Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Has Come In With A Bang

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It's defiantly been a year to write in the memory books.  

And it's only the end of January.

Feels like when the calendar switched over that the whole world changed.  Now, I don't believe in the end of the world stuff and never have...we will never be able to predict that.  But, times do change.  The world changes and so do we.  It's a part of the way things are.

Life feels like it has fallen apart......

There have been some good things going on in January and they have to outshine the bad, or hard things, otherwise they could drag a person down.  It's been a rough month and I will get through this.

But, the upside....

I can say that it's been a little over 6 months since I started this blog and I am not sure whether I am reaching people or not.  It would be wonderful to know that my thoughts might be helping someone.  Guess I won't know until I write that one perfect post that will get people talking.   Maybe that will happen soon....

In the mean time I will continue with my Bible studies, self improvement and plugging alone with my wonderful thoughts.

A Change of Fortune | Book Review

I don't normally read too many fiction books but, I took the time to read A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano.  This was a wonderful story to lose myself in and it was an extremely quick read as I read it in about 6 hours.  I could have spent those 6 hours curled up in a chair reading straight through but, seeing as I have a family, those hours were split up across a few nights.

Eliza Sumner was a governess to 2 wonderful girls and 1 headstrong young adult for a upper-class family in New York in the late 1800's.  Little did that family know but, she wasn't just a normal governess.  She was actually Lady Eliza Sumner, an aristocrat from England.  

She was in New York incognito to recover her missing fortune and to reinstate her family's good name back in England.  But, first she will have to find the man that betrayed her father and stole every last cent they had. Little does she know but, God has other plans for her.  The only problem is Eliza has lost all faith and trust in God.

The other plan God has would come by the name of Mr. Hamilton Beckett.  A widower with two adorable children that would love nothing more than to make Eliza their mother.  The question is...Will Eliza regain her faith and trust in God in time to find her fortune and possibly fall in love with the man of her dreams?  Will she follow the plan for her life that God has laid out?

A story filled with jail time, lost fortunes, New York high society and, of course, love.  Throw in a little humor, here and there, and Turano has written a book that is impossible to put down.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of my review*

Friday, January 18, 2013

Praying Circles Around Your Children | Book Review

Praying isn't always easy but, the ones we should be praying for the most are our children.  There is no right or wrong way to pray but, when it comes to our kids we want so much for them we can feel like we are doing it wrong.  In comes Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson.  He shows us an easy way to make sure we get everything out of our prayer time regarding our kids.

Physically circling something in prayer is a wonderful way to put your complete intent into it.  But, you can achieve that without "physically" circling someone. According to Batterson,  "Drawing prayer circles is a metaphor that simply means 'to pray without ceasing '" need to walk in circles around your children unless you feel the need.

In this book Batterson lists the 5 Circles of prayer that you can and will be making for your kids.  Along with what they are and why you use each one.

  1. Circling the Promises of God
  2. Making Prayer Lists
  3. Creating Prayer Mantras
  4. Forming Prayer Circles
  5. Praying through the Bible
He explains what each circle is and how they become habits when praying.  You don't have to do all 5 of them all the time but, you can combine the circles that you need for a specific purpose, child, or issue.  Each time you pray you might need 1 circle or you might need them all.  

These are just suggestions and methods of how you can pray and Batterson encourages you to find the ones that work for you and to also figure out others that God might be pointing you towards.  

I know that this has helped me with praying for my children.  The habits (yes, they will become habits if you want) have helped me feel more at ease when I pray for my children.  I was always worried about whether I was doing it right.  I don't have those worries anymore!  I just continue to pray circles around my children.  

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.*

UNGLUED Devotional | Book Review

With the beginning of a new year I have stepped back and taken a look at how I handle situations.  I have a tendency to blow up or bottle things up.  It an either/or, never in the middle situation.  There is no middle ground when it comes to me getting stressed out.

I have been trying to work on finding a way to deal with my emotions and the unexpected.  It's not easy and I always feel like I am failing since I am not perfect.  The good part is I have found a book that has helped me on that journey called the UNGLUED Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst.

Most have heard of Terkeurst book UNGLUED but, she has now put together a devotional to accompany the book that will help you on your journey towards sanity.  I say sanity because, when I become unglued I feel like I have lost my mind.

I love what it says on the cover.  "60 Days of Imperfect Progress."  Terkeurst isn't taking you on a journey towards perfection and it helps knowing that.  Perfection is a lot to ask for and I know that I am not perfect. I can handle imperfect progress though.  I think that this is all I am asking for...progress.  Constantly moving forward.

