Summer Reading Recommendation

I didn’t do much blogging last week while I was speaking for 3rd and 4th graders at Arrowhead Bible Camp, but I was able to do some reading in my free time and I want to introduce you to a book I just finished reading. 
 
First, let me tell you about the author. Karen Young has sold over 10 million copies of her emotion- filled tales. She has penned romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers, but always keeps romance at the core of her stories.
After a nomadic lifestyle involving 25 moves, Karen has settled in Texas and fallen in love with its culture. Read Karen’s full bio on her website and find out how you can be entered into her sweepstakes to win a kindle.

Book Review

When baby Max is kidnapped on the street during Mardi Gras, the Madison family doesn’t know what to do. Between guilt and blame and figuring out how to cope with the grief, this is a family in serious crisis. Teenage daughter Melanie rebels, while mom Jane buries herself in volunteer work and dad Kyle withdraws from the family.  When a new crisis with Melanie,  mysterious phone calls and a possible stalker add more turmoil to an already turbulent  situation, this family is on the verge of catastrophe.

I couldn’t put this book down. Author Karen Young writes characters that are real. They make mistakes and then have to cope with the consequences and I think readers can relate to their flaws. I found myself often in Jane’s shoes wondering what I would do if I faced such grief. The story has just enough twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens. The reader addresses so many topics that are relevant to our society and so many of a mother’s worst fears. She tackles kidnapping, grief, blended families, infertility, marital crisis, and much more which I won’t reveal for fear of spoiling it for those who haven’t read the book.

This is the first novel by Karen Young that I’ve read, but now I’m looking forward to reading more. I give this one 5 stars. It’s well written, timely, and original. 

I received a complimentary review copy of the book from the publicist in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Shoppers, What Would You Do

Last week on WWYD Wednesday, I asked what you would do with a “practice bomb” that I saw at an antiques store. I liked Sam‘s idea of leaving it as it was, but I also think it would be fun to make it into something like a floor lamp or a plant stand. Imagine it with a big Boston fern on top, or a funky lamp shade. It’s about 4 feet tall, so it has great possibility! Strange, but fun. And wouldn’t it be terrific as a lamp in a room with the airplane propellers from a previous WWYD post.

This week, I want you to imagine you’re walking through an antiques shop and you see this display. What jumps out at you and what would you do with it?

How to Participate 
  1. You leave your idea(s) below in the comments, and next week I’ll name a winning idea.
  2. Add a link to your blog or a specific post if you’d like us to check out your site or if you want us to see an example of your great idea.

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Muse Monday

Inspiration for your creative muse from what I see through my lens. One of my back yard trash to treasure yard sale finds.

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Getting Organized on the Blog

I’ve been working on organizing the blog a little better and you might have noticed a new box in the sidebar. I’m organizing posts by theme and days of the week. This doesn’t mean that I’ll be posting every day of the week, but it means you’ll have a better idea of what to expect on certain days.
Monday– Photo of the Week- I’ll post a photo that I took. Something that speaks without words.

Tuesday– Everyday Ideas – I’ll share practical thoughts, tips, and solutions for everyday concerns.

Wednesday-Creativity – Dedicated to all things artsy and creative.

Thursday– Book Reviews – Since some publicists ask me to post book reviews on specific days, there may be random book reviews on different days of the week. Otherwise, they will be on Thursdays

Friday – Faith and Inspiration – Devotional thoughts and inspiration for your faith journey.

Follow Friday & Watering Can Feature

On last week’s What Would You Do, I promised that I would give you some watering can ideas. So while you’re thinking of your favorite post to link up to the Follow Friday blog hop, here’s some watering can inspiration. 
We’ll start with the more obvious use. I bought this old watering can at a yard sale and planted flowers in it. 
I also picked up this snowman painted watering can at a yard sale. It was already painted, but the paint is flaking a little, so I’ll eventually have to repaint.
And then there’s this unusual “watering can”. It’s really an old oil can, but I filled it with flowers and put it on the chair shelf that hangs by my front door. 
I’ll wrap up the watering can ideas with short DIY project. First, a little background…When I was younger, I had a cute teddy bear lamp. Do you remember the ones where the lamp went right through the back of the teddy bear? Eventually, the bear got really grubby, but there was nothing wrong with the lamp part. So I did a little surgery and cut the bear off the lamp (I know, you’re thankful I didn’t take pictures of the poor little bear being extracted from the pole). Here’s what I ended up with. 
I stored it away for someday use. I had a watering can planter stored away too and one day, inspiration struck. The opening in the planter was just big enough to fit the base of the lamp. 
Then I rummaged through my craft stash and slipped a mini wreath over the top.
I added a pillar candle ring…
…and topped it off with a simple shade. You could add a much prettier shade if you were creative.
If you don’t have a watering can planter, or an old teddy bear lamp you can take apart, you can always make your own watering can lamp in the same way I made my lantern lamp by using a clamp-on lamp kit.
What inspired you this week? We want to know what you’re blogging about, so join the Friday Blog Hop and link up your posts below.
Follow Friday Blog Hop

