The Magic of Motherhood (a review)

posted in: Books, mothering, parenting, Women | 16

Ok – I’m not really a coffee fan.  My mister wishes I would be, so we could sit at places and have cheap drinks (regular black coffee) and talk for hours on end.  But, the drinks I like are 5$ so not quite as cheap.

But, I might go drink coffee after reading the Magic of Motherhood.  Let me explain.

When you go to coffee with a friend, a true friend, one who shares your worldview, who champions what you are doing, who rejoices with you in the good, who encourages you even on the hard days.  Or maybe its not coffee, but you have a margarita at their house, or enjoy some chips and guac together, or eat a bagel together, or a cupcake…friends you are comfortable with.  Yeah, those friends…

That’s how I felt when I was reading The Magic of Motherhood.  I felt I was chilling with some close friends, friends who were able to share whatever was on their heart, knowing that they shared the same biblical worldview as me (value of their children, value of being a mother, knowing that God loves them and has a great plan for their lives, knowing that we can’t do this thing called motherhood without the Gospel).

These friends knew they wouldn’t face judgment or shame for sharing what was on their hearts.  These friends knew I would encourage them with truth.

My favorite genre of books is memoir/biography.  I love the fact that the authors of memoirs feel the freedom to share what has gone on in their lives (the good, the bad, and the stuff you’d like to forget), and not feel that they would be punished for it.  They were sharing what was going on in their lives so that others might be encouraged or learn from their lives.  In biographies, we often learn that the people we look up to or admire don’t (or didn’t in some cases) have it all together.

In today’s Christian circles, we often feel like we have to put on a show to others like we have it all together.  Or, we have to couch everything in quoting Bible verses so people will think that our hearts are saturated with truth (which they hopefully are but sometimes we do this just so people will not see the hurt in our hearts and any doubts we might have).  When it comes to parenting, I’ve had experiences of shame and judgment when I’ve shared the struggles that I’ve had with motherhood.  And I’ve experienced shame because my kids don’t always act perfect in public.

The Magic of Motherhood was like just sitting, reading, knowing I wasn’t alone, knowing that God is in charge and brings good, and we do go through hard stuff as mothers.  And we won’t like every moment of it.  And not once did I hear “the days are long but the years are short” or “enjoy every moment of it”.  I read about real mamas who were sharing real struggles, real joys, real moments.  And they even talked about their jobs and their husbands – knowing that when we are mamas life still goes on outside of our children.

If you are needing some encouragement along the motherhood journey, this is a good quick encouraging, non-notetaking, read.  You can sit with a cup of coffee, in your yoga pants, and you don’t have to have a pen.

Thanks Tommy Nelson for this book.  And you can win one – just tell me something you find fun about motherhood.

Using Your Home For Ministry

posted in: Books | 0

As a mom of preschoolers, even ones who like to get out and roam the city every day, we also like to use our home as a place of ministry. But, it can be hard to figure out schedules ways to do ministry.

Hospitality is one way we can be like God to the world and to our family.  The Simplest Way to Change the World is a helpful little book that starts with the theology of God being hospitable to us and then gives helpful ways to be hospitable.

My favorite part of the book was their chapter on how hospitality is a part of God’s nature. How he gave extravagantly to those who were his enemies.  How he would go to great lengths.

When we are trying to start practicing hospitality, let’s not turn to Southern Living or Instagram to know how to be hospitable, but look to the Word at how God is hospitable to us.  Then we can pray that we can live out our relationship with God to our neighbors, families, and friends.  That doesn’t mean we have to tell everyone the full Gospel outline every time they walk in the door.  But, it does mean we can learn how to use our homes to glorify God, teach our children how to be hospitable, and welcome those unlike us into our home.

The authors share great recommendations on how to do this as well, but you can simply use these as ideas – and start your own ministry in your home to your people.

Thanks Moody for this book and all thoughts are my own.

Full: a review

posted in: Uncategorized | 8

Food is definitely one of my loves: and definitely a love language of mine.  Comfort food is definitely a food group – and I love to eat anything I can eat with a spoon.  I love to cook and I love good food. And I love what people think of me when I’m thinner and I hate walking around in shame when I’m heavier.  And its a topic that no one will ever mention in the church because gluttony is not near as bad as pornography or lying.  We live in an odd society.  But, sin is sin and sin is dangerous.

And unfortunately, it has been a difficult love to master all of these years.  I do not remember a time when food: and the power of it, has not played a significant role in my life.