Terkeurst has this set up as a quick and easy read for those 60 days.  Most of us don't have a lot of time during the day to MAKE the time for a devotional but, this is quick, easy and wonderful.  She starts each day off with a scripture verse then a thought for the day.  She goes into small discussion about the thought and finishes each day with a prayer to God.

I have just started on my journey of imperfect progress and I invite you to join me.  Whether you are a mother, wife, business woman, retired this book will help you work towards your imperfect progress.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.*

Thursday, January 17, 2013

So Far Behind

I hate getting sick.

I really don't get sick that often but, when I do it's bad.  Really bad.  Which is why I chose not to get sick that often....HAHAHA!!!  Ok, so maybe I don't get to chose but, I can try to refuse.  Right?


I got behind on blog posts while I was sick so I am trying to get caught up now.  There has been a new Bible study start with Good Morning Girls (which I am leading a group in) on the book of Luke.  Loving every minute of it.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  I wanted to post my SOAPs for the day on my blog so that maybe it would help someone else but, haven't had the chance.

I have TONS of book reviews to get done.  I have already gotten one done and you can read it here.
There is so much that I have to do when a new starts.  Ok, who am I kidding....there is so much to do every day but, I just have to plan otherwise I get completely overwhelmed.  How about you?

Bible Stories that End With a Hug | Book Reivew

I love finding new books to help teach my children about the amazing stories in the Bible so when given the chance to review Bible Stories That End With A Hug by Stephen Elkins (illustrated by Simon Taylor-Kielty) I jumped at the chance.

This is definitely a book that is geared towards the preschool level but, that is exactly what I was looking for.  There are so many books for school aged children it’s hard to find one that a preschooler can understand and that isn't too long for their attention span but, I think I have found one.

The stories are kept short and sweet with a simple beginning paragraph and two questions followed by the answers that help explain the story.  The quickness of each story was PERFECT for my preschooler.  To finish the story off there is a “hug time.”  Obviously they would end with a hug as the title says they will.  Who doesn't like a hug, especially one from their little one?

I love this book and will treasure it for years to come.  The stories are short and sweet and the illustrations are perfectly matched to each story.  It would make a perfect gift for Valentines Day or any day of the week.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of my review.*

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sick | Yuck!

I know that it's been a while since my last post but, I have a great reason for that...

I have been sick.  Like, the flu sick.

It's been horrible but, I hope to get caught up on everything this week.  I have a new bible study group starting, TONS of book reviews to write and just some general spilling of my thoughts.  So...look forward to some posts this week.

Oh, the wonderful books I have read recently.  They have been a great joy during my time of quarantine. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Conviction to Lead | Book Review

I normally stay away  from leadership books since I feel they are all the same but, I thought that The Conviction To Lead by Albert Mohler would be different.  I guess I was wrong.

I felt like this was just another book to throw on the pile when it comes to all the books about how we are supposed to be leading.  The only twist is that it has a Christian viewpoint to it.  I really wanted to like this book since I run my own business and am a mother (yes, being a parent is leadership also) but, it felt oddly familiar.  It was like having leadership book deja vu.  

I am going to do something that I have never done with any book review before and include the summary from the back cover of the book.  Maybe this book will be a valuable resource to someone else but, it was far from it for me.

Back Cover

Change the way you think about leadership.

At that age of thirty-three, Dr. Albery Mohler because the youngest president in the 153-year history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He was the driving force behind the school's transformation into a thriving institution with an international reputation characterized by a passionate conviction for truth.  In the process he because one of the most important and prominent Christian voices in contemporary culture.

What will it take to transform YOUR leadership?

Effective leaders need more than administrative skills and vision.  They need to be able to change the hearts and minds of those they lead.  Leadership like this requires passionate beliefs that can stand up to pressure from without and within.

Now for the first time, Dr. Mohler reveals 25 principles to crystallize your convictions, revolutionizing your thinking, your decision making, your communication, and ultimately those you lead.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.*

Friday, January 4, 2013

God Gave Us Christmas | Book Review

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and I want to make it a magical time for my children.  I also want to keep the true meaning of Christmas alive and show my kids that this time of year isn't all about receiving's so much more.  Christmas is the celebration of God's only son's birthday.

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren, with art from David Hohn, is a wonderful explanation of a topic that kids wonder about during this time of year.  Where did Christmas come from?

