I Want It All – a book review

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As a busy mom and wife, who is trying to get a creative business going, I don’t really have time to read.  I love reading – but by the time I sit down to read I’m so tired, so a book really has to be compelling for me to read it.

Enter: Gwen Smith’s I Want it All .

I really thought this book was going to be about women who could do everything and be everything to everyone.  I was so skeptical about it.  Then, I opened the book.

Immediately, Smith’s winsome, real, and grace-filled writing was so captivating and encouraging to a broken heart that needs lots of healing.

If you are in a place with wounded faith that needs encouragement – find it here as she saturates her book with the Word and life.

Come Empty: a review

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The longer I live the more I am introduced to and reminded of pain and hurt.  A believer’s life is not immune from it – we just have help and a Healer when we experience it.

And hopefully, we can share that help and Healer with others who are going through pain.

The book Come Empty by Saundra Dalton Smith is good on many levels:

  1.  Her transparency.  I love that there are people in the world who are hurting, who have been hurt, and know that they have the freedom to share that hurt.  Not everyone is given that freedom for fear of guilt, shame, or rejection.  I think that is something we in the church can be more aware of and open to.  Not shunning people who are in pain, but helping them with the purity of the Gospel in their pain.
  2. Her use of Scripture.  I do love that this book is full of the Word of God – because through the Word we receive healing.
  3. Short reads.  I know in periods of hurt, I might not be able to emotionally handle a long chapter, or a lengthy book.  Short daily readings are great.

One negative: This book is in the same family as Jesus Calling in one regard: there is a His Reply section and the author puts it in first person, so it is as if Jesus is actually speaking these words to her.  And if He is, then these words are infallible and perfect, on the same par with Scripture.  Scripture is the only Scripture.  It is one thing to give readers Scriptures that they can internalize, but another to say that the Lord is actually speaking these words.

Thanks Litfuse and Dr. Smith for the book and all opinions are my own.

Praying for my Husband as my Children’s Father

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ThLike Father Like Sonis is a season of Advent – of hope, of awaiting, or mystery.  Of incarnation.

One of the beautiful things about the incarnation is that God the FATHER sent His only perfect beautiful son into the world.  I can’t even imagine giving up one of my boys.

Back to the story…the men in our lives play several roles.  Man, husband, father, employee, friend, son, brother if applicable (my husband is an only child), worshiper, etc.  The list is pretty inexhaustive just like our list is.

But, for me, I think two the most important at least in my husband’s life is husband and father.  There is such a burden on him to provide, protect, lead well, shepherd all of us to know Jesus.  He just isn’t living for himself anymore.  On no given day can he wake up and say, “I think I’ll do what I want to do today,” but instead he wakes up to snuggles, cries, diapers, commuter traffic, my texts complaining about the disobedience of our boys, etc.  There is always so much crowding his heart and his mind.

I long for him not only to have an intimate close relationship with his heavenly Father – but use that relationship to guide his relationship with his boys.  Our boys are incredibly blessed with a father who is gentle and patient and one who loves Jesus more than he loves them.  He plays cars and basketball with them.  He takes them to the park.  He provides for them.  His desire is for them.

Isn’t that so the heart of the Father for us?  That His desire is for us – to know him and be found in Him?

Pete Alwinson’s new book, Like Father Like Sonis a good read that goes through different aspects of a relationship between the Father and his children, men.  I think some of the concepts can definitely be applied to men and women.  I think, honestly, that the book might be more with a female tone in mind, I don’t know.  I don’t know if I can see my mister reading this book or really any of the men that I know.

But, I do see it as useful for wives to pray for their misters.  That’s why I got this book.  I want to be more knowledgeable about how to pray for my mister and his relationship with his Father as he seeks to know his boys and lead them to the Father.

Thanks to Litfuse for the book in exchange for my honest review.

Family Ministry Book: Pass It On

posted in: Books, Shepherding Children | 0

Pass It On

How do you lead your family to know God better and to dwell in the truth of the Gospel?

As Christian parents, we know that is our chief goal as parents – not to save them (because only God can do that) – but to introduce them to the Gospel and to pour the Gospel into their lives so they will have every chance to respond to the Gospel before they are out of our homes.

But, it is much harder to do.  We usually want a play by play or some ideas to help us achieve said action.  Some of us struggle to know how to incorporate the Gospel into our every day lives, every day conversations, mini van rides from soccer games.  And we also struggle with knowing how to plan special events that will hopefully be a supplement to our every day conversations – but will help drive home the Gospel into our babies’ hearts!

The new book, Pass it On, by Jim Burns and Jeremy Lee, is a special one to me.  One of the authors, Jim Burns, wrote the first devotional I ever read as a teenager, Spirit Wings.  I remember it being the first one I read when I was in high school and I was learning what it meant to have a quiet time.

