New on the Stack–January Reads

One of my favorite blogs is The Deliberate Reader. I’ve added to my TBR list from her plus some of my favorite reads have come from her suggestions. Her blog is short and sweet and her reviews are honest and to the point. Easy for a busy person like me.

I love to read. I read fiction for relaxation and enjoyment. Non-fiction I read to grow in my walk with the Lord. Sheila at The Deliberate Reader has started a new monthly link up “New on the Stack.” Since I read 99% of my books from Kindle or other reading apps, my stack is “virtual.” I’m going to follow her lead and do a monthly listing of books I have read that previous month or am in the process of reading. If you’d like to get more ideas for books to consider for yourself, go to her blog and see what she and others have linked up.

For January:


In Plain Sight and On the Run by Lorena McCourtney

I can’t remember how I found out about this Ivy Malone series, but I’m loving it. These two books are the second and third in the series. The first is Invisible. I typically don’t read murder mysteries, but these are cute and Ivy is the main part of the book, not the murders that seem to stumble into her life.


Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman

I’m reading this to participate in the Proverbs 31 Book Study on-line. But, needless to say, I need it!

AHA by Kyle Idleman

Reading this because our small group is doing this for our current study. We’re watching the videos during our Wednesday evening times together.

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath

This one, also, I can’t remember where I heard about it. I’m slowly going through it. May take several months to finish it, so you may see it again on this list.

Great Lives: Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication by Charles R. Swindoll

Reading this to go along with our study of Moses in Bible Study Fellowship. This one, too, will take me several months to finish. I started it in the fall.

There you go. Any of these interest you? Have you read any books lately you’d like to recommend? Comment below if you have. I’m always looking to add to my ever-growing TBR list. And, please, go check out the Deliberate Reader’s post.

My desire to grow closer to Jesus

542156_Churches-Covered-in-Snow-7Its been bitterly cold here in southwest Indiana. It doesn’t typically hit the teens for highs here. This cold reminds me of growing up in northeastern Iowa. Winter was always bitterly cold there. But what we had there that we don’t have here was mounds and mounds of snow. I remember having a difficult time getting warm. I’d sit next to the heat register in our dining room in the mornings eating my breakfast to try and keep warm. We had a fireplace in our family room and any time there was a fire, I’d be sitting on the hearth to catch the warmth.

I was thinking the other day about how this past need to keep warm in the bitter Iowa cold is a lot like my need to grow ever closer to the Lord. The world can be a bitterly cold place and I find I want to be closer and closer to Jesus to get warm.

So, how can I do that? For me, it’s staying in God’s Word on a daily basis. And not just once a day. Throughout my day. Yes, I have my study for Bible Study Fellowship to work on each day. But, taking time to read His word and devotions based on His word should also be a part of my day. God speaks to us through His word and what better way to draw nearer to Him than having Him speak to us.

Next for me, is music. KLOVE radio is having their annual 31 day challenge. They challenge us to listen to only Christian music for the month of January. For me, that’s no big deal. I listen to Christian music probably 95% of the time. This is another instance of God speaking to me. Songs can have a huge impact on me and I believe the Lord uses that to guide and direct me.

Third, prayer. My prayer life goes up and down in consistency. Don’t know why, but it does. But, I also know that without prayer I’m not building a very good relationship with God. How can a relationship grow if there’s no communication? So, for me to get all warm and snugly with Jesus, I need to speak with Him daily. And, just like with reading His word, not just once a day, but throughout the day.

This is a new year. I don’t really like making resolutions or doing that “one word” thing. I prefer to allow God to guide me throughout the year and move me in whatever direction He chooses without being stuck to a resolution or word. However, reflecting and desiring to improve on our Walk with Him is never a bad thing. If the calendar can help guide that, so be it. So, right now, at the start of 2015, I’m desiring a closer relationship with my Lord and Savior and I’m going to use those three points up above to do that. Plus, anything else the Holy Spirit shows me I need to do.

