Friday, May 31, 2013

My Life Quotes - On Parenting

I like quotes. They say a lot in only a few words.  

If you could write your own life quotes, what would they be?

Here are mine on Parenting: 

Photo by Toby Hamsher, 2010
For the husband and child: Don't you see the mess? Clean it up, people!

For the wife and mother: Don't nag and complain -- they just make you cranky!

Caring for plants is great. I feed and water them and they never talk back.

Mothers are the Queens of Broken Records. I must say, “Brush your teeth, wash your hair, take a bath, make your bed, pick up your shoes, don’t slouch, unload the dishwasher, and turn off YouTube” a million times a day.

Parents who ignore their child’s bad behavior, might as well say, “Go ahead and do it.” That’s the message they send.

Meaningful daily talks with kids and teens is the best way to influence their lives for good.  
--The average parent only talks with their kids for 4 minutes a day.

Dress code for life: No cracks front or back.  
--Stole this one from our youth leader

The last one to leave the room is in charge of the room. That means: turn off lights, close the windows, pick up dirty dishes, etc.
--Why doesn’t anyone else get this rule, but me?

What would be your "Parenting Quote"?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: The Clockwork Three

Here's another review of a Middle Grade Fiction. It's called "The Clockwork Three" by Matthew J. Kirby.

click to go to
Dawn’s Recommendation: 4 out of 5 Stars

Overview (taken from Amazon):
An enchanted green violin, an automaton that comes to life, and a hidden treasure . . . THE CLOCKWORK THREE is a richly woven adventure story that is sure to become a classic!

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom. 

Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it. 

And Frederick, the talented and intense clockmaker's apprentice, seeks to learn the truth about his mother while trying to forget the nightmares of the orphanage where she left him. He is determined to build an automaton and enter the clockmakers' guild -- if only he can create a working head.

Why I liked it: I loved how the three separate stories were woven together. I enjoyed Frederick, Hannah, and Guiseppe and all the characters (good and evil). They were nicely developed and their lives were believable. The story was set in early 1900's in possibly New York City and it had the feel of life for immigrants, child workers, tenement living, and the struggle to survive. Each child had a goal and they moved through the story trying to reach their goal. Their jobs were also very interesting (clockmaker, hotel maid, and busker - street corner musician).

What I Didn't Like:  
1. The overuse of similes and metaphors. There seemed to be at least one per page and it got old, like a worn out newspaper (yeah, that bad). Luckily, after a bit, I was able to tune them out.

2. Believability was really good until 3/4 of the way through. Then, Hannah did something I thought her character wouldn't do and then something else happened that wasn't believable at all (but I won't spoil it for you). 

3. The ending was okay. It's biggest problem was with so many story lines, the author tried to tie up every loose end, and some of it seem forced.

All in all, though, I was glad I read the book. It was refreshing and fun, a fantastic first book for the author. I also read "Icefall", his second book and it was FANTASTIC!  It had none of the problems I found with this book and I think the author learned a lot from writing "The Clockwork Three".  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Free Books For Review

Do you like to read Christian books (fiction and non-fiction)?  Would you like free books?  
Here are sites that offer free books in exchange for honest book reviews.

Blogging for Books



If you decide to participate, you must follow each site's guidelines for reviews

Example: BookCrash - read and review book within 2 months, review should be honest and thorough, post review on your blog and 1-2 other sites like Amazon, notify BookCrash that you've posted the reviews and include their links.

Once you've read and given your review, then you can be approved to get another free book. I've done one for BookCrash and am awaiting approval so I can get my 2nd book.

Know of any other free book sites?  Have you tried any of these?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Song for Sunday - Steal My Show

I enjoy a lot of Toby Mac's songs. This one is "Steal My Show". I pray this for my life, my writing, my everything -- that God steals the show. 

You Tube video posted by TobyMacFan1100

Friday, May 24, 2013

MG Tips: Peggy Eddleman

Peggy Eddleman is sharing her MG writing conference presentation for the next several Mondays. 

Here is the first installment on using Humor in MG fiction.

MG Needs: Humor

Check it out!

