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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Brave: But Why?

I don't know if you have heard me say this before but I am terrible at ending  things. I am pretty bad at ending sentences when I speak. I'm super bad at ending rants once I get started. I am super-majorly bad at ending blog posts which is why I have a metaphorical stack of drafts stuck in unfinished thought-land. Here is a finishing thought though, because I have spent the better part of the last two years thinking and writing about what it means to be brave and the thought has felt unfinished till now. Here it is. Are you ready for it?

God is calling you out to be brave but not only for yourself.

He didn't call me out onto the water, into the deep places with Himself, just for me. It was for me a little bit for sure, but that wasn't the point. He didn't call me to walk out onto the water just to have a religious experience or to get a spiritual high. He called me out and began to teach me what it meant to be brave because that is who he needs me to be within His body.

I have had this growing thought, and this growing sense of urgency, that He wants us to fully understand that He made us each unique and it is amazing really that we each carry this splinter of the image of God. But we need to show up as that piece of the image of God within His body.

If God made you to write - write! This world needs your words and your friends need you to open your mouth and pour out encouragement and wisdom. If you write music - God gave you that gift and we need your art now more than ever. If your gift is hospitality - we need places to speak and sing and worship and gather. You are so valuable in the community of faith. If your gift is organization or administration - girl I love you so much. I need you in my life.

Your gifts are important in the body and so are your passions and your uniqueness. Now more than ever diversity is an asset and not a liability and Satan is hell-bent to convince us it is the other way around. The truth is if you are the most intellectual person in your group of friends then they need you to be fully yourself and not hide behind trying to fit in and if you are the most artsy or the most charismatic or the most liberal or the most conservative then we need you to be you fully and beautifully and uniquely you. We don't need all the intellectual Christians to gather together in a bubble talking and agreeing amongst each other we need them scattered and bumping into everyone else and shining their splinter of God's image into our lives. We don't need all of the liberals or conservatives all huddled together agreeing with each other we need them working shoulder to shoulder in love shining brilliantly into this dark world. We need to learn about the true unity and that take an awful lot of bravery. True unity doesn't happen in the context of uniformity. Gospel-fueled unity happens in the context of diversity and that is a tough transition to make.

Now, more than ever, it is time for us to rise up out of our distracted discouraged daze. I know you might not be seeking the spotlight but is there a chance that you are so busy not seeking a spotlight that you're not being a light at all? Could you be denying the God-splinter inside of you that the rest of us need?

It takes bravery to put yourself out there. Bravery to be criticized and misunderstood. Bravery to be ignored and unrecognized. But it is the most needed bravery there is. God is calling this generation of women to embrace the bravery He offers to us. He is calling us out onto the waters. He is calling us out away from the safe places, away from our comfortable spaces, out into the deep places with Him. He is calling us out into the scary and the hurting, but He is calling us out into something beautiful, He is calling us with buckets and buckets of love. He is calling us, to come fully alive to who He is calling us to be.

So who am I to stay hidden in the corner? Who am I to be always quiet? Who am I to keep myself safe? Why do I think that it is okay to get stuck in my busyness and distraction and ignore the image of God within me?

I know it is easy to get beaten down by life - by the need to pay the bills and get the kids to bed on time and get to our places and keep up with out people. Life is exhausting. But it is time to rise up. It's time to rise above our plethora of excuses, no matter how good they might be. It's time to embrace the bravery God extends to us. It's time to start practice walking in bravery and see where it leads.

Not onto us but onto God be the glory.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Kid Lit Book Review: Good Morning Superman

Links in this post are affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog! 



From the author of Bedtime for Batman comes an adorable book about the morning check list. Our tiny Super Hero and his grown up counterpart get up, go potty, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack a bag and head out for the day. And that is it. The language is super simple. Not simple enough that my early reader could read this to himself but not complex enough that I would want to read it over and over to my little super-hero loving guy. What this book has going for it is some super-adorable pictures that my 5 year old said he enjoyed. If you have a kiddo in that stage where they need only a few words on each page - this is a good book that will captivate your child's attention. Even if it's just for five minutes!  You can pre-order a copy here. It releases on March 1.



I received a digital copy of this book to review from NetGalley.com
Amazon links are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!
If you want to know what I'm currently reading with my kids be sure to follow me on Instagram!


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Friday, February 24, 2017

Cookbook Review: Recipe Hacker Confidential

image via Amazon reviewer Kristin Curran


The Recipe Hacker Confidential is the cookbook I have been longing for. I have really great intentions of cooking healthier meals for myself and my family but I tend to get stuck in a rut.

