Peaceful Passage, CWA Review

 CWAReviewCrew, Faith, family, Homekeeping, Reviews  Comments Off on Peaceful Passage, CWA Review
Nov 272012

Have you ever noticed that as women we are called on to accomplish and do so many things which we have no idea how to do? Or even approach doing? And then we find that there are slim to no resources available for the task at hand.

My Grandma was put in hospice for her to complete her life at home in 2010. It was a journey that I had to watch unfold from long distance (several states away). I ached watching my mother and uncle undertake that journey without handy resources available (not saying that the hospice didn’t provide any, they did, but it was on an as needed basis and wasn’t too helpful to plan for the eventuals and what they would face themselves personally and emotionally). I was so glad to find Peaceful Passage by Kim West, Ph.D. as a new resource for those who are facing the end of a loved one’s life and have chosen to care for them at home with hospice.

Cover of Peaceful Passage by Kim West Book. Brown, with a map and a compass

Peaceful Passage is full of wisdom and information for the caregivers of loved ones in hospice. The book outlines very well what to expect as your loved one nears the end of their earthly journey, what supplies you will want to have on hand in advance of needing them, when to call hospice if you need help (the sooner the better, same goes for just asking questions. It is what they are there for.), what to expect physically, emotionally in them and for yourself. It explains how you as a caregiver can feel through the entire process. There are questions at the end of each chapter to help you sort out what you need physically and emotionally. Encouragement is given as everyone seeks closure and healing from past mistakes in the relationships.

Kim West knows first-hand that of which she has written. She undertook this journey for herself as she cared for her mom in her final days. Desiring to help others facing the same journey, she wrote this book knowing that what she learned could benefit others. While no one wants to face death, Kim West helps those of us left behind to sort through the issues and come to a place of remembrance that isn’t as full of pain and exhaustion. She did a very good job at not only explaining the physical aspects of death, but delving into the emotional and spiritual ones as well (those last two seem to not have as many resources available for the lay person) not only for the person who is dying, but also the issues that face their caregivers. I so wish that this book was available when my Grandma spent nearly eight months under the care of hospice. This book would have helped my Uncle and his wife who were my Grandma’s primary caregivers, my Great-Aunt and my Mother through the process. It would have also helped me to understand how to better support them even at a long distance. I think this book should be on every hospice professional’s shelf to give to their new patients, on every pastor’s shelf so they can better understand what is happening to their congregants and everyone who has a loved one in hospice. This book is more than helpful.

While no one wants have to use the information in this book themselves, the time may come that it will be needed. I highly suggest that when that time comes, this is the book you go to for information and support. To purchase your own copy, go HERE

I was given a copy of Peaceful Passage by Kim West Ph.D. in exchange for this review as a part of the CWA Review Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received, nor any affiliate links used.

Oct 052012

Book cover for Because You Care

There comes a time in our adult lives when nearly all of us will be faced with being a caregiver to one or both of our parents, another elderly relative, our spouse or a dear friend. Caregiving is a very important job to undertake. One that while it is very rewarding, it is full of hard work and stress.

Because You Care by Cecil Murphy and Twila Belk is a lovely gift book written to caregivers to affirm them in their role. The pictures are gorgeous and the book is just full of encouragement that yes, you can get through this season in life and that all the feelings you feel in this role are normal and not to be ignored or shirked. This book would make a lovely gift for the person you know who is in the role of caregiver, or will soon be in that role.

Here’s a little about the book:

An Excerpt:

This Is Who You Are
From Cec and Twila

Others may call you brave. They’ll use words like noble or sacrificial. They’ll admire and applaud you because you’ve offered your life to make yourself available to someone who needs a long-term caregiver.

“I couldn’t do what you’re doing for him,” a friend says.

You listen to the words your friend speaks, and you like hearing the compliments. Yet as you listen and smile, you don’t see yourself as exceptional. You’re doing the right thing for someone you love, and that gives you peace. You also know the reason you’ve devoted your energies to another person.

You can express that reason in a single sentence: “I do it because I care.” You might say it’s because you love the person, or you may do it because of a strong sense of commitment to God and to your loved one. Regardless of how you express yourself, you’re determined to give yourself as fully as you can.

Some days you may not feel like loving anyone. You get tired, lose your temper, or think of the things you didn’t accomplish. During the worst times, you wish the situation would change. And in those dark moments, you’ve probably prayed, Dear Lord, please take this burden from me.