Those are my thoughts for today.

Two Weeks Until We Open

Things are getting exciting. We’ve set a date for our opening! We will open Thursday, Sept. 18. We will be having a Grand Opening on Saturday, Sept. 20. Mark it on your calendar! We are planning some give-aways and other fun things for the day.

We’ve been busy painting and cleaning since last weekend. The store is starting to look very good.

Be sure to check out our web site and “like” our Facebook page for updates.

New paint job on walls and floor

New paint job on walls and floor

Counters with new paint

Counters with new paint





Inventory waiting for their places

Inventory waiting for their places







By Teresa's Thoughts for Today Posted in fHg

Remodeling Under Way

Kent and Neal have been hard at work remodeling the store. There were some walls and carpet squares to remove in the front room and now that they are gone, the space looks much larger and will be a great area for displays. Painting is next. Along with adding some walls in the middle area and shelving for the back room. It is starting to get exciting to think this is finally coming to pass. Signage is in the works as are t-shirts for employees. We are still figuring out days and hours to be open plus a date for our grand opening. All of that should be finalized over this three-day weekend when we see how much still needs to be finished.

Knee walls down, removing a strangely placed office.

Removing a strangely placed office. Keeping the counters for check-out.



That weird office space is gone. Love the openness of this front room.

Love the openness of this front room.

There were two half walls located in front of these windows. Strange place, so good-bye!

There were two half walls located in front of these windows. Strange place, so good-bye!




Good-bye weird office!

By Teresa's Thoughts for Today Posted in fHg

A New Adventure Begins

My husband has always had an interest in architecture. He’s a civil engineer by trade and spends his days working on environmental impact statements, project management of highways, and dealing with government entities. But, he likes good design in a building or home, especially if it’s reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe. His love of architecture moves into the realm of older homes. Things solidly built with character and style. We live in just such a home. Built in 1937 by a member of a prominent family in Evansville, Indiana, it has hard wood floors, wainscoting, wide moldings, and a maid’s room.

This love of well-built things has turned into a side business for him. He’s become an architectural salvage guy. Needless to say, his favorite TV shows are American Pickers and Salvage Dawgs. We’ve always loved to go to antique stores. While I looked at dishware and furniture, he’d look at lighting, doors, windows, and mantles. About a year and a half ago, he turned his hobby into this side business along with a friend. They’ve been demo-ing old homes in the Evansville area. Buying up items from people who would contact them and, on occasion, selling a few items. They’ve displayed at antique shows and worked at putting the word out about their business.

Their “stuff” is filling up half our garage, the garage at Kent’s office, and the storage shed at his friend’s home. The wives said, enough is enough, open a store. It has been months of looking and looking. We really didn’t think it would be so hard to find a space. This business is unique though. We need large open space and a large door to bring things in and out (claw foot tubs and mantles need wide openings!). We’d find a space and then the owner didn’t want to have our “type” of business in his building. Another location would be asking an outrageous amount for rent. Buildings within our budget didn’t offer the right kind of space.

Then, on a whim, my husband looked on line once more and found a building close to downtown. He called his agent and we went to look. It was perfect! The price was right and the owners are more concerned about getting the rent than what is in the building. It has several large open spaces and three garage doors. Bingo! fHg Architectural Salvage has a location.

We are excited to get going on this venture. A dream my husband has had for a long time to own his own business. He’ll still have his “day” job and I’ll be involved quite a bit in the running of the store. But, it’s his dream and I’m glad to see it working out for him.

Kent and Neal are busy renovating the space and moving their inventory. We hope to open at the beginning of September. As things move along, I’ll be keeping you informed of what’s happening. I think it’s an adventure worth documenting, if for nothing else, to write this down for us to look back on in the future.

By Teresa's Thoughts for Today Posted in fHg

Book Review: The Lost Art of Mixing

Product DetailsThis is the third book I’ve read by Erica Bauermeister. It is my third favorite of her books. My favorite is Joy for Beginners, next The School of Essential Ingredients. The Lost Art of Mixing has some of the same characters as School and I liked that. I enjoy reading how characters have continued on after the end of a book I’ve enjoyed.