Pass It On is a very helpful instructive book to parents.  Not only does it give insight into your children (or children of the same age) on many different viewpoints, it helps you with activities you can do with them to help cement the Gospel into their lives.  At every age it gives you a larger activity (not just a conversation).  You can get some wonderful ideas from this.  You can take all of them word for word and incorporate them into the life of your family, or you can just take the ideas, pray, see what the Lord would have you do – how to change it up, match it to your family.

The most important concept this book drives home is that raising your children to love God is hands on.  It is active.  If you want to make a lasting impact for the Gospel on your children, you need to always be sharing the Gospel with them, living it out in front of them.  And parents, with older kids, parents who may have just become believers – its not too late.  Its never too late.  Don’t be regretful over the years in the past – but confess them to the Lord and press on in obedience now.

Thankful for Litfuse for sending me this book in exchange for this review, and all thoughts are my own.

Book Review & Giveaway: God Made All of Me

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 10

God Made All of Me

Unfortunately, this world hands us things that we must learn how to interact with, pray about, deal with, handle with truth and the gospel, and prepare our kids to face as they get older.  This is the sad reality in which we live.

Fortunately, Justin Holcomb and his wife, Lindsey, have written an incredible resource for children (toddlers through 8 years old) to instruct, inform, and prepare them for how they live in their bodies.  And how they respond to physical touch.

Child abuse, both physical and sexual and mental, is so rampant these days.  We must know how to prepare our children for what they (prayerfully won’t) might encounter.  The more our children are prepared the more we as parents can hopefully prevent harm to our children.

What I love about God Made All of Me is that is tells children that their bodies are good because God made them and it teaches them the importance of communication with trusted adults.  Inappropriate sexual touch can be totally embarrassing to children – they may not know how to tell their parents.  But, if you keep the communication lines open with your child, and teach them that God did make them in His image and it is wrong for others to touch them in a wrong way – you will be equipping your child!

This book comes out this week – and you (and your church library) need this book.  My Mom has been gracious enough to provide one for you to win.

So, all you have to do is tell me what truth you preach to yourself to keep you from worrying about all the evil that might affect your children as they grow.  Truth to guard against evil!  So important as we train our children up to love Jesus.

Litfuse provided me this book through New Growth Press to review.  All opinions are my own.

God’s Design for Beauty out of Brokenness

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Beauty out of Brokenness

Do you realize that we are ALL broken people?  This isn’t a blog post just for the people who have major problems in life and their lives are falling apart.  This post is for every single person in the world.

And do you know that we serve an amazingly beautiful Creator who takes everything that is broken and turns it into a beautiful thing for his glory?  That is one of the aspects of God that I love the most.  That He takes the broken and makes beautiful wholeness out of it.

We see the God of beauty shining through all of Scripture.  Just a few:

1.  Nehemiah and his getting the wall rebuilt.  Nehemiah knew of the broken down wall in Jerusalem and he wasn’t even there.  So he went and saw the rubble.  And he prayed.  And he got normal every day joe people to work on the wall.  And you know what – God restored that wall.  He showed that His beauty could shine again around the walls of the city for His own people.

2.  King David.  A lot of people mentioned that he was a man after God’s own heart.  Which he was.  But he was also a murderer and an unfaithful husband.  But God used him to write amazing worship songs and lead God’s people – and he is an integral part in the history of redemption.

3.  The Apostle Paul who wrote a good portion of the New Testament and his letters are still an encouragement to us today.  He was in charge of the people who stoned one of the early deacons of the local church – and hated Christians – even though he knew the law of God and was really smart.

4.  And the most broken story of all.  The perfect Jesus being broken on a cross to pay for the sins of those who believed.  God chose Him to bear our burden.  To pay for our sins.


1.  I’ve seen women who have longed for babies have their arms full of precious ones even when doctors said it was impossible.

2.  I’ve seen marriages restored when unfaithfulness has been relationship-dominating.

3.  I’ve seen teenagers come to know Christ and then go on the mission field and lead churches for the glory of God.

4.  I’ve seen the bonds of addiction broken because of the glory of the gospel.

5.  I’ve seen orphans taken into families and loved on because of the gospel.

In Cynthia Ruchti’s new book, Tattered and Mended, she brings so many Scriptural highlights and life-giving words to help bring life to brokenness.  I really love her thematic way she set up her chapters in different forms of art and restoration.  Such a good thing for a creative to do.  I love her use of Scripture.  And that she brings out a very personal side of God – His healing power!

If you are in a season of brokenness – don’t despair (think of your favorite Anne of Green Gables quote).  Believe in him.  Wait on him.  You will see beauty because God is faithful and never changes.

This post is sponsored by Litfuse who sent me Ruchti’s book to review.  All opinions are my own.

