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Why We Bought a Balance Bike for Our Granddaughter

When you see the pictures on this post you'll wonder where in the world we live that it's so green!  These pictures were taken back in the summer or early fall, so that explains the lack of snow.  It also shows how long a lag there can be between a plan for a post and actually making it happen!

Our granddaughter Tera's birthday was back in August.  We were trying to think of the perfect gift to get her when Suzanne mentioned that Tera's big sister would be getting a new bike through a donation to the foster system.  She knew that could cause some problems, so I immediately knew what to get her for her birthday!

I decided I needed to do some research on a good bike to get for a little girl turning three.  I assumed my choice would be between a bike with training wheels or a tricycle.  I googled the above and what should pop up in my feed but something called a balance bike, also often called a strider or glider bike.  I had never heard of such a thing and when I started r…
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My Top 10 Books of 2017

My goal was to read 50 books in 2017.  I got 48 books read, so I was pretty close!  I've set 50 as my goal again for 2018.

Here are my 10 Top Favorite books from the year.

1.  Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman.  You can read the full review here.  If you haven't read this book, please do!

2.  Mama B -- A Time to Speak by Michelle Stimpson.  The full review is here.

3.  Abundant Simplicity: Discovering the Unhurried Rhythms of Grace by Jan Johnson.  Read the review here.

4.  Lord, Teach Us to Pray by Andrew Murray.  The review is here.

5.  Humility, the Journey Toward Holiness by Andrew Murray.  You can read the review here.

6.  My God and I by Lewis Smedes.  Read the review here.

7.  Trouble I've Seen by Drew G. I. Hart.  Please read the review here.

8.  Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  The review is here.

9.  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  That link is here.

10.  Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Mataxas.

Recap of Year 2017

2017 was quite the year, wasn't it?  I am learning more and more that life in general is a paradox.  At the same time that we experience sorrow and difficulty, we are learning and growing.  In one facet of our life we might be struggling, while we're receiving great blessings in another facet of life.

As Charles Dickens so famously wrote, 
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct to the other place....Yes, 2017 was definitely a year of superlatives, of contrasts, and of paradoxes for us.

We were going through a tough situation at our church, yet we got to know people at a deeper level and we grew very attached to our home gro…

December 2017 Reading List

I feel like I didn't read much in December.  We traveled to the UK and returned home via Iceland and we were pretty busy while we were there, but I did read on the plane quite a bit.  Then we had family here for Christmas and I know I didn't read much that week.  Still, I did finish four books during the month!

The first was She Never Knew by C. J. Simpson.  I kept thinking, "Either I've read this before or the plot is pretty predictable."  Maybe both were true, but mostly it turns out I had read it before.  If you were brutally raped and had a child as a result of the rape, what would you do if the rapist re-entered your life years later? This is a story of hurt, of trauma, of forgiveness, of moving on. It's not all nicely wrapped up by the end with all problems solved. It's an intriguing story line, but the plot seemed predictable and the writing clunky. There were also a lot of details that could have been left out that had nothing really to do with the…

Christmas 2017

The last Christmas we spent with our kids was in 2010.  Last year, 2016, we were in the USA for Christmas, so we did celebrate Christmas early with our kids, but it's just not the same as actually celebrating Christmas.  We do love our Christmases in Niger, spent mostly with friends at church, but there's sure nothing like spending the day with your kin.

Suz, Theo, Tera, Hezekiah, and "Heavenly" (a nickname for our foster grand-daughter) arrived Friday afternoon (they started their trip around 3 a.m.!).  They and the two little ones took naps in the afternoon while John and I played "Seven-Hand Rook" and Chinese Checkers with Heavenly.  We also watched a show on tv before everybody finally got up and then we all went for a walk before it got dark. Daniel and Kelly with Levi and Everett arrived late that night.

On Saturday some people slept in, but that's a bit hard to do when there are kids in the house.  I spent the morning making three pies for Christma…