Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday - He is With Us

I talk to my kids all the time about Jesus being with us all the time, no matter where we are or what we're doing.  The other night Mallory and I were talking about this and she said, "But Mom, what if Jesus gets in front of me and I trip over him?"  I tried not to giggle, and I assured her that he would not let us trip over him.  It was a serious question for her, and she is still not quite understanding all of it, but it was such a sweet and innocent conversation.  

This is one of our favorite songs right now.  Mallory loves to sing it in the car with me.  Hearing her sweet little voice in the back seat singing "He is with us." just about melts my heart.  I hope she holds that deep in her heart for the times when it feels like she is all alone and remembers that He is always with her.  

The lyrics, "We can trust our God.  He know what He's doing."  Seems so simple, yet it is hard to remember some times.  In the past few weeks I have had friends go through very difficult times - losing a child and losing a mother.  And this belief - that He is with us, is what helped them keep going.  I can't imagine going through life without this knowledge.  I often think, "How do people who don't know the hope and peace of Jesus make it through the hard times?"  And I don't know.  I know that I wouldn't want to try.  And I'm so very thankful that because I know Jesus as my Savior, I'll never be alone.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Monday - Pushing Back the Dark

 Sometimes when I watch the news or read articles on facebook/twitter about the world we live in I can get very overwhelmed and discouraged by the darkness of the world.  In the past month I have had several dear friends share their struggles as moms with me.  We have all agreed that sometimes it feels like we are in over our heads in the world of parenting.  That the world feels too big and too crazy to overcome with our love and guidance as moms and dads, even though we know God is on our side.  And sometimes I think, "I'm just one little mom.  I don't really have a title or influence in this world and it is so big and the problems are so huge. How am I ever going to make sure my kids know and love Jesus and not let the world carry them away?"  Of course, Satan feeds these fears like I wrote about last week.  I truly feel that our families are constantly under attack.  

This song is such an encouragement to me.  It speaks to what I am trying to do as a mom and a wife and a woman in Christ.  "Keep on Pushing Back the Dark"  Whoa.  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  Let our light shine.  It reminds me of a rock concert.  (I have never done this, but I've seen it on tv.  Y'all know I lead such a crazy life.) If just one of us would hold up our light it may not be much in the huge concert arena.  But, if we all hold up our lights, it lights up the entire space!  I love how it says, "Don't underestimate the God you follow."  I do that. I think we all have things we do this with.
Be encouraged, friends.  Let your light shine and keep on pushing back the dark.  I want our lights to shine like it says in the song "like a symphony crescendo".  A crescendo starts out quiet and gets louder and louder!  What a word picture!  We can do this together!

Don't forget this:

"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  
Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday - Brave

There are a few words that I would not use to describe myself - outdoorsy, quiet, non-opinionated (not a word, I realize) and brave.  I struggle with fear.  I have my entire life.  It is definitely one of the ways Satan uses to keep me from a life of freedom.  I have memorized Scripture, prayed a million trillion prayers and sung enough Jesus songs to keep all of us safe, but I still struggle with it.  I am getting better.  Lots better really.  But it is still a struggle at times for me.  Since I have become a mom of course my fears have really centered around my children.  It's kind of funny because many of my fears are totally unrealistic events that will almost certainly never ever happen.  Once when I was on the phone with my sister while Aubrey was about 2, I said, "Hold on.  Aubrey has something in his mouth. Oh, it was just a quarter."  My sister said, "JUST A QUARTER!!! SARAH, HE COULD HAVE CHOKED TO DEATH!!!"  I, of course, realized this, but I just don't sweat the small stuff.  The big stuff however, gets me.

My son went on a field trip last week.  For some reason, the night before I thought to call another mom who was going on the trip.  (I was not able to go because I had previously committed to be a mentor mom for MOPS and it was our first meeting.)  She is a nurse, and I thought it would be good for her to just be aware of what was going on with the food, animals, etc. that Aubrey would come in contact with.  She was happy to help keep his pack with his Benadryl, epi-pen, etc.  I had just finished my meeting and I got a text saying that she didn't want to worry me, but she thought Aubrey was having an allergic reaction.  From what she said originally, I thought a little Benadryl would help stop it.  She gave him some.  After about 10 more minutes though, she texted again and said, "Call me."  That's when my hands got sweaty.  She said that Aubrey's reaction was not stopping, and though his breathing seemed fine, his hives were spreading.  She wanted to give him more Benadryl.  I of course said yes.  I turned my car around by this point and was going to head there, but she said not to, that she would bring him home to me where we could decide what to do.  By the time he got home, his reaction was going down and we both felt much better.