Some things that we love we can do without (especially if they are an idol in our lives).  But, we have to eat to survive.  And then if I’m on a diet I think about food too much, how much I’m consuming and of what – then all I do is think about it.

Catch 22 huh?

Well, Asheritah Ciuciu has tackled this issue and has done it in a winsome, gospel-centered way.  It is encouraging to find a book about food and your heart: not about chemicals, calories, and protein shakes and exercise.

She addresses by her own story, truth of the Word, and effective communication the freedom that we can have in Christ when we bring our need for help in this area to Him.

“The trigger isn’t isn’t bad, but it can derail our efforts to find fullness in God by lulling us into old bad habits.  When facing one of these situations, we have the choice to either turn to food or cry out to God to fill us instead.” 

She talks about triggers (stress, baking for others, shopping), and she talks about our need for the Holy Spirit to be our “Dietician” who can help us more than any diet plan can.

If you have ever had a poor relationship with your heart and food, or know of someone who could use this – please just leave a comment and Side Door Communications is giving one away to one of you.  And they sent me my book for reviewing, all opinions are my own.

Bringing up Kids Who Love to Read

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 8

Kids Can Love to Read

I didn’t always love to read.  I went to a Christian school and read when I had to.  I remember reading Sweet Valley High, John Grisham novels, and The Babysitter’s Club.  Also, started reading the Bible and Max Lucado books when I got to high school.  I didn’t read any of the classics growing up – I waited and have read some as an adult.

Now, I love to read, and I want to make sure my children read well as they grow up.  It is such an important discipline, it can be fun, and will prepare them well for adulthood.  I’ve teamed up with my friend Leah Finn to provide yall with some tips on how to raise kids who love to read.  Most of her children are older than mine and are reading on their own.  Believe me, even if your kids aren’t reading on their own yet, you can still instill in them a love of books and reading.

  1.  Let them pick out books they are interested in.  Even if it is silly/not high literature (as long is it is appropriate).  There is great joy in going to a library and being able to bring home a stack of books that you like.  Kids love it and it helps them be interested in the books. How this is illustrated in our family is that for our older’s 4th birthday, he went on a day-date with Daddy.  This year they went to our local library and picked out lots of dinosaur books.  He came home and was all excited about reading and looking at the dinosaur books.  One bit I would add is maybe pick out one or two for them each week in a different genre.  This might broaden their horizons to the classics, biographies, or just a different topic.
  2. Read aloud classics and quality books.  This is where they can get their “good” books in.  Use voices and expressiveness to engage their interest.  Read Aloud Revival is a great resource for finding books to read aloud. Kids are never too old to be read to. I love walking down the stairs most mornings to find my husband reading to our younger son.  This is some great bonding time for them in the early mornings.  And I love the time when I’m putting my older to bed, when I get to read aloud to him.  Right now we are almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods and I’m eager to complete the series with him.  I’ve also read some of the Narnia series with him.
  3.  Use audiobooks to squeeze in extra reading time  This can be in the vehicle while you travel, during rest time, while coloring or playing with legos, etc.  I need to get better at this, and I think it will come as they get older.  But, I do have the Narnia series on audio cd and I adored listening to them as an adult, and then read all the books (which I hadn’t done as a child).

One of the ways I’m always introducing new books to my children, is by being a part of Tommy Nelson Mommies.  This month, we were given One Small Donkey.  This book is great for preschoolers.  It is told through the voice of a small donkey about the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.  It is a fun little story and teaches some truths about Jesus, creation, and worship at the manger.  It takes some liberties, but it really is just a cute story you can read with your children.  You can read it to them, then read the Bible story of the same account, talk about different aspects of truth and Christmas with your children.

If you would like to win this book for your own family library, just leave me a comment about which one of these tips above you incorporate into your parenting – or one you would like to include.  Thanks Leah for helping me with this post, and thanks Tommy Nelson for the book.

Books for Going to Bed (a review)

posted in: Books | 1

Books for going to bed

I love books.  I love print books: old books, new books, cookbooks, coloring books.  I just really love books.  My husband and I are purging our book collection right now as we prepare to move again (and you know, books are heavy). It hurts to purge books.  But, we don’t need to hold on to stuff either.  So, we pick the really good ones.

As our sons get older, I’m hoping they gain a love for books and reading and learning and knowledge.  I’ve just started reading The Lion,the Witch,and the Wardrobe to my older son at night as he is falling asleep.  I love being near him, listening to him breath, see his little smile, read him such a great book, and watch him calmly drift off to dream land.

