Friday, March 13, 2015

{Review} Mercy's Rain by Cindy K. Sproles

Set in the late 1800s in the heart of Appalachia, Mercy's Rain tells the story of Mercy Roller. Brought up by her abusive father, the Pastor, and her compliant mother, Mercy suffers abuse and torture at the hands of her father. She feels her name is a curse and cannot figure out why her mother ever gave it to her.

The story uses flashbacks to tell about the unspeakable acts, Mercy's father committed not only on her and her mother, but on the other families in the community they live in. It is an excellent and well written story and shows how Mercy finally finds the true meaning of her name. 

From the back cover:
Married and widowed at thirteen, a mother and childless at fifteen, Mercy has spent her life under the authority of her abusive father, the Pastor. The Pastor rules both her family and the community around Wadalow Mountain, Tennessee. Not a single person seems capable of standing up to the man who calls his sinful actions "righteous," that is, until Mercy takes matters into her own hands.

Kicked out of her home by her grieving mother, Mercy finds her way to the other side of the mountain where she slowly learns that true righteousness has nothing evil about it - and that there might be room for her own stained and shattered soul to find shelter, and even love. 

My thoughts:
The story is not an easy read in the sense that the abuse described doesn't hold back anything. Unfortunately, there are too many people like the Pastor in this world and too many girls like Mercy. Sproles does an excellent job of showing how far Mercy must go to find what true love is and how to live in God's grace and mercy. She doesn't make it seem simple but shows just how hard it can be to finally rest in God's loving embrace.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Constancy Day

Sunrise from our hotel room

This past weekend my hubby whisked me away for a romantic weekend together. Our two older boys were gone to a youth group event all weekend. Our youngest went to stay at a friend's house. It was, in a word, heavenly.

I very much enjoy spending time with my hubby. I suppose that's a good thing! This July we will be celebrating 22 years of marriage. This past weekend we celebrated "Constancy Day."

What? You have never heard of that? Well, neither had I until my hubby decided to celebrate it.

Here is what he posted on his Facebook page Sunday morning:

Lisa B...was not always Lisa B.... She was, once upon a time, Lisa G.... She changed her name when she married me in July of 1993. On that day, she was 21 years, 8 months, and 14 days of age.

Today is not our anniversary. But as of today, we have been married 21 years, 8 months, and 14 days. Today marks the day that she has spent half her life as my wife. Today she will be married to me longer than she was not.

I know this is not some traditional celebration or holiday. But to me, this is a special day because this wonderful woman chose to dedicate herself to me for life. Today marks her commitment: she has been a B.... longer than a G.... I know some folks do not feel that a name change at marriage is necessary, and maybe it is not. But to me, this is something special: a sacrifice she made and a sign of her vow. 

I fully appreciate the job Bob and Joyce did raising this woman. But she is a B... through and through. Today I celebrate it with Constancy Day!

And yes, he did the math. He's an engineer after all. He even told me he was going to celebrate this moment months ago but that I would forget he ever mentioned it. He was right.

We had a lovely weekend away and I doubt I'll forget March 1, 2015 any time soon.

Friday, February 13, 2015



Anyone living in New England will tell you that we have had a lot of snow this winter. And saying "a lot" is really an understatement! 

One bright sunny day this winter I packed up all my boys and headed north - towards more snow because that's how foolish I am. Actually, we headed back to the family farm. We still own our mobile home that we lived in located on the family property. We had already received a few feet of snow and another two feet was predicted for that weekend. The roof on the trailer needed to be shoveled off before that could happen. 

My hubby was unable to do it so I volunteered to take the kids and go attack it. I figured my oldest and I could get it done in a few hours. 

While we were working, the younger boys went sledding outside and played with their younger cousins who were also up for the weekend to visit.

I have to say I was very grateful to my father-in-law who pitched in to help and offered us the use of a snow pusher that worked great to get the snow off.

I'm standing on the porch roof looking down the length of the trailer. There was probably four feet of snow on here. 

I was thankful for a sunny day and the wind wasn't too bad either. We began to shed a few layers while we worked. I only lost my shovel off the edge of the roof once and I did proceed to snap it in two before I was done. 

It took us about two hours to get it all cleared off. And then the blizzard that was predicted for the weekend fizzled. The roof needed to be shoveled anyway, but not as urgently as we had thought in hindsight. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Belt Testing

In February both my middle son and my hubby tested for their next belts in karate. Our middle child has been taking lessons for about six months. He is now an orange stripe (halfway to his orange belt). While he didn't really want to take lessons, he has since come to like them for the most part. 

My hubby has been taking lessons for about a year. He is now an orange belt. He really enjoys the lessons and practices quite a bit. I'm glad he has something that he can do together with the boys (our youngest takes lessons as well). 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Yummy Candy

I'm behind in my blogging. What's new right? Well, lots of things so I'll be adding in all kinds of content and back dating the posts.

First up is a really yummy field trip we took at the beginning of February. We headed south to Westbrook which is located just north of Portland. Our destination? Haven's Candy.

We arrived early and browsed their retail store. They had lots to browse! It was obvious they were all ready for Valentine's Day.

As soon as the rest of our group arrived we started with a history of how chocolate is made as well as the history of the company. I learned quite a few things about chocolate I didn't know before including the fact that white chocolate is really cocoa butter - a byproduct of the chocolate making process. 

Then we headed in to the manufacturing area. First up was the room where they make flavored popcorn and salt water taffy.

Salt water taffy pulling machine in the background.

They were on the process of preparing for Easter. The typically prep 3-6 months before a holiday with the exception of Christmas. We were told that they will begin prepping for Christmas in July by making solid chocolates that have a long shelf life. They tend to make things that will last longer further out from the date while those that won't last closer to the date of the holiday. For example, we were told they would spend the Friday & Saturday of Valentine's Day hand-dipping thousands of strawberries to ensure they are fresh!

The table was full of bunny corn (I think that's what it was called) - flavored caramel popcorn. We were all able to taste some. My oldest doesn't like caramel popcorn so wouldn't try it. However, when he was told it tasted nothing like regular caramel popcorn (and it didn't!!) he tried it. It actually tasted like Fruit Loops!

Next we went in to where the chocolates are made. The first machine was making chocolate covered graham crackers. Yum! We learned that all chocolates have a design placed on the top and those in the chocolate industry know exactly what kind of chocolate it is (including flavored fillings) based on those designs. 

This chain was putting a wavy design on the top.

They were in the process of taking white chocolate bunnies out of the molds. It was interesting to learn about how these are made. They even had made a few that were 36 inches tall. It takes (I think) about eight to ten hours to make one. One even had money ($1000) hidden inside! They were raffling them off (I think - thus the issue with trying to recall details a month later - at my age).

They melt 10 pound candy bars to make the liquid chocolate they need to make all of their items. It's huge!

We were each given a little goodie bag of "seconds" at the end of the tour. All very yummy and a great way to pass the time on the ride home - sampling chocolates!

I've been wanting to take this tour for quite some time. However, because it is a factory, no child under eight are allowed to go inside the manufacturing area. My youngest is now 11 so we were able to finally check it out. It was worth the wait!