She and the boys figured out what happened.  The field trip was to ag day at our county fair.  At ag day there is a peanut room where they show the kids how peanuts grow and how to make peanut butter. (this is Georgia, after all).  As Aubrey went in and realized what they were doing, he got nervous.  The other mom took him out of the room and he was fine.  However, one of his friends ate one of the peanut butter covered crackers they gave the kids.  As he came out, he put his hand on the back of Aubrey's neck asking him how he was doing.  This is where the reaction started before it spread down his back, up his neck and around to his mouth.

This wasn't an easy thing for me to think about.  I really had a hard time letting go of the thoughts and "what ifs" of the day.  And while I want Aubrey to be brave, it's something I need to work on just as well.  Jen Hatmaker wrote a post a while back about brave moms and brave kids.  I want my kids to be brave.  I don't want to live in fear, even of a peanut allergy.  My husband and I always say that we don't want to live lives ruled by fear of the allergies.  (or anything else for that matter)  It can truly be paralyzing.

So, I tell my children to be brave.  We have recently changed churches and schools, both major changes that have necessitated lots of bravery.  And they have done beautifully.  I'm trying to model it and let go of things.  Let Jesus hold them for me.  Even big, scary things like food allergies.  And plane crashes.  And bridges falling.  And the scary guys behind me at Walmart.  (All things I worry about. Ridiculous.  I know)

This song has become a quick favorite of mine.  Although it really centers around saying things when it is hard, I think it is a great reminder to be brave in all that we do.  And sometimes saying something is the hardest thing to do.   It is something I want my children to hear and I want to sink into my soul.  "I want to see you be brave".  They can stand up to the bully, they can deal with their allergies, they can walk down the dark hallway at home.  "If God is for us, who (or what) can be against us?"

Watch the video though.  It's funny.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday

Yesterday at church we sang one of my very favorite songs - "In Christ Alone"  This song is so powerful and it is always such a great reminder for me.  
The lyrics say, "When fears are stilled, When strivings cease" 
Whoah, do I need to remember that I don't have to do it all on my own.  I can do it all through Christ alone.  I have so much I want to happen or do, and yet, I can only do it through Christ.  This is a hard thing for me to do.  I want to take things on and get them done.  I want things to happen "right now"!  

And then the last verse.  Oh, it gets me.
"Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, No scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand."
 I'm so thankful for this.  How do people live without this hope.  It overwhelms me!

So often we just sing our hymns without really thinking about their lyrics, but so many of the long time favorites of the church have such powerful meaning.  This song in particular, is the subject of an interesting article here.  

What hymns do you love to sing or really get to you with their lyrics?

I haven't been here much this summer.  Life has been busy.  I am going to blog more regularly when school starts.  One more week of freedom to go!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Cathedral - Music Monday

I am not an outdoorsy kind of gal.  Almost anyone who knows me knows I would much rather be curled up on the couch with a book for hours on end, or scrapbooking or knitting, or on and on and on as long as it is inside.  The past couple of weeks though I have spent more time outside than usual.  Our family was blessed to go to St. George Island with both of my sisters and their families.  My older sister's boys didn't come, but her husband was there, so it was super special.  We usually only see her once a year.  We spent most of our days on the beach or in the pool, and even visited an estuarine (Who knew there was such a thing?  Not me, the indoors girl.)  It was lovely, and I enjoyed it all.

We all came back home to Habersham and my parents took my sister Beth and her husband Steve to Tallulah Gorge to show them the local scenery.  They loved it and wanted to hike it the next day.  I made some comment to my husband like, "Beth and Steve are going to hike the gorge tomorrow.  Can you believe it?" He said, "You could do that!"  So that night as we were all together I told Beth, "D. is trying to get me to believe I could hike the gorge with y'all tomorrow."  Of course that was all it took for the plan to be put in motion.  My mom and dad agreed to watch our kids and we were off, bright and early the next morning (another thing about me - I am not a morning person. at. all.)

When we got to the gorge, you have to go through a little presentation of rules and regulations.  The man started talking about jumping boulders, copperheads, giardia (an intestinal bug you can get in the water there that lasts for months) and I felt like I had been duped!  I know my eyes were as big as saucers.  I also didn't realize there are 1,099 stairs to get to the actual gorge.  Ha!

I made it down the stairs, of course, and that is where the real fun began.  Immediately there are boulders to "jump" to cross the river to begin hiking.  And of course, I fell.  I hit my shin right below my knee cap so hard tears sprang to my eyes!  It was one of those times where it takes a second to figure out if you are hurt really bad or if you can keep going.  Fortunately for our adventure, I was ok, and kept going.  I had a blast.  It was so amazing to see the falls down there, and it was so fun to realize what I was doing!  In fact, I said, "I wish we had video of this, because no one would believe I am doing this!"  So my brother-in-law Steve videoed me climbing some boulders. (without my consent I might add)

I kept thinking of this song while I was hiking and jumping those boulders.  I can say that truly the times I have felt closest to God were not times I was in church.  They were times when I was awestruck by his creation or during my quiet times when I know He is with me.  I truly do not know how people can be surrounded by God's creation and still not believe in him. So I'm not sure how much more timeI'll be spending outside, but this was a good start.  Any suggestions of other outdoor activities I might enjoy?  :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day with my Dad

I have written this post in my head over and over for the 3 weeks that have passed since this day.  I feel that words won't do it justice, but I want to tell the story, so I have more than just the pictures in my head to remember the day.