Little Cub is getting ready for Christmas with his Mama and wonders "Who 'vented Christmas?"  When Mama informs Little Cub that God is the one that invented Christmas, not Santa, Little Cub wants to set out on a journey to find God.

Little Cub doesn't exactly find God but, he finds that God gives us everything.  This journey leads them across their frozen land and shows Little Cub that God gives us everything.  Including the reason for Christmas, Jesus!

Along the way, Mama shows Little Cub that God gives us all...from the lights dancing in the sky, to frozen icebergs and, of course, the King of Kings.  Jesus is the true reason for Christmas and in today's society we have lost the true meaning of Christmas.

This book helps to show our children what we are celebrating and why.  We get so caught up in buying presents and rushing around that our children are getting the wrong message.  This book helps spread the real message of God's love.  He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to Earth and gave us Christmas to celebrate his birth.

This book is beautifully written with amazing illustrations and I plan on making this a part of my Christmas tradition.  I want my kids to know what Christmas is all about.  It's about the only present that matters...Jesus!!!

"I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this  review."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tough Guys and Drama Queens | Book Review

Teenagers are a mystery.  One minute they are happy to see you the next they can't stand to even look your direction.  Being a teenager in today's society is a lot harder than it was when I was a kid.  I'm not even that old.  Times have changed and made life extremely hard in an already difficult time in a young persons life.

Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not To Get BLINDSIDED By Your Child's Teen Years by Mark Gregston is the survival manual for those exhausting times and that's just what those times are for parents...exhausting.

Gregston shows us how society affects our children today and how its different than what we are used to.  He also gives us the strategies that we need to make sure we help our teens and tweens through these rough years.  Not only does he tell us what works but, he also informs us of what won't work which saves us, as parent, a lot of time.

The best part of the book, I think, are the list of conversation starters at the end.  This gives us no excuses for communicating with our teenagers.

"I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this  review."

Let. It. Go | Book review

I never thought I was a control freak until reading Let. It. Go by Karen Ehman. maybe I thought I was a little but, this book opened my eyes to just how much of a control freak I am.

Let. It. Go. helps you to find the freedom that you are desperately seeking from trying too hard to control your own life and, in turn, letting God take the reins to steer your life in the direction he wants it to go.  Life is so much easier when you let God control.

Ehman starts the book off with a little quiz to see how much you like being in control.  I thought that I would score on the lower end since I didn't feel like I was anywhere near a control freak but, little did I know, I scored right near the top of the scale.  I wasn't exactly a Control Freak but, I was a little bit of a manipulator.  I was shocked.

I have faith though, because Ehman gives you the tools to let go of the control in every part of your life.  She goes through your relationships with your husband and family, to how you take care (or obsess) over your home, and includes how you control your day to day life.

Karen Ehman's Let. It. Go.  shows you that it’s OK to let go of control.  You won’t lose control over your life in the process.  Your just giving it to someone else that can direct you through your life better.  Let God have control over your life.  You won’t regret it.

I know that I have been blessed since the minute that I started reading this book and letting God control my life.  It wasn't an easy task letting go but, it was definitely worth it.

"I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this  review." 

New Year Novelty | Shiny Things Always Fade

We all like having something new.  It's bright and shiny.  A novelty of sorts but, eventually things get old.  It's inevitable.  The shine fads away and we become bored with it.

Well, it's a new year and so the novelty still resides with most people.  For a little while anyway.  We all make our resolutions (even if you will never admit to making them) and we get excited for what the promise of a new future holds for us.  But......

I don't think that anyone realizes that we don't have to wait till a new year or even a new month rolls around.  We wake up every day with a NEW DAY!

Now that's something you might want to take a minute to think about....  We wake up with a fresh start everyday.  But, what do we make of it???  Do we take the time to make resolutions for that day?  Of course we don't because it's just a new day....not a new year.    

The sad part is that thinking like this has put us in a society that wastes their lives away.  We just assume that life has to be boring and listless since it's only just a new day. We will put off things that we don't want to do until a better time and tell ourselves that "I will do better tomorrow" or, at the end of the year "I will be better next year."

Why not be better now?

That's one thing that I have been thinking about.  We need to stop saying that "tomorrow will be better" and seize the moment.  Yeah, I know...a little worn out but, it's truer now than it has ever been.  We are not guaranteed a new year, new month or even a new day.  Why wait?  What's stopping you?

So....seize the moment and make your fresh start NOW!!!  There is no time to wait.  The shine will wear off if you fail to live now and not waiting for the promise of a new tomorrow.  But, if you are always looking at the newness of the day...the shine never fades.