Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Melt Down Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Gina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Tami in Des Moines, Iowa, our winners of Chuck Holton's new book, Melt Down. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feeling Frenzied? Stressed? Overwhelmed?

I feel like someone turned a blender on in my chest and I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to run first (quite frankly, I just want to crawl back into bed and hide). So when I ran across the prayer below in Joanna Weaver's book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, I knew I had to share it.

And for those of you who are wondering, although the book is excellent, I still look like Martha on steroids and look little or nothing like Mary!

The Lord Is My Pace Setter

The Lord is my pace setter. I shall not rush
He makes me stop for quiet intervals
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity
He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here
His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility
My cup of joyous energy overflows
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in his house forever.
(A version of the Twenty-third Psalm from Japan)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Having a Big Mouth CAN be a Plus!

Recently I was directed to an article about how to spread the "green message" -- see the link at the bottom of this page. I have been doing this for years and want you to know it works. Recently, I was in a store and delivered my standard line: "Thanks, but I don't need a bag. It's just more for me to recycle." The clerk went OFF -- talking loud and long to me, other customers and her co-workers about how we definitely have too much waste in the world, we need to save resource, the environment, etc., etc. By the time she (and I) were through, we had gathered a crowd of nodding people. Another time when I delivered that line, I had a customer come back to the counter and say, "Yeah, come to think of it, you can take my bag back, too."

I didn't even realize how much I talk about the environment in passing until one day the owner of the Pack & Mail store I frequent often for my job said, "Well, I KNOW how much you recycle and, quite frankly, you made me feel so guilty that I am much more conscientious about it now because of you." I apologized for the guilt trip, but he assured me my conversation was perfectly fine -- he just felt convicted by my words and vowed to do better as a result. By the way, take any packing peanuts and other packing materials you receive to your local Pack & Mail, UPS store, etc. They will gladly reuse your packing materials -- it saves them money, saves their customers money, and saves the environment.

If you deliver your message with a smile or a bit of humor, I promise it will get across. However, the best lessons are taught by actions, not words. I've blogged before about the fact that when I am on my way to a store, I almost always grab an errant cart and pick up garbage on the way to the store (there are always garbage cans at store entrances). One day, a man who had seen me do this followed me through the store until he got enough courage to approach me. He said I had inspired him to do an unnoticed good deed as well and he'd look for an opportunity to do just that. I had no idea I was being watched and, while I don't pick up litter for the accolades, it does my heart good to know perhaps I'm having a positive influence on people. Maybe they won't pick up litter, but perhaps they'll think twice before they toss something on the ground.

Here's the article which inspired this post:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Change The World Challenge

Here's this week's challenge from Reduce Footprints:

This week, turn your trash bin into the smallest container in the house by starting a compost bin and/or a recycle bin.

Or, if you're already a composter and recycler, write a post about it. Include information on what works for you and what doesn't, tips on how to be successful at it, and perhaps why it's preferable over sending stuff to a landfill.

I recycle every little bitty thing. In fact, the other day my husband accidentally tossed a 1 1/2 x 2 inch post it note in the garbage and then jumped a foot when he heard the blood curdling shriek that involutarily escaped from my throat. He didn't even have to ask. His arm automatically swung an arc and plucked the paper out of the garbage can and into the recycling bin! However, although I've research composting extensively -- and harvesting worm castings myself -- I canNOT add one more thing to my to do list. However, may I recommend Rising Mist Organics, http://www.wackyworldsof.com/ for the best worm composting system on the market?! You may remember Rising Mist Organics from my post on buying vegan fertilizer -- worm castings!

Don't forget, Im giving away two copies of Chuck Holton's book, Meltdown. To enter the drawing, e-mail your name and mailing address to seewhykinsman@gmail.com. The winner will be drawn next Tuesday, August 25th. Good luck.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Military Adventure

If you like 24, you’ll like Meltdown by Chuck Holton. Meltdown is the third book in the Task Force Valor series. This is a story of terrorism and the men and women who battle against it. It also is the story of soldier Bobby Sweeney's inner battles against God.

In Meltdown, a pretty CIA agent leads a military unit task force to try to stop a radioactive threat by terrorists in the Ukraine, and the threat could -- and does -- spread to the U.S. Although I thought the terrorism story was intersting, what I really enjoyed was the character relationships, especially Master Seargeant Bobby Sweeney. Sweeney grew up in a ultra conservative, religious right household that turned him off to God and religion entirely. Much to Sweeney's dismay, his brother and some of his military friends have come to know and love a more "grace-filled" God from his fire-and-brimstone childhood. Sweeney's battle against his loved ones' attempts to introduce him to this "kinder, gentler" God is as interesting as the task force's battle against terrorists.

Although I didn't always agree with the political agenda advanced by this author, I did enjoy Meltdown on the whole.

GIVEAWAY: I have two copies of Meltdown by Chuck Holton to give away. To enter the random drawing, send your name and mailing address to seewhykinsman@gmail.com. The winner will be picked next Tuesday, August 25th. Good luck!