By all accounts my dad was a stud in high school.  He was an exceptional athlete, playing football, basketball, running track.  He made all-region and all-state, and some of his accomplishments still hang in his high school gym.  He played golf from a very young age, learning by caddying at his local country club.  It has been the sport he loved the most I think.  Because of his love of sport it was kind of a twist of fate that my dad would have three girls.  He swears he wouldn't want it any other way; that once he had his first girl he fell in love and never wanted a son after that.  It's a good thing, really, because he would have been disappointed!

Growing up, watching sports was something I did with my dad.  It was our way of bonding.  Although I grew up around the game of golf - going to tournaments (my dad had friends on the PGA tour), it wasn't until we moved to Florida that I really began to play golf.  Dad would often take me and my sister out at the end of the day when the course was really calm, the sun was setting and the temperature in southern Florida was cooling.  At first we loved riding on the golf cart, seeing the birds, fish, turtles and the occasional snake or alligator.  In high school I worked at the course during my summers and I joined the golf team my sophomore year.  Although I had a coach, my dad was really the one who taught me most of what I learned as a golfer.  And though I learned a lot about golf on the course, I probably learned more about life than golf during those afternoons and evenings with my dad.

My dad has been to golf tournaments all over the US and the world.  He had been to 3 of the 4 "Majors" on the PGA tour, with the only one he hadn't been to being The Masters, which is held here in Georgia.  After he moved here we always talked about going, but never wanted to spend the absurd amount of money the tickets go for.  This past winter, his company, The C12 Group, hosted a 20th Anniversary event, and my dad met a new member who lived in Augusta, GA, home of The Masters.  The member said he would love to have my dad come to the tournament.  So last month my dad called and said, "Would you have any interest in going to The Masters with me?" Of course I said, "Yes!" and we made plans to go.

We left early in the morning and made the 2 and 1/2 hour drive to Augusta.  We had a fun drive talking and laughing.  We met his friend easily, even crossing 3 lanes of traffic with no trouble, and got our badges.  We decided to try to find a parking spot close to the club.  We found a spot almost at the entrance to the club - for free!  We walked in amazed at how close to the entrance we got to park.  The only dark spot in our day was when Dad had to throw away his pocketknife at the entrance.

As we entered Augusta National, I said to Dad, "This is like Disney World for golfers."  It was perfect. Television does not do it justice at all.  Not a weed, or a piece of grass out of place anywhere in the club.  The azaleas are amazing. We joked that the pine trees are told as they grow, "This is Augusta, your needles must fall straight down under you as to not make a mess," because that is really how they look.  It sprinkled rain for the first hour and a half we were there, then the clouds parted and it was beautiful.  Just the way they planned it at Augusta, I'm sure.

We decided to see as much of it as we could.  We didn't want to miss anything or anyone in the tournament.  We walked for awhile then found a spot to sit and watch.  That was our routine for the day.  We sampled the fabulous Southern food they serve (so economically - sandwiches for $1.50!) and  enjoyed every bit of it.  (Where else could we both eat and drink for $10?) After lunch we finally settled in the stands at the eleventh green/twelfth tee.  We saw over half of the field this way.  This is also where we both got sunburned beyond belief!  It was so fun to see the guys we watch on tv and cheer on from the living room right there in front of us.  We totally got a kick out of watching the greenskeepers come out of the bushes in between groups and blow the needles and leaves off of the green.  It was magic coming to life.

After we watched the end of the field come through we made our way to the clubhouse area where we found our souvenirs, enjoyed a peach ice cream sandwich and watched a few players up close on the putting green.  I even got to tell T.J. Vogel, who plays for the Florida Gators, "Go Gators!  Way to go T.J.!" because we were right next to the golfers! The sun was setting, the wind was softly blowing and we were finally tired.

It was truly the perfect day with my dad.  It was one of those days that you almost can't believe went as perfectly as it did.  And though we couldn't take any pictures (it's a rule there - no cameras) I know it is a memory that both of us will remember forever.  I am so blessed to have my dad - he's an amazing man, but he has always been a dad who loved to be with his girls.  He has always wanted us around.  So a day like this was icing on the cake for a girl and her dad.  The sweetest, fluffiest, prettiest icing ever.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Music Monday

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

I've recently been struck anew by no matter how bad our previous day may have been, God's mercies are new every morning.  I am so very thankful for this.  Starting over fresh is such a wonderful thought to me.  A clean slate to write on once again.  This song begins with one of my favorite hymns, "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  The lyrics are such a balm to my soul and keeps me focused on his goodness, which is truly so amazing.  Waiting on the Lord is not something I am good at.  There are several issues in my life, and I'm sure in your's as well, where waiting is not easy.  However, reading "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him" reminds me that He alone is enough.  Keeping my eyes on Him and his goodness, will help me wait.

