us from injury or worse. Thank You, Lord.

2-I am thankful for a husband that loves me even when I am irritating and in a bad mood. I am so blessed that God allowed me to marry him and spend my life with him.

3-I am thankful that my children love God. They are great kids and I am so blessed that I got to be their mommy!

4-I am thankful for the little weekend trip that we are taking. It is only to Gatlinburg, but I am hoping that it is full of laughter, fun, and bonding time between all of us.

5-I am thankful for my house. I want a bigger one, but I am thankful for this one that we have. Some people don't have a house of their own.

6-I am thankful for God's healing. Time after time, He has healed me and my children.

7-I am thankful for the sunshine that I can see out my window. I am tired of gray skies, rain, and cold. I am ready for spring and warmth.

8-I am thankful for my friends. There was a time in my life that I felt alone and without friends. God has blessed me so abundantly with both real life and cyberspace friends to share ups and downs with.

9-I am thankful for my family. Although we don't see eye-to-eye sometimes on God, I still thank them for loving me and supporting me through some very trying times.

What are you thankful for? To read more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In Other Words...

"Ancient Words, ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart."
~ Lynn DeShazo~

"Do you know what I like the most about the Bible? I like that it is relevant for every generation and for any time. That is quite amazing if you think about it, because most books do not fit every generation. God gave Ancient Words to the writers that would mean just as much to us in the 21st century as they did to these men. That is astounding, isn’t it? No matter what problem that you have, the Bible can guide you to the right path. I want to be open to the Ancient Words that God has given to all of us, don’t you?

If you want to read more “In Other Words,” visit Loni at Joy in the Morning.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, April 9, 2007

Mommy Monday

I need your help with this situation. Family can be quite difficult sometimes. No, it is not my husband that is on my bad side, it is other extended adult family members that shall remain nameless.

Here is the scenario, "A, sing the Dragon Tales song that we taught you." A (very sweetly, because she is just 3) - "Dragon Tales, Dragon Tales. Don't you know that your butt smells? " I am cringing inside because I can just imagine this little ditty being sung in church next Sunday. The thing is that this person is not a Christian and neither is the spouse, so they think that it is humorous to teach my children songs that make my body cringe. I discussed this with my dear hubby and asked him if I was overreacting (me, overreact?). He agreed with me that it was not funny. I feel that they are in some way making fun of the fact that we are Christians and that we have Christian values. I feel that it is disrespectful toward us. This is not the first little song that they have taught my kids, so I am afraid that it will increasingly get worse. The thing is that they are family, but I feel that I need to take a stand with my children. Do I not allow them to spend time with my children? What would you do? I really need help with this issue, because I want to handle it in a Christian way that will not damage my relationship with them or with God. I am going to be praying about it, but I am curious to see what you say, too. Thanks for your help!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

I hope that everyone has a Happy Easter. Try to keep the real meaning of Easter alive in your heart. I know that if you have kids, then the bunnies and eggs will come into the picture, but try to find some way to reinforce the real Easter story to your kids. Spend time with your family. They are precious! See you on Monday!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday and there is sooo much to be thankful for. This week is very special in the life of a Jesus-lover, because this is the week that He gave us hope. I thank Him for that. Here is the rest of my list for the week.

1)I am thankful for Jesus shedding His blood for me. I don't deserve even a drop of His blood, but He shed His blood to cover my numerous sins. I praise Him for that.

2)I am thankful for God sending His Son, Jesus, to this world. It had to be hard to watch His Son in such pain. I cannot even imagine.

3) I am thankful for a wonderful church. I am thankful that we have a Tenebrae service each year to remind us what Easter really means. It is one of the best services of the year. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a service that is done in very low light with the light gradually going out. The crucifixion story is read and by the time the story gets to the death of Jesus, the lights are completely out. The church is emptied and locked for the weekend and opened on Sunday morning when Christ rose. It is a service where people come out not talking, because it is very emotional.

4) I am thankful for my beautiful family.

5) I am thankful for my Christian friends-both in real life and in cyberspace.

6) I am thankful. I am thankful. My heart is just full.

