Hudson Taylor, A Great Audiobook

Some homeschool moms seize the opportunity for extra reading using audiobooks. I used to listen to Elisabeth Elliot messages while I sewed for 1/2 hour in the afternoon. I did back exercises so that was another opportunity I had to listen to something edifying. If you exercise at home, you might be able to pay attention to an audiobook.

Now I listen to Scripture, sermons, or audio books when I:

Work in the kitchen alone
Do back exercises

As we mentioned earlier, Steve and I listen to audiobooks during part of our daily walk. We use air pods so we can listen to the same book.

We recently finished the audiobook called Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor. We have the two-volume book in our home, having read it about 25 years ago, and this appears to be a comprehensive, audio abridgment of that work.

The book was well written and engaging. Hudson Taylor is the founder of China Inland Mission and was a man of great faith and courage. He determined to trust God alone to supply his personal needs and the needs of his mission, never making any appeals for money or even letting others outside the mission know of needs.

Steve and I were blessed, motivated in our walk with the Lord, and greatly encouraged by the life of this great man of God. Not only does the book tell the story of events in Hudson Taylor’s life but the spiritual growth he experienced and how it was lived out in his life.

Whenever we can, we are getting our audiobooks from that has a monthly subscription program similar to Audible. You can try the first month for free! They also have a family share policy for 5 family members to share an account name and password if those family members are dependents.

Trusting in Jesus,

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7

A Mommy Retreat

Our two daughters-in-law with school-age children are busy homeschooling mommies, each with five children. When GiGi went to visit my sister for two weeks, it was a perfect opportunity to get a retreat day for both Melanie and Anna Marie—a time of spiritual refreshment. The goal was to give them a break from their everyday lives that are filled with giving of themselves in service to their families, and for them to be able to spend a day quietly with the Lord.

Melanie had her day first. She took a suitcase with her that was filled with Abby’s down blanket. It was a surprise for Melanie. Abby loves that blanket dearly, and Melanie used it all day! Bethany helped collect Melanie’s Bible and books. She wrote a note and put it in Melanie’s Bible. She also packed her lunch in a cooler.

An especially sweet part of Anna Marie’s day was the note she discovered at GiGi’s house for her from her 10-year-old niece, Abby, with Scripture verses on it. Psalm 63:1 was one of them, and when she read that verse, she spent much of the day studying and meditating on that chapter. Also in her hurry to get ready and out the door by 9:00, Anna Marie hadn’t grabbed breakfast. When she opened the fridge at GiGi’s, she found breakfastyogurt and cheese that Melanie put there for a special treat for her. Anna Marie told me that Melanie didn’t even know those were two of her favorite treats.

Trusting in Jesus,

Ellie came over with Sarah to take pictures,
and Danny is very fond of Ellie.

On Anna Marie’s day, in the afternoon, Anna was actually
babysitting for some of Nathan’s crew too, so she combined them!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the
heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). 

Random Life from Green to Changing Colors

What an exciting last 5 weeks it’s been since I shared Random Life! The Lord’s gracious touch was very evident in my life as I hit my copyeditor deadline. Now, the book is back from our copyeditor, and we’re in the final two weeks of getting it ready for the printer. We can’t wait to introduce it next month!

Autumn is really here. Leaves twirling off trees, hillsides changing into hues of yellow, orange, and brown, rainy, cozy days, crisp temperatures–it’s beautiful.

We love seeing God’s faithfulness in every minute of our lives. He wants us to seek Him, in the hard times and in the good times. One thing we’re praising Him for is on the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson this past weekend! We’ve prayed for his freedom for the past two years, and we’re all thrilled with the news.

I’d love to hear one thing you’re blessed by today!


Anna helped Anna Marie and girls make burritos for the freezer.

Cooking up tortillas (Costco frozen ones)

One hot Saturday (yes, we’ve literally gone back and forth from
warm front to cool front to warm to cool!),
Anna and Dad did a lot of yard work.
They verti-cut the lawn and then seeded.

The girls did balloons and face painting at a local church event, and I took pictures for the church.

Nathan and Melanie enjoyed a camping trip to Colorado!

Mom cat-sat the cats.

Jesse’s birthday–and so many happy helpers

Look at this group!

A pizza-picnic

Mom and Dad do a monthly shopping run.


Mom reading to Calia.

Tina and Arnold

Anna took this crew on a walk.

We watched Nathan and Melanie’s crew one night.

GiGi leaving on a trip.

Anna accompanied Melanie and kids to Science City in downtown KC (Mary’s been busy with illustrations for my book).

A special aunties’ play time walk to a great field.