What are you waiting for?  How do you let the Lord help you wait?  Let me know!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Music Monday

This past week has been hard.  Even for those of us who don't live in Boston or Texas.  Just the pictures and stories and imagining "what ifs" has brought us all to tears.  There aren't many easy answers about any of it.  I follow a large amount of political reporters and journalists on twitter, and sometimes when I'm on there it is easy to get angry, frustrated and/or fearful from all the information coming at me.  And sometimes it is easy for me to sit in my Christian home and my church and pray for "those people", but the truth is God loves the Boston bombers every bit as much as he loves me.  I know our human brains have a hard time comprehending that.  As a mom though, it gives me a little peek into the mind of God.  Very little, but a peek nonetheless.  When my children are disobedient, it doesn't make me love them less.  Sometimes it makes me love them more because I know they need it. So that has been reminding me this week to not point fingers or get up in arms, even though I am very good at both of those things.  This song has a line in it that convicts me every single time I hear it.  
"Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.  Let our hearts be led by mercy."  People who do everything right don't need mercy.  And none of us are perfect, so we all need mercy.  Every single day.   This song is just a perfect reminder that Jesus came for all of us.  The least of these, actually.  I hope this helps you remember that too.    

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Passionate Mom launch day and Giveaway info!

Today is the official launch day for The Passionate Mom!  I truly cannot tell you what a fun and inspiring experience it has been to be able to read this book and share it with others.  My hard copy of the book came in the mail the other day, so now I am going to go back and re-read it and highlight like crazy.  I originally read it on my Kindle, and while I enjoy the ease, for books like this I like the real thing.

Susan has some amaaaazing giveaways going on today for the launch.  I'm talking trip to Disney World big.  Awesome!  What mom wouldn't love that?  Soplease go over to her site, enter the giveaway and then buy the book.  I promise you won't regret one minute of reading this book.

On another note, I used the Random number generator for my giveaway here on my blog and it chose number 8 who said,

Blogger our little family said...
I wish I would've really understood how quickly time flies...especially during the exhaustion of the baby/toddler days. I might have complained less and cuddled a tad more. Hard to believe those baby days came & went so quickly. But, dealing that a makes me soak them up a little more these days.
April 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
So she will be receiving her very own copy of The Passionate Mom! Yay! Now go over and enter! Right away!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Do you remember learning to write on notebook paper in elementary/middle school (or junior high as it was called back in my day)?  Or learning to type essays and term papers in high school?  I remember learning about margins.  The reason we use margins is to keep things in order, make sure things are legible and easy to read.  Margins serve an important purpose.  When we don't use them, our papers are messy, the answers aren't clear and we don't know where or what to look for.  

I feel like our lives have margins.  Boundaries that make life clearer, easier to see, find our passion, listen to the Lord.  I often struggle with margins in my life.  I am not a woman who does well with being stretched to the maximum with time.  It seems that certain seasons in each year stress me out a great deal.  This is one of them.  Spring is such a sweet time on earth, but for moms, it is one of the busiest.  Spring ball, school activities, holidays, etc. make this season very busy.  I was talking to a friend about it last night and she said, "April and May are just always crazy."  She is right.  They are very crazy around here.  I know my life is probably not even as busy as some, but for me, it is plenty enough and actually more than enough.  

I need margins.  Time to be at home.  Time to finish things.  Time to have quiet.  Time to play Uno as a family and just be together. I often feel guilty that I am this way, but I am reminded that we are all made differently and we all have different strengths.  My strength does not come by being busy.  However, I think we have all bought into the lies of the world that say our children and our families need to do every activity, be at every event and go to everything we are invited to.  But it's definitely something I struggle with, and I feel like most moms do.  I don't want my kids to be behind on anything, left out, feel like they are the only ones not doing _______.  

So, am I the only one who struggles with the margins of life or the lack thereof?  Let me know how you deal with them and what margins are easier/more difficult for you.  I need some help here!  :)

And don't forget about the giveaway post here.  The Passionate Mom is an amazing book!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Reads and a Giveaway!

This week I have been reading (actually devouring) The Passionate Mom.  I applied to be on the delivery team of the book, not knowing anything about the content of the book, other than it was a book for moms.  I know that I need all the help I can get in my journey as a mom so I take everything I can get my hands on! It has been so fun to help share excitement about this book because it has already helped me so much!

