Brigades #1 by Peter

Hello I’m Peter Cole, Janelle’s favorite son. Over the past couple years you may have seen posts about the Texas brigades. Well for the next couple of weeks I am going to break down each different aspect of what Texas Brigade camps are about, why you should attend, or encourage others to, and why they are so important to the future of our world.

Sharing about Texas Brigades at a youth hunt.

 The Texas Brigades are a group of wildlife leadership intensive camps located around the state.    There are five differ wildlife subjects covered by seven different camps: Rolling plains Bobwhite Brigade, South Texas Bobwhite Brigade, North Texas Buckskin Brigade, South Texas Buckskin Brigade, Ranch Brigade, Bass Brigade, and Coastal Brigade. Have had the privilege of attending as well as returning to three different brigades over three years. 

Sharing what I learned at Texas Brigade Camps

One major focus of brigades is to teach wildlife  Each camp focuses on teaching the habitat, conservation, and anatomy of the focused wildlife. The Texas brigades motto is “Tell me I forget, show me I remember, involve me and I understand.” At camp the instructors live that out by teaching wildlife, but also by us doing what they taught.   The other focus of Texas Brigades is to teach public speaking, decision making, leadership and critical thinking.  Learning these skills at camps has helped grow me into a more determined and qualified leader.  

Teaching other youth about Wildlife Conservation, earning that scholarship and an invitation to come back as a leader to Buckskin Brigade.

At most camps one of the first activities is the anatomy. We get to dissect the animal we are learning about. The first brigade I went to was the 24th Battalion (or year) of the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, this was the camp that started the program back in 1993.  Bob White camps focus on the conservation of the quail species in Texas. We learned about their habitat, diet, and everything they need to live.  One bonus from my Bob White camp experience was earning a $2250 scholarship for college by sharing what I learned and advertising for the organization!

Receiving my scholarship at North Texas Buckskin Brigade in 2018.

In 2018, I was able to attend the 3rd battalion of the Coastal Brigade. At the Brigade we learned all about Coastal wildlife. We were able to study the anatomy of a fish, by dissecting one. We also went to a hatchery, to learn the life cycle of fish, specifically the life cycle of the red drum, the state fish of Texas. One of my favorite parts of camp is always the plants. At coastal brigade we studied the many different types of coastal plants. We learned all about the plants that directly impact the coast, and any type of coastal wildlife. 

Applications are open for a few more weeks at www.texasbrigades.org.  Youth agers 12-18 should apply now!

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Book Review : Never Let Go

I’ve met a new author : Elizabeth Goddard. In Never Let Go, she begins a new series called Uncommon Justice. This was a well paced novel that had plenty of twists and turns, action adventure and some romance as well.

The main character Willow Anderson is a forensic pathologist and this was incredibly interesting to learn about her passion for linking the past with the present. After experiencing the loss of her grandfather and going through her own house fire, Willow realizes that a job she and her grandfather were hired to do might be more than they realized.

Before his passing, Willow’s grandfather called in an old friend, past boyfriend of Willow, to consult on their latest case. When tragedy strikes twice Austin is there to help out and offer support to Willow as well as assistance with her new case.

The author dove into several areas that I really enjoyed, the forensic pathology as well as the setting of Wyoming. I enjoyed feeling a part of the western scene and loved tagging along on their back road, harrowing adventures.

I will certainly be looking for other books by Ms. Goddard. I enjoyed her style of writing and her character development.

NOTE : I was offered a copy of Never Let Go in exchange for an honest review by Revell Publisher.

More about Never Let Go :

As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather’s footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent–and Willow’s ex-flame–Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they’ll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he’s spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow’s tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

Book Review : The Sky Above Us

Every so often I try to step out of my comfort zone and branch out a bit, if you will. The Sky Above us was not normally a book I would snap up tp review, but I decided that the historical part was worth the extra romance. I am so glad I did grab this book!!

Sarah Sundin did a glorious job researching every little detail for The Sky Above Us, her book about World War II. In this darling story Violet, a young woman determined to become a missionary overseas, signs up to be a Red Cross worker. After arriving in England and being given the task to serve the men of a fighter group at their air base, she finds her self frustrated that she in not serving women and children in need. She, cleverly, is able to work those ministries in to her work, but despite her frustration she quickly realizes that what she is doing is real.

Meanwhile, Adler Paxton has been running from his demons for 3 years now and is not about to slow down or tell anyone about anything. That is until he meets Violet and she manages to get a few insignificant details from him. The cracks appear on the hard wall he has built around his heart, but those he loves, start helping him tear those walls down, and ultimately find a God who can heal our hurts.

