Teish Knits

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Thoughts for Tuesday, September 1st

Outside my windows… it’s still sunny and in the 70s. Summer weather despite the calendar!

Inside my house… I’m back to being able to do the cleaning and lifting again. It was hard to scale back after surgery, but a few good things came of it anyway.

Counting 1000 gifts… all of the reasons that I’ve had to smile today!

Prayers of the heart… It’s definitely exciting to be getting back into our regular routines again. On the flip side, balancing work, school, chores, and everything else is a challenge! Praying for wisdom in sorting out priorities for the fall.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… playing games and building with LEGOs now that we are done with our studies for the day.

From my playlist… getting back into listening to a few podcasts. I’ve discovered Homeschooling IRL and I’m hooked now!

From my reading list… Bathsheba from Angela Hunt came in the mail this week. Keep watch for the review later this month!

From my needlework basket… lots of cute little baby sweaters and such for the friends and relatives who are expecting.

In the learning room… New Book Day! Do I really have a Jr. High student now? I have no idea how this happened so fast…

Random ramblings… Yeah, it’s been quiet here this summer. There’s been a lot going on though. Surgery and recovery of course, but other things too. Things that are deeply personal. I’ve had a lot to process, and time will tell just how much I write about it. Though I will be sharing soon about some pretty cool stuff that happened just before my surgery, so be watching for that post! This fall, I’m hoping to get back to more regular posting and reviews. (If anyone has any great ideas for a blog post you’d like me to write, please do let me know!)

Profound ponderings… “I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are evil.” – JRR Tolkien

Caught on film… I will use any excuse to bake cupcakes…

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Book Review: Effortless Healing

Years ago, before I had children, I spent a few years working at a chiropractic office. The time I spent there really opened my eyes to the world of alternative healthcare. Now that I’m entering the middle age years, I’m realizing just how important it is for me to pay attention to my health and to make some lifestyle changes. That’s probably why I was drawn to Dr. Mercola‘s book, Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself. It was the idea of simple steps that particularly interested me. Lifestyle changes are hard, and jumping headfirst into a radical change doesn’t always last long. Simple steps though, I might be able to do that.

Effortless Healing is divided up into three sections. Part 1 is the introduction to the book, Part 2 contains a breakdown of the 9 principles, and Part 3 helps you apply it. In the middle section, each of the 9 lifestyle changes is detailed with just the right amount of information and an action plan that lists ideas for putting it into practice. If you’ve done much reading on natural health, then you’re probably familiar with the concepts listed, but it’s still nice to have a reference book that lays them out so well. Naturally, things like drinking adequate pure water, sufficient sleep, and eating more veggies are among the things talked about in the book. I did find the section that talked about grounding (spending time outside while barefoot) to be particularly intriguing. I’d heard a bit about this in various places, so it was fascinating to read more about it.

There were some things that I didn’t like as well about Effortless Healing. It’s definitely not written from a Christian perspective, so there are mentions of evolution and hints of new age philosophies throughout the book. That being said, there is still much to be gained by reading the book, I’d just suggest using discernment while reading. I’m also not completely sold on the idea of eating no grains, though I will concede that I could use more veggies and fewer slices of bread in my diet!

A healthy lifestyle is a work in progress for me, and I doubt I’ll ever get it completely right. I did find Effortless Healing to be a helpful book that gave me some good, useable ideas and the encouragement to at least start working again towards healthy habits. If you want to make healthy changes to your life and you’re looking for a place to start, then it’s definitely a book worth picking up.

Note: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I received no monetary compensation for this post.

Book Review: A Worthy Pursuit

I’m not typically that into westerns. There are a few exceptions, but it’s not my usual genre of choice. Anything by Karen Witemeyer is one of the exceptions though!

Cover ArtStone was hired to find Charlotte and bring back the little girl that he’s been told she kidnapped. Then Charlotte shows him proof that she’s the little girl’s legal guardian. That leaves Stone trying to sort out the truth of the matter and unravel the mystery of why the girl’s grandfather lied to him in the first place. A Worthy Pursuit has all of this and a healthy dose of adventure, mystery, humor, and even a bit of romance.

