Friday, March 30, 2012

My Birthday Boy and New Possibilities

Happy 5th Birthday Brady! 

Brady wanted to start off the morning with cinnamon rolls and green eggs & ham. (He does like them Sam-I-Am.) He has been counting down to his birthday since the beginning of anxious to grow up.  I would be content with him to stay this age forever...well, maybe not that long.  Jeremy and the boys recently watched the Rocky movies, so it's common to hear Brady singing The Eye of the Tiger and showing off his cool boxing moves.  Hopefully this gets out of his system early.  I don't think I could stand to watch anyone hit my baby, or any of my kids for that matter.  This past week marked a milestone...I registered Brady for kindergarten.  Where did the time go?

When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, my plan was to start working once the youngest was in school.  Now that the time is drawing near I'm not so sure I want to stick with the original plan!  I like having time to myself to read and do my cleaning/shopping before the kids get home from school.  I like being available to help others during the day.  I like volunteering in my child's classroom and getting to know their friends.  I like SILENCE every now and then.  But it would also be nice to help out financially and get involved in something new.  I'm drawn to look for a job that would be part-time and flexible enough that I could still be home when my kids are home.  Those aren't plentiful, but since it's not a necessity I have time to wait and see what God may bring my way.  I've had people suggest I be a substitute teacher.  The hours and pay would be good.  If kids always behaved and were eager to learn, I might even enjoy it.  Reality: They don't...and I simply don't have the patience for it.  I've had people ask if I would babysit in my home.  This is a tough one because I want to help people out and I'm capable, but I know myself well enough to know that I only like other peoples kids in small doses!  Babysitting full-time is not for me.  So I'm left with no plan....just open to new possibilities.  What does God have in store for me in this next stage of life?  I'm not sure.  And the surprising thing is that I'm not in a hurry to figure it out!  For once I'm content to just wait...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy by Janet Davis

Matthew 5:16 commands us to let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good deeds and give glory to God.  Yet so often women tend to hide their lights instead of letting them shine.  We can get stuck in cycles of fear, insecurity, and self-doubt.  This is what Janet Davis explores in her book, in what she calls self-sabotage.  Each chapter is structured around a specific topic and includes a story of a modern day woman and a biblical woman.  There are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

I think this book does a great job of bringing awareness to the ways our thinking can hold us back from being all that God calls us to be as women.  I especially identified with the first chapter which talks about our refusal to shine as a sin of omission (good works we fail to do) and results in the absence of the fullness of what God has called us to do and be.  I know my own fears, insecurities, and self-doubt hold me back at times from living the way I desire to live, which is one reason I picked up this book in the first place.  The back cover claims the book will help women to "break destructive patterns in order to live out your purpose in God's kingdom"....unfortunately I didn't find this to be true.  Her advice was more along the lines of choosing to be vulnerable, say no when necessary, tell your story, persevere, realize your worth....all of which are helpful things...but simply not enough.  This book ignores the influence of spiritual warfare and how to fight with the sword of the Word of God, which I believe is necessary to break these cycles of "self-sabotage".

Another aspect I liked about the book were the insights the author shared about various biblical women.  While I'm not sure I agree with all of them, I like to learn about different viewpoints and applications that others see in the biblical stories.

Overall, this book contains some good thoughts, but wasn't what I expected it to be.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Luci's Simple Secrets to a Happy Life

This book caught my interest because it is written by a well-respected Christian leader who has lived nearly eight decades.  If she has advice to share, I figured I could benefit from it!  The book is organized into 50 short chapters, only 2-3 pages each.  Each chapter focuses on a "simple secret" that Luci has learned during her life.  The advice is easy to read, especially for those who want a quick thought to ponder in only a few minutes (great bathroom material!) ;)

For those who know Luci Swindoll, this will be a book to be treasured.  She shares short stories from her life and reveals what has been important to her.  Others may enjoy this book for its simplicity and practical advice.  Luci has lived a fulfilling life as a single woman and shows that one does not need to be married with children to be happy.  As for me, I was neither inspired, encouraged, nor this will not be a book that I re-visit or recommend.  We only have so much time to read.  If you want that time to be spent reading only the very best, my advice is to let this one pass you by...

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Inspiring Young Woman

I heard about this book from another blog and thought it would be a nice story.  I didn't realize that I would be profoundly touched and impacted by it.  If you read one book this year, I would recommend this one!