I honestly loved every part of this book. The real life wrestles that the characters were dealing with were as authentic as you can get. Violet begins to question her call to ministry, was it God calling her or her wanting it? Adler comes face to face with understanding forgiveness and love in a tender way.

The Sky Above Us is book #2 in the Sunrise at Normandy series and I am on the hunt for book #1 now! I really loved Ms. Sundin’s writing, her characters and every little detail that she weaves in her stories. I will be following her from now on!

NOTE: I received a copy of The Sky Above Us in exchange for an honest review from Revell Publishers.

More about the Sky Above Us :

Secrets as vast . . .

Love as unreachable . . .

As the sky above them.

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in late 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment and refreshments for the men of the 357th in the base Aeroclub and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Return to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother faces the past—and the most fearsome battle of his life.

Review : Love Nudge App

Download the LoveNudge App and be entered to win Dr. Gary Chapman’s #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages®, The 5 Love Languages® for Men, AND The Love Languages Devotional Bible (hardback)! Go to https://www.blessedfreebies.com/lovenudge.html to enter and for more details.

If you have not heard of Gary Chapman, or The 5 Love Languages you are in for a treat!!

Robert & I have heard of both, and have benefited from understanding just how different our love languages are! You might be wondering why this matters. Well for us we communicate and feel love in vastly different ways. For instance, Robert’s number 1 love language, really his only one, is touch. So to express his love he touches and he wants to be touched to feel loved.

Guess what? Out of the 5 love languages, my last one is touch. So do you see how that disconnect could be an issue? My top one is acts of service. If Robert tells me he loves me by touching and never serving, I never feel loved.

The book The 5 Love Languages has led to the Love Nudge App. This fun app is a great way to figure all this out. Part of the app is the test to figure out your own love languages. Then your partner takes the test to figure them out. Then the app will give you practical ways to express love to your loved on in their own language.

Will this app TOTALLY CHANGE your marriage? No. Only the Lord can truly cause real change in our relationships. However, with this little app we can become more intentional, more aware and more likely to express meaningful love to our loved ones.

So the 5 languages are : words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and touch. Normally we are divided among two or so and the others are much lower. The test on the app will rank all 5.

The Love Nudge App can help you better express your love! By using this app you can understand a little bit better how someone else feels loved and then choose things throughout your week to express your love. Understanding Gary’s love languages has certainly helped Robert and I understand each other better and helped us realize that we were using our own style of feeling loved to try and express love, and that is not very effective when you have such different love languages!

NOTE : I was offered a copy of The 5 Love Languages in exchange for testing and reviewing the Love Nudge App.

Book Review : It’s not supposed to be this way

Holy cow! I love this book!! Lysa Terkeurst has opened up her heart and her story to everyone in It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way.

This is not just a story for the person who’s life is spiraling out of control. It’s not for the woman wondering WHY. It is for you. It was for me. It can speak to any heart open to hear a message from the Lord!!

I loved this book! I am reading it with a small group of friends and we meet to talk about each chapter. I have a habit of not finishing books when we go through them slowly though, so I just read this one until I was done. I loved each and every chapter. I underlined so many lines – sometimes I felt like underlining the whole page.

One of my favorite things about this book is the format. After each chapter Lysa puts together a discussion section, perfect for a group, or for an individual to dig into more meat. I loved this little section. It helped summarize the points of the chapter as well as gave a few questions to ponder.

One main point that really resonated with me was from chapter 1 : struggling with the distance between what I thought would be and what it is. There are so many areas in my life that I thought would be one way, and sometimes I struggle with it not being that way. She articulates this so well, and demonstrates that we need to run to Jesus when we struggle with this and rest in knowing His best is better for us than our idea of best.

The other main point, also from Chapter 1 was “if the enemy can isolate us he can influence us.” Such an important reminder to have people in your life that you can be open and vulnerable with. That when we feel alone we need to know we are not, and go to those people we trust and share our struggle. When we allow ourselves to be isolated the enemy can be the loudest voice in our head, and that is dangerous!!

This is my favorite book by Lysa Terkeurst, and one of my favorite life-devotion books. This book is one that if I could buy a hundred copies I would give everyone I run into one!

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK :

What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful? Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness. Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability and honest humor, helps us to: 

  • Stop being pulled into the anxiety of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations.
  • Train ourselves to recognize the three strategies of the enemy so we can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes.
  • Discover the secret of being steadfast and not panicking when God actually does give us more than we can handle.
  • Shift our suspicion that God is cruel or unfair to the biblical assurance that God is protecting and preparing us.
  • Know how to encourage a friend and help her navigate hard realities with real help from God’s truth.Whether we’re dealing with daily disappointments or life-altering loss, we can find unexpected strength as we learn what it is to wrestle well between our faith and our feelings.