The situation probably won’t change for a long time—perhaps years. It’s not the kind of life you would have imagined. You probably envisioned living out your years in blissful peace. Caring for your loved one wasn’t part of your dream, but this is the life you have. Despite the moments of sadness, perhaps even regret, your answer remains the same: “I care.”

Taken from: Because You Care. Text Copyright © 2012 by Cecil Murphey, Twila Belk. Artwork Copyright © 2012 by Betty Fletcher. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission.

Find them on Facebook

Articles by Twila Belk on Caregiving:

• Waiting and Wondering:
• Insensitive Remarks:
• Toenail Love:
• Because You Care, You’ll Care for Yourself:
• Caregivers Need Encouragement:

And about the authors:

Twila Beck in a leopard print shirt and Cecil Murphy in a red sweater.

Twila Belk and Cecil (Cec) Murphey are both long-term caregivers for their spouses. Twila, aka the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, is a writer and speaker who loves to brag on God. She works fulltime with Cec as his manager, personal assistant, and biggest fan. Cec is a veteran author who has written or co-written more than 125 published books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. Cec and Twilas’ second co-authored book, Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware (Guideposts Books), released in August 2012.

For more info about Twila, visit
For more info about Cec, visit

The Grand Prize Giveaway includes
• Book—Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers
• Book—Hope and Comfort for Every Season
• Hallmark journal, list pad, and memo pad stack
• Glade “Angel Whispers” candle
• Hershey’s Bliss dark chocolate

To enter the grand prize drawing associated with the book, leave me a comment about the book or tell me about something else you’ve read by either of the authors. Then click in rafflecopter widget that you have done so. Contest closes on 10/12/2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting Up Early, Who Knew?

 family, Homekeeping, Marriage  Comments Off on Getting Up Early, Who Knew?
Sep 112012

I have heard the virtues of early rising preached to me for as long as I can remember. Efficiency experts proclaim that earlier rising is the cure for all sorts of ills. I am a natural night owl. I have always functioned better from about nine at night until I was ready to sleep around one or two in the morning…I do my best thinking then too.

However, my husband’s new job starts an hour earlier than his old job did. So that means an earlier wake up time. And since I like to see him in the morning before he leaves, that means I need to be up too. Last week, I didn’t really get up with him and he let me sleep in all but the first day of his new job. I woke up when I normally would and our old routine would commence. On Sunday night I told him that I really wanted to be up with him. He laughed at me until he realized I was rather serious about it.

So after making me promise that I wouldn’t hate him for waking me up and if after the first two attempts to make me rise (not shine…I’m a work in progress here…) he could move on to more slightly drastic measures.

The last two days of this earlier rising stuff (I’m not saying I wake up super early, but way earlier than I used to) I have gotten way more done during the day. Yesterday I had the last load of laundry in the dryer before noon. Used to be that was in about three in the afternoon. Then it all got put away and the kitchen got some cleaning done in it. The girls are even getting done with school an hour earlier. They don’t mind the extra time to play at all.

Today I am deep cleaning the bathroom. I have a paste made of baking soda and bleach on the tiles in the tub to get the nasties off. I have to scrub the toilet yet and sweep in there yet. Then I hope to purge through the towels and get rid of some that we really don’t need to be hanging on to any longer. This week is declutter the linens week. I started following the 52 Weeks Decluttering and Organizing Challenge. I really think that when paired with Mindy Starns Clark’s book, the House that Cleans Itself, this is going to totally rock the way I run this house. This week’s declutter challenge is to go through all of your linens and she has guidelines as to how many you really need. This is making my husband happy as he has been after me to get rid of some of our extra blankets. However, he would be happy if we didn’t have any since he is a rather hot individual (body temp wise and well, I just love to look at him)

I think that as much as I do not like mornings (If God wanted me to watch the sun rise, He would have set it to happen at a way more reasonable hour, in my opinion), I love how the rest of the day goes when I do make the effort (or am prodded) to get up earlier.

If you have any suggestions on how to turn myself into a morning person, I would love to hear them. Or am I just going to be one of those people who will always love being up late and will just have to deny myself?

Pursuit of Proverbs 31 by Amy Bayliss, A Review

 CWAReviewCrew, Faith, family, finances, Homekeeping  Comments Off on Pursuit of Proverbs 31 by Amy Bayliss, A Review
Aug 232012

Have you ever needed to read a book, but didn’t know you did? Pursuit of Proverbs 31 by Amy Bayliss was just such a book for me. I thought I had grasped the gist of Proverbs 31 long ago. Be a good wife, run the house excellently, train the children…

But I was treating that as the goal. Not the goal of being like the Proverbs 31 woman for the purpose of bringing glory to God and for ministry. I was setting the bar so high that there was no way I could reach it and I was pursuing that path out of obligation and duty. Not out of devotion to God and to honor my husband.