The book The Passionate Mom is a fabulous book for any mom in any stage of her journey as a mom.  I wish I had been able to read it when I began my journey as a mom, although it has already been a help to where I am now.  The book is based on the book of Nehemiah.  Susan Merrill says our passion as moms is what will help us find a plan for our role as a mom.  She takes 10 P's from the book of Nehemiah to help us in our journey.  The 10 P's: Perception, Pondering, Passion, Praying, Patience, Preparation, Purpose, Planning, Problem Solving, and Perseverance really encompass the characteristics we need to be leaders in our home in the same way that Nehemiah was a leader for the Jewish people at the time.  Some of these characteristics come more naturally to us than others.  She gives us ideas and encouragement to succeed in all of them.  

I don't know about y'all, but I get discouraged as a mom.  And sometimes it doesn't take much.  I struggle with doubt, worry, frustration, impatience.  One of the things I loved most about this book is that Susan doesn't act as if she has it all together.  She confesses things she has done wrong, or ways she wishes she had done differently.  I never felt like she was talking at me, but rather talking with me.  I have read books that made me feel guilty instead of encouraging me.  This book does not do that at all.  I have been inspired, encouraged, challenged and excited to go on and move forward in my role as a mom.  I also want all of my mom friends to read this book.  It is seriously that good!

The exciting news is that Thomas Nelson Publishing wants to share this book with you!  Please leave a comment below and tell me one thing you wish you knew before you became a mom to be entered to win.  I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Music Monday - Alive

Yesterday was a wonderful Easter day.  Our worship was great, the time with family was great and even the food was great.  But, none of that can even compare to the reason we were celebrating.  Our Lord and Savior is alive.  Not just on Easter, but every day!

This song touches me so much.  It is from The Story, a musical experience of the Bible.  This song is sung by Natalie Grant, and is from the viewpoint of Mary Magdalene.  It wasn't until recently that I understood what a big deal it was that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection.  Mary was obviously a woman, which in that day meant she held no importance.  Women were second class citizens, and their testimony wasn't even allowed in a court of law.  They weren't seen in public very much, and they could not divorce their husbands.  Jesus, however, esteemed women.  He valued them.  Time and time again he spoke to them and about them lovingly.  He forgave them and acknowledged them.  So when he appeared to Mary first at the tomb, it was an important detail that is often overlooked.  He valued Mary Magdalene, a woman he delivered from seven demons, so very much, that he appeared to her before any of his disciples.  So to listen to this song about how Mary knew how much Jesus loved her even though he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is overwhelming.

When I began practicing the song, I had to take a few times and just get choked up and teary as I was singing.  I prayed that wouldn't happen to me while I was in church, but that everyone would hear through me the amazing story of Jesus' love for all of us.
I didn't cry and I hope that they got His message through me.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Music Monday - Good Friday edition

Last night we had a Maundy Thursday service at church. It was beautiful and amazing.  It is usually my favorite service of the year, next to Easter.  We spent time remembering the last hours of Jesus' life.  We  shared Communion together remembering how Jesus shared it with his disciples.  I loved everything about the service.  

And while it is so important to remember what Jesus did for us, like our pastor reminded us last night, the story isn't over.  It is hanging undone, like a dissonant chord in music.  It needs to be resolved.  And it will.  On Sunday.  We know it's coming.  The people alive with Jesus didn't, and what agony and sadness they must have felt.  I think it's easier for us to understand his death because we know He rose again.  But if we had lived with Him, Good Friday wouldn't have been good at all.

This song has been a favorite of mine for a while.  I love it any time of the year, as it speaks to our "Fridays" in life, but it is really perfect for today.  

It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Weekly Reads

I am almost finished with this book.  It is a book I wish I could have read several years ago in the midst of mothering an infant and a toddler.  Sarah Mae's honesty about real life as a mom combined with Sally's wisdom, reassurance and encouragement make this book such a perfect resource for moms of all ages and stages in their journey of motherhood.  Sarah Mae often talks in the book about "leaning in to Jesus".  Isn't that such a picture?  It has stuck with me so much this past week.  So often we hear "lean on Jesus", but leaning in to Jesus is much more comforting to me.  Kind of like snuggling.  Snuggle up to Him.  Let Him reassure and give you strength.  Although my children are not toddlers or infants any more, this book has given me more food for thought and encouragement to keep going in my journey as a mom trying to be intentional in my parenting and my relationships with my children.  Mothering is an eternal job that we may not see the complete end of the story to until we are in heaven.

Desperate has also reminded me to take practical and physical steps to ensure this journey goes as smoothly and effectively as possible. Mothering isn't solely spiritual, and if our physical bodies and environments are working against us, it only makes it harder on us.  I also am encouraged to help other moms, with real help, not just emotional and spiritual support.  It also makes me wish that older women and grandmothers would read this book and realize what a role they could have in mentoring and supporting younger mothers.  My heart really lies in helping other moms and encouraging each other during this journey.  It is hard and we need each other.  I intend to pass this book on several times as a start in this effort.