What I love the most about Karen’s books is that the characters are always unique and interesting. That holds true for A Worthy Pursuit as well. Charlotte’s backstory in particular struck a chord with me. I had to laugh when Stone discovered, to his great dismay, that a series of dime novels was based on his own exploits! And I absolutely fell in love with the children who are in Charlotte’s care.

Honestly, there’s not a thing I would change about A Worthy Pursuit. The story kept me interested and entertained the whole way through. Fans of western historical fiction will definitely enjoy this book, but even if it’s not the type of book you’d usually pick up, you still may want to give Karen’s book at try! The fabulous thing about her books is that they are clean reads, and I wouldn’t hesitate to hand one to a teen.

A Worthy Pursuit was such a fun read, and as much as I’ve enjoyed all of Karen’s books so far, she’s one author who’s books are on my must-read list!

Note: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I received no monetary compensation for this post.

Thoughts for Tuesday, July 14th

Outside my windows… it’s beautifully warm and sunny today, and there’s a lovely breeze.

Inside my house… the kiddos have been doing the laundry for me, vacuuming the carpet, and handling other chores while I’m recovering. It’s fun watching the system they have set up for switching laundry from the washer to the dryer!

Counting 1000 gifts… cool breezes, laughing kiddos, and afternoon naps.

Prayers of the heart… I have a number of friends who are going through tough times right now. My heart is heavy for them, but I’m thankful that we can pray for each other.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Their latest Green Kid Crafts box arrived in the mail today, so they’ve been busy with projects related to robots. I was not exactly impressed with other kids subscription boxes that I’ve tried in the past, but I’m very happy with this one!

From my playlist… Royal Philharmonic Orchestra! I stumbled across their renditions of classic rock songs, and I’ve been listening to them over and over for the past couple of days. I adore good orchestral music!

From my reading list… Of course I have a few books in progress, but I’m looking for a really great book to dive into. Debating between biography, sci fi, or a good mystery…

From my needlework basket… knitting socks from a Star Trek themed yarn because I really am that much of a geek!

In the learning room… The Green Kid Crafts boxes have been a fun addition to summer school. Since we’ve gotten through our math and language arts for the year, we’re focusing on fun, yet educational stuff like this.

Random ramblings… I’ll turn 35 in a couple of weeks. It’s taken me that many years to even start to feel comfortable in my own skin. I wonder if that’s uncommon, or if it happens more often than we might think…

Profound ponderings… “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” – James 3:18 HSCB

Caught on film…

Our Green Kids Craft box came today! Robots! #heduaphoto #greenkidscrafts #summerhomeschooling

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Book Review: The Wonder of You

I picked up Always on my Mind by Susan May Warren earlier this year, and when Roark made his brief appearance at the very end of the book, I knew that I’d be reading The Wonder of You!

I’ll admit to being a bit of a romantic, and there is something inherently romantic about crossing an ocean for someone. That’s exactly what Roark St. John does for Amelia Christiansen! They met when Amelia was studying photography abroad, but Roark is keeping secrets about his past. The resulting misunderstanding sends Amelia back across the Atlantic and home to Deep Haven. She certainly didn’t expect him to show up on her doorstep… Roark takes a job at the local coffee shop and is determined to win her back. But he’s got competition in the form of Amelia’s high school sweetheart Seth, who’s doing his best to convince Amelia that she should settle down in Deep Haven with him.

I particularly enjoyed the characterizations in The Wonder of You. Roark has an intense back story, and struggles terribly with guilt because of it. Amelia struggles through the story to sort out her own heart and discover where God is leading her. I enjoyed watching the growth of both characters develop through the book. I was also glad to see other members of the Christiansen family make appearances through the story, particularly the side plot involving Grace and Max from When I Fall in Love. (Those two are keeping a secret of their own through part of the book!) I just loved the end of the book, and the chance to see the amazing things that God had in store for the characters. I always find reading stories like that to be encouraging, and a great reminder that God is at work in my life too!

I do wish the character of Seth had been a bit more likeable, but that’s the only thing I would change about The Wonder of You.