If you have young ones, especially toddlers, board books are a great way to introduce them to books, and hopefully begin to instill in them a love of books.  NIght Night Farm is a board by by Amy Parker and Tommy Nelson that is all about farm animals.  And, yes, my boys love going to farms, and seeing all the farm animals.  So, this book has definitely been a winner.  Whimsical illustrations and gentle rhymes, your kids will love reading this book as they are being tucked into bed.  The last page, as the story is drawing to a close, you get to remind them of the great farm animals that God has made and that God, the beautiful Creator, also made them too.

You can win this book for yourself and your little one (or to give as a gift).  Just tell me one of your favorite bedtime books – maybe it was one you read growing up, or had read to you, or maybe one you’ve enjoyed reading to your children.  Thank you Tommy Nelson for my copy of the book and the chance to give it away.  All opinions are my own.

Good Good Father (a book review)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2, parenting | 8

Good Good Father

In the back of our car there is a kite.  My mister has had the kite since he went to the OBX in Carolina.  I wonder if he bought that kite thinking he might one day have boys that love to spend time with their daddy and fly kites together.

Chris Tomlin, worship songwriter and dad, has writtten a great book for littles that starts out with a kite.  But, more importantly this story is about many of the ways (God is inexhaustible) that God loves us.  It is beautifully illustrated.  It is so true

One of the best things about my husband is that he is a good Father.  We had such a short courtship before we got married that I rarely got to see him around children.  I knew from his character that he’d be a great Father.  And, now I witness it.  My men love to fly a kite during the week at a local park, always scouting out the new parks to hopefully catch the wind.  He is more patient with those boys than I will ever be – which they desperately need.  He is loving and plays with them on the floor or with toys.  He is so caring toward them.  They resemble him.  He teaches them the truth about Jesus.

These are all good ways in which hopefully the boys will see God the Father in my husband, their earthly dad, so that one day they might come to know God.

This book by Tomlin is available to you.  Tommy Nelson is giving one away to a reader!  Get excited because this will make a great addition to your at-home library, wonderfully teaching your children about God.

One question: what is one activity your children love doing with their dad?

Experiencing God Through His Names (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

Experiencing God Names

I will never know God as fully as I can.

I definitely won’t know him perfectly this side of heaven, because of sin.  Even in Heaven, God is eternal and so big – that every day in heaven (which will never end) will bring me new wonder of God – so I will always be in new wonder of him. I can’t wait.

This year, as I’ve been reading through the Bible (I’m in Joshua), I’m writing down in the margins of my ESV journaling Bible all the ways that I see God as He has revealed Himself to me.  It is beautiful to see and know that God is the same God today as He was in the days of Moses, Joseph, and Job.

Sheryl Giesbrecht has written a really good study on the names of God.  She takes God’s character and let’s us know how we can experience it in our lives.  I found it helpful as I’ve been walking through the Bible to find out what the meaning of some of these names are.  And they are short – so you could do a month study on the names of God, and add this to a little journal, a quiet time, and knowing God more in his perfection.

I hope you pick this book up and find out more of God’s beauty.

Thanks Litfuse for this book and all opinions are my own.

Finding Lovely

posted in: Books, food | 0

Finding Lovely

Happy Friday everyone.

I love just giving you a quick glance into our little world – and what things actually make me giddy.  I love holding my littles hands (when I’m doing it for fun, not for discipline because they ran away), I love friends who are great accountability partners and share their lives with me, I love celebrating friends who excel in their hobbies, I love sticking my feet in the sand at a beach.

Here are some lovelies around the internet that might make you Friday just a bit brighter, too.

If you love Alaska, love adventure, love a story of a father and daughter taking risks, learning about each other, and all the emotions that go with it – you will love James Campbell’s new book Braving It.  Parenting isn’t easy.  And the Alaska wilderness with a teenager isn’t easy.  But, this story holds truths about love and the nature of relationships that most will find compelling.

Trying to fit in more salads on our table – so this post was not only pretty but also inspiring.

I love Pinch of Yum food and also this post: about soaking up summer in all of its glory.  Summer looks different than I thought it would with kids and a working husband.  My mister always reminds me to change my expectations.

This has summer written all over it: and I want to eat it right now!  Maybe I’ll make some rosemary olive bread this wknd

Thanks to Blogging for Books for Braving It – all opinions are my own

 

 

 

Choosing Joy

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Choose Joy

In light of all the hate around us, we can choose joy.  Choosing joy is within us, because the Holy Spirit lives within us.

