Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Job Opportunities

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine... - Ephesians 3:20

God has given me a testimony to share this month!  But before I get to the good part, I need to catch you up on what's been happening with my job.

I have been substitute teaching 3-4 days a week for a while now.  Then in December I was asked to fill-in for a 4th Grade Instructional Coach (a friend of mine) who was going on maternity leave for 6 weeks.  This position has a strong focus on math (my favorite subject)...helping kids before/after school and assisting in the classroom.  While working full-time didn't appeal to me, the job itself and the higher pay certainly did!  Not only that, but I still get paid for calamity days.  So all these delays and snow days we've had lately?  Yep, I'm getting paid to clean my house and spend time with my family.  Totally unexpected and wonderful.

Then came time for a decision.  My friend decided not to come back to work.  I was honored to be asked to stay on the job for the remainder of the school year.  My initial thought was to take the job.  It just made sense.  I enjoyed the position and the money would have been nice.  But during the day that I had to ponder the decision, God reminded me of the reasons a full-time job did not fit my goals.  I would have no time to re-charge.  The time I did have with my family would be spent doing the chores that I usually did on my day off during the week.  I would not be able to sub in the other elementary building where my other boys go to school. (They love when mommy is in the building).  I would end up more overwhelmed and stressed as time went on.  Is that what is best for my family?  So I made the tough decision and turned the job down.  It didn't make sense to some people, but I knew it was right for me and I felt complete peace.

Now for the "immeasurably more than I could ask for" part. A few days after turning down the job, the principal approached me and asked how I would feel about staying on in the position, but only 3 days a week!  WHAT?! Seriously?! I could have the best of both worlds?  He was able to arrange it for me to work 3 days a week and someone else to cover the other 2.  They were pleased with my job performance and wanted me to stay. I was/am completely in awe of the way God rewarded my faithfulness. I now have 3 days a week continuing in the position I enjoy, 1 day a week that I can pick up a sub job elsewhere if I choose, and 1 day to myself.  His plans are certainly better than mine~

Sunday, January 26, 2014

And Life Comes Back by Tricia Lott Williford

I find there are many similarities between Tricia Williford and I.  We are both in our 30's, mothers to young boys, enjoy reading and writing, and like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.  But one big difference is that she has lived through something that I fear - she lost her husband.  Well, I guess I shouldn't say that she lost him....he died suddenly.  This book is her story - her testimony to what life has been like in the aftermath.

Life is a collection of memories and moments.  We can record them in journals and blog posts to help us remember and share with others.  That is what this book presents...snapshots of memories and experiences.  Some serious, some funny - but all authentic.  Tricia tells her story in a way that allows others into her world so they can get a glimpse of what heartache and healing look like.  I found myself tearing up at times, and at others laughing out loud.  While I would never want to go through this experience, I find comfort in knowing that women DO get through it, as tough as it may be. 

Whether you are a widow searching for common ground and hope, or someone who wonders what it's like to walk down this path, this book is wonderfully written and I highly recommend it.  Thank you, Tricia, for sharing your personal experiences and telling it like it is.  May God bless your family richly.

Click here to read Tricia's blog.

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prepared for a Purpose by Antoinette Tuff

Since I work in the schools, I've often wondered what I would do if I were confronted with a gunman.  Would I panic?  Would I stay calm?  Would I be brave?  Stories are becoming all too common of a student or an adult waving a gun in our schools and threatening our students.  Antoinette Tuff was confronted with this situation a few months ago while working in the office of an elementary school in Atlanta.  This is her story.

The book alternates between details of that potentially tragic day on August 20, 2013 and Antoinette's life story.  The majority of the text focuses on the events of her life and how God used it all to shape and prepare her for this moment.  I found it to be an honest and inspiring testimony - one that gives the glory to God.  She writes, "There is nothing special about me that enabled me to be a vessel for God.  The truth is, God uses us all to accomplish His work.  He can turn any one of us into an instrument of good.  What happened to me that day can happen to each and every one of us, at any moment, in any situation.  We just never know when that moment is coming, or what that situation will be. But we are all capable of being God's vessel - of fulfilling the purpose God has chosen for us."

Antoinette has had many struggles in her life, but she has also learned to anchor to God's truth and find her hope in Him.  When faced with a crisis she was able to draw strength, wisdom, and compassion from God.  May we all learn to do the same.

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Praying For Your Husband From Head to Toe

In this unique book, Sharon Jaynes gives us a blueprint for how to pray for every area of our husband's lives using Scripture.  She creatively matches up different parts of the body with crucial areas of a person's life, so that it is easy to visualize and remember what to pray for.  While this book is written specifically for wives praying for their husbands, this method could easily be adapted to pray for anyone.

The first chapter explores the power and purpose of prayer - how we as wives are given the role of ezer, or helper - and are equipped to fight for our man through prayer.  Sharon writes, "Prayer is not a means of gaining control over your husband, to whip him into shape and make him the man you want him to be.  Prayer is a means of relinquishing control of your husband and asking God to shape him into the man that He wants him to be.  Prayer involves turning the finger that points out your man's faults and folding it along with the other in prayer."

Next we are introduced to the 16 landmarks of prayer and their meanings.  For example, his eyes represent what he sees.  His mouth - what he says.  His shoulders - his burdens.  His back - his protection (because God's got his back!). His feet - his walk with God.  From head to toe, each area makes sense and is easy to remember.

Most of the book is a 30-day guide to praying Scripture over your husband.  Each day has a Scripture and short prayer for each of the 16 landmarks.  While this is a great way to cover your man completely, be aware that each day takes about 10-15 minutes if you pray through what is written.  The prayers are great examples of how to "pray Scripture".  There is also an appendix at the back that includes special Scriptures you can pray if your husband is not a Christian, is a father, or is sick.

I can see myself using this book on a regular basis and I highly recommend it for all wives!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Luminary by Krista McGee

Luminary is the 2nd book in the Anomaly Trilogy by Krista McGee.  You can read my review of the first book here.  This is a fictional story which takes place in the future, after our world has nearly destroyed itself by a nuclear war.

In this book, Thalli encounters two groups of people who have survived the war and effects of radiation.  Each of the groups choose different ways to set up society and start again.  We are led to ponder questions similar to those that Thalli does in this excerpt..."What kind of world would I like, were I given the choice?  How much power would I give people?  How much power would I give the rulers?  I think of the Designer and I know that no matter what, if his ways are not considered, no State or city or government will be truly successful."  Amen to that.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first one!  There is enough action, adventure, and hints of romance to keep the story interesting and hard to put down.  Yet there is also a spiritual component to get the reader contemplating "the Designer" and his role in our lives.  For example, when Thalli begins to feel jealousy for the first time, John gives her this advice - "You need a change in perspective, Thalli, not a change in circumstance.  Joy comes from the Designer alone.  Humans, even the best humans, are flawed.  We cannot meet each other's needs completely.  We were not designed for that.  We were created to be in relationship with the Designer...When we look to others to fill that hole, we find ourselves empty."  Don't we all need to be reminded of that every now and then?

This series is an entertaining, thought-provoking work of fiction that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.  And as in many trilogies, the story ends on a cliff-hanger.  Now I have to wait until summer to read the ending!

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