The Wonder of You is the fifth book in the Christiansen Family series. You could certainly read it as a standalone novel, but I’d still recommend reading the rest of the series first. It’s reminiscent of the Karen Kingsbury books that follow the Baxter family. Fans of those books won’t want to miss out on this one by Susan May Warren. The next book in the Christiansen Family series will certainly be on my reading list!

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

Thoughts for Tuesday, July 7th

Outside my windows… it’s sunny and rather hot today. Looks like summer has arrived!

Inside my house… the open windows let in such a nice breeze today.

Counting 1000 gifts… thankful for progress, no matter how small!

Prayers of the heart… A week ago, I was at the hospital having a hysterectomy. Recovery is taking me longer than I’d like, so I’m praying for patience.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… The older kids are playing outside, and Little Guy is sitting next to me with a book.

From my playlist… Mama Mia because Mom loved that song and I’ve been missing her lately.

From my reading list… The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren.

From my needlework basket… I’ve started work on a pair of new socks for myself. It’s the Jaywalker sock pattern by Grumperina. I’ve wanted to knit a pair for a long time, but just didn’t get to it until now!

In the learning room… We completed math for the year before my surgery. Now we take a break for a couple of weeks before jumping into some of the fun “summer school” things we have to do.

Random ramblings… So very much has happened over the last few weeks. It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure. Perhaps having to slow down and take the time to recover from surgery is something of a blessing. Thankfully, my IT staff and the kiddos have done an admirable job of jumping in and taking care of me!

Profound ponderings… “You fail only if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury

 

Redeeming Love

“You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.” – Lamentations 3:58 NIV

I am broken inside. All of us are, truthfully, no matter how put-together we appear on the outside. We work hard to impress people, whether it’s our employer, our friends, or our family. We desperately seek validation from people, only to discover that we do not measure up.

I was pondering this the other day while listening to the hymn by William Cowper “There is a Fountain”. The very beginning of the song struck a chord…

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

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Wow. Lose all their guilty stains? When I stand before God, because of the blood of Jesus, He does not see the imperfections. All of those ugly stains on my heart have been washed away. Because of what Jesus did, I stand before God, and I am accepted. I am loved. This means that we are freed from the old way of doing things! Our value is not dependent on or measured by the approval or praise of earthly men. Our value is found in the price that was paid for us. God has seen such value, such potential in us that he was willing to sacrifice His own Son in order to purchase redemption for those who seek it.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

This brings me to another line from the hymn…

“E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply; Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.”

Redeeming love. That’s what love does, it redeems what was broken and tossed aside. It is God’s redeeming love alone that can make me (and you!) whole again.

Thoughts for Tuesday, June 16th

Outside my windows… it’s rainy today. We’ve had some beautiful weather too though. What a mixed bag the forecast is this time of year!

Inside my house… Little Guy has moved to a toddler bed, and for the first time in a lot of years, the crib has been disassembled and put away. It’s a very odd feeling.

Counting 1000 gifts… Cookout Season!

Prayers of the heart… the next month has a lot of stuff going on. Some of it seems really big and overwhelming. Praying for strength and peace.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… it’s pretty evenly split between LEGO building and coloring/drawing right now.

From my playlist… Cat’s in the Cradle. This song is always a bit of a reality check for me. It’s too easy to get caught up in work and let relationships slide.

From my reading list… A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer. I’m not typically a reader of “Westerns” when it comes to historical fiction, but Karen’s books are a must-read for me!

From my needlework basket… I’m finishing up a summer sweater for myself. Just because it’s warm, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear something knitted.

In the learning room… We do school year round, but the summer months are a bit more laid back than the rest of the year. Of course, there is always plenty of nature study that goes on this time of year. Now’s when our field guides get a good workout!

Random ramblings… Is it possible to make Nutella from scratch? I’m trying to change some of our eating habits for the better, and that seems to include more cooking from scratch with real food ingredients. But I love Nutella! (You have no idea how good hot chocolate can be until you try Nutella hot chocolate…)

Profound ponderings… “And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.” – Harry Chapin

Caught on film… my IT staff and me enjoying some ice cream!

