Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (Giveaway)

posted in: Books, Christmas | 0

We still have apple pie leftover from Thanksgiving yesterday, but already we are getting in the mood for Advent over here.  My mister is busy with other preparing for the Christmas cantata at our church and planning for the Christmas Eve services.

We’ve done our Black Friday shopping and stood in line with others – thankfully everyone was in a good mood as we stood in line buying our Christmas goodies!

But, even though I didn’t grow up with Advent (I’m Baptist by the way), I have come to appreciate it the last ten years.  It helps me slow down, focus on Jesus, think about the waiting period that happened in the world (both in the silence waiting for Jesus and the time we spend now waiting for his return), and plant meaningful traditions around my home and in my children even through the busy Christmas season.

My friend Asheriah Ciuciu has written a new book called Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.  This is a book that is short – not overwhelming – and focuses on 20 names of Jesus that you can study either by yourself or with your family.

Each day has Scripture, a prayer, application, prose, and Scriptures for further study.  The book also includes some information about why Advent – why celebrate it and what it is for or the intent of the church.  I’m glad that it is simple and asks questions.  We sometimes get so wrapped up in everything that we add our Advent study to the list of things we have to do instead of resting in just being with Jesus.

So, to help you start Advent, I’ve been given the opportunity to give a copy of Asheritah’s book away and with it comes this download that I did featuring all the names studied in the book.  PS: you can just click above and go buy your download, its only $5.

Thank you to SideDoor Comm and Moody Publishers for this book to giveaway!

To enter giveaway: share a Christmas or Advent tradition!  That’s all.

Trusting Grace

posted in: Books | 0

One of the things I’ve noticed in my patterns for hobbies is that when life is a little hard, I don’t want to do anything hard in my “free time”.  So…

Its hard to be mentally sharp to be creative when real life is tough.

Its hard to read non-fiction when my brain and heart is to tied up with life stuff.

Its hard to watch new shows/movies when life is tough in the real world.

So, what do I do?  I read a lot of fiction and binge on my favorite Netflix shows.  And eat comfort food – because why not?  And take long hot showers.  And read books to my boys.  And always have chips and guacamole on hand.

SO, I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately.

One of the books I checked out from my church library was Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan.  I was introduced to the book by the author herself.  And I really enjoyed it.  It took me about 2 sessions on a bike at the gym to finish it.

After reading some reviews on Amazon, I know there are some problems with it.  But, really with fiction storylines, there is nothing new under the sun.  I think every fiction has tales of love, loss, salvation.  I figured the storyline pretty quick but it had some surprises in there.

And I just really enjoyed it.  It spoke of family, desires, hard work, the old west, cooking, and reminded me of the Janette Oke books I read growing up.

And now there is a Black Friday deal to get the last of this Trilogy.  And, I’ve not read the first two books, but reading Trusting Grace definitely made me want to go get the first two!

Indescribable (Giveaway)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 2

 

I’ve been influenced by Louie Giglio’s ministry since college.  That’s the time that Passion started, went to One Day 2000, all the Passion music throughout seminary, then just a few years ago we moved to Atlanta and I got to attend some events at Passion City Church.

If you’ve heard much of Louie’s preaching – you know he loves God and Jesus and the Cross.  You also will quickly learn that he loves space, science, stars, galaxies, etc.

And I want my boys to be influenced by writers and teachers who love creation and the God who created it.  That’s why Indescribable is such a good book.  Of course its a bit over their heads (I think this book would be good for grade school kids), but it is still a wonderful resource to have.

If you want to use it for family worship time, it would be a good “topical study” book.  There are 100 devotions for kids (of all ages!).  He includes good illustrations that kids will be able to understand.  There is a Scripture and prayer.  This would even be a good tool for homeschooling parents.

Thanks to Tommy Nelson Mommies for the book.  All opinions are my own.  And if you’d like a chance to win, just a leave a comment about your favorite part of science.  I love weather!

9 Characteristics of Wise Parenting

Six years ago, we were newly married, starting our journey together as husband and wife.  We weren’t even pregnant yet.  We decided we would go through the book of James together.  My husband memorized it. I prayed it daily for him, myself, us, and our future.  We entered into our marriage with difficult relationships around us.  We needed wisdom for how to navigate these relationships and for how to head into our future together.  James was a perfect book to study through as newlyweds.

Today, our boys are five and four.  And I’m going through the book of James again with a small group of women.  I need these verses and the Lord’s voice to enter in to my parenting and give me great wisdom as to how to parent these two little boys.  With the Lord’s help, not the world’s wisdom, we can parent well.

He has promised to help us.  He has promised to give wisdom to those who ask.  He has also given us His Word.  This is how the Lord defines wisdom from above.  How can we have parenting that is wise – with His wisdom.  The following is from James 3.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is pure.  It is not bought or coerced.  It is done with pure motives.  It is without error.  This is why we need Jesus in our parenting.  We are not perfect.  We will always fail in our parenting. Our boys do not ultimately need us – they need Jesus.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is peaceable.  Where we don’t raise our voices or cut off our children because we are doing something and they are interrupting.  We seek to bring peace (not fairness) to our children’s lives when they are interacting with each other.  I seek to appease and pacify, but I find it truly difficult to bring peace in our home.  That is why our sons need Jesus – He is our Prince of Peace.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is gentle.  Amazingly I find this difficult unless I’m showing affection.  I get irritable because I’m being interrupted.  I am not gentle if they are doing something wrong.  I need a Gentle Shepherd to shepherd my heart so I can in turn shepherd my children’s hearts.