So if you started the new year wanting a new way of cooking - well here you go. This is the cookbook you have been waiting for too. Now you have zero excuses for cooking healthy foods. Too expensive? Not these recipes. Too difficult to make? These recipes are basically what you're making already just tweaked to be more healthy. Do you think your kids (or husband) would never eat healthy food. I think you will find something they/he'd eat in here. Three ingredient pancakes. chocolate chip muffins, breakfast pizza. Stuff to make ahead, stuff to whip up in a couple of minutes. This is not the most beautiful cookbook you have ever held in your hands but it does feel like sitting with your food-smart girlfriend and having her hand over all of her best and most favorite recipes.

I received a digital copy of this cookbook for the purpose of review from NetGalley.com. Links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Kit Lit Book Reviews: Don't Dangle Your Participle

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog! 


Don't Dangle Your Participle is a delightful supplemental book to demonstrate proper grammar. The illustrations are delightful and engaging. While the sentences given as good grammar could use some improvement they are a springboard to writing prompts and demonstrate a principle that might be difficult for some students to understand.







I received a digital copy of this book to review from NetGalley.com


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

in the wind and waves

Life, right now, is a storm.

It's crashing waves

it's a cold and biting wind

whipping my hair around my face

stinging my eyes,

it's visibility of about one quarter inch.



It's a lot.

It's not just one thing,

and it's not just my story.

It's just overwhelming.



It's been tears before breakfast,

it's been looking around myself and thinking

what am I supposed to be doing right now?

It's reaching down into the deepest parts of my faith

it's reaching up into the deepest parts of Him.

It's reaching out to let my people know what's going on with me

it's taking a deep breath as they pray over me.

It's this song:


I'll be honest, the synth in this song won me over first. 
Did you know the whole new album can be found on YouTube here?


It's worship music on repeat,

repeat,

repeat.

It's breathing in trust.

It's breathing out peace.

It's taking today one moment at a time

and doing the best I can

even if it's not checking off every item on the to do list.

It's Jesus, the one you love is heart-sick. 

And knowing that He weeps with those who weep.



I don't have the security of any one certain outcome

I do know I can be certain that my God my Father will never let me go

I don't have a timeline for things getting any better.

I do have security in God's love for me

and I have a hope that for all of this...

something good is coming.



So I can take one brave step at a time,

I can choose love when I want to choose to act in ager

or fear.


I can seek the face of my Daddy God

where I see Him smiling

proud of me

even if my attempts often fail

and choose love.


Love.

Always love.












Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday mini-Bible Study: not what I was planning on



I sat down at the computer to write something else altogether. I pulled up Bible.com to copy and paste today's verses into my blog post and the site totally glitched out and did not give me the verse I searched for - it gave me the verse I needed for today.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) 

The NLT translates these verses "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"  I don't know about you but there is a whole lot going on over here that is the farthest from peace. I need my mind to be stuck on Jesus. I need my thoughts to be fixed on God. I need my trust to be in my Heavenly Father and not on my problems and stress and struggle.

The next verse in my crazy mixed up search results was this:

"Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength they shall mount up on wings like eagles they shall walk and not be weary they shall run and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) 

I need these words like I need the air I'm breathing. I need my strength renewed. I need strength to keep on loving in difficult situations.  I need my hope renewed.

So this morning this is my mantra - I trust YOU Daddy God. I trust Him will all of my mess and junk that I woke up with. All of the weariness and heartache and struggle. I trust Him with it. I welcome His peace, His strength, His hope. I give up trying to figure it out. I trust Him. I'm listening for His voice in the middle of my chaos. Trying to get my heart and my mind still and quiet even while my body is chasing around a 15 month old baby and two homeschooling boys.



Feel free to share these pictures on your social media pages or save them to your lock screen. 







The font is called "moon flower" 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Weekend link-up

Some people have said that blogging is dead and for awhile I have believed them. I don't any more. Blogging is still here and here to stay, at least for awhile longer. It's changed a lot, at least it feels that way to me, but it's still here...

This year on my blog my one goal is to give more than I ask and one way to do that is to provide a place where we can link up to read each other's posts. I know we do that in Facebook groups sometimes, am I being old-fashioned? Maybe. But here is a place to leave your link - you can link to your favorite post that you wrote this week, or write a post with links you've found and random bits of life, because I find that it is often the random bits that connect us, that make us feel like actual friends out here on the big wide world web.


Read
This week I finished "Today will be different" by Maria Semple and it was so very good. I honestly enjoyed it from cover to cover and highly recommend it if you're looking for some clean, interesting, new fiction.

Watch 
My husband and I have started watching Colony. Season one is on Netflix and Season two is airing now. It's about a family after an alien invasion - cool thing is - no one has ever seen the aliens. It's a good mix of emotional + action for us. It's a solid PG-13/ TV-14 but the romantic scenes aren't in every episode.