I also read this week: 

Both of these are quick, can't put them down, page turners.  I love suspense, and these books don't disappoint.  

I am most excited to start reading The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill.  I was chosen to be a part of the advance team for this book.  I just downloaded it and can't wait to get into it tonight.  This book talks about how to use our passion as a mom to be the very best mom we can be.  I will be blogging about it and helping in giveaways I am sure with this so keep coming back!  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly Reads

Ok, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted my weekly reads.  Just because I've been busy, not because I haven't been reading.  Since I last posted on this, I did finish What Women Fear by Angie Smith.  I can't say it enough - every woman should read this book.  Fear is one of my greatest struggles, and this spoke to me so strongly!  I know I'm not alone in this struggle though, so if you also struggle with fear, read this book!

I have since read:
 The Elm Creek Quilters Series is one of my favorite book series ever.  The books alternate between present day and historical fiction (my fave).  I think this is the 18th in the series, and I have read them all.   Even if you don't quilt, you will enjoy these books about friendship, learning, and the historical significance of quilting.  
 I have always loved Debbie Macomber's books.  I was fortunate enough to meet her when she did a book signing in Habersham a few years ago. (crazy that she came to Habersham, I know) I really love her Blossom Street books that center around a knitting store and the people who frequent it, but her Cedar Cove books are also good.  Her books are always clean, with a good message.  This one was the same.  A quick, easy read.
This book was really good.  I have read several of Melody Carlson's other books, and this was one I couldn't put down.  I didn't want to stop reading at night.  It is Christian fiction, but not overly so.  It takes place in Oregon, on the Siuslaw River.  It is an interesting story of family and friendship and how they overlap and compensate for each other at times.  I would highly recommend it.  

On another note, I began Crossfit this week.  I am so sore I hate to move.  I am really trying to get fit, and I'm pretty sure this will do it if I don't keel over first.  ;)  I told my trainer yesterday as she was telling me I had good form and looked good that it wasn't that I couldn't do exercise, I would just rather lay on the couch and read all day!  So pray that this will semi-cure me of that.  I am actually excited about the program - if I can move enough to go back.  

What have you been reading?  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Monday -Page CXVI

I can't remember how I found out about Page CXVI, but for those of you who love hymns, you will love them.  Their mission is to make hymns known and loved.  They have changed them up a bit, with a little retro vibe,  but they still contain the same rich lyrics that make hymns so beloved.  I know that many churches have quit singing hymns, but some of the lyrics are so powerful.  It breaks my heart that we might pass these by.  This hymn is one of my favorites, and the lyrics are amazing.  I think it is perfect for this time of Lent.  How Deep the Father's Love For Us. His love is so deep, and so perfect.  Listen and let the words sink in and wrap around you as you imagine our Father's deep, deep love.  
 Also, check out Page CXVI.  You will love them!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Still That Girl

Sometimes I am amazed at how many of my friends never listen to Christian music.  And I get it, kind of.  A lot of Christian music just isn't as good as mainstream pop and rock.  But Christian music has come a long way.  A loooooong way.   I am always trying to find new Christian artists that I enjoy and now think my kids will like also.  I want Aubrey to have Christian guy artists who he thinks are cool, and I want Mallory to have Christian ladies who are hip and fun and she thinks are cool too.  So it was in this journey that I found Britt Nicole.  I have liked several of her songs for a couple of years, but her Gold album is just that.  Gold.  Mallory and I love to listen to fun, happy songs like those of Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, etc., but there aren't many out there that are appropriate for us.  I was reminded of that last night seeing pictures of the performers at the Grammys.  Yikes!  That being said, Britt Nicole fits the bill.  It isn't often that I buy an entire album anymore.  I bought this entire album.  We love to listen to it together, and I love it when I'm home alone and can sing as loud as I like!  

This song hits home for me, as I am sure it will for many of you.  Growing up, we all had ideas of what our lives would be like.  Young and idealistic, we dreamed amazing dreams.  Sometimes life turns out like our dreams, but more often than not, it doesn't.  It doesn't mean our lives are bad, but there are definitely seasons that we didn't sign up for.  This song reminds us that we are still that girl who dreamed God sized dreams.  Right now I'm doing a study on the book of Luke and today we were challenged to dream God sized dreams.  What would they look like?  You're still that girl who can change the world.  It's what I want my Mallory to know.  No matter what happens, our God sized dreams can always come true if we believe and obey and stay close to our Savior.  So my sweet friends, your story's not over!  You're still that girl!  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Weekly Reads

This week's reads are very diverse.  I began the week reading this:

Our entire family enjoys watching Duck Dynasty.  If you know me, you may think this is very out of character.  And while I would never eat squirrel brains or chop the heads off of frogs, I love that the show focuses on family, faith and fun.  My husband doesn't read nearly as much as me, but he wanted this book, so I ordered it for him, knowing that I would read it too.  It is interesting and funny.  It tells the story of how Duck Commander got started and all about the Robertson family. My dad started The C12 Group, a company that exists to help Christian CEOs use their businesses as a platform for ministry so I have a soft spot in my heart for companies whose owners love Jesus.  If you love the show, you will enjoy the book.  If you haven't watched the show, you may want to after you read the book.  