I also had in my mind exactly what being the Proverbs 31 woman would look like for myself. The house would be spotless. Dinner would always be served at just the right time, and I would always make what my husband prefers to eat. My children would always be well behaved and in nice clothes.

Real life would then rudely awaken my idyllic dreams with dinner not getting cooked fast enough, the living room looking like it should be declared a disaster zone, the laundry forgotten in the wash and me making spaghetti even though HubbaHubba really doesn’t like it much. I felt like a failure.

Amy Bayliss has helped to relieve me of the guilt of never seeming to measure up. She took Proverbs 31 exegeted it very well. I was very impressed with the fact that she took the time to outline the different Bibles available, and how to do an inductive study before getting to the meat of her book. She then took the time in each chapter to discuss what principles and meanings behind each part of the verse. There is so much more to being a Proverbs 31 woman than just doing everything that it says she does. It is pursuing God totally with your whole heart, seeking to honor your husband, raising your children and being responsible for it, managing the finances and keeping your house. But more than that, it is doing so for the right reasons. First and foremost we are to seek to honor and please God, and doing everything else with the proper motivation and attitude.

The section about hanging on to things because we might need them really hit me hard. I grew up living without, I married into a family that has a tendency to keep things they may need in the future and my husband is currently laid off. Yet hanging on to things because we “might” need them again someday is very wasteful. I had been feeling convicted of this sort of thing after the tornado last year, but this really hit home. It was termed planning to be broke. We aren’t planning that. I mean, who does. There are plenty of others who could use the stuff we should rid ourselves of. So this coming week is the start of a massive decluttering so we can bless others. That is just one way this book has impacted me.

I can highly suggest you get a copy of Amy Bayliss’ Pursuit of Proverbs 31 for yourself or for a gift for a woman in your life. It is the best book I have ever read on the subject (which believe me, I’ve read plenty).

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

 Cookery, Homekeeping, Marriage, Recipes  Comments Off on Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Jul 092012

Yesterday was HubbaHubba and my 7th wedding anniversary. To celebrate the blessing that our marriage is, we had some friends take the girls after church to play while we went out on a date, by ourselves! We took a while trying to decide where we were going to eat. We did have the qualifications that it couldn’t be someplace that we would take the girls at this stage in our lives. We settled on Outback Steakhouse. It was very good and we hope to go back someday (without the children of course.). We then had a quiet afternoon at home before picking the girls up and heading over to church for the presentation on the missions trip to Poland and Czechoslovakia from last month and ice cream social. We get home from that (after getting a container of ice cream foisted off on us) and get the girls ready for bed. After they were down we made ourselves a late evening supper of stuffed portabella mushrooms. Let me say, these were incredible.

Cream cheese pesto stuffed portabella mushroom

First you need to get some of those giant portabella mushrooms. I mean the big ones that are like the size of a saucer if you can (you can do smaller ones and have more that way I suppose or use this as an appetizer). Clean them and place them on a non-stick sprayed baking sheet with the gills facing up.

Take a brick of cream cheese (or half if you are being reasonable and doing just two large ones.) and heat in the microwave until you can stir it with a fork easily. Add about a quarter cup of parmesean cheese to it and mix thoroughly. Spoon into the mushrooms and spread to reach all the edges.

On top of the cream cheese mixture, place about a tablespoon (or more to taste) of pesto. I highly recommend making your own if you can it is easy (pine nuts or walnuts depending on what you can find, basil, garlic olive oil and parmesean cheese. Grind the pine nuts and basil together with the garlic in the food processor, then add the parm. After it is all mixed, drizzle the olive oil in until you get the consistency you like. We never measure our pesto as we fix it by taste and which flavors we want to be stronger, the ratios are totally up to you. If you want it with a bit of spice, add a dash or two of crushed red pepper flakes).

Sprinkle the mushrooms with some grated mozzarella cheese and top with shrimp if you like. I dusted them with more parm and then we roasted them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes when they were hot all the way through and the cheese had melted and the parm on top had started to turn brown.

prebaked stuff mushroom

If you wanted, you could use crab meat or lobster in place of the shrimp. Or leave the seafood off and try adding some olives (which my husband isn’t fond of), artichokes or spinach. These were big enough for a full meal. If it had been dinner time, a nice side salad would have rounded it out nicely.