Blog Hop Instructions:
  • Be sure to link to a specific blog post not your home page so that we can find your fab projects and posts easier.
  • Please include a link to the site and mention on your blog post that you’re linking up to T2T OR Mention on your twitter account that you’re linking up to Trash to Treasure for the blog hop and include a hyperlink to this post. If you tweet a link please mention my twitter name: @trash2treas in your tweet. (note the change in the twitter address from previous weeks. Can you believe I had my OWN address wrong?)
  • You can even get the code and paste the blog hop on your own blog if you’d like these very same ideas posted for your readers.
Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

What’s Eating You?

I’m not exactly sure when it fell, but when I awoke on Easter Sunday, there was a large tree on our storage shed. Perhaps it had fallen during the night. Or maybe it had been while we were visiting family the day before.

The stump caught my attention first. Three feet of jagged wood pointed skyward where the tall shade tree used to stand. I did a double take and assessed the scene. Like a tall man on a sofa too small for his stature, the bulk of the tree rested partially on the shed roof with the rest spilling over on the other trees on the edge of our property. It had been windy all weekend, so it wouldn’t have surprised me to find branches downed all over the yard. However, I hadn’t expected this tree to fall.
This was a sturdy tree, big enough that I could barely wrap my arms all the way around. From all outside appearance, this tree was healthy, and it wasn’t until it snapped off that I could see the real condition of it. The stump was mostly hollow, except for a few sawdust remainders and later when my husband and sons began to cut up the tree with chainsaws and axes, we discovered the problem. When a large piece of log split open with the swing of the axe, hundreds of black carpenter ants scurried for shelter. With each split of another log section, more ants poured out of the wood. The splitting and cutting revealed intricate tunnels in the wood woven like a lacey sponge. But as the ants ate the wood turning its fibers into sawdust, they ate away the strength of the tree.
When the strong wind came, the tree had no power to withstand. Those little tiny ants brought down a giant oak. I imagine one little ant moved in and brought a small family at first. But as they multiplied, they grew to a number that had the ability to bring down the whole tree.

Have you ever met someone and wanted to ask, “What’s eating you?” Someone who spewed anger or negativity and carried a grudge for the world? That attitude probably started with a small larvae of bitterness. When bitterness first moves in, we might seem spiritually healthy. We continue to serve in our churches and volunteer for missions work. We love our families and friends and we care for the needs of others. We might be ministry leaders and teachers, but have a growing bitterness in our hearts. We hide it well. For a while.
When we allow bitterness to take residence, it multiplies and it begins to eat away at our soul. It hollows out our joy and devours our contentment and peace. And when life brings a giant windstorm of cancer, joblessness, family crisis, or disappointment, we snap just like the hollow oak.
Bitterness robs us of the spiritual stamina we need to live for Jesus Christ. It robs us of the ability to love unconditionally. And it robs us of the joy of our salvation. When bitterness tunnels its way through our hearts and our minds, we’re left with a sad emptiness. But there is one empty place that can give us hope.

The only hollow place with any power is the tomb of Jesus Christ. It is empty because he holds the power over the grave, and if death couldn’t take him down, it means he has power over the strongholds of sin as well. Because of his power over Satan and any grip bitterness might have on us, Jesus can fill us with a power that we never had on our own. Where bitterness has eaten away our resistance and stamina, he can remove it like an expert exterminator and replace those hollow places with the fiber of his own character. He can make us able to withstand more than we ever thought possible.
What’s eating you right now? Whatever it is, don’t let it live there. Let Jesus do some work in you so you’re ready to face the stress of everyday life and the big storms that test your resistance.
This article appeared in the April issue of Wisconsin Christian News.

Embracing Your Second Calling- Review

You May Be Over the Hill, But It Isn’t Over
If you’re in mid-life, have you ever wondered if everything worth doing happened in the first half of your life? In Embracing Your Second Calling, author Dale Hanson Bourke challenges the woman in midlife to find meaning. I passed my 40th birthday last year, so I was eager to read the book.

Each chapter is well-designed with sidebars and callouts for practical application of the content. There are points for action, boxes for reflection, and boxes for tips and resources. While attractive, sometimes I found it difficult to break from what I was reading on the page to read a sidebar. Still, they were more noticeable than if they were at the end of each chapter. These action points would make this a good book for small group discussion.