I hope that you spend time in prayer and thought this week about the real meaning of Easter. Eggs, bunnies, and chicks are fun, but without the cross and the grave, we would be lost. Thank You, Jesus!

For more expressions of thankfulness, visit Iris at Sting My Heart. She is the wonderful hostess for this event!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

I made Cyndi, Julie, and Denise think! Now, that is quite amazing to me, because they make me think everytime I read one of their posts and I would give them this award right back! Thanks my friends, for giving little (well, not so little) ole me this award. I thank all the little people who made me who I am (J, KA, and A). Now, I have to pay this award forward-which is difficult since everyone makes me think! Here are my awards for Thinking Blogger.

Karen - Karen is my friend in real life, too, and she is full of deep thoughts. I just love to read about her homeschooling projects and her thoughts that run through her head. She is a wonderful woman that I love to talk to in person and on a blog!

Laura - Laura is an organizing junkie and she makes me think because I want to be just like her. I wish I was organized! I buy all the tools, but the items don't just jump into the organization tools. Oh, well!

Shannon - Shannon and all the Works for Me Participants make me think every week. I enjoy going through the list of tips every week. I am always look for a better way of doing my normal stuff!

The remaining person has already received this award from someone else, but I have to mention them anyway.

Lisa - The Preachers Wife is an old friend from high school and I love her as much now as I did back then. She has grown into a mighty woman of God that makes me think and that I am proud to know! If you are into C.S. Lewis, she even has a post about his writings every Saturday.

There are many others who make me think. If you want to see who I read on a regular basis, you can. Just click here to see the list!

Thanks Cyndi, Julie, and Denise! I am blessed that my words have made you think!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wordless Wednesday-Thank God for Spring and New Life!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

In Other Words

“At the heart of the story stands the cross of Christ where evil did its worst and met its match.”
~ John Wenham

This is a great quote-especially for this week. We sometimes gloss over the cross part of the story simply because the resurrection is so powerful. The cross is the center and the heart of the story, however, because without the cross and without Him taking our sins upon Himself, then everything that followed would have no meaning other than the fact that He came back alive. The cross is the foundation for the rest of the story and the foundation of faith. If you don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross in your place and took your sins upon Himself, then what hope do you have? We would have no hope without the hope that Jesus gave. We are sinful and if Jesus didn’t take our punishment, then we would have no hope. The cross is a symbol of that hope and the resurrection of our Lord just builds on the whole message. Aren’t you thankful for that cross? I am, because without it, I would be hopeless and lost forever. Thank Jesus for the cross. Thank Him for taking your sins upon Himself. Bless His name.

To participate or to read other blogger's takes on this quote, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, April 2, 2007

Mommy Monday

Parenting is hard. The good news is that we have an instruction manual-the Bible. It sometimes takes prayer in addition to the reading, but if we stay focused on God and His Word, then our parenting will benefit, as well as our relationship with our husband. I have been making a point of listening to Bible study podcasts while I am cleaning the house, folding clothes, etc. and God has been showing me so much. Here is an example:

I have been listening to the "Counter Cultural Woman" on Revive Our Hearts for about the last month. It has blessed me so much. I always thought that I could never measure up to that elusive Proverbs 31 woman, so I didn't even try, but Nancy Leigh DeMoss pointed out something that I had not even considered. Yes, it is impossible to measure up to this woman in my own power, but with God's power I can be molded and refined into a model of this woman. I have posted before about going through a period of God's refining and I think that this Bible study has been a big part of this. I have seen Proverbs 31 through new eyes the past few weeks. If you want to listen to this series, you can find it at It began on February 12.

God is refining me-buffing out those rough spots and cutting some things off entirely. It is not comfortable or fun, but I know that it will make me into the woman that He wants me to be. That is what I desire with all my heart. I want to become His creation, rather than the person that I think that I should be. After all, He created me for such a time as this.

Father God, I thank You for your love and mercy. You are a God of new beginnings and mercies. Mold me and make me into the woman that You would have me to be. I am so unworthy of Your love and forgiveness, but I praise You for it. AMEN

What have you been listening to this week? Any podcasts or new music that you want to recommend? Send me a comment! Smiles and Loves! Janis


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