Peggy's Blog is "Will Write For Cookies".


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Icefall

I just love Middle Grade books! Here’s one that I read recently.

Click for
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Dawn’s Recommendation: 5 out of 5 Stars

Overview: Critically acclaimed author Matthew J. Kirby deftly weaves a stunning coming-of-age tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave readers racing breathlessly to the end. Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig--along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors--anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. Solveig must also embark on a journey to find her own path. Yet, a malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, as a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another. Those charged with protecting the king's children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father's watchful eye? Can Solveig survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he manages to destroy a kingdom?

Why I liked it: It was so different from most stories I read. The story wove you into the Vikings’ lifestyle. I loved the role of oral storytelling in the book and how that was an integral part of the character’s lives. Loved the opening and how the author gave information a bit at a time and let the reader discover the characters without telling them. I loved the relationships between the characters and animals, especially the growing relationship between Solveig and Hake. The story shows Solveig finding her place in the world, her learning her purpose and her strength. The book was refreshing and left me cheering for Solveig! Can’t wait for Mr. Kirby to write another book!

I liked it so much, I am now reading his first book, The Clockwork Three. I’ll review that in a few weeks.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Organize with Reused Boxes

My blogging friend, Mare Ball, over at Adventures in the Ballpark posted about reusing plastic veggie trays to organize her kitchen drawers (post: Veggie Tray Do Over). I left a comment telling her that I use cardboard snack boxes in mine. She wanted to see pictures, so I thought I'd do a post.

Photos by Dawn Hamsher, 2013
Reused Boxes Organize Junk Drawers

Problems with junk drawers:
*Stuff slides around

*Drawer gets too full to close
*You can get cut from sharp objects (you never know what is hiding in there).

Cut the tops off snack food boxes and reinforced corners with duct tape. Then arrange them in the drawer and taped each box together to keep them from sliding. Then, organized the junk into sections.  

Reused Boxes Organize Cabinets

Here is my baking cabinet and my medicine cabinet. All I have to do is pull out the box to find what I need. If you want to get even more organized, label the boxes. To make them pretty, cover with wrapping paper or shelving paper.

Here are some of boxes I used:
child shoe boxes
cupcake boxes
powdered milk boxes

And don't forget, Mare Ball suggests using veggie trays to organize. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Song for Sunday - Call on Jesus

Ever since I saw Nicole C. Mullen at a Women of Faith conference, I've been hooked! I love her heart and energy for Jesus. Here is "Call on Jesus".

You Tube video posted by WordLabelGroup

Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review -- No Small Change

I've been reading books like crazy lately and I was so happy to find BookCrash! Here's how it works: You pick one free Christian book at a time (they mail it to you or you download it), you read it, and then post a review of it on your blog. Then you can pick another book.  Cool, huh?!

My first review for Bookcrash is "No Small Change" by Charles E. Johns. Mr. Johns is a minister and author of "Faith Matters", a monthly annual conference column.

We often act as if God hides so well that signs of the divine presence are reserved for Hallejujah moments. Here are tales of people, places, and things that can either pass unnoticed or can become elemental moments to change the way we experience God. Each of the stories illustrates a way in which the ordinary can open the door to an engagement with the divine. No Small Change is an invitation to pay attention to the grace that envelops us, God's persistent presence which longs to be embraced. (taken from back of book)

Dawn's Recommendation: 2.5 of 5 Stars

What I liked: 

I really enjoyed the stories that shared concrete, specific examples and reflections from the author's life like in FLYING LESSON (about who you put your trust in). There is truth and wisdom in the author's words and he takes the time to meditate on ordinary happenings in his life. I liked the humor that is sprinkled in (like in UNNATURAL ACTS), the sweet memories of friends who have passed (like in JIMMY), and the author's vulnerability (like in UNWILLING). With each story, you get to know a little more about the author. Some of the author's reflections evoke rich images from his life like in TRUE COMPASS where he gets a compass for a gift and it is compared to the one true guide for his life. Some of the stories reminded me of devotionals.