(Parenting) wisdom is open to reason.  This is getting easier for me, by the grace of God.  Open to reason in parenting is (I think) being willing to hear help from others.  These tips and help may come from my husband, my friends, my pediatrician, books I’m reading, etc.  Find those moms and dads who are (generally) ahead of you in the parenting game and seek them to pour into your life as a parent.  Watch them.  Learn from them.  And that is why we need Jesus, He is all-wise and the perfect teacher.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of mercy.  Isn’t God so rich in mercy!  I love it.  I apply this to some discipline.  And hear me out – this does not mean never disciplining your children when they have disobeyed.  This means walking in step with the Savior who showed you great mercy and plead with them to know how to interact with your children at all times.  They may have done something wrong.  And the best way to show them Jesus in that particular moment is by talking to them about Jesus – not giving them a timeout or spanking.  Jesus is lavish in mercy to us!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of good fruits.  Abundantly pouring out in good fruits.  This is an opportunity for you to encourage your kids.  One saying we use in our our is “God is helping you become more…”  We don’t want to tell our kids that they are acting better to focus on their good works.  We want to help them realize that everything good in them is from God.  And to not wait for the big things they do, but be encouraging them in the times you see any kind of good fruit – even a little bud.  And Jesus helps us bear fruit if we abide in Him!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is impartial . See the pure paragraph above.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is sincere.  It is hard to be a mom.  Even those who love being a mom every moment find some moments hard.  But, let us sincerely think about Jesus has called us to.  To shape little hearts and minds.  To point them to Christ.  To grow little boys into men who will one day shape the world around them.  Jesus sincerely came to this world to save us.

(Parenting) wisdom from above will reap a harvest.  We can definitely know that God will bless efforts to shepherd our children and reward us.  It is a promise.  And he is faithful.

One tool I’ve found in helping me pass on wisdom to my children – and hope in the Gospel – is Pass it On by Champ Thornton.  It is a Bible study on Proverbs, with a great introduction to the book, commentary some, focusing on the Gospel (how Jesus fulfills wisdom).  But it is also a journal for you to fill out and pass along your thoughts to your children.  I’ve started doing this for my sons.  It could be used once a week, 30 minutes, and it would take you less than a year for each kid.  What a treasure it would be for your children.

Pass It On was given to me by Litfuse.  All thoughts are my own.

 

Total Christmas Makeover

posted in: Books | 0

I love makeover shows.  What Not To Wear, Fixer Upper, Biggest Loser, Flipping Virgins, etc.

HGTV and TLC are some good shows.

I love how you take the norm and make it into the fabulous new norm.

And what about Christmas?  I love having Christmas in my own home with my own little family: my mister and two boys.  I love the quietness of the day.  I love the phone not ringing and you can sit around all day in your pjs.  It is always hectic up until the day: church activities, retail hours, shopping, work.  But, that day is the quietest of the whole year and I love it that way.

Melissa Spoestra in Total Christmas Makeover, gives her readers some ways to make over your Christmas this year.  Christmas is more than buying gifts and giving gifts, singing in cantatas, and eating too much, and doing all the school crafts!

Christmas is more about thinking of the One who gave up everything for us – all for his glory.  These short devotionals in Melissa’s book have Scripture, gospel, prayers, applicable writing geared where you are, and activities to help you work out the truths that you’ve been reading about.  And they are short to read – you can think about it all day as you go about your day. Because we all know that the Christmas season is probably the busiest time of the year for most people.

Thanks to Litfuse for the book.  All opinions are my own.

Tuning Your Heart to Worship

posted in: Books, Worship | 0

Is worship easy for you?  Let me rephrase that – it worship of God easy for you?

Six years ago my life changed.  I went from being single in control of my mornings, time to myself, pick the church I want to being married (to a then worship pastor, now someone still involved in worship ministries) and a mom to two littles who don’t always let me run my mornings or my days like I would like.

And Sunday mornings – we all know what Sunday mornings are like.  They are crazy.  My mister leaves before the the rest of us to rehearse for the morning service.  Usually by the time I drop the kids off at church preschool ministries they’ve disobeyed, needed discipline, and I’m not in a “good frame of mind” to worship God.

And we’ve changed churches so much in the last 7 years.  So, community and preaching and worship styles and kids ministries and women’s ministries – they all affect my ability to worship on Sunday mornings.

And I’m still working on it. Some Sunday mornings I’m in a better worship mode than others.  Some, its just rough from the get-go!

Can any mom relate?

