Saturday, March 2, 2013

Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson

The 40 Day Prayer Challenge...This book was inspirational and convicting. I read through it quickly so that I could post a review on it but I know I need to read it again. I may even share this with my church's small group.

Last year my pastor had a short sermon on drawing circles. He even passed out a piece of chalk which I still have in my Bible. He talked about Mark Batterson's book The Circle Maker, which I have not read.  When I saw this book I felt drawn to read it and I am so glad I did.

My prayer life is lacking and I wasn't even sure how to go about it nor did I have the conviction to follow through with it. This book has inspired me to pray more, to pray more specifically, to pray better and to expect God's work.

The key words there are "God's work". I have to learn to discern what God wants to happen not what I want to happen. If it isn't God's will the answers will almost always be no.

This book is so easy to read and enjoyable. This is set up to be read over 40 days. Each day is meant to challenge the way we pray, what we pray for and how long we should pray. Which is, by the way,  for as long as it takes to get an answer. The back of the book asks:   " Do you pray as often and as boldly as you want to? There is a way to experience a deeper, more passionate, persistent, and intimate prayer life. "

This book contains many testimonies from faithful prayer warriors. It is meant to encourage us and give us a desire to become bolder in our prayers and experience growth in our faith. The prayers we are to pray are for God's glory not ours. They are to further His kingdom and to draw us and others closer to Him.

I definitely recommend this book. I wish I had read this book years ago.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reclaiming Your Heart by Denise Hildreth Jones

It was the description of this book that caught my eye. "Have you ever wondered where the abundant life Scripture promises is, and how you seem to have missed it? Do you ever catch yourself saying, “Those were the best years of my life?” A failed relationship, a health crisis, a job loss, the death of a loved one—all can cause us to hide out, go numb, give up. Before we even know it, we’re simply coping with life instead of living it to the fullest."

After reading the book I realized that I have been through periods in my life where I have  allowed my heart to shut down. Denise talks about 8 different types of hearts. I think I related to almost all of them. I realized that the reason I can't seem to get closer to God is because I have allowed anger, shame, disappointment and critical thinking close up my heart. I also realize that I will be on a life long process of reopening my heart. It will be a daily battle to keep emotion from shutting my heart up again.

There were times I felt a little bogged down in this book. Maybe it was a spiritual attack from the enemy, after all why would he want me to open up and get closer to God. I did enjoy reading the examples she provided. It's nice to know I am not alone in my struggles. I also feltl she used scripture from "the Message"  or "Amplified" versions a little too liberally although they fit nicely with the points she was making. I am old fashion and prefer NKJV or NIV.

Otherwise this book is a good read. There is a free 10 week downloadable study guide and it could make for a good small group discussion.

I received a complimentary copy through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade jewelry cleaner

A while back I was looking for a sterling silver cleaner for a few pieces of my jewelry. The store stuff reeks and is just nasty in general. Silver paste was just too much work for my tiny jewelry and for big pieces as well. So I searched the internet and found baking soda, aluminum foil and boiling water. It seemed too simple. I was doubtful but it was cheap, I had the ingredients and well, why not.

WOW!! It takes like 30 seconds, although you can leave it in for longer. My silver charms were so bright and silvery again.

So here I am months later and my gold jewelry cleaner is a bit watered down and not cleaning my wedding ring as well as it used to. I have gone to the store to price the cleaners and I just don't want to pay $5 or more. I wanted to make my own, less toxic cleaner.

Many recipes I saw had ammonia in it and dish detergent. I do not have ammonia on hand. I do remember it smelling awfully strong and "toxic".  Dish detergent worked ok but it still had some tarnish in the stone settings.

Other recipes I saw had a few extra ingredients to the homemade silver cleaner I found a few months back. In addition to the foil and baking soda and boiling water, they also called for salt and dish detergent. Well being lazy, I thought, why not just try the same recipe I used on my silver minus the salt and dish soap.

It works really well. My ring is so bright and sparkly and that tarnish in the setting is gone. Apparently it's silver but don't tell my hubby, he thinks silver is cheap. *eyeroll*

So from now on I will be using baking soda, foil and hot water to clean my jewelry. Everything I have read says it is safe on all metals and most jewelry. Obviously anything glued may come undone due to the boiled water. It says it is safe on pearls although I would think it would dry them out. So I would just continue to clean those with a barely damp cloth and buff them dry.

I love cheap and natural and I know some of my friends do as well. I just had to share my experience with this in case you have heard of it but doubted it. All you have to do is :

place a piece of aluminum foil in a bowl
place your jewelry on it
cover the jewelry with baking soda (enough to cover it, but I had shaky hands and dumped alot, oops)
pour boiling water over all that (enough to cover all of the jewelry)
wait 2 to 3 minutes
rinse and dry with a soft dry cloth

Try's cheap and easy.

Here is a link for pearl care: