5 Free Reads for August with Amazon Prime

Did you know certain Audible narrations come free with your Amazon Prime membership?

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From Amazon:

If you never seem to have time to read all the books on your list (and who does?), Prime Reading with Audible narration could be your new best friend. It’s easy to switch between reading and listening on multiple devices, so you can zip through books while driving, doing yard work or preparing dinner.

Click HERE for August’s selections.

Inexpensive Date Ideas

Get real!

10 {realistic} Date Nights @ theEXCELLENTwife.com

My husband and I love dates.  Now that our children are teenagers we are able to spend time alone a little more often.  Alone!  That’s a word we didn’t hear for years. Fresh ideas are always welcome. Here are a few that are not overly gooey, romantic or unrealistic – just some plain ol’ fun thoughts.  

 

1. Play a board game or video game together (a round of Wii tennis?  Boxing?).  My  husband usually enjoys beating me in Scrabble. Follow up with an appetizer-like dinner then popcorn and an at-home movie.

2. Go on a photo date where you find beautiful landscapes or interesting objects to photograph. You can frame a nice shot of the two of you as a memory of your date, or even create a photo book.  No need for fancy equipment – just bring your phone.

3. Coffee shop!  Ice cream shop works, too (especially for me!).  Grab a little something and enjoy the atmosphere chatting or reading a newspaper.  If you have one nearby, why not walk or bike?

4. Go to a park and take turns pushing each other in the swings.  Walk the fitness trail if they have one.  Feed the ducks. Play Frisbee. Play fetch with your dog.  Play fetch with someone else’s dog.

5. Bring good books and enjoy a sunset somewhere.  

6. Spend time at your local library and pick out a book (or two or three!) for each other.

7. Massage.  Need I say more?  Even soaking each other’s feet in a warm basin and rubbing on lotion works!

8. Go to a book store (so many of my ideal dates involve books!).  Grab a dessert while you’re there if it’s a fancy bookstore. (Wait!  So many of my ideal dates involve dessert!)

9. Write a song or poem together – even a goofy one.  If you’re musical, add a tune.

10. Reminisce over old photo albums or your wedding album. Have your children act as waiter and waitress and serve a nice dinner you prepared in advance, then tell them the story of how you fell in love.  Or send the kids off to a friend’s or grandparent’s, or wait for them to go to bed, and serve yourselves!

 

 Have any fun ideas to add?  I’d love to hear them!  What makes a date realistic for you?  

 

The International Children’s Digital Library

Today I came across a website devoted to putting children’s books in digital form for all to read online.  The International Children’s Digital Library has the following mission statement:

The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.

So far I’ve found books relevant to our studies of medieval history, including some of G.A. Henty’s books.

The ICDL was named one of 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of School Librarians.

 

Red Rain

If  your children enjoy science fiction, you should definitely consider Aubrey Hansen’s Red Rain novella.  And if they don’t prefer this genre?  You should buy it anyway!  Aubrey is a talented young author with a passion for writing.  Her latest work, Red Rain, is fast-paced and never dull ~ full of excitement and futuristic imagination.

Click the image to go to Red Rain's website

A summary from Aubrey’s website:

Government regulations said they had no choice. 17-year-old Philadelphia must stay on Earth in the hand of complete strangers while her father is sent against his will to Mars. When a Martian leader pulls the strings at the last minute and allows her to accompany her father, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to Earth. But when a search for her deceased brother’s belongings leads her into a hallway that isn’t supposed to exist, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer – the choice between returning to Earth or destroying it.

A neat little YouTube video:

Find Red Rain at the following retailers or buy it directly from Aubrey here:

 

I hope you enjoy Red Rain as much as we did!

Seven Days in Utopia

SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA follows the story of Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black), a talented young golfer set on making the pro tour. When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke escapes the pressures of the game and finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, Texas, home to eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall). But Johnny’s more than meets the eye, and his profound ways of looking at life force Luke to question not only his past choices, but his direction for the future.

 

 

Based on David L. Cook’s best-selling book Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA also stars Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll, Brian Geraghty, Jerry Ferrera, Joseph Lyle Taylor, KJ Choi and Kathy Baker. The film is directed by Matthew Dean Russell from a script by Cook, Rob Levine, Russell and Sandra Thrift. The film was produced by Mark G. Mathis (Brick, Precious) and Jason M. Berman (The Dry Land).

 

God’s Timing

“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush…saying…I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt” (Acts 7:30, 32, 34).
That was a long wait in preparation for a great mission. When God delays, He is not inactive. He is getting ready His instruments, He is ripening our powers; and at the Appointed moment we shall arise equal to our task. Even Jesus of Nazareth was thirty years in privacy, growing in wisdom before He began His work.  –Dr. Jowett
God is never in a hurry but spends years with those He expects to greatly use. He never thinks the days of preparation too long or too dull.
The hardest ingredient in suffering is often time. A short, sharp pang is easily borne, but when a sorrow drags its weary way through long, monotonous years, and day after day returns with the same dull routine of hopeless agony, the heart loses its strength, and without the grace of God, is sure to sink into the very sullenness of despair. Joseph’s was a long trial, and God often has to burn His lessons into the depths of our being by the fires of protracted pain. “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver,” but He knows how long, and like a true goldsmith He stops the fires the moment He sees His image in the glowing metal.
We may not see now the outcome of the beautiful plan which God is hiding in the shadow of His hand; it yet may be long concealed; but faith may be sure that He is sitting on the throne, calmly waiting the hour when, with adoring rapture, we shall say, “All things have worked together for good.” Like Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the lessons in the school of sorrow than we are anxious for the hour of deliverance.
There is a “need-be” for every lesson, and when we are ready, our deliverance will surely come, and we shall find that we could not have stood in our place of higher service without the very things that were taught us in the ordeal. God is educating us for the future, for higher service and nobler blessings; and if we have the qualities that fit us for a throne, nothing can keep us from it when God’s time has come. Don’t steal tomorrow out of God’s hands. Give God time to speak to you and reveal His will. He is never too late; learn to wait.

 

 

 

Seek Communion

An excerpt from Streams in the Desert

“They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine” (Hosea 14:7).

The day closed with heavy showers. The plants in my garden were beaten down before the pelting storm, and I saw one flower that I had admired for its beauty and loved for its fragrance exposed to the pitiless storm. The flower fell, shut up its petals, dropped its head; and I saw that all its glory was gone. “I must wait till next year,” I said, “before I see that beautiful thing again.”

That night passed, and morning came; the sun shone again, and the morning brought strength to the flower. The light looked at it, and the flower looked at the light. There was contact and communion, and power passed into the flower. It held up its head, opened its petals, regained its glory, and seemed fairer than before. I wonder how it took place–this feeble thing coming into contact with the strong thing, and gaining strength!

I cannot tell how it is that I should be able to receive into my being a power to do and to bear by communion with God, but I know It is a fact.

Are you in peril through some crushing, heavy trial? Seek this communion with Christ, and you will receive strength and be able to conquer. “I will strengthen thee.”

Carry Your Cross

Excerpt from Streams in the Desert

Carry Your Cross

“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

The cross which my Lord bids me take up and carry may assume different shapes. I may have to content myself with a lowly and narrow sphere, when I feel that I have capacities for much higher work. I may have to go on cultivating year after year, a field which seems to yield me no harvests whatsoever. I may be bidden to cherish kind and loving thoughts about someone who has wronged me–be bidden speak to him tenderly, and take his part against all who oppose him, and crown him with sympathy and succor. I may have to confess my Master amongst those who do not wish to be reminded of Him and His claims. I may be called to “move among my race, and show a glorious morning face,” when my heart is breaking.

There are many crosses, and every one of them is sore and heavy. None of them is likely to be sought out by me of my own accord. But never is Jesus so near me as when I lift my cross, and lay it submissively on my shoulder, and give it the welcome of a patient and unmurmuring spirit.

He draws close, to ripen my wisdom, to deepen my peace, to increase my courage, to augment my power to be of use to others, through the very experience which is so grievous and distressing, and then–as I read on the seal of one of those Scottish Covenanters whom Claverhouse imprisoned on the lonely Bass, with the sea surging and sobbing round–I grow under the load.

–Alexander Smellie.

Wonders and Miracles

Wonders and Miracles by Eric A. Kimmel

This beautifully illustrated hard cover book goes over much of the Passover and seder.  Our family is enjoying it now as a reminder of the Israelite’s  freedom from bondage in Egypt.   It makes a great addition to studies for the Easter week.

An Amazon review:

Grade 3-7–Kimmel gloriously celebrates the Passover Seder, an evening of observances, history, remembrances, and family sharing. Using the Haggadah, or “the telling,” as a guide, he weaves together storytelling, narrative, recipes, songs, and prayers. Contributors include Nina Jaffe, Debbie Friedman, and Sadie Rose Weilerstein. Kimmel provides insightful explanations about why the Seder is held and why questions are asked and why certain foods are eaten or not eaten, and he embraces both traditional and modern practices. The marvelous selection of art–paintings, photographs, artifacts, and illustrations from historical Haggadahs–illuminates each step in the service. Hebrew prayers are transliterated and translated and recipes include both Ashkenazic and Sephardic favorites. Both the presentation of information and the overall design attest to the careful and loving attention given to every detail. This inviting, handsome, and informative compendium should find a place of honor in every library.–Susan Pine, New York Public Library