The next book I read was How I Came to Sparkle Again.  It isn't often that I stray from Christian fiction  when reading fiction, but this one caught my eye at the library.  I read it in 2 days.  It definitely had some language in there that I do not like, but the story was about a woman finding her way after her miscarriage and husband's betrayal.  It had some kind of new agey spirituality about finding God, but there were also things in there I agreed with.  The story is a heartwarming story that is chic lit for sure, but an easy read.  
Right now I am in the middle of this book.  I have read Angie Smith's blog, Bring the Rain, for a long time.  Her honesty about her faith and walk with the Lord are so refreshing.  I have written before that I struggle with fear so when I read that she had written this book I knew I had to have it.  I have had it on my nightstand for quite a while.  I usually don't like to read things before bed that I really have to think on, but I picked it up the other night anyway thinking that if it was too much before bed I would read it during my quiet time instead.  Well, I haven't been able to put it down.  I thought I would take a chapter a night because each chapter deals with a different fear.  Wrong.  I couldn't stop.  I am on chapter 7 on my third night.  It is so good.  It is one I know I will read again and again.  I have underlined and highlighted.  I would highly recommend it to any woman.  I think it hits things we all fear.  Definitely one that will stick with me for a very long time.  

So, anything new on your nightstands?  I love recommendations!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Music Monday - Grace Like Rain

It's so funny how God works.  Sometimes it seems He puts things in my path over and over so I can get it.  It has been that way lately with the topic of grace.  Last week I was really thinking about it.  How I need to show grace to others the way that Jesus shows it to me.  My feelings got really hurt last week by a comment made about me being a stay at home mom.  Then I was frustrated with another situation that seemed unfair to me.  I wanted to say things and change minds, but kept being reminded of the grace that Christ shows to me.  If He shows me such grace daily, (minute by minute really) how can I not show it to others, and why don't I?  I know I don't.  I expect others to live and act on the level that I think they should.  And do things the way I think they should do it.  So showing grace to others is something that I have been chewing on and working through.  I'm sure I will for the rest of my life, but I want to be better at it.  I want God's grace to be evident in my life by how I show His grace to others each day.  

Then yesterday at church our sermon was on grace and cheapening grace by not living in the fullness and righteousness of Christ after we have been shown the grace of God.  I think God is trying to get me to see something!  

Being gracious usually conjures up thoughts of southern belles, holding their tongues, saying "Bless their hearts" and showing impeccable manners even when they don't want to.  That's kind of what I think God has been showing me.  Being gracious means showing His grace to others, even when I don't agree or think they deserve it.  It's hard.  So very hard for someone like me who pretty much has an opinion on everything.  ;)  I'm working on it though.  If you see me not showing grace, will you please tell me?  Kindly of course, unless you want to give me another opportunity to try again!  :)

This song is one of my favorites about grace. It's a version of Amazing Grace.  And it's not new, but it's a long time favorite of mine.  
 Grace Like Rain  
What a thought, grace falling like rain.  Such a great way to think about it.  Perfect really, because we can't do anything about it.  It just falls on us.  Amazing.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Music Monday - Mama Prays

This week's song is a favorite of mine for several reasons.  One, now that I'm a mom, I know how much I pray for my children.  I can't imagine being a parent and not being able to pray for my children, knowing that our Heavenly Father loves my children even more than I do!  It gives me such peace to know this.

Second, and maybe why this song means so much to me, is that my parents were and are such amazing prayers.  We prayed for everything growing up.  Any time we got hurt the first thing my parents did was pray and ask for relief of pain and peace for our spirit.  Any time we saw an ambulance or fire truck or an accident while driving their first response was to pray right then and there.  Every night before bed of course we said prayers, but my mom and dad would also come in after we went to sleep and kneel and pray over us.  And every morning, without fail, when I would wake up, my parents would be in our living room, having their quiet time and praying.  As I grew and went to college, I could call them any time and ask them to pray for me.  Even over the phone lines their prayers calmed my spirit and encouraged me in whatever I was going through.  Even now, as grandparents, their prayers are so special to me as I know they are praying for my children and the strength of our family.  It is a blessing that I hope to pass on to my children, which brings me back to this song.