Erica Bauermeister seems to like to have each chapter feature a certain character and continue her plot thread through those characters. It worked in the previous two books, but for this book, I found it to be a disjointed approach. I felt as if I was reading a compilation of short stories with a similar, though minor, thread. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad story, just not as good as the ones of hers I’ve read before. You, also, don’t have to have read The School of Essential Ingredients to understand what is happening in The Lost Art of Mixing.

If you only have time to read one of Ms. Bauermeister’s books, then I’d recommend Joy for Beginners. It is a wonderful book. You can read my little write-up about it here.

The book’s description from Amazon (since I couldn’t quite figure out how to explain it):

Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .
Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given.

For my 2013 reading goal, I am keeping up with one fiction book per month. I am also linking up with the Deliberate Reader for her 2013 Reading Challenge.

January’s read–The Quarryman’s Wife

February’s read–Better Than Chocolate

Those are my thoughts for today.

Names of Christ #5–I AM

In the book of John, there are seven “I AM” statements made by Jesus that tell us who He is. Every one of these statements can be considered unique names of Christ. Read them over and consider what they mean to you and the implications of Christ possessing each of these qualities.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

Just as food can calm our hungry stomachs, Christ can calm our hungry souls. The need for “something more” that we all seem to desire. Our thirst and desire for relief from the guilt of sin is found in Jesus Christ and we never have to yearn for salvation again if we believe in Him and accept in Him once and for all.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

To live by the light of Christ is to see clearly the meaning of life—to live a life devoted to God and His will for us. It is like following someone in the dark and that person is the only one with a flashlight. He is followed because he can see the way to go but following the flashlight-bearer is a choice.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Right here, Jesus is telling us he is the way to salvation. He is the only way. We must put our trust and faith in Him to be saved. To be able to come in and go out is to move freely and safely. Christ provides the protection for us just as Psalm 121:8 says “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” To find pasture is to find abundance and nourishment. Again, Jesus provides that for each of us that believe in Him as our Lord and Savior.

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Jesus as Shepherd does more than risk His life; He gives His life in death. This sacrifice is for “the sheep”—his followers.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus is speaking to Martha here after Lazarus has died. He was drawing her into a personal relationship with Him using the doctrinal beliefs she already had. He wants her to know that He is the source of a resurrected life—both spiritually and physically. The spiritually dead person will live again in Christ and those who believe will never die because of the certainty of eternity with Christ.

Martha’s response?  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27). Is that your response?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus here states that He, alone, is the source of the way, the truth, and the life. He is not one of the ways or one of many truths. He is not just a philosopher teaching about a way, a truth, or a life. Here, He clearly states His deity and oneness with God the Father.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

To remain in Christ is to bear fruit both in Christ-like character and in influencing others. To remain or be dependent on Jesus is not a negative thing. It is truly living by faith. 

Here’s another song to listen to go along with Jesus Christ as the Great I AM.


Those are my thoughts for today.

Week #1–Lamb of God

Week #2–Son of Man

Week #3–Son of God

Week #4–The Word

St. Patrick’s Day Meal

Kilkenney Castle, Ireland

Kilkenney Castle, Ireland

I haven’t posted a food blog in a long while. So, I thought I’d share here what I made for dinner last night.

My husband is the one in our family that has the Irish “blood” in him. His maternal grandmother has Irish ancestors. Ever since we visited Ireland three years ago, we’ve enjoyed celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

I usually make Irish stew (with lamb not beef) and soda bread. This year, I saw a recipe for Colcannon, an authentic Irish dish. Though my son, who lived there for three months, doesn’t think he ever had it. Our usual dessert is Pavlova. No, it is not Irish. It is from New Zealand, named for a Russian ballerina. However, our first evening in Ireland, the cooks for the students made it for us parents. So, to us, it represents Ireland.