Below are the links to buy this book and the summary from the publisher:

- www.Amazon.com

- www.ChristianBook.com

- www.FamilyChristian.com


Explosive Ordnance Disposal — The Bomb Squad

The global war on terror has reached catastrophic proportions, leading the U.S. Special Operations EOD team—Task Force Valor—to Chernobyl, where ghosts of past disasters are nothing compared to the nuclear nightmare about to unfold.

With CIA Agent Mary “Phoenix” Walker heading her first Special Ops mission and Master Sergeant Bobby Sweeney fighting demons on and off the battlefield, Task Force Valor races to stop a terrorist threat in the Ukraine before Europe is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

But when the terror reaches American shores, the team is powerless to help until they can save themselves. And when they finally track down the source of the chaos, what they find is worse than anything they could have imagined.

Chuck Holton
has traveled the world, experienced combat, served in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment, and is the author of six books, including Allah’s Fire, Island Inferno, Bulletproof, Stories From a Soldier’s Heart, and A More Elite Soldier. His journeys have taken him from the depths of the Atlantic, to the mountains of Burma, from the dogsleds of Alaska, to skies of Iraq. Chuck lives in Appalachia with his wife, Connie, and their five children.

Monday, August 17, 2009


This was on a t-shirt that made me laugh and laugh:

"Defend your right to arm bears."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Trudi of Foley, Alabama, our winner of Sarah Zacharias Davis' book The Friends We Keep and Andrea of Magnolia Springs, Alabama, winner of The Essentials of Effective Prayer bible study. This was too wild since I had lunch with both these fine ladies this past Wednesday. Random drawings are so random! Thanks to everyone who entered. Check back next week for another book review and giveaway.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Change the World

This week's Change the World Challenge is this:

Most commercial cleaners, commonly available in stores today, contain harsh chemicals . . . many, of which, harm the environment. So this week, try an Eco-friendly cleaner . . . something that doesn't hurt the environment or us. For some suggestions, check here:





If you only use Eco-friendly cleaners, share your favorite cleaner/recipe with us and talk about why it's your favorite.

Here's my recipe for the most amazing Oven Cleaner. I didn't think this would work, but it does. Just spray it on, wait an hour or two, and wipe clean the worst baked on mess!

2 tsp. Dawn
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vinegar
2 tsp. Borax
2 quarts warm water

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Giveaway and Winner

Congratulations to Elaine of Orange Beach, Alabama, our winner of Cindy Woodsmall's The Hope of Refuge.

Remember, I'm giving away a copy of The Friends We Keep by Sarah Zacharias Davis and The Essentials of Effective Prayer Bible Study this Friday, August 14th. To enter the drawing for one or both books, please send your name and mailing address to seewhykinsman@gmail.com. Good luck!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway

Today’s book review features The Friends We Keep, A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis.

It’s no secret that women need friendships – all women. We need to feel connected. We need support, love and understanding that men cannot satisfy. So why is it so hard for women to be TRUE friends? Why do women, especially in groups, tend to be catty, passive aggressive, judgmental, back-stabbing, and competitive? The Friends We Keep attempts to answer these questions. But rather than provide concrete answers, the author simply raises the questions, discusses them in detail and provides real life examples when women have succeeded, or, more often, failed to be genuine friends. Obviously, the answer to each of these questions resides only deep within in our hearts and minds . . . and it’s up to each of us to ferret out the answers and undertake to change the areas where we’re lacking. The hope is that if we can become the kinds of friends we desire, we will, in turn, attract like-minded women into our group. I really enjoyed The Friends We Keep; I only wish the book could have provided me the answers, and easy ones at that!

I have one copy The Friends We Keep by Sarah Zacharias Davis to give away. To enter the random drawing, please send your name and mailing address to seewhykinsman@gmail.com. The winner will be selected on Friday, August 14, 2009. I also have one copy of The Essentials of Effective Prayer Bible Study to give away (see below). You can enter for one or both of the books. Good luck.

Below is the summary from the publisher. You can purchase the book here:


During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:
•The Essentials of Effective Prayer •Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost
•Building a Marriage That Really Works •Discovering What the Future Holds
•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past •Having a Real Relationship with God
•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk? •Living a Life of Real Worship
•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret •Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment •Rising to the Call of Leadership
•How Do You Know God’s Your Father? •Key Principles of Biblical Fasting
•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation •What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

Kay Arthur, executive vice president and cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vegan Recipes -- Change the World Challenge

Yesterday I passed along this week's Change the World Challenge -- to eat vegetarian or vegan for one whole day (or longer) and spread the word as much as possible.

If every person ate meat just a couple of times a week versus almost every meal, we could end world hunger. END IT! Eating vegan is healthier, cheaper, much better for the environment and, oh yeah, nothing needs to die. I'm not saying a vegan diet is for everyone, but even replacing one meat meal a week, makes a measurable difference. If you could repeat this challenge once a week, it would be great -- I'm convinced if you try it, you'll see it's not so hard.

To aid you in meeting the challenge, below are two of my favorite vegan recipes -- dessert first (yum!) and a delicious, easy, creamy risotto!