Katie Davis went to Uganda on a 3 week mission trip during her senior year of high school.  There she fell in love with a country and a people, feeling called by God to spend her life loving and serving them.  She is now 22 years old, in the process of adopting 13 girls, and leading a ministry that provides education, food, and medicine for hundreds more.  This book not only shares her personal experiences, but also the lessons God has taught her through it all...lessons we can all benefit from.

I normally like to share a quote or two that stand out to me, but this one is full of them....I don't know which to choose!  To give you a taste, this is from the intro, "I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy."  I don't think it is possible to read this book and not feel convicted and compelled to serve the least of these in a greater way.

Katie's blog:
Amazima Ministries:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Every Womans Marriage

I recently finished leading a women's group on the book Every Woman's Marriage.  While I've mentioned this book on my blog before (see post here), I thought I'd share with you how it worked when used in a group...

I, along with 7 other women, decided to go through this book together in order to strengthen our marriages and learn from/support each other through the discussions.  We all agreed that Shannon Ethridge's transparency and honesty made this book unique and kept our interest.  I especially like the way the book focuses on our role as women. She writes "The bottom line is this: Even if you firmly believe that 95 percent of the issues in your marriage are your husband's fault, are you willing to focus on the 5 percent that you do have control over?"  My goal for this group was to talk about what we can do and how we can change our perspective, not to sit and whine over what we wish our husbands did differently.  This book contains questions for personal reflection, and questions for group discussion that helped us do that.

The workbook is split into 8 chapters, going over 2-3 chapters of reading in each one.  We met every other week so as not to burden our schedules.  But I found that women were so into the book that they couldn't help but read ahead!  This could easily be done as a weekly study since the chapters are relatively short and interesting.  The one caution I will give is that the last 2 workbook chapters are largely focused on sex.  While the information is absolutely beneficial for a woman to read, many of the discussion questions are sensitive in nature and may be hard to discuss with anyone other than your closest girlfriends.  I found myself picking and choosing carefully so that I wasn't met with empty stares and shifty eyes :)  Overall, I think we benefited from the material presented and the discussions that followed.  This is a great resource!

I also wanted to share how I conducted "prayer time" at the end since it seemed to work well.  I don't like the awkward silences that can occur when praying as a group.  As a leader you want to allow people plenty of time to pray if they choose to, but how much silence should be allowed before jumping in to close it up?  What we did is stand/sit in a circle and hold hands.  Someone starts and squeezes the hand of the next person when she is done.  The next person can either pray out loud or in silence and then sqeezes the next hand.  You know everyone has had opportunity when the sqeeze gets back to the person who began. 

Does anyone have any other women's group studies to recommend?

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Bad Call

Yesterday was our last day watching our son Jacob play 3rd grade basketball.  My husband is glad the season is over since he describes kids this young playing ball as being painful to watch :)  I am glad the season is over so we no longer have to pay $6 each week.  I did enjoy watching Jacob play though.  I think most parents enjoy watching their kids play sports...celebrating the successes, and getting a chuckle out of mistakes they make as they are learning the ropes.  But watching Jacob play also reminds me to never let anyone else determine the course of your life...because they just might be wrong.

You see, when Jacob was 2 years old the doctor noticed his speech was developing slowly.  He was put into an Early Intervention Program.  There he was evaluated by speech, occupational, and physical therapists.  I have no doubt that this program and the following years of pre-school helped his speech development (which was at a normal level before entering kindergarten).  But one observation/prognosis by the physical therapist caught us by surprise.  She told us Jacob had low muscle tone and would never be good at sports.  We weren't going to argue with a professional, but as parents we didn't give this statement much consideration.  If that were true, we would be ok with it, but we didn't see the evidence to back up her prognosis.  She pointed out that holding Jacob was like carrying a sack of potatoes (I can see the contrast now when I carry my "monkey" Brady).  Jacob just preferred that we did all the work!  But to take what she saw and make that prediction was a bad call.  I'm glad we never paid it much attention.  Jacob isn't an all-star, but it is easy to see his natural athletic ability and I enjoy watching him prove that therapist wrong in each and every game.

Maybe you have been given a prognosis by a medical professional, a teacher, your boss, a parent, or a peer.  Maybe Satan has whispered lies in your ear, telling you that you will never be able to _______.  It helps to remember as I do to hold onto things that others say lightly...looking only to God to determine the course of your steps and those of your children.

Baseball season is just around the corner!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Great I AM

New worship song debuting at New Hope Loudonville this Sunday!

Artist: New Life Worship  (Although I prefer my husband singing I do every song...guess I'm biased :)