Friendship in the Real World

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Over the past few years with the pick up in social media sites, I fear that more people (mostly women I’m writing about here) are better friends with the people on their social media networks than they are with people in their daily lives.  I am not saying those online friendships are bad, I just want to make the case that they are insufficient.

I would say that the main way I see this dominating the circles I follow are online Bible studies.  Again, I’m not saying these are bad – I’m just saying they are insufficient.  You can only be so real with people you only know through a computer (that’s why I think there are great problems with online dating).  The good thing about these online Bible studies is that you study the Word and you get to know people…but that can’t take the place of real life Bible studies if you have access to good ones.

Neither can these online friendships take the place of real life friends.  Since I’ve traveled a lot and moved a bit since being an adult, I have plenty of my best friends that don’t live in my immediate area.  Social media is definitely a way I keep up with them and know what’s going on in their lives – and they know how they can pray, encourage, and help me along in my sanctification process by loving me and loving the Gospel.

I’ve been reading a surprisingly good book A Friend in Me by Pamela Havey Lau.  It is about friendship – but more importantly, an older generation of women being grace-imparting friends to younger women.  Sounds very much like Titus 2.  I found this book for women to be refreshing because its deeper than most books on friendship.  This has been a convicting read to me in getting to know knew women, continuing relationships with women I already know, pursuing Gospel love with them, encouraging them in whatever stage of life God has them in right now, and even in my parenting and imparting the Gospel to my boys who are so little.

Thankful for this book on friendship, real life friends, and yes, social media where I can keep up with all my friends spread throughout the world.

I received this book from LitFuse in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.

Healthy Families

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I was supposed to write this blog a few days ago, but time got the best of me – and I was out enjoying my family – so here it is.

Even though we were an active family growing up: sports, fishing trips, playing baseball and basketball in our yard, ballet, etc – we didn’t eat healthy.  My brother was the more active one and had a much higher metabolism than me, but I didn’t.  And my body definitely showed all the southern foods that we ate a lot of.

I remember being chubby by the time I was in 3rd grade.  Man, I hate that picture in the yearbook.  But, I stayed overweight.  I remember buying a size 12 dress pants to wear to school to fit the school dress code at my Christian school that I attended.  I played volleyball and had that baby fat white (no tan) look in all the team photos.  I even cheered, and I still have my cheerleading uniform to try it on every now and then.

But, even though I was active, the food I ate didn’t warrant a healthy lifestyle.  Going to the corner convenient store almost every summer night to get a pm snack to eat while watching the Mets play baseball.  Once I could drive I would drive over to McDs and get a Big Mac meal for dinner after the school activities.  When we would go to Chilis after basketball games I chose the most fattening thing on the menu – the chicken crispers with fries and corn – at 10pm!  No wonder I came close to 200lbs by the time I graduated high school.

I’ve struggled with weight and addiction to food and a gluttony and laziness in regards to food.  My heart and compassion and eagerness to love and guide goes out to every overweight person – but especially those in elementary and high school.

That’s why I wanted to read Who’s the New Kid by Heidi Bond.  It is a story of her daughter’s struggle with weight in elementary school and how she lost weight, changed eating habits, and became active.  What I did like about the book was the recipes and activities and the eager outlook that things can change.  You don’t always have to be heavy.

I think I would approach fitness and health with a family member differently – but everyone, no matter the situation, should look at each situation with compassion and knowledge, and seek to counsel in love and truth.  No situation is the same.

My boys are going to be really tall.  They are going to be boys.  I don’t want them to be overweight.  I want them to be active and healthy.  I feed my boys yummy desserts, but also greens and fruit and grilled meats.  They run and play every day.  Balance is good!  I want to cook them healthy foods – but not swear off doughtnuts and macaroni and cheese.

(I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.)


Never Say No : a Startling Guide to Parenting (Review)

Thanks to Litfuse for the chance to read and review this book.  All thoughts are my own.

There is something to say for having a great title.  When I first saw this book come through my emails – I wanted to read it solely for the purpose of finding out what the Foreman’s had to say about parenting – based on the title Never Say No.  And they raised two creative children (Switchfoot) and I want to know how to bring out my sons’ creativity.

I was really surprised by this book and how much I liked it. It was practical, not at all saying your children should run the home or the universe.  They had an underlying focus on the grace that Jesus offered to us at the cross, and how that enables us to parent with eyes focused on Him and handing out more grace.  “Everything is grace.  Be thankful.  Give grace away.” (pg 21)

I think really in the overall picture – they still tend to be more man-centered in this book then I would naturally point to.  With good goals – like spending time with your children, bringing out there gifts, giving them grace, etc.  But maybe, we could point them to their Savior and His Will for their life and what God gave them to do for his glory.  I think it is really semantics – I do believe the Foremans would say the exact same thing.

I would recommend this book for parents of school-age children or pre-teens. I think that is where it is hard to connect and communicate with your children and help them to see their amazing purpose in the world – to shine Jesus!