Vegan Brownies

Boil 1 cup water. When it’s boiling, take it off the burner and add 1/2 cup flour a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it’s thick and smooth. Cool well.

In a separate bowl, mix:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. chocolate extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola, etc.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup nuts, chopped — walnuts or peacans
1 cup chocolate chips (vegan, non-dairy)
Add water/flour mixture to above ingredients and beat well.
Then stir in 1 1/2 cups more flour and beat until smooth.
Put in 9×13 greased and floured pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees/until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the brownies.

Vegetable Risotto

Classic risotto is made with an Italian short grain rice — arborio rice – simmered and constantly stirred, so it slowly absorbs the cooking liquid, resulting in a creamy, delicious dish.
2 c sliced fresh mushrooms (button, portabella, crimini — your choice)
½ c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3 c vegetable broth (1 c reserved)
3/4 c broccoli pieces
3/4 c fresh tomato, remove seeds and dice
1/4 c shredded carrot
3 Tbs basil
2 Tbs parsley
Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender, but not brown. Bring fresh veggies to a boil in 2 cups veggie broth. Add rice and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly, add 1 cup broth and stir another 15 minutes. Stir in carrots and tomato. Cook until rice is creamy and just tender; stir in basil and parsley and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Change the World

Here's the Change the World Challenge of the week. As a vegan, this one is near and dear to my heart. I've posted many articles about veganism and numerous recipes. BUT, I will address this further tomorrow.

If you eat animal products, then for one full day eat only meatless meals ... go vegetarian. Dairy products & eggs are permissible ... but no other animal products.

Or, if you are vegetarian full time ... then, for one full day, eat only vegan meals. No animal products whatsoever.

And finally, if you are vegan, full time, write an article about why meatless meals are good for the planet and perhaps include your favorite recipe.

So what do you think? Are you up for this one? If you need a little help, there are a few vegan recipes posted on Reduce Footprints ... just use the search engine at the top left of the page and insert the words "vegan recipe". And, I'll be posting another one on Friday.

Remember ... part of the challenge is to spread the word and get as many people as possible involved. For more information on how to do that ... and a little motivation, stop by and see our friend, Thomas ... he's written a wonderful article entitled "How to green the world by running your mouth". He's got some great words of advice.

Thanks, everyone!

We're changing the world ... one challenge at a time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Become a Mr. Fix It

Want to save money? Want to save the environment? Repair your broken items instead of buying new. Don't know how? Not that handy? Then read this article by Mary Hunt, the "Everyday Cheapskate" for resources to help you fix ANYTHING.


Remember, I'm giving away one copy of Cindy Woodsmall's The Hope of Refuge next Tuesday, August 11th. To enter the random drawing, send your name and mailing address to me at seewhykinsman@gmail.com.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway

Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall is a great story about what happens when two cultures, two worlds collide. When Cara's mother needed to escape, she went to the safe and loving Amish community, taking little Cara with her. Twenty years later when Cara, herself, needs to run, she and her daughter return to that Amish community. Cara, as a woman of the Englischer world, poses a threat to the Amish culture, but she has one friend and ally -- Ephraim who remembers her -- and her family's secrets -- when her mother brought her to the community as a child. Hope of Refuge is a great book and Cindy Woodsmall's knowledge of the Amish culture bring it all to life for you. Cindy recently gave an interview on ABC's Nightline. You can find out more about it here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=7676659&page=1

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall to give away. To enter the random drawing, please e-mail your name and mailing address to seewhykinsman@gmail.com. The winner will be drawn Tuesday, August 11, 2009.

Below is the link to purchase the book and the summary from the publisher.


Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Author Bio:
Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall is on tour, and she may be coming to a city near you! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Cindy and have her sign her newest title The Hope of Refuge at one of the following events.

Tuesday, August 11
7 – 8:30pm
Barnes & Noble
5141 Peachtree Parkway, The Forum
Norcross, Georgia 30092
(770) 209-4244

Wednesday, August 12 7 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble Opry Mills
515 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
(615) 514-5000

Thursday, August 13
6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
2540 Futura Pkwy. #135
Plainfield, Indiana 46168
(317) 838-7941

Friday, August 14 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
1550 West 75th
Downers Grove, Illinois 60516
(630) 663-0181

Saturday, August 15 1 – 3pm
Baker Books
2768 East Paris Ave SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546-6139
(616) 957-3110

Sunday, August 16 2 – 4pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3700 Rivertown Parkway Ste. 2058
Grandville, Michigan 49418
(616) 531-1825

Monday, August 17 7 – 8:00pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
1739 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212
(614) 298-9516

Tuesday, August 18 7 – 8:30pm
Joseph Beth Booksellers
2705 E. Carson Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
(412) 381-3600

Wednesday, August 19 6 – 8pm
Hackman’s Bible Book Store
1341 Mickley Road
Whitehall, Pennsylvania 18052-4610
(610) 264-8600

Thursday, August 20 1 – 3pm
Rachel’s Country Store (Amish dry goods store)
6352 McClays Mill Road
Newburg, Pennsylvania 17240
(717) 530-9452