Throughout the book, the author uses the story of Naomi and Ruth from the Bible to illustrate an example of women in the second half of their lives who do not just shrivel up and die. By coming back to that story in each chapter, the book has continuity.

The author is genuine enough to discuss her own failures. By dealing with her own shortcomings with humility, she’s a role model for women who have let their past hurt and disappointments lead to bitterness. If there’s any message to take away from this book it’s that it is never too late to change. Instead of a midlife crisis, readers can learn how to experience significance in the second half of life. The author says it’s about developing a resume of soul work and finding peace (pg.12)

Bourke has a narrative style that comes across more like a personal conversation than a lecture, which makes the material pleasant to study. My only disappointment was with the quality of the book itself. While I was reading it, the cover started peeling. There is semitransparent layer over the cover that is separating and peeling away from the printed layer. At $17.99 cover price, this would disappoint readers.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

A Book Review for Diva’s

Are You a Diva?
I received a complimentary copy of a brand new Bible study for my review, and in this book, you’ll discover a new, more positive application of the word Diva. If you’re looking for fresh group study material, here’s something new to consider.

In Divas of the Divine, life coaches Donna Mc Crary and Sherri Holbert help readers experience true success in their spiritual life and in personal relationships via and 8- week Bible study. Subtitled How to Live as a Desinger Original in a Knock-Off World, the book uses a fun theme to teach.

The book uses DIVA as an acrostic for the sections of each daily Bible study: D=Devoted (daily scripture reading). I=Individual (applying learning to one’s own life). V- Via Prayer (daily prayer). A= Accountable (accountable to a small group and an accountability partner). There are 5 daily assignments per week and the authors say it should take 30-40 minutes per day to complete the homework.

The study uses Jewel Nights (Bible study) to bring members of the group together for a weekly discussion of the material. There is a downloadable leaders guide available for this. The authors also suggest SPA (spiritually pampering activity) days as a quarterly event to bring women together to celebrate their progress. A Diva’s journal is available for purchase for some of the suggested assignments.

I liked the scripture references printed out in the sidebar and in the body of the text in many places. Not that a reader would study without a Bible, but it makes it easier to refer back in group discussion and in study. The book includes stories from the authors’ own lives as illustration and practical examples for applying content to real life.

The worksheets in the study are interactive and engaging. However, I think the book could have used more fill in the blank study and more room for the participant to write and interact with the material. (Although, I have and advance reader copy and this may be different in the published study). Some sections have pages of text that might be more effective if divided up a bit.

All in all, I think this will be a good tool for anyone seeking spiritual transformation and a bond with a group of women. I’m going through a Beth Moore study right now, which makes it terribly difficult to measure another study book against the depth and quality of that material. Groups looking for something in between a Bible study and a life-coach will find this to be a perfect solution. 

Since I haven’t studied the material in a group setting, it’s difficult to give it a full review. I think the group is the main part of the experience!

WWYD Wednesday

This Post is The Bomb
 (see why below)

Trash to Treasure Decorating has been online for 9 months now, and I’m constantly adding elements to the site, making changes and tweaking. One of my desires is for you, my reader, to know what to expect from the site. I try to keep posts as related to trash to treasure as possible. But I also want to inspire your creativity, to motivate you to try something you’ve never thought of attempting before. You really can DIY! 

I’ve decided to organize the blog according to daily themes. We already have WWYD Wednesday and Follow Friday, but now I’ve added three other themes. Now, lest you think I’m going to overload your poor inbox with daily messages, no worries. I know I won’t be blogging daily. But, as I come up with projects, tutorials and pictures, I’ll post them on themed days. 

New Trash to Treasure Features
Muse Monday—Inspire your creativity
Transformation Tuesday—Before and after projects
WWYD Wednesday—What would you do with this?
Thrifty Thursday—Low cost T2T ideas
Follow Friday—Blog hop for T2T friends

Today, for What Would You Do Wednesday, I have something a little unusual. I saw this at an antique shop and wondered, “What would someone do with that thing?
Yes, that’s right. It’s a bomb. Is it even legal to own this? Seriously, I wonder. 
If you saw it in a shop would it catch your attention? Would you have an idea for how to use it? Inside or outside, tell me how you’d use an old bomb for decoration. 
I’ve decided not to use the Linky Tools for this feature this time since it’s been a little temperamental  lately. Just leave your idea in the comments below and feel free to leave a link to your blog.
How to Participate 
  1. You leave your idea(s) below in the comments, and next week I’ll name a winning idea.
  2. Add a link to your blog or a specific post if you’d like us to check out your site or if you want us to see an example of your great idea.
Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com