Listen
Don't hate me but I've been listening to musicals lately. Into the Woods and LaLaLand on repeat. I have especially been enjoying this one. If you haven't seen the movie LaLaLand yet - go now. It's so good. I was worried my husband wouldn't like this style of music but he loved it. Into the Woods is my daughter Emma's favorite movie of 2016 (that's not when it came out, that's just when we watched it).

(P.S.)
 Speaking of favorite movies - my oldest daughter Beth would say her favorite movie of 2016 was Arrival. It has just come out on DVD and I can not say enough good things about this movie. It was not as scary as I was worried it might be. It's suspenseful at times but never full-on scary. It's romantic but not gushy it's really smart and amazingly well done.


Reading with the boys
I have been feeling, for a couple of weeks now, that we had the space in our days for audio books. I have tried before to check out audio books from the library and we never get beyond disc one. Until this week. We checked out the audio book version of The Dark Talent: Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians  (here's a link to the audio book version it is actually book #5 in the series) and we have enjoyed it SO MUCH! And best of all we are already on disc 4 of 5! I wasn't sure I would like it after the first chapter but we have enjoyed it a lot. It is so hard to find books that are both appropriate and interesting for my 3rd grade boy who is an advanced reader. This one fit the bill. Now we want to go back and request book one.

New Books
In the world of Christian Women's non-fiction we have a delightful new arrival! Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen just hit shelves and from the preview on Amazon that I read it is such a gem.

Also, if you have not seen these already on Facebook Rebekah Lyons is releasing the book You Are Free soon and is offering a video series with some amazing guests - Ann VosKamp, Christy Nockles, Jess Connolly, Lysa Terkeurst, & Rachel Meyers. You don't want to miss this.

Blog Posts
I am giving away a copy of the new book Moving Forward here.

I wrote this blog post about What to do when skies are blue because as someone who suffers from the gray fog of depression a blue sky day is something precious.

My friend Jessica wrote this beautiful piece for when you feel like you are sinking.

Modern Mrs. Darcy is one of my favorite blogs. She wrote a post about decaf coffee that I saved, and thought I'd share. I never thought I would be an "unleaded" coffee drinking but I have had a growing caffeine intolerance and Grayson seemed to sleep poorly when I drank a lot of "real" coffee. So here I am. Drinking decaf coffee. This list of places to get good decaf coffee was wonderful.

Emily P. Freeman is offering a new printable on her blog! It's a What I've Learned printable organized by season. And if you're into bullet journaling, or like me are a trying it out this year, the post is fantastic. 


Your Turn
What have you been reading/watching/listening/cooking? I would really love to hear about it! Link up your post below:



The purpose of this post is to let you know what is going on in my life and share what I'm enjoying if you buy these books on Amazon through my affiliate links in this post or if you request them at your local library or borrow them from a friend the only thing I hope is that you find a good book (or movie or TV show) and enjoy reading/watching it. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Book Review: Moving Forward



It's February 1st. It's officially not January any more and all of those New Year's Resolutions?  Here is my guess:

You are sticking with your resolutions, 
you are mostly sticking with you resolutions and celebrating each small victory, 
you are mostly sticking with your resolutions but hating yourself every time you slip up, 
you gave up on your resolutions already, 
or you didn't make any in the first place... 
whichever camp you find yourself here is a book you might find helpful. 

Stuck. I have felt it in my life many times. Especially now that I am in my thirties. I feel like while in many ways life has sped up in other ways life has slowed down, especially in how quickly I feel myself growing. I often feel the wheels spinning. I feel like my personal life is in slow motion while the world outside me is spinning. 

Moving Forward is the opposite of feeling stuck. Moving Forward is essentially about learning to open your eyes to the things in your life that are weighing you down. Worry, Bitterness, Blaming others, just to name a few. It is about rejecting the Enemy's lies and embracing God's truth about your life - that you were made on purpose, to do something good in the world. One of my favorite lines is that "God's stories don't end in ashes." We may be going through a season that feels like all we have are ashes but our God is Redeemer and Restorer. It is His job to do that - to heal and redeem, but it is our job to cooperate with Him and surrender to Him and His ways. 

This book won't be everyone's favorite - the voice felt kinda generic. The theology is a little bit more on the side of the prosperity gospel  but John Siebeling makes some good points and reminded me of some important truths. The chapters are short and easy to read but at the same time thought provoking and practical.  If you'd like to win a copy please enter my giveaway at the bottom of this post!

A copy of this book was given to me for the purpose of review by the Baker Books Bloggers program. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!






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