Jesse unloading after one of Dad and Mom’s shopping trip

Nathan had a business trip, and we had guests,
so this was the crew one night!

So blessed to be able to spend time with my friend!

We took our friends to the Deanna Rose Farmstead
along with Lidsy and Ruthie.

Bottle feeding the goats.

They liked Mary.

Family picture sneak peek! Yes! We actually got it done the end of September. So perfect. Can’t wait to share more.

Betsy and Anna eating ice cream on errands one day.
(Note: Betsy only got in the front seat while they were parked to eat the ice cream.)

Babysitting, and Mom came with Calia to take over

Little Benji loves Ellie

Calia turned three!

Nathan and kiddos campaigning.

Guests for lunch!

Caught in the rain, lol!

Life Chain day, and we made signs at the last-minute.

Anna Marie and Melanie

This had to be my closing photo. I captured this yesterday after family lunch. LOVE IT!

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:23-24

Cherry Tart

Do remember our Austrian blog friend who sent us a cherry stoner (see this post)? She also sent us her favorite cherry tart recipe, which we wanted to try out with the cherries we stoned and froze. We usually make pies, cobblers, and crisps with fruit, but we hadn’t made a tart before so it was fun to try something new.

We served this dessert recently when we had weekend guests. We all agreed. It is delicious.

Cherry Tart

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 lb. cherries

Beat butter with hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sugar. Continue until everything is really fluffy. Then fold in flour with baking powder. Mix only until everything is combined.

Pour into baking dish. (I use a round one about 9 inch diameter). Then let the cherries sink in. You can use even more than 1 pound of cherries. Bake at 350° until golden brown. Serve warm or cold, with or without vanilla ice cream. It’s delicious!

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).

Part 3: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

(You can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.)

To recap, we looked at the first steps to writing a book:

  1. Ideas
  2. Outline
  3. Character Profiles
  4. Pre-Book Trial Run
  5. First Draft


The sixth step I will refer to as Editing. That one simple word entails so much more. Depending on my time deadlines and family availability, the way I accomplish this varies a little. One thing I plan on: editing takes at least twice as long as writing the first draft.

I jump in at the very beginning and start re-writing. Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. Some of the things I work on are making the story come alive, pacing it well, and ensuring a smooth flow.

The first edit is a rough edit round. I’m not fine-tuning yet.

As I’m in the midst of the rough edit, we begin a family read-aloud in the evenings, reading what I just edited. In the fiction/non-fiction authors’ world, they have critique partners, because one can’t possibly brainstorm all the possibilities by one’s self. I’ve been blessed to have all that in house!

I track changes while the family gives feedback, and then I implement their suggestions. From there, I continue to edit, rewrite, polish, edit, dream, and edit some more.

When I am down to the finish line with the text, Anna does an edit. She makes notes and comments about things I can improve and helps me on specific areas. In my current book, she’s responsible for adding quite the sparkle to different sections.

Mom also edits. Her fresh ideas are amazing. In addition, I ask Dad to do a paper read-through. He’s the practical, analytical mind, so if something doesn’t make sense, he’ll catch it.

Beyond this, I do more editing, bringing in the fine-tuning part. These rounds are on paper.

It’s thrilling for me to see the story become what I’ve dreamed. I can’t wait to introduce you to my newest book next month!

But there’s more to this book journey, so stay tuned.


My little nephew, Benji, and myself recently

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
1 John 1:4

Grandma Teaches Swimming Lessons

The past two summers a friend offered the use of her above-ground pool to Nathan and Melanie for me to give their children swimming lessons. While we don’t go to public pools anymore because of modesty concerns, I was a lifeguard and swimming instructor in my teen years.

We set up a schedule to have two lessons a week for five weeks. I worked individually with each of the four older children for a 1/4 hour lesson every lesson day. The children were cooperative, worked hard, practiced between lessons, and made great progress.

Another friend with a big, inground pool allowed us to do our last two lessons there. That gave the children the opportunity to swim in deep water and for longer stretches.

I gave the children home-made certificates for their accomplishments as they passed various swimming levels, and I documented their progress for Nathan and Melanie. This year my friend with the inground pool offered to let us use it for an extra session where each child could show Nathan and Melanie what they learned.

I love working with my grandchildren, teaching them to swim and helping them with skills that could be lifesaving in an emergency. 

Nathan and Melanie put on a family pizza party as a thank you and gave me a gift card for a haircut and another one for the coffee shop next to the hair salon. The children gave me a best-swimming teacher certificate and thank you notes. Doesn’t that melt a Grandma’s heart?

Trusting in Jesus,

“Children’s children are the crown of old men;
and the glory of children are their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6

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