For the Colcannon, I list the amount of the ingredients I used. The recipe I used did not include amounts. What I made served four.

3 medium-sized potatoes

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin

4 stalks Kale, roughly chopped

6 oz corned beef, cubed or sliced thin

Peel and boil the potatoes. Roughly mash with a little butter, milk, salt, pepper. Set aside. In a large pot (or same one you used to boil the potatoes), cook the onion in 1 tbls oil. When translucent, add the cabbage and Kale. Cook until wilted. Add the corned beef. Cook until warmed up. Add the potatoes and combine well. Add more salt and pepper to suit.

The delicious Pavlova.

The delicious Pavlova.

For the Pavlova recipe, you can go here for the recipe.

Those are my thoughts for today. Slainte!

Names of Christ #4–The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:1-4)

The book of John is my favorite Gospel (and possibly my favorite book of the Bible, period). It was the first book I studied as a new believer. Jesus’ designation as The Word has always made me feel comfort and warmth. Possibly because I’m a writer and words are special to me–I like using just the right words to get my thoughts across.

Jesus used words to create the universe and all that is in it. Throughout the first chapter of Genesis it says “And God said, ‘Let there be….’” God spoke and it happened—light, animals, plants, humans. John 1:3 tells us that Jesus made all things with those spoken words. This Word that created all things and continues to sustain them, became personal by living and dying in the world He created.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1:10-11) 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14a)

Words have a power all their own

Jesus left his exalted place on high as the Creator and Sustainer of all things to live with us lowly humans, His created beings. Why would he do that? Because He loves us even though we reject Him all the time. That blows my mind. I would do a lot for my kids. But if they continually rejected me and my love, I think I’d turn away from them and sever the relationship. So glad God is not like me!

Jesus provided us with physical life by creating us. Then He provided us with spiritual life by giving up His life so that we might have a relationship with the Lord God for eternity. It just boggles me to consider that. The creator of my physical life also has provided me with my spiritual security even though He didn’t have to. He wanted to because of His deep love for me, and for you.

This Easter season, consider that concept. Thank God for your physical life but also give Him the gratitude He so deserves for your spiritual life. That as The Word, He became flesh to live among us to provide us with the way to a relationship with Him for all eternity.

Those are my thoughts for today.

Week #1–Lamb of God

Week #2–Son of Man

Week #3–Son of God

Fiction Review: Better Than Chocolate

Samantha Sterling runs Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company, started by her great-grandmother. Now the company is having financial problems because her mother’s husband didn’t manage it well. Waldo has died and Samantha’s mother is blind to the destruction he has caused. How is Samantha supposed to save the company that has been in her family for generations? And to top it all off, the bank manager handling her loan is an ogre, or is he?

PictureBetter Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts is a fun read. It mixes family drama with a little unrequited romance. The setting is a small town in Washington state. The author’s writing is easy to read. She provides just enough back-story to let us in on the family dynamics and she doesn’t add too many secondary plots (a pet-peeve of mine). She starts each chapter with a quote from one of Muriel’s (the mother, a moderately successful author) books, which is a fun addition.

The main character, Samantha, is perfect as the oldest sister of three. I could easily picture the sisters’ realtionships with each other. I also could easily understand the relationship their mother had with each of them and how she was probably a mildly dysfunctional mother when they were younger, even though that is never brought up in the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Better Than Chocolate. I was rooting for the Sterling sisters to make their loan payment and for Samantha to be able to keep her family’s company running. Though it is obvious what will happen in the romance department between her and bank manager, Blake, it still was fun to ride the ride with them.

I recommend Better Than Chocolate if you’d like an easy, fun read. Roberts has two other books in this series and one more coming out in March. I may just have to read them all.

So, far, I am keeping up with my 2013 fiction reading challenge of one fiction book per month.

January’s read–The Quarryman’s Wife

I am linking up with The Deliberate Reader for her 2013 Reading Challenge Check-in.

Those are my thoughts for today.