What I didn't like:
I didn't like the layout of the book. It was laid out in the following categories: Advent/Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time.
--There were a few stories that felt like they tried too hard to tie into the their category.
--The book opens with Advent/Christmas. I prefer to read Christmas stories at Christmas time, so that was an immediate turn off. Also, this section confused me. I couldn't get the stories' points as they related to glimpses of God...or perhaps it was just my frame of mind at not wanting to read Christmas when it was 70 degrees outside.

Some of the stories were more general thoughts on a topic and that came across as preachy and vague to me. I much rather enjoyed the stories that gave concrete, specific examples from the author's life.

Also, the back cover blurb is a little misleading.
--Based on the back cover blurb's last sentence, I thought the book would show me how I could better pay attention to God's grace. The author shares his reflections, but it doesn't tell readers how to do this for themselves.
--The blurb says, "Here are tales of people, places, and things" - I took this to mean stories from and about different people, but the stories are all from the author.

Even though there were some things I didn't like about the book, I still enjoyed many of the stories.
There are some sweet gems in this book and I'm glad I stuck to it to find them (one of my favorites was GROWING MEDIUM)!  

Once I began to see the stories as "devotionals", I was able to enjoy them and understood the book's purpose -- to share the author's glimpses of God through his experiences and reflections.  I think the book's format would have worked so much better marketed as a book of devotionals! 

Disclosure - The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of the book 
through BookCrash in exchange for a review of the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Splendors and Glooms

I just love Middle Grade books! Here’s one that I read recently.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Dawn’s Recommendation: 5 out of 5 Stars

Click for
Overview (taken from Amazon): WINNER OF A 2013 NEWBERY HONOR!
The master puppeteer, Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. 

As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch. Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

Why I liked it: I like books set in Victorian England, but it was the characters and intrigue that drew me in. Sorrow and secrets weave through out the story. You grow to love and feel for Lizzie, Parsefal and Clara. Ms. Schlitz describes the puppets and the running of the puppet show so well that you feel you are watching it in person and perhaps even working the puppet strings

I couldn't put the book down! I don’t want to give any of the story away, but know that you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. Great ending too! Perfectly tied together.

This book was so good, I checked out another one of her books, "A Drowned Maiden’s Hair". I’ll review that one in a couple of weeks.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A to Z 2013 Survivor


I'm a survivor. 
Yep, another A to Z under my belt.


What I did the same this year:
  • Pre-scheduled posts
  • Visited other blogs almost every day
  • Commented on ones that were interesting

What I did differently this year:
  • Did NOT try to visit EVERY blog 
  • Followed only a few blogs that I liked 
  • Did NOT stress

Result = Had a happy A to Z!

To read other A to Z survivor stories go to Blogging from A to Z.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Song for Sunday - Legacy

I saw Nichole Nordeman several years ago at a Women of Faith Conference. She was so down to earth. She was a new mom at the time.  Here is her song "Legacy" played to a video done by NewVoiceChurch. I love the theme of the video - moms leaving a legacy through their children.

You Tube Video by NewVoiceChurch, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review – Jesus Calling

Click to go to
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence 
by Sarah Young

Dawn’s Recommendation: 5 out of 5 Stars

Overview (from back jacket): Jesus is Calling. Do you hear Him? Sarah Young began listening to what God was saying. With pen in hand, she wrote down the words and scriptures that Jesus laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His Presence and allowed her to enjoy His Peace. Each day gives a devotion and scripture reading.

Why I like it: I really believe that Ms. Young has sought God’s words for us and through her, she has written down just what we need to hear each day. I’ve been reading this book daily for a month and every day, the words seep into my heart like a love song. Mother Teresa said, “I am a little pencil in the hands of a writing God, who is writing a love letter to the world.” Ms. Young is one of God’s little pencils. Thank goodness for her faithfulness to listen to God's messages and to write them down to share. 

Read this book. God wants you to know how much He loves you and how much He wants to surround you in His peace. Also, make sure you read the intro by Sarah Young – it is her story on how she came to Christ and how she came to write the book.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Song for Sunday - O Praise Him

I saw the David Crowder Band at Creation Fest last year. This was my favorite song! 

David Crowder Band - O Praise Him