I have long loved Chris Rice's music.  He sings Christian worship songs, but he also sings great kids music.  I hear him on The Message on Sirius/XM radio and on Kids Place Live.  It is so neat. One of his songs that all of us love is The Cartoon Song.  It is a fun song that reminds us all to praise or the cartoons will have to.  His imitations of the cartoons are fabulous.

This song is a generational song about how his parents used to pray for him, and now he and his parents pray for his family.  These lyrics:  "Mama prayed and Jesus stood beside us, Daddy prayed and the devil had to run" What a mental picture!  I hope someday my children can appreciate this in the same way I do.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Love

Many of you know I love to read.  I usually read about a book a week.  My family didn't have a tv in our home until I was 11.  My grandfather came to stay with us while my parents went out of town and he said he wouldn't stay unless we had a tv, so he went and bought us one.  That's how we ended up with a tv.  We played lots of board games, card games and read a lot as a family.  I was an early reader, already reading chapter books in kindergarten.  I would really rather read than do most things.  And I make myself read at least 5 pages every night before I go to sleep no matter what time it is.

This year I would really like to keep track of the books I read.  I have tried to do this online, but I just don't remember to post them on goodreads like I should.  So I am going to make a book journal.  I will keep it by my bed so as I finish a book I can write it in there.  

So far this year I have read:
This is a great story about a wedding dress and the women that wear it through the years.  It is Christian fiction, both historical and current.  I loved it, and added it to our book club list.

This book was a fascinating look into the world of modeling and what it takes some women to succeed.  Ultimately Crystal Renn couldn't give up any more of herself physically and emotionally and now she is an extremely successful plus size model, although calling her plus sized is ridiculous.  It was a good explanation of eating, eating disorders and what our bodies should be.  

I read this book for our book club selection.  It was good, but not my favorite.  I didn't "get" some of the characters and/or understand why they did what they did/didn't do.  

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a little bit of a mystery, a little romance (but really a very little) and a lot of relational issues that were interesting.  It takes place on an island off the coast of North Carolina and right away you are sucked into the book by the beginning of the mystery.  I love Colleen Coble's writing and this was no exception.

So, I am already ahead of my week per book rate.  In the winter and spring I get more books read because of the weather and holidays.  I'll post when I make my book journal.  What's on your list to read this year?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One word

Each year for the past 5 years I have chosen a word to focus on for the year.  I found the idea on Ali Edwards' blog.  For the past 3 years I have also chosen a Scripture verse as inspiration for my words.  This has given me much more focus and has reminded me where to put my focus - above, not here on earth.  

This year my verse came to me and wouldn't let me go.  It was just something that I have been working on physically and spiritually.  It is I Corinthians 10:23 - "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is is permissible, but not everything is constructive."  Paul is explaining that even though we have freedom in Christ, this doesn't mean that everything is helpful to us or others as they observe our walk with Christ.  

For me, this verse is really working on me.  I am really trying to be a healthier person physically, and while this may mean some weight loss, it is also really me asking what is best for my body.  Is it permissible for me to eat 8 cookies in a night?  Yes, but is it beneficial?  Most definitely not.  This question kind of takes it out of a good/bad struggle, and makes me think more about what I want my end result to be, and what kind of example I am being to my children and people around me.  The same applies for my decisions on how I spend my time.  I can say no to good things because even though it's good and I have the permission to do them, it may not be beneficial to me, my family or my relationship with the Lord.  So my word this year is "beneficial".  

If you have chosen a word for the year, I'd love to hear about it.  Please share what the word is and how you chose it, or it chose you!  Let's encourage each other in love as we work for the eternal life ahead of us!  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Monday - Remind Me Who I Am

Today is a rainy day here in Georgia. I know most people don't like rainy days, but I love them.  I am a natural homebody, so days like this I have a good excuse to be one.  

Today's song is one that just struck me the first time I heard it.  It is often said we are our own worst critic, and this is certainly true for me.  I often struggle with fear.  I always have.  It is definitely one of the ways that Satan gets to me.  I fight against it all the time.  Fear of the unknown, fear of not belonging, fear of how I look, fear of not being enough for people, fear, fear, fear...  It is ridiculous.  Lots of these things make me sound like I'm 3 years old again.  This song speaks to some of this. When I'm not sure of who I am in God, how someone like me could be loved and accepted by the creator of the universe, God reminds me.  He is so good that way.  In every way.  But I forget.  So once again He reminds me. Again and Again.  

I can't even find a favorite line in this song because there are so many good ones.
"In the mirror all I see, is who I don't wanna be" Yep, check.
"In the loneliest places, where I can't remember what grace is" Yep, check.
"When I can't receive your love, Afraid I'll never be enough" Yep, check.
So much of this speaks to me.
And then he says, "I'm the one You love"
Yes, that's who I am.  And that's enough. I need to rest in this.  
Maybe so do you?