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Book Review: Snuggle Time Devotions

What little one doesn’t love to snuggle on Mommy or Daddy’s lap and listen to a story? All of my children have! I knew when I saw Snuggle Time Devotions by Stephen Elkins that it was perfect for reading to Little Guy!

Snuggle Time Devotions is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. Each story begins with a Bible verse, and then contains a short paragraph called My Snuggle Up Story that tells the Bible story in rhyme. (The scripture reference where the story can be found in the Bible is included at the beginning of the story.) The My Snuggle Time Takeaway answers the question, “What can we learn from this story?” I think this is a great addition because it shows kids that we can apply what we read in the Bible to our own lives! The section My Bible Time Activity is fabulous for the hands-on kids because the section contains some sort of pretend play, art, or other activity that relates to the Bible story. One of the Noah’s Ark stories directed us to draw a rainbow with the ark underneath it. Each story ends with a hug! For example, the book might say, “Give the one God has promised to love a great big hug!” There are 52 stories that span both the Old and New Testaments.

So many devotionals are targeted towards elementary age children. It’s lovely to find one that’s intended for the younger kids like Snuggle Time Devotions. My favorite thing about it is the Bible stories written in rhyming patterns. I enjoy reading rhymes, and it seems to keep the attention of my youngest better too. I really appreciated that the illustrations aren’t particularly cartoonish, but rather sweet and nicely drawn. Little Guy’s favorite part was definitely the hugs! He also enjoyed the activities quite a bit, so I’m glad that they were included for each story.

Both Little Guy and I love reading Snuggle Time Devotions! When we finish reading one, he always asks me to read another. It’s one of those rare books that I honestly can’t think of anything that I would change about it.

 

Snuggle Time Devotions is the perfect gift for a young child, and it would also make a nice baby shower gift. (It’s definitely the kind of book that my mom would have picked up for her grandbabies!) I think it would be a wonderful addition to any church nursery or daycare as well.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

Knowing Is Half the Battle

“I’ll be honest with you. This family history is very ugly.”

It was something of a wake-up call when the doctor said that to me. I knew there was a lot of cancer on both sides of my family. Some of them were diagnosed as young as in their 30s. But until that day, it had never hit me how unusual that was. In the back of my mind I knew that I was probably at a little higher risk for certain cancers, but it had not occurred to me how serious that risk potentially was.

The doctor strongly recommended genetic screening for gene mutations related to hereditary cancers, including the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that have been recently receiving media attention due to their link to breast and ovarian cancer. I knew that a couple of my relatives had tested positive for some of these mutations. My husband and I agreed that the test was a prudent thing to have done, despite the cost.

Less than a week later, I met with the genetic counselor to go over my family history of cancer. She too expressed surprise by just how prevalent cancer was in my family tree and remarked that she’d never seen a list quite that long before. I was sent downstairs to the lab to have my blood drawn and then returned the sample to the doctor’s office to be sent off to Myriad labs in Utah for testing.

And then I waited. I can’t tell you how nerve-wracking the wait was! We were most concerned about the BRCA mutations since there is so much breast and ovarian cancer in my family history. I’ve seen people I love struggle through surgery and treatments for both of those cancers. It scared me just how dramatically those tiny gene mutations could increase my own risk of facing those diseases. Admittedly, a positive result does not guarantee that you’ll end up with cancer, just as a negative result doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never be diagnosed with cancer. It does tip the statistics quite a bit though.

IMG_2369[1]When my results finally came in, I was surprised and relieved that I tested negative for all of the gene mutations that they checked for. The genetic counselor was just as surprised! I still have a slightly increased risk based on my family medical history, but it’s much lower than it could have been.

Do I regret having the testing done now that it came back negative? Not at all! The genetic screening for cancer-related gene mutations is not a test that everyone needs by any means, but I more than fit the screening guidelines for someone at risk of these mutations. I have information now that I didn’t have before. That will help me and my doctor decide what screenings I should have and when I should have them.

If you’re wondering whether you should consider the genetic screening for the mutations linked to hereditary cancer, please talk to your doctor. It’s like the line from those old G.I. Joe PSAs from the Saturday morning cartoons, “Knowing is half the battle.”