In the hate-filled world we live in, in which we are raising children, in which we encounter all sorts of situations that are just waiting to dump rain on our parade, we can choose joy.

Joy is not the same as happiness.  Happiness is based upon our circumstances.  Joy is based on something deeper, more abiding, and longer lasting – it is based on the character of God and the joy that He gives because we know that He is supremely in charge.

How can we cultivate choosing joy when so much around us is joy-less?:

  1.  Surround ourselves with pretty things.  Yes I know this is superficial, but if I include fresh flowers, yummy treats that are pretty to look at,my happy smiling boys, together time with my mister, sunsets, and good books – if I include them in my day – those things help fuel a joyful attitude.
  2. Memorize Scripture.  There are so many Scriptures that will help us fuel the joy that is within us.  Romans 15:13 and Isaiah 12:6 are great ones and easy to memorize.  Write them down and keep them in visible places.  (If you want a joy verse handlettered, just hit me up for a custom handlettering job).
  3. Be grateful.  Keeping a gratitude journal or reading books on gratitude will help you as well.  I’ve just started 1000 Gifts and I love Choosing Gratitude.  Such a great help in keeping our minds on the little blessings God has given us.  And these would make great activities any time of the year.
  4. Write snail mail.  Sitting down to write mail to others, and even send little gifts, help me remember why I love people.  I love seeing the best in them, encouraging them, and adding some beauty to their days. If you need some new stationery these are perfect for any occasion (or no occasion at all).

What are some ways that you choose joy in your life?  How you do encourage your friends and family to cultivate and choose joy?

Sounds of Motherhood

I Will Follow Jesus Bible

There are many sounds to motherhood.  If you have been a mom for any length of time, you are quite familiar with them, and you know that they quickly change depending on your child’s age. Here are a few of mine:

  1.  Apple chewing.  Yes, I love to hear my two boys ask for a “big apple”, ask for mommy to “tut it”, and then chomp down on it.  That means that are craving healthy foods and I give them enough sweets to balance it out 🙂
  2. Crying.  We just took our younger son to the eye doctor for the first time.  Come to find out he is extremely near sighted and will need glasses (just like his older brother).  He is really clumsy even though he is a daredevil.  (His eyesight probably has something to do with his clumsiness.)  So, I know that when he falls and cries, than he is actually hurt.  He has busted his gums and caused his two front teeth to be completely gray now (because they are dead with damaged nerves), yesterday he was playing instead of napping and tipped over a wooden chair in his room and almost punctured his eye.  Thankful it was just the corner of his eye, and black eyes heal.  He has scraped the top of his head from spinning circles on the back porch, getting dizzy, and falling over.  He just loves to be crazy, but he knows when he cries mommy or daddy will come running – and usually his older brother will show great compassion on him.
  3. Mommy.  Honestly, some times this gets old because they’ve said it 20 times in a row, whining for something they really don’t need.  Any other mom our there know what I’m talking about?  But today, as I was reading to my boys in the car while we ate lunch (waiting for a showing on our house to be finished), my younger said Mommy.  Yes, he has said it plenty of times, but something just caught my attention this time when he said it.  I’m there Mommy.  I’m the one who loves them most in this world (with their daddy), and will be there for them, and play with them, and tuck them into bed at night.  I pray that through my imperfect love they will come to see the perfect love for their Abba.
  4. Singing.  Both of my boys have grown fond of singing.  The two songs we know perfectly are the ABCs (finally, it was delayed in our home), and Jesus Loves Me.  I’m glad the boys are learning that one in their SS class at our church.  We sing it all the time.  As my younger was awake at 6am this morning he was singing this.  As I was getting ready to head out the door, I saw his little fingers sticking out at the bottom of the door, and heard his little voice singing.

My favorite line of Jesus Loves Me is “for the Bible tells me so.”  Especially as I parent, and make mistakes, and don’t know what to do half the time, or how to balance everything that I need to balance, it is good to know that I have the perfect Word of God.

And Judah and Chelsea Smith just put out a great story book Bible for your kids (think grade school).  It is more storybook (like Jesus Story Book Bible), but it tends to be more concrete and practical, making it somewhat easier for younger kids to grasp and know how to implement.  This is an easy to use Bible, especially helpful to parents in leading Family Worship time in their home.  Remember, as a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your kids about God, and the church’s job is to come along side you and partner together.

If you would like to win this Bible (and believe me, you do), just leave me a comment on one of the verses you are teaching to your children or one of the songs that your children are learning right now.  Thanks Tommy Nelson Mommies for the Bible and the opportunity to pass it along to someone else!

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