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?