But, of course, worship is not a Sunday morning thing – not exclusively.  Being in the Word, singing praise songs, working, cooking dinner, playing with our kids, dating your spouse – all of these can be acts of worship.  Tuning Your Heart to Worship is a new book by Lavon Gray (New Hope Publishers) that will help you focus some time in the Psalms.  The Psalms is sort of the worship guidebook for the Bible.  The psalmists, under direct breath of God, experienced so many of the emotions and daily things that we face.  Yet they worshiped.

In this book, there are 100 passages from the Psalms.  100 days for you to spend time in the psalms, reading them, and hearing about worship songs, ministry insights, and application points.  The author encourages you to read the whole psalm not just the 1-2 verses that he highlights.  The Word of God is living and active.  The Word through the power of the Holy Spirit can and will change your heart of worship.

This is also a book full of application.  You will be encouraged to think and process as you read through the devotion each day, but you will also be encouraged to do something next.  Journal, pray, write, think, share.

I do agree with the author that this is not an academic devotional.  It is more personal and one that you might use with a more academic commentary if that is something you desire.

Thank you New Hope Publishers for the book.  All opinions are my own.

Lavish Hospitality 21

posted in: 31days, Books, lavish hospitality | 0

Friendship is such an avenue for hospitality.

And you know it well:

Think of the friend that you can just pop in and see and it doesn’t matter what their house looks like or what they are wearing.  I read in a study recently that teenagers have more of a self-image problem because of selfies – you could just hang out and not care what you look like, but now everyone is doing instastories and selfies all the time – you have to always care what you look like.

Think of the friend that you text or call first when something hurts you.  Or when there is something to rejoice over!

Think of the friends that you text or call when there is a crisis and you need prayer.  I know I have a short text list of ladies I know who will pray for me as soon as I text them.

Think of the friend that you want to share your struggles with – whether they are struggles in your marriage, in parenting, or in your business.

Friendships like these don’t come along all the time.  And they also don’t come by way of social media.

These types of friendships take countless hours interacting, journeying life together, sitting in coffee shops, skyping or talking on the phone, or pulling up a barstool to the kitchen counter.

Quote from Maggie Brendan’s new book Trusting Grace

A Small Book about a Big Problem

posted in: Books | 0

 

My husband asked me the other night if I ever thought I would say I struggle with anger.  Never. In a million years.

That is actually one of the ways I would describe my parenting – on my bad days (or my kids bad days).

And I love me some Ed Welch, a great counselor, very competent at getting to the heart of the problem.

This little book about Anger is hard to read because I find me one every page.  It takes less than a minute to read each devotional – but pray the Lord would allow it to stick for more than a minute.  I need to keep this book by my bed and read a short chapter each day.

I would encourage every single mom to pick this up.  And read it.  And allow the Spirit to soften your bent toward anger.  Like he is doing mine.  (And this isn’t a book big on application, but let the Spirit be your application writer.)

Thanks Litfuse for this book. All opinions are my own.

Lord Have Mercy

posted in: Books, mothering, parenting | 0

As mamas, we all need help – and having resources to help us in our journey with God, especially in the little years that can be so lonely, help tremendously.

Lord Have Mercy is a devotional written by Ellen Miller for moms – and it doesn’t matter what stage your kids are in.

I love how it is saturated with Scripture.  I love how they are short because you know that moms don’t have all the time in the world to do a quiet time.  I love it how it is practical and calls you to action.

But, I don’t really see that it is so much better than other Mom devotionals out there – or even devotionals in general.  I just didn’t strike me as a must read or must recommend.  It may be perfect for another mom, and it is saturated with the Word of God, but just a personal opinion.

Thanks Tyndale House for the book. All opinions are my own.

Lavish Hospitality 17

As a mom of two preschoolers, two things I think about the most of anything is my children’s safety and their eternal life.  One I can do something about and one I can only point them in the right direction.

Its funny, this week my 4 year old had 5 shots and 1 toe prick to draw some blood.  All routine for a 4 yo check up.  As I was holding his arms across his chest as they were sticking the needles in his thighs, I watched him scream over and over again.  I didn’t feel like I was providing much safety for him.  And after the pricks were over, he was calling for Daddy – all he wanted to do was go see Daddy.  To have Daddy hold him.

Now, if something happens when Daddy is around, then he calls out for me.  So the kid can’t make up his mind.

And now thinking back, I think of me, holding his arms down, covering his face to he couldn’t see the needles being put into his legs, closing my eyes in tears as he screamed, wondering if he would ever trust me again.

Isn’t that often how God is.  We are safely in his arms.  Being held in the palms of his hands, nothing can take us out of his grip.  But, how often does his face cover our screams?  How often do you think that God cries and longs for our hearts when we are hurting?

On this earth, I think we are to be “little Christs”.  So, we are to be Jesus with skin on.  Being hospitable to people may be holding them in their pain, letting them cry, catching their tears.  My husband often does this.  And I think of the safety I feel in his arms.  And it makes me long for the Savior – who will never hurt me but was hurt for me.  So that I may rest secure in Him.

Quote taken from a new book by Lavon Gray (thanks New Hope Publishers) Tuning Your Heart to Worship